Tuesday, 23 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY – The list of candidates running for supervisorial seats in the June primary election became final on Friday, with a total of nine individuals seeking to lead their respective districts.

Besides the solidifying of the ballot, the major news of the day was that Supervisor Anthony Farrington will seek reelection unopposed.

Friday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for filing declarations of candidacy for the supervisorial seats up for election this year – Districts 1, 4 and 5, as Lake County News has reported.

The declaration of candidacy is the step that makes a person's candidacy official, and ensures their name will appear on the ballot, according to Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley.

Deputy Registrar of Voters Maria Valadez said no challengers filed paperwork to run for the District 4 seat against Farrington, who reportedly arrived shortly before 5 p.m. to make his candidacy official.

It's the opposite situation in District 1, where a big field is pursuing the seat held currently by Ed Robey, who is not seeking reelection.

James Comstock, Don Dornbush, Scott Fergusson, Susanne La Faver, Joey Luiz and Robert MacIntyre all submitted declarations of candidacy, said Valadez.

Because Robey, the incumbent, did not file to run again, Valadez said the deadline for the District 1 candidacy declarations will be extended by five business days to March 12.

The District 5 race, said Valadez, will include challenger Robert Stark and incumbent Supervisor Rob Brown.

The primary will take place on Tuesday, June 3.

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


LAKEPORT – Nearly a year after its attempt to annex an area along Parallel Drive into the city limits failed, the City of Lakeport is preparing to reapproach the issue.

City officials say they indeed to file another annexation application which will likely be heard this spring.

Last July 19, the Local Area Formation Committee (LAFCO) turned down the city's application to add 157 acres to the city's boundaries, as Lake County News has reported.

In a 5-2 vote, LAFCO turned down the annexation request the commissioners didn't believe the city had enough sewer capacity to serve the annexation area.

The proposed annexation area runs along the west side of Parallel Drive, extending from the current city limits – which is the southern boundary of a vacant orchard property to the south of KFC – down to the Highway 175/Parallel Drive intersection. It includes about 50 residents and 24 dwellings.

Sewer capacity became an issue last year after the city was issued a cease and desist order from the state in January 2007. The previous spring, wet weather caused the city's sewer ponds to fill up. Officials tried to dispose of some of the treated wastewater through irrigation, but the saturated ground didn't absorb the water, which ran off the city's sewer facility property.

That landed the city in trouble with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, who also hit the city with a hookup ban that was later lifted.

The annexation has commonly been referred to as the “Adamson Annex” for Tom Adamson, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based developer who approached the city in 2005 about having the area added to the city boundaries, according to Lakeport Community Development Director Richard Knoll.

Adamson, who owns a 31-acre parcel at 2565 Parallel Drive that he originally proposed to build a 130-unit subdivision on, took the project to the city, said Knoll.

The city's general plan called for annexing the area. “We took that on as a project,” Knoll told City Council members in a Tuesday evening workshop.

Although the proposed annexation area originally was much larger, Knoll said the area was narrowed to 157 acres following public meetings and surveys, which he said included a “mixed response.”

The annexation was first submitted to LAFCO in 2006, said Knoll.

Adamson agreed to pay the city for the costs of the annexation application, said Knoll.

By May of last year Adamson had paid the city, up front, just under $57,000, according to city records.

Knoll said the money helped pay for a consulting firm to assist in the process, Knoll said. The city also conducted a fiscal analysis of the annexation.

When the proposal went before LAFCO last summer, key issues included conversion of agricultural lands – which Knoll said was resolved.

The main issue, however, was the city's ability to provide services to the area, said Knoll. “It kind of boiled down to a question of sewer capacity.”

The city believed they had that capacity, Knoll said, based on estimates originally done by staff.

“Since that time, Mr. Adamson has continued to want to see the city pursue annexation,” said Knoll. “We've been working on doing just that.”

While Adamson originally had his sights set on building a subdivision on his 31-acre property, the land also has piqued the interest of other interests, including Mendocino College.

A $67.5 million bond voters approved in November 2006 sets aside $15 million to purchase land, make improvements and begin building a new Lake County center, which College President Kathy Lehner has said the college would like to see at that spot.

Said Knoll, “That's been driving the annexation to some degree.”

Lehner could not be reached for comment on Wednesday about the Adamson property.

However, the project appears to be ongoing. According to the agenda for the Mendocino College Board of Trustees' Wednesday evening meeting, a closed session discussion to look at price and terms of payment for the land was scheduled.

Knoll said city staff has been working with an attorney with the firm McDonough, Holland and Allen to create strategies for moving forward.

“At this point in time we are putting together an application to go back to LAFCO,” said Knoll.

The city also is working on environmental documents, said Knoll.

Knoll said the city plans to submit an application to LAFCO April 18, which will be circulated to LAFCO staff and commissioners in order to be on the commission's May 21 meeting agenda.

“That's our goal at this point,” Knoll said, adding the city may take the issue to LAFCO for an informal discussion April 16.

Councilman Bob Rumfelt, who also sits on LAFCO and was one of two votes against the July 19 decision, said he didn't believe some of the newer commissioners understood LAFCO's role by insisting that the city should be able to fully serve the entire annexation area.

Knoll said it was city staff's interpretation that Lakeport had to have a plan in place to eventually provide services to the entire area, but didn't need to necessarily have those measures in place for the annexation to be approved.

While sewer capacity will again be an issue, Knoll said he expects the city will be able to prove its ability to service a new area, especially in light of a recently completed $2 million sewer system expansion project which added about 200 new residential sewer hookups.

City Utilities Superintendent Mark Brannigan said the city has done everything the state has asked it to do in order to resolve the issues related to the cease and desist order.

The city also adopted a new sewer ordinance Tuesday night, updating its sewer operations.

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


LOWER LAKE In recognition of the outstanding conservation work of the Lake County Sierra Club, State Senator Patricia Wiggins has named Sierra Club Lake Group Chair Victoria Brandon as her 2008 Woman of the Year.

In a ceremony to be held on the floor of the Senate Chamber at the State Capitol in Sacramento on the morning of March 12, Wiggins will present Brandon to Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, who will give her a certificate honoring her record of civic leadership and contributions to the community and the state.

Brandon, who is also the Political Chair of the Sierra Club's 11,000-member Redwood Chapter and a chapter delegate to the Club's California-Nevada Regional Conservation Committee, has been a strong supporter of federal legislation designating 270,000 acres in the region as Federal Wilderness, and of the 2005 state law naming Cache Creek a Wild and Scenic River.

She is closely involved with Lake County growth management and watershed health issues on an ongoing basis, and currently active in efforts to prevent the threatened closure of Lake County's State Parks, to expand public ownership of open space on Mt. Konocti and to establish an Inner Coast Range National Conservation Area.

"Personal recognition from such an extraordinarily dedicated and able legislator as Pat Wiggins is immensely gratifying, but the honor actually belongs to the Sierra Club Lake Group, and to the other local conservationists committed to making this county the greenest place in California,” Brandon said.

A Lake County resident since 1981, Brandon also is a board member of Tuleyome, a Woodland-based nonprofit environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the Putah-Cache bio region, secretary of the Chi Council for the Clear Lake Hitch, and a member of the Cache Creek Watershed Forum steering committee and the Lake County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Committee.


LAKE COUNTY – Get ready to turn your clocks forward this weekend.

Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday at 2 a.m., which it's time to “spring forward” by one hour, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

This year, Daylight Saving Time will end on Sunday, Nov. 2, when the clocks will once again be set back.

Beginning last year, Daylight Saving Time was extended by one month because of the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, the California Department of Energy reported.

Daylight Saving Time also is a good time to remember to replace the batteries in your home's smoke detector, officials report.

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


KELSEYVILLE – Kelseyville High School students and their parents are the beneficiaries of the second annual Sober Grad Comedy Night, and this year they scored big time.

Several organizers, any number of volunteers and three comics, including local funny man and business owner Marc Yaffee and comedic partners Ric D’elia and headliner Ron Kenney, brought in just over 300 persons to a night of comedy Saturday that netted nearly $8,000.

The event's proceeds will go toward this year's Kelseyville High Sober Grad party at the end of the school year.

Each comic brought their own unique look of the modern world to the stage offering a cross section of humor that reflects several decades of experience.

More that 30 businesses and individuals donated goods and services that were auctioned during the breaks between each performer.

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


Faded At Four, led by singer Jon Foutch, performed Saturday night in Lakeport. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



LAKEPORT – Five of Lake County's new favorite sons rocked more than 220 of their biggest fans Saturday night, just 10 days before they're scheduled to participate in a huge battle of the bands showdown in Los Angeles.

The result of that competition is worth a million bucks – and a recording contract.

Nearly a fabled group, Faded at Four – Jon Foutch, Chris Murphy, Brian Kenner, Martin “Martan” Scheel and Chris “Pencil” Sanders – have managed during the past year or so to best more than 4,000 other bands invited to the Bodog Battle of the Bands, competition covering the entire country, Canada and Europe.

Their competition, now reduced to a dozen or so, continues in LA with the final eight bands participating in a reality-based TV show that will have the bands competing for national exposure as well as a recording contract and a cash prize of $1 million.

The band, together for more than five years, has yet to score big on the money side of the business. But they have multitudes of fans who crisscross all age groups.

They have a heavy metal sound that includes dynamic lyrics, and timely social and political statements.

I can’t wait to remind people ... I knew them when!

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


SOUTH LAKE COUNTY – A large fire many area residents spotted in the south county area near The Geysers on Friday is a controlled burn, according to fire officials.

Cal Fire told Lake County News that the burn covers a few hundred acres and is being overseen by agency helicopters, hand crews and engines.

The burn is being conducted in order to reduce brush and other fuels in the area, according to Cal Fire.

Officials expect the burn to be completed by about 3 p.m. Friday.

Cal Fire conducted another controlled burn in the same vicinity last month, as Lake County News reported.

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


LUCERNE – T he County of Lake, in conjunction with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., will host a “Green My Home” public workshop at the Lucerne Senior Center on Saturday, March 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The seminar, moderated by District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing, will consist of a panel covering topics such as “what is a green home,” energy efficiency rebates, waterwise landscaping, indoor air quality, reducing your energy bills, the Energy Partners free weatherization program and various financial assistance programs available to the public. It will be followed with a question-and-answer session.

"I feel the concept of a 'green my home' seminar is particularly appropriate to Lucerne, where many of the residents are losing their green gardens due to the price of water,” said Rushing. “We will also share ways to actually bring more 'green' both figuratively and literally into our community.”

The “Green My Home” seminar is the first in a series to be held throughout the county. Lucerne was chosen for the first workshop, due to the high number of older homes, the high cost of water, and the number of residents on fixed income.

Free tables will be set up for local related businesses to showcase their products and services, such as solar energy, sustainability products, recycling, etc.

Information will be available to help qualifying low-income residents sign up for various free programs and financial assistance.

Armando Navarro, PG&E’s Customer & Community Relations manager, will present highlights of PG&E’s new Climate Smart Program, a voluntary program designed to help residents offset their carbon emissions. Money from the program is invested in Northern California projects such as reforestation.

"We are hoping to hold a future 'Train the Trainer' workshop, in which interested Lake County residents will be able to set up the same informational program in other communities,” said Rushing. “This is a win-win situation by greening their homes, local residents will foster a better quality of life, save water, energy and money, and help create a healthier world.”

The “Green My Home workshop” is part of a larger, joint project between PG&E and County of Lake on “Sustainable Communities.” Potential future projects also include creation of a Lake County Climate Action Plan, energy audits for county buildings, educating small businesses on reducing their energy usage and green building workshops.

The seminar is free and open to all members of the public.

Those interested in more information, showcasing their products or services, becoming involved or attending the future “Train the Trainer” workshop are encouraged to contact Holly Harris or Chuck Lamb at 707-998-0135, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Rushing at 707-263-2368, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The senior center is located on Country Club Drive.


LAKEPORT – A man accused of a November murder will return to court for a preliminary hearing in May.

Ivan Garcia Oliver, 30, charged with the Nov. 20 murder of 67-year-old Michael Dodele, was in court Monday, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.

The Monday court appearance was to set the preliminary trial date, which Hinchcliff reported will be May 13.

Oliver is accused of stabbing Dodele multiple times in the chest with a knife, as Lake County News has reported. The two men lived at the Western Hills Mobile Home Park in the unincorporated area of Lakeport.

The May court date will follow Oliver's next appearance in federal court in Southern California, where he has been indicted for an illegal dumping case.

Melanie Pierson, an assistant attorney with the US Department of Justice, said Oliver was arraigned in Southern California on the illegal dumping charges on Feb. 15, and will return in April for motions and trial setting.

Pierson said the process in the federal court should be fairly rapid; typically, a trial is scheduled within a month of the trial setting and motions. “It's not a long story, it's a short story,” she said.

Oliver and his half-brother are accused of dumping toxic materials into a San Diego County creek in the spring of 2005, not long after Oliver was released from state prison.

He had spent two years in prison for a 2003 conviction for felony assault with a deadly weapon with force likely to cause great bodily injury. Oliver had stabbed a security guard at a restaurant where he and some friends had attempted to skip out on the bill, as Lake County News has reported.

Pierson said the federal trial and any possible sentencing that might result won't interfere with Oliver's murder trial in Lake County.

“He would complete his proceedings in Lake County before he would be sent anywhere,” she said.

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




LAKE COUNTY – Local Academic Decathletes left Thursday to make the trip to Sacramento for this weekend's state Academic Decathlon competition.

The competition will begin Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, and continue Sunday at California State University, Sacramento and at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, where the Super Quiz will be held.

On Feb. 2, Upper Lake High School won the county competition after a one-year hiatus from the No. 1 spot.

The win qualified the team to participate in the state competition, as Lake County News has reported.

Upper Lake team members include: Varsity – Robert Pyle, Corey Smith and Maria Mendoza; Scholastic – Robin Grayhorse, Hannah Johnson and Laura Benavides; Honor – Daniella Cazares, Kyle Coleman and Marisa Garcia. Coaches are Christina Moore and Lance Kraft.

Taking the No. 2 spot in the county competition was Lower Lake High school. Team members are: Varsity – Chris Ingersoll, Jacob Sanders and Gerald Skinner; Scholastic – Kayla Myrick, Joe Riggs and Joshua Salazar; Honor – Kate Lyons, Daniel Jackson and Emmalena Illia; alternates – Ryan Wilson, Alexandra Huff, Sean Grant and Jeremy Montano. Nancy Harby coaches the team.

Lower Lake received a special invitation to compete at the state level because of the team's high score in the county competition, which was the highest achieved by a No. 2 team among the state's Division 3 teams, said Harby.

Following the weekend competition, winning teams will be honored at an awards ceremony at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.

For more specifics on the competition times and locations visit www.academicdecathlon.org/2008.htm.

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


LAKE COUNTY – Mary McMillan, Lake County's new Poet Laureate, is a marriage and family therapist who also is writing a nonfiction book about her experience of building a house.

McMillan was introduced as the Lake County Poet Laureate for 2008-2009, at a Sunday evening event at the Lake County Arts Council's Main Street Gallery.

She said she plans to continue the traditions established by the previous laureates, including hosting the Writing Circle which meets on the first Thursday of each month.

Her major goal is to provide more venues where local writers can publish and share their work.

She will be a co-host with Richard Martin of a radio show on KPFZ, interviewing and reading the work of local poets and writers.

McMillan has been writing poetry since 1987, when she took a class from Richard Silberg in Berkeley, and was introduced to Poetry Flash Magazine.

She attended Squaw Valley Community of Writers, where she studied with Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Galway Kinnell and Sharon Olds.

She coordinated a San Francisco group of poet alumni from Squaw Valley, which met monthly for four years. During this time, she also published poems in several local publications, including the Santa Clara Review and Tomcat.

In 1997, she got her master's degree in psychology, and four years later, earned her license to practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

She moved to Ukiah in 1999, where she practiced as a therapist until, in 2005, she transferred her practice to Lake County, and began writing poetry again.

She has worked as coordinator of a monthly writing group and participated in the Poet Laureate Writing Circle.

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


LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's unemployment rate climbed once again in January, according to the latest report from the state Employment Development Department.

Lake County’s January 2008 unemployment rate was 10.4 percent, up 0.8 percent from December, and 0.7 percent above the year-ago, January 2007 rate, according to Dennis Mullins of the Employment Development Department's North Coast region Labor Market Information Division.

The comparable California and U.S. rates were 6.3 and 5.4 percent respectively, Mullins reported.

Some surrounding county rates included 7.2 percent for Mendocino, and 5.2 percent for Sonoma. Marin had the lowest rate in the State with 4.0 percent and Colusa had the highest at 19.6 percent.

Lake County's unemployment rate ranked it at 40th out of the state's 58 counties.

Total industry employment increased 940 jobs (7.1 percent) between January 2007 and January 2008, ending the year-over period with 14,270, according to Mullins.

Mullins noted that year-over job growth occurred in farm; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; private educational and health services; other services; and government.

Year-over job losses occurred in natural resources, mining, and construction; professional and business services; and leisure and hospitality, Mullins reported.

The information industry was the only sector with no change over the year, Mullins added.

The government sector led industry gainers adding 760 jobs over the year, Mullins said. Farm and private educational and health services were up 220 and 110, respectively. Trade, transportation and utilities increased 40. Manufacturing and financial activities each gained 20 and other services added 10.

Natural resources, mining and construction led decliners, dropping 100 jobs, according to Mullins. Professional and business services and leisure and hospitality were down 90 and 50, respectively.


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