Saturday, 20 July 2024


Everyone gets a “Crock-Pot”, or slow cooker, when they get married. I think it’s one of those wedding rules:

1. You can’t see the bride on the wedding day

2. You can’t go fishing the morning of your wedding (Trust me, I know this one personally!)*

3. The couple gets a slow cooker among the gifts.

The name “Crock-Pot” was trademarked in 1971 by Rival Industries and now belongs to Sunbeam, so using the term “slow cooker” keeps me from having to send them a royalty check at the end of every sentence. The main purpose of a slow cooker is to throw a bunch of items into it, turn it on, and come back several hours later to a fully cooked, delicious braised meal.

Technically people have been braising foods (cooking foods in a liquid for long periods of time) for millennia, while the slow cooker is a product of the past century.

The main thing that started me using the slow cooker was that I knew on occasion I wouldn’t make it home in time to make dinner yet wanted to have something waiting for my family that didn’t come out of a box. I also like the fact that it uses less energy than an oven or stovetop, and it doesn’t heat the house up and counteract the air conditioning during the summer.

As I became more involved in the cooking for the family I started learning more about using the slow cooker. The thing that makes it so great to work with is not only does it take almost no work to use, but it works best when using the cheapest cuts of meat so it’s great for the wallet too.

When you first start using your slow cooker you should expect to have an anti-honeymoon period while you learn the settings. You will burn this and undercook that, but don’t become disheartened because all slow cookers are different and it takes a little time to feel out your slow cooker’s personality.

My slow cooker has high, low and keep warm settings. I like to start the process on high, and when the liquid bubbles I switch it to low for the remaining cooking process. Most slow cookers maintain a temperature between 175 (on low) and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (on high).

While you can just throw a raw hunk of meat into a slow cooker and it will cook just fine, searing the meat on all sides in a frying pan before placing in the cooker will make for better-tasting results. Meats that work best in a slow cooker are usually high in fat and with lots of connective tissue. These dissolve during the slow cooking process and create a lower fat, tender, moist and unctuous finished dish.

Using lean meats in a slow cooker doesn’t produce good end results since they don’t have the fats or connective tissues to baste them during the process. They wind up with good flavor, but with a hockey-puck texture and no moisture content.

The meats your slow cooker will work best with are pork shoulder, beef chuck, and chicken or turkey thighs and drumsticks. Dairy products tend to curdle when kept too long in a slow cooker, and seafood gets tough and chewy, so they should be avoided, or added in the last hour of cooking at the most.

Since slow cookers don’t lose much moisture during the cooking process like, for instance, soup does, you can use less liquid in a recipe that wasn’t meant for a slow cooker and still have great results.

WARNING! Some raw beans (including fava and kidney beans) contain a toxin called PHA (phytohaemagglutinin, if you prefer) that is destroyed once the beans are cooked at high temperatures, like by boiling (212 degrees). Slow cookers may not heat high enough to destroy this toxin and can even raise the toxicity of the beans, so either cook your beans before adding them to a slow cooker or use canned beans to avoid harming your diners.

I came up with this recipe just the other day when I wanted to find a use for the leftover tortilla chips that are always found in the bottom of a bag after everyone has used the whole chips for dipping. While utilizing the leftovers of a bag of chips and a jar of salsa, it results in a very enchilada-like flavor.

Pork shoulder with tortilla sauce

1 pork shoulder (seared)

6 cups chicken stock

2 cups leftover crushed up tortilla chips

1 cup salsa

3 tablespoons green Tabasco sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

Add all of the ingredients except the cheese and sour cream into your slow cooker and, depending on the settings, start it on high. After a couple of hours set to low (although leaving it on high won’t affect much). At serving time, remove the pork and whisk the sauce remaining in the pot until smooth. Serve the pork and pour over the sauce and sprinkle on the cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

*My wife married into a fishing family - so much of an enthusiastic fishing family that when she announced our wedding date as being the day fishing season opened, calls came in asking if this announcement was some sort of joke, and relatives hemmed and hawed for weeks deciding if they could even attend an event that coincided with such an important day (Fishing Opener, of course). And my wife had nightmares for weeks before the wedding of me showing up to the church, late, in tuxedo shirt and vest and waders, with a fish in each hand and asking “Do I have time to clean these?” So men, just for the record, No fishing on your wedding morning! If my family could handle it, yours can. (Mumbling under my breath: “Although I still don’t understand why I couldn’t ... what’s the big deal? ... shheeessss!”)

Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community.


BUCKINGHAM – The county's preeminent charitable fundraiser, the Lake County Wine Auction, will take place Saturday, and there are still opportunities to attend the event for those who want to enjoy great local wines and food while benefiting local groups.

The Wine Auction will be held beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday under the big tent at the Buckingham Golf & Country Club, 2855 Eastlake Drive, Kelseyville.

U. S. Congressman Mike Thompson, First District of California, is the event chair, with Andy Beckstoffer, chief executive officer of Beckstoffer Vineyards, acting as the master of ceremonies.

The event's supporting organization, the Lake County Wine Alliance, will have a limited number of tickets available for purchase at the door on Saturday, the group reported Friday. Tickets are $100 per person.

Donations from sponsors already have brought in more than $90,000 for the ninth annual event.

Last year's net contributions to county charitable beneficiaries was $93,000; in its previous eight years, the Wine Auction has donated $623,002 to local nonprofits, with 2005 having the highest single amount of $125,000.

The beneficiaries chosen for this year's event are Kids 4 Broadway, Lake County Special Olympics, Wiloth Equine Therapy and Riding Center, Hospice Services of Lake County, Adult Day Care/Respite of Clearlake, the Military Funeral Honors Team, Church Women United, Operation Tango Mike, the Lake Family Resource Center, the County Literacy Coalition and the fine arts programs at five Lake County high schools.

In addition to benefiting groups such as these, the event also showcases fine wine and food from local businesses. Twenty-three wineries will pour wine and 17 restaurants, caterers or markets will serve gourmet foods.

The evening will feature 32 lots in a live auction, and 165 items in the silent auction. Auctioneers are Archie McLaren, founder of the Central Coast Wine Classic and a rare and fine wine consultant, and Jed Steele, owner and winemaker of Steele Wines of Lake County.

For more information and to purchase tickets for any of the events, call 866-279-WINE.


CLEARLAKE OAKS – When the Clearlake Oaks County Water District Board meets Thursday, the board will have both a new evening meeting time and a new board member.

At a special meeting last Thursday the board chose Mike Benjamin to succeed board member Patricia Shaver, who left the board last month, said Darin McCosker, the district's general manager.

Shaver did not give a specific reason for her resignation, but it came in the wake of a recall effort that Benjamin himself launched against both her and then-Vice President Mike Anisman.

Benjamin now joins Frank Toney and Harry Chase on the board. Board President Helen Locke and Anisman also gave their resignations; Anisman's became effective Sept. 5, and Locke stayed on long enough to help select Benjamin.

Her resignation took effect Sept. 12, the day after the special meeting, said McCosker.

McCosker said Anisman's and Locke's seats still need to be filled, which the district has 60 days to do.

“The board could potentially appoint both positions at the next regular meeting in October,” he said.

McCosker said the board will meet at its new time at 7 p.m. Thursday. Last month the board voted to change the meeting time from mid-afternoon on the third Wednesday of the month to evenings on the third Thursday to encourage more public participation.

Shaver's former position will be up for reelection at the end of next year, along with Chase's, said McCosker. As to the seats formerly held by Anisman and Locke, they expire in 2011.

According to government code, if a vacancy occurs within the first 130 days prior to the next general district election, the person appointed to fill the slot will hold it until that election. The person who is then elected to fill the vacancy will hold office for the unexpired balance of the term of office.

Other government code sections call for board seats to be staggered, which is why the law has the elections for board seats staying on a specific schedule.

At Thursday's meeting the board will elect is new president and vice president, review financial reports, receive a report from the Finance Committee/Budget Workshop, discuss a customer appeal and hold a closed session for an employee discipline issue.

The district's office is located at 12545 E. Highway 20. See the full agenda at

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


The state Senate and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived at points of compromise on the state budget Friday, which now are being considered by the state Assembly.

On Tuesday the legislature approved a controversial budget deal – that both sides admitted was far from perfect in addressing the core issues with the state budget – an action that was met by a veto threat from Schwarzenegger.

Late Friday afternoon, the Senate voted on budget compromise measures worked out between Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders.

A statement from Senate Pro Tem Don Perata said that the actions taken Friday will restart payments to schools, community colleges, day care centers, health care providers and others that have been hurt by the 81-day budget stalemate.

The two measures approved Friday include:

‒ SB 28: This legislation removes provisions in the budget increasing tax withholding 10 percent on all taxpayers and establishes a higher, 20-percent penalty for corporations that underreport their taxes by $1 million or more. The vote was 22-14.

Legislators expect SB 28 will increase revenues in the short term as companies catch up on taxes from previous years, while reducing the underreporting rate and increasing tax compliance in the future.

‒ SCA 30: The bill adds a provision to build a rainy day reserve fund into the budget reform constitutional amendment sent to the governor. It also will withdraw funds from the Budget Stabilization Fund when state revenues fall below projected spending. The vote was 30-0.

“I am tempted to say I am ‘relieved,’ except that might suggest I am happy about this budget, and I’m not,” Sen. Patricia Wiggins said in a written statement late Friday. “Budgeting requires compromise, and even though it was clear from the outset that no one, or no one group, was going to get everything they wanted, there was some pretty serious resistance to a number of options that might have allowed us to pass a budget that was more responsible.”

Wiggins said the real relief, if there's any, in completing the budget deal will be for schools, health care providers and child care providers, vendors doing business with the state and others who were not getting paid, reimbursed or otherwise supported by the state because of the protracted budget stalemate.

In the end, the Senate agreed to pass a budget without raising taxes. Wiggins suggested that increasing some taxes, at least temporarily, is the most responsible way to bring the state budget into balance.

However, even without raising taxes, the budget manages to restore full funding for the Cal Grant program for college students, restores most of the 10 percent Medi-Cal rate cuts and restores almost all cuts to Medi-Cal eligibility.

Wiggins noted that the budget also rejects Schwarzenegger deep cuts for the safety social net, including children’s services and foster care, CalWORKs kids’ eligibility and In-Home Supportive Services; and restores cuts in funding for COPS grants, juvenile justice and other law enforcement programs.

Schwarzenegger could still attempt to cut those programs through the line-item veto, Wiggins said.

The three-month budget stalemate held up billions of dollars from the state's communities, said Wiggins. That resulted in schools putting off hiring teachers, while hospitals and health care providers were forced to either take out loans or use personal funds to stay open. Some child care centers went into crisis mode because of no payments, and Medi-Cal payment cuts to health centers left providers no choice but to cease taking new patients or cut off care altogether.

Wiggins called the state's current budget process “a mess,” which she attributes to the two-thirds vote requirement to pass a budget. California, Arkansas and Rhode Island are the only states that pass budgets in that way, which Wiggins said should be abandoned for a majority vote rule.

“We also need to get to a point where the people of this state – and their elected representatives – make real, and likely difficult, decisions about what programs and services we provide and how much we are willing to spend to provide them,” she said.

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


A 1964 Grumman Widgeon flown at last year's event and owned by Todd Dickey of Arizona. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – Colorful seaplanes will be gracing Lake County's skies this weekend as the 29th annual Clear Lake Splash-In opens on Friday.

The event – the largest gathering of seaplanes west of the Mississippi – will be held in Lakeport beginning Friday, with an all-day festival on Saturday.

The public can get a close-up look at float planes, talk with pilots, and witness a spectacle of aerial events including water-bombing contests, a parade of seaplanes, fly-bys and more.

Seaplanes will be parked on the grounds of Natural High on Main Street for up-close viewing, stunning views of Clear Lake and Lake County from aboard a seaplane, aerial acrobatics during the spot landing and water bombing contests.

A welcome concert will take place Friday at 6 p.m. in Library Park.

On Saturday, the Kiwanis will sponsor a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Lakeport Yacht Club on the waterfront. The breakfast is open to the public.

The festival grand opening will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, kicking off a day of seaplane rides, model aircraft flying, seaplane flying exhibitions on the lake in front of Library Park, vendors, food booths and great fun for the whole family.

The event ends Saturday at 4 p.m. Seaplanes will depart from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Festival sponsors include SeaPlane Operations LLC and the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as other local organizations.

For information call 775-781-1434,



A fully restored 1959 Piper Apache with its original paint scheme and colors at last year's festival. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


CLEAR LAKE RIVIERA – Clear Lake Riviera Community Association property owners have selected a new board.

The association held an election over the summer which was disqualified due to errors on the ballot, as Lake County News has reported.

That led to the board calling another election, the results of which were finalized this week, according to the association.

Elected to the board were Donna Moeller, with 432 votes; Patricia Howell, 418; Walter Zuercher, 402; and Anthony Gniadek, 333.

Also receiving votes were James Irwin, 322; Darrell Watkins, 305; and Denise Frane, 271.

The four new board members also were the top vote getters in the disqualified election, according to ballot counts.

This most recent election also drew several hundred more votes.

The association reported that three mediators from Lake County Dispute Resolution Services volunteered their time to count the ballots. The impartial third parties offered their help in light of the contentious nature of the previous election.

The new board will be seated at the association's annual meeting, scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20.

The meeting will be held at the Clear Lake Riviera Community Association community hall, 9689 Soda Bay Road.

For more information contact the association office at 277-7281.

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


NORTH COAST – A Lake County man was one of several people arrested by law enforcement officials this week who were seizing illegally grown marijuana in Mendocino County, including the Covelo area.

Lt. Rusty Noe of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported that 21-year-old Daniel Isaiah was arrested on Wednesday in Covelo.

For the past several weeks Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies and California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement agents have been investigating specific targets in the the Covelo area, Noe reported. They began serving search warrants and conducting open field raids on Tuesday.

From Tuesday through Thursday, deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, California Department of Justice, CAMP, Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, Mendocino County Probation, Ukiah Police Department and the California Highway Patrol conducted a series of marijuana raids in the Covelo Area, according to Noe.

Noe said the raids against commercial growers were a result of numerous complaints of uncontrolled marijuana cultivation in the rural Covelo area.

During the service of these search warrants no evidence or claim of medical marijuana was made. With the exception of one suspect, all the 12 suspects arrested were from outside of Mendocino County, said Noe, a large portion were from outside of California, including three Mexican nationals.

Isaiah, of Lakeport, and Daniel Goss, 27, of Santa Cruz were arrested Wednesday in the Bently Ridge area of Covelo, said Noe.

The men were allegedly found in possession of 62 marijuana plants and 100 pounds of processed marijuana, said Noe. They also were alleged to be in possession of four firearms – including one AK47 assault rifle.

Noe said both Isaiah and Goss were caught after attempting to escape. Isaiah was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of cultivating marijuana for sale and possession of marijuana for sale, with bail set at $25,000.

The rest of the two-day operation officials netted 3,343 marijuana plants, taken from both public and private lands; 40 pounds of processed marijuana; methamphetamine and illegal mushrooms; a large, very flammable and potentially dangerous butane honey oil hashish lab used to convert marijuana into a high quality hashish oil; and shotgun and a .223 rifle.

Noe said that deputies reported that some of the marijuana plants seized were so large that it became difficult to lift 15 marijuana plants with a helicopter capable of lifting 600 to 700 pounds.

Arrested in the week's raids were Mexican nationals Joeyah Ruiz, 26, Jose Franco, 19, and Valdovinos Cruz, 22; Oregon residents Morgan Costley, 24, Natalie Darves, 25, and Jordan Feathers, 28; Mark Pacitti, 29, of Florida; Gevitye Goins, 24, of Michigan; Yesenia Deuluna, 30, of Los Angeles, and Blake Hastings, 27, of Covelo.

Noe said in the past Mendocino County was promoted as a place to come and conduct marijuana cultivation operations.

“It became common knowledge that illegal activity was accepted,” he said in a written statement. “This is no longer the case. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will investigate and prosecute illegal commercial marijuana cultivation on a case by case basis.”


Bonny Hanchett. Courtesy photo.


CLOVERDALE – Lake County publishing pioneer Bonny Hanchett will be remembered at a memorial service planned for Saturday.

The service for Hanchett will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Fred Young Chapel in Cloverdale, 428 N. Cloverdale Blvd.

Bonny Jean Hanchett, 88, died at her home in Cloverdale on Sunday, Sept. 7 with her family nearby. Bonny was owner and publisher of the Cloverdale Reveille newspaper for the past 20 years.

Bonny Jean was born on July 26, 1920 in Muskegon, Mich. to Valentine and Dorothy Howland. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest and attended Washington State University at Pullman where she became interested in journalism and was the first female editor of the college newspaper, The Evergreen.

At college, Bonny met her beloved future husband, Ross Allen Hanchett. The two were married in Asotin, Wash. in 1943 after they graduated college. Ross then entered the US Army and soon was serving in the Pacific Theater of WWII as a radio operator on a B-24 bomber.

The couple’s oldest son, Val, was born in 1945, when Ross was still serving in the Army Air Force, but after he returned the couple settled in Everett, Wash. Two daughters were born there, Mary Beth and Roberta, and in the early 1950s the family moved to Woodland, Wash. where Ross and Bonny purchased the Lewis River News. Another son was born in Woodland, Jon, and then, in 1955, Bonny and Ross bought the Clear Lake Observer-American in Lake County and moved to Lower Lake with their four children.

It was in Lake County that Bonny Jean made her mark as a crusading journalist, bringing important issues to public awareness. She made a name for the Observer with her astute reporting on local politics, especially water issues involving Clear Lake.

The family sold the Clear Lake Observer in 1986, and shortly after the paper sold, Ross passed away. Bonny then became the owner of the Cloverdale Reveille and continued her community focus as reporter, editor and publisher for almost 20 years. She saw many changes in the small city of Cloverdale and made many friends there. She also was owner and publisher of the Campbell Express in Campbell for 15 years.

Bonny leaves her children, Val Hanchett and his wife, Neena; Mary Stowell, and her husband Dennis; Roberta Lyons, and her husband Harry; and Kathryn McKaig, and her husband Dennis. She leaves six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She also leaves her nephew, Ed Bailey and his wife Barbara. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ross; son, Jon; and sister, Betty Poohar.

Following Saturday's service a gathering will be held at the family home in Cloverdale.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting contributions be made to the Cloverdale Historical Society, one of Bonny’s favorite causes. The address is: The Cloverdale Historical Society, P.O. Box 628, Cloverdale CA 95425.


LAKEPORT – A Mendocino County man is facing a potential sentence of 14 years in prison after he was convicted last week of a number of felonies related to a December 2007 kidnapping and robbery case in Clearlake.

Anthony Scott Cape, 42, was convicted by a jury on Sept. 9 of five felony offenses, including kidnapping, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and making a criminal threat, according to a report from the Lake County District Attorney's Office.

Witnesses revealed that the violent episode began on Dec. 4, 2007, when the 25-year-old male victim, a Mendocino County resident, arrived at a Clearlake residence in the middle of the night.

The victim, who had a history of dealing marijuana, had been invited to the residence to obtain marijuana to sell, according to testimony.

He entered the residence with two other individuals. While the victim used the restroom, Cape emerged from hiding, and beat the victim after knocking him into the empty bathtub by stomping on the victim's head with work boots and punching him in the face with closed fists.

Another person then joined Cape in the bathroom and assisted Cape by helping bind the victim's wrists and ankles with black plastic zip ties.

Cape and the other perpetrator left the victim momentarily in the bathroom, and when they returned, they caught the victim attempting to call 911 from his cell phone. They grabbed the phone and forced the victim to the garage where the victim's car had been moved. Cape and the other man opened the victim's trunk, removed the victim's belongings from inside, and then stuffed the victim in the trunk.

They were then joined by the other man who had gone to the residence with the victim. With the victim in the trunk, the three men drove through Clearlake.

Unknown to Cape and the others, the victim had a second cell phone which he tried to use to contact the police from inside the trunk. Being unfamiliar with the city of Clearlake, the victim was unable to tell the 911 dispatcher his precise location. He was only able to explain the brief circumstances of his abduction and the type of vehicle he was in.

Clearlake Police Department officers attempted unsuccessfully to locate the victim's vehicle while he was calling 911 from its trunk.

The vehicle turned off the main road and onto Ogulin Canyon Road. Believing that if he did not escape he would be killed, the victim used the emergency latch from inside the trunk to raise the lid. The victim was able to roll out of the moving vehicle and into a ditch where he ended up staying the night.

In the morning, the victim was able to cut the zip ties from his wrists and ankles and seek help.

Clearlake Police Detective Sgt. Tom Clements personally headed the investigation which resulted in the overwhelming evidence against Cape, including Cape's hand print evidence on the trunk of the abandoned vehicle.

Judge Richard Martin, who presided over the trial, is expected to sentence the defendant on Oct. 6.

Cape faces a potential sentence of 14 years in state prison, the District Attorney's Office reported. Because at least one of the convictions is classified as a violent felony strike, Cape will be required to spend at least 85 percent of his sentence in prison custody.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney John R. DeChaine. Thomas Quinn served as defense counsel.


Linda Herndon and Joanna Richardson-Jones were seated on the Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District board earlier this month. Courtesy photo.


HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – The Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District and the Hidden Valley Lake Association both have new board members.

The community services district reported that it has seated two new directors this month.

Linda Herndon was appointed and administered the oath of office at a special district meeting on Sept. 5, with Joanna Richardson-Jones receiving her appointment and taking the oath at the district's regular meeting on Tuesday.

Herndon has a business background in management, business relations and has served on several boards through her business career.

Richardson-Jones brings expertise in business and experience in leadership through her career, combined with a passion for the Hidden Valley Lake community, water quality and its abundance. She has served on the Hidden Valley Lake Association Board for the past several years.

Over at the Hidden Valley Lake Association, community resident Kathy Joseph was elected to succeed Judy Mirbegian on the Hidden Valley Lake Board of Directors at the Thursday board meeting.

Joseph joins a board that includes President Don Dornbush, Vice President Tom Miller, Secretary Cheri Johnson, Treasurer Diana Marshall, and directors Joanna Richardson-Jones and Rick Munroe.

Two directors seats are still up for election, including Dornbush's. A candidates' forum is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Hidden Valley Lake Association Country Club.

Dornbush, Bob Brossier, Joseph Martin, John P. Ryan, Dan Sheehy, Eric Soderstrom and Bill Surber are running for the two seats, and will be available to answer questions from community members at the forum.

For more information about the agencies and their activities, including dates and times of meetings, visit the Hidden Valley Lake Association online at, or the community services district at


SACRAMENTO – The Air Resources Board today released two reports that highlight how implementing AB 32, California's pioneering climate change law, will provide net benefits to both California's economy and public health.

"The facts are in. These reports support the conclusion that guiding California toward a clean energy future with reduced dependence on fossil fuels will grow our economy, improve public health, protect the environment and create a more secure future built on clean and sustainable technologies," said ARB Chair Mary Nichols.

The reports analyze the economic and public health impacts of the recommended measures in the draft Scoping Plan, the State's policy framework that outlines how California will reduce greenhouse gases 30 percent by 2020, as required under AB 32.

The economic analysis indicates that ARB's strategy will create jobs and save individual households money. And, California will achieve those benefits while enjoying a net benefit in economic growth between now and 2020, compared to the "do-nothing" scenario where California continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels as it does today.

The public health analysis demonstrates that implementing the recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will build on existing air pollution programs that reduce smog-causing chemicals and toxic soot, providing significant additional public health and environmental benefits.

The economic analysis compares the recommendations in the draft Scoping Plan to doing nothing and shows that implementing the recommendations will result in:

  • Increased economic production of $27 billion;

  • Increased overall gross state product of $4 billion;

  • Increased overall personal income by $14 billion;

  • Increased per capita income of $200;

  • Increased jobs by more than 100,000.

The public health analysis shows that programs under AB 32 will improve on existing air pollution cleanup programs. As a result, in 2020:

  • An estimated 300 premature deaths statewide will be avoided;

  • Almost 9,000 incidences of asthma and lower respiratory symptoms will be avoided;

  • 53,000 work loss days will be avoided.

The recommended approach that was analyzed includes a mix of strategies that combines market-based regulatory approaches, other regulations, voluntary measures, fees, and other policies and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The economic analysis used analytical models that measure economy-wide impacts of those policies and measures.

The analysis indicates that the bulk of the economic benefits are the result of investments in energy efficiency that more than pay for themselves over time. Additionally, the results in the economic analysis may underestimate many economic benefits since the models do not include lower costs from innovation and improved technologies expected under a market-based program.

ARB is seeking public comment on both reports. Those comments will be considered in the development of the proposed Scoping Plan prior to it being presented for adoption to the Air Resources Board at its November hearing.

ARB is the lead agency for implementing AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and is part of an administration-wide effort to address climate change and mitigate the most severe projected impacts of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions statewide.

Both reports, with appendices, can be found at


On Tuesday, Lake County News looked at the Academic Performance Index and what it does, along with a rundown of local test scores. In this installment, a sampling of local superintendents share reactions to the latest test results.

LAKE COUNTY – With the release earlier this month of the Academic Performance Index, or API, local educators are reviewing how their schools performed and, for the most part, there's satisfaction about how local students tested.

The API is a weighted average of student test scores with a numeric range of between 200 and 1,000, according to Tim Gill, director of curriculum and instruction for the Lake County Office of Education.

The test subjects include English language arts, math, social studies and science, and school scores also include results of the state's high school exit exam, said Gill.

The state's target for schools is a score of 800 and above. Two Lake County schools, Riviera Elementary and Cobb Mountain Elementary, are in that target area.

Schools with ratings of less than 800 have specific yearly goals, and 11 local schools met both schoolwide and subgroup growth targets in the most recent testing.

With the test results being released, educators are assessing their test scores and how their schools performed. Lake County News spoke with three local superintendents to get their reactions to the testing news.

Konocti Unified School District

Konocti Unified School District's new superintendent, Bill MacDougall, said he's pleased with the overall performance of district schools, most of which found improvement.

The district has several schools in the 700 range, which is what the district was looking for, said MacDougall.

All of the schools this year showed a great deal of improvement, he said, adding that he's proud of both students and staff for their efforts to make that happen.

Lakeport Unified School District

Lakeport Unified School District Superintendent Erin Hagberg said she's also pleased with her district's overall performance because they are maintaining scores in the mid-700s.

“I was especially impressed with the growth in scores at both Terrace Middle School and Clear Lake High School,” she said, which improved by 25 and 20 points, respectively.

“As a district, we are concerned about the achievement gap in our Hispanic and Native American student populations and in our socioeconomic disadvantaged students,” she said. “Our teachers and administrators continue to focus on meeting the needs of those particular groups of students.”

Hagberg said she thinks schools should be held accountable for student achievement and the public has a right to know that information.

“It is unfortunate, however, that such an emphasis is placed on only one form of assessment,” she said. “In a successful learning environment, student progress is measured continually by the classroom teacher and monitored by the entire staff. By using a variety of assessments on a regular basis, a teacher can determine a child’s academic strengths and weaknesses and then modify the instruction accordingly.”

Besides state expectations, there are the expectations assigned by federal standards, such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

“Because the NCLB proficiency bar is raised significantly each year, it is a struggle to increase student achievement at such an unrealistic rate,” she said.

As a result, she said classroom teachers have to focus more and more instructional time on the core subjects that are tested in Standardized Testing and Reporting.

Because there is a limited amount of time in the school day, Hagberg said less time can be spent on enrichment activities such as art and music in order to meet the standards.

“Creating well-rounded learners has become a tremendous challenge for our teachers due to the NCLB requirements,” she said.

Middletown Unified School District

Schools in the Middletown Unified School District have shown consistent strength in testing over the years.

This year, district Superintendent Korby Olson said what was noticeable for him was a sizable drop in Coyote Valley's score, from 818 to 792.

Scoring for small schools can be volatile, Olson explained. With a kind of measure like the API, the larger the sample size, the less likely there is to be an impact on score due to the performance of any particular group during a year.

He said the school is exploring what was the possible cause of that drop.

Just as interesting is Middletown High's score, which went down one from 719 to 718, but showed 30- and 40-point jumps for socially disadvantaged and Hispanic student subgroups, respectively. “Something went right there,” he said.

The school has always done fairly well on its exit exam results, he said. “It looked to me like we still have pretty strong scores there.”

The highest-scoring school on the API in the district and the county is Cobb Mountain Elementary, where Olson was principal for 10 years. The school's score for 2008 is 855, up from 847 the previous year.

Olson calls the school “a pretty special place” which began placing strong emphasis on state standards beginning in the 1990s. That, coupled with a stable staff, has helped the school succeed.

“Cobb has had the highest API in Lake County since we started measuring,” he said.

The school's score dipped last year but this year regained ground to its level two years ago.

Olson said Cobb Elementary takes a unique approach to education. “Everything is built around the idea that it's OK to be smart.”

That includes having numerous academic competitions which challenge young brains. In turn, the children strive hard to achieve in that welcoming culture.

Olson said there is value to the API measure. However, he said the problem is there are not enough measures of academic achievement, and that the API is a “slice of time” that only looks at performance at a given period. For a standardized test, that's the only way it can be done, Olson said.

He said the state's standards are so high that children who test in the basic category here might be in the proficient range in other states. He said the API system is a much more friendly growth model then federal standards.

Like Hagberg, he has concerns about federal standards, which are going up so dramatically that even schools considered high performing will soon be in the program improvement category.

From now until 2013, every school must advance its scores in the federal government's Adequate Yearly Progress – AYP – measure, he said.

Olson said he doesn't disagree with the goal of constant improvement. However, he's concerned that if high performing schools get lumped into performance improvement, it will water down the importance of improving scores for those schools that really need the help.

To see the testing results for your school and district, visit

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


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