Thursday, 01 December 2022

News

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Upper Lake High School's Academic Decathlon team are once again the county champs, and will head to the state meet in March. Courtesy photo.

 

 

LAKE COUNTY – Many of us might be able to name the president of the Confederacy, but could you name the men in President Abraham Lincoln's cabinet, put Civil War battles in order or answer questions about General Robert E. Lee's battle strategies? {sidebar id=56}


Maybe not, but students from Upper Lake High, Lower Lake High School, Middletown High School and Clear Lake High School got together Saturday to do just that in the Lake County Academic Decathlon, hosted by the Clear Lake High School at the Marge Alakszay Center.


At the end of a day of brain-draining competition, Upper Lake High School's team of decathletes had claimed victory after losing last year to Lower Lake, which ended a long-running winning streak.


Lower Lake High standout Kate Lyons, one of the day's top medal winners with 11 (seven of them gold), competed for the third time Saturday in the Honor division.


“I enjoyed it a lot more this year,” said Lyons, now a senior and in her final year of competition. She said she believed the competition was more fun because of the topic and her familiarity with the competition.


Upper Lake's Robert Pyle was his team's lead medal winner, with 10 medals of which five were golds.


Pyle and his teammates scored 34,939 out of a possible 60,000 points to take the win. Lower Lake High School won silver with a score of 32,205.


With the overall theme of “The Civil War,” Lower Lake High took the gold medal on the Super Quiz competition which is based upon this theme.


Upper Lake Head Coach Christina Moore – assisted this year by teacher Lance Kraft – said the county competition has become increasingly tougher, with all of the schools putting out greater efforts. She recognized Lower Lake High School – last year's county winner – as a particularly strong competitor.


Coming off of Saturday's competition, Lower Lake's coach, Nancy Harby, said, “I just could not be any prouder of my kids.”


Harby echoed Moore's assessment of the high quality of Lake County's academic competition, which she said is a matter of pride for the whole county.


Those skills also have placed well at the state competition, said Harby. She pointed to Upper Lake's 2004 state win in Division 3, and her own team's fifth-place Division 3 last year, following Lower Lake's county win.


“We're right in there with the best of them,” said Harby.


Moore has a class of 15 students who study year-round for the Academic Decathlon competition. They began preparing for the Civil War-themed testing last May, as soon as the topic was announced, using specially prepared study guides and other materials.


Harby, a history teacher who has been coaching the Lower Lake team for eight years, also leads an elective Academic Decathlon preparation class of 12 students. “This is a group of very different kids who come together for this amazing experience.”


Watching the students rise to the competition's rigorous demands is “a wonder to behold,” said Harby.


Both she and Moore say they emphasize expanding their students' study skills in preparation for their college careers.


While it's fun to win, Moore said it's most important to see results like that of one former decathlete, who competed as a C student but who today is enrolled at Chico State, where she's an A student.


“That's why I kept doing it,” Moore said of continuing to coach, despite the fact that she had planned to step down last year.


Harby added that she emphasizes good sportsmanship and the concept of the worthy opponent. It's hard to come in second, she said, but she nevertheless leads her students in giving standing ovations to their opponents when they win. “We know how hard it is to get there.”


Local decathletes make an annual trip to San Joaquin Delta College for the Academic Decathlon Fine Arts Day, as Harby's and Moore's students did last fall. There, they hear lectures about the decathlon topic, see performances of literary pieces that relate to the topic they're studying and hear the Stockton Symphony Orchestra.


Lyons said meeting other teams at events and competitions has been a great experience. “All the kids who are involved tend to be really cool and just really nice people.”


Moore, who has been leading Upper Lake's team for 12 years, also had wanted to take her students to see a Civil War battle reconstruction this year. But the team's members – including athletes and members of student government – “were going in 10 different directions” and couldn't manage the trip.


Upper Lake's team will now move to the state competition, which takes place from March 7 through 10 at California State University, Sacramento.


At the state Academic Decathlon competition, each team member participates in 10 grueling events including mathematics, economics, music, art, language and literature and science.


In addition, the decathletes also will perform prepared and impromptu speeches, write an essay on a given topic and are interviewed by a panel of judges.


The final event, the Super Quiz, an academic relay, will be held at Cal State Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium before a cheering crowd.


Moore said her teaching method is to have students teach each other and learn how to study. She said the students already know the material, so now it's a matter of looking at the topic in new ways so they can compete at the more rigorous state level.


Although Moore is retiring as a teacher, she said on Saturday night the students were trying to talk her into teaching the Academic Decathlon class next year. She said her plans aren't yet firm.


Harby said she has a lot of admiration for Moore and the Upper Lake Academic Decathlon program. “They're just outstanding – great competitors.”


She also thanked Clear Lake's coach, Jim Rogers, for hosting this year's event.


Harby said she'll “absolutely” continue leading the Lower Lake team next year, and will begin working with her students now on the basics – literature, economics, etc. to prepare.


“It feeds my soul,” she said.


Lake County competition final standings


Individual medals and team titles won at Lake County’s Saturday competition include:


Music

  • Gold: Robin Grayhorse, Upper Lake High School.

  • Silver: Kate Lyons, Lower Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Corey Smith, Upper Lake High School; Robert Pyle, Upper Lake High School; Kyle Coleman, Upper Lake High School.


Essay

  • Gold: Robert Pyle, Upper Lake High School.

  • Silver: Kayla Myrick, Lower Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Joshua Salazar, Lower Lake High School.


Arts

  • Gold: Emmalena Illia, Lower Lake High School.

  • Silver: Kate Lyons, Lower Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Robert Pyle, Upper Lake High School; Joe Riggs, Lower Lake High School.


Interview

  • Gold: Joshua Salazar, Lower Lake High School.

  • Silver: Aaron Turner, Middletown High School.

  • Bronze: Kate Lyons, Lower Lake High School.


Language and Literature

  • Gold: Kate Lyons, Lower Lake High School; Robin Grayhorse, Upper Lake High School; Robert Pyle, Upper Lake High School.

  • Silver: Kayla Myrick, Lower Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Jacob Sanders, Lower Lake High School.


Mathematics

  • Gold: Joseph Rebolledo, Middletown High School.

  • Silver: Elise Zolczyski, Middletown High School; Jeremy Hoskins, Middletown High School; Marisa Garcia, Upper Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Kyle Coleman, Upper Lake High School.


Economics

  • Gold: Kate Lyons, Lower Lake High School; Robin Grayhorse, Upper Lake High School.

  • Silver: Robert Pyle, Upper Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Joe Riggs, Lower Lake High School; William Oertel, Middletown High School.


Science

  • Gold: Kate Lyons, Lower Lake High School.

  • Silver: Robert Pyle, Upper Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Diego Bernardino, Clear Lake High School; Daniella Cazares, Upper Lake High School.


Speech/Impromptu

  • Gold: Kate Lyons, Lower Lake High School.

  • Silver: Kayla Myrick, Lower Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Kyana Emmott, Clear Lake High School.


Overall Varsity Category

  • Gold: Robert Pyle, Upper Lake High School.

  • Silver: Corey Smith, Upper Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Aaron Turner, Middletown High School.


Overall Scholastic Category

  • Gold: Robin Grayhorse, Upper Lake High School.

  • Silver: Joshua Salazar, Lower Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Kayla Myrick, Lower Lake High School.


Overall Honor Category

  • Gold: Kate Lyons, Lower Lake High School.

  • Silver: Marisa Garcia, Upper Lake High School.

  • Bronze: Kyle Coleman, Upper Lake High School.


Highest Scorer at Each School

  • Clear Lake High School: Gold, Garrett Schofield.

  • Lower Lake High School: Gold, Kate Lyons.

  • Middletown High School: Gold, Aaron Turner.

  • Upper Lake High School: Gold, Robert Pyle.


Super Quiz (written and relay portion combined)

  • Gold: Lower Lake High School.

  • Silver: Upper Lake High School.


Overall Winning Team

  • Gold: Upper Lake High School.

  • Silver: Lower Lake High School.


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


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SACRAMENTO – With the approach of Super Bowl Sunday, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) wants to remind motorists about the dangers of drinking and driving.


“Driving under the influence (DUI) is a persistent problem,” said CHP Commissioner Mike Brown. “It causes needless and tragic loss of life each year. Prevention is simple, designate a sober driver and arrive alive.”


Last year on Super Bowl Sunday there were 214 alcohol involved collisions statewide. Drinking and driving played a role in the deaths of five people on California roads that same day.


Not only can drinking and driving result in injury and death, it will cause a legal nightmare as well, according to the CHP. On the day of the big game last year, CHP officers arrested 468 people for the driving under the influence.


In an effort to keep impaired drivers off the road, the CHP is encouraging motorists to be part of a team effort by reporting drunk drivers and dialing 911.


When calling, be sure to note the location and direction the suspected drunken driver is traveling. The color, make and model of the car are also helpful, the CHP said.


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LUCERNE – On Wednesday officials served a search warrant at the home of a former senior center executive director in connection with an ongoing investigation into missing funds.


District Attorney Jon Hopkins said that his office served the warrant on the Sixth Avenue home of Rowland Mosser, 63, the former executive director of the Lucerne Senior Center.


“We obtained a search warrant so that we could determine whether there was any information that he had that would assist us in proving whether there was an embezzlement at Lucerne Senior Center,” Hopkins said Wednesday afternoon.


As Lake County News first began reporting last February, allegations of missing funds at the Lucerne Senior Center have been examined extensively by the sheriff and district attorney, and were the subject of a grand jury investigation detailed in last year's grand jury report.


The law enforcement investigation – which has included hundreds of pages of documents – has focused on Mosser.


No charges so far have been filed against Mosser, who adamantly maintains that he had nothing to do with funds disappearing from the senior center.


“I didn't take anything from the senior center,” Mosser said Wednesday.


Hopkins did not disclose a monetary amount in connection with the investigation.


However, Jim Swatts, the center's former board chair, previously told Lake County News that his staff could not account for between $150,000 and $175,000 in center funds after he took over supervision of the center in the summer of 2005.


Mosser said he and his wife, Jayne, came home around 10 a.m. to discover three or four District Attorney's Office investigators already in their mobile home, where he said they have lived for five years.


Investigators took some paperwork, a few players cards he holds with local casinos, as well as his laptop and desktop computers, Mosser said.


For the last two and a half years investigations have been going on “behind closed doors,” said Mosser, but nothing has been found.


He claimed that no investigator – either from the sheriff's office, district attorney or grand jury – has ever questioned him, yet he said he's been treated as if he were convicted of a crime.


Mosser suggested others have destroyed or thrown away records that would have shown the center's true financial situation.


“There's no money to take,” Mosser said.


Mosser suggested that he is being used as a political scapegoat by the center to cover for the true issue – dwindling funds for needed programs.


The search warrant service Wednesday caught Mosser off guard. He said he had no clue the investigation was still under way. “I figured they were pretty much done and they hadn't found anything and it was going to go away.”


To make matters worse, Code Enforcement officers were alerted to the condition of the home and property and arrived shortly thereafter.


Code Enforcement staff confirmed to Lake County News that they opened a case on the home after the District Attorney's Office investigators notified them.


Two officers visited the property and red-tagged it Wednesday afternoon for violations including open and outdoor storage, substandard structure, hazard and public nuisance vehicles. The Code Enforcement report stated that the trailer is extremely dilapidated, with problems with its electricity, roof, walls and heating, with other unsanitary conditions including sewage draining on the ground.


Mosser admitted the home was in substandard condition and said he had been planning to remodel. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday he and his wife are no longer able to live there until it's fixed.


Investigators also called Animal Care and Control to check on the condition of one of the many cats in the home, although Mosser said none of the animals were taken.


The entire situation, said Mosser, made him sick to his stomach. “I'm frustrated, I'm angry, I'm upset.”


Mosser suggested he may now hire an attorney and begin filing slander lawsuits against individuals in the community who have pointed fingers at him. He said he may even take a complaint against the grand jury to the state.


In August of 2005, Mosser left his position as executive director at the senior center. During his tenure Mosser failed to pay the center's federal taxes, according to Swatts, which resulted in thousands of dollars in interest and penalties from the Internal Revenue Service.


Mosser has since gone on to serve as treasurer on the board of directors for the Ukiah-based Rural Communities Housing Development Corp., which builds low-income and self-help housing in Lake and Mendocino counties. He also is a director on the board of North Coast Opportunities Inc., and reportedly formerly served as director of the San Diego Board of Realtors.


The grand jury report stated that the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a complaint about missing funds at the senior center in November 2005, which triggered the investigation. Center officials also previously told Lake County News that they submitted evidence in the case to the state Attorney General's Office.


Hopkins said his office took over the senior center investigation from the sheriff's office in March 2006.


He said he hired two part-time employees – and investigator and a prosecutor – to work on the case. The staffers were working out of an office at the senior center, collecting documents and interviewing individuals.


Hopkins said his staff needed to analyze the materials taken from Mosser's home as well as the rest of their findings before making a final determination on whether or not there is a case.


“We are mindful that this is taking a long time,” Hopkins said.


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


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LAKEPORT – After a one-year interruption in its multi-year winning streak, Upper Lake High School's Academic Decathlon Team claimed victory at Saturday's Lake County Academic Decathlon.


The competition took place at Clear Lake High School's Marge Alakszay Center in Lakeport.


Competitors included Middletown High, Clear Lake High, Upper Lake High and Lower Lake High.


Academic Decathletes competed in several categories including English and literature, fine arts, mathematics, physical and biological sciences, and social science.


Upper Lake's team won first place, with Lower Lake High School – last year's winner – placing second, reported Robert Riggs, who attended the Saturday event.


Lake County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck presided over the Saturday competition, Riggs reported.


The pivotal part of every Academic Decathlon competition is the Super Quiz. This year the Super Quiz focused on the Civil War, with Lake County Board of Education Vice President Dr. Mark Cooper reading the questions.


Lower Lake High won the Super Quiz, but Upper Lake led by enough of a margin to keep its hold on the gold.


In a snapshot of competition winners, Kate Lyons of Lower Lake won the gold medal in the Honors division (3.75 grade point average and above), Robin Grayhorse of Upper Lake won the gold medal in the Scholastic division (3.0 to 3.74 GPA) and Robert Pyle of Upper Lake won the gold medal in the Varsity division (2.99 GPA and below).


Upper Lake's win puts it on course to return to the state Academic Decathlon competition, scheduled for March 7 through 10 in Sacramento. The March competition will be held at three different venues: California State University, Sacramento; the Hyatt Regency; and Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.


Upper Lake High School had been Lake County's Academic Decathlon juggernaut for eight straight years until the 2007 win by Lower Lake High.


In 2004 Upper Lake High won the state Academic Decathlon Division 3 championship.


Team rosters for Saturday included:


Upper Lake High School ( Coach, Tina Moore)

  • Honor Daniella Cazares, Kyle Coleman and Marisa Garcia;

  • Scholastic Robin Grayhorse, Hannah Johnson and Jonathan Philpott;

  • Varsity Robert Pyle, Corey Smith and Maria Mendoza;

  • Alternates – Stephanie Tregea, Belarmino Garcia, Laura Benavides, Lisa Benavides, Chae Carter, Luis Cazares and Thonyoon Chao.

     

Lower Lake High School (Coach, Nancy Harby)

  • Honor – Kate Lyons, Daniel Jackson and Emmalena Illia;

  • Scholastic – Kayla Myrick, Joe Riggs and Joshua Salazar;

  • Varsity – Chris Ingersoll, Jacob Sanders and Gerald Skinner;

  • Alternates – Ryan Wilson, Alexandra Huff, Sean Grant and Jeremy Montano.


Clear Lake High School (Coach, Jim Rogers)

  • Honor – Isabel Gregorio, Diego Bernardino and Matt Stegman;

  • Scholastic – Kathryn Frazell, Tiffany Frazell and Enrique Villanueva;

  • Varsity – Zane Butler, Robert Brown and Kyana Emmot;

  • Alternates – Garrett Schofield, Ally Hauptman and Kassandranne Richards.


Middletown High School (Coaches, Patty Jimenez and Jennifer Pyzer)

  • Honor – Elise Zolczynski, Joseph Rebolledo and Cynthia Pimentel;

  • Scholastic – Johnathan Bateman and William Oertel;

  • Varsity – Jeremy Hoskins, Aaron Turner and Daniel Renninger III.


A full report, with a complete list of winning students and teams, will follow early next week when the results are officially tallied by the Lake County Office of Education.


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


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CLEARLAKE – The Clearlake Community Co-op started with a vision, then a hum then a buzz around the lake.


The first meeting was attended by about 50 local citizens.


Many ideas were brainstormed at the first meeting. It was decided by general consensus to begin the focus of energy in five general areas:


• Local resource guide of producers and services;


• Organic community gardens;


• Buyers club as a stepping stone to a retail co-op (co-op literature tells us this can take up to two years to open the doors);


• Organic gardening education opportunities;


• Farmer's market in Clearlake.


All of these are tied to a commitment to support local organic farmers/producers whenever possible and to be available to as many people in community as possible.

 

The next meeting will be on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. at the Hot Spot Youth Activity Center at 4750 Golf Avenue in Clearlake.


The meeting is open to the public and anyone interested in hearing more about what they are doing or interested in joining this exciting group is welcome to attend.

 

The agenda will include discussion about a name for the co-operative and developing a vision statement for the co-op.


Also, Allen Markowski will give a brief instructional presentation on navigating Wiki spaces.

 

For more information check out the Wiki space at clearlakecommunityco-operative.wikispaces.com/ or call Lorna at 274-9254.


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Sgt. Chris Chwialkowski has been appointed to oversee the Clearlake Oaks Community Recovery Task Force. Courtesy photo.


CLEARLAKE OAKS – The Clearlake Oaks Community Recovery Task Force has a new supervisor.


Lake County Sheriff/Corner Rodney K. Mitchell has selected Sgt. Chris Chwialkowski to supervise the Clearlake Oaks Community Recovery Task Force.


The task force was managed during the past 10 months by the Lake County Community Development Code Enforcement Division because of the staffing vacancies in the sheriff's department.


An office in the Oaks was opened for the public in March 2007 and located in space provided at the Clearlake Oaks Fire Station.


"This site will no longer be open as the task force base operation has returned to the second floor of the Lucerne Visitor's Center," said Voris Brumfield, former task force coordinator. "The Northshore Fire Department staff in the Oaks were helpful and supportive of our efforts to provide service and information to the community.”


Persons interested in the agencies within the Community Recovery Task Force may call 263-2309 for Code Enforcement Division, 263-0278 for Animal Care and Control or 262-4200 for the sheriff's office.


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Lake County Skies on Feb. 20, 2008, at 8 p.m.



 

‘Un-Mooned’? Is there such a word in our language? Probably not. But in Lake County Skies, the full Moon, visible during the evening of the 20th, will slowly disappear, and then reappear.


That will happen because there is a total eclipse of the Moon that evening. Our star chart shows where this will occur – notice that the Moon will be close to the planet Saturn.


Here’s an animation of what a total eclipse looks like.

 

 

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Notice in the animation that the Moon does not completely disappear. When the eclipse is full, you can still see the Moon, although it is much dimmer than normal.


When will this happen? Here’s a diagram from NASA that shows the times when different events during the eclipse will occur.


 

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What causes an eclipse? It happens when the earth is between the sun and moon, and the three objects line up to where the earth’s shadow is cast upon the lunar surface. The following diagram shows this.


 

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If the Moon is completely within the earth’s shadow, it’s a total eclipse. But if it’s in only a portion of the earth’s shadow, it’s a partial eclipse.


An eclipse of the moon happens at least twice a year, but the next total eclipse won’t happen until 2010.


Speaking of the Moon, Native Americans had names for the full Moon in each month to help identify the seasons. Some of these names, from the Algonquin tribes in the eastern US, were: Full Wolf Moon (January), Full Snow Moon (February), Full Worm Moon (March) and Full Pink Moon (April).


Aside from the lunar eclipse being the star of February’s celestial show, the planets Mars and Saturn are visible, as shown on our star chart. The constellation of Leo the Lion is rising in the east, and Ursa Major (the Big Bear), which contains the Big Dipper, is again becoming visible.


For more information about astronomy and local astronomy-related events, visit the Taylor Observatory website at www.taylorobservatory.org.


On Feb. 9, starting at 8 p.m., the observatory will be open to the public. The topic for the evening is “From Stonehenge to Hubble,” a presentation that traces the history of astronomy.


John Zimmerman has been an amateur astronomer for 50 years. He is a member of the Taylor Observatory staff, where, among his many duties, he helps create planetarium shows.


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SPRING VALLEY – A Clearlake Oaks man sustained major injuries Wednesday when his car went off the road and struck a tree.


Jose Acevedo Rosas, 36, was injured in the crash, which took place at about 6 a.m., according to Officer Adam Garcia, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol's Clear Lake office.


Garcia said Rosas was driving his 1994 Ford Mustang southbound on New Long Valley Road in Spring Valley when he lost control of his vehicle because of the roadway's slick surface.


Rosas traveled across the opposite lane and went over the east shoulder, traveled down a steep, downgraded embankment and struck a tree, Garcia said. The impact crushed the car's hood, roof and windshield.


According to Garcia, Rosas lost consciousness and no one in the area witnessed the collision.


When Rosas regained consciousness – more than two hours later – Garcia said he was spotted climbing up the embankment near the road.


Garcia said Rosas sustained major injuries that were not life-threatening. Paramedics with Northshore Fire Protection District's Clearlake Oaks station transported Rosas to Redbud Community

Hospital.


Officer Erich Paarsch is investigating the collision, which Garcia said is not believed to have had alcohol as a factor.


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


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LUCERNE – The body of a man found Monday has been identified as that of a Lucerne resident.


Michael Collins Sr., 49, was found lying in the road in the hills above Lucerne Monday, according to a Tuesday report from Sgt. Brian Martin of the Lake County Sheriff's Office Investigations Division.


Martin reported that sheriff's deputies and Northshore Fire personnel responded to a call at 9:38 a.m. Monday from a Lucerne woman who had found Collins lying next to a truck on Robinson Road, a dirt road in the hills above Lucerne.


The woman had been walking her dogs in the area when she found Collins, Martin reported. The woman notified the sheriff’s Central Dispatch and fire and law enforcement personnel immediately responded to investigate.


Upon their arrival, medics determined that the man was unresponsive and he was determined to be deceased by the deputy coroner, according to Martin.


The man was subsequently identified as Collins, said Martin. The truck he was found by was determined to belong to Collins, according to Department of Motor Vehicle records.


Martin said the area of Robinson Road where Collins was found has been the subject of numerous complaints of illegal dumping.


Deputies found Collins’ truck stopped in the middle of the road with the tailgate down, said Martin, with garbage in the back of the truck and on the ground directly behind the tailgate.


A shovel also was found on the ground next to Collins, said Martin. A light dusting of snow was on top of the garbage on the ground and the garbage in the back of the truck.


The investigation into the matter suggested that Collins may have been in that area since the previous evening, said Martin.


Collins’ next of kin were notified of his death shortly after he was discovered, according to Martin.


The investigation found no signs of foul play associated with Collins' death, Martin reported.


An autopsy on Collins has been scheduled, said Martin, with the official cause of death his still pending.


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LAKE COUNTY – January's winter storms caused power outages and dangerous travel conditions, but the good news is that they also have significantly – and positively – impacted the early outlook for water in the winter season, both here at home and across the rest of the state.


Last year the scarcity of rain resulted in Clear Lake not being full for the first time in several years, as Lake County News reported last summer.


A full lake, according to Lake County's Water Resources Division, is 7.56 feet on the Rumsey Gage, the unique measure used for Clear Lake. Zero Rumsey, or the lake's natural low water level, is equal to 1318.257 feet above mean sea level.


Last year, the lake peaked at 6.14 feet Rumsey in March, and its lower levels prevented Yolo County from taking its full, 150,000-acre-foot water allocation from the lake. Instead, it received about 57 percent of that amount, or just over 85,000 acre feet.


But as of Saturday, Clear Lake's condition shows continuing improvement. Rain, snow and runoff has bulked up the lake to 4.92 feet Rumsey, well above its Feb. 2, 2007 measurement of 3.54 feet Rumsey.


Kelsey, Putah and Cache Creeks also continue running at well above average because of the precipitation, according to the US Geological Survey. That will mean good news for area wells.


Elsewhere in the state, California's snowpack – depleted last year – is looking healthy once more.


The California Department of Water Resources conducted its second snow survey of the season on Thursday near Lake Tahoe.

 

Thursday's snowpack readings showed snowpack water content was about 75 percent better than this time last year, Water Resources reported.


On Friday, electronic snow sensor reports showed that the Northern Sierra has a snowpack at 125 percent of normal, with the Central Sierra and Southern Sierra measuring 106 and 125 percent of normal, respectively.


The state's snowpack on Friday showed an overall average of 118 percent of normal, Water Resources reported, up from the 43 percent of normal on Feb. 1, 2007.


“January is typically the wettest month of the water year, and this month’s storms have been an excellent shot in the arm to the State’s water supply,” said DWR Hydrology Branch Chief Arthur Hinojosa in a statement released by Water Resources.


“January’s precipitation has bolstered the snow pack and made up for a sub par December,” Hinojosa said. “Season to date is just above average and 65 percent of the April 1 average peak.”


The snow measurements help state hydrologists forecast the coming year's water supply.


The next manual survey is scheduled for early March.


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


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THIS STORY HAS BEEN CORRECTED REGARDING THE VOTE TALLY.

 

SACRAMENTO – A state bill meant to offer help to homeowners facing foreclosure failed to receive the necessary votes to pass the state Senate Wednesday.


The Senate voted 26-14 Wednesday in favor of Senate Bill 926 – one vote short of the number required to send the bill to the Assembly for consideration.


SB 926 is mortgage relief legislation authored by Senate President Pro-Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland) and North Coast Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) is a co-author.


The bill sought to enact a comprehensive package of foreclosure reforms designed to prevent unnecessary residential foreclosures from further worsening the state and local economy and housing markets, according to David Miller, Wiggins' spokesman.


Specifically, the bill would have required a notice to be sent to borrowers prior to projected changes in mortgage payments, required lenders to contact borrowers to arrange an in-person meeting, and to provide a list of Housing and Urban Development-certified counselors to borrowers before filing a Notice of Default on a residential property in default, Miller reported.


The bill is an “urgency measure” designed to take effect immediately if signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Urgency measures require two-thirds approval for passage, but while Democrats hold a 25-15 majority in the Senate, at least two Republican votes are needed to reach the two-thirds threshold. None voted to support SB 926 Wednesday, Wiggins' office reported.


Foreclosures reached a 20-year high in California during the fourth quarter of 2007, as a growing number of homeowners continue to fall behind on their mortgage payments.


According to La Jolla-based DataQuick Information Systems, lenders repossessed 31,676 residences in California in October-November-December 2007 – a 421.2 percent increase from the same period in 2006.


The research firm reported that Bay Area foreclosures rose 482.5 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2006. Contra Costa County, Alameda County and Solano County experienced even greater increases than the Bay Area average.


Over the past year Lake County's foreclosure rates also have skyrocketed to record-high levels, as Lake County News has reported.


“California is facing an unprecedented threat to its state and local economies due to high foreclosure rates adversely affecting property values, and an estimated loss of $111 million in tax revenues due to foreclosures and their spillover effects,” Wiggins said. “SB 926 offered a reasonable approach to strengthening the economic health of California by modifying the foreclosure process to avoid additional unnecessary foreclosures.”


 

Miller said it's unclear if Perata and Wiggins will try reintroducing the bill this year.


Wiggins represents California’s 2nd Senate District, comprised of portions or all of six counties: Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Sonoma.


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President George W. Bush receives applause at the State of the Union Address Monday, Jan. 28, 2008, at the U.S. Capitol. Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are seen back right. White House photo by Eric Draper.



LAKE COUNTY – After listening to President George W. Bush's last State of the Union Address Monday night, Congressman Mike Thompson headed back to his office, riding in an elevator with some Republican colleagues.


The Democrat from St. Helena said the bipartisan consensus in the elevator ride up was that Bush's address was “one of the more, if not the most, lackluster State of the Union speeches that we had heard.”


In the hour-long Monday night address, the president outlined his goals for his final year in office. He touched on a wide variety of issues, from the economy and national security, the war in Iraq to education, energy and immigration, and his plan to “advance an agenda of compassion worldwide.”


But Thompson, speaking with reporters following the address, said Bush offered nothing new, and few actual details of how he planned to accomplish his ambitious set of plans.


On important issues like health care and the environment, Thompson said, “I don't think he left anybody with much hope or direction.”


Rather than focusing on green energy – geothermal, wind and solar – Bush is calling for more oil drilling, including a push to drill on the outer continental shelf, said Thompson. “These are things that don't lead to reducing our carbon imprint.”


Bush outlined many important issues, said Thompson, but offered no specifics. To address the country's major challenges, the congressman said it's going to take everyone working together.


He remained highly critical of Bush's strategy in Iraq, saying the surge isn't working, and pointed to the deaths of eight U.S. soldiers that same day.


Thompson said all of the major issues Bush addressed touched the First Congressional District, which includes Lake County.


He turned to immigration, one issue he and the president agree on. “I think he's been on the right track on immigration,” said Thompson, but he added that Bush hasn't done anything about it.


Last year the opportunity to push for immigration reform in Congress was “ripe” pun intended, said Thompson, referring to the pears left on county trees for lack of workers to harvest in recent years. Yet, nothing happened.


He said he would have loved to hear Bush say he would bring the troops home, but there again Thompson was disappointed.


The president promised greater support for returning veterans, including better health care for wounded service members.


Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, said that was the most “disingenuous” part of the president's speech. A regular visitor to the Walter Reed and Bethesda military hospitals, Thompson said he's seen firsthand the system's failure to help veterans.


He said that when Congress tried last year to give members of the military a 3.5-percent cost of living increase, Bush “fought that every inch of the way.”


There are a whole series of problems with returning vets, said Thompson – from a high number of suicides to brain injuries. “It's more horrendous than past wars.”


Thompson suggested that those problems could be handled, in part, by properly funding veterans facilities, but the president so far hasn't been willing to do that.


When reporters asked him who he's voting for in the presidential primary, Thompson was forthright in saying he chose Sen. Hillary Clinton.


However, he said of Clinton and her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, “I think either one of them would be a great president.”


Thompson said he chose Clinton because he's worked with her on issues important to the First District and Lake County. “She's strong on agriculture issues, she's strong on environmental issues and does a good job representing rural interests in her state.”

He added, “Those issues and understanding those issues are important in our district.”


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


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