Monday, 22 July 2024


UPPER LAKE – The ninth annual sunrise ceremony to commemorate the massacre at Bloody Island will be held this Saturday, May 17, beginning at 5:30 a.m.

On May 15, 1850, soldiers attacked Pomo – mostly women and children – living on the island near Upper Lake, brutalizing and murdering many of them.

“Forgiving the oppressor who was guilty of this crime is a way for us, the Pomo people, to bring back much needed positive energy and balance,” said one of the event's organizers, Clayton Duncan, in a statement on the event. “We will have prayers and our children will dance.”

To get to the ceremony, take Highway 20, turn onto Reclamation Road by the Bloody Island

Massacre Monument and follow the road to the site of the ceremony.

For more information please call Clayton Duncan at 274-6788 or Bernadine Tripp at 275-9574.


LAKE COUNTY – Lake County law enforcement and Lake County Special Olympics will bring the Northern California Special Olympics Torch Run to Lake County this June 7, and the effort is seeking volunteers and support.

The event features the running of the "Flame of Hope" throughout communities to raise awareness for

Special Olympics programs, the Northern California event highlights the running of the torch throughout cities and towns, culminating at the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games.

Law enforcement officers here in Lake County have come together to carry the flame throughout the county to show their support for the many athletes in our community that participate year-round in our own Lake County Special Olympics program, along with those that will be participating in the Northern California Summer Games.

Support for the event can include officers volunteering to run, as well as community members supporting participating officers, volunteering or simply coming out to cheer them on.

For more information about this year's event, call Officer Adam Garcia at the Clear Lake California Highway Patrol office, 279-0103 or Kristina Navarro, 349-7728.


LAKE COUNTY – A fundraising event dedicated to the opening of a homeless youth shelter, or safe house, for Lake County will take place on Saturday, May 17 at Rob Roy Golf Course.

A four-person scramble golf tournament will be held, with check-in time from 11:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Kathy Fowler has graciously donated a car for a hole-in-one on the second hole.

The need for the safe house is critical. The numbers of homeless youth in the US today are rising at alarming rates and Lake County is no different. Current statistics show that on any given day in Lake County, between 600 and 1000 children under the age of 18 are homeless.

Some of these children are runaways, some have been kicked out of their homes (throwaways), but the vast majority, simply have no place to sleep or be safe during the night.

The safe house will be a 24 hour facility that will provide temporary housing, access to health services, crisis services, family and individual counseling and life skills training to homeless youth.

The need for this facility has been discussed by service agencies, law enforcement and local schools for many years, but we have now hit the critical mass numbers that requires our community to take immediate action.

The Lake County Community Action Agency, under the direction of Executive Director Georgina Lehne, has taken the lead role in the development and creation of this highly needed facility. This nonprofit agency has experience in transitional shelter operations for families, food and clothing distributions, New Beginnings, self-sufficiency education and support, and is the new overseeing agency for youth services formally know as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Club.

Please help us address the large and growing population of homeless kids by attending this wonderful day of golf, gourmet dining, live music and fun.

Following the tournament, at 5 p.m., there will be a delicious western buffet. Many local businesses have donated special items for the silent and live auction which will take place throughout the evening. The cost of golf, cart and the dinner is $85, or $40 for dinner only (tax-deductible).

For information call Carol Germenis at 928-4280 or Sandy Hearn at 928-5713.


Clear Lake State Park (pictured) and Anderson Marsh State Historic Park are no longer under threat of closure in the governor's budget. Courtesy photo.




LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's two state parks appear to be safe from threats of closure.

That's the word from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who released his May budget revise on Wednesday afternoon.

In January, Schwarzenegger's initial budget proposal suggested closing 48 state parks – including Clear Lake State Park and Anderson Marsh State Historic Park – which gave rise to public outcry around the state.

Traci Verardo-Torres, director of legislation and policy for the California State Parks Foundation – and manager of the groups Save Our State Parks campaign – said the updated budget proposal is headed in the right direction.

“We've staved off the immediate crisis,” Verardo-Torres told Lake County News.

Leona Butts, a member of the Clear Lake State Park Interpretive Association board, said Wednesday that she was “extremely relieved” to hear of Schwarzenegger's decision.

In Lake County, the possibility of losing the two state parks triggered a local grassroots movement that included signature gathering and a trip to Sacramento.

Butts said a petition drive mounted in Lake County gathered 5,260 signatures. She said she sent in the last petitions on Monday to Schwarzenegger's office.

Verardo-Torres credited efforts like that as an important factor in convincing the governor not to close the parks.

Madelene Lyon, president of the park interpretative association, said she was thrilled to hear the news. “It's been such a big cloud hanging over us.”

Even with the threat of closure looming for the last four months, Butts said the Clear Lake State Park Interpretive Association had continued to move forward with plans for the park, including fundraising for its Education Pavilion, which will be located across from the park Visitor Center at 5300 Soda Bay Road. Anderson Marsh also has building plans, including a visitor center, outdoor amphitheater and museum.

Butts and several park supporters had visited the state capitol in April for Park Advocacy Day. There, they had received a less than enthusiastic welcome from officials with the finance department and the governor's office, who had warned them that the closure were necessary.

That admonition, and recent rumblings from the capitol's heated budget committee sessions, made it seem as if the closures might actually take place.

While the parks have been spared, there will still be deep cuts, said Schwarzenegger. One area that will be targeted is Health and Human Services. Schwarzenegger also said he plans to modernize the lottery and use it to help create a rainy day fund.

North Coast Sen. Patricia Wiggins criticized Schwarzenegger's overall plan. “This budget is based on some of the same short-sighted tricks that got us into this mess in the first place, including massive borrowing and fund-shifting, without offering a long-term solution to our state’s budget problems.”

She suggested that Schwarzenegger's lottery plan “may be even worse speculation than buying a home in an inflated housing market.”

Parks face changes ahead

Schwarzenegger's plan includes using $11 million from the state general fund to support the parks in lieu of the park closures, said Verardo-Torres.

At the same time, Schwarzenegger is requiring the parks department to raise $2 million in fees. Verardo-Torres explained said she was on a conference call with parks officials Wednesday afternoon, and they haven't yet indicated which parks will see fee hikes, or how much the fees might go up, but she said she believes day use fees will be affected.

Fees always contain some risk, she added, and can't be relied upon to solve all of the parks' problems which, luckily, Schwarzenegger isn't proposing.

Lyon said raising fees at local parks is “doable.”

Pointing out that everything is going up in price, Lyon added, “I don't think people are going to balk at one or two dollars more to come into the park.”

Verardo-Torres warned that the parks aren't out of the woods yet. She said it hadn't taken much to lead the governor to a “pretty dire proposal” regarding a system that is already underfunded.

She said the foundation plans to encourage the legislature and Schwarzenegger to find longterm solutions to the parks department's funding needs. The California State Parks Foundation reported that state parks have more than $1.2 billion in deferred maintenance backlog.

The legislature also could choose to take serious action to cut expenses in a year where there is a multi-billion-dollar shortfall, as a state Senate budget subcommittee reportedly did this week in slashing funds for rural law enforcement. However, Verardo-Torres said the foundation heard almost unanimously that legislators didn't want to close state parks.

Butts said she's hopeful that the value of the parks to communities has made an impression on state officials.

The parks, she said, are a vital educational tool.

Just last week, she and her husband, DA, helped introduce 26 sixth graders from Ukiah to the wonders of Clear Lake State Park. The students camped there for two nights and worked on a variety of educational projects.

Supervisor Rob Brown, who took part in the April Sacramento trip to advocate for keeping the parks open, said he was encouraged by the news that the parks were spared.

“I think that it shows that the governor's office will listen to local residents and our efforts were actually not wasted, so I'm very happy about that,” Brown said.

He added, “Maybe we need to make another trip down there to talk to him about roads.”

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


LAKE COUNTY – Enjoy the spring weather while you can, because hot summer temperatures will be here by midweek.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento is forecasting a strong ridge of high pressure to build over the entire West Coast, including Lake County, by the middle of the week, bringing high temperatures up to the 90s and near 100 degrees.

As the high pressure system strengthens, the National Weather Service predicts that Lake County and areas of Northern California may break the century mark by Thursday.

The ridge of high pressure will begin to head east by Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, which will cool down local temperatures – but they will remain higher than normal through the weekend.

If you've planted a garden in the past week or so, make sure to water adequately.

Even though air temperatures will be hot later this week, the water temperature of Clear Lake and area streams, rivers and lakes are still cold. The National Weather Service reminds everyone that wading, swimming, rafting or fishing can still be hazardous due to cold water temperatures and hypothermia (sudden loss of body temperature) can set in – and be fatal.

If you work outdoors, be sure to take frequent breaks from the sun, wear light-colored clothing and drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids, warns the National Weather Service. Also remember to not leave children or pets alone or in unattended vehicles.

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


LAKEPORT – A Clearlake man found guilty of the murder of his roommate will likely spend the rest of his life in prison after receiving his sentence Friday.

James Wade Roberts, 46, was found guilty last month of first-degree murder for the October 2006 murder of Ruth Donaldson, 62, as Lake County News has reported.

Roberts stabbed Donaldson to death at the home they shared a home on Mullen Avenue in Clearlake.

His attorney, Stephen Carter, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Carter had argued that Roberts had a long history of reported mental issues, delusional thinking and psychotic episodes.

On Friday afternoon Judge Richard Martin sentenced Roberts to 86 years to life, a sentence District Attorney Jon Hopkins had anticipated last month, when the jury found Roberts was sane at the time of the murder.

Roberts has five previous strikes, according to Carter, who also told Lake County News last month he expected his client would receive a lengthy sentence.

Hopkins said Roberts stated Friday he planned to appeal the sentence.

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


LAKE COUNTY – A preliminary hearing scheduled to take place Tuesday morning in a Lakeport murder case was postponed because federal officials failed to return the defendant on time.

Ivan Garcia Oliver, 30, is being charged with the November 20 murder of 67-year-old Michael Dodele. He's also facing charges for having been found in jail with a shank he'd made from a toothbrush, as Lake County News has reported.

Not long after he was arrested and charged with Dodele's murder, Oliver and his half-brother were indicted by federal officials in an illegal dumping case in San Diego County, according to court documents.

Oliver was transported to San Diego County several weeks ago for a hearing in the federal case, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.

The US Marshal's Office, who is overseeing Oliver's transport to and from the San Diego court appearances, told Hinchcliff they would have Oliver back in time for his preliminary hearing, which was to have begun at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday in Judge Arthur Mann's Department 3 courtroom.

However, Oliver, who has been in transit since last Thursday, didn't arrive in time for the hearing, said Hinchcliff.

And just where he was on the way back to Lake County was uncertain. Hinchcliff said the last report of Oliver's location came last Friday, when he was in Kansas City.

The US Marshal's Office reports that it transports 300,000 prisoners annually through a network of aircraft, cars, vans and buses. Their aircraft fleet moves prisoners over long distances, offering more security and less expense than commercial airlines. All scheduling is handled at the Kansas City headquarters of its Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System division.

Hinchcliff said Oliver may not be returned to Lake County until late in the week. No new preliminary hearing date has yet been set.

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


LAKE COUNTY – The American Cancer Society's Relay For Life Lake County has 45 teams with one to 20 members per team, 24 committee chairs plus committee members. These volunteers come from all over Lake County. Also involved are musicians, dancers, vocalists and performers who have donated their time and talents for the continuous free entertainment at the relay.


There are many reasons for involvement in this event.

This is event chair Beth Berinti's fifth year doing relay. Berinti is a cancer survivor from Lucerne. She was on a team her first year, has been a team captain for four years, a committee chair for four years, last year and this year as event chair.


"Once you've participated in a Relay event, you just want to continue,” Berinti said. “I lost my mom to cancer and most recently, my cousin, Dave Fesmire, which makes this Relay more poignant."


Charwin Ward, with Broken Ground, a band that is playing at the relay on Saturday, May 17, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., lives in Spring Valley. One band member lives in Sacramento. Ward heard about Relay from Sally Lusinger and wanted to volunteer.


"I lost my mother to cancer when I was 13 years old,” Ward said. “When I heard about Relay, I wanted to be a part of it. The whole band is willing to support Relay."


Sally Owens from Lakeport has been participating in Relay since her husband, Don, passed away from cancer six years ago. Don Owens was the principal of Clear Lake High School and the stadium is named after him. Her mother-in-law is a 20-year cancer survivor.


"The reason I support Relay is to help with research so our children will never have to experience this disease,” she said. She'll be walking for two teams this year.


Entertainment chair Naomi Wheelan from Kelseyville has participated in Relay for seven years. She heard about it from her sister who is involved in Napa's Relay. Wheelan became a team captain with Americorp her first year and has had her own team of family and friends since. She has been entertainment chair for six years.


"I have lost family members and close friends to cancer but every year that I hear of someone who has lost the battle to cancer, I hear of someone who has beat cancer,” she said. “Once you get involved you do whatever you can and there's plenty to do. We do make a difference."


Cobb resident David Neft, who has a business in Middletown, is volunteering his musical talent and time for the third year. Neft accompanies the National Anthem singer, Shelly Mascari from Middletown, and plays for the heartwarming Survivor's Lap at the 10 a.m. Opening Celebration Ceremony. Neft also will entertain us with his jazzy piano selections from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.


Neft has close friends and relatives who have been touched by cancer. "I feel that there is no other place we should be that day,” he said. “We need to donate what ever energy and talents we have to this event. If people only knew that you gain much more than you could ever give by joining the Relay family."


Relay For Life supports programs right here in Lake County. One is Road To Recovery where volunteer drivers take people to and from treatments and appointments.


Deanne Dale of Lakeport is a driver. She got involved when, as a new resident, she needed someone to drive her to and from an important appointment. She said, "I didn't know anyone that well and figured there were other people that might need someone to drive them, also. I heard about Road To Recovery and volunteered."


Most every person has been touched by cancer in some way, and participating in Relay For Life is a way of "fighting back" against this disease.

There have been all types of fundraisers prior to Relay and there will be raffles, auctions, items for sale and other fundraising events at Relay.

Free entertainment starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17, with the Celebration Ceremony including the Survivor's Lap. Pastor Shannon Kimball-Auth will do the invocation and the flag ceremony will be performed by the Boy Scouts of Kelseyville Troop 45.

Performers for all day Saturday and for Sunday morning are Shelly Mascari, David Neft, DJ Ken Steely and Groove Crew, Kelseyville High School Jazz Combo, Twice As Good, Antoinette School Of Dance, Open Mic at Cafe Victoria's emceed by Phil Mathewson, Sweet Adelines, Irma and Luis, Broken Ground, Hamed Hokamzedeh and Lefty. There will be karaoke contests with DJ Lori Steely with finals and awards on Sunday morning.


There will also be theme laps where relayers dress in styles from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.


Come join us in supporting Relay For Life Lake County on May 17 and May 18 at Don Owens Stadium, Clear Lake High School, 350 Lange St., Lakeport.


WASHINGTON – Last weekend, as chairman of the House Intelligence subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence, Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) visited several sites throughout Iraq to conduct oversight of intelligence-related matters.

A statement he released following his return from Iraq seemed to confirm Thompson's stance on the need to get US troops out of Iraq. His spokesperson Anne Warden said Thompson has been to Iraq twice before.

“In addition to meeting with General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, as well as some of my own constituents, I had the honor of spending some time with our troops,” he said. “Our brave men and women in uniform continue to do an amazing job despite being overextended and caught in the middle of a civil war.

“You need to look no further than the recent increase in attacks on the Green Zone – an internationally-controlled, fully-protected area in Baghdad – and the ongoing threat of Improvised Explosive Devices to know how important strong, effective intelligence is to ensuring our troops return home as fast and safe as possible.

“This war has given Iran the opportunity to strengthen its influence in the region. After my visit, I believe more strongly than ever that Iran’s threat must be addressed by bringing the world together through a surge in diplomacy. Strong intelligence gathering capabilities is the key to peacefully nipping the problem of Iran in the bud. It’s also the key to fighting terrorism worldwide, improving our national security and keeping us out of future wars.

“I continue to support immediately beginning the redeployment of our troops out of Iraq and giving the Iraqi government full responsibility for their national security,” he said. “I believe we must work with the United Nations to develop an international strategy for controlling the violence in Iraq and ensuring it does not spread across borders, which would certainly lead to a regional civil war.”


KELSEYVILLE – The California Highway Patrol's Clear Lake area office has won a state award for its work to increase compliance with seat belt laws.

The office won the California Law Enforcement Challenge's award for occupant protection, said CHP Officer Adam Garcia.

The Clear Lake office – which has 25 sworn officers – won the statewide honor competing in a division of departments officers numbering between 11 and 25, said Garcia.

The competition's purpose, said Garcia, is to reward agencies that reduce fatalities on the state's roadways, with particular focus placed on occupant protection, driving under the influence and speeding laws.

Six out-of-state law enforcement judges came to the CHP Academy this year for five days to score competition submissions, which were divided by category and size, said Garcia.

The judges themselves were divided into three groups of two and worked in teams to score the submissions, using an objective scoring method for the enforcement section and subjective scoring on other categories, he explained.

The judges scored the departments by comparing three-month periods in 2006 and 2007 and looking at improvement, said Garcia.

The Clear Lake CHP office won for occupant restraint usage, which improved from 96.3 percent in 2006 to 96.7 percent in 2007, Garcia said.

The local CHP office showed a major increase in enforcement, said Garcia. During the three-month period judges examined, in 2006 there were 252 citations for seatbelt-related violations, and 394 citations in the same three-month period a year later.

Department officials attribute the increase in restraint usage to enforcement and community education and outreach, including child safety checkpoints, education and training classes. Garcia said CHP also has conducted talks at schools and carried out an overall effort to get the word out to people that they need to buckle up.

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


Sshhhhh! Be very quiet here, don’t even read this out loud. I don’t want too many people to know this. Just be happy that I’m telling you: The strawberry farm in Clearlake Oaks is open! You can imagine me jumping up and down yelling, “Woo-Hoo!”

What’s that? You don’t know what I look like so you can’t picture that? OK, real quick, imagine a really handsome man; now make him 100 pounds heavier, then give him a beard and a big grey hat. Now you can imagine me jumping up and down yelling “Woo-Hoo!”

But anyway, let me get back to the important news.

Just as you are approaching Clearlake Oaks from the southeast on Highway 20, there is a strawberry farm on the right hand side of the road. I have never had better strawberries than from this stand. If you have only ever had strawberries from the supermarket, when you stop here you will think these strawberries are a religious experience.

Need a better description? For readers who live in Napa or Ukiah, they’re worth the drive! How’s that? I save the little green baskets the strawberries come in for the entire summer, wash them, and the following spring I bring them back to the farm for reuse. I typically collect 50 to 60 baskets per year.

Am I getting my point across? These are the BEST strawberries anywhere! One word of advice/warning: if you have to drive any further than three miles, one basket will not make it all of the way home, so purchase accordingly.

I’ve often thought of saving the seeds from one of the berries, or asking the stand what variety of strawberries they were so I could grow them at home, but then I realize that it’s so much easier just to go to the farm stand to pick up as many as I want.

My daughter will play hostess to her friends many days during the summer, and we sit them out on the deck with a flat of strawberries and a pitcher of lemonade. That evening the flat is nothing but a cardboard box and a few green baskets, the deck has red stains all over it, and the ground is littered with strawberry hulls.

There are several stories about how strawberries received their name, with the most popular story being that in the garden they are mulched with straw. Other stories have English children threading strawberries on a reed of straw and selling them as “Strawed berries”, and yet another story describes how they were found “strewn” over the forest floor, “Strewnberries.”

But the most likely origin of the name is the practice of packaging the berries in straw for transportation and displaying them in the market on the straw. Most often in tales of naming produce, the story that evolves from the consumer spreads the farthest and therefore becomes better known. Tales of how they were named by the grower rarely survive.

I think that strawberries are one of the most sensual foods that exist. I can prove it, too: give a woman a strawberry and she will produce two sounds. First upon seeing the strawberry she will give off an inquisitive and anticipatory “Ooo!?” then upon eating it she will sound out with a pleasurable, almost orgasmic “Mmmmmmm!”

Strawberries have been considered an aphrodisiac since before the times of Rome. They contain more vitamin C than any other berry (one cup of strawberries provide 140 percent of the recommended daily allowance). Strawberries are high in potassium, folic acid and antioxidants, and have been found to carry out several things to prevent and reduce cancer. Strawberries also contain a couple of flavonoids that battle LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Mixing strawberries with baking soda is supposed to be a great natural whitening toothpaste, but I just think that it’s a waste of good strawberries.

Have I whet your appetite for fresh, farm grown strawberries?

The Oaks strawberry stand prices are as follows:

Basket $2

Half flat $10

Full flat $19

The recipe below is for strawberry crepes, but I have to be precise: they aren’t for “true” crepes but they are easier to make. They offer a good launch at crepe-making for the beginner, and a lazy day break for the pro.

Simple strawberry filled crepes

Try serving as breakfast in bed.

Simple crepes (makes about three to four crepes)

3 eggs

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of salt

Mix the crepes ingredients well until combined, then cover and place in the refrigerator overnight (You need to give the flour time to hydrate and the bubbles to subside).

The next morning, heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and butter it well. Give the batter a light stirring just to make sure that the flour isn’t settled on the bottom. If the flour didn’t mix well and you have clumps, just put the batter through a strainer before cooking. Pour in about one quarter of the crepe mix and tilt the pan in a circular motion until the entire bottom of the pan is covered and the batter is no longer liquid (set). Many crepe recipes will call for you to flip the crepe but this isn’t necessary as long as the batter is set. If you buttered the pan well the crepe should just slide off the pan onto a plate. The general rule of crepe making is “The first one never turns out”, so don’t panic on the first one. Even pros mess up the first one more often than not.

Continue this process until you have used all of the batter. I typically make a double batch of batter the night before so I can make extra crepes.

Fill the crepes with the following mixture:


½ cup strawberries, hulled and halved

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup cream cheese

1 tablespoon honey

Small pinch of cayenne pepper or black pepper

Optional whipped cream for topping

Mix well in a bowl and then spoon into crepes and roll them up. Topping the crepes with a little whipped cream gives you bonus points! A dusting of cocoa powder wouldn’t hurt either.

You can also use the sour cream cheese mixture to pipe into hollowed out strawberries for a delicious finger food/dessert.

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.


Norman Henderson of Clearlake is facing 10 felony arson counts for allegedly setting fires in Clearlake and Bartlett Springs. Lake County Jail photo.



LAKE COUNTY – A man who fire investigators allege set numerous fires in the last year, primarily in the Bartlett Springs area, has been arrested.

Norman Ralph Henderson, 61, of Clearlake was arrested Friday afternoon for allegedly setting a string of arson fires between April 25, 2007, and this past April 10, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.

Henderson is being charged with 10 counts of arson, Hinchcliff said. Lake County Sheriff's Investigator Corey Paulich, and Lake County Arson Task Force Investigators Brice Trask and Chris Vallerga made the arrest Friday afternoon.

The felony charges, according to Hinchcliff, allege that Henderson intentionally set 10 fires in the year-long time period, including two recreational vehicles in the city of Clearlake, and eight fires along Bartlett Springs Road between Lucerne and Indian Valley Reservoir.

The fires officials are charging Henderson with setting in the Bartlett Springs Road area include two vacation residences that were a total loss, three structures in the Bartlet Springs Resort area including the Bartlett Springs water bottling facility, a cabin owned by the Yolo County Flood Control District and two wildland/brush fires.

The old Bartlett Springs Resort lodge, which resort caretaker Zane Gray had rebuilt in 1989, was the first of the buildings to be burned last year, said Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins. That building, as Lake County News reported, burned July 28.

The next building was a transfer station that the old Vittel bottling company had use to fill trucks, said Robbins.


Then, on Sept. 11, 2007, the Bartlett Springs gazebo, which Gray also had restored, was set ablaze. At the time, county officials had been looking at trying to move the gazebo down to the site of the future Ely Stage Stop Museum.



The historic Bartlett Springs Resort gazebo, restored in 1985 by caretaker Zane Gray, pictured on May 6, 2007. The gazebo was destroyed in a fire on Sept. 11, 2007. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


Robbins said it angered him that firefighters had saved the structures in the 1996 Fork Fire, only to have them so senselessly destroyed.

The most recent fire, which took place April 10, was a privately owned cabin, said Robbins.

Arson investigators were having a hard time pinning down leads, especially because the Bartlett Springs area is so remote, said Robbins.

While they had received some vehicle descriptions and made tentative vehicle stops on people coming down the hill, they were frustrated in their attempts to make any definite connections to the case, said Robbins, adding that anyone in the area would have a 17-mile head start on first responders.

It was an incident in another county that helped break the case, said Robbins.

Henderson came to the attention of local fire investigators after he was arrested in Colusa County late last month for setting ablaze a roadside fruit and vegetable stand near Williams, as Lake County News has reported.

Colusa County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Erdelt told Lake County News that Henderson admitted to being a convicted arsonist in cases that took place in Nevada. The Woodland Daily Democrat also reported that Henderson had been convicted of arson in Butte County about 40 years ago.

Robbins said Williams Fire Chief Jeff Gilbert had a hunch about Henderson after he was questioned by Colusa County officials about the fruit stand fire.

Gilbert called Robbins the next day and said, “We may have your guy,” Robbins recalled.

The Lake County Arson Task Force – a group of qualified arson investigators from area fire districts, the sheriff's office and district attorney's office – picked up the case from there, said Robbins.

Robbins said he was grateful to the arson task force and the sheriff's office for their hard work to crack the case.

He said the arrest will help the residents and landowners in the Bartlett Springs area feel more at ease after a year of fearing for their homes and property.

Robbins estimated that the last time they had a serial arsonist on the Northshore was in the 1980s, and the man – who was convicted of setting a series of grass fires – went to prison for a long time.

“It's hard to get 'em, but once you get them they admit to it, because they're pretty proud of what they're doing,” said Robbins.


Arson Task Force member Brice Trask, who also is a station caption with Lake County Fire Protection District, said many of the local strike team members that worked on the Fork Fire in 1996 are now on the task force.

After having worked so hard to save the buildings, Trask said it meant a lot to the Arson Task Force to catch the arsonist responsible for taking out most of what remained of the historical resort.

“It's kind of ironic that we come back and catch the guy that burned it down,” Trask said. 

Henderson is in custody of the Lake County Jail in Lakeport, with bail set at $100,000.

Hinchcliff said Henderson is scheduled to be arraigned on the arson charges early next week.

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


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