Thursday, 25 July 2024

News

FINLEY – A local youth group leader was arrested over the weekend and charged with several felonies for allegedly making sexual advances toward a teenage girl who was a member of his youth group.


Deputies arrested 23-year-old Christopher Andrew Puryear of Kelseyville at Gateway Ministries in Finley, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


Last Friday night, sheriff's deputies responded to reports that an adult youth group leader at the church – known formerly as Big Valley Community Church, located on Big Valley Road – had been having inappropriate relations with at least one minor female youth group member.


Bauman said both a church elder and another youth group leader alleged that Puryear was spending an inordinate amount of time talking with and texting teenage girls involved in the youth group.


Deputies learned that on Nov. 25, Puryear had allegedly asked a 14-year-old female member of the youth group to come outside during a church function to talk, according to Bauman's report. When Puryear and the girl went outside, he allegedly made physical and sexual advances towards her and only stopped when he was interrupted by someone else exiting the church.


After several attempts to locate the 14-year-old girl the following day, deputies were able to interview the victim and positively identify the suspect as Puryear, Bauman said.


On Saturday evening, Puryear was located by deputies at the church where the offenses were reportedly committed and he was arrested, according to the report.


Puryear was subsequently booked at the Lake County Jail on felony charges of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child, forced oral copulation with a child, criminal threats and annoying a child under 18.


He remains in the Lake County Jail on an enhanced bail of $250,000.


The case is pending further investigation, including the identification of any other potential victims associated with the Gateway Ministries youth group, Bauman said.


The church did not return a message seeking comment.


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THE GEYSERS – A 3.8-magnitude earthquake rocked The Geysers area early Sunday morning and was reportedly felt by people around the state.


The quake was reported at 4:26 a.m., according to the US Geological Survey.


The agency reported that the quake was recorded two miles east southeast of The Geysers, four miles southwest of Cobb and four miles west of Anderson Springs at a depth of 2.7 miles.


The US Geological Survey received 76 shake reports from around California and one from Carson City, Nev.


Kelseyville, Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake residents reported feeling the quake, as did people in Humboldt and Napa counties. The most responses came from Healdsburg, in Sonoma County.


Reports also came from the Bay Area, including San Francisco, and as far away as Turlock and McKinleyville.


The 3.8-quake was followed by 12 smaller quakes – ranging in size from 1.0 to 2.0 in magnitude – in The Geysers and Cobb areas over the rest of the day.


A 3.7-magnitude earthquake was reported in The Geysers area on Nov. 24, as Lake County News has reported.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – Health officials reported that they're broadening their strategy to get the H1N1 flu vaccine to Lake County residents.


Over the next few weeks, Lake County Health Services projects that local health providers will have collectively received approximately 16,000 doses of Pandemic 2009 (H1N1) vaccine since the beginning of the pandemic in spring of this year.


According to information from the California Department of Public Health, this will mark the approximate half-way mark for the total amount of H1N1 vaccine that will be distributed this influenza season.


The flu has so far claimed the life of one Lake County resident, as Lake County News has reported.


Pandemic 2009 (H1N1) influenza illness remains widespread in Lake County and throughout California, according to Lake County Health Officer Dr. Karen Tait.


Although the amount of illness may be starting to level off, influenza illness remains at higher than normal levels for this time of the year, she said.


Tait said vaccination efforts to date are thought to have reached roughly 10 percent of the Lake County population overall and there are concerns that shortages of the formulations licensed for children under age 3 years have hampered vaccination of this vulnerable group.


“It appears that the pediatric formulation of vaccine will remain in short supply this year,” said Tait, noting that this appears to be the result of production issues.


Although parents can choose to have their young children vaccinated with a preparation of the vaccine usually used in persons 3 years of age and older – an option made possible by a state waiver to its law concerning use of vaccines containing the preservative thimerosal – Lake County is also shifting its vaccine strategy in order to reduce the likelihood that adults will contribute to the spread the infection, Tait reported.


Lake County residents of all ages can now request a Pandemic 2009 (H1N1) vaccination, according to Tait.


“We want everyone to consider vaccination against H1N1 influenza anyway, but by shifting to this broader vaccination approach now, we hope to reduce the amount of influenza in the community that may expose children who remain unvaccinated due to shortages of vaccine for their specific age group,” she said.


Health officials say the youngest children are the most vulnerable to influenza infection and have the highest rates of hospitalization when they do become ill.


Vaccine has been arriving in small shipments of varying quantities of the different preparations intended for people of different ages and states of health. The limited and unpredictable quantities have made it challenging to publicize vaccine availability or to offer large vaccine clinics, Tait noted.


“We definitely don’t want to schedule a large vaccination event and have to turn people away,” said Tait.


In addition to efforts of local health care providers to vaccinate their patients, the local pharmacies that

offer vaccination services have improved access to the vaccine in Lake County.


Lake County Public Health recommends that local residents continue to seek H1N1 vaccination over the coming months.


Vaccination can be obtained in any of the following ways: Check with your doctor or clinic to see if they have vaccine available; check with your local pharmacy; check with Lake County Public Health.


Vaccine supplies are expected to be more plentiful in early 2010.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – A man convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder 30 years ago has been denied parole.


The Board of Parole Hearings denied parole for convicted attempted murderer and kidnapper William Clark Elwood on Dec. 9, according to District Attorney Jon Hopkins.


Hopkins said Elwood is serving a life sentence for a kidnapping for robbery and assault with intent to commit murder conviction in Lake County that occurred in November 1979. Elwood’s crime partner was Thomas J. Botkins.


The Life Parole Consideration Hearing was held at Corcoran State Prison where Elwood is incarcerated, Hopkins said. Elwood will not be eligible to have a subsequent parole consideration hearing for five more years.


The board denied Elwood for parole, finding that he poses an unreasonable risk of danger to society if released at this time, Hopkins reported. The commissioner and deputy commissioner based their decision on the brutality of the crime, which was carried out against a vulnerable victim with whom Elwood had a relationship of trust.


Elwood and Botkins repeatedly stabbed the victim with two pronged forks and beat him in his house and outside his house, taking his wallet and money, according to Hopkins. Then they took the victim in his own car to the Lower Lake Cemetery where they beat and stabbed him further.


After that they drove him out Morgan Valley Road about four miles and dragged him out of his car to beat him in the head with large rocks, leaving him for dead. However, Hopkins said a motorist happened by around 4 a.m. and picked the victim up and took him to the hospital.


Elwood and Botkins were arrested later that day by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Hopkins said.


He said that the victim was so badly beaten that the surgeon attempting to do reconstructive surgery asked for a photo of the victim in order to determine what he looked like before the attack.


In making its decision, the board also noted that Elwood has collected over 100 disciplinary writeups while in prison, many of them for violence, including a felony conviction for possession of a weapon in San Quentin. Elwood has had no serious disciplinary problems since 2005, for which Elwood credits his involvement in the Buddhist faith and teachings.


Hopkins represented Lake County at the Lifer Hearing. He told the board, “Mr. Elwood is not suitable for parole as he presents an unreasonable risk of danger to the public if released. His crime was extremely brutal, and committed with a crime partner where they ganged up on a vulnerable victim. It is a miracle that the victim lived after the senseless beating and being left for dead in an extremely deserted area of our county in the middle of the night.”


He also underlined Elwood’s performance in prison, which has resulted in numerous disciplinary incidents, and said Elwood is not doing enough to gain insight into his behavior to prevent future violent conduct.


In addition, Hopkins said Elwood's future plans are to get into a halfway house, and beyond that are unspecific and vague, which he said demonstrates a lack of an understanding of what he needs to do to not slip back into substance abuse and re-offend.


Hopkins also maintained that Elwood's future plans also do nothing to assure the public that he would not commit future violent acts.


“The crime Mr. Elwood committed could not have been any more cold and calloused than it was, leaving this victim with permanent physical and mental injuries,” Hopkins said this week. “The victim will never fully recover, and to protect the community from suffering future victims, I am gratified that the Board of Parole Hearings found Mr. Elwood unsuitable for parole.”


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Lakeport Fire Protection District's truck 5011's ladder was used in a rooftop rescue on Monday, December 14, 2009, at Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport. Photo courtesy of Lakeport Fire Protection District.


 



LAKEPORT – Local firefighters put to work a ladder truck last week as they worked to help a man who suffered a seizure.


A Sunday report from Lakeport Fire Protection District explained that the rescue occurred on Monday, Dec. 14.


Shortly before noon on that day, Lakeport Fire Protection District responded to a reported diabetic emergency on the roof of the Sutter Lakeside Hospital Administration building, according to firefighter Brian Hajik of Lakeport Fire.


Lake County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Willie Sapeta, who already was inside the building when the emergency occurred, reportedly made initial contact with the patient.


The man had been servicing the building's HVAC units when he experienced a full body seizure. Sapeta found the patient unresponsive but breathing, and began assessing the patient before transferring care to ambulance staff, according to the report.


Advanced Life Support (ALS) interventions were begun in the event the man experienced additional seizures, and extrication options were discussed between paramedics and the incident commander, Hajik said.


Access to the patient was only possible via a scuttle hatch, and with roof being nearly 40 feet above the street, the decision was made to utilize truck 5011’s 75-foot aerial ladder to safely lower the patient to the ground.


Under the direction of Fire Captain Bob Holbrook, the patient was secured to a stokes basket after spinal immobilization, said Hajik. Using a series of ropes and specialized lowering hardware, the patient was brought to the ground by sliding the basket along the rails of the ladder with the attending paramedic.


Lakeport Fire reported that the patient had no additional seizures during the rescue operation and had regained full consciousness during the short transport to Sutter Lakeside emergency room.


The incident was terminated at 12:47 p.m., exactly an hour after it began, Hajik reported.


Lakeport Fire Protection District responded with one ALS ambulance, one ALS engine company and one truck company.


No injuries to emergency responders were reported. Hajik said they didn't have an update on the patient's status.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

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Firefighters work to bring the patient, who had suffered a seizure, to the ground on Monday, December 14, 2009, at Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport. Photo courtesy of Lakeport Fire Protection District.

 

 

 

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On average, it takes me about 30 hours to write each column. I research through books, magazines and the Internet in an effort to be as thorough as possible, check my facts and have the most updated information. I typically putter through each column a little bit each day and have over a dozen different columns going at the same time. I’m already working on some of March’s columns.


I started writing this particular article in early November, so I got a good laugh this week at the timeliness of the topic.


On Sunday I was listening to “The Culinary View“ on the local radio and Julie Hoskins was talking about pasties and meat pies, then on Wednesday Ron Jones’ column was about mincemeat pie; all I could do is laugh out loud about how foodies tend to think alike. Pasties, mincemeat pies, and shepherd's pies all stem from the same basic recipe.


Shepherd's pie is the perfect winter dish for your family since it is an all-in-one meal. You have meat, vegetables and potatoes all in the same dish. To help plan meals ahead you can make two of them, freeze one and eat the other one. Shepherd's pie is a great thing to make on a Sunday afternoon. If you like rustic food you can’t get more rustic than this unless you are making meat on a stick over a fire.


Shepherd's pie is basically a thick, lamb-based stew baked with a mashed potato topping. It’s a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs winter dish, although you can lighten it up a little bit here and there by substituting ingredients. You can make this dish with beef but then it’s technically called cottage pie (shepherds don’t raise cows, duh). It’s also been made with chicken, salmon, sausage and turkey, and I’ve even seen vegan versions.


I like to make various versions of shepherd's pie, especially since my wife likes lamb but my daughter doesn’t. My daughter's "petting zoo vegetarianism" causes her to hate eating anything cute and cuddly, so I try to pass things by her from time to time.


In her own defense she has developed a palate much more sophisticated than most people. She will take one bite of shepherd's pie, drop her fork and say, “This is lamb,” and then walk to the kitchen to find leftovers to eat. Months later I’ll make the exact same recipe with beef and she’ll love it. (We've established that cows aren't “cute.”)


My wife loves lamb – just not in the same way my daughter loves lamb, but that’s what keeps my kitchen interesting. My wife also loves curry, my daughter doesn’t ... OK, so it’s not interesting, it’s hell.


Chefs have a love/hate relationship with shepherd's pie since, on the one hand it is a cheap to make dish (love), but on the other it has no “sex appeal” (hate). It's not fancy, it's not complicated, it's not stylish or trendy. Unless you are going to an Irish pub, nobody goes out to a restaurant to have shepherd's pie. I suppose shepherd's pie is too plebeian for most restaurants.


Originating in the Middle Ages in England, shepherd's pie started out as a stew baked into pastry “coffyns.” When the potato made its way to England in the 18th century the mashed potatoes were added, but unlike in today's common recipes the mashed potatoes completely surrounded the stew. It was seasoned with cloves, pepper, prunes, raisins, etc. Seasonings were typically very strong; since there was no refrigeration and meat spoiled quickly, the strong seasoning could cover the taste of meat that might be past its prime. As with many rustic-style foods, it was designed to use up the little bits of this and that which might be lying around the kitchen.


Mincemeat pies were, and still are, popular in England. One of my favorite culinary memories is eating pasties (PAS-tees), which is another form of mincemeat pie. They're like little handheld pot pies. I remember eating pasties out in the snow with mittened hands, the cold air chilling my tongue just before the hot pasty hit it.


In this recipe if I use ground lamb I like to grate the vegetables, but if I use cubed lamb I also cube the vegetables. It just seems to give a desirable level of consistency. When modifying it for my daughter's taste, I use this exact recipe but substitute beef for the lamb and rosemary for the curry powder to make cottage pie.


OK don’t tell anybody I said this but if you are in a pinch you can use potato buds or freeze dried potatoes and it will come out just fine.


Shepherd's Pie


Filling


1 pound lean, ground or cubed lamb (or whatever meat you choose).

1 large carrot, grated (about 1 cup)

1 onion, grated (about 1 ½ cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste (I like the sun dried tomato paste)

1 tablespoons curry powder

¾ cup red wine

¾ cup chicken stock


Topping


4 Russet or starchy potatoes

½ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup cheddar cheese

Pinch salt and white pepper

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.


Brown the meat in a fry or sauté pan on high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling and continue to cook on high until the liquid is almost evaporated, stirring frequently (about 10 minutes). Pour into a 9-inch round casserole or equivalent.


Meanwhile peel and cube the potatoes and boil in salted water until tender, drain, process through a food mill or ricer, or mash and mix in the rest of the topping ingredients. Carefully spread your potatoes over the filling, trying not to mix them together. One way to make this easier is to take a zip top bag, put the potato topping in it (after it has cooled some) and then cut off one corner and pipe it onto the filling.


Place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the potato topping starts to brown.


Frozen shepherd's pie should be thawed, then cooked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until it starts to bubble.


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. Follow him on Twitter, http://twitter.com/Foodiefreak .

LAYTONVILLE – A Willits man was taken into custody on Sunday for allegedly breaking into a cabin and confronting its owner when she arrived at the residence.


Joey Len Gunter, 36, was arrested for burglary, possession of stolen property, vandalism and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a report from Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.


On Sunday at 7:45 p.m. a 55-year-old woman returned to her cabin, located 13 miles out Spy Rock Road near Laytonville, in a very remote and inaccessible area of the county accessed through several locked gates, Smallcomb said. When she arrived she found a man she had never met before inside the cabin.


The woman confronted the trespasser – later identified as Gunter – and demanded he leave her house, Smallcomb said, but Gunter allegedly refused to leave and advanced aggressively toward her.


Smallcomb said the woman fired one warning shot into the air with a handgun, but the shot made no impression on Gunter, who continued to advance toward her.


The woman, who was accompanied by a male cousin, fled the area and contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. Smallcomb said the woman advised deputies that the subject who had taken over her home had been strangely aggressive and that he had access to firearms and ammunition inside the home.


Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies, assisted by a California Highway Patrol officer, responded to the cabin at approximately 10 p.m. Sunday, Smallcomb said. Due to the danger of confronting the potentially armed subject inside the home, a Mendocino County Sheriff's K-9 was sent into the home to apprehend the suspect.


MCSO K-9 "Dutch" apprehended the suspect in a bedroom, pulling the armed suspect to the ground, enabling officers to take Gunter into custody without a more serious use of force, Smallcomb said.


Gunter allegedly had armed himself with a .38 caliber revolver from the home, worn in a holster. Within arm's reach were a .30-.30 rifle and short-barreled 12-gauge shotgun. Smallcomb said all three weapons were loaded.


Deputies transported Gunter to the Mendocino County Jail, where he was booked on several felonies involving theft, vandalism, possession of stolen property and weapons violations.


The 12-gauge shotgun and a Yamaha four-wheel ATV found at the scene appeared to have been the product of other recent burglaries in the Spy Rock area, Smallcomb said. The suspect allegedly admitted to stealing from seven homes and seasonal-use cabins in the Spy Rock area over the last few months.


Anyone who has been the victim of a recent theft in that area or who has additional information regarding these crimes is asked to contact Deputy Clint Wyant of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at 707-459-7833.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Channing Cornell is the new president of the Mendocino College Foundation Board of Directors. Courtesy photo.






UKIAH – Channing Cornell, of Redwood Valley, is the newly elected president of the Mendocino College Foundation Board of Directors.


The Mendocino College Foundation consists of 22 directors, all volunteers from throughout the Mendocino-Lake Community College District.


The foundation supports the college students by providing student scholarships and funds to enhance educational programs and staff development.


Cornell, who previously served as vice president of the foundation board, was unanimously chosen by the directors at the December meeting of the board. Rhonada Clausen, of Ukiah, was elected to serve as vice president. Mendocino College Superintendent/President Kathy Lehner, also of Ukiah, serves as secretary/treasurer of the board and was re-elected to that position for 2010.


Accepting the gavel from Tom Herman of Willits, president for the past two years, Cornell thanked the directors and gave special recognition to Herman.


“Tom has been very conscientious in guiding this board in its fiduciary responsibility,” said Cornell. “You’ve done a wonderful job,” he said, directing his comments to Herman. “We appreciate everything you’ve done (as president) over the last two years.”


Cornell then conducted the remainder of the board meeting, including the scheduling of meeting dates, times, and locations for 2010, and election of committee chairs and members.


The president heads the Foundation’s Executive Committee. Members of the committee are vice president Clausen, secretary/treasurer Lehner who is also chair of the Fundraising Committee, immediate past president Herman, and committee chairs Tommy Thornhill (Scholarship Committee), John Bogner (Land Committee), Gary Smith (Finance Committee) and Richard Cooper (Special Events Committee), all of Ukiah, and Wilda Shock (Marketing Committee) of Lakeport.


Additional foundation board members are Kristi Barrington, John Behnke, Donna Berry, Harry Bistrin, Paul Conrado, Jerilyn Harris, Neelam Salmen, Joan Schlienger, all of Ukiah; Peggy Campbell-DeBolt, Lakeport; Leroy Chase and Christy Scollin, Redwood Valley; David Geck, Kelseyville; and Tod Kong, Hopland.


Regular meetings of the foundation’s board of directors for 2010 are scheduled for Tuesdays, March 2 at the Ukiah campus, MacMillan Hall, 1000 Hensley Creek Road; June 1 at the Lake Center, 105 Parallel Drive, Lakeport; Sept. 7 at the Ukiah campus, and Dec. 7 at the Ukiah campus. Meetings start at noon and are open to the public.


Marketing Committee meetings immediately follow the board meetings on each of the scheduled dates. The Foundation’s Finance Committee will meet Thursdays, Jan. 14, April 8, July 8 and Oct. 14, starting at 3:30 p.m., at the President’s Office in MacMillan Hall. Other committee meetings are listed on the Mendocino College Foundation Web site, http://foundation.mendocino.edu .


For additional information about the Mendocino College Foundation and the efforts of the board of directors, call the Foundation Office at 707.467.1018, visit the Web site at http://foundation.mendocino.edu , or send an email to Kerry McMullen, Foundation support specialist, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

SACRAMENTO – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has a few suggestions for motorists looking to stay safe this year: never drink and drive, watch your speed and always buckle up before heading out.


In an effort to keep California’s roads safe this holiday season, enhanced CHP presence will occur during the upcoming Christmas enforcement period which begins Thursday, Dec. 24, at 6 p.m. and continues through midnight, Sunday, Dec. 27.


“The holidays are about family, friends and celebration,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Unfortunately it’s also a time of year when we see too many alcohol-related fatalities.”


According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) there were more than 4,000 collisions that occurred during last years’ Christmas enforcement period in California.


During that same time period, 37 people died on California’s roadways and among those killed, 23 lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes.


“Driving impaired is not worth the consequences,” said Commissioner Farrow. “Pre-plan your holiday celebration by designating a non-drinking driver before the event.”


Along with the increased enforcement effort, the CHP is asking motorists to help keep the state’s roadways safe by calling 911 to report a suspected drunk driver. Callers should be prepared to provide dispatchers a description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel.


“Hopefully by drawing attention to the enforcement efforts, motorists will choose to voluntarily comply with the traffic safety laws and be there to ring in the new year,” added Commissioner Farrow.


The CHP will conduct a similar holiday enforcement effort over the long New Year’s weekend which begins Thursday, Dec. 31, at 6 p.m. and continues through midnight, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

ANGWIN – A malfunctioning electrical device in a portable sauna machine is believed to have caused an early morning home fire in an unincorporated area of Napa County.


Napa County Fire Marshal Pete Muñoa reported that the fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. Monday at 445 Sky Oaks in Angwin.


Units and firefighters from Angwin and Pope Valley from the Napa County Fire Department and Cal Fire responded to the incident, which Muñoa said caused moderate damage to the second story family room.


He said smoke detectors were not installed in the home.


Three family members safely evacuated the residence while the tenant from the first floor used a garden hose to knock down the fire, Muñoa said.


The fire was reported extinguished at 4:14 a.m., but units remained at scene until 9 a.m. Muñoa said no injuries were reported.


He reported than an investigator from the Napa County Fire Marshal’s Office has been assigned to the incident.


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LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's unemployment jumped to the highest level in decades in November, while the unemployment rates for California and the rest of the country dipped slightly.


The California Employment Development Department's monthly report showed that Lake County's unemployment rate hit the 17.7 percent mark, a jump from its adjusted 16.4 percent rate in October.


Lake County's November unemployment rate is the highest reported since 1990, as far back as the Employment Development Department's online records extend.


The state's overall unemployment saw a small drop in November, from 12.5 percent in October to 12.3 percent in November, but up from 8.3 percent in November 2008, according to the report.


The U.S. unemployment rate was 10 percent in November, down from 10.2 percent in October but up from the 6.8 percent rate in November 2008, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Lake County's jump in November is likely the result of last month's closure of Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, which was estimated to have taken away as many as 700 jobs, although at this time of year the resort usually had a seasonal reduction in its labor force.


The November numbers show only an increase of 190 unemployed people over October.


However, the report also showed that Lake County's overall labor force in November was reported at 24,750, down from October, when there were reported to be 25,600 people in the local labor force. In October, 4,200 people in Lake County were reported to be out of work, while in November there were 4,390 unemployed.


Within the county itself, the following unemployment rates were reported: Clearlake Oaks, 25.8 percent; Nice, 24.6 percent; city of Clearlake, 24.3 percent; Middletown, 21.6 percent; Lucerne, 18.5 percent; Kelseyville, 17.3 percent; city of Lakeport, 16 percent; north Lakeport, 15.6 percent; Cobb, 14. 6 percent; Hidden Valley Lake, 14.4 percent; Lower Lake, 14.1 percent; Upper Lake, 7.2 percent.


Six of California's 58 counties had higher unemployment rates than Lake: Yuba, 17.9 percent; Merced, 18.3 percent; Trinity, 19.1 percent; Sutter, 19.4 percent; Colusa, 22.6 percent; and Imperial, 29.2 percent.


The lowest unemployment in the state was in Marin, which had an 8 percent rate.


Lake's neighboring counties registered the following unemployment rates: Colusa, 22.6 percent; Glenn, 14.6 percent; Mendocino, 11.2 percent; Napa, 10 percent; Sonoma, 10.1 percent; and Yolo, 13.2 percent.


California's nonfarm payroll jobs totaled 14,194,200 in November, a net loss of 10,200 jobs since the October survey. This followed a gain of 31,100 jobs – as revised – in October, the Employment Development Department reported. Those numbers are based on a survey of 42,000 California businesses.


The year-over-year change – November 2008 to November 2009 – showed a decrease of 617,600 jobs, down 4.2 percent, according to the report.


A federal survey of 5,500 households showed an increase in the number of employed people, according to the report. That federal survey estimated the number of Californians holding jobs in November was 16,067,000, an increase of 26,000 from October, but down 931,000 from the employment total in November of last year.


The number of people unemployed in California in November was estimated at 2,254,000 – down by 45,000 from October – but up significantly from the 716,000 unemployed that were reported in November of last year.


The Employment Development Department reported that there were 781,449 people receiving regular

unemployment insurance benefits during the November survey week, compared with 740,272 in October and 593,670 in November 2008.


New claims for unemployment insurance were 84,738 in November, up slightly from 83,475 in

October and 80,920 in November of last year, the agency reported.


The Employment Development Department reported that five categories – mining and logging; construction; information; professional and business services; and other services – added jobs over the month, gaining 13,500 jobs. Professional and business services posted the largest increase over the month, adding 8,000 jobs.


At the same time, six categories reported job declines in November, down 23,700 jobs. They included manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; and government. Trade, transportation and utilities posted the largest decline over the month, down by 8,200 jobs.


The report showed that one industry division, educational and health services, posted job gains over the year, adding 18,900 jobs, a 1.1-percent increase.


Ten categories – mining and logging; construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government – posted job declines over the year, down 636,500 jobs, the report explained.


Trade, transportation and utilities employment showed the largest decline on a numerical basis, down by 135,400 jobs, a decline of 4.9 percent. The report said that construction posted the largest decline on a percentage basis, down by 16.1 percent, a decrease of 118,200 jobs.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

HIGH VALLEY – A large fire early Friday destroyed three buildings and did major damage to the main old ranch house at High Valley Ranch outside of Clearlake Oaks.


Fire officials estimated the total damages to be about $1.5 million at PSI World, the retreat center which makes its home at High Valley Ranch.


Destroyed were two bunkhouses and a laundry building, said Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown.


Brown said firefighters were dispatched just after 3 a.m. Friday to a possible structure fire west of High Valley Road.


The first unit on scene reported three to four structures were fully involved and others were threatened, he said.


Brown added that alert tones were activated to warn firefighters of downed power lines and to request mutual aid.


Fire personnel were able to stop the fire halfway into the ranch house, where they prevented it from entering the second floor, Brown said. Also saved was a mobile home in front of the ranch house.


Heavy water use from multiple engines overwhelmed the hydrant system of High Valley Ranch and a water tender shuttle was set up to pull water from Brassfield Estate Winery, he said.


A total of 22 firefighters responded to the scene, Brown said.


Northshore Fire sent three engines from its Clearlake Oaks, Nice and Lucerne stations, along with two water tenders from Clearlake Oaks and Upper Lake, and a medic ambulance and two battalion chiefs, he said. Lake County Fire Protection sent one engine and one water tender.


No injuries to fire personnel were reported.


Brown said Northshore Fire, Cal Fire and the Lake County Sheriff's Office are continuing the investigation into the fire's cause.


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