Tuesday, 23 July 2024


LAKEPORT – Two men who were tried in connection with a Clearlake man's September 2009 murder received their sentences on Monday, with one facing a lengthy prison term and the other having a strike taken from his record that will see him spending six and a half years in prison.

Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, and Melvin Dale Norton, 38, went before Judge Arthur Mann for sentencing on Monday, with a juror from the mens' trial speaking out on Norton's behalf.

Due to a heavy court calendar, the sentencing – originally scheduled for the morning – was pushed back to mid-afternoon.

The men were put on trial earlier this year for the murder of 25-year-old Shelby Uehling on Sept. 22, 2009.

On March 11, Edmonds was convicted of second-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon – a knife – and assault with a deadly weapon, an asp or police-type extendable baton, as Lake County News has reported.

That same day, Norton was acquitted of murder and lesser included offenses of manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter, but convicted of assault and accessory charges.

Uehling was founded beaten, with his throat cut, alongside Old Highway 53 shortly after 1 a.m. last Sept. 22. Both Uehling and Edmonds had had romantic interest in the same woman, Patricia Campbell, who also was a friend of Norton's.

Norton and Edmonds said they went up separately to confront Uehling, whose car was seen near Norton's home, because Campbell had claimed Uehling was stalking her. Norton said he found Uehling in his car and they got into a shoving match before Edmonds arrived and began a fierce physical fight with the former Montanan.

Lake County Probation had proposed a sentence of 24 years to life, according to Edmonds' defense attorney, Doug Rhoades. However, Judge Mann sentenced Edmonds to 15 years to life, running the terms for all of the convictions except the murder charge concurrently rather than consecutively, as Lake County Probation had suggested.

Rhoades said Edmonds must serve 15 years in prison before he'll be eligible for parole. At that point he will be 50 years old.

An appeal of both the judgment and sentence was filed Monday, which Rhoades said is normal procedure in such cases. He won't handle the case, which will be taken by an appellate attorney.

Rhoades said Edmonds will remain in local custody a short time before he's transported to San Quentin for admission to the state prison system before week's end.

Following Edmonds' sentencing, Norton's sentencing took place.

Norton's defense attorney, Stephen Carter, had filed a Romero motion seeking to have both of Norton's previous felony strikes stricken from consideration.

It was during the trial that a second strike had been discovered in Norton's background, which raised the possibility that he could have faced more time in prison than Edmonds – as much as 50 years to life.

Although Carter's motion asked for two strikes to be removed, in court he only argued for one, while Deputy District Attorney Art Grothe asked the court to deny the motion.

Mann granted the motion, with Norton receiving nine years, four months in prison. With credits for time served and the requirement that he serve 80 percent of the remaining time, Norton is facing about six and a half years in prison, Carter said.

“I was very pleased that Judge Mann used his discretion to strike one of the strikes, because I think the resulting sentence was extremely fair, given the entire state of the case,” Carter said.

The judge had more leeway in his sentencing of Norton, Grothe said; in the case of Edmonds, the sentencing for his convictions “is 15 to life, period.”

Carter said a major theme in his case on Norton's behalf had been the difference in culpability between Norton and Edmonds.

Removing the strike took the case back to where it was before the second strike was discovered in Norton's record, which Carter said was a “gratifying” result in a case complicated by a joint trial with co-defendants who he said weren't “similarly situated” in their involvement.

Juror speaks to the court on defendant's behalf

What may have appeared to be a rather normal sentencing for the felony cases had an extraordinary aspect to it.

“We had four jurors show up for the sentencing, and I've never had that happen before,” said Grothe, and Carter agreed.

Chief among those interested jurors was Tasha Klewe, juror No. 7 from the trial, who wanted to address the court about the sentencing options for Norton.

Klewe waited all day long to address the court. “I didn't want to miss whatever was going to happen,” she told Lake County News in a Monday afternoon interview.

She had written a letter to the court, which was attached to Carter's Romero motion, and which she read aloud to the court, which Carter and Grothe previously had agreed that she could do.

Klewe said that after the verdict was reached and she was released from jury service, she began to read up on the case and on Edmonds, and found out information about him related to previous cases.

Those cases included the December 2005 incident at his Clearlake Park where he allegedly shot two men in the back as they ran from his home following an attempted home invasion robbery, as well as a case later where he allegedly attempted to force his girlfriend to commit suicide with him.

Edmonds was not prosecuted for either case, although a young San Francisco man, Renato Hughes, was charged with Clearlake Park shootings of his friends. He was later acquitted of murder but convicted of burglary and assault.

Klewe also contacted Carter and spoke with him, and told him she wanted to write a letter to the court on Norton's behalf.

Klewe said she didn't think Norton was a saint, and that he should have to serve some time in prison. However, she said she wanted him to have hope, and believed he had a heart.

During the trial, she had been approached while on a break by a local business owner who told Klewe that Norton had hit her in a hit-and-run, but that he later came back and apologized. Klewe had disclosed that to the court immediately afterward, but Mann and the attorneys had no issue with its impact on her as a juror.

Since the end of the trial, Klewe has visited Norton in jail three times, the first with Norton's sister. Klewe said she needed closure because her concerns were “eating me alive.”

When she and Norton's sister arrived for her first visit with him, she said he greeted her with a big smile, which relieved her, because she didn't know what his reaction would be.

She said Norton has taken responsibility for his actions, and told her, “You are not the reason I am here.”

Klewe said that, in light of the other previous allegations against Edmonds, she was angered that the information wasn't available to jurors, although when questioned Monday by Grothe, she stated that she understood that the law required that such information couldn't be considered in their deliberations.

“Had I known Shannon Edmonds’ background, I would have taken differently Melvin Norton’s statement that he had hidden the bloody clothes because he was 'scared,'” Klewe's letter stated. “Those words have an entirely new meaning when you consider that Mr. Norton knew that Mr. Edmonds had ‘gotten away with’ the homicide of these two other men and the attempted homicide of his former girlfriend.”

She appealed to the judge to grant the Romero motion, noting, “There was no one in the jury room that stated that they believed that Mr. Norton had even struck Shelby Uehling one time. I would further submit that Mr. Norton’s association with Mr. Edmonds should not lend to his imprisonment for a longer period of time that the perpetrator himself.”

Klewe continued, “None of my statements is intended to diminish the horrible circumstances under which Shelby Uehling died. From what I’ve gathered from the posting of family and friends of Mr. Uehling, he was a kind young man grieving the loss of his brother and mother. He did not deserve to die, and I believe that his murderer, Shannon Edmonds, deserves the most severe sentence allowed for this crime.”

Klewe said Tim Tillman, Uehling's uncle and an acquaintance of hers, gave a victim impact statement during both hearings, stating that he hoped the two defendants could find forgiveness for themselves. He told Norton specifically that God prefers mercy over sacrifice.

Members of Norton's family and extended family also were there, and one man spoke, Klewe said.

Based on her discussions with Norton, Klewe said he's talked to her about what he plans to do when he gets out of prison. She said she wants him to be a successful person and to have hope.

“I wish the very best for him,” Klewe said.

Grothe said Klewe's letter to the court and her request “was all done in an appropriate and sincere fashion.”

He said the jury on the case had conducted itself very well, had been easy to work with and was “a nice, solid group of people” who devoted two months of their lives to the case.

The case, Grothe noted, moved quickly. In all, it was just over seven months from Uehling's death to the sentencing. He said that was mostly because both Norton and Edmonds didn't waive the time requirements for a speedy trial.

Klewe said she wondered during the trial why she had been chosen to be a juror, but noted that her faith in God leads her to believe “that everything happens for a reason,” and that there has to be good that comes from every situation because there is so much bad that happens in the world.

In the end, she concluded that her purpose, once the trial – with its awful images and testimony – was done, was that she would be a source of strength and support for Norton.

“I had a purpose because I had something to work towards,” she said.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

KELSEYVILLE – A motorcyclist was transported to a Sonoma County hospital on Sunday following a morning crash.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the crash occurred shortly before 8 a.m. in the 10000 block of Fairway Drive at Larkspur Drive.

Dan Mola, a firefighter and paramedic with Kelseyville Fire Protection District, said an ambulance and engine responded to the crash scene, where they found that the male rider had lost control of the motorcycle while coming down a hill.

The rider ran into some bushes and hit the side of a parked pickup truck, Mola said.

“He was ejected from the motorcycle about 20 feet,” Mola said of the crash victim.

Mola said the rider suffered abrasions on his back, and his helmet was scuffed up as well.

The injured man also didn't know exactly where he was and asked repetitive questions, which Mola said was indicative of a concussion.

Due to concerns about head trauma, REACH air ambulance was called, landing at the nearby elementary school and transporting the rider to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Mola said.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

Buddy Guy during an amazing performance at Cache Creek Casino & Resort in Brooks, Calif., on Saturday, April 24, 2010. Photo by Jamie Overton/Cache Creek Casino & Resort.





As far as I know, Buddy Guy is the last Chess King standing. I refer of course to the glory days of the Blues wax kingdom that Phil and Leonard Chess built.


The brothers recorded scores of predominately Blues artists at their “Kingdom” until they sold it the GRT Corporation in 1969. Many of us are familiar with the peers that Buddy Guy cut his guitar teeth with; Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton and Sonny Boy Williamson.


During a pause in the music at his concert at Cache Creek Casino and Resort on Saturday night, Mr. Guy seemed to start down the historical Blues memory lane, by starting to state the obvious, that he listened to Howlin’ Wolf and the afore mentioned group of Blues Masters as he learned his craft.


I wanted him to regale us with stories of not only the Masters, but some of the journeymen Bluesmakers, the few hit wonders that vanished into the footnotes of human obscurity, the annals of which most of humanity is destined.


My want was not to be realized. Mr. Guy instead diverted his dialogue into who he continues to listen to and gave skilled instrumental snippets of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom Boom,” Eric Clapton’s “Strange Brew,” Keith Richard of the Rolling Stone’s “Miss You” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile.” For kingly measure he threw in a little of B.B. King’s Rock Me Baby.


Incredibly, Mr. Guy channeled each snippet seamlessly and effortlessly. He captured John Lee Hooker right down to the bone, including Hooker’s unique vocal delivery as well as Keith Richard’s rhythmic, head banging, behind the beat aural protocol.


Guy demonstrated Eric Clapton’s clean, spatial delivery and tone, then contrasted it against Hendrix’s massive inner and outer space frontal lobe assault attack.


I believe it was the best guitar technique demonstration I’ve ever seen. Of course at the outset he did say, “I’m gonna play so funky tonight, you’ll be able to smell it!”


Buddy’s set list included gems like “Nobody Understands Me But My Guitar” (two from the Muddy Waters songbook), “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “She’s Nineteen Years Old,” (Willie Dixon’s) “I Just Wanna Make Love To You,” (two title tracks from his own CDs) “Feels Like Rain” and “Skin Deep.”


He brought the house to its feet with Skin Deep’s poignant lyrics about how we all bleed the same.


During one intense dueling exchange between Buddy and his second guitarist Ric Hall, Buddy broke a string. No worries. Within seconds Buddy’s guitar tech supplied him with another axe and the duel continued unabated until the crowd’s collective jaws were draggin’ the floor.


Buddy also demonstrated his ability to play guitar with his teeth, a technique he may have been doing before Hendrix, as well as with a drumstick. He left the stage with his guitar and soloed around the room much to the crowd’s delight both Albert King and O.V. Wright’s versions of “Drowning On Dry Land.” It was all smoke, no mirrors.


Buddy Guy was born on July 30, 1936, in Lettworth, Louisiana. At this stage in his soon to be 74 year old life, he is still at the top of his game.


If you’ve never experienced the live Buddy Guy experience, I strongly urge you to do so. There are not many first generation links left to the Chicago Blues via the Mississippi Delta.


Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts!


T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. 


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

SACRAMENTO – On the occasion of “School Bus Driver Day,” the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is taking the opportunity to thank the dedicated school bus drivers for their commitment to safely transporting the state’s schoolchildren.

Each year the State Assembly recognizes the invaluable service provided by school bus drivers throughout California, and this year has designated the fourth Tuesday in April – April 27 – as “School Bus Driver Day.”

The safety of children often rests in the hands of trained school bus drivers for a couple of hours each day. The CHP provides initial driver training to school bus drivers who must also maintain educational requirements about current licensing, skills and knowledge.

The CHP also stringently tests all drivers on bus driving skills, equipment and mechanical aspects of their bus.

“School bus drivers are unsung heroes who are entrusted with the safety of our children on a daily basis,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Please be sure to thank these individuals if you or your child benefits from their services.”

Because of the nature of their passengers, school buses are strictly regulated with the state, not only for the pupils’ safety, but for the public’s safety as well.

School bus drivers must learn how to inspect a school bus and make sure that all equipment works. Drivers need to demonstrate an awareness of routes and mechanical and safety conditions.

Officer Mike Humble of the Clear Lake CHP office is the local school bus safety officer.

He estimated that there are about 40 school bus drivers in Lake County.

Humble said school bus drivers are the mostly highly regulated drivers on California's roads.

“They are specifically tested every five years,” Humble said. “They have to go through the whole process over again,” just like when they first received their certification.

In addition, Humble said school bus drivers have ongoing requirements, such as first aid and rules of the road on which they need to keep current.

“Our safety records is very good,” said Humble.

He added, “There are still collisions that occur.”

The goal is to help school bus drivers be as safe as possible, Humble said.

Each school district has its own transportation supervisor, who conducts training, keeps records current and monitors certain programs, Humble said. “Most of them are school bus drivers, too.”

Humble said he has safety meetings with local drivers, who train constantly.

Besides being drivers, they're often part-time counselors, mentors and friends to the children they transport, Humble said.

Some school districts participate in “School bus rodeos.” Drivers maneuver through a course and receive a grade for their performance. California’s school bus drivers are credited with thousands of accident-free miles every year.

School bus drivers can face many hazards while driving. They may assist students in learning, counsel them and may use discipline. Drivers consistently demonstrate patience and kindness toward students, parents and school staff while performing their duties.

The CHP encourages people young and old alike to recognize their school bus drivers for their continued and excellent services to the youth of California.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

Joseph Eastham, 31, of Clearlake is a cadet at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento, Calif. Photo taken on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.









Editor's note: The following is a first-person account of Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede's participation in the California Highway Patrol's recent media day on March 10.

WEST SACRAMENTO – Sore muscles, tales to tell and a great appreciation for what it takes to become a California Highway Patrol officer are only some of the many things I gained after attending the fourth annual Media Boot Camp.

The all-day event was at the only live-in CHP Academy in the state – considered one of the finest law enforcement training facilities in the world.

The boot camp began at “0700 hours” sharp, or 7 a.m., in West Sacramento, so my drive from Lake County began at 4:30 a.m. that Wednesday, March 10. CHP Public Information Officer Steven Tanguay accompanied me to the event and doubled as my photographer.

The academy grounds is a completely self-contained facility on 457 acres and consists of administration buildings, dormitories, recreation rooms, a cafeteria, museum, classrooms, indoor and outdoor firing ranges, gymnasium, physical training facility, motorcycle training network, K-9 training area, scenario village, an emergency vehicle operations course with a high-performance driving track, two skid recovery practice areas and a defensive driving course.

The CHP invited 24 different media outlets, so both reporters and cameramen alike marched together throughout the day.

The morning flag ceremony demonstrated the discipline and seamless formation of the company of cadets that marched around to raise the flags.

The cadets go through an extensive application process in order to attend the CHP Academy. Once accepted, they spend about six months in the academy in their dormitories.




California Highway Patrol cadets march during a day of activities on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.



Currently, there are 7,868 uniformed CHP personnel in California as of February, compared to the 23.7 million licensed drivers that the Department of Motor Vehicles said were in California in 2009.

As of February CHP employs 617 female uniformed personnel and 7,035 male personnel. The cadets train hard to earn their uniforms.

“Even if someone is in the best physical condition of their life, the CHP academy can still be a challenge,” said Tanguay.

CHP officials reported that there are anywhere between 80 and 200 cadets in the academy at one time.

“They train hard and learn to trust each other with their lives,” Tanguay said.

The cadets will learn to perform a plethora of different duties ranging from the typical motorist services to handling a sliding vehicle in a high-speed pursuit.

“Safety, Service and Security” is the CHP motto.

While they're in the academy, cadets may only have limited visitations with family and friends. Such visits are limited to Wednesday evenings and weekends.

“One of the hardest parts is being away from your family,” said Tanguay.

During their time at the academy cadets cannot afford to slip up – failing just one test could justify booting a cadet out of the academy, leaving them to have to apply from the start if they weren’t discouraged. While cadets are at the academy, they are constantly alert and following orders.

First and foremost, the drill officer had to teach all of us how to follow their commands and march in company – outside, just like the cadets. The cadets obeyed the muttered odd language of the man shouting commands.

The weather was forecast as cloudy with potential rain but the sun shone bright. Still, the wind was chilled and we all had our jackets. Our breath created little trails of warm air on that chilly morning.

After realizing that some people couldn’t tell their right from their left, we were marched, double time, into the gymnasium. There the true experience began – PT, or physical training. Tanguay was already chuckling at the crowd of uncoordinated media members.

Sgt. Marc Gomez led PT and battered us with loud commands. With one officer on stage demonstrating the exercise movements, we media folk had to follow along. All of our jackets came off.




Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede practices self-defense techniques under the watchful eyes of CHP trainers during the California Highway Patrol's Media Day at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.



“Everything you are doing today is just like the training our cadets go through,” said Sgt. Gomez. “We didn’t change anything up too much.”

There was a wide variety of participants, from young to old and fit to not-so-fit. I’d say I was a young, so-so-fit participant. I, along with many others, was winded after simply following along during the demonstration.

We endured 13 solid minutes of crunches, leg lifts, jumping jacks, a variety of push ups and a few others.

The cadets must be fit and have to carry a belt of heavy equipment including their 40 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, handcuffs, pepper spray, Taser and flashlight. They often will have to run wearing heavy leather boots in pursuit of a suspect as well.

With my face flushed from exertion, I hugged the water fountain on the way out of the gym. I was worried that the day had only just begun.

Then we were treated to a go on the academy's obstacle course. I went over a 4-foot wall, over and under bars, and zigzagged my way to the end in 38 seconds – 44 seconds including my penalties.

Although I felt nauseous from my morning coffee and lack of water, I pushed through and marched on to the next challenge. Then, we were split up into three different groups to rotate between the following three activities.

Guns, cars and self-defense

We were directed past the cracking, active firing range towards training area, Advanced Officer Safety Training (AOTS). Here they taught us some self-defense techniques. That was one of my favorite parts of the boot camp.

CHP officers have to be able to defend themselves – even in the event that they can’t reach their firearm.

The CHP made nearly 2.7 million arrests in 2009, according to State Wide Integrated Traffic Records System reports, or SWITRS reports.

Handling a gun calls for one to be able to handle shooting someone who is threatening their lives. The Force Option Training Simulator is one tool cadets train with to be able to make the split second decision whether or not to fire their weapon.

Although I was a pretty good shot, I was hesitant to pull the trigger a number of times when it would have been warranted.

Preventing and prosecuting drunk drivers is another big duty CHP officers have. According to SWITRS, the CHP made 94,732 DUI arrests in 2009. In 2008, 1,355 persons were killed in an alcohol-related traffic collision – 790 of those victims were killed by DUI drivers.

Several CHP officers gave us a crash course in handling DUI cases. We learned about nystagmus, which is involuntary jerking of the eye and I also conducted and was submitted to a couple field sobriety tests – all of which I passed of course.

After all of these events, I was very hungry and happily followed everyone to the cafeteria. The food was good and it hit the spot.




Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede (center of picture) sits down to eat during the California Highway Patrol's Media Day at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.



We were treated to a video about the CHP and then a short meet and greet with Assistant Commissioner Ramona Prieto. She opened up the floor for questions.

“We like to see the bonding between public information officers and the media,” said Prieto. “We strive for transparency.”

Anywhere between 20 and 30 percent of a class of cadets drop out of the academy for a variety of reasons, she said.

After lunch, we were split up into two groups to rotate between the next activities. I was in the group visiting the skid pan after lunch.

The skid pan is a driving course where the track is watered down and the cars sport slick tires – to promote sliding. Most CHP officers agree that this test sends the most cadets home over any other. It is a skid recovery practice area. Here is where the cadets train in correcting a sliding vehicle while in pursuit.

Four different squad cars were ready to go and we all loaded up with a CHP officer at the helm. I got shotgun and had a lot of fun. One reporter in the back seat started to feel carsick.

After a few 180s, 360s and a lot of sliding, they offered us a go at the wheel – and I was first to jump on the opportunity. I spent the most time out there out of everybody in my group having the time of my life and getting pretty good at spinning too. I was surprised that cadets only get four shots to pass the skid pan exam.




Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede gets behind the wheel for a driving skills test during the California Highway Patrol's Media Day at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.



The next activity brought my adrenaline rush down to a somber state when we came to a staged vehicle collision – with victim, fake blood and crashed cars.

The CHP reported that in 2008 approximately 3,401 peopled died in traffic collisions.

In this scenario, the victim was hit head-on by an underage drunk driver. I assisted in removing the female victim from the crunched car and getting her on the stretcher. Another media member issued our newly-learned field sobriety tests to the “underage drunk driver,” which was actually a female CHP officer.

The boot camp came to a close after the staged crash and we all headed back to the cafeteria, where we would have the chance to meet some of the cadets that were currently training.




A mock collision is a training tool for media visitors to the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.



I had the opportunity to interview a cadet from Clearlake, Cadet Joseph Eastham, 31.

Eastham entered the academy on Jan. 4 and is scheduled to graduate on July 9.

“I feel, even after only two and a half months, that I would step in the line of fire for my fellow cadets and that they would do the same for me,” he said. “We became very close very quickly.”

His wife of nine years, Cherie, 27, and two sons live in Clearlake and his parents own a house in Lucerne. Their oldest son, Deven, is 8 and son Hayden is 7. I contacted her after the boot camp to see how they felt about her husband's six months away from home.

“I wasn’t against it, I was worried about it,” she explained. “We have rarely spent time away from each other and the idea of being apart for six months was terrifying. I would have to learn to be a single mother and be apart from my best friend.”

She said that Hayden and Deven both handle their father’s absence very well, but their youngest doesn’t understand where he is or why.

Tanguay agreed that it was just as hard on his family when he was training in the academy.

Cherie Eastham is fully supportive of her husband's choice to become a CHP officer.

“I am so proud of my cadet,” she said. “I know this is what is right for him as a career choice and I know that this is the right decision for our family. I couldn’t be more excited to pin the CHP badge on him in July.”

Joseph Eastman said he isn't sure where he'll be posted after he graduates. That decision will be based on the needs of the agency and his performance.

After the short interview, Tanguay and I were given a tour of Eastham's living quarters and some of the classrooms he attends. Cadets are only allowed one cell phone, one family photo and one clock radio.





Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede interviews Clearlake resident Joseph Eastham, a cadet in the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.



Tanguay was walking down memory lane throughout this process, remembering when he was a cadet from March to September of 1997.

“I still got that knot in my stomach when we walked behind the gym for PT,” he said.

It takes a lot of physical training, mental control and teamwork to become a CHP officer. And though I was sore for a whole week after this event, I truly appreciate the CHP Academy – one of the finest law enforcement training facilities in the world.

For more information about the CHP and the agency's many programs, services and outreach efforts, www.chp.ca.gov.

E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

CLEARLAKE – The District 2 supervisorial candidates will participate in a debate in Clearlake at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 27.

Challenger Joyce Overton and incumbent Jeff Smith will take part in the hour-long event in the council chambers at Clearlake City Hall, 14050 Olympic Drive.

The Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and Lake County News are sponsoring the debate, which will be broadcast live on TV8.

The public is invited to submit questions to Lake County News via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to the Clear Lake Chamber via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Questions also will be be taken via note cards at the debate.

The format used for the debate will put the same questions to both candidates, so as much as possible questions should be broadly applicable.

Questions about the debate may be directed to debate moderator Elizabeth Larson, 707-274-9904, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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THE GEYSERS – A 3.3-magnitude earthquake was reported near The Geysers and Cobb areas Sunday evening.

The quake was reported at 8:44 p.m. at a depth of 1.3 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was centered two miles east of The Geysers, four miles southwest of Cobb and four miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.

Shake reports to the US Geological Survey came in from several areas including Middletown and Lower lake, Calistoga and Windsor, and as far away as Danville.

A 1.1-magnitude aftershock followed at 8:47 p.m., centered in the same area, the US Geological Survey reported.

A 3.3-magnitude earthquake was reported near The Geysers on April 13, as Lake County news has reported.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – Imagine being mugged for your wallet. Then, imagine a judge letting the mugger go free and ruling that it was your own fault for carrying your wallet in the first place – that the bulging wallet in your back pocket was an invitation for a mugging.

Now, imagine the mugger is a rapist and the wallet is a tight pair of jeans.

That is what happened to one rape victim in Italy. A judge overturned a 45-year-old rapist’s conviction because his 18-year-old rape victim was wearing tight jeans, and that it is common knowledge that tight jeans can’t be removed without the wearer’s assistance.

The judgment sparked a worldwide outcry from those who understand that coercion, threats and violence go along with the act of rape. The unpopular verdict became an international symbol of myth-based injustice for sexual assault victims.

The “Denim Day California!” campaign began in 1999 with the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) and Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (LACAAW) – now known as “Peace Over Violence,” as part of an international protest against the Italian High Court decision to overturn that rape conviction.

This year, Denim Day was observed on Wednesday, April 21 and many community members and business professionals showed their support by wearing denim.

Denim Day falls within April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The 2010 theme is, “Prevent sexual violence … on our campuses.” Wear a teal ribbon during the month of April to show you support for victims of sexual assault.

Tuesday, April 20 was the specific “day of action” for this month-long time of recognition. Look out for LFRC’s banner on Highway 20 between Main Street in Kelseyville and Live Oak Drive.

Last year, there were 99 reported sex crimes in Lake County, according to Lake Family Resource Center Program Manager LeMon Perales.

“If you extrapolate, there were 10 or more rapes per week in Lake County in 2009, but typically only two of those 10 victims will report the crime,” she said. “About 70 to 80 percent of sex crimes aren’t reported.”

The 99 reported sex crimes in Lake County most likely represent a much larger issue. Lake Family Resource Center is poised to respond to those that do come forward.

LFRC has a large variety of services available. They have a crisis hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233),that people may call to get help with issues such as suicide, domestic violence and sexual assault. The operators are expert listeners and support victims with their trust and believe that what they say is true.

“If you have been sexually assaulted, someone has robbed you of your personal power,” said Perales. “We give that back immediately.”

It all comes down to whether or not a victim willingly seeks help; by law LFRC keeps everything confidential, even from law enforcement, she said.

A rape crisis center also is available and provides a safe refuge for victim-survivors of sexual assault. Aside from a safe place, education and information on victims’ rights and law processes is also offered.

If only our community did not need such a resource. LFRC hopes to see the day when sexual assault ceases to occur in Lake County and across the nation.

Perales stresses that, although women are capable of committing rape, men are still the overwhelming perpetrators and women are the typical victims. Women have been speaking out against sexual violence for decades, and Perales says it’s time for men to do the same.

“Men need to step up and say that this is not what it means to be a man and that they won’t stand by and let those criminals treat women that way and ruin the male reputation,” she said. “Since men are mostly responsible, it is mens’ responsibility to stop it. Once the social pressure to end sexual violence is too much to bear, then maybe rape will stop.”

Perales often presents information on these sensitive subjects to the local high schools and agencies. She is willing to present anywhere she is invited.

To request a presentation at your club, agency, volunteer group etc., feel free to contact Perales at 707-263-0563.

Visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Web site at www.nsvrc.org/saam for more information and to purchase SAAM theme items. Also visit Lake Family Resource Center’s Web site for more information on all of their programs: http://lakefrc.org/programs.html.

E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

The Venoco gas well blow out just south of County Road 44 near County Road TT in Glenn County, Calif., on Friday, April 23, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Glenn County Sheriff's Office.




GLENN COUNTY – Authorities in Glenn County responded late last week to two natural gas blowouts in the county's unincorporated area.

Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones said his agency responded to two gas well-related emergencies last Friday, one on County Road 44 near Road TT close to Orland and the second on Road 99 near Road 7, just east of Interstate 5 north of Orland.

Jones said both gas well blowouts required evacuations but no injuries were reported.

The first event in the Orland area was resolved in a matter of hours with a well worker going in and turning off a valve, said Jones.

The second well blowout, however, was more problematic, Jones explained. “Methane gas could have been a real threat,” he told Lake County News in a Monday e-mail message.

When a sergeant and two deputies responded to the second blowout on Roads 44 and TT Friday, they found gas and dirt shooting upward, Jone said.

Fire and support agencies were detailed, an Office of Emergency Services command post and a hot zone were established, a large area was cordoned off, and one family evacuated and housed in the nearby city of Willows overnight, he explained.

Jones said he and two of his lieutenants also responded to the scene, along with Glenn County Environmental Health.

That second well stopped its eruption in the early morning hours of Saturday, Jones said.

Both well blowouts required a large personnel response, with the two emergencies placed on separate radio networks, and additional dispatchers and supervisors were called in to duty. Jones said the response taxed the small agency's resources.

Regarding the second well, “So far, twenty-one loads of concrete have been poured down the well to seal it off,” Jones said Monday.

Venoco Inc., with corporate offices are in Colorado, owns the second well, Jones said.

The company's Web site reported that Venoco acquired its interests in the Willows natural gas field in Glenn County in 1996 from Mobil, “operates substantially all of the field production” and has an average working interest of 65 percent.

Between the Willows and Grimes fields – the latter in Colusa County – the company reported that it has approximately 92 producing natural gas wells.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – April 26, 2010 - As April draws to a close, the time has passed to find a Census 2010 form locally or receive one by mail.

Currently the Census Bureau is preparing workers to go door-to-door to collect data from households who did not return their questionnaire before April 17.

If this third of the nation includes you, expect a visit in May, June or July.

If you never received a form and want to participate, this may be a relief. On the other hand, you may say, “Oh, goody – an interruption.” Or –“Ech, now I have to worry about my privacy.” Or – “Gadzooks – MUST I?”

Here are your answers.

Yes, you must. The decennial census is mandated by constitutional law and the Census Bureau is determined to count all of us, once and in the right place. The resulting statistics guarantee fair representation at the federal, state and local level and drives decisions about and funding for services and programs affecting our housing, parks, schools, roads, emergency services, energy and water systems, healthcare and elder support.

For each person not counted, our community will lose between $1,500 and $2,900 per year over the next decade, so participating is required AND important.

Talking with a census enumerator may represent an interruption but consider this: each household that did not mail in a form costs between $25 and $100 to count. Welcome the census worker or follow the instructions on the notice he or she leaves you and minimize that amount.

Enumerators will attempt contact with your household six times. If they fail, they talk to a neighbor to collect your information. Which feels more private – answering 10 “top line” questions with a professional who has taken a life long oath to protect your confidentiality or knowing that someone in your neighborhood shared their perceptions of your household?

Still concerned? You will provide your age, gender, ethnicity, phone number, whether your home is owned or rented, how many people lived under your roof as of April 1, 2010, and their relationships, ages, genders and ethnicity.

Safe from release to any agency or person for 72 years per Title 44 of the US Code, this year a court case challenging Title 44 proved that not even the Patriot Act can force the Census Bureau to divulge your information before that.

So check that enumerator’s identification, provide ONLY the information listed above and then, smile! With that 10-minute investment, you’ve safely helped your community move forward into this decade!

For more information visit www.census2010.gov.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

BLUE LAKES AND LUCERNE – Two crashes resulted in major injuries on Friday.

The first occurred near Blue Lakes shortly before 3:30 p.m., the second was reported on Highway 20 in Lucerne just after 8 p.m.

The Blue Lakes crash reportedly involved three vehicles, including a Chevrolet pickup, a Dodge SUV and a Chevrolet sedan, according to the California Highway Patrol. One of the vehicles had rolled over in the westbound lane.

A person was reported trapped in a vehicle, according to the initial CHP report.

The CHP reported that major injuries resulted, but the names of those involved were not immediately available.

Both lanes of traffic were blocked at CHP and firefighters responded to the scene. CHP reported that the roadway was reopened at approximately 4:44 p.m.

Later Friday, at 8:10 p.m. a vehicle was reported into a tree at Lucerne Harbor Park on Highway 20 at Ninth.

The collision also was reported to have resulted in major injuries, according to the CHP.

An air ambulance landed in Lucerne a short time later to transport the victim to an area hospital.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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