Saturday, 20 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY – A new state report shows that California's population grew in 2009, while locally there was a slight loss in population for the county and its two cities.

The state Department of Finance population report showed that California gained 393,000 new residents last year, pushing the Golden State's population to 38,648,000 as of Jan. 1.

The report said that the biggest numeric increases in population in 2009 occurred in some of the state's largest cities – Los Angeles (44,037), San Diego (17,041), San Jose (16,237) and San Francisco (9,485).

Of the 480 California cities, 445 had gains in population, five experienced no change and 30 lost population, the report showed.

In Lake County, the estimated population this past Jan. 1 was 64,053, down by 22 people from the previous year, according to the state.

The city of Lakeport had a 0.1 percent drop in population, dropping from 5,151 in 2008 to 5,140 in 2009.

The report showed a slightly larger population drop – 0.2 percent – for the city of Clearlake in the same period, with the Jan. 1 population estimate at 14,385, down from the previous year's estimate of 14,401.

The remainder of the county had a population of 44,528, down by five people from the 2008 estimate, which resulted in no statistical variation, the report showed.

The state's biggest city remained Los Angeles, more than twice the size of the next largest city, San Diego.

Los Angeles' population was estimated to be approximately 4,094,764 as of Jan. 1, growing by more than 44,000 persons during the year. That growth rate is more than twice that of San Diego, which now has a population of 1,376,173, adding more than 17,000 persons during the year, the state reported.

California's fastest-growing city in 2009 was Colfax, located in Placer County; Colfax's population increased by 5.7 percent. The Department of Finance reported that the other fastest growing cities in the top five were Beaumont in Riverside County (5.5 percent), Sand City in Monterey County (5.4 percent), Coachella in Riverside County (3.8 percent), and Oakley in Contra Costa County (3.3 percent).

In 2009, California added 62,385 housing units, numbers down significantly from the peak for residential construction in 2005, when the state added 197,477 new units. The Department of Finance report said that in 2006, 172,458 units were added; in 2007, there were 131,823 additional units; and in

2008, only 86,492 were added. The estimates are based on information the agency collects directly from local governments.

In addition, the state said that the decline in single-family detached homes continued in the current year as well, decreasing by 40 percent from last year. While in 2008 the state added 39,596 single-family

detached homes, only 23,637 were built in 2009.

California's prison population also declined for the third year in a row, down by 3,189 to 181,964 inmates statewide, the Department of Finance said. That decline was due to inmate relocation among facilities and to other states.

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An early morning shooting at this Lucerne home on Country Club Drive sent one man to the hospital with several gunshot wounds on Monday, May 3, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




LUCERNE – An early morning shooting in Lucerne on Monday sent one man to the hospital.

The man was assaulted in an incident inside a home on 6287 Country Club Drive between Third and Fourth avenues at around 2:30 a.m., officials reported.

Northshore Fire Protection District Chief Jim Robbins said two medic units – one from Lucerne and one from Nice – along with an engine and a battalion chief were dispatched to the scene at 2:38 a.m. and staged while sheriff's deputies secured the scene.

Robbins said the shooting victim was conscious and talking to medics.

“The best our people could tell is he had six bullet holes in him – three in his abdomen and three in his lower extremities,” Robbins said.

Robbins said REACH air ambulance was called to the scene, with the landing zone being set up at Lucerne Harbor Park. The helicopter landed just before 3:15 a.m. and lifted off a short time later to transport the shooting victim to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he remains in care.

Sheriff's detectives continued to work at the crime scene throughout the morning. A suspect has not yet been taken into custody.

Officials have indicated they will release more details about the shooting later Monday afternoon.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .




EDITOR'S NOTE: Lake County News is pleased to introduce our newest food column, “Veggie Girl,” written by respected local chef and culinary coach Esther Oertel. She will focus on locally grown foods and how you can best use them. We hope you enjoy it.

Lake County’s climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean region and is ideal for growing olives. An increasing number of local growers are pursuing their own tiny – and extremely delicious! – piece of the worldwide olive oil pie. That’s good news for our county, as well as good news for we who benefit from fresh, locally-available, home-grown health in a bottle.

Many of the people I speak with about olive oil are surprised to hear of the growing number of local labels.

Some wineries have begun producing their own oils, such as Ceago del Lago of Nice, which won the people’s choice award at the recent Kelseyville Olive Festival. Rosa D’Oro Vineyards of Kelseyville has two estate-bottled varieties available in their tasting room and the Kelseyville Wine Co. has at least five types, some of which have brought home silver medals from international competitions.

A number of other producers are dotted about the county, such as The Villa Barone (another silver medal winner) and Olivopolis near Hidden Valley Lake, Loconomi Farms near Middletown, Makiivka Estate of Lakeport and Loassa of Clearlake Oaks.

Each producer is passionate about the trees they’ve planted, their signature blends, the pressing process and their end product.

As with wine, there’s a special language to describe the properties of olive oil. Peppery, fruity and grassy are just a few of the colorful adjectives thrown around at a tasting.

There are seemingly endless varieties of olives; some are as tiny as a fingernail, others are as large as a plum, and varying types are grown in Lake County. The blend of olive varieties, as well as the ratio of ripe to green olives, contributes to each oil’s unique taste. It can be said that the complexity of producing a fine olive oil is akin to producing a fine wine, minus the aging process.

But why use olive oil?

First and foremost, there are positive health benefits. Studies have shown that monounsaturated fats such as olive oil are linked with a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. Olive oil has been shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as having a positive effect on high blood pressure. It contains vitamin E and carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from damage.

Secondly, it tastes good! A simple piece of bread is transformed when dipped into it, plain lettuce benefits from its drizzle, and its flavor delights our taste buds in pesto and caprese salad. It’s quite versatile in the kitchen when used as a substitute for other fats. (Onions are delicious when caramelized in it.)

A simple mixed olive tapenade is delightful when made with a flavorful local oil, as is another favorite of mine, bruschetta, which is a mixture of equal parts chopped fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella served over toasted baguette slices. Add minced fresh garlic, freshly ground black pepper, salt (all to taste) and a healthy dose of olive oil to the tomato mixture.

Both of these simply-made culinary treats are served on little bread toasts made with olive oil (known as crostini in Italian or crouton in French). To make the little toasts, slice a baguette and brush each piece with olive oil. Toast the slices on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for several minutes until the outside is brown and toasty and the inside is soft. (You can test this by pressing lightly with your finger.) For an added treat, rub a fresh garlic clove lightly over the pieces. (My tapenade recipe is below.)

Why buy local olive oil? Aside from supporting our county’s industry and lowering the carbon footprint of the foods we eat, there are other benefits.

For one, the oil is fresher. Because local growers make smaller batches, it’s sure to be fresher than oil transported across miles of ocean or state highways.

Another reason is the taste. Local olive oils are lovingly handcrafted with taste in mind. In some cases, such as at local farmers’ markets or winery tasting rooms, it’s possible to taste before you purchase. This is a nice idea as, like wine, not all olive oils go with all dishes; as well, you may be partial to one oil’s taste over another. All have different flavor components and some are stronger than others.

I also like purchasing local oils because you can be assured of the quality. In Europe, the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) strictly regulates olive oil (such as what can be considered “extra virgin”), but the U.S. market has no such safeguards. Hence, almost anything can be labeled “extra virgin” and sold in the U.S. Local growers produce ONLY oil that comes from virgin oil production and can truly be called “extra virgin.” This is especially important to me as there have been recent scandals (such as in Italy in 2008) where oils other than olive have been sold as extra virgin olive oil.

For longest shelf life, olive oil should be in dark bottles as clear glass allows light to deteriorate the oil. Be sure not to use oil that has a rancid smell. Store your olive oil in a cool, dark place. Once opened, I store mine in the refrigerator to guarantee freshness, though this is not necessary if you go through your opened bottle in a reasonable amount of time. If stored in the fridge, it will solidify, so I place the bottle in a bowl of warm water to liquefy the oil for use.


1 cup high-quality black and green olives, any combination

1 tablespoon capers

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Coarsely chop in food processor fitted with steel blade. (Be careful not to over-process, as tapenade should not be smooth.) If stored in tightly-covered container, tapenade should keep for up to a month in the fridge. Add some extra virgin olive oil to moisten it when needed before serving. Serve on crackers or toasted baguette slices over cream cheese or goat cheese.

Esther Oertel, the "Veggie Girl," is a personal chef and culinary coach and is passionate about local produce. She owns The SageCoach Personal Chef Service and teaches culinary classes at Chic Le Chef in Hidden Valley Lake.

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The retail giant Walmart has settled a civil case with the state of California in which it will pay what is reported to be one of the largest environmental settlements of its type in US history.

California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis and 18 other district attorneys throughout the state announced on Monday that a $27.6 million settlement was reached with Walmart for violations of environmental laws and regulations.

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office and Attorney General’s Office filed a civil complaint on April 2 alleging that each of the 236 Walmart stores, Sam’s Club stores, distribution centers and storage facilities in California were in violation of environmental laws and regulations.

Lake County's Walmart store is located in Clearlake.

The suit alleged that Walmart employees and management were improperly storing, handling, transporting and dumping hazardous waste, including pesticides, chemicals, paint, aerosols, acid, fertilizer and motor oil.

“This should serve as a warning to all companies doing business in the state and in San Diego County that they will not be allowed to flaunt environmental laws in place to keep our communities clean and safe – no matter how large or small the corporation,” said Dumanis.

Phyllis Harris, vice president of environmental compliance for Walmart U.S. said environmental sustainability is a priority at Walmart, and the company takes its compliance responsibilities very seriously.

“It's important to note that these incidents happened at least four years ago,” Harris said in a Monday statement. “Since then, we have worked closely with the state of California on a comprehensive hazardous waste plan that includes improved training programs, policies and procedures. This robust environmental compliance initiative is focused on how to safely handle products like these and has been implemented in all of our stores and clubs.”

In the settlement – signed Monday by San Diego Superior Court Judge Linda B. Quinn – Walmart agreed to pay $20 million in penalties to the 20 prosecutors and 32 environmental health agencies throughout California involved in the investigation.

The company also will pay more than $1.6 million in costs for the investigation and $3 million for supplemental environmental projects benefiting prosecutors, investigators and regulators.

Walmart also agreed to spend at least an additional $3 million toward keeping its stores in compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

“Safety should always be the No. 1 priority for the hundreds of thousands of people who travel California’s freeways every day,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said. “This settlement ensures that Walmart obeys the laws when shipping potentially hazardous materials on our streets and highways.”

Federal, state and local investigators spent thousands of hours documenting the violations.

The investigation began after an off-duty regulator from the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health noticed a Walmart employee dumping bleach down a sink drain in April 2005. The regulator returned to the San Diego County store while on duty and asked about hazardous waste disposal policies. That’s when it was discovered that Walmart was in violation.

Another example of a violation involved a Walmart Store in Solano County where a child was found playing in a mound of fertilizer left near its garden department. The yellowish-colored powder contained ammonium sulfate, a chemical compound used in fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides which causes irritation to the skin, eyes and respiratory tract.

As a result of this settlement, Walmart was required to make substantial upgrades to its environmental compliance system to prevent any future violations.

Harris said the company has taken a number of compliance measures, including hiring more environmental compliance staff, developing and implementing nearly 50 new environmental compliance standard operating procedures for our stores and clubs, identifying which consumer products sold in stores and clubs constitute hazardous waste if discarded and providing the information to store and club associates through handheld terminals and shelf labels.

They've also implemented a hazardous waste management system so that store and club associates properly dispose of regulated items that become waste at the stores and clubs and provided enhanced environmental compliance training to all associates in all stores and clubs.

"We’re confident that our current procedures represent a model for hazardous waste management in retail,” Harris said. “We’re a better company today as a result of these programs and we’ll continue to look for opportunities to make our environmental compliance programs even stronger in the future.”

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SACRAMENTO – On the heels of late season storms, manual and electronic readings taken during the final snow survey of the year on Friday indicated that water content in California’s statewide mountain snowpack is 143 percent of normal.

“This is good news after three years of drought, but we still face water shortages in many parts of the state,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “State Water Project storage is well below average and Delta pumping restrictions to protect native fish species will continue to hamper our ability to deliver water to millions of California homes, businesses and farms. If we are to ensure an adequate water supply for the future, it is critical that we conserve water and develop smarter, more sustainable ways to manage our water resources.”

Lake Oroville in Butte County, the State Water Project’s principal storage reservoir, is still only 59 percent full or 71 percent of normal for the date. Fishery agency mandates to protect Delta smelt, longfin smelt, salmon and other species affect the amount of water that can be pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Also benefiting from recent storms is Clear Lake. The US Geological Survey's gage on Clear Lake measured 7.73 feet Rumsey, the special measurement for the lake, late Saturday. The lake is full at 7.56 feet Rumsey.

Indian Valley Reservoir was reported to have 95,022 acre feet of water in it as of Friday; on April 30, 2009, the reservoir had 48,952 acre feet of water, according to Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.

DWR currently estimates it will be able to deliver only 30 percent of requested State Water Project water to cities and farms in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley, Central Coast and Southern California.

“Initial results of our final snow survey indicate we may be able to increase the allocation above 30 percent, but nowhere close to the requested amounts,” Cowin said.

The 29 public agencies that purchase State Water Project water this year collectively requested 4,171,996 acre-feet of water. At 30 percent, the current allocation would deliver 1,251,601 acre-feet for approximately 25 million Californians and 750,000 acres of irrigated farmland.

Last year, the State Water Project delivered 40 percent of requests. The average allocation over the past 10 years is 68 percent of the requested amount

After three consecutive drought years, DWR late last year set the initial 2010 State Water Project allocation at only 5 percent of requested deliveries. The allocation rose incrementally to 15 percent, 20 percent, and 30 percent as the snowpack accumulated during winter and early spring.

Snow surveyors from DWR and cooperating agencies manually measure snowpack water content around the first of the month from January through May. In addition, remote sensors electronically report their readings. Manual surveys will continue up and down the state for several more days.

Electronic sensor readings show northern Sierra snow water equivalents at 188 percent of normal for the date, central Sierra at 121 percent, and southern Sierra at 139 percent.

Readings from snowpack water content sensors are posted at Reservoir storage levels can be found at

Snow water content is important in determining water supply. The measurements help hydrologists prepare water supply forecasts as well as provide others, such as hydroelectric power companies and the recreation industry, with needed data.

Monitoring is coordinated by the Department of Water Resources as part of the multi-agency California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program. Surveyors from more than 50 agencies and utilities visit hundreds of snow measurement courses in California’s mountains to gauge the amount of water in the snowpack.

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HOPLAND – A Hopland man was arrested last Saturday for allegedly stealing a weapon and being found in possession of the drug Ecstacy.

James P. Whetstone, 19, was arrested for grand theft, possession of a controlled substance for sale and transportation of a controlled substance, according to a report from Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

At 8:40 p.m. last Saturday Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to investigate the theft of a handgun. Smallcomb said 58-year-old James A. Whetstone of Hopland reported that his son had stolen his .45-caliber handgun from their home on Mountain House Road.

The elder Whetstone told the 911 dispatcher that his son's behavior had been erratic and that his son had slept very little in recent days, according to Smallcomb. Whetstone was concerned that his son was under the influence of drugs while armed with the handgun.

The 19-year-old had driven away in his father's Mercedes, and a description of the suspect and his vehicle were broadcast via police radio, Smallcomb said.

Officers from the Hopland Tribal Police intercepted the vehicle on Highway 175 near the entrance to the reservation and detained the suspect. Smallcomb said officers from the California Highway Patrol also responded to assist.

A search of the car revealed 50 suspected methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) tablets hidden in a panel in the trunk of the car. Smallcomb said MDMA is most commonly known as “Ecstacy,” a controlled substance with stimulant and psychoactive properties.

The younger Whetstone then led deputies to the stolen .45-caliber firearm. He was subsequently arrested and lodged in the Mendocino County Jail, Smallcomb said.

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FM Global presented Lakeport Fire Protection District with a check for $1,600 on Friday, April 30, 2010. From left, Lakeport Fire firefighter/paramedic Ponciano Hernandez; Ryan Nichols of FM Global, the consultant/engineer who presented the check; Don Davidson, chair of the Lakeport Fire Protection District Board; and Lakeport Fire Chief Ken Wells. Photo courtesy of Lakeport Fire Protection District.


LAKEPORT – A new grant will help Lakeport Fire Protection District have a better knowledge of hazards when they're responding to commercial fires.

On Friday, Lakeport Fire Chief Ken Wells and his staff received a $1,600 grant from FM Global, a commercial insurance company.

Wells said Lakeport Fire was one of four fire departments in the state to receive the FM Global grant.

FM Global offers fire preventions grants to fire departments and community organizations that combat fire, explaining on its Web site that the company believes the majority of fires can be prevented.

The grants can be used for pre-fire planning, arson prevention and education, and fire prevention education and training programs, the company reported.

Wells said his department plans to use the grant for pre-fire plan software that helps document floor plans, hazardous materials, electrical shutoffs and other important features of commercial buildings.

He said the goal is to have the information available on a computer in the chief's vehicle and the first engine out on fires. That, he said, will allow firefighters to know the hazards inside out.

Wells said Lakeport Fire firefighter/paramedic Ponciano Hernandez will do the data entry for the program to get it up and running.

To find out more about Lakeport Fire, including upcoming events or to listen to live fire radio traffic, visit

Visit the district's Facebook page at!/pages/Lakeport-CA/Lakeport-Fire-Protection-District/190113238755 .

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared May 2-8 Wildfire Awareness Week to remind Californians to be prepared for wildfires and vigilant as the state approaches peak fire season.

Cal Fire also will be using the week to highlight the importance of the homeowner’s role in preparing their property and families ahead of time to survive a wildfire.


This year’s Wildfire Awareness Week theme is based on the nationwide fire preparedness campaign “Ready, Set, Go.”

The slogan “Wildfire is coming ... Is your home ready?” focuses on the role homeowners have in being ready for a wildfire. Being ready for a wildfire starts with maintaining an adequate defensible space and hardening homes by using fire resistant building materials.

Fire officials firmly believe that it is the combination of both defensible space and the hardening of homes that give a house the best chance of surviving a wildfire.


To assist homeowner’s preparation for wildfires, Cal Fire plans to launch a new Web site during Wildfire Awareness Week, which provides residents the steps to make their home more resistant to wildfires and to ensure that their family is ready to evacuate early and safely when wildfire strikes.

The Web site is


“The first week in May is recognized as Wildfire Awareness Week, but residents need to be aware of the threat wildfire poses every day,” said Chief Del Walters, Cal Fire director. “Wildfires have occurred at all times of year in our state, but wildfire activity historically increases from spring through late fall, threatening lives, property and the environment. We are taking this week to heighten the public’s awareness about the steps they should take to prepare their homes and families for California’s inevitable wildfires.”


Cal Fire will use Wildfire Awareness Week as an opportunity to answer questions about fire safety and how to be better prepared in an emergency situation.


Wildfire Awareness Week schedule will include press events and fire preparedness exercises.

For more information visit

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GLENN COUNTY – As detectives of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office' Major Crimes unit continue their investigation into an April homicide, WeTip Inc. is assisting by offering up to $1,000 for information that would lead to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crime.

The extremely charred body of Donald Scott Williams was found inside of what remained of an unoccupied home located on County Road 25, south of Orland in a rural farming area on Sunday, April 4, as Lake County News has reported.

Investigators believe an act of arson caused the home to be burned to the ground and destroyed.

An autopsy confirmed the initial findings that Williams had died at the hands of another. The services of a forensic odontologist was needed to positively identify the remains as those of Williams.

On Monday Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones reported that the agency was working with WeTip to find leads in the case.

A caller to WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) will remain completely anonymous and no one will ever know who made the call, Jones said.

Offering nationwide Internet access and hotlines, WeTip – founded in 1972 – is an anonymous crime reporting system for citizens and a valuable tool for law enforcement. WeTip stresses the complete anonymity of the caller.

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Irishman Will Roll opened his Corkman's Clipper Irish Pub in Clearlake, Calif., in May of 2009. Photo by Tera deVroede.

CLEARLAKE – Ireland is nearly 5,000 miles away from Clearlake, but a little bit of the Emerald Isle can be found nestled in a corner of the city.

That taste of Ireland is courtesy of Will Roll, who owns the Corkman's Clipper Irish Pub.

The authentic Irish pub offers music and spirits, a home-cooked meal by a true Irishman and a beautiful view of Clear Lake and its sunsets.

Roll left his home in County Cork, Ireland 45 years ago to come to the United States. He moved to Lake County 10 years ago and currently resides in Hidden Valley.

“We have a real commitment to providing a wonderful experience for everyone, and not just from a culinary standpoint,” said Roll.

Roll makes all of the food from scratch. “I don’t buy anything bagged, boxed or premade,” he said. “We provide our customers with the best of everything.”

He explained, “I learned to cook at the knees of my grandmam and my mam. Everything on my menu is 20 years' worth of dinner parties at my home before ever opening my first pub.”

A wide variety of drafts also can be found at the pub, from the Corkman’s Clipper Irish Pub’s own pale ale to Smithwick’s Authentic Irish Ale, imported from Ireland.

The Black Rose was another pub Roll owned in Santa Rosa which he had to close on March 27 due to health problems and a long commute.

He chose Clearlake for the site of the Corkman’s Clipper because he wanted a beautiful place close to home and Clearlake was the best of the areas he had visited. Plus, Clearlake didn’t have an Irish pub before Roll’s.

Roll opened his doors in May of 2009 in the building that once was Kathy Zinn’s.

“I wanted to stick with a nautical theme for my pub’s name,” said Roll.

He explained that he's a “Corkman” – someone from County Cork – and clippers refer to ships in the 1800s that Irish brought Irish immigrants to America during the famine.

Roll said that his pub has been very well received by the people of Clearlake; he expressed his affection for the town for its support. He feels the best advertising is word-of-mouth between friends, so don’t expect to see any ads for the pub anytime soon.

Even though many people read the word “pub” and immediately think alcohol, an Irish pub is much more than that, said Roll.

“This is a public house, and I am the publican – the owner of the public house,” said Roll. “We offer a very unique experience with family fun, good, hearty food and a place that still feels like home.”

He added, “The whole pub experience is a gathering spot for families to both celebrate ad drown their sorrows as well as share their experiences with their neighbors.”

The pub also has become a performance venue. They regularly host the local band, Uncorked, as well as a recent performance of the Celtic and world music duo, Four Shillings Short, comprised of Roll's friends Christy Martin and Aodh Og O’Tuama, the latter a fellow Corkman.

The Corkman’s Clipper is open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and has live, but soft, music every day except for Mondays and Wednesdays.

The pub also has a Web site,, where Roll offers this invitation: “Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the lost art of conversation!”

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The Corkman's Clipper Irish Pub is located on Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake, Calif. Photo by Tera deVroede.





The pub's dining room overlooks Clear Lake. Photo by Tera deVroede.

CLEARLAKE OAKS – Vandals this week did significant damage to the bathrooms at the county-owned Nylander Park in Clearlake Oaks.

The bathrooms are located in a building next to the park, located along Highway 20.

Public Services Director Kim Clymire said the suspects attempted to burn down both the mens' and womens' bathrooms by sticking paper on the walls, stuffing it in the drains and setting it on fire.

Gary Nylander, owner of the Red and White Market next door, sold the restroom building and the land for the park to the county. Clymire said Nylander and his staff have helped secure the restroom facility at night, which has kept it undamaged.

However, he said that on Tuesday night the bathroom wasn't locked due to an oversight, and that gave the vandals their opportunity.

The restrooms didn't burn, said Clymire. However, “We have a lot of smoke damage and we're going to have to repaint,” he said.

Clymire added, “This person who tried to burn it down also took a magic marker and drew hearts on the wall.”

He said the restrooms will remain closed while they're pressure washed, repainted and repaired, which he said should take until the latter part of next week to complete.

About two weeks ago, someone broke a mirror that had been in one of the bathrooms, said Clymire.

The Nylander Park restrooms have only been open since November, he noted.

Clymire said the sheriff's office has indicated it will conduct extra patrol of the area. In addition, Clymire said he's trying to get the word out to area residents.

“We're trying to step up the community patrol as well,” he said.

This is the most significant incident for the county's parks recently, said Clymire. The other issues have involved some graffiti tagging at parks around the lake, and recent complaints at Nylander Park of men sitting and drinking 12-packs of beer at the playground where children are trying to play.

“They're not making it comfortable with the parents to use the parks,” said Clymire, who explained his staff has been approached by concerned parents.

With the Parks Department now in its rush to prepare for the summer tourism season, Clymire said

they're having to set aside time from getting lawns mowed to repair the restroom facilities.

Anyone who spots vandals at work should call 911; those with information who want to leave it anonymously can call the sheriff's anonymous tip line at 707-263-3663.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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