Sunday, 14 July 2024


HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – Lake County Sheriff's officials are looking for a suspect in an alleged home invasion and armed robbery that took place Tuesday.

Capt. James Bauman reported that sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence on Park Point Court in Hidden Valley Lake on Oct. 28 to investigate a reported home invasion and armed robbery.

Upon arrival the victims, Kevin Schosek and Wendy Ferrell, told deputies that they were eating dinner in their living room at about 7:30 p.m. when they heard their back door slam shut, Bauman said. When they turned to see who had entered the house, a man wearing all black with a black ski mask was standing in their living room pointing a semi-automatic pistol at them.

According to Bauman, the suspect told the two not to get up and demanded their money. Schosek threw his wallet to the suspect upon demand and then the suspect took Ferrell’s purse from a kitchen counter. The suspect told the two to “wait 60 seconds before they called 911 or he would kill them” and then retreated back through same door he had entered.

Once the suspect left the house, Schosek went to a balcony to see which way the suspect would flee while Ferrell called 911, Bauman said. Schosek did not see the suspect flee the area once he ran out of the house.

The two victims were unharmed, Bauman added.

Sheriff’s deputies conducted a search for the suspect with the assistance the California Highway Patrol and Hidden Valley Security but he could not be located, Bauman said.

The suspect is believed to be a white male as part of his skin could be seen through the cuts in the ski mask, according to Bauman. The only other description the victims could provide was that he was about 5 feet 9 inches tall and had a thin build.

Anyone with information relating to the home invasion and robbery is requested to call the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Investigations Branch at 262-4200.


Bill Shields did not respond to Lake County News' candidate questionnaire. Instead, he provided the following information about his campaign and platform.

Bill Shields

Not a new face in the City Council race

Bill Shields is a longtime resident of Clearlake, age 74, and retired. For many months the city of Clearlake, with a serious shortfall of revenue, has failed to properly examine the city tax base. Without this, all the necessary services that the citizens of Clearlake rely on cannot be provided. By bringing together business owners and taxpayers to take a good look at working together, with new ideas to improve the tax base, we may be able to overcome our consistent lack of revenue. There should be a consistent open-door policy at City Hall with no overuse of closed meetings.

The city of Clearlake has a primary responsibility to maintain a safe and pleasant environment for its citizens by providing efficient, effective public services. The city also should provide a catalyst that involves residents, businesses and service organizations to foster further development of our city.

He said he will work to build a better Clearlake, including building better roads for the city.

Shields is a veteran of the US Air Force and member of the Elks and Moose lodges, and other organizations. He is a community volunteer who is concerned about kids and seniors.

Mission statement

1. When elected to the council, he will push for more detailed examination of our tax base in order to repair our city's finances, along with cutting expenses that waste taxpayer dollars.


2. Water rates in our city are too high and he will look for solutions to this problem.

3. The city of Clearlake should start utilizing solar energy to reduce long-term costs of electricity and heat.

4. He will push for a code advisory committee to begin reform of the city building code.

5. He will seek advice and feedback from the citizens to assist the City Council in finding new ideas to increase the beauty and cleanliness of the city.

6. The redevelopment agency is in debt and he will work to remedy the situation and prevent future bad investments.

Residents of Clearlake have the opportunity to make the sensible choice and elect Bill Shields to the City Council. He will make sure that your tax dollars are wisely spent. He will take a good long look at the many lawsuits against the city of Clearlake that in the past have left a bad impression of the city, its officials and some of its residents.

Bill Shields is about working to make Clearlake a better place now and in the future, and not continuing the bad decisions and bad policies of the past. He will be there for you 24 hours a day at 994-0811, where you can count on your call being returned, or just drop by 4312 Sunset in Clearlake just to talk about the issues or what's bothering you about your community.


LAKE COUNTY – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is warning motorists to avoid getting caught up in a drunk driving nightmare this Halloween weekend.

"When partying takes to the roadways, too often the result is tragic,” said Lt. Mark Loveless, commander of the Clear Lake Area CHP office.

Death is the most significant and obvious consequence of drunk driving, but a host of other nightmares also can occur, according to Loveless.

Getting arrested for DUI can cost drunk drivers between thousands of dollars in expenses, revocation of their driver’s license and possible jail time.

“If you will be driving on Halloween, make sure you and all your passengers are buckled up and that only non-drinking drivers get behind the wheel,” said Lt. Loveless.

Another issue, as people prepare to turn the clocks back one hour for Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, Nov. 2, is pedestrian safety.

“Halloween is an exciting event for children, but streets are dark and traffic is heavy,” said Lt. Loveless. “While children are putting on their costumes, parents should remind them about basic pedestrian safety – stay with parents or a group, cross at the corner and check for traffic before crossing the street.”

Motorists also need to be aware of children running from house to house, he said.

“The safest approach is for parents to accompany their children as they go from house to house,” Lt. Loveless said.

Loveless recommends carrying a flashlight to illuminate the sidewalks and alert motorists. Parents also should take precautions to ensure costumes are safe and that their child’s vision is not obscured.

“This day can be a time of fun and fantasy for children. Don’t let it turn into a tragedy. Take safety along with you as you go from door to door,” Lt. Loveless said.

Loveless issued a final safety reminder to motorists to watch their speed and to always buckle up and secure children in child safety seats.



COBB – Operators of the Bottle Rock Power Plant are due to sit down with area residents on Thursday evening and discuss concerns about the plant and its impact on the community.

The meeting will take place beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Cobb, 15780 Bottle Rock Road.

Supervisor Rob Brown said he organized a meeting to bring together the community and the power plant's representatives to discuss the plant and make an attempt to work out concerns and differences. Brown has received numerous complaints about the plant, prompting the meeting.

The plant, owned by US Renewables Group of Santa Monica and Carlyle/Riverstone Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund I, reopened at the end of March 2007, as Lake County News has reported.

The plant originally had been built by the state Department of Water Resources to provide power for its operations.

The 55-megawatt plant, which can power as many as 55,000 homes, was closed in September of 1990 due to lack of steam. When it was reopened in 2007, plant officials said they had successfully reopened seven of the plant's original 10 steam-producing wells, and drilled two new ones.

Since the plant's reopening, neighbors in the area say they've experienced a number of impacts from the plant – including noise levels and handling of what they believe are hazardous materials – that is harming their quality of life and causing environmental concerns.

Larry Bandt, vice president of engineering for Oski Energy, which manages Bottle Rock Power's plant operations, said company representatives will be at the Thursday meeting to hear what the neighbors have to say and offer their own comments.

Bandt said the company has been talking about neighbors regarding their complaints, and have made and effort to work with them since the plant reopened last year.

One of the neighbors complaining about the plant is David Coleman. Coleman, whose great-grandfather settled the area and homesteaded the land where plant is located on Bottle Rock Road, splits his time between Cobb and the Bay Area.

He and other neighbors are particularly concerned about the plant's drill sumps – which collect water and chemicals – and how they're cleaned. Coleman said the operators have been taking the materials from the sumps and letting them dry in a nearby meadow. When he and a neighbor went to look at the situation they were told they were trespassing and informed they needed to make an appointment.

Coleman's concerns are echoed by another neighbor, Hamilton Hess, who owns property about a quarter-mile from the plant. “The most serious problem is the drilling pad and especially the sumps.”

He said the sumps are potentially a “huge cesspool of materials, many of which are toxic.”

While the plant's operators have claimed the sump materials have been tested and are benign, Hess said the neighbors remain skeptical, and have asked the county to require testing by authorized labs and make the information public.

They're also requesting the plant move to sumpless drilling, which uses tanks instead of ponds. “To move to sumpless drilling is state of the art,” Hess said.

Coleman also alleges the plant is responsible for stream alterations and violations of their use permit, and suggested the plant was approved under an outdated environmental document.

Hess added that there has been a great deal of grading and equipment work, which he said has been unpermitted.

However, he added, “We're not faulting them in terms of motivation,” saying that a new operations team has come on board since last November.

Coleman has taken his and fellow neighbors' concerns to the California Energy Commission, Department of Fish and Game, the Office of Emergency Services and the county's Community Development Department, along with approaching the Sierra Club Lake Group.

“It's just a huge, huge mess,” he said.

Coleman claims the plant has used dredged materials for top soil, and garbage and pallets are stacked everywhere.

Recently, however, he said the county and Fish and Game have the plant working on erosion control, and the plant is moving equipment and junk out of the area.

He said the biggest complaint he and his neighbors have concern the compromised sumps, and what is being done with the mud and materials pulled from them.

Coleman questions what might be in those materials. “I think everybody is nervous about that.”

Sound also is an issue. Coleman said at first the plant's operators encouraged the neighbors to call if they had problems. They did call, he said, but they only were only temporarily appeased and nothing was actually done.

“We found out a lot of things were slipping through the cracks,” he said.

He said at least 10 families in the area have expressed problems with the plant, while many more have just resigned themselves to accepting the problems.

Coleman said he's irritated by the difficulties he's had getting state and local agencies to talk to each other regarding the plant, or even to get plant personnel and Fish and Game communicating. “Why am I doing someone else's job without pay?”

He said he's like to see the power plant stop using the sumps. “I've seen the sumps overflowing on numerous occasions.”

Coleman said he is hopeful since the parent company recently sent out an executive to take a look at operations more closely.

“I'm just very dubious about who's going to fix it and how it's going to get done,” he said.

Hess said he believes things are getting better, and he is looking forward to the meeting, which he sees as an opportunity for the neighbors to get their issues resolved.

When asked about the issues the neighbors have with the plant, Brandt said he would wait until the Thursday meeting to respond to them.

For a full account of the plant's reopening, see Lake County News' February 2007 story,

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


LAKE COUNTY – A Sebastopol man who went missing on Sunday while dirt bike riding on Cow Mountain turned up on Monday afternoon – exhausted, hungry but unharmed.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a report that 24-year-old Sean Wesley Levine and a group of friends from the Santa Rosa area had been riding their dirt bikes on both the Mendocino and Lake County sides of Cow Mountain during the day and Levine had become separated from the group, according to Capt. James Bauman.

Bauman said Levine had been last seen at about 4 p.m. in the area of Scotts and Benmore creeks as the group was making their way back to their vehicles on the Mendocino side.

Patrol deputies from both the Lake and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office searched their respective sides of the Cow Mountain area. Bauman said by 11:30 p.m., when deputies were unable to locate Levine, Lake County Search and Rescue was activated to take over the search.

He said Search and Rescue teams combed the area throughout the night and at about 5:30 a.m. on Monday, Levine’s motorcycle and riding gear were located on the side of the Mendo-Lake Road to Ukiah. The motorcycle was undamaged and empty of fuel.

At around daybreak on Monday morning, a helicopter contracted for searching out illegal marijuana grows was diverted to the area to assist with the search for Levine, said Bauman.

But an air search of the trails connecting to the area the motorcycle was found, numerous phone calls to Lakeport area motels, and an extended search by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department of the roads from Cow Mountain to Ukiah all resulted in no sign of Levine, Bauman said.

As a result, Bauman said that at about 9:30 a.m. Monday the search for Levine was suspended pending further leads as to his whereabouts.

However, the apparently grim situation ended with Levine walking into the University of California Field Station in Hopland shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday, said Bauman. The station called the sheriff's dispatch to report Levine's appearance.

Bauman said he called the field station office and spoke to Levin. While hungry and exhausted, Levine was otherwise unharmed.

Officials had suspected Levine had run out of fuel, which Bauman said did, indeed, turn out to be the case.

Levine told Bauman he started walking until it got too dark to see, and then started a small fire on the trail he was on and slept in the wilderness all night.

At daybreak, Levine started walking again along unknown creek beds and trails until he somehow reached Hopland, Bauman said.

Bauman said Levine didn't know where he came out of the recreational area or even what road he found to get to Hopland.

While Levine heard the searching helicopter a couple of times on Monday morning, the helicopter couldn't see him because of the distance, Bauman said.

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


Diver Spenser Johnson is attached by rope to tender Ben Cox-Franklin, who signals the diver through a series of tugs on the tether rope to direct the diver. In the event of an emergency, the diver can signal the tender who will send in a back-up diver. Photo by Terre Logsdon.

BLUE LAKES – Accidents can occur at anytime or anywhere, and if it happens in the water, the Northshore Dive Team is ready. {sidebar id=103}

The all-volunteer dive team has been in operation since 2004, with Capt. John Rodriguez of the Northshore Fire Protection District serving as the team leader.

The team meets twice per month and at one of those meetings, they practice in the water, regardless of the weather, as they did on Sunday, Oct. 19, at The Narrows Lodge and Resort in Blue Lakes.


When the team is called out to search the body of water, they utilize a protocol devised by Team Lifeguard Systems.

The Team Lifeguard System requires a minimum of five participants, which include three divers and two tenders – with specific roles and duties for each participant.

A team must consist of one primary diver, one primary tender (who can serve as the incident commander), one fully-dressed back up diver, one back up tender (who can also serve as profiler) and one 90-percent-ready diver.

“Lifeguard Systems is in-depth training,” said diver Keith Hoyt with Northshore Fire. Hoyst said Lifeguard Systems has a higher level of safety and success with searching – 40 to 50 percent higher than the team's previous method.

Hoyt, who was serving as the 90-percent-ready diver in the exercise on Oct. 19, explained that there is more information for all team members to memorize with this method, but that information makes communication between the diver and the person on the other end of their tether – called a “tender” – more clear.




Dive Team Leader John Rodriguez checks equipment as it

LAKEPORT – A Sutter Lakeside Hospital official says that a Wednesday informational picket of the hospital by union members has little to do with working conditions there, while the union is using the opportunity to raise patient care issues.

SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) members will hold the informational picket from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the hospital on Wednesday at the hospital's main campus on Hill Road East.

Also on Wednesday, UHW plans strikes at 10 hospitals around the state, including five belonging to Sutter Health, as Lake County News has reported. The union reported that UHW workers have been in negotiations with Sutter Health for months, and have been without a contract since Sept. 30.

A Sutter Health information sheet on the UHW actions said the strike has “nothing to do with employees who work within some Sutter Health hospitals and everything to do with increasing power, membership and money for UHW.”

Sutter Health states it pays higher-than-average wages to its employees, with medical records clerks receiving an average of $44,336, far above the $28,558 paid by other Northern California hospitals.

Sutter Lakeside Hospital spokesman Mitch Proaps said the union presented its proposals to the hospital in the middle of September, and Sutter Lakeside is now in the midst of answering them.

“I can't really respond to what may or may not be in those proposals,” he said. “I have to respect the negotiations process. We do our negotiations at the table, not through the media.”

Proaps said the hospital and UHW are scheduled to meet to discuss the contract proposals in November.

He said he's not aware of the specific issues the union is using as the reason for the Wednesday event. “They're not at liberty to tell us their motives for the picket.”

Proaps added, however, that it's the hospital's assumption that the picket at Sutter Lakeside is in support of labor actions outside of the area due to where they're at in the negotiations process locally.

Stefanie Edwards, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and a nursing student who also is a UHW member, said she's worked at the hospital for a little over a year. Currently, Edwards is in the hospital's outpatient unit, where she works on a per-diem basis a few days a week.

The main concern for her is a proposal to have a patient to CNA ratio of 16 to 1. “Even in nursing homes they have more staff per patient.”

Edwards said registered nurses, who normally are in charge of more advanced medical care and passing medications, also are doing more duties like bathing normally assigned to CNAs, and that raises concerns over the quality of patient care.

She added that she's seen staff get fewer work hours since the hospital's change to critical access designation became effective earlier this year. “We've seen them keep only one CNA for the whole med-surge wing.”

Edwards said the hospital had said it would not cut hours or lay off staff due to the designation change, but she and others have experienced drastic hour cuts.


She said the ratio change appeared to have occurred about two or three weeks ago, after the September exit of the hospital's former chief executive officer, Kelly Mather.

Proaps said the hospital's CNA contract was settled some time ago, and the state mandates particular ratios for patient to nurses and caregivers. “We run a hospital here,” he said. “Our main priority is patient care.”

He added that staff hours depend on census numbers, not the critical access designation. “Census has always driven staffing, regardless of what your capacity is.”

The critical access designation limits a hospital's beds to 25. As of Sunday, the hospital's census was 22, with a month-to-date average of 19 and a year-to-date average of 20 patients, said Proaps.

Patients are either being sent to other facilities in Santa Rosa and Ukiah, or being sent home early because of fewer beds, said Edwards. She added that she hasn't seen a larger ratio of people being sent to the skilled facilities, like Evergreen or Lakeport Skilled.

Lakeport Skilled Nursing Administrator Debra Sims said her facility hasn't seen more patients due to the critical access designation. “I can't say it has remarkably increased.”

The facility, which Sims said depends on hospital for patients, has worked “very smoothly” with Sutter Lakeside since the hospital's access change.

The formal contract between the hospital and care facility was never finalized – which Sims said was on Lakeport Skilled's side, with the agreement still in the hands of their legal department. However, they are working with the hospital as if it had been finalized, and they talk with the hospital daily.

Proaps confirmed that a formal, signed bed agreement hasn't been reached with Lakeport Skilled Nursing yet. He said the hospital is working closely with both Lakeport Skilled and Evergreen Lakeport, and the hospital has been impressed by how receptive the facilities have been to Sutter Lakeside's needs.

He said the hospital receives a daily report on bed availability which, between the two facilities, hasn't proved to be an issue. That's one of the areas in which the process has run much more smoothly than anticipated since the critical access conversion.

Proaps said Sutter Lakeside has an “impressively low” vacancy turnover rate, far below Sutter Health's and the state's average.

He also emphasized that the hospital has not reduced its services due to the critical access change, with emergency, intensive care and other important services still very much present.

Proaps said the hospital doesn't plan to take any action regarding the picket. “That's their right and we honor it.”

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


LAKEPORT – A Clearlake man who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree attempted murder charges last month was sentenced to prison on Monday.

Judge Arthur Mann sentenced Wilbur Cope, 38, to 74 years to life in prison, said Cope's defense attorney, Stephen Carter.

On Sept. 10, 2006, Cope shot to death his girlfriend, Kristin Raviotta, before heading to the home of his ex-wife, Michelle Cain, and her husband, Terry. Along the way he crashed his vehicle, and when neighbors came to help him he shot one of them, Sharon England.

Reaching the Cains' home, he shot them through a sliding glass door with a shotgun, with Terry Cain taking the gun's full blast, as Lake County News has reported.

On Sept. 29 Cope pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for Raviotta's death, and second-degree attempted murder for shooting Terry Cain.

Carter said Cope received 15 years to life for shooting Raviotta plus 25 years to life for using a firearm. Cope also received the upper term of nine years for shooting Terry Cain, plus another 25 years to life for firearm use.

“So his total is 74 to life,” said Carter.

Cope must serve nearly 73 years before any release could be considered. He would be 111 years old.

“At which point, if he were alive, he would be eligible for parole,” said Carter.

During the Monday proceedings, Cain's son gave a victim impact statement on behalf of his family regarding Cope's actions, said Carter. Raviotta's mother also submitted a statement, which was ready by a Victim-Witness advocate.

Carter said Cope's physical injury – sustained while working as a firefighters several years ago – combined with depression and drug use “led to tragedy for Mr. Cope and the people he harmed.”

Cope entered the guilty pleas last month as part of a deal that, while ensuring Cope will spend the rest of his life in prison, meant he would not face trial for first-degree murder, as Lake County News reported.

By voluntarily entering into the disposition agreement, Cope made sure that the surviving victims and their families do not have to go through a long trial and will not be forced to re-live what took place, said Carter.

Attorney Angela Carter, who worked with husband Stephen on the case, said that the agreement also meant no jury trial and no years of appeals in this case.

Cope is expected to be transported to state prison soon. A benefit of that plea is that Cope will not be housed with prisoners convicted of the higher murder charge, and so he'll have a chance at a better quality of life during incarceration, Stephen Carter said.

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Yvonne Cox at home with her longtime partner, builder Gary Stevenson. Photo by Lenny Matthews.

LUCERNE – A private effort to feed the hungry and give youngsters a gathering place in Lucerne is foundering for lack of funds.

"I may have to do a photo layout for Hustler magazine to keep it going," joked 40-something Yvonne Cox, who runs a teen center and free weekly dinner with a lot of help from her friends, but none from any agencies or organizations.

Cox, better known as Snake Lady, a belly dancer and tattoo artist, has been offering weekly free meals for about two years, first at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, and currently at Kapitan's Kafé, a donated space. Except for occasional donations, she foots the bills for groceries. Dinner is sometimes a full meal with entrée and dessert, and sometimes a hearty soup.

Her youth center is in a building donated by Dr. Bob Gardner, who has told her he needs some rent money soon.


Gardner owns several Lucerne properties and said he's recently had some interest from potential tenants.

Gardner said this last week, "If there's any help on the horizon I would like to work with her, and I hope the community will pull together. She operates from the heart and doesn't just talk about things that actually does them. I'd love to see her get some help, but I can't carry it much longer. Our original agreement was she had the space free for three months, which ended last April."

Not everyone is a Snake Lady fan. Some criticize her friendship with Eddy Lepp, the Upper Lake marijuana grower who has just been convicted on federal drug charges. Some disapprove of her clothes, often bare midriff, or her stable of motorcycles, or sales of pipes and other marijuana paraphernalia at her former imports and gift shop.

Cox said she met with a representative of the sheriff's office in June of 2007 when Lucerne residents were worried about a rash of graffiti on buildings, hoping for some help from that department in organizing youth activities.

The sheriff's department does have youth activities, but none specifically targeted to Lucerne, according to public information officer Capt. James Bauman.

Those are the Explorer program sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America and the Sheriff's Activity League's Junior Giants program, an offshoot of the San Francisco Giants, Bauman said.

Cox's youth program includes after-school activities, Saturday movies (G or PG-rated) and occasional dances, all at the corner of 15th Avenue and Highway 20, across the street from Gardner's medical clinic.

The free dinners – which she said have provided 13,000 meals in the two years since they started – were first held at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, where Cox raised $500 for the center with a poker run motorcycle event, and missed becoming a board member by one vote. She and sources close to the center, who asked not to be identified, agreed there were a variety of reasons she moved from there last fall. There were disagreements over food borrowed by the center's kitchen staff, and over how to deal with unwelcome observers of her weekly belly dance classes.

She first moved the dinners to Harbor Park; the timing was unfortunate, just before the winter rainy season started. She requested and got use of Kapitan's Kafé restaurant, 6150 E. Highway 20, from owners Jose Plata and his wife Ramona Gomez. They close at 3 p.m., and Cox and her helpers move in soon after for the 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday dinners.

Regular volunteer workers at the dinners are James MacDonald (Mac) and Lillian Sherry, both formerly associated with the senior center, he as head cook and she as a board member.

Another key volunteer is Christina Anderson, who works in Robinson Rancheria tribal administration and whose 11-year-old son is a regular at the youth center. In her spare time she is working on getting nonprofit status for the youth center, and then seeking grants to keep it operating. She said she expects the nonprofit application to be approved in January.

Meanwhile, insurance is under the nonprofit umbrella of Sunrise Services. Anderson can be reached at the tribal office, 275-0527.

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


Curt Giambruno

Age: 70

Family: Married 51 years to Judie, mother of five children – three girls, two boys – and five grandsons and one great-granddaughter.

Experience in government and community service: 1993 to 1994, started to volunteer for many different entities for and with the city: Chamber of Commerce, CRC, community cleanup projects, auto abatement, City Code Enforcement Department for nine years, Countywide Parks Advisory Board for six years, president of Vector Control Board for nine-plus years. Appointed to the Clearlake Planning Commission for a total of more than nine years, including four as chairman. Appointed to the City Council in 2006. In more than two years on the council, I have been councilmember, vice mayor and currently am mayor.

Endorsements: Supervisors Ed Robey and Jeff Smith; Mark Cooper, DDS, and Janice Cooper; Clearlake Planning Commission, Chairman Carl Webb, Vice Chair Al Bernal, and Commissioners Bill Perkins, Gina Fortino Dickson and Fred Gaul; Carol Webb; Pamela Bernal; Kathy Perkins; Ruth Gaul; Bob Keil; Terry Stewart; Doug and Arlene Cooper; Anna and Frank McAtee; Andy Peterson; Konocti Unified School District Board of Trustees member Anita Gordon; Lower Lake High School Counselor Amy Osborn; Harriet Rogers; endorsed by many more citizens and community leaders.

1. Explain what you believe a city council member's responsibilities are. How would you fulfill these? What qualifications do you possess that make you a good candidate for office?

Responsibilities: Setting policy through legislation, reviewing and approving the annual budget, selecting a chief administrator, an attorney and a chief of police. Setting the mission and goals for the organization. Explaining and selling programs.

In order to get anything accomplished an elected official must be a good listener, learn to work together in defining and agreeing on mutual goals for the organization. One of the main things not to do is micromanage staff.

I am a good listener and am able to work cooperatively with enough other members of the group to be able to get things accomplished.

2. Explain how your management style would be applied to your position as council member. Are you hands-on or do you set policy and delegate?

My management style as applied to the role of an elected official is directly accountable to constituents. I feel I must constantly balance individual and group demands with the needs of the entire community.

I would prefer to set policy and delegate by adopting legislation making policy. Adjudicating issues and help to establish budgets.

3. Large developments are proposed for Clearlake and surrounding areas, particularly the Provinsalia development near Cache Creek, the Serenity Cove project on the lakeshore and increased commercial development along Highway 53. What is your opinion on these various projects? Are they good for Clearlake? Why or why not? Are there any other developments that you think are either good or bad for the city?

My general answer to this question is YES. Provinsalia development and the Serenity Cove project (this project is under way) have the potential of bringing to our community additional tourists and visitors. This will be economically viable for our city.

Retail center for the county along Highway 53: This retail hub would provide jobs for our citizens and revenues for our city. This project has the potential of bringing in a large sales tax base, which is sorely needed. The city needs to have this economic stability in order to provide for the public safety and other public needs for our city.

I am not award of any other developments on the drawing board, at this time.

4. For several years the Clearlake Police Department's budget has been augmented by the Measure P sales tax approved by voters. Do you support continuing to augment the police department budget? Are there different approaches that you, as a council member, would take when addressing the police department?

I absolutely support continuing with Measures P as part of the police department budget. Additional funding would be nice (additional sales taxes from retail developments) would help, add the necessary officers and at least two K-9 units to our force. The approach I would take as a council member with the police department is working closer with our chief and his reorganized department, which is doing a fine job in community policing.

5. The city's redevelopment plan has two years remaining in its implementation. Updating the plan is being proposed to extend it for another 10 years. Do you support extending redevelopment in Clearlake? Why or why not?

Yes I support the update of the redevelopment plan and extending it another 10 years. This will be good for the city and will add a number of millions of dollars in future years. In conjunction with this update we need to amend and update our general plan which will make the redevelopment plan more viable.

6. In September of 2007, the Clearlake Vision Task Force presented to the council a 60-page report that lays out a vision for the city, from improved infrastructure and public facilities to ways to build the economic base and create a sustainable city. What is your opinion on the value of the report? Do you think its ideas can be achieved? What would you as a council member do to carry the vision forward?

I am very pleased this task force was formed and the 60-page report came from those many meetings. I spent nine years on the Planning Commission asking for this type of document to be brought forward. I am most pleased it finally came to fruition. This vision was accepted by the council and assigned toht e Planning Commission to work with it and carry forward.

7. Some issues that come before the council can be extremely divisive, both among council members and city residents. How would you address clashing opinions when approaching a decision? What experience do you have in working with others when there are no easy answers but a decision has to be made?

In the past two-plus years on the council I have had a number of issues that have been very divisive among both council and residents. I have been involved in openly negotiating a compromise conclusion, which pleased all concerned. My experience in working with others comes from owning my own business for 30 years. I had to listen to others and to compromise.

8. If elected, is there any project or issue you plan to tackle first?

I have a number of items on my wish list – not in this order.

A. Form a Lakeshore Drive Parking District.

B. Continue to clean up Lakeshore Drive.

C. Try and make the senior center more economically viable. Solar – drop ceiling in main room.

D. Expand our economy and create jobs by working toward a retail center complex.

E. Construct a medium-size BMX bike track at Haverty Field.

F. Construct a small playground for little children at Redbud Park.

G. Economic development of Austin site.

H. Assist police department in getting the K-9 program up and running.

I. Continue working with the senior community addressing their issues.

9. Public safety is an important issue in Clearlake. How would you as a council member seek to improve safety and reduce crime in the city's neighborhoods?

I would refer to question No. 4 regarding the police department and Measure P, the new chief and his community policing policies.

10. When you think of Clearlake's future, what do you want the city to look like in 10, 20 and 30 years?

1. Having the lake more accessible to our citizens for their recreation and marinas for public use.

2. Revitalizing Lakeshore Drive.

3. Two good-sized resorts on the water – one possible a timeshare.

4. A pier extending out into the lake with a first-class restaurant and some small gift shops.

5. Transition from a small resort town to a world-class small city.

6. Through a policy of managed growth the city can expand its town center and its stock of housing while building parks and preserving open space.


Dwain Goforth, Camisha Knowlton, Linda Lake, Jane Weaver and Marybeth Alteneder took part in Saturday's Living History Day at the Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum. Courtesy photo.

LOWER LAKE – When history comes to life it becomes something relative; when history is revealed about your home it is something you can take with you.

Visiting the Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum offers a unique glimpse of what our home town was like years ago.

Saturday was the first Living History Day held at the museum. If you missed it, however, you may soon have another chance to experience this new event.

“We’d like to have one four times a year,” said Lake County Museum Curator Linda Lake said.

The turn out this Saturday was a good one, said Lake, with many people visiting the schoolhouse to investigate their town’s history.

The Museum is opened year round, Wednesday through Sunday, 11a.m. to 4p.m. In Lakeport you can also visit the Courthouse Museum. Their hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The museums offer an educational and inexpensive way to entertain yourself and your family.

Saturday offered a slide show of historic pictures, from men posing with their hunting dogs to horsedrawn wagons racing down a trail.

“People don’t get to see our historic pictures enough,” said Lake, that is why another slideshow is in the making as well.

On Saturday the Museum also had on display an authentic spinning wheel, a sewing machine and a player piano. Children’s games, such as marbles, also were played.

An exhibit at the museum reminds visitors that tough economic times aren't anything new. The exhibit explains that the average worker in the 1800s made about $16 a week. At the same time, an average week's supplies cost about $18.50, which is why children often were sent to work in order to help families make ends meet.

While you’re at the museum make sure that you look into purchasing a birds-eye view map of Lake County. These maps are part of the Museum Preservation Committee’s new fundraiser. These are the same people responsible for the new paint job of the building in August of 2007.

Lake said a museum volunteer digitally restored the map and it is now on sale for $35, not including a frame. This map was used to entice people in the 1800s to move to Lake County and buy real estate.




A historical map of Lake County that has been digitally restored and is available for sale at the museum's gift shop. Proceeds will go to the Museum Preservation Committee.



Saturday's event appeared to be a success.

“We had a lot of fun and were going to do it again,” said Assistant curator Dwain Goforth, dressed in authentic period costume.

Lake County is rich with history patiently waiting to be discovered. Visiting the museum will take you back into time and give you the opportunity to look into the past at the area's great history.

The Lower Lake Schoolhouse Museum (16435 Morgan Valley Road, telephone 995-3565) is open year-round, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In Lakeport, the Historic Courthouse Museum (255 N. Main St., telephone 263-4555) also is open all during the year, and welcomes guests from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.



An exhibit of historic farming implements graces one of the museum's walls. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.





Who eats parsnips? I see them in the grocery store all the time yet I never see anyone buying them.

Parsnips are very popular in England, where they even have gardening contests to compete for the longest parsnip root. Eating parsnips with Christmas dinner is considered essential in many households in Northern Europe. But what are they doing in Lake County grocery stores?

Any historical information about the parsnip must be thought upon as iffy at best. Since the first appearance in texts of ancient Rome and Greece the parsnip as a food was lumped into that same group as the carrot. Back then carrots weren’t orange but white, red or purple, and so the similar-looking parsnip was considered to be in the same category.

The “root” of parsnips history (pun intended) is clouded at best. The word for carrots and parsnips in Latin was pastinaca, which eventually became the French word for parsnip, panais. Since it was a root vegetable like the turnip, the English added “nip,” resulting in the modern name.

Parsnips originally came from the Mediterranean region, but as the Romans expanded north they took the parsnip with them. The Romans noticed that the parsnip grew larger the further north it was planted and that it becomes sweeter if harvested after a good frost. Many plants, especially root crops, become sweeter after frost because it triggers the plant to store sugars for the cold spell and prepare to survive the winter by sacrificing the top leafy growth which then allows the plant to strengthen the root. Since the parsnip adapted so much better to the European climate than the Mediterranean, many people think of the parsnip as a European native.

In medieval Europe most kinds of sweeteners were a luxury, so the sweetness of parsnips was considered very appealing to most people and the parsnip became a staple on most tables. As sweeteners became more readily available and the potato was introduced to the European table the parsnip’s popularity slowly declined.

Early colonists planted parsnips in North America and over the years some escaped and became wild parsnips. While they are mildly edible they look remarkably like wild hemlock, which Socrates will tell you is not the greatest thing to eat if you have any interest in your heart beating tomorrow. So unless you are an experienced forager, leave the wild parsnips in the wild because you may inadvertently grab a handful of poisonous hemlock.

Someone in the world obviously loves parsnips because their seeds don’t have a very long shelf life. While many types of seeds will survive storage for many years, parsnip seeds are typically viable for only a year, two years at maximum. Therefore, saving parsnip seeds to replenish the planet with nutritious produce after the Apocalypse isn’t recommended. If you wish to grow parsnips in Lake County you should probably do it in a wine barrel full of potting soil. They like loose sandy, loamy, soil, and our native soil of clay mixed with lava rocks and obsidian isn’t particularly parsnip-friendly.

Parsnips taste better if they are under a pound in weight because smaller or younger generally mean sweeter. This is true of many foods, such as parsnips, lobsters, veal, most fishes, Hansel and Gretel, etc. As parsnips get larger they will develop a woody core that is about as much fun to eat as the core of a pineapple. Luckily as the core gets woody it also becomes easier to remove from the rest of the root.

If you want to attempt to grow the world’s record parsnip, you should be aware that those Brits like to play with their beloved parsnips in this field and currently hold both records. You need to top either (yes, there are actually two different ways of doing it) length at 17 feet 1 inch, or weight at 12 pounds, 9 ounces. The record for length isn’t quite as impressive as it sounds, so don’t waste your time trying to imagine the 17-foot record parsnip as a huge Paul Bunyan-sized vegetable that can feed a whole town. The record breaking parsnip looks more like a foot long carrot with the tip ending in a string that continues on another 16 feet.

For your own personal use (not for contests), choose parsnips similarly to how you would choose carrots. They should be firm, evenly creamy white to tan-colored, with no bruising or soft spots.

Parsnips are versatile enough to be used in hundreds of ways: raw, in salads and soups, as appetizers or as a side dish, etc. One of its most common uses is mashed like potatoes or even blended with mashed potatoes. They are low in calories; one whole parsnip is about 130 calories TOTAL. They are high in calcium, fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, B vitamins (1,2,3,), vitamin C and zinc.

I love parsnips and look forward to them every autumn but I have a hard time imagining that the grocery store carries them all year just for my seasonal jaunt. So the question is ...Who is buying all of these parsnips?

The recipe I’ve included today was originally made with parsnips, rutabagas and winter squash, but not being used to those vegetables the recipe wasn’t well liked in my home. However when changed to parsnips, potatoes, onions and garlic the same recipe was enjoyed much more. So keep in mind that you might not want to put too many new/unique ingredients into one recipe.

The great thing about these root vegetables and autumn/winter squashes is that there is such a variety that you can mix and match this recipe to your own taste. I prefer to cube the ingredients a little smaller than average (about a quarter-inch dice) so that every forkful will have a varied combination of ingredients, not to mention that they cook faster when smaller.

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

2 parsnips diced (remove core if necessary), about two cups

1 baking potato diced, about two cups

1 winter squash (delicata, golden nugget or whatever your favorite is) diced, about two cups

1 onion quartered (leave the root intact to hold each of the four quarters together)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup orange juice

3 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix the melted butter and olive oil together and in a large bowl. Put the diced parsnips, potatoes, squash, and onion into the butter/oil mixture and toss together until well coated. Spread evenly in a single layer on a cookie sheet and put into the oven.

Meanwhile, mix the orange juice and whiskey in a small sauce pan on high heat and bring to a boil. When the mixture starts to boil reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for a minute or two so it reduces slightly and the heavy alcoholic smell burns off. Turn off the heat and add the butter and gently shake the pot until thoroughly combined.

Check the vegetables in the oven and shake the pan every fifteen minutes until done (about 35 to 45 minutes). When the vegetables are done (some carmelization and browning is desired, pieces should be tender) put in a serving bowl and pour the orange sauce over them. Lightly toss and serve.

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.


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