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American Legion Tredway Post 194 Commander Jim Merriman speaks at the post's 90th birthday celebration on Thursday, February 25, 2010. Photo by Ginny Craven.



KELSEYVILLE – It was a great time for a celebration on the evening of Feb. 25, when Tredway Post 194 of the American Legion celebrated its 90th birthday with about 75 in attendance.

Commander Jim Merriman welcomed the members and guests, including several members of the Military Funeral Honors Team of Lake County.

Bugler Boyd Green sounded Church Call and Chaplain Woody Hughes gave opening remarks, including an adaptation of Dan Valentine’s “What Is a Veteran.”

Merriman and Roy Pearson, a member since 1946, recounted some of the storied history of Tredway Post 194.

The Tredway Post was chartered with 15 members on Feb. 5, 1920, just five months after the American Legion itself was chartered.

Merriman quipped, “One of our members said ‘they weren’t fast enough to build a fence to keep us out.’”

The post was named in honor of Will Tredway, the first Lake County resident killed in World War I. Tredway was killed in action in France at the age of 21. He was buried there.

To this day, the Tredway family has a standing annual reservation for the post building on Easter weekend for a family reunion.




Chaplain Woody Hughes gave opening remarks in honor of American Legion Tredway Post 194's 90th birthday on Thursday, February 25, 2010. Photo by Ginny Craven.



The original meeting site for Post 194 was in a different Kelseyville location, consisting of an open air type of covered patio. The current building was erected between 1928 and 1930.

Local men transported gravel by wagons and horse teams from a nearby creek. They then made concrete in troughs and built the sturdy structure that remains today.

Merriman said he could personally attest to the hand mixed old fashioned concrete. During expansion projects, he has cut into the thick walls, finding sticks, grass and other debris.

In 1925, the Post 194 Women’s Auxiliary was formed but did not continue. That segment of the post was revived and chartered March 1, 1969 with Betty Franklin as President. Today, local auxiliary members continue to work side by side with the Legion members.

In speaking of Past Commanders, Jim Merriman said, “It makes you want to stand tall and be proud.” He added, “To follow in their footsteps.”

American Legion Tredway Post 194 is accepting new members to the general membership and auxiliary. You may contact Commander Jim Merriman at 707-279-2411 or for auxiliary membership Tressa Merriman at 707-279-4517.

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Lake County Veterans Service Officer Jim Brown (right) and Bob Penny, the county's assistant veterans service officer, were on hand for American Legion Tredway Post 194's 90th birthday on Thursday, February 25, 2010. Photo by Ginny Craven.

LAKEPORT – Licensed vocational nurses, certified nurse assistants, emergency room technicians and other caregivers who are members of Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers-West (SEIU-UHW) at Sutter Lakeside Hospital have ratified a new union contract that will help the local hospital maintain high standards for patient care.

The three-year contract, ratified overwhelmingly Wednesday night, covers 140 staff and includes raises of up to 9.27 percent compounded over the next three years, improved health insurance – including, for the first time, a fully employer paid family health care option – job security and a ban on subcontracting jobs, according to a union statement.

“This agreement will help ensure that our community continues to receive high quality care from the hospital’s skilled and experienced staff,” said Paula Capps, a pharmacist at the facility.

“Sutter Lakeside Hospital has worked diligently since the expiration of the contract more than 18 months ago to implement benefit and wage enhancements,” said Sutter Lakeside Chief Administrative Officer Siri Nelson. “The hospital is committed to providing staff members competitive wages and an environment that recognizes and supports collaboration.”

Nelson said Sutter Lakeside proposed a new health benefit plan to all staff in mid-2009 and said management is extremely pleased that SEIU has recognized its value during the contract ratification.

In 2009, SEIU-UHW-represented hospital workers received on average wage increases for the first year of their contract well-above the national average of 2.3 percent.

Over the past three months SEIU-UHW workers at five other facilities within the Sutter system have settled contracts, including Amador Medical Center in Jackson, Delta Medical Center in Antioch, Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Roseville Medical Center in Roseville and Sutter Solano in Vallejo.

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FINLEY – A residential fire Wednesday afternoon seriously damaged a Finley home and resulted in a family being unable to stay there until repairs are made.

The fire, reported at 4:08 p.m., occurred at 3245 Stone Drive, according to Lakeport Fire Protection Chief Ken Wells.

A 15-year-old male was in the kitchen making French fries and then left the room to eat, and neglected to turn off the stove, which was the source of the fire, Wells explained.

Wells said the fire extended up the wall and into the single story home's attic.

The children in the home – which in addition to the 15-year-old included an 11-year-old male and a 9-month-old baby – and their mother were safely evacuated, while the teenager ran to get a garden hose, which Wells said he put through the window to douse the fire.

“It was almost out by the time we got there,” Wells said.

Lakeport Fire sent eight firefighters, a ladder truck, two engines, a medic unit, with Wells also responding. Kelseyville Fire, which has a mutual aid agreement with Lakeport Fire, sent two firefighters and an engine, Wells said.

Firefighters were on scene about two hours, he said.

The Red Cross was called because the home's condition was such that Wells said the family couldn't stay there.

“They definitely needed some help,” he added.

The family received food and emergency shelter, but likely won't be able to return to the home for some time until a contractor can come and make repairs, Wells said.

The kitchen was a total loss, with smoke damage through other parts of the house. Wells did not have an estimate for the damages.

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ST. HELENA – Three Cal Fire firefighters escaped serious injury early Saturday morning when the fire truck they were riding in rolled down an embankment in rural Napa County.

The three firefighters were staffing a Napa County Fire Department engine and responding to a reported tree down in the Deer Park area of unincorporated Napa County at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday when the crash occurred, according to Napa County Fire Marshal Pete Muñoa.

Preliminary reports indicate that the engine and crew were traveling down a narrow, unlit rural road when the right wheels lost contact with the roadway, according to Muñoa's report.

He said the vehicle rolled 360 degrees down a steep embankment, traveling approximately 40 feet before hitting a large pine tree where it came to a stop.

The three firefighters extricated themselves from the engine and were transported via ambulance to the Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa for medical evaluation. Muñoa said only one of the three firefighters was treated for a minor shoulder injury and all were released shortly after.

The 2006 Pierce Fire Engine was equipped with driver and passenger airbags which is believed to

have saved the life of at least one of the firefighters, Muñoa said.

A CAL FIRE Serious Accident Review Team (SART) has been activated and will be conducting a

thorough investigation of the incident in cooperation with the California Highway Patrol and the Napa County Risk Manager, he added.

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REDWOOD VALLEY – A woman from Nice was arrested Thursday by Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies for allegedly assaulting her male partner.

Lanisha Sanders, 26, was arrested for spousal abuse and violation of parole following an incident that occurred in Redwood Valley, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

At 8:20 p.m. Thursday Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the area of East Road in Redwood Valley just south of the Highway 20 intersection to assist a California Highway Patrol Officer requesting assistance, Smallcomb said.

Upon arrival deputies learned that the CHP officer was patrolling in the area when he observed the victim, a 32-year-old male subject who was not named in the report, waving at him for assistance.

Smallcomb said the CHP officer contacted the victim and discovered he had been in a possible domestic violence incident with his female cohabitant.

The deputies investigated the incident and determined that Sanders and the victim had recently left the Shodakai Casino in a vehicle and were traveling home when they had an argument, Smallcomb said.

During the argument Sanders allegedly assaulted the victim by scratching and kicking at him. Smallcomb said deputies also discovered Sanders was intoxicated, had a misdemeanor warrant for her arrest and was on court probation.

Sanders was arrested for the warrant, spousal abuse and the probation violation and transported to the Mendocino County jail, where she was booked. Bail was set at $30,000.

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LAKEPORT – The trial of two Clearlake men for a September 2009 murder continued on Wednesday, with the judge ruling against a motion for mistrial lodged by one of the defense attorneys, which clared the way for one of the men to take the stand.

Attorney Stephen Carter filed the motion for mistrial Wednesday after prosecutor Art Grothe notified him the previous day of an additional felony strike in the criminal record of Carter's client, Melvin Dale Norton, who took the stand to testify on Wednesday.

Norton, 38, and codefendant Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, are facing murder charges for the Sept. 22 death of Shelby Uehling, 25, who was found beaten and stabbed along Old Highway 53 in Clearlake.

Additionally, Edmonds is charged with murder with a special allegation of using a knife, and Norton is charged with a special allegation that he used a billy club, assault with a deadly weapon, being an accessory and a special allegation of causing great bodily injury, and is charged with having a previous strike.

Grothe filed a motion to amend the charges against Norton to add a second strike, which Judge Arthur Mann accepted.

During oral arguments for his motion to amend the complaint, Grothe said Norton knew he had two strikes, and during an interview with Clearlake Police Det. Tom Clements had stated he was a “three strike candidate.”

“So while there may be a level of disappointment by him, it should not be a surprise,” Grothe said.

Carter replied that Norton, in the interview with Clements, was referencing a 1991 hit and run case for which he was convicted, and believed that was a strike when it wasn't.

Further, Carter argued that Grothe and the District Attorney's Office had the information that revealed the additional felony conviction last October, and that they failed to act. Carter said Grothe could have and should have looked at the documents prior to the trial's beginning. “He apparently did not.”

The result, said Carter, was a change in circumstances that resulted in serious charge enhancements for Norton. “This changes the entire case,” and puts Norton “in a horrendous position which he could not have anticipated,” said Carter.

With a second strike, the defense of being an accessory doesn't help Norton, who would face six years maximum without the enhancement but with the additional strike could face 25 years to life if convicted for that charge alone, Carter said.

Edmonds' attorney, Doug Rhoades, said the situation only collaterally affected his client, who is being painted with the same brush as Norton in the eyes of the jury.

Mann allowed the amended complaint, to which both Norton and Edmonds again pleaded not guilty in court.

In arguing for mistrial, Carter said his defense would have been different in the case with the additional strike. He asked to explain some of the differences in the judge's chambers, which Mann allowed. They were in chambers about 15 minutes before returning to the courtroom.

Mann then asked Rhoades his opinion on the mistrial motion.

“We really don't want a mistrial,” said Rhoades, noting he's happy with the case's progression.

“Mr. Edmonds has confidence in this jury,” Rhoades said. While it's an unfortunate turn of events for Carter and Norton, “We do not want to do this again.”

Mann ended by ruling the trial would continue.

He then asked Grothe what prior convictions he intended to question Norton about when he took the stand that day.

Grothe brought up robbery and battery convictions from 2001 – the latter being the charge Grothe discovered Tuesday – a burglary from 1997 and a hit and run from 1991.

Mann ruled that Grothe could use the burglary and the robbery convictions, but the battery conviction – which involved the use of a baseball bat on an individual – would not be allowed because it was an assault similar to the current case in which Norton is accused of wielding a golf club against Uehling.

Before the jury was brought in for the day, Mann said they had one other issue to address. One of the jurors had been approached by a citizen who had things to say about Norton. The female juror terminated the conversation and immediately reported to the court.

Mann had the juror brought in so he could ask her about the incident.

The young woman, who sat in the jury box, was emotional as she described going to a local store while on a break from court. She had forgotten to take off her juror badge, and the owner of the store told her that Norton had hit her in a hit and run accident in the early 1990s, which put her in the hospital for two months.

After he got out of jail, he went to apologize to her, and the woman – who the juror tried to stop from telling the story – continued on to remark that he was illiterate and she felt bad for him.

Mann asked the juror if she could put it out of her mind. She said she could and that they knew there were previous criminal issues because they had come up. She said she didn't tell her fellow jurors anything about the incident, and Mann assured her that she had done the right thing by immediately reporting it.

The young woman asked to be allowed to compose herself before going back into the jury room because she was afraid of being asked about it. While the bailiff fetched her some tissue, the judge said they would recess briefly and then reconvene.

Norton recalls fatal confrontation

When the court came back into session, and with the jury seated, Norton was called to the stand, where he would stay for nearly four hours during the course of the day.

Under Carter's questioning, Norton explained that he was close friends with the family of Patricia Campbell, who had dated both Edmonds and Uehling, and who he referred to as a cousin. He was the one who introduced her to Edmonds.

During a breakup with Edmonds, Campbell and Uehling had briefly dated, and Norton recounted that after she broke it off with Uehling – who she said was “feeding her meth” – she was sleeping all of the time and very skinny.

“I was upset about it,” Norton said of Campbell dating Uehling, because he was giving her methamphetamine.

He said he first met Uehling “stalking” around Campbell's mother's home, next door to Edmonds', at the Lakeside Resort in Clearlake. In that case, Norton said he and Edmonds had told Uehling to leave because Campbell was scared.

After midnight on Sept. 22, following a day of hanging out and a barbecue, Norton rode his bike home from Edmonds' – he had told police investigators that he had walked, a fact he later attributed to being scared and confused – and while on his way saw Uehling's car parked and running near Old Highway 53 and Lotowana.

He called Edmonds, told him of the car's location, then changed into jeans because he was cold, grabbed a golf club that his girlfriend kept for protection near the front door and headed up to Uehling's car to tell him to leave the area, because he had no business there. Norton said he feared Uehling was stalking him as well.

When he got to Uehling's car, Norton said he asked him what he was doing there and told Uehling he needed to leave. He said Uehling began swearing at him and reaching for something on the floor of the car.

Norton said he was standing on the driver's side of the car, and swung the golf club at the car to distract Uehling – who he was afraid was reaching for a weapon. He said the club hit near the mirror and broke, with the head of the club flying through the partially open window and embedding itself in the dash, with the handle end of the club pointed out the passenger side window.

Norton said he told Uehling to get out of the car and the two began shoving each other before Edmonds appeared and began to brawl with Uehling. He said it was too dark to see punches land, but he denied that Edmonds was using an asp – or billy club – to beat Uehling.

As Edmonds was kneeling on the ground near Uehling, who Norton said was moaning, Norton tapped Edmonds on the shoulder to tell him it was time to go and Edmonds swung around on him. Then they headed back to Norton's trailer where they cleaned up. Norton helped Edmonds bandage a wound on his arm, they changed clothes and hid the clothes and Edmonds' knife in the trailer's front bedroom.

Norton admitted to not being truthful with police during his two interviews, a fact which he attributed to fear.

Grothe would pursue that issue of truthfulness repeatedly, pointing out five areas in the interview transcripts where Norton lied to police.

During cross-examination Grothe also made a point of questioning Norton about the golf club, and how it could have ended up lodged in the dash as if it had been swung through the passenger side window when Norton insisted he had been on the driver's side. Grothe showed pictures of the car and the dash with the golf club buried in it.

Showing pictures of Uehling's bruised body, Grothe pointed to long red marks on Uehling's torso, and asked Norton if they looked like they had been caused by the asp. Norton said no.

Norton also didn't remember Uehling taking a blow to the throat, but Grothe replayed a portion of his police interview where Norton imitated Uehling making a loud “argh” sound. “He was hollering at us like, like a mad man, like a lunatic,” said Norton.

Grothe referred to the earlier testimony of a crime scene illustrator who helped document the murder scene. That illustrator's work showed blood spatter from Uehling going 90 inches up the oak tree against which his body was found, but Norton said it was too dark for him to see blood.

Showing a picture of Uehling's body against the tree, his throat cut and a bright red pool of blood under his torso, Grothe asked Norton if this was where he and Edmonds had left Uehling. Norton said no, that Uehling had been lying several feet away in the street.

Nor did Norton hear a gasping sound – which a witness in a nearby house testified to hearing – when Edmonds gave Uehling a final punch to the throat.

“All's I heard was moaning,” he said.

Norton also denied seeing Edmonds slit Uehling's throat.

The confrontation only lasted about four to five minutes, Norton said.

Under cross-examination by Rhoades, Norton recounted an incident that occurred about two to three days before Uehling's death, when Uehling went by the home of Campbell's mother.

When Norton confronted Uehling there, Uehling told Norton, “I'm not stalking her, I just want to talk to her, and she won't come out and talk to me,” referring to Campbell.

Grothe, in further questioning, pressed Norton about Edmonds getting the asp about a month before the murder, and sending text messages to Uehling from Campbell's phone.

He asked Norton about what he was intending to do when he challenged Uehling to get out of the car as their argument early on Sept. 22 was escalating. Norton said he just wanted Uehling to leave.

Carter, in an attempt to clarify that testimony, asked Norton about telling Uehling to leave when he visited the trailer park and sat outside of Campbell's mother's home. When Norton had challenged Uehling it had been effective in making him leave, and so that was his intention when he found Uehling in his running car near Old Highway 53.

“You didn't have any intention of harming him, did you?” Carter asked, and Norton said he didn't.

Norton added that he was scared Uehling was stalking his girlfriend, Jackie Shelafoe. Grothe pointed out that Uehling didn't know Shelafoe, but Norton said Uehling knew where he lived.

Edmonds will take the stand when court resumes Thursday morning.

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Lyndall’s Sports Stop Grill

4220 Main St., Kelseyville, CA 95451

Telephone: 707-279-0123

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Free WiFi

Being a food writer, I am asked constantly, “Where is the best place to eat in the county?” I always respond, “It depends on what kind of food you are looking for.”

After asking them a few questions here and there I give them my recommendation based on what they are looking for. This also means that I have to eat everywhere so I can give a knowledgeable endorsement. What can I say, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.

After attending Rosa D’Oro’s Venetian Masquerade a couple of weeks ago I decided to stop in to Lyndall’s Sports Stop Grill. Now, I’ve said it in the past that I’m not a sports fan, and like a lot of people I have some preconceived ideas about certain things, so I pulled into the parking lot with the feeling of “I’m going to hate this, but at least I’m giving it a shot.”

Upon walking in, I looked around and superficially thought, “Yep, just what I was expecting.” There were assorted framed jerseys, sports memorabilia, photographs and numerous televisions tuned to a baseball game. I continued my judgments by thinking, “Get ready for the greasy fries and overcooked burger.”

Then I’m looking at the menu. Under appetizers were listed Mozzarella sticks with marinara, clam strips with cocktail sauce, onion rings …“Yep, just what I was expecting.” There are several different burgers are on the menu, grilled cheese sandwich, tuna melt ... “ho hum.”

But all of a sudden the sound of my mind crashing with a thundering clamor must have filled the room.

There on the menu was salmon with hollandaise, sautéed scallops in garlic sauce, cheese tortellini! This isn’t Sports bar food! “I’m in a sports grill and seeing linguini and clams on the menu?! This doesn’t

make sense! Is it a grill or fine dining? Error, error, does not compute!”

The linguini and clams comes with clams in the shell, not canned. I saw several people eating it so it must be good (my annoying diabetic diet means I’m not supposed to eat pasta, so I had to refrain from

ordering it).

The room was about half-filled with diners. The lone waitress was a very cute, dark blond, quick moving pixie that I couldn’t take my eyes off of as she zipped through the room like she was overdosed on caffeine. She was smiling so much that it looked like she loved what she was doing. She was so attentive and concerned with my needs that I completely forgot to get her name.

“OK,” I thought, “Let’s test this cook and see if he overcooks the scallops in garlic sauce.” Nope! The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the broccoli side was prepared flawlessly. I was stunned.

After enjoying my food for several minutes, I finally find a flaw in the meal when I notice that the small tough muscle wasn’t removed from the side of the scallops; it’s not a cardinal sin, just an oversight which kept the entire meal from being perfect.

My first visit encountering this multifaceted menu confused my jaded preconceived opinions so badly that I knew I had to go back, and soon. The second time the waitress was a taller girl with dark, long, curly hair, and she smiled so much that it was making MY cheeks hurt.

She was very attentive, giving me constant updates on my order and asking if I needed anything else. She was so busy flitting from place to place like a honeybee in a florist shop that I didn’t get to ask her name either. The thought that these girls must get paid extra just to look so happy kept going through my mind.

The menu says the fish tacos are a “must try”… I love fish tacos! I must have them, and the buffalo wings which are also a favorite of mine. The waitress asked me how hot I wanted the wings and I replied, “The hottest you got.” She said “Those are called 'nitro.'” Sounds good to me.

The fish tacos come with French fries, potato salad or coleslaw, and I asked for the coleslaw. When the tacos arrive I notice they are larger than I commonly see them, and I spend a moment poking at the two of them noting the relish consisted of fresh tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, red onions, cilantro and, of course, cabbage. The coleslaw was simple yet special with the addition of caraway seeds in it.

When I finished the slaw I started on the tacos. How do I say this without exaggeration? They are the best fish tacos I have ever had in my life. You should keep in mind that I’ve eaten fish tacos on the Mexican coast!

The buffalo wings are also out of this world. The sauce contains chopped jalapeños giving added texture and depth of heat. In the initial bite you taste the chicken and notice that the sauce has much

more depth of flavor than most you eat. This isn’t just a simple recipe of hot sauce and butter, this sauce was well thought through.

The heat is great for someone of my “chile head” level. Anywhere the sauce touches your face starts with a slow burn and intensifies to what feels like a severe sunburn. The burn on my lips lasted about

15 endorphin-filled minutes. You also get the traditional blue cheese dressing and celery sticks with the wings.

Taking a better look around the restaurant I see a sign requesting donations for the Kelseyville High football team’s helmets, and an advertisement for the Cleavage Creek Wines that they serve there (a

portion of the proceeds from their wine sales goes to breast cancer research).

Their afternoon menu is like a sports page from a news paper with community news, calendar and local sports players to watch. The Lyndall family is so involved with charity and the community that I feel honored to be eating in the establishment.

Looking more closely at the décor you notice old pictures from Lake County sports teams and you can recognize names like Gaddy, Porter, Gatton and even Mitchell Johns. They are interesting historical

pictures that allowed me to put a face to the names I see all around the county. So instead of my initial impression that it was cheesy-sporty, the décor is thoughtfully considered and pays hometown homage which makes me feel comfortable and at home.


Get the WiFi password from your waitress. The connection is super fast and I had no problems with it at all.

The prices are fair; both of my meals there including drinks were right around $20, not including tip. There’s dining available outdoors on the deck, but due to the weather right now it’s pretty empty out

there. Indoors there is seating for around 90 people.

I needed a couple of last minute facts to finish the review and went back again and just HAD to have the fish tacos one more time. I’m just not a burger and fries kind of guy. The fish tacos this time had

a mild chili mayonnaise on them which was very good. I also ordered the spicy Reuben and fries to go. The pixie waitress even said “goodbye” to me as she left for the day, even though she didn’t serve me at all today. This is the friendliest staff!

Since variety is the spice of life I could never declare there is a “best” restaurant in the county, but if you were to ask me to name the five best restaurants in Lake County Lyndall’s Sports Stop Grill will

be in that top five.

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, .

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Many people wonder why they need a will if they have a living trust in place. The answer is because the will and trust serve different purposes.

The type of will used with a trust in place, however, is not your typical “stand-alone” will, i.e., a will used when no trust is in place, but is a so-called “pour over will,” so named because it transfers all assets left outside the trust into the trust.

The trust controls any assets that have been transferred by the client prior to death, but the pour over will controls every other asset (if any) that was not transferred and serves other important purposes. Now let’s explore the reasons why a will is still needed with a trust.

As mentioned, a pour over will serves to deal with the possibility that assets belonging to the client were left outside the trust at the time of death.

Often the client will have some assets – such as vehicles, boats and a checking account – that are typically left outside the trust. This will not trigger a probate so long as the total cumulative gross value of these non-trust assets is under $100,000.

Forty days after the death, the executor named in the will submits a sworn affidavit with an attached death certificate to take possession of these assets and transfer them into the name of the successor trustee.

Sometimes, the pour over will has to be probated because other assets were not transferred into the trust; or assets were taken out and not placed back into the trust (such as when a home is refinanced).

The pour over will transfers all of the omitted assets into the trust for purposes of distribution to the beneficiaries (presuming outright transfers) or for purposes of holding these assets (or their sale proceeds) for the benefit of the beneficiaries (under the terms of the trust).

Another reason – one that may not come up so often – is if the deceased person has legal business pending at the time of death.

The will, you see, nominates whomever the decedent wishes to represent his or her own estate in all legal matters. That person is most often the same person as the successor trustee in charge of the trust assets.

There are many different scenarios where an executor would be needed to deal with ongoing legal matters. For example, if the decedent died in a manner that gives rise to a lawsuit, or has a personal injury lawsuit pending at the time of death, then the will nominates the decedent’s choice for an executor for purposes of completing such legal affairs in the name of the decedent.

Another example is when the decedent owed monies to creditors or was being sued personally then the executor would be the person to handle the defense against these claims.

In any of these situations, the will would need to be probated in order to obtain so-called “letters testamentary” that actually appoint the executor; only then is there an executor with powers.

Filing the decedent’s last federal and state tax returns is another reason for naming an executor.

The decedent will usually die owing or being owed tax monies for tax years still open at the time of death. The executor has the responsibility to file any tax returns as due, and to pay any tax monies owed or claim refunds (as the case may be) on all open years.

Lastly, a will may also be used to nominate guardians of minor children. This important function, however, is often better left to a separate document for the nomination of a guardian.

Dennis A. Fordham, attorney (LL.M. tax studies), is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. His office is at 55 1st St., Lakeport, California. Dennis can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or by phone at 707-263-3235.

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SACRAMENTO – From the mid 1880s into the 1960s, an estimated 45,000 people with developmental disabilities who died in California institutions were buried in unmarked locations – many in mass graves.

The locations of their remains are unknown because identifying records have been lost, or their remains were moved.

First District Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast) has introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 123, which would establish the third Monday of September as a Remembrance Day to memorialize these Californians.

“The stigma of living with developmental and mental disabilities has begun to disappear in recent generations,” Chesbro said. “But not too long ago those with developmental and mental disabilities were institutionalized and treated as less than human. Thousands who died in these institutions were never given proper burial and the location of their remains is still unknown. It is time we do something to restore their dignity.”

Some of the state institutions involved in this practice, which are still in operation and are now participating in the California Memorial Project, include Napa State Hospital, Atascadero State Hospital, Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, Patton State Hospital in Patton, Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa, Lanterman Developmental Center in Pomona, Porterville Developmental Center, Coalinga State Hospital, Salinas Valley Psychiatric Program, Vacaville Psychiatric Program and Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge. Other state institutions that have since closed include Mendocino State Hospital in Talmage, Agnews Developmental Center in San Jose, Camarillo State Hospital, DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn, Modesto State Hospital and Stockton State Hospital.

In 2003, as a member of the California State Senate, Chesbro authored legislation establishing the California Memorial Project, a partnership between the state departments of Mental Health and Developmental Services and the California Network of Mental Health Clients, Disability Rights California and People First California to locate and identify the remains of those who died in these institutions. The legislation was signed into law on the third Monday of September that year.

The California Memorial Project identifies the locations of remains, restores the cemeteries and graves where those who died in state institutions were buried, preserves the history of residents of institutions and documents the history of the movement in California.

“Some progress has been made since 2003, but there is still a lot more work to be done,” Chesbro said.

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LAKE COUNTY – Candidates for local government races turned in signatures to qualify for lower filing fees this week and are preparing for final candidacy filings due next month.

Thursday was the deadline for those candidates wanting to submit signatures in-lieu petitions to cover all or part of their filing fees, based on a Lake County Registrar of Voters Office calendar. The filing period for gathering those signatures began Jan. 4.

Races on this year's ballot are sheriff, district attorney, supervisorial seats for Districts 2 and 3, superintendent of schools, assessor-recorder, county clerk-auditor and treasurer-tax collector.

All candidates for those races are now preparing to submit declaration of candidacy and nomination papers, which Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley said are due March 12.

Fridley said each candidate must have a minimum of 20 signatures on their candidacy nomination forms. Those forms are separate from the in-lieu petitions, which reduce the fees candidates have to pay.

Filing fees for the various offices are based on the office holder's salary, Fridley said.

The following is a breakdown of the salary for each office, filing fee (based on 1 percent of the office's annual salary), the number of signatures needed to completely cover the fees and the value of each signature, which varies according to the office:

  • Superintendent of schools: entry level salary, $108,365; in-lieu filing fee, $1,083.65; signatures, 3,293; each signature's value, $0.32908.

  • Assessor-recorder: salary, $88,007; in-lieu filing fee, $880.07; signatures, 3,293; each signature's value, $0.26726.

  • County clerk-auditor: salary, $90,207; in-lieu filing fee, $902.07; signatures, 3,293; each signature's value, $0.27394.

  • District attorney: salary, $109,647; in-lieu filing fee, $1,096.47; signatures, 3,293; each signature's value, $0.33297.

  • Sheriff-coroner: salary, $106,973; in-lieu filing fee, $1,069.73; signatures, 3,293; each signature's value, $0.32485.

  • Treasurer-tax collector: $85,912; in-lieu filing fee, $859.12; signatures, 3,293; each signature's value, $0.26089.

  • County supervisor, District 2: salary, $57,690; in-lieu filing fee, $576.90; signatures, 552; each signature's value, $1.04511;

  • County supervisors, District 3: salary, $57,690; in-lieu filing fee, $576.90; signatures, 649; each signature's value, $0.88890.

On Friday, Fridley and her staff had a raw count of all the signatures turned in by the candidates on Thursday. She said her office has 10 days to verify all the signatures, but they hope to have that work completed by the middle of next week.

She said if any of the signatures are thrown out in the verification process, the candidates have the opportunity to collect replacement signatures.

The raw, unverified counts of the signatures gathered by the candidates in each race follow.

Superintendent of schools

Wally Holbrook: 1,053

Judy Luchsinger: 356


Doug Wacker (incumbent): 54

County clerk-auditor

Pam Cochrane (incumbent): 90

District attorney

Don Anderson: 249

Jon Hopkins (incumbent): 272

Doug Rhoades: 43


Jack Baxter: 56

Martin McMarthy: Did not take out in-lieu petition

Rodney Mitchell (incumbent): Did not take out in-lieu petition

Francisco Rivero: 1,182

Treasurer-tax collector

Sandy Kacharos (incumbent): 77

County supervisor, District 2

Jeff Smith (incumbent): 26

Joyce Overton: 176

County supervisor, District 3

Gary Lewis: 37

Denise Rushing (incumbent): 507

Those candidates who didn't submit signatures, such as Mitchell and McCarthy in the sheriff's race, can instead pay the filing fees – which Fridley said Mitchell did on Friday – and then submit nomination papers with at least 20 signatures by the March 12 deadline.

The March 12 date is the big one, said Fridley. Once candidates have their nominating signatures, pay their filings fees and submit their declarations of candidacy by that date, “They're on the ballot.”

On March 22 candidates also will be required to file financial reports for the period from Jan. 1 through March 17, Fridley said.

Some candidates already have made financial reports for the period from July 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2009.

Fridley said those candidates reporting receipt of funds during that period are as follows:

  • Wally Holbrook: $690 in monetary contributions, $1,000 loan (from himself); expenditures, $1,110.48.

  • Rod Mitchell: $2,399 in monetary contributions, $32.61 in nonmonetary contributions; expenditures, $180.

  • Francisco Rivero: $50.22 in monetary contributions, $2,499 loan (from himself); expenditures, $843.31.

  • Jeff Smith: $396 in monetary contributions; expenditures, none.


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LAKEPORT – A man on trial for a murder that occurred last September took the stand in his own defense on Thursday.

Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, was on the stand all day Thursday, explaining his part in the Sept. 22, 2009, death of 25-year-old Shelby Uehling, a recent Lake County resident who had arrived several months earlier from Montana.

Edmonds is charged with murder and a special allegation of using a knife to kill Uehling.

On Wednesday Melvin Dale Norton, 38, Edmonds' codefendant, had testified in the case. Norton is charged with murder, a special allegation that he used a billy club, assault with a deadly weapon, being an accessory, a special allegation of causing great bodily injury, and two strike enhancements.

Edmonds and Norton had allegedly confronted Uehling – who was parked in his vehicle off of Old Highway 53 near Norton's home early on the morning of Sept. 22 – because they said he had been bothering Patricia Campbell, Norton's longtime friend and Edmonds' on-again, off-again girlfriend.

Campbell and Uehling had been romantically involved during a week-long methamphetamine run that took place during a brief breakup between her and Edmonds in September, according to previous testimony.

After Campbell returned to Edmonds, Uehling reportedly wouldn't stop calling her and came over to her mother's home at night to try to find her a few days before his death. That was the context of Norton's and Edmonds' first face-to-face confrontation with Uehling, who left after they told him he wasn't wanted there.

Prosecutor Art Grothe would hammer away at the composure of the soft-voiced Edmonds during hours of cross-examination, showing pictures of Uehling's battered and bloodied body and asking if Edmonds knew how the injuries were inflicted. Edmonds, who testified to having epilepsy, repeatedly responded, “I don't remember.”

Before testimony began for the day, Judge Arthur Mann – out of the jury's presence – told the attorneys that they had to deal with a few juror-related issues, including a man who had appeared at the jury commissioner's office asking questions about the case while three jurors were sitting nearby.

The unidentified man, who called himself “Norton's mentor,” said he wanted to get Norton “a good three strikes attorney.”

Edmonds' defense attorney, Doug Rhoades, also informed the court that he had overheard a man – who had just come into the courtroom – discussing the case outside earlier. Stephen Carter, representing Norton, asked the man to go into the hall to speak and Carter than returned alone.

Carter then asked the judge to question the three jurors about the incident with Norton's “mentor,” and Mann had them brought in one at a time – first a young female then two older males. All three said they hadn't heard much – the two men said they were more intent on their discussion about catfishing – and assured the court that they could remain objective.

That satisfied the attorneys, and the full jury was brought in.

Grothe briefly called District Attorney's Investigator Von Morshed to the stand. She testified to bringing to court from the evidence locker that morning a light pair of blue jeans worn by Norton during the fight with Uehling. Carter entered a stipulation that the jeans were discovered at Norton's residence during a warrant search.

Norton recounts relationships, fatal fight

Rhoades called Edmonds to the stand, who began his testimony by recalling Norton introducing him to Campbell outside of his motor home at Lakeside Resort in the second or third week of June 2009. Campbell, who had left her husband not long before, moved in with Edmonds the next day.

During the course of their nearly four months together, Campbell would leave and return to Edmonds five times, usually only for a few days. She met Uehling at the home of friend Linda Dale, where Edmonds had gone to fix a car.

Campbell and Uehling later became briefly involved but in September and then she returned to Edmonds. Campbell, whose mother lived next door to Edmonds, invited him, Norton and some others over to the home one night after her return to watch movies.

Edmonds said Campbell looked out the window when she saw headlights came up and exclaimed that it was Uehling. By that time, Norton had left.

“She grabbed me by the arm, very, very scared, and said, 'Don't answer the door, don't answer the door,'” Edmond said, recalling Uehling walking around the house looking into the windows.

They called Norton and asked him to come back, and then he and Edmonds told Uehling to leave. “I told him that Patricia did not want him here anymore, she did not want anything to do with him anymore,” Edmonds said.

Edmonds would see Uehling one other time – from a distance as Uehling was driving by – before the Sept. 22 fight.

During the days after she returned from her relationship with Uehling, Campbell slept a lot, and Uehling was constantly calling her, Edmonds said.

On the night of Sept. 21, while Campbell was asleep, a call came in, and Edmonds could see it was from Uehling. He handed the phone to Norton, who answered the call and told Uehling to stop calling and leave Campbell alone.

Norton left to return home on his bicycle around 12:45 a.m. or 1 a.m. Sept. 22, and on the way home spotted Uehling's car off of Highway 53. Edmonds said he had already gone to bed when Norton called him, and he said there was a “significant amount” of fear in his friend's voice, which he had never heard before.

Edmonds got up, put on his clothes – he normally carried two knives in his pants pockets – and jogged up the road to the top of the hill where Uehling was parked. When he got there he heard Uehling and Norton arguing, and as he got closer saw them in a shoving match and witnessed Uehling reaching for something in his waistband.

“I became very, very terrified at that moment, thinking that my best friend was going to get shot or hurt” by a weapon of some sort that he thought Uehling was pulling out to use, Edmonds said.

Edmonds ran up and got between Uehling and Norton, and he said Uehling lunged at him with a knife, cutting his forearm. Edmonds said he hit Uehling, who turned to the side, then Edmonds lunged at him and “we both went down to the pavement.”

During the fight Edmonds said he pulled a double-bladed knife out of his pocket, was able to open it with one hand and continued the fight. He said he was in a “foggy, dreamlike state” throughout the confrontation.

Then Norton tapped him on the shoulder and Edmonds swung around on him, not realizing who it was. “I was in an altered state of consciousness I guess,” he said.

They went back to Norton's home, and once in the bathroom Edmonds realized he had blood on him. Norton helped him bandage his injured arm.

“I remember thinking, 'What the hell just happened?'” Edmonds said.

They put their clothes in a bag that was left in Norton's front bedroom. Then Edmonds went home. Law enforcement later showed up at his home.

He admitted to having not been truthful with police during his interview.

“Did you intend to go down there and kill Shelby?” asked Rhoades.

No, Edmonds said, he just wanted to run him off.

Carter questioned Edmonds about comments he made to friends in phone conversations from jail that were recorded.

Edmonds at one point told a man named Bill that Norton had more charges against him, and “he didn't even do nothing,” which Edmonds agreed that he said.

He also told Norton's aunt Gigi in a phone conversation that “I was the one who did it” with regard to killing Uehling, and that it was done in self defense.

“Was that true, what you were saying?” Carter asked.

“Yeah, yeah it was,” Edmonds said.

He recalled that Uehling was yelling at he and Norton in what he called “tweekinese,” which is like shouting under one's breath with a lot of guttural sounds.

Edmonds said Uehling was acting “extremely crazy” during the fight, swinging wildly with a very intense demeanor which Edmonds attributed to him being on meth.

As the fight wound up, Uehling was moving more slowly and moaning.

“Did you know how much damage you'd done at that point?” Carter asked.

“I had no idea,” said Edmonds.

Late in the morning, Grothe began his cross-examination, which lasted for most of the rest of the court session.

He asked about Edmonds' relationship with Campbell and asked how many times, other than Uehling, he had problems with men making advances toward her. Just once, a man named Serapio, who Edmonds would testify Campbell claimed was stalking her, just as she had said Uehling was.

Around Sept. 14, 2009, Edmonds got a text from Uehling, who thought he was sending the message to Campbell. Edmonds wrote back to him, “Yeah, how much fun did you have with me?”

He later revealed his identity and told Uehling, “She's all yours.” Edmonds said he had suspicions that Campbell was trading sex with Uehling for drugs, and believed she had done it on previous occasions with different men.

Edmonds also told Uehling that he had better hide when he saw him; Edmonds said it wasn't a threat of bodily harm but rather a warning because he planned to take a picture of Uehling and his car and turn it over to police on allegations of methamphetamine use.

Grothe then directly asked Edmonds if he killed Uehling. “Let's go ahead and get that one out front. You killed him.”

“Apparently,” said Edmonds.

“I think we're all pretty clear apparently that he died,” said Grothe, adding that's what happens when you slit someone's throat.

Carter objected, saying Grothe was testifying, and that his comment was sarcastic and “completely inappropriate.” Mann sustained the objection and struck the remarks from the record.

Grothe showed Edmonds the asp, or retractable baton, he is accused of using on Uehling. Edmonds had gotten it from an acquaintance about a month before Uehling's death. He denied having it with him during the fight or using it on Uehling, although he carried it often in his truck.

“There's a lot of bad people in Clearlake,” he said. “I'd feel safer if I had something to defend myself with.”

As Grothe continued pressing Edmonds on details of his story, he often said he didn't remember specifics. “I don't have a perfect memory,” which he attributed to epilepsy.

Grothe asked to have a hearing outside of the jury's presence. With the jury out of the room, he asked to introduce pictures of the inside of Edmonds' motor home that showed a number of weapons, including nunchucks, a small baseball bat, a section of metal pipe, a wooden billy club and throwing stars.

He said the pictures and related questioning were appropriate because they related to Edmonds carrying weapons.

Rhoades argued against Grothe's request, saying that evidence that the asp was even used was “at best, speculation.” He said the pathologist had testified that the marks on Uehling's body were scrape marks, not impact marks from the asp and the other weapons weren't relevant. Carter agreed, saying it seemed inappropriate. Grothe said the pathologist said some of the marks were consistent with the asp.

Mann said that the court previously had excluded the items because they were prejudicial, and although there was some evidentiary value, he said it was far outweighed by the prejudicial effect of showing largely illegal weapons.

After the jury continued, Grothe continued his questioning, emphasizing in his line of inquiry that Edmonds got into the fight with Uehling more about protecting Campbell than going to Norton's rescue.

He asked Edmonds if he pulled his knife specifically to stick Uehling. “Yes,” Edmonds replied softly.

Did he intend to slice Uehling open? Edmonds frowned. “I had it out because he had pulled something and stabbed me.”

Grothe showed pictures of the cut on Edmonds' arm, as well as his hands, which showed no signs of injury.

Edmonds testified to fighting for his life, and said he hit Uehling in the face probably three times, and got in multiple body shots on him, and also got body shots from Uehling. He didn't see Norton swinging a golf club at Uehling.

Grothe showed pictures of Uehling's injuries and asked about how they occurred. Edmonds often replied he didn't remember, although when looking at pictures of Uehling's bruised face he said he may have gotten the injuries when hitting the ground. Also pictured was the large, fatal cut on Uehling's neck, bruises on his torso and knees, and cuts on his hands.

Looking at pictures of the crime scene, Edmonds said he believed left Uehling when he was near a large puddle of blood on the road, not next to a tree, where police later found Uehling's body.

Edmonds testified that he has had five grand mal seizures since Uehling's death, which he said had caused him increased memory problems. Grothe asked him if he had medical documentation to prove it. Edmond said he had gotten no medical help at the jail.

Edmonds will return to the stand for further testimony when court reconvenes Tuesday at 9 a.m.

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 and on Facebook at .

WILLITS – Authorities are investigating a crash that took the lives of two people on the Willits Grade earlier this week.

Just before midnight Tuesday the California Highway Patrol and Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene of a traffic collision on the Willits Grade, according to Lt. Rusty Noe.

On arrival it was confirmed that two people had been killed in the single vehicle rollover. Noe said the victims were identified at the scene as 47-year-old Alfred Dean Ligon and 48-year-old Rhonda Lee Taylor, both of Willits.

The CHP is investigating the cause of the crash. Noe said there were no witnesses to the accident and the CHP has not been able to determine who was driving at the time.

Autopsies were conducted on Wednesday and the cause of death is pending, he said.

The CHP is asking anyone with information that could help with the accident investigation to call 707-467-4040.

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