Saturday, 01 October 2022

News

ELIZABETH LARSON

LAKE COUNTY NEWS


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – California's push for cutting down on greenhouse gases emission has led the US Forest Service to become the first federal agency to join the California Climate Action Registry.


The California Climate Action Registry is a non-profit public/private partnership that serves

as a voluntary greenhouse gas registry to protect, encourage, and promote early actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the registry's Web site. More than 275 major companies, cities, government agencies and NGOs measure and publicly report their GHG emissions through the registry.


Forest Service officials in Vallejo say that by joining the registry, the agency has committed itself to tracking and reporting greenhouse gas emissions created by its operations in California, with the intent of ultimately reducing those emissions that contribute to climate change.


The Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Region and Pacific Southwest Research Station have approximately 3,500 highway legal vehicles and 7,600 facilities in the state, and officials say the agency has the potential to significantly contribute to the state's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The region consists of 18 national forests in California, which cover one-fifth of the state.


Matt Mathes, a spokesman for the regional forest service office, said joining the registry is "a good first step" for the region.


"The whole purpose is to establish a baseline for our emissions," said Mathes, and then to measure against that.


The agency is looking to cut down emissions through adopting electric and hybrid vehicles, said Mathes. He added that the Forest Service wants to set a good example for other federal agencies at work in the state.


The Forest Service's participation with the California Climate Action Registry will be a phased approach, according to the agency, and only emissions resulting from the operations of the Forest Service within the state of California will be registered.


Initial greenhouse gas emission tracking will focus on the non-biological operations of the agency in California and will not include emissions from wildfires, or from management activities such as prescribed fires or fuels treatments, the agency reported.


During this first phase, emissions tracking will focus solely upon vehicle fleet and facility emissions, according to the agency. In the future, a second phase may include the full range of Forest Service activities in California including the tracking of both biological emissions and potential greenhouse gas benefits resulting from management activities.


Phebe Brown, spokesperson for the Mendocino National Forest, said it's too soon to know how emissions calculations will take place on a local level.


But understanding greenhouse gases goes far beyond just vehicle emissions, said Brown. It also involves forest management itself.

 

Brown said forest officials are taking action to cut carbon the forest's carbon footprint by participating in the Forest Service Ecological Footprint and Sustainable Operations Operations Project this year.


Those activities include recycling a variety of materials, and moving toward "right-sizing" the forest's fleet of vehicles, including acquiring a hybrid vehicle, said Brown.


In addition, the forest has received a Green MicroGrant Award from the region which they are using to focus on energy efficiency and energy awareness for Forest Service employees, Brown said.


Joining the registry accompanies a research effort that the Forest Service is undertaking to understand the wildlife and biological components of the forest and how they influence greenhouse emissions.


That includes trying to quantify how much carbon a healthy forest absorbs. "We're ramping up our research in that right now," said Mathes.


Mendocino Forest's groundbreaking research


Rigorous study of the forest and its influence on climate is necessary, explains Mathes, because anecdotal evidence won't due in this day and age.


"Mendocino," added Mathes, "is actually in the forefront on this one."


Mendocino National Forest is preparing a fuel reduction project at Alder Springs, located in Glenn County. Brown said the project has several different components, such as thinning of trees and removal of biomass, such as brush.


Brown said the forest was taking bids for a stewardship products contract with a company to remove biomass and small diameter materials and take it to a biomass plant. Part of the research will explore the energy costs to remove brush and other materials, which is data the forest doesn't currently have.


That research will go so far as to look at how much carbon it takes for a chainsaw to cut down the materials and the truck to remove it, she said.


The research project is tacked onto a fuels reduction project, said Brown.


Winrock International, a national nonprofit research company, will do research on the energy costs. The work is supported by a Forest Service grant and will be done in concert with Forest Service researchers from Pacific Southwest Research station, said Brown.


Stewardship products contractors bear the responsibility for all costs related to removal, said Brown. In the future this research could lead to those contractors being able to trade those carbon credits.


"We're really excited to be part of this research," said Brown. "It has a lot of potential."


While it has potential, Brown added, "Nobody is able to say at this point what the research will show."


The primary issue in brush removal projects like that at Alder Springs is protecting the community by removing fuel for forest fires, said Brown. "We get a lot of fires in through there."


Alder Springs also will be part of a new hazardous fuel treatment, which removes fuel on a checkerboard or ladder pattern throughout that forest unit. Those fuel removal areas, said Brown, are like "speed bumps" for a fire.


Forests also have to account for emissions from other sources. "When you have a wildfire you have a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide that goes into the air,” said Brown.


Forests properly managed can reduce the amount of carbon going into the air through a major wildfire, and can sequester carbon through growing trees.


Controlling wildfires can be one significant avenue to fighting greenhouse gases, according to the California Forest Products Commission.


The commission reported that Alaskan and Canadian wildfires in two months in 2004 sent as much carbon dioxide into the air as all the cars, factories and human-caused activities in the continental U.S. during the same period.


Donn Zea, the California Forest Products Commission's executive director, gives another example. The August 2001 Star fire in California's Eldorado National Forest, located in the Sierra Nevada, poured two million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the equivalent of 405,964 passenger cars for one year, said Zea.


On the Web: www.climateregistry.org.


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CLEARLAKE – The Burns Valley Road area of Clearlake has long been a safety issue for those who travel along it by foot or bicycle, including the area's senior population. However, city officials say they're moving forward on a project that would install a walking and biking path along the road, which would significantly improve pedestrian safety safety.


The sidewalk project has been on the drawing board for about two years, said City Administrator Dale Neiman.


The current plan, according to a report Neiman gave to the City Council at its July 26 meeting, involves widening the existing street – which Neiman said is extremely narrow, at only about 24 feet wide – and installing curb, gutter and sidewalk.


Linda J. Burton, executive director of the Highlands Senior Center on Bowers Road, said in an interview Thursday that there are many senior housing complexes in the area – Walnut Grove, Autumn Village and Austin Manor, and the Orchard Park assisted living facility near the Redbud Library.


Many of those seniors travel back and forth between the Burns Valley Shopping Center, the senior center and their homes on foot, in wheelchairs or using scooters, Burton explained.


“A lot of them are walking along a little dirt path,” said Burton, with those who are unsteady on their feet walking on the pavement in the narrow street.


Because of those conditions, there's a great need for a sidewalk and crosswalks, said Burton.


“There are clearly some safety issues,” Neiman said at the council meeting, adding that he also has witnessed wheelchairs having to travel into the road's lanes.


But there have been several delays, including a discovery that the city's plan was going to cost $300,000, about $100,000 more than the total amount of the two grants the city had acquired to pay for the project.


Neiman's solution to the shortfall, which the council approved July 26, included dropping the curb, gutter, sidewalk and drainage improvements.


“If we build the curb, gutter and sidewalk and drainage improvements we would be adding about $200,000 to the value of the adjoining property because it would not have to be built when the property is developed,” Neiman's report stated.


Developer Robert Adelman will be required to make the improvements as he builds the nearby Lake Glenn Subdivision, Neiman said in a Thursday interview.


The city's revised plan calls for building a 6-foot-wide asphalt pedestrian/bike lane along the street's west side, which will be delineated with yellow lines and a bike lane strip.


The bike lane will narrow to 4 and a half feet in width at the Burns Valley intersection so the city can avoid the cost of extending or replacing the culvert, Neiman reported.


In addition, rather that reconstructing sections of both lanes of the road, the city will only reconstruct a portion of the road's west travel lane, Neiman's staff report noted.


The City Council unanimously approved Neiman's suggested revisions, with council members stating their concerns for the safety of seniors traveling along the road.


Mayor Judy Thein met with interim City Engineer Bob Galusha at the site Wednesday, where she said he answered several of her concerns, including the width of the bike lane/walking path at the culvert.


Thein said she had wanted the path wider than the proposed 4 and a half feet when the path reaches the culvert, but said when Galusha showed her measurements at the site, and explained that Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance requires only 3 feet, she said she was satisfied.


The project will include crosswalks from nearby senior housing complexes to the senior center and to the pedestrian walkway, a guardrail to keep people from falling into the creek, and new ADA-compliant curbs, Thein explained.


Thein said the work will be geared toward senior safety as they travel to and from the senior center and the Burns Valley Mall.


The project, said Thein, has been important to her since she joined the council, and her goal is that it's completed as soon as possible. Seniors trying to navigate the area “just cannot go through another winter like they have been,” she said.


Neiman said the construction plans will need to be revised, which will take about six weeks.


The city still has a few other obstacles to overcome, he said. Those include getting easements from a nearby property owner, who received the deeds from the city about a month ago but hasn't returned them.


In addition, Adelman – who is being required to replace a culvert that crosses Burns Valley Road at the intersection near the senior center – hasn't obtained the necessary approvals from the city or the funding. In that case, Neiman said the city could allocate $50,000 to do the work and have Adelman reimburse the city later.


Neiman said Adelman hasn't yet given the city a time frame about when he plans to move forward on the Lake Glenn Subdivision development or the attendant sidewalk improvements. He said Adelman has finalized his construction drawings and is working on project financing, but most likely will miss this years building season.


Neiman said the city also needs the assistance of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) to move some power poles along the route.


At the City Council meeting, Neiman said he had not received word back from PG&E when the pole relocations might be possible.


Jana Schuering, a spokesperson for PG&E's North Bay and North Coast regions, said the company is in the process of estimating the project, which she said should be done by Aug. 9. At that time, the company will schedule a crew to relocate the power poles.


If everything moves forward smoothly from this point, Neiman said they'll go to bid after the plans are revised and, hopefully, have the project complete by October or November.


“That would be a great benefit to seniors living in this area,” said Burton.


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WASHINGTON, D.C. Lake County's Middle Creek Restoration Project took a step toward becoming a reality Thursday.


On Thursday night, the House of Representatives passed a final version of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (WRDA), according to Congressman Mike Thompson's office.


The legislation authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to construct $21 billion in flood protection ane ecosystem restoration projects, and improve the nation's rivers and harbors.


The bill, the National Audubon Society reported, includes an unprecedented $5.5 billion in funding for ecosystem restoration on the Mississippi, coastal Louisiana, and for the Great Lakes and the Everglades.


WRDA also authorizes the Corps to design and construct the Middle Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project, as Lake County News previously reported.


The legislation states that the Middle Creek project will cost $45.2 million, with an estimated federal cost of $29,500,000 and an estimated non-federal cost of $15,700,000.


Bob Lossius, Lake County's assistant director of Public Works, said in a previous interview with Lake County News that the county was only seeking $1.2 million at this time to get the project started.


"Restoring Middle Creek will improve our area's protection from flooding," said Thompson in a statement issued shortly after the House vote. "It will also have a very positive effect on the wetlands surrounding Clearlake.”


The project will restore 1,200 acres of wetlands and 500 acres of floodplain in the Clear Lake area. It entails reconnecting the Scotts Creek and Middle Creek to the historic Robinson Lake wetland and floodplain.


The Scotts and Middle Creek watersheds provide 57 percent of the water flow into Clear Lake.


No WRDA bill has been passed since 2000, a fact that's been attributed to a desire to reform the Corps' policies and prevent pork barrel politics, as Lake County News previously reported.


The House passed a version of the WRDA bill in April, with the Senate passing its version the following month.


The bill then went to conference committee, where the differences in the House and Senate bills were worked out, according to GovTrack.us. WRDA then headed back to the two chambers for final approval.


The House's Thursday vote was 381-40 in favor of the bill.


The Senate has yet to consider and approve its final version of WRDA, but it could happen as soon as this week, Thompson's office reported. The bill would then go to the president.

 

But even if the bill gets through the Senate, it's not home free.


In May, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy that reported President Bush was opposed to the bill.


He has since renewed his threat to veto the bill, which has groups from the Louisiana Congressional delegation to the National Audubon Society asking him to reconsider.


Some members of Congress – including those from Louisiana – have stated that they have enough votes in Congress to override a possible veto.

 

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LAKE COUNTY – For those interested in serving their community, this Friday is the deadline to sign up for numerous board and commission seats that will be on the ballot this November.

Up for election are seats on boards of education, water and fire protection districts.

The process of signing up is a simple one, said Jim Emenegger, an elections office assistant.

For one, you don't need to go out and collect signatures. “It's just filling out a form,” said Emenegger. “There's no fee or anything.”

The only item that requires a fee is if someone wants to include a candidates statement in the voter handbook, Emenegger added.

The county Registrar of Voters Office reported that the following seats are open and will be elected Nov. 6. All are four-year terms unless otherwise noted, and become vacant on the first Friday in December or when a successor is elected and qualifies for office.


Education

Mendocino-Lake Community College District
Trustee Area No. 1, 3, 4 and 7 (must be filed in Mendocino County)
Trustee Area No. 7, one vacancy, file in Lake County

Lake County Board of Education
Trustee Area No. 1, one vacancy

Trustee Area No. 2, one vacancy

Trustee Area 4, one vacancy, two-year unexpired term

Kelseyville Unified School District
Three vacancies

Lakeport Unified School District
Three vacancies

Upper Lake Union High School District

Two vacancies

Lucerne Elementary School District
One vacancy

Upper Lake Union Elementary School District
Two vacancies

Water Districts

Adams Springs Water District
Three vacancies (two full terms; one two-year unexpired term)

Villa Blue Estates Water District
Three vacancies (three two-year terms)

Buckingham Park Water District
Three vacancies (two full terms; one two-year unexpired term)

Callayomi County Water District
Two vacancies

Clearlake Oaks County Water District
Three vacancies

Cobb Area County Water District

Three vacancies (two full terms; one two-year unexpired term)

Konocti County Water District
Two vacancies

Upper Lake County Water District
Three vacancies

Scotts Valley Water Conservation District
Division 1, one vacancy
Division III, one vacancy

Fire Protection Districts

Kelseyville Fire Protection District
Two vacancies

Lake County Fire Protection District
Three vacancies

South Lake County Fire Protection District

Three vacancies

Anderson Springs Community Services District
Three vacancies (two full terms; one two-year unexpired term)

Butler-Keys Community Services District
Three vacancies

Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District
Three vacancies

Application forms must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10.

For more information about filing for any of these elective offices, contact the Lake County Registrar of Voters office, 263-2372; or visit them at the Lake County Courthouse, 255 N Forbes St., Room 209, Lakeport.

 

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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LUCERNE – Officials have identified two Northshore women as the victims of a double fatal car crash Thursday.


Chief Deputy Russell Perdock of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said Friday that Joan Marylin Johnson, 60, of Lucerne and Dawn Marie Anderson, 45, of Nice died in the head-on collision that took place Thursday evening along Highway 20 between Nice and Lucerne.


A California Highway Patrol report issued Friday morning said both Johnson and Anderson were pronounced dead at the scene.


Colfax resident Gary Harrington, 52, was driving the third car in the collision. He suffered minor injuries – the calf of his right leg was injured – and sought his own medical aid, the CHP reported.


The CHP report explained that Johnson was driving a 1996 Ford Taurus at a high rate of speed westbound along Highway 20 east of Bartlett Springs Road when the collision occurred at 5:55 p.m.


As Johnson negotiated a curve in the road her car traveled onto the right shoulder, causing her to lose control of the vehicle, the CHP reported.


Anderson was driving her 1987 Mercury Cougar eastbound on Highway 20, followed by Harrington in a 2007 Ford Ranger pickup, according to the CHP report.


Johnson's car traveled across the double yellow lines and collided head-on with Anderson's car and then into the front of Harrington's pickup, the CHP report noted.


After hitting Anderson and Harrington, Johnson's car continued out of control, the CHP reported, with Johnson being ejected from the car.


Johnson was not wearing her seatbelt, the CHP report stated, while both Anderson and Harrington were.


Responding to the accident scene were CHP, Northshore Fire Protection District and the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


CHP Officer Josh Dye said the Clear Lake CHP office had about 10 officers on scene, including Commander Dane Hayward, four officers – including Dye – a sergeant, a lieutenant and several volunteers.


“We had lots of help last night,” Dye said Friday. “Usually you're struggling to find help.”


Regarding the collision's cause, Dye added, “As far as what we know now, I don't think we have anything to indicate alcohol.”


Perdock reported that sheriff's Deputy Frank Walsh was at the scene to initiate the coroner's investigation, which included identifying the two women and notifying their families.


The coroner's investigation is continuing, with autopsies scheduled for the first of next week, Perdock reported.


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LAKEPORT – The body of a man found in the Mendocino National Forest late last month has been positively identified.


According to a statement Lt. Cecil Brown of the Lake County Sheriff's Office issued late Thursday, the man was Owen Andrew Lampman, 55, of Clearlake Oaks.


Lampman's body was found July 21 by a hunter in the Corbin Creek area of the Mendocino National Forest, near the border of Lake and Glenn counties, as Lake County News previously reported.


Glenn County Sheriff's Office deputies initially responded and found Lampman's body in the bed of Corbin Creek, near a burned up pickup truck that was registered to him, Brown reported.


Mary Beth Stanbery, administrative services officer for the Glenn County Sheriff's Office, told Lake County News in a previous interview that sheriff's deputies also found a handgun and documents at the scene.


Brown had previously reported that the Lake County Sheriff's office was contacted by Glenn County July 22, once they realized the body had been located within Lake County's jurisdiction.


Dental records were used to confirm Lampman's identity, Brown reported.


About three weeks before Lampman's body was found, Brown's report explained that the sheriff's office received a missing person's report regarding Lampman.


The man who filed the report on July 9 said he had not seen Lampman since June 25, according to Brown.


June 25 was also the date that firefighters responded to Lampman's home for a structure fire, Brown reported.


Battalion Chief Lou Dukes of the Northshore Fire Protection District's Clearlake Oaks station said Thursday that the fire was located in a storage unit a few doors down from Lampman's home on Fifth Street.


“It was a total loss,” said Dukes.


He added, “It's still under investigation. We didn't have any luck finding any cause.”


Brown said the sheriff's office entered Lampman into the Missing or Unidentified Persons System database as a missing person and initiated an investigation, which didn't identify anyone who had seen Lampman since June 25.


But the cause of Lampman's death still isn't known, Brown reported.


The sheriff's office ordered an autopsy to determined what killed Lampman, but the results aren't yet available, according to Brown.


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John Pavoni, board chair of the Board of Directors of Mendocino Community Health Clinic. Courtesy photo.


LAKE COUNTY – As Aug. 5 through 11 is National Health Center Week, it a good time to celebrate the efforts of groups like Mendocino Community Health Clinic (MCHC) and its board of directors for their contribution to the health of our local community.

Meaningful service is one of John Pavoni’s fundamental values. The Clearlake Oaks resident works with disadvantaged children and serves on the Lake County’s Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Advisory Board, East Lake Elementary School’s Site Council, Konocti Unified School District Bond Oversight Committee, Clearlake Oaks Manor Senior Housing Project and serves as Liaison Officer for Li'l Acorns Preschool.

Since 2000, he has served on the Board of Directors of Mendocino Community Health Clinic (MCHC). In 2006 and 2007, his peers have elected him to the position of board chair. He holds governance oversight of MCHC’s three community-based health centers: Hillside Health Center, in Ukiah, Lakeside Health Center, in Lakeport and Little Lake Health Center, in Willits.

“I have stayed on the MCHC Board out of a desire to ‘pay it forward,'” Pavoni explained. “As a MCHC consumer and as a citizen, I know that serving MCHC is an opportunity to safeguard the right to health care for others and for my family. It is a way to build a safe and healthy future that will benefit all of us.”

A former nurse, Pavoni has become certified in Health Center Governance through the National Association of Community Health Clinics (NACHC). NACHC certification marks the board’s commitment that MCHC will work with staff to provide quality, competent, cost-effective health care at each of its centers.

He also recently participated in a training at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management/Health Care Executive Program.

“Being a board member requires something more that just showing up to meetings,” Pavoni explained. “Health care is quite complicated and, to be effective as a board member, you must engage in continuous education. This is a must and, for me, it is a passion. The training offered through NACHC helped to familiarize me with the procedural, financial, legal and technical responsibilities of serving a community health center.”

Prior to 1960, before the development of the community health center system of care, distribution of health services was primarily based on a community’s financial ability to support their health care provider. Of course, that left many small and rural communities without services from a doctor or dentist; often, there were not enough people in the community to make the “business” of doctoring pay.

As part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, the dire health status of our nation’s citizens was improved through creation of a nationwide system of community health centers.

Since the beginning, federally funded health centers have been required to have boards made up of a majority of people who use its services.

“The consumer-based boards of our nation’s community health centers make it possible for each center to meet the unique needs of their community,” Pavoni noted. “Such boards exhibit better responsiveness to the health care needs of their families, friends and neighbors. Having such members gives center's administration a different perspective. We are people who utilize services the clinic provides.

“First and foremost, we are volunteers,” he continued. :”We have no financial incentive for our service. We are involved to demonstrate our commitment, to our communities and to staff as they provide the best health care possible. I am also proud to say that we work hard to ensure that quality healthcare is available.

“The health centers operated by MCHC strengthen the local Web of care in each community,” said Pavoni. “Our centers meet the highest standard of care as demonstrated by recent results from our review by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Their report on our services provides an in-depth look at our system of care, and their accreditation of each of our centers provides strong evidence of excellence.”

Because of his position as board chair, Pavoni also serves as a board member on the Alliance for Rural Community Health (ARCH). ARCH is a consortium of Lake and Mendocino County health centers.

“ARCH helps to give our region’s rural communities a strengthened voice in the growing healthcare debate,” he said. “Through ARCH, we are advancing our strength as patient advocates, locally and regionally.”

As the national health care environment worsens, the local system is feeling the impacts. “The difficulty of recruiting doctors, dentists and nurses into an area where housing prices have gone through the roof is only going to get worse,” said Pavoni.

“New programs are going to be needed to support the health of our aging population but, at the same time, the commitment to caring for these needs is diminishing. I am hopeful that, as health centers work together to advocate for meaningful local solutions though ARCH, we will be empowered to address the health care needs of our community more effectively.”

The federal community health center program is recognized as one of the federal government’s most effective. Designed to have a unique and significant impact, the program is expanding access to health care for underserved populations.

According to ExpectMore.Gov, “A 1998 evaluation found Medicaid health center users experience 22 percent lower hospitalization rates than Medicaid users receiving care from other sources.” In this way, health center patients improved health status is reducing the impacts on local hospitals and other service and law-enforcement agencies.

In addition to John Pavoni, Manuel Ramirez, former staff member of Lake County Environmental Health, represents the interests of Lake County.

From Mendocino County, Directors include Harold Lance, Carlos Frausto, Robert O'Connell, Bill Mergener, Bonnie Carter, Anne Veno Caviglia, Cyril Colonius and John Slonecker.

For more information about how you can make a contribution to Lakeside Health Center by becoming an MCHC Board Member, please contact Kathy MacDougall, administrative assistant to the president, at 472-4511.

Margaret McClure is director of communications for the Alliance for Rural Community Health.

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CLEARLAKE – The Clearlake Police Department is looking for a man who is believed to have abducted his young son.


A report issued by police Friday evening said that Latthen Chance Douglas had allegedly fled the county with his 1-year-old son, Jarrod Chance Douglas, on Thursday afternoon.


Police believe Douglas, who has lived in Clearlake, is headed for Amarillo, Texas.


A search of Texas vital statistics shows that Douglas is 31 years of age and has lived in Amarillo for most of his life, having been born in the area.


Police say the vehicle that was involved in the alleged abduction was reportedly a black 1987 Toyota 4Runner. The vehicle has a Texas license plate with the number R81WXL.


According to Clearlake Police, Douglas was last spotted in the Houston area.


Anyone with information should call the Clearlake Police at 994-8251.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Northshore Fire officials close off Highway 20 at the north end of Lucerne while CHP officers farther down the highway conduct an investigation. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 

THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED.


LUCERNE – The California Highway Patrol has closed Highway 20 between Nice and Lucerne while they conduct what they called a crime scene investigation.

 

Northshore Fire Protection District Chief Jim Robbins reported at 8:45 p.m. that the CHP expected the highway would be completely closed for at least another 30 minutes, and planned to open at least one lane of traffic.

 

Northshore Fire Protection District officials began turning back traffic traveling from Lucerne to Nice at Lucerne's west end, where Foothill Drive joins the highway.


Fire officials at the road closure said a collision involving three cars had resulted in two fatalities.


No official statement on the incident has been released, beyond that the area is considered a crime scene and that traffic will be closed while the CHP investigation continues.


Lake County News will update this story as more information is released.


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WASHINGTON – On Saturday, the House of Representatives passed the most significant energy reform legislation in over a decade.


The New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act (HR 3221 & HR 2776) will make an historic investment in new energy technologies and renewable energy, improve energy efficiency for a wide array of products, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly.


“Our district is on the cutting edge of many new energy technologies: the Geysers are the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the world; we have numerous world class wineries that are powered by solar energy," said Rep. Mike Thompson. “Our universities have also been leaders – from UC Davis’ development of the plug-in vehicle to the cutting edge biofuels research being conducted at Humboldt State. This bill improves and expands federal incentives for the development of these types of renewable and alternative energy, so communities across the nation can follow our lead."


The legislation extends federal tax credits for the production of biomass, geothermal, wind and many other types of renewable energy.


The solar investment tax credit is extended for eight years, providing long-term stability for the solar energy industry; also extended are the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credits.


Additionally the legislation creates new monetary incentives and expands existing credits for taxpayers to make their homes and their businesses more energy efficient.


The bill also makes a first-time investment in new technology known as “smart meters," which will allow consumers to better manage their electricity usage during peak hours. This is of critical importance to states like California, where electricity infrastructure is already stressed and overloaded.


Lastly, the bill sets ambitious goals that will help lower the country’s carbon emissions and reduce our dependence on tradition fossil fuels. Utility companies would be required to meet a renewable energy portfolio standard whereby 15 percent of their energy must be derived from renewable sources by the year 2020.


“This legislation makes a long overdue investment in renewable energy, and it does so without increasing the budget deficit by a single dime," said Thompson. “As I have said many times in the past, we cannot drill our way to energy independence. We have no choice but to fully embrace the renewable energy sources and innovative technologies available to us; and this bill does just that."


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Rescue personnel at the collision scene on Thursday evening. Photo by John Jensen.

 

 

LUCERNE – Highway 20 was closed for four hours Thursday night as officials investigated a vehicle collision that killed two people and injured a third.


The California Highway Patrol incident logs noted that the head-on collision was reported shortly before 6 p.m. It occurred between Nice and Lucerne, about 300 yards east of Ceago Vinegarden.


The California Highway Patrol officers, firefighters from Northshore Fire Protection District and Lake County Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene.


CHP had the highway closed while officers conducted what a sheriff's deputy called a “crime scene” rather than an accident investigation.


Northshore Fire Protection District officials began turning back traffic traveling from Lucerne to Nice at Lucerne's west end, where Foothill Drive joins the highway, with traffic blocked coming from the other direction just west of the accident scene.


Later, cement barricades were erected west of Harbor Park in Lucerne so that no vehicles could pass through. Many drivers turned their vehicles around to drive around the lake in the opposite direction.


Shortly before 9 p.m., Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins said the CHP was still working on its investigation.


“We had two fatalities and one very minor injury,” said Robbins.


“I can't really discuss any more than that,” Robbins added.


At 9:40 p.m., the park was filled with vehicles and people waiting for the road to reopen. About that time, a Caltrans truck arrived to remove the barricades in order to reopen the highway.


The highway reopened just after 10 p.m., according to the CHP incident logs.


No official statement CHP report has yet been released on the incident.


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A closeup of one of the three vehicles involved. Photo by John Jensen.

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The Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum's new bell tower, photographed after the construction scaffolding was taken down this week. Photo by Dwain Goforth.

 

 

THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED.

 

 

LOWER LAKE – After missing its bell tower for more than a century, the Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum's new bell tower is finally ready.


“It's complete, we're just waiting for the contractor to pull the scaffolding down,” said Kim Clymire, director of the county's Public Services Department, said Tuesday.

 

Since then, the scaffolding has come down to reveal the tower, restoring the building to its original look. 


The schoolhouse was built in 1877, and originally featured a bell tower which the new tower replicates.


Then, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake hit. The quake was so powerful that it rippled northward, knocking down buildings in Lakeport. The school's bell tower also was severely damaged by the quake, Clymire said.


In about 1908, the tower was taken down, said Clymire. “The structural integrity was so compromised it was dangerous.”


At one point, the schoolhouse was in danger of being torn down. But the efforts of John and Jane Weaver and the Lower Lake Schoolhouse Preservation Committee stepped in, along with the county, to keep the historic building, said Clymire.


And one of the goals was to restore the building's original look, which included the bell tower, said Clymire.


The $400,000 project was funded by a one-time allocation from the county's general fund, said Clymire. The contract went to Middletown contractor R&C Construction.


The contractor started building about six months ago, said Clymire, and had 90 days to complete the tower, with time out for inspections and concrete drying.


The tower measures 10 feet by 10 feet and is 70 feet tall, said Clymire. It consists of a steel frame with stucco siding and a metal roof.


Its base contains 80 yards of concrete, he added. A membrane was placed between the tower, which is earthquake proof, and the museum, which has yet to be retrofitted for earthquake safety.


The museum's earthquake retrofit is estimated to cost about $1.2 million, said Clymire. The county is working with Congressman Mike Thompson to find the funding for that project.


Over the years, the schoolhouse preservation committee has raised money for projects such as a new restroom facility, which was added three years ago, also by R&C Construction, said Clymire. The committee also held a fundraiser to add an elevator shaft several years ago.


The committee plans to replace the insulation in the ceiling's attic, but first they have to finish sealing up the building to keep bats out, said Clymire.


The bats are in the attics and in the second floor walls, with the occasional bat making appearances during theater productions that are held in the Weaver Auditorium, said Clymire. Bat houses have been installed behind the museum and the bats are starting to make their home there rather than the museum.


Clymire said an an official bell ringing ceremony is tentatively planned for September.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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A 1902 picture of the school from a historic plaque at the museum grounds. The schoolhouses' original bell tower was damaged in the 1906 earthquake and taken down two years later. Photo of plaque by Elizabeth Larson.
 

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