Thursday, 02 February 2023

News

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The burglars weren't able to get into the business and appeared to have only taken guns close to the broken front window. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

 

 

 

 

 

LAKEPORT – A Lakeport gun shop was the victim of a late night burglary that was discovered early Wednesday morning.


Burglars hit Lake County Guns, located at 422 S. Main St., according to shop co-owner Clifton Rakic.


Among the items taken from the shop were a number of .22-caliber rifles, said Rakic.


Lt. Brad Rasmussen of the Lakeport Police Department confirmed late Wednesday that the firearms were stolen from the shop and that police had taken a report on the case.


At 2:43 p.m. Wednesday police and sheriff's office dispatchers issued a countywide officer safety “be on the lookout” for four .22 caliber rifles taken from the gun shop.


When interviewed by Lake County News at 3:30 p.m., Rakic had not yet concluded a complete inventory of stolen items.


However, he acknowledged that at least two and as many as four rifles that had been on display near the broken front window were indeed missing. There was no mention of any missing ammunition.


Rakic approximated the retail value of each weapon to be around $100.


The person or persons responsible had disabled the alarm system by shutting off the electric power before smashing the left front window with a rock, which Lakeport Police collected as evidence, said Rakic.


The storefront's heavy glass is backed by thick steel bars, spaced just inches apart. The perpetrators were unable to gain full access to the shop and were only able to grab those weapons within two or three feet of the broken shards, according to this reporter's observations.


Rakic said this is the first major problem he has had since the store opened a year and a half ago.


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

 

 

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A one-and-a-half-foot diameter hole where thieves reached in to steal guns. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

 

 

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The exterior of Lake County Guns, which remains open for business after its co-owner discovered on Wednesday morning that it had been burglarized. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

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ST. HELENA – North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson is resting comfortably after undergoing a routine surgery this weekend, his office reported Monday.


Anne Warden, Thompson's Washington, DC-based communications director, said the congressman was suffering from diverticulitis, an inflammation of the large intestine.


Thompson's surgery took place on Sunday at St. Helena Hospital, where he remained on Monday, Warden said.


The surgical procedure is a common one and Thompson suffered no complications, Warden added.


Thompson's doctors expect him to make a speedy recovery, said Warden.


“He will spend a few days in the hospital and then return to his home in St. Helena,” she said. “It’s anticipated that he’ll be fully active in four weeks.”


Congress is expected to recess for a winter break this week, said Warden, with the session resuming on Jan. 15.


Warden said Thompson scheduled the surgery for this week because it's the only time of year when he could find enough time away from his duties in the House of Representatives to recover.


However, he's still likely to miss a few votes while off for recovery, Warden said.


According to the Mayo Clinic's Web site, diverticulitis develops from a condition called diverticulosis, which is caused by small, bulging pouches in the digestive tract.


The condition is common in people over age 40, according to the Mayo Clinic, and its frequency goes up with age; more than 50 percent of the US population over the age of 60 has the condition.


When the pouches become inflamed or infected, the resulting condition is diverticulitis, which can result in several symptoms, most notably severe abdominal pain, the Mayo Clinic reports.


Serious diverticulitis cases like Thompson's require surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic. The most common form of corrective surgery removes the diseased portion of the intestine.


Age, lack of exercise and not enough fiber in the diet all are risk factors for developing diverticulitis, according to the Mayo Clinic.


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


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LAKE COUNTY – As the official beginning of the election season nears, potential candidates are stepping forward to show their interest in running for supervisorial seats.


Lake County Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley on Friday gave an update on those county residents who have come forward so far to file a Form 501.


Called a “declaration of intentions,” the candidates must fill out the Form 501 before they can begin to solicit funds for a campaign, said Fridley.


With Supervisor Ed Robey not seeking reelection in 2008, as Lake County News was first to report earlier this year, a big field of potential candidates is forming.


Fridley said so far Voris Brumfield, Jim Comstock, Scott Fergusson, Susanne La Faver and Bobby MacIntyre have filed their Forms 501 for the District 1 seat.


Also up for election in 2008 are Supervisor Anthony Farrington's and Supervisor Rob Brown's seats for Districts 4 and 5, respectively.


Fridley said no one has filed a declaration of intention so far to run against Farrington. In District 5, Robert Stark has filed his form to begin a campaign against Brown.


However, Fridley pointed out that the election season hasn't even technically begun.


She said an individual isn't officially a candidate – even those who are incumbents – until they file all the necessary paperwork and follow the required steps.


From Dec. 28 through Feb. 21, candidates will begin gathering signatures in lieu of paying a filing fee to run for office, said Fridley.


The fee to run, said Fridley, is based on 1 percent of the annual salary of the position they're seeking.


In this year's budget supervisors make $4,807.46 a month, or $57,689.52 annually. That would mean the fee would be just under $600.


However, enough signatures can replace the fee. Fridley said, on average, four signatures equal $1 of the fee, meaning each candidate would need to collect about 2,400 signatures.


If a candidate decides not to collect signatures, they can simply pay the fee and collect nomination signatures.


The nomination period to officially file to run for supervisor will then run from Feb. 11 through March 7, 2008, said Fridley.


“Once someone files as a candidate for supervisor and files their declaration of candidacy, they can't withdraw. their name will be on the ballot,” said Fridley.


If there is an eligible incumbent who doesn't file for office by March 7, as is expected to be the case in District 1, the nomination period will be extended until March 12, said Fridley.


The supervisorial primary will be held in June.


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


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President George W. Bush signs into law HR 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007, at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.


 


WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a final version of the Energy Independence and Security Act, landmark energy legislation that will make our country more energy independent, cut energy costs for families and reduce global warming.


The legislation was passed by a vote of 314-100. President George W. Bush signed the bill Wednesday.


“The Energy Independence and Security Act is an historic step toward improving our environment and decreasing our dependency on foreign oil,” said Congressman Mike Thompson. “This legislation is going to have a tremendous impact on our country’s future and will save Americans billions in gas and energy costs.”


HR 6 will increase vehicle fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon in 2020 – the first congressional increase in 32 years – and slash U.S. oil consumption by more than 4 million barrels per day by 2030. The legislation also expands the use of American-grown biofuels to 36 billion gallons in 2022 and increases the efficiency of buildings, homes, appliances and lighting.


“Millions of American families are struggling with the rising cost of energy and gasoline,” added Thompson. “This bill sets our country on a course toward reining in these prices while simultaneously conserving our natural resources.”


Unfortunately, provisions in the original bill that would have strengthened and extended tax credits for renewable energies like solar, geothermal and biomass were dropped by the Senate in order to secure a majority of support, Thompson's office reported.


“These provisions would have helped American households and businesses save money and reduce their carbon footprint. I’m extremely disappointed they were removed by the Senate,” said Thompson. “However, I’ll work to ensure we complete the greening of our tax code as soon as possible next year.”


Thompson voted to support the bill when it was previously in the house several weeks ago. However, for the next several weeks he is recovering from surgery at his home in St. Helena, according to his staff, so he did not vote on the bill in its final form.


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Parolee David Elliston was apprehended last Friday night with the help of a sheriff's K-9. Lake County Jail photo.

 

 

NICE – Sheriff's deputies and a K-9 unit helped catch a parolee late last week who was wanted for several felony warrants.


A Monday report from Sgt. Brian Martin of the Lake County Sheriff's Investigations division explained that deputies arrested transient David Edward Elliston Jr., 25, in Nice on Dec. 14.


At 9:49 p.m. Dec. 14 sheriff's deputies responded to 2957 Merced St. in Nice after receiving information that Elliston Jr. was staying at a residence there, Martin reported.


Elliston, who was on parole for an assault with a deadly weapon charge, had outstanding felony warrants for auto theft, receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and violation of parole, Martin reported.


According to Martin, Elliston also had a history of violence and a history of running from deputies during past arrest attempts.


Because of those factors and Elliston's “parolee at large” status, Martin said several deputies – Joe Dutra, Steve Herdt, John Drewrey and Rich Ward – responded to the Merced Street address in order to deter Elliston from once again trying to escape.


Anticipating Elliston might try to escape, Ward also brought with him his canine partner, Axel, Martin reported.


When deputies knocked on the home's front door, Elliston exited through the rear door, looked at the deputies and started to flee, Martin reported.


Despite the fact that deputies ordered him to stop, and warned him repeatedly they would deploy the canine if he didn't, Elliston continued to run, Martin reported.


Ward deployed Axel, who caught up to Elliston and detained him so that deputies could take him into custody, Martin reported.


Elliston was booked into custody at the Lake County Jail following minor medical treatment at a local hospital for the bite he received from Axel.


Jail records show Elliston, a painter and tattoo artist originally from San Francisco, remains in custody on a no-bail hold due to the felony parole violation charge.


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LAKEPORT – The prosecutor and defense attorney in the Renato Hughes case received unexpected news Friday when they went to court to find out where the state proposes to move the trial.


The surprise is that the state Administrative Office of the Courts suggests that the trial be moved to Southern California.


On Friday morning District Attorney Jon Hopkins and defense attorney Stuart Hanlon were in Judge Arthur Mann's court to hear what alternate counties could host the trial, which Hopkins estimated will take about eight weeks.


The 23-year-old Hughes is being tried for murder in the deaths of Rashad Williams and Christian Foster, who he was allegedly accompanying during a residential robbery in Clearlake Park on Dec. 7, 2005.


Williams and Foster were shot by homeowner Shannon Edmonds as they ran from his home, but Hughes is being held responsible for their deaths under the provocative act theory.


On Nov. 15, after weeks of jury selection, the judge assigned to the Hughes case – retired Alameda Superior Court Judge William McKinstry – granted Hanlon's change of venue motion.


McKinstry cited the number of potential jurors who were dismissed for various reasons as the basis for his concern that Hughes might not receive a fair trial in Lake County.


Although Mann had not received a formal written report from the Administrative Office of the Courts by Friday, Hopkins said Mann reported that he had a conversation with an official who proposed the trial be moved either to Los Angeles or San Diego County.


Neither Hopkins nor Hanlon welcomed the proposal for those counties, based largely on concerns of distance and additional cost.


“I have a real problem because it's so far away,” said Hanlon.


Hanlon said he proposed Solano, Alameda or San Francisco counties, wanting to avoid counties with less diverse populations.


In the case of Solano, it has the highest per capital population of black residents of any county in the state. “I think Solano would be really good,” said Hanlon. “They don't want it but that's not the issue.”


Alameda and San Francisco also are diverse. However, Hanlon added, “We all know San Francisco is not the best place because of the media.”


Hanlon said it will be up to Mann to decide where the trial may go, and convenience to the parties has to be a consideration.


“The cost and expense of moving the case that far is humongous,” said Hanlon.


Hopkins also was concerned about the distance involved in moving the trial so far south.


As to where he wants to see the trial move, he said, “I would like to be close and also not in the counties that have had a lot of publicity in the case, and the Bay Area has.”


Hopkins suggested Yolo or Sacramento counties would be better choices, and considerably closer for all parties. Hanlon agreed that a Sacramento Valley location would be preferable.


Said Hopkins, “I'm actually surprised that they're having trouble finding a court to accommodate a two-month trial.”


Official explains reasons for suggesting LA, San Diego


Brad Campbell, supervising analyst for the Administrative Office of the Courts, told Lake County News he had spoken directly with Judge Mann about the possibility of moving the trial to either Los Angeles or San Diego counties.


Campbell said Judge Mann should have his official report on the change of venue early next week.


It's been difficult to find a place to host the case, said Campbell.


“We had other courts that would be able to do it but not until much later in the year,” said Campbell, explaining that late spring would be the earliest some of the alternate courts could take the trial based on their caseloads.


In Los Angeles and San Diego, Campbell said they were looking at having the trial on the calendar as soon as January or February. “You want to get a case on schedule as quickly as you can.”

Hanlon, however, said he was not available in either January or February, so the trial can't be held then. He suggested late spring would be better.


Hopkins said they'll be back in court on Jan. 4, 2008, at which time they'll discuss the change of venue location.


Campbell said if the defense and prosecution can't agree on where to hold the trial, Mann must schedule a McGowan hearing, in which the two sides will make their arguments about where they want the trial to go.


State and local responsibilities


Campbell said the county and state will share the expenses for moving the trial.


While trial courts are funded by the state, the home or “sending” court bears the cost of any extraordinary costs, including daily transcripts and extra security, said Campbell. The receiving court won't bear any charges.


Lake County would have to share costs of having Hughes housed at a jail facility in the county where the trial is held, said Campbell. The county won't have to pay for defense costs, he added.


As to the number of changes of venues he works on, Campbell said the number is very small – only about two to three across California each year.


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


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LAKE COUNTY – With a new year on the horizon, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) wants to remind motorists of a handful of new laws, passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, that go into effect in 2008.


"These new laws will make California's roads safer for motorists and will strengthen law enforcement's ability to crack down on those who try to skirt the law," said CHP Commissioner Mike Brown.


Below are the major changes to driving regulations and vehicle equipment.


Wireless Telephones (SB 1613, Simitian). This law makes it illegal to use a wireless telephone while driving, unless that phone is designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking operation and is used in that manner. The law provides an exemption for emergency purposes. The law banning the use of hand held cell phones by motorists goes into effect July 1, 2008


“Don’t wait until July to get familiar with this law,” said Brown. “A hands-free headset would make a nice gift for the holidays.”


Wireless Telephones, Under 18 (SB 33, Simitian). This law makes it illegal for a minor to use a wireless telephone (even if it’s hands-free) or other mobile service device (any device used to communicate electronically), while operating a vehicle. The law provides an exemption for emergency purposes. This law goes into effect July 1, 2008.


“New, inexperienced drivers don’t need any distractions while behind the wheel,” said Brown. “Results can be deadly.”


The following new laws take effect Jan. 1, 2008:


Smoking with Minor Passengers (SB 7, Oropeza). This law prohibits anyone in a vehicle from smoking when a minor is present. This law applies whether the vehicle is stopped or moving. This is a secondary violation. An officer cannot stop a driver to determine if they’re in violation of this law.


Double Fine Zones (AB 112, Wolk). This new law is Highway 12 specific. It designates the segment between I-80 in Solano County and I-5 junction in San Joaquin County as a Safety Enhancement Double Fine Zone.


Coating License Plates (AB 801, Walters). This new law prohibits the use or sale of a “product” (spray coating) that impairs the reading of a license plate by an electronic devices such as red-light cameras, toll booth cameras and license plate readers.


False Registration (AB 1589, Duvall). This new law, sponsored by the CHP, allows a peace officer to tow a vehicle that is displaying false registration, false license plates or fraudulent registration or registration stickers. Current policy is to cite and only tow if the registration is more than six months out of date.


Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMD) (AB 470, DeSaulnier). This new law expands on the current law, making it illegal to operate an EPAMD (such as Segways) at an unsafe speed for conditions, in a reckless manner or at a speed that endangers the safety of others. Operators must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on foot, or disabled persons.


Bicycle Illumination (AB 478, Wolk). The new law now requires a person operating a bicycle during darkness to use lights and reflectors while riding upon a highway, a sidewalk, or a bikeway.


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VVA members and volunteers prepared the gifts on Dec. 13. Photo courtesy of Dan Davi.
 

 

LAKE COUNTY – This week a group of local veterans will visit local care facilities to share the holiday spirit with seniors and let them know that they're not forgotten.


For the second year Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 951 will deliver gifts to seniors in four local long-term care facilities as part of its “Seniors Not Forgotten” campaign, said chapter member Dan Davi.


Davi, along with fellow chapter member Frank Parker, coordinated the project this year. In about two weeks David and Parker also raised the funds – now estimated at about $2,300 – to provide about 265 seniors countywide with fleece blankets and slipper socks.


“Last year we were concentrated on veterans,” said Davi, with 30 veterans in local nursing homes receiving the gifts.


This year, VVA voted unanimously to take on the challenge of providing gifts for all the county's nursing home residents, said Davi.


On Dec. 13 at St. Mary's Parish Hall, members and volunteers rolled the 40-inch by 50-inch burgundy and blue fleece blankets and tied them with colorful ribbons to deliver next week, the group reported.

 

Jennifer Fox sewed and donated a colorful red 5-foot by 4-foot Santa Claus bag to hold the gifts.


Davi said VVA members will begin making their deliveries on Monday, Dec. 17, in Lakeport at 10 a.m. at Edelweiss Assisted Care Facility and at 2:30 p.m. at Lakeport Skilled Nursing Facility.


On Friday, Dec. 21, they will visit Meadowood Nursing Facility in Clearlake at 10 a.m. and Evergreen Nursing Facility in Lakeport at 1:30 p.m.


“I jumped on it when we had this idea last year,” said Dean Gotham, VVA Chapter 951's president.


He said he thought it was “particularly poignant” for Vietnam vets to reach out to seniors in this way.


Gotham said it's his personal opinion that Vietnam veterans have a particular bond with seniors such as those they're honoring this year.


“Vietnam veterans can relate to being alienated and pushed aside and looked down upon,” he said.


He added that he believes the people in nursing homes suffering from a similar loneliness to that experienced by vets of his generation. “I think people should understand that there is a particular bond there.”


Davi said the community's generosity has been terrific.


“It's amazing all the merchants that have contributed and participated in this program,” said Davi.


Some have even given VVA money towards next year's program.


VVA gave special thanks to the Sea Scouts Of America (USS Whisper 960), including Ed Collins, Sarah Schultz and Trina Lane; Girl Scouts-Juliettes, Mrs. Kosolcharoen and Bundita Kosolcharoen; Boy Scouts Troop 45, and Julius and Donna Nelson; and VVA chapter members Bill Becker, Larry and Suzanne Schneider, Steve Sayer, Genevieve Snow, Ginny Craven, Dean Gotham, Suzi and Frank Parker, and Daniel Davi.

 

The chapter also expressed its gratitude to the following generous Lake County merchants for their monetary contributions, energy and support: Sleep Shop Ltd., American Legion Post 194, Frank and Suzi C. Parker, Lakeview Super Market and Deli, S and K Automotive, Hillside Honda, Ink Spot, Mackey Tires and Spas, Lucerne Pharmacy, Mendo Lake Office Equipment and Stationery, Sun Dental, United Veterans Council, Guy Strohmeier Auto Center, Shoreline Storage, Umpqua Bank, Dock Factory/Steel Starts, Piedmont Lumber, Rotten Robby, Pro-Mart, K-Mart, VVA Christmas Party Donations, Holy Joe’s, Hi-Way Grocery, M.J.’s Place, Gracious Ladies and Country Carpets.


If you would like to make a donation to the chapter for its programs, send checks to the VVA Chapter 951, P.O. Box 1313, Lakeport, CA 95453.


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


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LAKEPORT – A man being held for murder has been arraigned on a new charge stemming from his alleged possession of a weapon at the Lake County Jail.


Ivan Garcia Oliver, 29, was arraigned in Lake County Superior Court on Friday on a felony charge of possessing a weapon in jail, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.


Hinchcliff also is prosecuting Oliver for the Nov. 20 murder of Michael Anthony Dodele, 67, of Lakeport.


Oliver is alleged to have stabbed Dodele multiple times in the chest with a knife, as Lake County News has reported.


Sheriff Rod Mitchell said Friday that Oliver was found with a plastic toothbrush that had been sharpened on one end and had a makeshift handle created out of paper on the other.


“It was very plainly what we would consider a shank,” said Mitchell.


On Thursday afternoon Lake County Sheriff's Detective Corey Paulich arrested Oliver on the weapons possession charge in addition to a felony charge of damaging jail property in an amount less than $400, according to jail records. Hinchcliff said he is not pursuing that second charge against Oliver.


Jail staff were preparing to move Oliver from one secure area of the jail – called an administrative segregation unit – to another when the item was discovered, said Mitchell.


When “high risk” inmates are moved from one area to another, Mitchell said it's standard practice for officers to thoroughly search the new destination, then to search the inmate, including changing out clothes, in order to make sure no illegal items are taken with them.


In this case, Correctional Officer Jeremy Wichlaz was searching Oliver when he noticed that Oliver was holding something high up between his legs, said Mitchell.


If Wichlaz had been more cursory in his inspection, the item may have been missed, said Mitchell. “I really have to give accolades to the correctional officer.”


Oliver refused to grant detectives an interview or explain why he allegedly made the weapon, said Mitchell, so they don't know his motives for having it.


Mitchell said there was no legitimate reason for Oliver to have made or hidden the weapon, which could have been used to seriously hurt an officer or another inmate. He said there is no reason to believe any threats have been made against Oliver.


The sheriff called the weapon a “sophisticated effort.”


Mitchell said he's seen many weapons fabricated by inmates. “This was as good an edged weapon as an inmate can make with a toothbrush.”


He added, “All of that leads me to be exceedingly grateful that none of my officers were hurt by him.”


Jail officers will now increase the frequency of their inspections when it comes to Oliver and any items he may have access to, including legal pencils, and his comb and toothbrush, said Mitchell. “His actions have increased the level of scrutiny that we will apply to him in our routine procedures.”


Hinchcliff said he's uncertain yet if he will try Oliver on the weapons possession charge separately from the murder case.

At the time of his arrest for the Dodele murder, Oliver was on parole from San Diego County, according to Lake County Sheriff's officials.


Steve Walker, a spokesman for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, told Lake County News that Oliver was convicted in June of 2003 on one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon with force likely to cause great bodily injury. He was sentenced to four years in prison.


Walker said that Oliver and two other men had left a restaurant without paying their bill. When a security guard confronted them, Oliver stabbed the guard multiple times with a knife.


At the time of his sentencing Oliver had no prior record, said Walker.


Oliver was released on parole in 2005 after having served less than two years in state prison, according to state parole spokesman Jerome Marsh.


A week after his arrest for the Dodele murder Oliver was indicted on federal charges stemming from a March 2005 incident in which he and his half-brother, Guillermo Garcia, are alleged to have dumped hazardous materials into a San Diego County creek.


Oliver is due to be arraigned on those federal charges next month, according to Hinchcliff.


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


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LAKE COUNTY – Motorists who are naughty instead of nice this holiday season may get far worse than a lump of coal from the California Highway Patrol (CHP).


“We really don’t like being the Grinch, but if that’s what it takes to save lives on the roadway, we’re prepared to play that role,” said CHP Lieutenant Dane Hayward, Commander of the CHP Clear Lake Area Office.


Up to 80 percent of the CHP’s uniformed officers will be on the roadway this holiday season for the Maximum Enforcement Periods for Christmas and New Years, Hayward reported.


“We’re giving up quality time with our families to ensure holiday travelers arrive at their destination safely. All we ask in return is for cooperation from drivers,” Hayward said.


Motorists are reminded not to drink and drive, don’t speed, and always wear a seat belt and be sure your kids are in child safety seats.


Eighty percent of the people killed during the recent Thanksgiving holiday Maximum Enforcement Period were not wearing seat belts, the CHP reported.


“We expect a lot of traffic this holiday season, so allow yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going, be patient and courteous to other motorists, and be aware of changing weather conditions,” advised Lieutenant Hayward.


Last year 28 people were killed on California roadways and 1,351 drivers were arrested for DUI by the CHP during the Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period. During the New Year’s Maximum Enforcement Period 38 people were killed and 1,481 arrested for DUI.


Locally, during the Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period there were 11 traffic collisions with three injuries and zero fatalities, also 10 drivers were arrested for DUI by the Clear Lake Area, the CHP reported.


During the New Year’s Maximum Enforcement Period there were seven traffic collisions with five injuries and zero fatalities, and eight drivers were arrested for DUI by the Clear Lake Area, according to the CHP.


Motorists can report suspected drunk drivers by calling 9-1-1 with a description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel.


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KELSEYVILLE – The county's largest resort is back on the market after once again falling out of escrow.


Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa is being listed for sale by Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, a brokerage firm specializing in hotel sales in California.


Earlier this fall a Palo Alto firm was considering buying the resort, as Lake County News has reported.


Atlas Hospitality President Alan Reay told Lake County News that the company is just beginning the listing process.


In the sale, Reay said Atlas is representing WhiteStar Advisors of Boca Raton, Fla., which is running the resort for Local 38 Convalescent Trust Fund, which has owned the resort for about 50 years.


The asking price?


“There is no asking price on it,” said Reay.


Reay said the large property is appealing to many different kinds of buyers, from hotels to developers, at different price points.


That, he said, led to the consensus that there should be no specific asking price in order to encourage the various interests.


Atlas' listing on Konocti Harbor offers 58 acres for sale, with 255 guest units, a 100-boat slip marina, a 5,000-seat amphitheater, 20,000 square feet of meeting space, a 1,000-seat indoor showroom and a 19,000-square-foot spa.


That actually only accounts for roughly half of the resort's overall acreage. Reay said the union wants to keep some vacant acreage and the location of a children's camp.


The camp, dubbed “Camp Konocti,” is entering its 44th year, according to the Local 38 Web site, and is reportedly for the children of Local 38 members.


“We're basically selling the site that has the improvements,” said Reay.


Reay described the resort as having a wonderful location on “irreplaceable real estate.”


Atlas hopes to find the right buyer, who has the time and money to put into the property's renovations, said Reay. “If someone does that there's an opportunity to make a lot of money.”


The resort is being sold without management or franchise encumbrances, said Reay, which means that if a new buyer comes in they don't have to retain management staff.


“From an investor standpoint it's great because it offers them a lot of opportunities,” said Reay.


Different interests abandoned resort purchase


Konocti Harbor has so far fallen out of escrow twice this year.


In the spring, Kenwood Investments decided against purchasing the property in the wake of community resistance to a plan to locate an Indian casino at the property, as Lake County News previously reported.


The resort, which also was at the heart of a federal lawsuit settled earlier this year, was then considered for purchase by Page Mill Properties of Palo Alto for a reported $25 million price tag, according to court documents.


As part of the federal settlement, Local 38 agreed to appoint WhiteStar Advisors of Boca Raton, Fla., as an independent fiduciary to oversee the resort's operations and its sale, according to court documents.


Jim Bishop, managing director for WhiteStar, told Lake County News this summer that the company has been working for about two years on the resort's sale.


In taking over the resort's operations, Bishop said WhiteStar planned to keep the existing management and operation in place, with the resort's president and chief executive officer, Greg Bennett, acting as their representative at the resort.


Konocti is in the middle age range for some resort properties; Bishop said there are some resorts more than 100 years old that remain premier destinations, while some newer south Florida results are not in good shape.


Bishop said the market for resorts such as Konocti Harbor “generally is pretty good,” with buyers usually investment funds or institutional and real estate investment trusts – not unlike the resort's current owner.


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


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Veterans Circle at Hartley Cemetery will be the site of a special holiday ceremony Saturday. Courtesy photo.

 

 

LAKEPORT – A special ceremony to honor the county's veterans will be held this Saturday.


For the first time, Christmas wreaths will be laid at the Veterans Circle at Hartley Cemetery at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. The ceremony will take place concurrently with wreath-laying ceremonies around the country that day, scheduled for noon Eastern Standard Time.


Lakeport resident Slick Hultquist is working with local veterans groups on the Saturday ceremony.


Hultquist recently heard about the Worcester Wreath Co. – based in Harrington, Maine – which each year supplies wreaths to Arlington National Cemetery.


The company's Web site reported that the effort began in 1992; each year they supplied more than 5,000 wreaths to adorn the headstones of fallen veterans.


In 2006, the company launched Wreaths Across America, and began doubling its wreath donation to Arlington, now sending 10,000 each year, its Web site reported.


Besides the Arlington wreaths, the company reported that beginning in 2006 it donated another 2,500 wreaths to the Maine Veterans Cemetery at Togus, and more than 1,800 ceremonial wreaths to more than 200 other state and national veterans cemeteries across the country.


This year, the company reported that it added 24 veterans cemeteries on foreign soil and US ships sailing in all seven seas to their donations.


On Dec. 10, 51 wreaths were donated for special wreath-laying ceremonies at each state capitol and the US Capitol, according to the company.


Hultquist said he emailed the company and sent a picture of Veterans Circle. Hultquist then got a call back from the company.


“They said they were so impressed that they're sending us seven [wreaths],” said Hultquist.


The wreaths were due to arrive Wednesday.


Hultquist said the ceremony will be informal. He will lay a wreath at the base of the flagpole, and a member of each of the military's five branches also will lay a wreath during the Saturday ceremony, he explained. A bugler will then play “Taps.” United Veterans Council Chaplain Woody Hughes also will lead a prayer.


“It's basically a show of respect,” said Hultquist.


All of the local veterans groups have been invited to participate, said Hultquist.


Dean Gotham, president of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 951, said Thursday his group will be represented at the morning ceremony, and he anticipates other local veterans groups also will take part.


Veterans Circle, said Gotham, was dedicated on Veterans Day 2006.


Originally meant to be a final resting place for indigent vets, Gotham said the rules for burial in the special area have since been changed. Restrictions on indigent status were so strict that nobody could qualify, he said.


No one has yet been buried there, he said. However, under the new rules, it is open to all veterans, but is for cremated remains only.


Hultquist said he plans to organize a wreath laying next year as well.


Hartley Cemetery is located at 2552 Hill Road East in 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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