Saturday, 20 July 2024


SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Debra Bowen this week announced the proposition numbers for the 10 measures set to appear on the Nov. 2 Statewide General Election ballot and invited interested Californians to submit arguments to be included in the Secretary’s Official Voter Information Guide.

The guide, also known as the ballot pamphlet, is mailed to every voting household in California.

The 10 propositions on the Nov. 2 ballot are listed below, along with the Legislative Counsel’s digest or the Attorney General’s title and summary.

Proposition 18: SBx7 2. Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010.

Under existing law, various measures have been approved by the voters to provide funds for water supply and protection facilities and programs.

This bill would enact the Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010, which, if approved by the voters, would authorize the issuance of bonds in the amount of $11,140,000,000 pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law to finance a safe drinking water and water supply reliability program.

The bill would provide for the submission of the bond act to the voters at the Nov. 2, 2010, statewide general election.

This bill would take effect only if SB 1 of the 2009-10 7th Extraordinary Session is enacted and becomes effective.

This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.

Proposition 19: Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to be Regulated and Taxed. Initiative Statute.

Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older.

Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of marijuana products.

Proposition 20: Redistricting of Congressional Districts.

Initiative Constitutional Amendment. Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission.

Redistricting commission is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party.

Requires that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Probably no significant change in state redistricting costs.

Proposition 21: Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles. Initiative Statute.

Establishes an $18 annual state vehicle license surcharge and grants free admission to all state parks to surcharged vehicles. Requires deposit of surcharge revenue in a new trust fund.

Requires that trust funds be used solely to operate, maintain and repair the state park system, and to protect wildlife and natural resources. Exempts commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches from the surcharge.

Requires annual independent audit and review by citizen's oversight committee.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state revenues of about $500 million annually from the imposition of a surcharge on the VLF to be used mainly to fund state parks and wildlife conservation programs.

Potential state savings of up to approximately $200 million annually to the extent that the VLF surcharge revenues were used to reduce support from the General Fund and other special funds for parks and wildlife conservation programs.

Reduction of about $50 million annually in state and local revenues from state park day-use fees. These revenue losses could potentially be offset by increases in other types of state park user fees and revenues.

Proposition 22: Prohibits the State from Taking Funds Used for Transportation or Local Government Projects and Services. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Prohibits the state from shifting, taking, borrowing, or restricting the use of tax revenues dedicated by law to fund local government services, community redevelopment projects, or transportation projects and services.

Prohibits the state from delaying the distribution of tax revenues for these purposes even when the Governor deems it necessary due to a severe state fiscal hardship.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Significant constraints on state authority over city, county, special district, and redevelopment agency funds.

As a result, higher and more stable local resources, potentially affecting billions of dollars in some years. Commensurate reductions in state resources, resulting in major decreases in state spending and/or increases in state revenues.

Proposition 23: Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions that Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year. Initiative Statute.

Suspends state laws requiring reduced greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters.

Requires state to abandon implementation of comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension is lifted.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potential positive, short-term impacts on state and local government revenues from the suspension of regulatory activity, with uncertain longer-run impacts.

Potential foregone state revenues from the auctioning of emission allowances by state government, by suspending the future implementation of cap-and-trade regulations.

Proposition 24: Repeals Recent Legislation that Would Allow Businesses to Carry Back Losses, Share Tax Credits, and Use a Sales-Based Income Calculation to Lower Taxable Income. Initiative Statute.

Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to shift operating losses to prior tax years and that would extend the period permitted to shift operating losses to future tax years.

Repeals recent legislation that would allow corporations to share tax credits with affiliated corporations. Repeals recent legislation that would allow multistate businesses to use a sales-based income calculation, rather than a combination property-, payroll- and sales-based income calculation.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Annual state revenue increase from business taxes of about $1.7 billion when fully phased in, beginning in 2011-12.

Proposition 25: Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass a Budget from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority. Provides that if the Legislature fails to pass a budget bill by June 15, all members of the Legislature will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses for every day until the day the Legislature passes a budget bill.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Unknown changes in the content of the state budget from lowering the legislative vote requirement for passage.

Fiscal impact would depend on the composition and actions of future Legislatures. Minor reduction in state costs related to compensation of legislators in years when the budget bill is passed after June 15.

Proposition 26: Increases Legislative Vote Requirement to Two-Thirds for State Levies and Charges. Imposes Additional Requirement for Voters to Approve Local Levies and Charges with Limited Exceptions. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Increases legislative vote requirement to two-thirds for state levies and charges, with limited exceptions, and for certain taxes currently subject to majority vote. Changes Constitution to require voters to approve, either by two-thirds or majority, local levies and charges with limited exceptions.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potentially major decrease in state and local revenues and spending, depending upon future actions of the Legislature, local governing bodies, and local voters.

Proposition 27: Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Eliminates 14-member redistricting commission selected from applicant pool picked by government auditors. Consolidates authority for establishing state Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries with elected state representatives responsible for drawing congressional districts.

Reduces budget, and imposes limit on amount Legislature may spend, for redistricting. Provides that voters will have the authority to reject district boundary maps approved by the Legislature. Requires populations of all districts for the same office to be exactly the same.

Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Likely decrease in state redistricting costs totaling several million dollars every 10 years.

People may submit arguments for or against any measure. Arguments selected for the Official Voter Information Guide will be on public display between July 20 and Aug. 9.

If multiple arguments are submitted for one proposition, state law gives first priority to arguments written by legislators in the case of a legislative measure, and first priority to arguments written by the proponents of an initiative in the case of an initiative measure.

Subsequent priority for all measures goes to bona fide citizen associations and then to individuals. No more than three signers are allowed to appear with an argument or rebuttal to an argument.

Ballot arguments cannot exceed 500 words and rebuttals to ballot arguments cannot exceed 250 words. All submissions should be typed and double-spaced.

They may be hand-delivered to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division at 1500 11th Street, 5th Floor, Sacramento, California 95814 or faxed to 916-653-3214. If faxed, the original copies must be received within 72 hours.

The deadline to submit ballot arguments is July 6 by 5 p.m. and the deadline to submit rebuttals to the ballot arguments is July 15 by 5 p.m.

For more information on ballot measures and the Nov. 2 election, go to

To view past state voter guides, go to

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Peter Ventura, an auctioneer for 2010 Lake County Wine Auction, lives in Hidden Valley Lake, Calif. Courtesy photo.




LAKE COUNTY – Five nonprofit organizations, five high schools, five senior centers and two health programs have been selected as beneficiaries of this year’s Lake County Wine Auction.

The event is put on by the Wine Alliance, a nonprofit organization of wineries, winegrape growers, vineyard owners, related businesses and community supporters.

The Wine Alliance, founded in 2000, has contributed more than $771,000 to foster the arts, benefit health services, and support the community while promoting Lake County as a premier growing region for fine wine grapes.

An all-volunteer board of directors and an auction committee plan and direct the annual charity event.

The year’s Wine Auction, the 11th annual, will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Ceago Vinegarden, between Nice and Lucerne.

Many organizations, agencies and programs submitted their funding requests to the Wine Alliance, demonstrating the number of programs in Lake County seeking financial assistance.

The recipient organizations will use their grants for the following projects.

The Arts: The fine arts programs at each of the five high schools in Lake County (Clear Lake High, Kelseyville High, Lower Lake High, Middletown High, and Upper Lake High) will share the funds in this category.

Health: Funds in this category will be shared equally by the Hilltop Recovery program, the St. Helena Hospital Clearlake Emergency Department and the Lake County Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program.

Community: The Lake County Channel Cats will receive $1,500 and Operation Tango Mike will receive $3,500. The remaining funds in this category will be shared by the Lake County Community Action Agency for its Safe House, the Friends of the Lake County Library and the five senior centers that provide Meals on Wheels and nutrition programs.

Each of the beneficiary organizations will have a display at the Wine Auction, describing their programs and services, and encouraging additional support and participation by attendees.

Additional funds to be donated to the beneficiaries will be raised through the sale of limited edition fine arts posters reproduced from an original painting by John R. Clarke of Lake County.

Clarke has once again painted a signature work of art, using his unique style of watercolor-on-silk, to depict a view of the host venue.

The original painting, entitled “Beautiful Lake County – Ceago Vinegarden,” is on display at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville and will be among the special items up for bid during the live auction portion of the gala event.

The posters sell for $20 each and are available for purchase at the tasting rooms of Steele Wines and Wildhurst Vineyards in Kelseyville, and Ceago Vinegarden and Tulip Hill Winery in Nice.

Additional locations to buy the poster include Focused on Wine in Kelseyville, and Inspirations Gallery by Salituri in Lakeport. Clarke will attend several community events during the summer to sell and sign posters.

Ceago Vinegarden, with its early California architecture and landscaping, will showcase fine foods and wines from Lake County restaurateurs, caterers and over 25 wineries at the annual event.

Live and silent auction items will include weekend and extended vacation getaways, wine packages, wine tasting events, local art, and a variety of goods and services, including fine dining opportunities.




Local sommelier Stephanie Green also will serve as an auctioneer at the 2010 Lake County Wine Auction. Courtesy photo.



The ticket price is $125 per person and includes participation in the auctions and dancing to the music of the LC Diamonds.

A special area to taste reserve wines from selected Lake County wineries will be offered for an additional fee collected at the event. A limited number of tickets is available by calling the Wine Alliance at 866-279-WINE (9463) or purchases may be made online at

Ceago Vinegarden is owned by Jim Fetzer, whose dream is to create a balanced and beautiful biodynamic farm and winery estate on the Northshore of Clear Lake.

At Ceago, Fetzer has taken everything he learned from his family’s success in building Fetzer wines into an internationally recognized and respected winery, along with his own forty years in the wine business, to develop a new level of farming. He concentrates on sound farming practices using biodynamic and organic methods to produce quality grapes and fine wines.

The auctioneer will be Peter Ventura of Hidden Valley Lake, assisted by Stephanie Green of Kelseyville. Ventura has conducted over a dozen charity auctions, each raising between $100,000 and $600,000.

Although retired from the wine business, his biography includes being a member of the famed Mondavi family of the Napa Valley and working for several years as a lab tech and assistant winemaker while in high school and college, prior to law school and becoming a practicing attorney.

Ventura moved to Lake County from St. Helena and has joined the Rotary Club of Clearlake and is a volunteer driver for the Middletown Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels program.

Green is a certified sommelier through the Court of Masters Sommeliers who owns and operates Focused on Wine, a wine bar and tasting room in downtown Kelseyville. She is a wine educator, a private wine consultant, and noted cellar master of wines, on both the domestic and international wine scene.

She recently completed her first year with the Institute of the Masters of Wine and is locally recognized as a wine expert. Green is member of the Rotary Club of Lakeport, the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, and the Kelseyville Business Association.

Budge Brown, owner of Tulip Hill Winery and the Cleavage Creek wine label, is the honorary chair of the Wine Auction. Brown, a graduate of UC Davis, has been farming in California for more than 50 years.

With his daughter, Kristi, he opened Tulip Hill Winery at its location on Clear Lake’s Northshore in 2004, at the site of the historic Bartlett Springs water bottling plant. The facility features a unique tasting room, special event area and seasonal gardens that include 30,000 tulips.

Brown’s newest cause is his label, Cleavage Creek, which, in memory of his late wife, honors breast cancer survivors on every bottle, donating 10 percent of the gross proceeds to fund breast cancer research and offering medical support to those stricken with the disease. Brown also is an entrepreneur who invented the water slide and has traveled the world teaching others how to build them.




Budge Brown is honorary chair of this year's Lake County Wine Auction. Courtesy photo.



Rob Roumiguiere, partner in Roumiguiere Vineyards and Wine Alliance treasurer, is the master of ceremonies. The Lake County Military Funeral Honors Team will open the event with the traditional presentation of colors.

Special guests are Congressman Mike Thompson, co-chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus, and Jed Steele, owner and winemaker for Steele Wines.

Steele will be honored with a Congressional resolution for his many contributions to the California wine industry and, in particular, for his pioneering work in establishing the fine quality of Lake County wines.

Joy Merrilees, assistant winemaker for Steele Wines, will craft the special cuvee blends from juice donated by Lake County wineries.

Contributing to the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon are Steele Wines, Moore Family Winery, Robledo Family Winery, Wildhurst Vineyards, and Noggle Vineyards and Winery.

Wineries donating to the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc are Steele Wines, Wildhurst Vineyards, Robledo Family Winery, Moore Family Winery, and Shed Horn Cellars. Major donors and special guests at the Wine Auction will receive a 750 milliliter bottle of each blend.

Additionally, the cuvees will be bottled in one 9-liter Salmanazar each, hand-etched and hand-painted with a mirror image of this year’s painting depicting Ceago Vinegarden, and offered in one lot during the live auction.

Major sponsors this year include Mendo Lake Credit Union and St. Helena Hospital Clearlake.

Members of the Wine Alliance board of directors include President Margaret Walker-Stimmel, Vice President Marie Beery and Treasurer Rob Roumiguiere, all of Kelseyville; Secretary Pamela Shine-Duncan and directors Judy Luchsinger and Wilda Shock, all of Lakeport; and directors Janet Thompson of St. Helena and Kaj Ahlmann of Lower Lake.

Additional sponsorship opportunities and group tables for $2,000 and $1,000 are available by contacting Marie Beery, co-chair, at 707-278-0129.

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Collecting a sample at the main adit, or entrance, to the Helen Mercury Mine near Middletown, Calif. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management.

MIDDLETOWN – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will hold a public meeting this Tuesday, June 29, to discuss the cleanup project for the Helen mercury mine, located near Middletown.

The meeting at Jesus Christ Fellowship, 21443 Pine Road, Middletown, will begin at 7 p.m. and is expected to last until 9 p.m.

The BLM will present the draft final engineering evaluation and cost analysis for the mine, which will identify the agency's preferred alternative for the response actions to be taken at the site, officials reported.

“The meeting will give the public an opportunity to look at the problem of abandoned mercury mines and the alternatives available to reduce or eliminate those problems at these particular mines,” said Gary Sharpe, supervisory resources management specialist in the BLM Ukiah Field Office.

Sharpe said that participants in the meeting will hear a presentation about the site and alternatives available for remediation. There also will be opportunities to ask questions and provide written comments, he said.

The Helen mercury mine is located in the Dry Creek Mining District southwest of Middletown. The mine was worked from 1874 to 1922 for mercury ore.

The mine site includes approximately 100 acres of BLM-administered public land. Mercury-bearing material is exposed in cuts, slopes, open pits, mine retort waste and waste rock piles.

The BLM also announces the availability of the administrative record that contains all documents, including the draft engineering evaluation and cost analysis, that the BLM has used to support its decisions on appropriate response actions taken at the site so far.

The administrative record is available for review during normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the BLM’s Ukiah Field Office, 2550 N. State St., Ukiah.

The BLM strongly encourages interested members of the public to comment, in writing, on the documents, especially the engineering evaluation and cost analysis, contained in the administrative record.

All comments must be received in writing on or before July 17 to be considered and responded to in the final engineering evaluation and cost analysis decision. The comment period began June 18.

A BLM page on the site can be found at

Comments can be provided at the public meeting, through the BLM’s Web site at, by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by fax to 707-468-4027, or by mail to BLM Ukiah Field Office, 2550 N. State St., Ukiah, Calif., 95482.

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GLENN COUNTY – A Glenn County Road was shut down for several hours Monday evening as officials there dealt with a pipe bomb.

County Road 48, between County Roads P and 47 near Willows, was closed for approximately four hours and the few residents in the area were asked to remain in their homes,as a pipe bomb was discovered on the south side of Road 48, Sheriff Larry Jones reported Tuesday.

Just after 7 p.m. Monday 23-year-old Hamilton City resident Trevor Dietle discovered what he felt to be a pipe bomb atop a metal gate post on the south side of County Road 48 north of Willows, according to Jones, who arrived on scene minute later.

The device, a piece of galvanized pipe, was approximately 6 to 7 inches in length with PVC type end caps, Jones said.

It appeared that a hole had been drilled in the center of the length of pipe and a fuse inserted. Jones said it looked like the fuse had been ignited, however, had it had not burned completely.

Jones ordered the immediate clearing of the area and requested the California Highway Patrol close Road 48 at Roads P and 47. Four fishermen, including two children, were instructed to leave the area.

A command post was established at the intersection of Roads 48 and 47, west of the device. Jones said Glenn County Public Works was asked to respond with road closure signs.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office interagency bomb squad was requested to respond, and Jones said members of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue were called out to relieve the CHP at the traffic control points.

Just after 9:30 p.m. the four-man Butte County team arrived at the command post and were briefed on the situation. Jones said the team consisted of two Chico Police Department members and two members of the Butte County Sheriff’s Office. Rob Sheridan of Chico Police was the team leader.

After an assessment of the device it was rendered inert at 10:17 p.m., Jones said.

One of the PVC type end caps, which had been blown from the piece of pipe still contained granules of black powder, which confirmed the explosive element of the pipe bomb was black powder. Jones called it “a very lethal device.”

The scene was processed and Jones said a followup investigation will be conducted. County Road 48 was re-opened at 11:13 p.m. Monday.

Anyone with information regarding the pipe bomb is asked to call the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office at 707-934-6431.

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A dead black bear was found in the marijuana garden near where two men were arrested on Thursday, June 24, 2010, near Kelseyville, Calif. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.




KELSEYVILLE – Two Ukiah men were arrested last week after deputies discovered them camping among illicit marijuana garden sites.

Jaime Padilla Busio, 31, and his brother, 37-year-old Benjamin Padilla Busio, were arrested on the morning of June 24, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Bauman said two deputies assigned to special enforcement were conducting surveillance on June 24 on two marijuana grow sites identified a week prior during a helicopter over flight in the Kelsey Creek area of Kelseyville.

After locating two additional grow sites in the area, the deputies found a camp among the grows occupied by the brothers. Bauman said both men were arrested without incident.

During their surveillance, deputies counted and later eradicated a total of 9,209 marijuana plants from four different grow sites maintained by the two men, according to Bauman's reported.

The men had diverted water from Kelsey Creek and dammed the water in some places, and Bauman said bags of fertilizer also were located throughout the creek’s watershed area.

A dead black bear also was located near one of the grow sites, Bauman said. Although the animal appeared to have been dead for only about a week, neither of the men claimed knowledge of how it died.

The Busios were booked at the Lake County Jail on felony charges of cultivating marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. Bauman said they also were charged with misdemeanor Fish and Game violations relating to diverting and polluting natural water resources.

He said both men remain in custody on a bail of $10,000 each and both have immigration holds in place.

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Deputies found bags of fertilizer throughout the Kelsey Creek watershed area while eradicating illegally grown marijuana on Thursday, June 24, 2010, near Kelseyville, Calif. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.




No trespassing signs were found near the illegal marijuana gardens. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The quilt block


Firefighters mop up after containing a fire that destroyed a singlewide trailer at the Country Club Mobile Home Park in Lucerne, Calif. The fire began late Monday, June 28, and continued until early Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



LUCERNE – A trailer was destroyed during a late-night fire that may have been caused by smoking.

The fire was reported at about 11:40 p.m. Monday in space No. 59 at the Country Club Mobile Home Park, 3630 Country Club Drive.

Initial reports from the scene indicated that numerous 911 calls had been made to report explosions, thought to be from propane tanks.

Thick, throat- and eye-stinging smoke hung in the air throughout the park, extending a few blocks down Country Club Drive.

Four Lake County Sheriff's units oversaw the scene and the entrance to the park in order to keep people out of harm's way and allow firefighters to access the trailer.

The singlewide structure quickly burned into a twisted metal wreck, with some charred, rib-like wooden studs still left standing. Also destroyed was a small storage building situated behind the trailer.

Homes on either side were not damaged, said Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown.

Smoke continued to billow out of a front window as firefighters doused the trailer and continued mop up operations until early in the morning.

At the scene there were reports of a water main break, which was being attended to by Cal Water.

Brown said he believed the fire may have been caused by the trailer's resident smoking.

The man was safely evacuated and transported to an area hospital, Brown said.

As firefighters were working on the trailer, neighbors in the space next door were allowed to go in and remove some clothes and other belongings. A man walked out with two small dogs under each arm.

In all, four Northshore Fire engines, three medic units, and Brown and another battalion chief responded, along with two Cal Fire engines, Brown said.

Because the trailer park backs up to an undeveloped area that leads into wildlands with high fire potential, Brown said he initially asked for more fire resources, which later were canceled.


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SACRAMENTO – The California Highway Patrol reported that over the weekend two more of its officers died, bringing to five the total of officers who have died in the line of duty in less than two months' time.

Early Sunday morning Officer Justin McGrory, 28, was struck by a motorist as he stood by the side of the road while conducting a traffic stop on Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County, the CHP reported. McGrory, who had been with the CHP for nearly three years, died later at an area hospital.

Later that same day, 48-year-old CHP Officer Brett Oswald, a 20-year CHP veteran, was waiting next to his patrol vehicle while at a collision scene in San Luis Obispo County when he, too, was struck by a vehicle, dying at a hospital later that night.

“No words can describe the loss felt by our department and the families of these fallen heroes,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “As we mourn their recent loss, our brave and dedicated officers vow to honor the memory of their fallen comrades by continuing to carry out the CHP’s mission of providing the highest level of safety, service and security to the motoring public.”

Also lost since the start of May are Officer Daniel Benavides, Officer Thomas P. Coleman and Officer Philip Ortiz.

Benavides, 39, a three-year CHP veteran, was killed May 7 when the Cessna 206 fix winged aircraft he was piloting while patrolling Imperial County crashed near Brawley.

On June 11, Coleman, 33, was riding his CHP motorcycle in San Bernardino County during a pursuit and crashed into the side of a tractor trailer. Coleman, who had served with the CHP for seven years, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ortiz, 48, was conducting an enforcement stop on the right shoulder of the San Diego Freeway on June 9 when he was struck from behind by a vehicle being driven on the right shoulder of the freeway. As a result of the collision, Officer Ortiz sustained major injuries, and died June 22. He was a 28-year CHP veteran.

The CHP reported that it appreciates the assistance and outpouring of support it’s received from throughout the nation.

For more than 80 years, CHP officers have put their lives on the line to make sure roadways and communities are safe. During that time, 220 uniformed members of the organization have made the ultimate sacrifice in their efforts to make California’s roadways some of the safest in the nation.

“It's times like these that re-emphasize how dangerous this profession is and it strengthens the resolve of the men and women of the CHP,” said California Association of Highway Patrolmen President Rob Nelson. “It is imperative that the loss of these officers serve as a reminder to the public to be cautious when approaching emergency incidents on the highway.”

In 2007, the Move Over, Slow Down law went into effect in California. This law requires a person who is driving a vehicle on a freeway and approaching in a lane immediately adjacent to a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, or a stopped tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, to move out of that lane when legal, safe and practicable, or slow to a reasonable and safe speed.

“Many of these tragedies involving our officers and other highway workers and emergency personnel could be avoided,” added Commissioner Farrow. “While the department is committed to the highest level of training for every officer, it is every motorist’s responsibility to drive attentively and exercise caution on the roadway.”

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Winemaker Scott Simkover, owner of Smiling Dog Ranch, took home gold/first place for his Backyard Zin and dry-farmed Merlot, as well as Best in Show for best red wine of the day. He credits vineyard manager Larry Rogers for growing good winegrapes.

COBB – Cobb Mountain Elementary School has once again been honored for its efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles and exercise among its students and the community's members.

The California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports announced that the school was among 127 schools across the state that had been named finalists in the Governor’s Challenge Competition.

“I’m thrilled to be able to recognize Cobb Mountain Elementary School’s efforts,” council Chair Jake Steinfeld said in a written statement on the award.

He thanked Cobb Mountain Elementary Principal Tracy Skeen for stepping up as her school’s Governor’s Challenge coordinator.

“You are clearly passionate about getting your kids active and making sure they eat well and I’m a big believer that passion leads and everything else follows,” said Steinfeld.

With local schools out for summer, Skeen couldn't be reached for comment late last week.

Kenny Rogers, executive director of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, said the council has been administering the Governor’s Challenge Competition for schools in California for five years now.

He said this year was a record-breaking one for the Governor’s Challenge, with more than 1.3 million students from 2,649 schools participating statewide.

More people participated in the California Governor’s Fitness Challenge this year than in all the other 49 states combined, the council reported.

Rogers said the participants recorded more than 11 million days of physical activity in this year's competition.

He said he thinks there are a number of reasons for the large participation this year.

Over the last five years, the competition has increasingly gained traction, and during that time Rogers said the results of physical fitness have been recognized by educators, students, parents and community members.

He said more teachers are seeing the benefits of physical activity on their students' health, self-esteem and academic success.

Last year, the council conducted a study of the entire county of Stanislaus, where the top 15 schools had twice the rate of academic performance improvements as the rest of the state thanks to fitness programs, he said.

Rogers said children's brains are affected by exercise, which he called “medicine.”

He credited Cobb Mountain Elementary for realizing early on the value of physical activity and its benefit for students.

The school joined the fitness competition in 2007, and ever since all of its students have participated, he said.

In the four years that the school has participated in the fitness competition, it has always been an award finalist, which Rogers called “remarkable.”

Last year, the school was named a regional winner and received $5,000, and previously has won three $1,000 Front Runner Awards awards, according to Rogers.

At the same time, Cobb Mountain Elementary has been one of the county's top-performing schools in the annual Academic Performance Index.

In 2009, it had the highest API score in the county, with 880, 48 points higher than the next closest school, according to state records.

Basic participation in the fitness challenges involves taking part in a one-month challenge, after which a person receives a certification of completion. However, Rogers said the real goal is to promote ongoing activity.

Not only can students take part, but staff, faculty, parents and community members are encouraged to get active along with the children. Rogers said.

“That's what we're trying to push, is when people are active together, it makes it more fun,” and Rogers said that will make it a lifelong habit. He credited Skeen, the parents and community for banding together.

Cobb Mountain Elementary had all of its 165 students taking part this year, with 21,490 active student days, according to council records. In addition, 16 other people signed up, for an another 1,312 active days.

Rogers said Cobb Mountain Elementary now goes into the next competition level, which requires they submit an essay to show how they support physical activity. The regional winners will be announced later this year.

Concurrent with the competition, Rogers said the council also is seeking nominations for its Spotlight Awards, which honors teachers and principals and gives winners $10,000 for their schools.

He said the deadline to submit nominations is Wednesday, June 30; see

For more information about the competition, along with records of participating schools, visit

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Princess Abby, a Chihuahua mix owned by Kathleen Francis of Clearlake, Calif., was named the World's Ugliest Dog at the annual contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., on Friday, June 25, 2010. Photo by Grace Chon of Shine Pet Photos,

PETALUMA – A Chihuahua mix from Clearlake with a hard luck story has become the newest World's Ugliest Dog.

Princess Abby, accompanied by her owner Kathleen Francis, won the 2010 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest before a packed crowd at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma on Friday evening.

Helping her clinch the title was the pooch's hunched and peculiar walk due to her back legs being longer than her front.

Princess Abby also is missing an eye, and had an audience-pleasing ability to dance on her two hind feet for treats.

Francis said that Princess Abby was rescued off of Clearlake's streets five months ago, and was found malnourished and flea-infested.

When Francis spotted her, she promptly adopted her.

“She’s my best friend,” said Francis, who recently fell on hard times and works at a local department store for minimum wage. “Abby’s done more for me that I’ve done for her.”

Event organizers reported that entries in this year's contest were up.




The finalists in the World's Ugliest Dog contest celebrate on Friday, June 25, 2010. Photo by Grace Chon of Shine Pet Photos,



Princess Abby won out over a field of 14 tough competitors, among them past winners Pabst, whose underbite helped him clinch the 2009, and Rascal, who comes from a four-dog family dynasty of winning ugliness and earned the title in 2002 thanks, in part, to his wild hair and protruding tongue.

Chinese Cresteds have dominated the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in the past decade because of their mohawk hair, toothlessness, protruding tongue, lack of fur revealing often unusual skin and general bumpiness.

This year, however, it was all about Abby, who won the pedigree class before going up against the winner of the mutt division, a terrier mix known as Chopper. Comic and contest emcee Jon Reep said Chopper was so hairy that if he was dropped in the gulf, he’d absorb all the oil himself.

Princess Abby then went on to beat Pabst and Rascal and take home $1,600 in prizes.

The contest had three celebrity judges: television celebrity and vet Karen “Doc” Halligan, HawthoRNe television star Christina Moore, and Vertical Horizon lead singer Matt Scannell in addition to Reep, who emceed. Reep has appeared on numerous comedy shows and was the winner of Last Comic Standing: Season 5.

The contest went an extra 30 minutes but the crowd of 3,000 plus stayed rooted to the spot until Princess Abby was declared the winner.

The contest sponsor was House Of Dog, which provided Princess Abby and Francis with another check for $1,000 and a year round modeling contract.

The Sonoma-Marin Fair has been conducting this contest for 22 years and in the last four years has received international attention for it.

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