Monday, 22 July 2024


Clear Lake State Park is included on a list of 48 state parks proposed for closure. State Parks Department photo.




LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's only two state parks face closure as part of the governor's stringent budget plan for the coming fiscal year. {sidebar id=50}

Anderson Marsh State Park in Lower Lake and Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville are among the 48 state parks slated for closure in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2008-09 draft budget, which he sent to the state Legislature on Thursday.

Schwarzenegger had warned during his State of the State Address Tuesday that he planned a “difficult” budget to meet the state's $14.5 billion deficit.

The budget document he produced this week contains 10-percent, across-the-board reductions in state departments in order to begin closing the budget gap. Some of the cuts, according to budget documents, go into effect as early as the fourth quarter of the 2007-08 budget.

Schwarzenegger proposes to cut the state Department of Parks and Recreation's budget by $1 million in the last quarter of 2007-08 and another $13.3 million in the 2008-09 fiscal year, according to a budget summary.

In all, the parks system would lose 129.2 positions, close 48 of 278 state parks and reduce seasonal lifeguards by a minimum 50 percent at state beaches in Orange, San Diego and Santa Cruz counties, the budget summary reports.

Besides Anderson Marsh and Clear Lake State Park, other North Coast parks proposed for closure are Del Norte Redwoods in Del Norte County; Manchester State Beach in Mendocino County; Grizzly Creek Redwoods in Humboldt County; and Austin Creek State Recreation Area and Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in Sonoma County.


The California State Parks Foundation reports that Clear Lake State Park has 100,166 visitors annually, with revenue of $332,782. Anderson Marsh is visited by 43,499 people each year, generating $2,060 in revenue.

All seven of the parks listed above are located within Assemblywoman Patty Berg's First Assembly District. In total, their closures would mean the loss of more than 1.3 million visits annually, with revenue losses totaling approximately $742,274.


All seven of the parks listed above are located within Assemblywoman Patty Berg's First Assembly District.

Maria Aliferis-Gjerde, a spokesperson for Berg's office, said Friday that only Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee's 33rd Assembly District – which includes parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties – is facing so many closures.

Berg joined other state and local leaders in decrying the severity of the cuts.

“It is a sad and pessimistic view of the future that says we need to give up our parks,” Berg said in a statement issued to Lake County News Friday. “It’s short-sighted and wrong and people won’t go for it.”

Berg said Schwarzenegger's plans will damage everything from parks and schools to college and public safety. “Republicans always say ‘cut, cut, cut,’ and this is just one example of how that mindset damages our California lifestyle,” she said. “Closing parks is not a good solution to solving our long-term budget problems. Californians deserve better from their governor. We need creativity and vision to solve this budget.”

State Senator Pat Wiggins said Schwarzenegger's proposal would erode the state's quality of life.

“The governor said that he had an open mind when it came to fixing the budget, but shutting down beaches and parks, which draw millions of visitors and millions of tourists’ dollars each year, and cutting game wardens is both short-sighted and irresponsible,” Wiggins said in a Friday statement.

She added, “A commitment to reduced spending for schools, for kids, for our parks and for our natural resources is a commitment to mediocrity.”

Lake County News could not reach state or local Department of Parks and Recreation officials on Friday for comment on the fiscal impact of closing the local parks.

Supervisor Ed Robey said that many officials were in Sacramento on Friday to attend meetings to learn more about the fiscal crisis.

Among them was County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox. Robey said he expected Cox to return with a clearer sense of what impacts Lake County could expect, which extend well beyond the parks issue to include possible delays in gas tax payments and other much-needed state funding.

Robey said small rural counties like Lake stand to be hurt the most by cutbacks in services and funding. He challenged the notion that closing the small local state parks would save much money.

Local groups watch, wait for news

For the local organizations who support the county's two state parks, the news was shocking.

“Parks are for people,” said Clearlake Oaks resident Leona Butts, a director of the Clear Lake State Park Interpretive Association. “Where do they go for safe, outdoor experiences?”

Clear Lake State Park doesn't just offer great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors; Butts said it also has an economic impact locally, thanks in part to its 147 camp sites.

Madelene Lyon, Clear Lake State Park Interpretive Association president, said the group found out about the possible park closures at a Thursday board meeting.

Such severe measures have been threatened in the past, said Lyon, who added that she's afraid they might actually occur now. Lyon added, however, that the group doesn't know what might happen.

The interpretive association has been working hard on a plan to build a new education pavilion at the site, said Lyon. Regarding that plan, she said, “We are in sort of a limbo right at the moment.”

Similarly, members of the Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association also found out about the proposed cuts Thursday, and were just as worried.

Roberta Lyons, president of the Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association, said the threat of the park's closure comes at a time when Anderson Marsh is the focus of increased community interest and support.

“A lot of people are starting to get really excited about Anderson Marsh, and now they're saying they're going to close it,” said Lyons.

She added, “We can't live with closing the park.”

Robert Riggs, another Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association member, said the park is undergoing a revitalization with the help of businesses, schools and local cultural contributors. The progress has been manifested in the Old Time Bluegrass Festival which has been extremely popular and successful the last two years, he said.

The group has generated seed money from the festival to begin work on park improvements, said Riggs. Those plans include a discovery center, said Anna McAtee, the park association's treasurer.

“While we understand that the state is facing a severe budget shortage which has resulted in a proposal to close many parks, not just Anderson Marsh, the Anderson Marsh State Historical Park is an extremely cost effective facility that operates with low overhead,” said Riggs.

Riggs said the interpretive association's board considers the threatened closure a grave issue. At the group's Thursday meeting they resolved to work with the state parks department to find a way to keep the park open.

McAtee said Anderson Marsh already has struggled with reduced funding and resources over the last several years.

That includes a reduction down to part-time staff and no permanent ranger, which has resulted in the park only being open Tuesday through Saturday. Tours of the ranch itself also haven't taken place in some time due to staffing, McAtee added.

Tom Nixon had worked as a ranger at the park, said McAtee, as well as Clear Lake State Park, but Nixon and wife Val, also a park staffer, recently retired.

If the park closed, McAtee said, “The gates will be closed, the public won't be allowed to go into the park.”

She added, though, that the group is in a “wait and see” mode. “What happens, really and truly, is anyone's guess.”

What seems certain is that if the two parks closed, the events that they host each year would be lost as well, or at the very least forced to find new venues.

In the case of Clear Lake State Park, it hosts the annual Heron Festival and Wildflower Brunch, as well as regular bird and nature hikes, said Butts.

Anderson Marsh's Old Time Bluegrass Festival – now in its third year has supported a local history program for third graders in the Konocti Unified School District and a science camp for the Children's Museum of Arts and Science, which is a partner in the discovery center project, said McAtee.

She surmised that the bluegrass festival, the annual Christmas at Anderson Marsh, and trail hikes and birding could all be lost if the park closed.

Butts also pointed out that both parks offer environmental education opportunities for schools and school children, with summer Junior Ranger programs available to both visitors and residents.

Robey, who this year will mark 28 years in public service, said he's “never seen anything like this,” when it comes to proposed state budget cuts.

He suggested that state government got into its current situation for a variety of reasons. For one, when times were good and the economy was strong, the state expanded programs which continued to grow when tougher times arrived.

The state also has continued to use bonds and other methods of trying to deal with their debt issues, said Robey. “They've used up all of their other methods. That's what I think is going on. They're desperate.”

That, said Robey, leaves them with one solution – to cut back. But the bailout is likely to come at the expense of local governments, “where the rubber hits the road.”

One avenue of cutbacks Robey pointed to isn't being taken. He noted that there is no suggestion that legislators should cut their salaries after giving themselves a raise last year.

In May the actual budget should begin to solidify, said Robey. “Right now, it's all just talk. But it's going to have major impacts on us.”

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SPRING VALLEY – A Clearlake Oaks man and his two sons were arrested Monday after he allegedly shot into an unoccupied vehicle.

Gerardo Castillo, 42, remained in custody on Tuesday on several charges in connection with a Monday afternoon incident in Spring Valley, where sheriff's deputies initially responded to what was reported as a drive-by shooting, as Lake County News reported.

“It wasn't really a drive-by,” said Lt. Cecil Brown of the Lake County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday.

He said that Castillo and his 18-year-old son, Gerardo Antonio Castillo, along with a younger, juvenile son, drove to a home where they asked the resident about a vehicle that was parked there,

Brown said the Castillos believed the vehicle had been involved in a confrontation earlier in the day. The car's owner denied it, Brown added.

Allegedly the elder Castillo, said Brown, “made his point by firing four shots into the back of the car.”

Castillo and his sons then allegedly drove off, but were later contacted by deputies in Spring Valley and arrested, said Brown.

The elder Castillo on Tuesday remained in the Lake County Jail on several felony charges, according to jail records. Charges against him included shooting into an unoccupied vehicle, felon/addict in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit a crime, willful discharges of a firearm in a negligent way and vandalism, plus a misdemeanor charges added Tuesday for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Bail is set at $81,000.

The younger Gerardo Castillo had been arrested for conspiracy to commit a crime and for being an accessory to a crime, both felony charges. He had been released on $50,000 bail on Tuesday.

The juvenile son also was arrested, said Brown.

The two young men were arrested because they allegedly lied to deputies, telling them they had been at the store and didn't know anything about the shooting, said Brown.

He added, “It doesn't look like our agency has had any prior contacts with them.”

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NICE – Sheriff's officials are reporting that three individuals arrested in connection to an alleged Saturday night drive-by shooting are suspected of being gang members.

Authorities also are on the lookout for other possible suspects related to the incident.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office issued a report Monday afternoon that details the arrest of 20-year-old Roberto Garcia and two female juveniles, all of Ukiah, in connection to the Saturday night incident. The shooting took place in Nice, as Lake County News has reported.

Sgt. Brian Martin of the sheriff's Investigation Division reported that Mendocino County Sheriffs arrested Garcia and the two girls early Sunday morning before turning them over to Lake County.

Martin said the arrests stemmed from a late night drive-by shooting in the 3600 block of Lakeview

Drive in Nice.

The three are suspected of participating in the shooting, using a small caliber firearm, reported Martin. They allegedly shot out the window of an unoccupied vehicle and left several bullet holes in the car.

Martin reported that no injuries were reported as a result of the shooting.

Deputy Frank Walsh, who Martin said led the investigation, identified the three suspects as being occupants of a late model Lexus sedan that was spotted in the area at the time of the shooting.

Garcia was arrested for felony vandalism, discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle and participating in a criminal street gang, Martin reported. He remains in the Lake County Jail, with his bail now listed at $41,000, according to jail records.

Martin said the names of the females are not being released due to their age.

Sheriff's investigators are exploring the motivations for the shooting and looking at the possibility that other suspects were involved in the crime, Martin reported.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Sgt. Jim Samples, supervisor of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Gang Unit, at 262-4200.

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MIDDLETOWN – A Middletown woman was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence Friday after she crashed her car along Highway 29.

A report from California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia explained that Rebecca Mary Eickhoff, 47, was arrested following the collision, which took place at approximately 1:25 p.m.

Eickhoff was driving her 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser southbound on Highway 29 south of Spruce Grove Road North near Lower Lake when she failed to negotiate a curve in the road, said Garcia.

Garcia said Eickhoff's car struck the embankment, with the collision causing her vehicle to roll over.

The car came to rest on its left side, blocking northbound traffic, said Garcia.

Eickhoff sustained minor injuries which did not require an ambulance transport, according to Garcia's report.

One-way traffic control was in effect for approximately an hour before the road could be fully reopened, said Garcia.

CHP Officer Nick Powell arrested Eickhoff, a businesswoman, for driving under the influence of alcohol, according to jail records.

Garcia said Powell is investigating the incident.


LAKE COUNTY – Senior centers in Lucerne and Lakeport have announced personnel changes.

JJ Jackson, who was executive director of the Lucerne Center, has moved to that position in Lakeport, replacing Marilyn Johnson.

Jackson said he will be temporary for two months while the center follows government guidelines for hiring, which include advertising the position. His assistant is Sarah Tansey.

In Lucerne, Lee Tyree, who was assistant director at the Clearlake Oaks Senior Center, has become executive director. She had formerly worked at the Lucerne center's outreach office.

Shirley Darnell is now director of Meals on Wheels at the Lucerne center and Debbie DiAndrea, has moved from pre-event coordinator to director of the outreach office.


NICE – Authorities have arrested a Ukiah man and two female juveniles in connection with an alleged drive-by shooting Saturday.

Sheriff Rod Mitchell confirmed Sunday afternoon that a drive-by shooting had taken place Saturday night, but added that no one was injured.

Roberto Garcia, 20, was arrested early Sunday morning on felony counts of discharging a firearm from a vehicle, shooting at an unoccupied dwelling/vehicle and vandalism with property damage, according to Lake County Jail records.

“I can also confirm that two juveniles, both female, are in custody in relation to this offense,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell added, “We are not comfortable discussing motive publicly at this stage of the investigation.”

A “be on the lookout” for the suspects was issued across law enforcement radio frequencies about 11:18 p.m. Saturday in response to the shooting.

Mitchell said more information would be released Monday.

Garcia, whose occupation is listed as a server, remained in jail on $30,000 bail Sunday.

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LAKEPORT – The District Attorney's Office on Thursday requested that Lake County Superior Court dismiss murder and arson charges against a Lucerne man held since March of 2006 for the death of his girlfriend.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins explained that his office was dropping its prosecution of Charlton Alexander Bruff, who turns 53 on Friday, for the death of Lucerne resident and nurse Julie Gilbertson.

Bruff, a landscaper originally form Jamaica, was to have gone on trial Jan. 15.

New evidence in the case presented by defense attorneys Stephen and Angela Carter on Jan. 8 caused prosecutors to conclude that they couldn't convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Bruff was responsible, Hopkins said.

However, Hopkins intimated that his office may re-file charges in the future.

The specifics about the evidence in question was not being released, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff, who had prosecuted the case. “We still need to treat this like a pending case,” he said, adding that he was not at liberty to discuss the facts.

Stephen Carter said in a Thursday statement that he was confident of beating the case that the District Attorney had planned.

“We were ready for trial and we were ready to win,” he said. “We had a team of experts, all of whom believed that Mr. Bruff was wrongly accused and all of whom have been working on fighting every detail of this case from day one.”

Bruff was accused of setting fire to the home he and girlfriend Julie Gilbertson shared at 6804 Frontage Road in Lucerne in the early morning hours of March 1, 2006. Also living in the home were Gilberton's daughter and the daughter's boyfriend, according to the District Attorney's Office.

A report from Hopkins' office said the fire took three hours to extinguish.

Gilbertson, who was trapped in the fire but later rescued, died March 4, 2006, at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco as a result of the smoke inhalation, according to the report.

Following a five-day investigation arson – which included investigators from the Lake County Arson Task Force, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and a private insurance investigator – it was determined that the fire had been intentionally set, according to the District Attorney's Office.

However, Angela Carter disputed those findings. “Our fire experts are definitive that this was not arson. There were not multiple sources to this fire. This was an accidental fire. All of the physical evidence confirms this.”

She added that there was a “rush to judgment,” and that Bruff – a Jamaican and resident alien with speech issues and learning disabilities, who was “emotional, afraid and fully cooperative” – was an easy target.

Angela Carter contended that the house fire resulted from a condition called “flashover,” or a firestorm, because the house “had an unusually high level of contents,” which amounted to fuel. She said defense experts found no presence of accelerants which an arson dog had allegedly detected in the original investigation.

Stephen Carter said Bruff left the home wearing only a pair of sweat pants, leaving his wallet, dentures and other belongings inside. Carter said the prosecution contended that Bruff was a “vanity fire setter,” who set the fire in order to be a hero, a contention Carter called “nonsense.”

Hopkins, however, responded by saying that his office's decision not to prosecute had nothing to do with the facts of the case, which he maintained upheld the idea of Bruff's responsibility.

Rather, the decision centered on whether certain evidence – in the form of witness testimony – would prove Bruff's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. “Our view at this point is that it would not,” said Hopkins.

The central facts remain the same, said Hopkins.

“We did not arrive at a conclusion that an arson did not take place, and we have no doubt about the way the fire progressed,” he said.

He also dismissed the Carters' claims that Bruff did not make incriminating statements during the investigation. “We have no doubts about the defendant's statements, because we have a tape recording and can understand what he says.”

The Carters said that Bruff speaks a Jamaican creole dialect known as Patois. That, coupled with the fact that Bruff lost his dentures in the fire, led investigators to misunderstand his statements and take them out of context, the Carters alleged.

“Our speech expert did away with the idea that any sort of admission took place,” said Angela Carter.

Hopkins said the Carters divulged their information just days before the trial, although they had the information since last year. “Our view is that justice is not a game,” he said.

Angela Carter responded that the District Attorney's Office “was well aware of who their witnesses were from the beginning.”

She said the defense team wasn't going to tip its entire hand before the trial, because they didn't want to risk him going to jail for the rest of his life. “We don’t rely on the good will and good judgment of the very people who are responsible for prosecuting an innocent man.”

By dismissing the charges now, Hopkins said that he can refile later if new evidence supports it. If they had gone forward with a prosecution and the jury returned a not guilty verdict, it would have permanently barred Hopkins' office from retrying the case.

On Thursday evening Bruff was released from the Lake County Jail, where he has been held since March 13, 2006. Stephen Carter picked up Bruff from jail, Angela Carter reported.

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SPRING VALLEY – Another drive-by shooting was reported in the county late Monday afternoon, with deputies arresting a man on charges of shooting into a vehicle.

Clearlake Oaks resident Gerardo Castillo, 42, was arrested by Lake County Sheriff's deputies on several felony charges, including shooting at an unoccupied vehicle, conspiracy to commit a crime, and a felon or addict in possession of a firearm.

Authorities received a report of shots fired from in the area of Cache Creek Road in Spring Valley just after 4 p.m.

Three male suspects in a green and silver extended cab Ford Ranger pickup reportedly shot at a vehicle, according to a radio report.

The men were reported to be heading for an address on New Long Valley Road, according to radio reports.

Chief Deputy Russell Perdock of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said deputies were on scene at about 5:30 p.m. to investigate the incident.

Perdock said investigators were not yet certain of what exactly had happened or if it was actually a drive-by shooting as originally reported.

Later Monday night, Lake County Jail records showed that Castillo, who works as a pear packer, had been taken into custody just after 6:30 p.m.

Other charges against him included felony willful discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner and felony vandalism. He is being held on $80,000 bail.

Also in custody was 18-year-old Gerardo Antonio Castillo, also of Clearlake Oaks, who was arrested just after 5 p.m. He is being held on felony charges of conspiracy to commit a crime and being an accessory, with bail set at $50,000.

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LAKE COUNTY – Most of the county's residents had power restored to them by Sunday following outages that resulted from powerful winter storms that arrived late last week.

Overall, it was another day of more mile weather on Sunday, although forecasters continue to predict more rain this week.

That break in the weather proved important to Pacific Gas and Electric power crews.

On Sunday afternoon PG&E reported that most of the power outages in the county had been resolved.

PG&E spokesperson Jana Schuering said about 70 people were still out of power in Clearlake Sunday evening, with about 100 other customers between Clearlake and Hopland also believed to still be out of power.

Schuering said crews planned to work through the night to restore the power supply to those customers.

About 5,500 residents in Mendocino County – most of them along the coast – were still out of power Sunday night, Schuering said.

Since the storms hit Friday, about 2 million PG&E customers from Eureka to Bakersfield have lost power, the company reported. Of those, 1.9 million have had power restored.

As of Sunday, PG&E reported that the storms had damaged 527 miles of power line, 567 poles, 536 transformers and 696 crossarms throughout the company's coverage area.

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SACRAMENTO – Summing up a difficult year and looking ahead, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday gave his annual State of the State Address.

But some of his solutions for problems facing the state didn't merit approval from a local legislator.

Speaking before a joint session of the California State Legislature, Schwarzenegger recounted challenges from 2007, including Southern California's devastating fires.

He thanked the thousands of thousands of emergency personnel and volunteers – among them firefighters from four Lake County fire departments – who responded to the emergency, and also extended thanks to President George W. Bush and the federal government for support for the state.

Turning to economics, Schwarzenegger recounted a voluntary agreement reached with lenders to help lessen the risk of foreclosures, which have hit the state hard.

He also restated his commitment to “the most comprehensive health care reform in the nation,” which is working its way through the Legislature.

Schwarzenegger gave considerable attention to the state's budget, which he said isn't struggling due to the economy. “The problem is that while revenues are flat, automatic formulas are increasing spending by 7.3 percent. Now, even a booming economy can't meet that kind of increase. So the system itself is the problem.”

With an expected $14 billion deficit looming ahead in the 2008-09 budget year, Schwarzenegger said he will submit a “difficult” budget to the legislature. “It does not raise taxes; it cuts the increase in spending, and it cuts that spending across the board.”

In order to avoid what he called a “binge and purge” annual budget cycle, Schwarzenegger said he plans to propose a constitutional amendment based on a process used in Arkansas, which he said will result in more event spending.

That amendment, called the Budget Stabilization Act, establishes a Revenue Stabilization Fund, which Schwarzenegger's office reported is a savings account for excess revenues taken in by California during a prosperous year.

The state will be able to transfer the difference from the Revenue Stabilization Fund into the General Fund in years when tax revenues are below average and California cannot meet its spending obligations. The governor's office added that the amendment will offer more spending flexibility in times of fiscal emergency.

Water and infrastructure also found a place in Schwarzenegger's plans. The state, he said, has a water system that was built decades ago for 18 million people. “Today we have 37 million people, and in 20 years from now we will have 50 million people.”

Water storage and delivery, and the fragile Bay-Delta must be addressed, the governor said.

The Department of Finance estimates that California needs $500 billion worth of infrastructure over the next two decades, according to Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger said in the weeks ahead he'll be sending legislation to the Assembly and Senate to create public-private partnerships to meet those critical needs.

The governor also outlined plans to improve education by using No Child Left Behind Act provisions to turn around underperforming schools.

North Coast Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) faulted Schwarzenegger's plans, especially his planned cuts.

“I am disappointed, though not surprised, by the governor’s proposal for cuts across the board,” Wiggins said in a statement issued by her office late Tuesday. 'This proposal lacks thought, vision and courage. While some cuts will have to be made, he needs to provide more leadership in these difficult times.”

She added, “We will learn more in the way of specifics in the days and weeks ahead, but I remain opposed to drastic reductions in spending for education, health care and services for the elderly and the disabled. Nor will I support further tampering with our constitution to give this governor more unilateral control over spending. We are already required by the constitution to pass balanced budgets every year, and he already has the ability to blue pencil out spending that he does not support. He’s just failed to do so.”

Schwarzenegger, Wiggins concluded, “doesn’t need any additional tools in order to move our state in a positive direction – but he does need to make choices more difficult than what we have seen and heard from him so far.”

To see the full text of Schwarzenegger's speech, visit

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KELSEYVILLE – The Chi Council for the Clear Lake Hitch will serve as this year’s host to the Lake County watershed groups for a celebration of their activities and achievements.

The annual “Year in Review” will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m., at the Presbyterian Church of Kelseyville, Church and Third streets.

The evening will shine a spotlight on the events and accomplishments of the various watershed groups throughout the county’s Upper Cache Creek Watershed, and also the two local Resource Conservation Districts.

The West Lake Resource Conservation District (RCD) will be announcing the recipient of their “2007 Partner of the Year” award. Last year’s well-deserved award was given to the U.S. Forest Service, Mendocino National Forest, under the direction of Blaine Baker.

Peter Windrem, chair for the Chi Council, will give a presentation about the Clear Lake Hitch and the activities of this group. The Robinson Rancheria Environmental Department will also be on hand to discuss their work regarding this species, and show a video on migration activity.

New this year will be the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year award. Sponsored by the Upper Cache Creek Watershed Alliance, the award will recognize an outstanding volunteer from each of the active watershed groups.

Greg Dills, watershed coordinator for the East Lake and West Lake RCDs, will present highlights of the accomplishments made during 2007. The presentation will cover conservation activities throughout the county, and is the highlight of the evening. It provides a wonderful opportunity for the community to see what these groups do. Be sure to mark this great event on your calendar for 2008!

All stewardships, coordinated resource management and planning groups (CRMPs) and watershed councils are invited to attend, and are being asked to assist with refreshments. The groups are also encouraged to bring materials that they’d like to display or share with others.

Natural resource partners, public agencies, tribes, neighbors, friends, and everyone interested in the health of the local watersheds are welcome and encouraged to attend the event.

Anyone desiring more information or those interested in helping with refreshments should contact Linda Juntunen at 263-4180, Extension 16.


Cobb resident Roger Kinney, who lives at an elevation of 3,000 feet, photographed the snow on Cobb that fell Saturday. Pictured is a firefighter; Kinney said the fire department came to check on everyone to make sure they were OK.


LAKE COUNTY – Snow fell in parts of Lake County Saturday, but overall there was a slight break in the severe winter weather, with forecasters calling for more rain over the next several days.

Snow covered Cobb and the Lake Pillsbury areas, and dusted the tops of the hills along the Northshore, but there was a window of clearer weather Saturday, before rains began to return in the evening.

Meanwhile, Pacific Gas and Electric's workers were still struggling to repair damage and restore electricity to customers around the state, including Lake County.

PG&E spokesperson Susan Simon said Saturday evening that approximately 1,151 Lake County residents remained out of power in four outages, with the largest in Kelseyville.

Simon had no information on when those customers could expect to have their power restored.

Statewide, PG&E reported that its crews have been working around the clock since Friday morning to restore power and repair damage from the storms.

Across its service region, stretching from Bakersfield to Eureka, 450 miles of power line, 469 power poles, 409 transformers and 525 crossarms, have been damaged, according to PG&E.

The company reported that the storms caused 1.9 million customers to lose power. Of those, 1.6 million had power restored by late Saturday. Fifty-five thousand Bay Area customers still lacked power.

The North Coast and Sierra Nevada were among the hardest hit areas, PG&E reported.

The National Weather Service predicts rain through the rest of the weekend and into early next week in Lake County, with chances of continued showers through next Saturday.

Northern areas of the county, including Lake Pillsbury, remain under a winter storm warning, with snow expected to continue through Monday. From Tuesday through Saturday, showers are predicted.

Caltrans reported Saturday night that all state highways in Lake County remained open with no restrictions.

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Lenny Matthews of Lucerne took this picture of snow along the way to Lake Pillsbury Saturday.




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