Wednesday, 24 July 2024


BRANSCOMB – A Branscomb man was arrested last week after he allegedly ran his vehicle into the front of a post office and store.

Dale Carbaugh, 49, was arrested on charges of attempted arson, vandalism, burglary and felonious threats on March 5, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

On March 4 Mendocino Sheriff's deputies responded to the area of the Branscomb Post Office regarding a subject who had hit the front of the store with a vehicle, Smallcomb said.

Upon arrival, deputies spoke with witnesses who advised that Carbaugh had run his vehicle into the front of the store, impacting the gasoline pump, according to the report.

Smallcomb said that, upon hitting the pump, Carbaugh exited his vehicle and pulled the fuel dispensing nozzle off of the pump and placed it in the post office building, hooking it on a crate in an apparent attempt to dispense gasoline inside the building.

Witnesses advised the emergency shutoff switch was disengaged and Carbaugh got back into his vehicle and drove it to another location near the store, Smallcomb said. The witnesses also told deputies that Carbaugh walked past the store a few minutes later and threw a small plastic bottle towards them advising he believed the devil was inside the post office.

Deputies searched the area for Carbaugh but couldn't find him, Smallcomb said.

On the following day, Smallcomb said sheriff's deputies received a call for service advising Carbaugh was at the home of a relative in Branscomb and was vandalizing a boat with a hatchet. Deputies responded to the scene and arrested Carbaugh for felony vandalism attempted arson and burglary.

Smallcomb said the deputies also investigated the incident which had occurred at the relative's home. They learned Carbaugh had been hiding in the woods the previous day in hopes of eluding law enforcement and had arrived at a relative's home, where he took a hatchet and destroyed an inflatable Zodiac type boat.

Following this vandalism Carbaugh threatened to commit similar acts of violence on his family members at the location, Smallcomb said.

Carbaugh also was arrested on charges of vandalism and felonious threats. Smallcomb said Carbaugh was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail, with bail set at $50,000.

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SACRAMENTO – Unemployment in California edged up slightly as the new year got under way, according to a Friday report, with state labor officials also noting an increase in non-farm payroll jobs.

The California Employment Development Department's (EDD) latest report looked at statewide unemployment numbers. Reports on Lake and the other 57 counties in California is due out Wednesday.

The EDD reported that non-farm payroll jobs increased by 32,500 in January, with eight of 11 industry sectors showing gains, according to data from two separate surveys.

California's January unemployment rate was 12.5 percent, following an annual revision of monthly employment estimates.

In December, the state’s unemployment rate was a revised 12.3 percent, and in January 2009, the unemployment rate was 9.7 percent. The unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of 5,500 California households.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased in January, to 9.7 percent.

Nonfarm jobs in California totaled 13,842,100 in January, an increase of 32,500 over the month, according to a survey of businesses that is larger and less variable statistically. The survey of 42,000 California businesses measures jobs in the economy.

The year-over-year change (January 2009 to January 2010) shows a decrease of 701,700 jobs – down 4.8 percent.

The federal survey of households, done with a smaller sample than the survey of employers, shows a decrease in the number of employed people. It estimates the number of Californians holding jobs in January was 15,850,000, a decrease of 18,000 from December, and down 735,000 from the employment total in January of last year.

The number of people unemployed in California was 2,266,000 – up by 32,000 over the month, and up by 488,000 compared with January of last year.

EDD’s report on payroll employment (wage and salary jobs) in the nonfarm industries of California totaled 13,842,100 in January, a net gain of 32,500 jobs since the December survey. This followed a loss of 41,200 jobs (as revised) in December.

Eight categories (mining and logging; construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government) added jobs over the month, gaining 45,900 jobs.

Construction posted the largest increase over the month, adding 16,200 jobs.

Three categories (information; financial activities; and professional and business services) reported job declines this month, down 13,400 jobs. Information posted the largest decline over the month, down

by 12,100 jobs.

In a year-over-year comparison (January 2009 to January 2010), nonfarm payroll employment in California decreased by 701,700 jobs (down 4.8 percent).

One industry division, educational and health services, posted job gains over the year, adding 12,400 jobs (a 0.7 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 714,100 jobs.

Trade, transportation and utilities employment showed the largest decline on a numerical basis, down by 148,900 jobs (a decline of 5.5 percent).

Construction posted the largest decline on a percentage basis, down by 18.0 percent (a decrease of 128,700 jobs).

In related data, the EDD reported that there were 717,070 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the January survey week. This compares with 792,764 last month and 717,525 last year.

At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 92,738 in January 2010, compared with 80,873 in December and 75,514 in January of last year.

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Recent readings of California's snowpack shows that it's up nearly 30 percent from this time last year while, at the same time, Lake County's water bodies are showing major improvement thanks to recent rains.

In Lake County, on Sunday a US Geological Survey gage of Clear Lake showed that the lake has risen to 6.23 feet Rumsey, the specific measurement used for the lake. A full lake is 7.56 feet Rumsey.

The picture at Indian Valley Reservoir also continues to improve. The reservoir's storage measured 65,335 acre feet as of Friday, up more than 25,000 acre feet from the same time last year, according to Yolo County Flood control & Water Conservation District, which built the reservoir and also holds the water rights to Clear Lake.

Last week, the California Department of Water Resources conducted the third of its five monthly snow surveys in the Sierras, measuring a snowpack 107 percent of normal for the state, up from 80 percent the same time last year.

The most recent sensor readings show that the snowpack has edged up again, to 110 percent.

Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin said the readings give the agency hope that they'll be able to increase the State Water Project allocation by this spring to deliver more water to cities and farms.

“But we must remember that even a wet winter will not fully offset three consecutive dry years or pumping restrictions to protect Delta fish so we must continue to conserve and protect our water resources,” said Cowin.

Lake Oroville, the State Water Project’s principal storage reservoir, is recovering slowly after three dry years, officials reported. Despite recent storms, its storage level today is only 55 percent average for this time of year.

It is also expected that dry soil conditions will absorb much of the snowpack’s water content that otherwise would help to replenish streams and reservoirs during the spring and early summer melt.

Electronic sensor readings are posted at .

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UPPER LAKE – This Thursday, state education officials are expected to finalize a list of California schools that are considered “persistently lowest achieving,” with those schools facing remedies to improve performance.

The list of 188 schools, released Monday, identifies 5 percent of those lowest achieving schools based on a series of criteria derived from state and federal law, officials reported.

The schools are listed in three sections – tier one, tier two and graduation rate only.

On the tier two list – which includes middle or high schools that are eligible to receive Title I funds based on demographics such as above-average poverty – included one Lake County school, Upper Lake Middle School in the Upper Lake Elementary School District.

The only other school listed in the North Coast region was Kawana Elementary in Sonoma County's Bellevue Union Elementary School District. Tier one schools are elementary, middle or high schools that, among other things, are identified as being in Program Improvement in the 2009-10 school year.

Kurt Herndon, superintendent for the Upper Lake Elementary School District, received a letter dated Feb. 22 from California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, a copy of which Herndon shared with Lake County News.

In the letter, O'Connell informed Herndon that the district may or may not have one or more schools on the list. Herndon later received a four-page explanation of the list and what it means.

“I'm in the awkward position of trying to explain something that doesn't make any sense,” said Herndon.

Herndon wrote a memorandum to his board of education to explain the situation, and also called board members.

Rachel Perry, director of the California Department of Education's academic accountability and awards division, said that identifying the 5 percent of persistently lowest-achieving schools in California is part of a multistep process that the state has to follow in accordance with three federal funding programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Those programs are the Race to the Top, the School Improvement Grant and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Perry said.

In addition, SB X 51 – state legislation authored by Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) – added additional rules to help California compete in the Race to the Top, she explained.

The State Board of Education will discuss the preliminary list at its Thursday meeting, Perry said.

Perry said the US Department of Education allows states to apply for waivers of certain provisions of the federal law. She said California can apply for a waiver from having to identify lower performing schools before identifying the higher performing schools as required under the federal programs.

The State Board of Education will vote on seeking that waiver this Thursday, Perry said.

“If they vote to seek the waiver, the list will resort itself,” she said, with tier two schools like Upper Lake Middle School possibly being replaced by lower performing schools from tier one.

However, “There's still a second layer of review,” with Perry noting that the US Department of Education must approve the waivers, with the possibility that the agency could rule California doesn't qualify.

That makes it even more troubling for local districts because of the uncertainty, Perry said.

Herndon pointed out that Upper Lake Middle School isn't amongst the lowest 5 percent of schools when it comes to measures like the state's Academic Performance Index.

The school's 2009 API was 666, 12 points below its target score, according to state records. In 2008 the school scored 678, with a 2007 score of 672.

One of the reasons Upper Lake Middle School landed on the list was its failure to increase its API score by 50 or more points over the last three years. Perry explained that schools that didn't make that growth target were identified as low performers according to state law.

“We evaluate performance and progress,” she said.

Any schools that increased their API by more than 50 points or were at or above the state's API target of 800 points were removed from the state's analysis used to identify low performing schools, she said.

The California Department of Education reported that the schools identified as persistently lowest achieving must engage in a school intervention model as required by state and federal law.

Schools that make that final list of persistently lowest-achieving schools are required to implement one of four school intervention models: the turnaround model, which requires major school improvements that can include replacing the principal and adopting a new governance structure; a restart model, in which the school is converted or closed and reopened; the school closure model, in which the school is closed and students are enrolled in other, higher-achieving schools; and the transformation model, which also can include replacing the principal and increasing instructional time.

Herndon said the school already has worked on remedies to address performance, including the turnaround model.

Upper Lake Middle School currently has a new principal following the retirement of the previous principal, Herndon said.

“It just sounds so bad,” he said of the school's inclusion on the list.

Now that the school knows what to shoot for, he said it won't be on the list in the future.

Herndon is sure of one thing. “We are not in the bottom 5 percent of schools in California,” he said. “It's not that simple.”

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 .

FORT BRAGG – A Ukiah man has been arrested for allegedly taking part in the beating last Saturday of a Fort Bragg taxi cab driver.

Norman White, 29, was taken into custody by Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies late Friday not long after the alleged attack, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

Smallcomb said deputies responded to the 31000 block of Simpson Lane in Fort Bragg shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday on the report of an assault and battery.

When they arrived on scene the deputies spoke to 51-year-old Dan Goekler, owner and operator of a local taxi cab company, who said two unknown males had assaulted and battered him after he picked them up, Smallcomb said.

Goekler told deputies that he had picked up the two subjects from a party on Mitchell Creek Drive, and as he was driving them into the city one of the men – later identified as White – struck him in the head with both hands simultaneously, according to Smallcomb.

After the attack began Goekler stopped and got out of the vehicle and pulled White out, at which point White and the other suspect attacked and physically assaulted Goekler repeatedly with their hands and feet while Goekler was on the ground, Smallcomb said. White allegedly kicked Goekler in the head repeatedly.

Smallcomb said Goekler sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the assault.

Deputies searched the area and located White concealed in the brush near the location of the assault. Smallcomb said Goekler identified White as one of the two suspects who had physically assaulted him and White was arrested.

Deputies continued to search the area but were unable to locate the second suspect, Smallcomb said. That suspect has not yet been positively identified.

White was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and assault and battery, with bail set at $30,000.00, Smallcomb said.

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The Pacific brant is one bird that a recent study found appears to be changing its winter migration patterns. Photo by Mike Yip.



As the days get warmer, many of us start migrating from our homes to our backyards and other outdoor areas. Migrating birds are also on the move – like us, spurred to change their behavior by warmer temperatures.

Birds that overwinter in the Central Valley and other areas in California, like the tundra swan and sandhill crane, will soon be flying north for the summer to their breeding grounds in Canada, Alaska and the northern United States.

One species that won’t be making its usual trip north for summer is the Pacific brant. This black and white sea goose is slightly smaller than a Canada goose. Normally, right about now, the population wintering in Mexico would be getting ready to migrate to its summer breeding grounds in Alaska.

Recently, however, US Geological Survey-led study found an increasing number of Pacific brants are opting to stay put in Alaska year-round.

In the past, nearly the entire population – 90 percent – migrated from Alaska to Mexico for the winter, with the rest scattered along the Pacific coast, but last year, as many as 30 percent of the population spent its winter in Alaska.

In actual numbers, fewer than 3,000 Pacific brants were detected wintering in Alaska before 1977. Now, as many as 40,000 are wintering there.

Authors of the USGS study point to climate change as the primary reason for Alaska’s growing winter population of brants. They conclude that climate change is affecting Pacific brants in at least two significant ways: higher air and water temperatures have decreased coastal sea ice, giving the birds year-round access to eelgrass, which is their primary food.

Additionally, a changing wind regime has made it harder for them to migrate out of Alaska. The northerly winds they rely upon to aid their 3,000 mile-long journey to Mexico are becoming rarer. Researchers found that the increase in the number of brants wintering in Alaska was clearly linked to fewer days with favorable southward wind flow.

Although not having to migrate may seem like a benefit, this change leaves an increasing proportion of the Pacific brant population at risk.

Mild winters in Alaska may suddenly become bitterly cold for a period of time, a scenario that may become more common if, as some climatologists predict, climate change will cause more extreme and unpredictable weather.

“Alaska now has the greatest concentration of Pacific brant outside of Mexico. Because of this, threats to the Alaska wintering population can affect the entire Pacific Flyway population,” said David Ward, lead author of the study.

In other words, even though they are adapting to new climate conditions, Pacific brants are still at risk, and their new migration pattern – or lack thereof – could end up killing them.

Pacific brants aren’t the only birds that are modifying long-established ranges. Last year, scientists at the National Audubon Society analyzed 40 years of data collected by citizens participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count. They found that nearly 60 percent of the 305 species counted are shifting their ranges northward by an average of 35 miles, and that more than 60 species moved in excess of 100 miles north.

In its report Audubon asserted that the findings provide new and powerful evidence that global warming is having a serious impact on natural systems.

Audubon California, a division of the National Audubon Society, issued its own report detailing the impact of climate change on native California bird species.

In it, the authors pointed out that while birds are well equipped to adapt to new conditions, they may be unable to respond to environmental changes of the magnitude they are likely to experience in the coming decades.

The researchers predicted that up to 110 of California’s 310 native birds may disappear from at least 25 percent of their current ranges within the next 90 years.

The authors cite two main causes for the possible declines.

First, since wildlife habitat in the state has been reduced in area and fragmented, it may not adequately buffer species, communities and whole ecosystems against climate change.

Second, the unprecedented rate at which climate variables are changing puts even more pressure on all species, and even birds may not be able to keep up.

This is bad news for birds, but even worse news for less-mobile species.

Let’s put a face on this phenomenon. A familiar, yellow-billed face.




The yellow-billed magpie could lost as much as 75 percent of its range if greenhouse gas emissions aren't addressed, according to an Audubon California study. Photo by Chuq Von Rospach, .



Yellow-billed magpies are iconic birds of the Central Valley. Although they are a common sight around here, they are actually relatively rare in California and do not occur elsewhere.

Audubon California researchers found that this Central Valley resident could lose as much as 75 percent of its range, and could be pushed over the brink of extinction in the next 100 years if we do nothing to address global greenhouse gases.

However, if we aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, yellow-billed magpies could lose as little as 9 percent of their range. Yet another reason to reduce your carbon footprint.


Katharine Moore is a resident of Davis. Tuleyome is a local nonprofit working to protect both our wild heritage and our agricultural heritage for future generations. Past “Tuleyome Tales” articles are available in the library section of their Web site, .

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LAKEPORT – This Friday, the community is invited to come and enjoy the premiere of the inaugural “We Love the Tules Four Minute Film Festival.”

The Lake County Arts Council and Main Street Gallery, at 325 N. Main Street in Lakeport, is hosting the reception ceremony on Friday, March 12, to celebrate the creativity of the community.

Seven films were entered and each will be given its own reward, said Cheri Holden, creator of the festival and owner of Watershed Books.

“There were a wide variety of participants,” said Holden. “All of the films are worthy of an award. We had participants from age 13 to age 70, both amateurs and professionals.”

The festivities begin at 7 p.m. and will most likely last until about 9 p.m., she reported.

In addition to the films entered into the contest, several others also will be shown that are related to Clear Lake, Holden said.

“I’m keeping the films secret until the premiere, so I can’t give you any idea of what they are like,” said Holden.

The criteria for the entries was that the star of the movie be Clear Lake itself, that it be appropriate for all ages and be between two and four minutes in length, as Lake County News has reported.

To attend the award ceremony – complete with snacks and drinks - guests must RSVP.

Call or visit Watershed Books, which is located at 305 N. Main St. in Lakeport, 707-263-5787, or email Holden at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

So far, almost 30 people have confirmed that they will attend, so space is running out, Holden said.

E-mail Tera deVroede 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 .

LAKEPORT – The Lake County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit has identified a person of interest in the suspicious deaths of a man and woman whose bodies were discovered outside of Lower Lake last Thursday, officials reported Monday.

Robby Alan Beasley, 29, of Maine was taken into custody on Saturday on an out-of-state warrant, according to Capt. James Bauman.

Beasley is being investigated in connection with the suspicious deaths of Frank Maddox, 32, and Yvette Maddox, 40, both of Maine, whose bodies were found along Morgan Valley Road last week, Bauman said.

Autopsies for the couple are scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Napa County Coroner’s Office to determine the cause and manner of their deaths, according to Bauman.

Two Sonoma County men traveling through Lake County on Morgan Valley Road had discovered the two bodies when they stopped on the side of the road for a break about six miles east of Lower Lake on the afternoon of March 4, as Lake County News has reported.

The two men reported their discovery from the Lower Lake Fire Station and then led deputies to the scene where the bodies of the couple were found at the bottom of an embankment, according to Bauman's report.

Bauman said the bodies appeared to have been there for several weeks. Sheriff’s detectives processed the scene and investigated leads into the identities of the bodies and the manner of their deaths, non-stop, from Thursday afternoon into the weekend.

Subsequently, the bodies were identified as the Maddoxes, who had apparently been staying in Clearlake for several months, Bauman said.

He explained that Yvette Maddox was reported as a missing person to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department by a relative from Maine on Jan. 28. Frank Maddox also had been reported as a missing person to the Clearlake Police Department on Feb. 11.

Bauman said the investigation into the couple’s activities prior to their being reported as missing led to Beasley, who reportedly hired the Maddoxes and brought them to Lake County to help him with a marijuana operation.

Detectives also learned that some time during the last week of January, Beasley had reportedly convinced the Maddoxes to give him a ride to the Sacramento airport, Bauman said. The couple was said to have agreed, despite unverified information that Beasley had previously threatened one of them with a gun.

While determining Beasley’s whereabouts during the weekend, detectives learned he had an outstanding arrest warrant from the state of Maine for a probation violation relating to criminal threats and assault charges, Bauman said.

Detectives conducted surveillance all day Saturday on two locations where Beasley was known to reside – one in Clearlake and the other in Lower Lake. Bauman said that at about 7 p.m. Saturday Beasley was observed leaving the Clearlake residence in a vehicle, and was stopped and arrested for the warrant without incident.

As Beasley was being arrested, two search warrants were secured for both locations and executed that night, Bauman said. When the search warrants were executed, a large marijuana grow consisting of 96 plants was located at the Lower Lake location and about $5,000 in currency was seized at the Clearlake location. Beasley also had a large amount of currency on him at the time of his arrest.

Beasley was booked at the Lake County Jail for the no-bail fugitive warrant out of Maine and remains a person of interest in the couple's deaths pending further investigation, Bauman said.

A vehicle belonging to Frank Maddox is unaccounted for and is believed to possibly be linked with the two deaths. Bauman said that the vehicle is described as a 1982 Toyota pickup truck, either tan, beige or pale yellow in color, with a black camper shell.

Anyone with information on the possible whereabouts of that truck is asked to immediately contact the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit at 707-262-4200.

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LAKE COUNTY – Countless lives have been positively impacted – and some lives saved – thanks to the efforts of Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake county fire departments and citizens alike.

Blood Bank of the Redwoods garnered 1,471 blood donors during their fourth annual Bucket Brigade competition, which lasted from last November through February.

Lakeport Fire Protection District came in third place, with 119 donors, in their first year taking part in the competition.

South Lake County Fire Protection District recruited 41 donors, bringing Lake County’s total number of donors during the Bucket Brigade to 160.

Geyserville Fire Department, last year’s champions, had to hand the Bucket Brigade Trophy over to Windsor Fire Department, which beat Geyserville’s 130 donors by recruiting 175 donors.

In all, 1,471 units of blood were donated – one unit per donor – which then made its way back to the blood bank in Santa Rosa, where it will be put through 14 different tests and separated into its components, according to the Blood Bank of the Redwoods.

The blood bank's biologic laboratory is one of only five in California.

“Your blood will be tested for laboratory evidence of infectious agents capable of transmission through blood transfusion,” said Kent Corley, Blood Bank of the Redwoods spokesman.

Then, Blood Bank of the Redwoods delivers the blood to the hospitals for use in treatments for a variety of needs – from leukemia to gunshot wounds. In 2007, they put their one millionth pint of blood into the collective bloodstream since they opened in 1949.

Lake County uses 30 to 35 units of blood each month. But, Lake County usually gives more than it receives. Corley reported that, last year alone, over 1,000 units of blood came from Lake County.

One example of how important a blood donation is found in the story of Captain Bob Ray and Leo Teissere.

At Lakeport Fire's Bucket Brigade Blood Drive, blood bank account coordinator Liz Grube saw Teissere and asked if he was donating or whether he was a member of the fire department.

He answered neither and explained that he was there to support the people who meant so much to him – especially since he had been a blood recipient in the past.

He pointed out Ray and called him a hero, as Teissere admitted that he would not be alive if it weren’t for Ray.

Ray saved Teissere's life at a church a few blocks up the street from the fire station in Lakeport. He suffered a heart attack and Ray resuscitated him at the scene. He was OK but, three days after leaving the hospital, he had another big attack.

The second attack led to open-heart surgery, and that is when he received several units of life-saving blood. Those events happened over 16 years ago.

But, blood is needed year round – not just during the Bucket Brigade. Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa and Marin county hospitals are all partnered with the blood bank and always need blood.

Most of the blood is used locally, but when there is excess inventory, Blood Bank of the Redwoods helps other blood centers across the country when they are in need, said Corley.

“Thanks to programs like the Bucket Brigade, our current inventory is adequate,” he said. “But, because we cannot stockpile blood products, we can never let up.”

Blood Bank of the Redwoods partnered with St. Helena Hospital Clearlake as of Jan. 15. St. Helena Hospital serves Middletown, Hidden Valley, Cobb, Lower Lake, Kelseyville, Clearlake and Clearlake Oaks. Their previous blood supplier was Blood Centers of the Pacific.

For an extensive list of drives in the weeks to follow and drives in surrounding counties, visit .

Blood Bank of the Redwoods has been saving lives since 1949 with the help of the community members that it serves. For more general information visit the blood bank's Web site, .


E-mail Tera deVroede 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 .

SANTA ROSA – On Tuesday, a former Chico resident was sentenced to life in prison for shooting his elderly grandfather in the back of the head as he sat in his rocking chair.

Sonoma County Judge Kenneth Gnoss sentenced Sean Patrick Mooney, 22, to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his grandfather, Robert Deming, on May 20, 2008, according to Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.

“Justice was finally served today for a senseless act upon a vulnerable victim, 78-year-old Robert Deming,” Passalacqua said in a written statement. “The jury agreed that the defendant executed his grandfather as he sat at rest in a rocking chair for the selfish expectation of financial gain.”

On July 24, 2009, a Sonoma County jury convicted Mooney of first degree murder with a special circumstance of committing murder for financial gain, use of a firearm, elder abuse charges and receiving stolen property, the 12-gauge shotgun that was used in the murder.

The evidence revealed that Mooney had shot his grandfather in the back of the head, at near contact, as Deming sat peacefully in his rocking chair at his Sonoma home.

Shortly following the jury’s verdict, Mooney hired new counsel to present a motion for new trial, claiming among other things that his trial counsel was ineffective at trial and there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict.

After several days in evidentiary hearing in February, Gnoss denied the motion for new trial and set the case for sentencing.

In addition to his sentence of life without the possibility of parole, Mooney also must serve two years for possessing a stolen shotgun and another 25 years to life for using a firearm during the murder.

Deputy District Attorneys Traci Carrillo and Rosanne Darling led the prosecution of the case. Detective Chris Vivian from the Sonoma County’s Sheriff’s Office led the investigation. District Attorney Investigator Les Vanderpool also assisted during the trial and subsequent court hearings.

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LAKE COUNTY – While foreclosure activity appears to be decreasing around the United States in recent months, the number of people in danger of losing their homes in Lake County is growing.

The most recent reports from Irvine-based RealtyTrac show that in January foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 315,716 U.S. properties, a decrease of nearly 10 percent from the previous month but still 15 percent above the level reported in January 2009.

RealtyTrac reported that one in every 409 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in January.

In Lake County, total foreclosure filings in January numbered 303, up 55 percent from the 195 filings reported in December 2009 and up 124 percent from the 135 filings in January 2009, the company reported.

The county's foreclosure statistics for the fourth quarter of 2009 show 476 total filings, down slightly from the third quarter of 2009, when 666 such filings were made, records show. The fourth quarter of 2008 had 393 total foreclosure filings in Lake County.

Nationwide, the January foreclosure numbers are holding to a similar pattern from a year ago, according to James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, who noted a double-digit percentage jump in December foreclosure activity followed by a 10 percent drop in January.

“If history repeats itself we will see a surge in the numbers over the next few months as lenders foreclose on delinquent loans where neither the existing loan modification programs or the new short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure alternatives works,” he said in a written statement.

RealtyTrac reported that REOs, or bank foreclosures, were down 5 percent nationwide in January from the previous month, although they were 31 percent higher than January 2009 numbers.

REOs in Lake County numbered 101 in January, 83 in December 2009 and 39 in January 2009, based on RealtyTrace statistics.

January default notices were down 12 percent nationwide from the previous month but still up 4 percent from January 2009, and scheduled foreclosure auctions were down 11 percent from the previous month but still up 15 percent from January 2009.

Lake County's January default notices totaled 107, compared to 47 in December, and 69 in January 2009, the company reported.

The county's number of notices of trustee sales rose to 95 in January, up from 65 the previous month. They numbered 27 in January 2009.

Across California, in January foreclosure activity decreased by double-digit percentages from December, the company reported.

California, Florida and Arizona posted the three highest state totals in terms of properties receiving foreclosure filings in January. RealtyTrac's report showed that together those three states accounted for more than 44 percent of the national total.

Six California cities registered foreclosure rates among the top 10 cities nationwide, according to the report: Modesto, No. 3; Stockton, No. 4; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, No. 5; Merced, No. 6; Vallejo-Fairfield, No. 7; and Bakersfield, No. 8.

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 .

LAKEPORT – The Lake County Local Foods Forum will take place in Lakeport on Monday, March 15.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Little Theater at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 401 Martin St.

The forum is intended to be a means to launch a grant award from the California Department of Food and Agriculture designed to benefit Lake County residents and farmers.

The grant was awarded to Lake County Public Health on behalf of the Health Leadership Network who is coordinating the event.

A special invitation is extended to all specialty crop farmers, restaurant owners, and other establishments/institutions that serve or buy food, as well as grocery store produce managers.

A.G. Kawamura, California’s Secretary of Agriculture, will give the opening remarks.

The Local Foods Forum will kick-off the work plan the Health Leadership Network will undertake for this grant.

Components of the grant include marketing and education to showcase the nutritional benefits of vegetables, fruit and tree nuts; expanding farm-to-school/institution efforts; coordination to connect the “eat local” efforts within a more formal food delivery system; and expanding market opportunities for farmers, including the creation of an online ordering system.

Local growers and buyers are invited to participate in a day that will focus on learning more about benefits of local food systems from state and local experts, as well as providing opportunities to discuss local food dynamics and making connections among local growers and buyers designed to increase consumption of locally grown specialty crops within our community.

A special buffet lunch is included free of charge. Chef Julie Hoskins of Chic le Chef will create a beautiful and delicious lunch featuring fresh Lake County produce.

This event is free and promises to be an exciting day of education and networking, while catching an inspired vision for the future!

Registration is required. For information and to register, contact Jackie Armstrong at the Health Leadership Network, 707-274-2459 or visit .

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Upcoming Calendar

07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.24.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

Mini Calendar



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