Friday, 29 September 2023


You can now follow me on Twitter! Log onto and see what events I’ll be visiting.

Here are July's events to enjoy.

July 2

– First Thursday featuring Asian flair at Focused On Wine, 3940 Main St., Kelseyville. 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Enjoy Asian style appetizers with saketinis and wines with Stephanie Cruz-Green. $12 at the door $10 in advance. Telephone, 707-279-2112.

July 3

– Art Show & Wine Reception, Lake County Wine Studio, 9505 Main St., Upper Lake. Art show and discussion, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., wine and appetizer reception, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Bronze sculptor Rolf Kriken will be featured, as well as Jim and Diane Fore of Fore Family Vineyards. Sample their wines and gourmet cheeses, appetizers, chocolate and more. $10 for wine tasting. Telephone, 707-275-8030.

– First Friday Fling, Lake County Arts Council's Main Street Gallery, 325 N. Main St., Lakeport, 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wildhurst will pour their wines before the concert in the park. Telephone, 707-263-6658, or online, .

– Meet the Winemaker, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eric Stine will pour Langtry Estate wines. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

– Clearlake Oaks fireworks display, Clearlake Oaks public boat launch, 12684 Island Drive, approximately 9:30 p.m. (dark).

July 4

– Lakeport Independence Day festivities and fireworks display, Library Park, 200 Park St., Lakeport. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with fireworks at dusk. All day street fair with arts and crafts, music, food and beverages. Free admission. Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce, telephone 707-263-5092, online at .

– Clearlake Independence Day festivities, at Austin Park, 14077 Lakeshore Drive, Clearlake. Activities include the annual International Worm Races, kinetic sculpture race, live music, car show, arts and crafts, barbecue, children’s activities and more. Daytime events begin at 11 a.m.; the fireworks display in Austin Park, approximately 9:30 p.m. (dark). Free admissions. Clearlake Chamber of Commerce, telephone 707-994-3600, online at .

July 5

– Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. George Husaruk Trio performs from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 6

– Monday Blues, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bill Noteman & The Rockets will perform. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 7

– Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Michael Barrish and Scott Sommers on guitar & vocals, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 10

– Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, 9505 Main St., Upper Lake. Takes place from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. Telephone, 707-275-8030

July 12

– Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sax-O-Rama saxophone quartet performs from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 13

– Monday Blues, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Side of Blues will perform. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 14

– Winemakers Dinner, The Saw Shop Gallery Bistro, 3825 Main St., Kelseyville. 6 p.m. Enjoy a five-course dinner with five wines by Wildhurst winery. $60 per person. RSVP to the Saw Shop, 707-279-0129.

July 16

– Winemakers Dinner, Zino’s Ristorante, 6330 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville. 6 p.m. Enjoy a six-course dinner with six wines by Robledo family winery. $60 per person. RSVP at Zino’s, 707-279-1620.

July 17

– Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, 9505 Main St., Upper Lake. Takes place from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. Telephone, 707-275-8030.

July 19

– Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Blind Spot guitar trio performs 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 20

– Monday Blues, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Soul Doubt will perform. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 24

– Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, 9505 Main St., Upper Lake. Takes place from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. Telephone, 707-275-8030.

July 25

– Lake County Wine Adventure, day one. Participating wineries and tasting rooms around the County. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $30 includes a glass, wristband and admittance to nearly all of Lake County’s wineries for tasting and food pairings. For information and to purchase tickets: .

– Concert in the Vineyard Series, Moore Family Winery, 11990 Bottle Rock Road, Kelseyville. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. $10 per person. Music featuring the Lake County All Stars. Food, wine and other beverages available for purchase. Telephone, 707-279-9279, or online at .


July 26

– Lake County Wine Adventure, day two. Participating wineries and tasting rooms around the county. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $30 includes a glass, wristband and admittance to nearly all of Lake County’s wineries for tasting and food pairings. For information and to purchase tickets: .

– Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m .MisDemeanors of Jazz perform from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 27

– Monday Blues, The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Will Siegel & Friends will perform. Telephone, 707-275-2244, or online, .

July 31

– Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, 9505 Main St., Upper Lake. Takes place from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. Telephone, 707-275-8030.


The New Cool at Konocti Harbor featuring David Neft: Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa hosts “The Piano Man” David Neft, playing the grand piano from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in the relaunched dining room. Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, 8727 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville. Telephone 800-660-LAKE, or online at .

Certified Farmers Market, Steele Winery, 4350 Thomas Drive at Highway 29, Kelseyville. A variety of produce grown in the area as well as flowers, coffee, pastries and bread, arts and crafts, and live entertainment. Saturdays, 8 a.m. until noon, May through October. Telephone, 707-279-9475, or online at .

Langtry Estate and Vineyard Tours: Langtry Estate and Vineyard is offering exciting and innovative tour programs. Guests ride in battery-operated Global Electric Motorcars. Tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday. The Tephra Vineyard Lunch Tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $40 per person includes lunch and wine tasting. Reservations required 24 hours in advance. 21000 Butts Canyon Road, Middletown. Telephone, 707-987-2385, or online, .

Tuscan Village Friday Concert Series: Main Street, Lower Lake. Live music, food, wine tasting. Presented by 2Goombas and Terrill Cellars. 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Telephone, 707-994-3354.

A Taste of Lake County Wine Tours, countywide: Spend the day sipping fine wine, enjoying a gourmet picnic amongst the vines, taking in the rustic beauty of Lake County. Tour includes picnic lunch and tasting fees. Perfect for small groups. Tours of Napa also available. Telephone, 707-987-1920, or online, .

Beer Master Dinner Series: Molly Brennan’s 175 N. Main St., Lakeport. Second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Different brewery featured each month, with beers paired with each course of a five-course meal including dessert. Advance reservations required. Telephone, 707-262-1600.

Lake County Wine Tours, countywide. Experience the “Undiscovered Wine Country” that is Lake County. Taste award-winning premier wines at friendly tasting rooms and in stunning vineyards. Knowledgeable guide, all tasting fees and a gourmet picnic lunch included. Telephone, 707-998-4471, or online, .

If you have a food or wine related event and would like to have it listed in the coming months, please call Ross Christensen at 707-998-9550.

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.

LAKE COUNTY – After a month of cooler-than-normal temperatures in Lake County and throughout Northern California, the weekend weather is predicted to heat up and usher in hot summer temperatures.

After a pleasant Thursday afternoon, the mercury is forecast to begin climbing through the weekend according to The Weather Channel, beginning Friday, with temperatures predicted to reach the mid- to upper-90s.

Be prepared for daytime highs to be near or over 100 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday as hot summer temperatures return to Lake County and much of Northern California, The Weather Channel predicts.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento (NWS), has issued a special weather statement for Lake County and interior California as a strong high pressure system builds over Northern California from the eastern Pacific.

Overnight temperatures will drop to the upper 50s to low 60s.

If you're planning on outdoor activities in Lake County this weekend – and there are several to choose from (follow the link for "calendar" at the top of the page) – the NWS reminds everyone to avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

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

LAKE MENDOCINO – The body of a man reported missing in Lake Mendocino last week has been found.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported that deputies found the body of 19-year-old Pablo Macias of Redwood Valley on Tuesday afternoon.

His body was found at approximately 3:30 p.m. along the western shoreline near the old winery area, where he was last believed to have been, officials reported.

On June 16, Macias' friend, Paul Hansen, told Mendocino sheriff's deputies and Army Corps of Engineers rangers that he and Macias had been camping in that area when their small motor boat drifted about 40 yards off the shoreline, as Lake County News reported last week.

Hansen believed that Macias had attempted to swim out to the boat to bring it back to shore and drowned in the process, according to the sheriff's report.

Mendocino County officials and Army Corps of Engineers rangers conducted a search of the shoreline while Cal Star helicopter searched the lake from the air. Mendocino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Divers conducted an underwater search.

The investigation is continuing into Macias' death, officials reported. A forensic autopsy will take place later in the week.

LAKE COUNTY – Lake County is home to numerous fireworks shows during the Fourth of July holiday, many of which dazzle the skies over Clear Lake, illuminating the water’s surface.

The city of Lakeport hosts its Independence Day fireworks show following a lighted boat parade. Other fireworks shows include the City of Clearlake fireworks display, the Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa fireworks display that follows a concert, the fireworks show at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino, and more.

The following is a sampling of fireworks shows and festivals. For a complete listing, call the Lake County Visitor Information Center at 800-525-3743.


Maxine Sherman Memorial Fireworks Show, Clearlake Oaks

For a spectacular show, the best viewing area for the Maxine Sherman Memorial Fireworks display is on the water, anchored east of Rattlesnake Island, where the fireworks twinkle overhead and reflect off the waters of Clear Lake. From the shore, Clearlake Oaks Beach on Island Drive is a great spot. Show begins as dusk. Admission is free. 707-998-9563,


Lakeport Independence Day Festivities, Lakeport

An all-day street fair featuring vendors selling arts and crafts, food and beverages. The night ends with a lighted boat parade around 9 p.m. followed by fireworks over Clear Lake. Sponsored by the Lakeport

Main Street Association and the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce. Library Park, between First and Third streets. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. Admission is free. 866-525-3767, 707-263-5092, ,

City of Clearlake Independence Day Festivities, Clearlake

Street fair, kinetic sculpture racing, live music, car show, arts and crafts, barbecue, children’s activities, and more. Sponsored by the Lakeshore Lions Club and the City of Clearlake. Parade begins at 11 a.m. at Redbud Park, 14655 Lakeshore Drive, and ends at Austin Park, 14077 Lakeshore Drive, where festivities will be held. Fireworks over Clear Lake with Americana music provided by BiCoastal Media, will begin at 9 p.m. Admission is free. 707-994-3600,

Clearlake International Worm Races, Clearlake

Forty-second-annual worm race competition at Austin Park with competitors ranging from children to senators and congressmen. This internationally recognized event has attracted the attention of Animal

Planet, NBC and Bay Area Backroads. Held in conjunction with the city of Clearlake Independence Day Festivities and sponsored by the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce. Austin Park, 14077 Lakeshore Drive. 707-994-3600,

Tulip Hill Winery’s Red, White, Blush & Blues and Wine and Food Pairing, Nice

Sample savory summer fare paired to perfection with select wines perfect for summer sipping. The all-star band, Dr. Rocket, featuring Ms. Taylor P. Collins, Levi Lloyd, Randy McGowan, Joost Vink and Pamela Arthur provide the musical backdrop for a festive fourth. Doors open at 3 p.m., music from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. $10 per person includes limited wine tasting and food pairing. Bring a blanket or a lawn chair. Wine available for purchase by the glass and bottle. 4900 Bartlett Springs Road. 707-274-9373,

Mendocino College has entered into escrow to purchase a 14-acre parcel on Merritt Road in Kelseyville, which the college is proposing to use as the site of its new Lake Center. Photo by Caitlin Andrus.


KELSEYVILLE – With its eye on building a new center to serve local students, Mendocino College has entered escrow on a 14-acre parcel slated to be the future home of its Lake Center, but the plans may face some challenges.

On June 3, the Mendocino College Board of Trustees approved entering into escrow to buy the land, owned by Kelseyville farmer Greg Hanson, according to Mike Adams, the college's director of facility services and a county resident.

The property is located in the 3300 block of Merritt Road in close proximity to the new Kelseyville Lumber home center.

The college will pay the agreed-upon price of $770,000 from proceeds of Measure W, a facility improvement bond measure voters approved Nov. 7, 2006, Adams said.

Measure W authorizes $67.5 million in bond funds for upgrades to college facilities in Ukiah as well as new centers in Willits – where property also is currently being purchased – and Lake County, according to the college's quarterly bond report, issued in March.

Originally, the Measure W budget called for spending $15 million on the Lake Center, but that has since been reduced to $7.5 million, of which more than $132,000 had been spent as of March on items including surveys, legal fees and consultant services.

The choice of the Kelseyville site over Lakeport surprised city officials, who carried on a steady campaign to keep the center there. The college's current county center is located in rented buildings at 1005 Parallel Drive in Lakeport.

Lakeport Redevelopment Agency Director Richard Knoll said it was a “big disappointment” that the college wouldn't be making its home in the more centralized location of Lakeport, where services are readily available.

He said the city made no secret about wanting to keep the college there, suggesting several potential locations – some of them similar to the nearly two dozen sites now being scrutinized for a new county courthouse location.

“I think that Lakeport is the place for the college and I think that more of an effort, frankly, should have been put into trying to find a site here that worked for them,” Knoll told Lake County News on Wednesday.

The plan also has caused concern for the Lake County Farm Bureau and Sierra Club Lake Group, who are concerned that the property is zoned for agriculture.

“We're going to fight this one root and branch,” Sierra Club Lake Group Chair Victoria Brandon said. “Quite aside from the assault on ag land, we think community colleges belong in communities, in locations serviced by public transit and bike lanes and where amenities ranging from restaurants to concerts – essential adjuncts to education – are readily available.”

The college began looking in Kelseyville after its favored choice, a 31-acre parcel located at 2565 Parallel Drive in the newly annexed part of Lakeport, fell through at the start of this year, Adams said.

Tom Adamson, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based developer who bought the land in 2005, had previously proposed building a 130-lot subdivision on the site, as Lake County News has reported.

Adams said the college had looked at the property for almost two years, and spent a year actively working with Adamson on a purchase proposal.

However, the property's appraised value came in at $1.53 million, well under Adamson's $2.9 million asking price, said Adams.

“The property owners wanted more for the property than we were willing to pay, and we weren't willing to exercise eminent domain to acquire it,” Adams said.

Settling on a new location

Adams said college officials had a long list of other possible sites in Lakeport, as well as several in Kelseyville, they also had been looking at during that time. With the Parallel Drive site off the table, they began looking at those other locations.

Knoll said the college told the city they wanted a fairly large parcel, on the order of the Adamson property. He said the city proposed the Indian Prayer Hill/Campbell Hill area, as well as south of Lakeport Boulevard, and west of S. Main Street and Highway 29.

“They posed a couple of possibilities, but some of them didn't have any roads going to them,” said Adams.

Adams said college officials didn't think they could find a site in Lakeport to meet their needs, so they began looking more closely at Kelseyville for a site no smaller than 10 acres.

They had to be mindful of regulatory matters dealing with seismic issues, soils, being outside of a two-mile radius of the airport, highway access and turn lanes, and Americans with Disabilities Act requirements that the topography not be too steep, he explained.

Availability of water and sewer services also was important; Adams noted that water and sewer lines extend to the site.

“Visibility was an issue that was important to us,” he added.

The Merritt Road property they ultimately chose wasn't on the market at the time.

Hanson, whose family has been farming in the county for several generations, heard that the college was looking for property, and he thought his land might be perfectly suited for the campus.

Purchased by Hanson in 1991, the land currently is a Sauvignon Blanc vineyard. He plans to continue farming grapes, walnuts and pears on another 52-acre parcel he owns.

Adams and Hanson, who are friends, took a Lake County Farm Bureau board member's invitation and attended the group's regularly scheduled meeting on June 10 to give them an update on the plan.

Farm Bureau Executive Director Chuck March said the item wasn't on the agenda so there was very little discussion.

“The board was pretty much caught off guard on it,” he said.

March said the Farm Bureau board will have it on their July 8 agenda.

Under their current policy, they're definitely opposed to the college building the campus on agriculturally zoned land, and will evaluate the process for lodging formal complaints, said March.

The Farm Bureau had opposed the Kelseyville Lumber project in 2003 due to concerns about encroachment into ag lands and the lack of buffers.

Brandon said the Sierra Club looks forward to working closely with the Farm Bureau and Lake County Agricultural Commissioner Steve Hajik “in sinking this very bad idea.”

Planning, studies still ahead

Just what the college facility might look like, and how large it will be, are still to be determined, said Adams.

He and Mark Rawitsch, the Lake Center's dean of instruction, attended a Wednesday meeting to discuss concepts for the property.

Adams said they hope in a few months to have conceptual drawings of what the campus might look like and how it will fit into its environment.

There's a lengthy due diligence process for the college to complete, he said, as well as the possibility of a full environmental impact report and other California Environmental Quality Act documents due to the agricultural location.

The proposed campus property will need to be annexed by Lake County Special Districts for sewer and water services, and that process would go through the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO), Adams said.

The approval process in some other ways will be notably different from that encountered by most projects.

For one, the college isn't subject to zoning rules, and if the Farm Bureau wanted to oppose the project, its concerns would have to be lodged with LAFCO, said Adams.

Knoll explained that state law contains a provision allowing the college board of trustees to vote to override local zoning laws. “That's a political decision,” he said.

It becomes more of a political issue, Knoll suggested, to build a facility on a vineyard in a county that prides itself on its wine production.

Adams and Rawitsch said it will be a few years before anything is done on the land.

“We currently don't have a state match, and there may not be one coming any time soon,” Rawitsch said of funding for the project.

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




Another view of the Merritt Road property, currently owned by Kelseyville farmer Greg Hanson, where Mendocino College officials hope to build their new Lake Center. Photo by Caitlin Andrus.


UKIAH – A Lake County woman sustained major injuries in a vehicle collision over the weekend.

Lenore Garcia, 56, of Lakeport was involved in the crash, which took place just after 1 p.m. near Ukiah on Highway 20 under the Highway 101 overpass, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. David Tafel.

Tafel said Garcia's vehicle rolled over.

Garcia sustained major injuries to her head, back, right femur and pelvis, said Tafel.

He added that Garcia may be at fault in the crash for an unsafe turning movement, but the crash is still being investigated so a formal finding hasn't been made.

REACH air ambulance transported Garcia to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Tafel said.

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital spokesperson Katy Hillenmeyer reported that Garcia is in serious condition.

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

LAKEPORT – A judge has issued an arrest warrant for an actor and model who failed to show up for his trial on misdemeanor charges that indecent exposure.

Judge Arthur Mann issued the bench warrant for Justin Force Lazard, 42, late last month.

Lazard was due to show up in Lake County Superior Court on May 26 for trial on misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and annoying or molesting a child under age 18, according to court documents.

Prosecutor Ed Borg confirmed to Lake County News that those are the current charges against Lazard.

Lakeport Police arrested Lazard in Library Park on July 4, 2006, after three officers on foot patrol encountered him allegedly sitting on the railing with his genitals exposed, according to police reports. During the arrest he allegedly began fighting the officers, who used a Taser on him.

The annoying/molesting a child charge was lodged against Lazard because officials alleged that a young girl had been in the area and had seen him exposing himself.

Last fall, Lazard donated playground equipment to the city of Lakeport for placement in Library Park, near where the incident occurred, as Lake County News has reported.

On May 26, Lazard didn't appear in court, but his attorney, Paul Swanson of Lakeport, asked for another continuance in the case, which has had several since it began, according to court documents.

Borg said Judge Mann found there was no good cause for Lazard's non-appearance. Once Lazard didn't appear, Mann issued an arrest warrant he already had prepared before the trial date.

Swanson did not return calls seeking comment on the case.

The current charges would carry a maximum sentence of a year in the county jail; Borg said in a previous interview that it would be rare for Lazard to receive that jail time, and that probation would be more likely since Lazard had no criminal record previous to 2006.

If convicted, however, Lazard would be required to register as a sex offender in California and, possibly, in his state of residence, New York.

On May 30 Lazard sent a letter to Mann, which the court received on June 2.

“I am doing everything I can to turn my life around and live as a descent (sic), upstanding Christian man,” wrote Lazard. “I realize I had a lapse of sanity and reason and behaved in an inappropriate manner. I am sorry. Truly.”

Lazard explained to Mann that his 4-month-old daughter suffers from Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome, a genetic disorder that includes cleft palate, cardiac defects and a characteristic facial appearance, according to the Web site for the Upper Midwest VCFS/DGS Community.

He said his baby daughter is between heart surgeries. In addition, he stated that he's worried for his wife, model Shannon Fluet, noting “my legal problems in California” have weighed heavily on her.

“If there is anything I can do to not have to register as a sex offender for the sin I have committed, I would really appreciate it,” Lazard's letter to Mann said. “I don't think any of us would be able to handle it.”

He added, “I'm sorry I wasn't able to make it out for the hearing, but I had to put my family first. I hope you can understand that.”

Mann has not rescinded the $25,000 warrant for Lazard, who lives in New York.

“After a warrant issues, if someone in law enforcement has some idea of where the subject of a warrant might be, then typically there will be some effort to locate the subject,” said Borg. “Here, Mr. Lazard has no local ties, so that is not an option.”

The case has been subject to repeated continuances. Court documents report that Lazard has been in and out of psychiatric wards – in St. Helena, Massachusetts and France – since the 2006 arrest.

He had been scheduled to go to trial earlier this year, but received a continuance when his wife was suffering health issues during the final stages of her pregnancy, which he had blamed on media coverage of the case.

Court proceedings also have been delayed due to legal actions to place Lazard in a conservatorship. Local attorney Steve Brookes, who was involved in that process, did not return a call seeking comment.

Borg said an additional misdemeanor charge for failure to appear could be filed in the case, but added, “at this point I cannot comment as to whether this office is contemplating doing that.”

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

Attorney General Jerry Brown said in an online post on Tuesday, June 23, 2009, that he's looking into the prosecution of Carmichael resident Bismarck Dinius. Courtesy photo.



LAKE COUNTY – California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he plans to look into the case of a Carmichael man who is being tried for a fatal 2006 sailboat crash.

Sailors and supporters of 41-year-old Bismarck Dinius have posted dozens of messages on Brown's Facebook page since June 18, calling on Brown to take over handling of the case.

On the night of April 29, 2006, Dinius was at the tiller of a sailboat that was hit by a powerboat driven by Russell Perdock, an off-duty sheriff's deputy. Willows resident Lynn Thornton – fiancée of the sailboat's owner, Mark Weber – was mortally wounded and died days later at UC Davis Medical Center.

Dinius has been charged with vehicular manslaughter involving a boat because he allegedly was under way without running lights, which he, Weber and several witnesses dispute. He's also facing a boating under the influence charge because he allegedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.12 at the time of the crash. Perdock was not charged.

Dinius' attorney, Victor Haltom of Sacramento, has filed a motion to have District Attorney Jon Hopkins and his office recused from the case.

That motion – due to be heard June 30 – is Haltom's second attempt to have Hopkins and his office removed from the case.

The sailing community, which has been outspoken in its defense of Dinius since charges were filed against him in the spring of 2007, began posting on Brown's site late last week, calling the case everything from a “mess” to a “fiasco” and a “travesty.”

The first post, by Alan Bock, called on Brown to look into the case.

Most posts followed on Friday and over the weekend, with more sailors and supporters joining the effort on Monday and Tuesday.

Around 1 p.m. Tuesday Brown responded.

“Re: the Lake County comments on my wall – I’m talking to the DA and I’m looking into it. There’s conflicting claims – the preliminary hearing transcript is voluminous,” Brown wrote.

“I can confirm that's from him and that it speaks for itself,” Attorney General's Office spokesman Scott Gerber told Lake County News on Tuesday afternoon.

Gerber said he had no other information on the case or its status at this point.

Hopkins wouldn't confirm any discussions with Brown.

He told Lake County News on Thursday that he didn't want to comment on anything to do with the case at this time.

Hopkins, who said he is doing a “a complete in-depth analysis” of the case, is preparing for the June 30 motions hearing.

He announced on June 12 that he was moving forward with the prosecution, after taking over the case from Deputy District Attorney John Langan, who was the assigned prosecutor since the start of 2008.

Langan had told visiting Judge J. Michael Byrne at a hearing on May 19 – the original trial date – that he might have to drop the case if District Attorney's Office investigators weren't able to complete their investigation of new information by June 30, the new trial date Byrne set.

The new information included supporting statements about orders given to former sheriff's Sgt. James Beland, who said he wanted to give Perdock a breathalyzer test on the night of the crash but was forbidden to do so.

New witnesses also had come forward to allegedly place Perdock at Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa in the hours before the crash, as Lake County News has reported.

Perdock told Lake County News last month that he didn't set foot on the resort that day.

Following Brown's online announcement, sailors continued to make posts on his Facebook wall, thanking him for considering the case.

By Tuesday night approximately 70 messages on the Dinius case had been posted since the first messages were left last week.

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

THE GEYSERS – The Geysers area experienced another small shaker on Monday morning.

The US Geological Survey reported that a 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred at 4:45 a.m. one mile north northwest of The Geysers, five miles west southwest of Cobb and seven miles west northwest of Anderson Springs.

The quake occurred at a depth of 1.8 miles, according to the US Geological Survey reported.

The US Geological Report received a shake report from Somerset in Siskiyou County – just over 200 miles away.

The last quake measuring 3.0 in magnitude or above was recorded on June 11, as Lake County News has reported. It measured 3.0 and was centered two miles west of Cobb.

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

T. Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.



I was broadcasting on Internet radio when I received a text message that Michael Jackson had died. I thought it was a gag. Then I lost my Internet connection and my phones started ringing. It was true. On the heels of Farrah Fawcett this morning. Wow. My business day was effectively terminated at that point.

When my Internet connection returned, I noticed it was saturated with the agony and ecstasy of the Michael Jackson legend. I’m glad that I don’t have cable television. Aural stimulation is plenty for me.

As I write this I’m listening to the Jackson 5’s second album, “ABC,” and I’m getting a good visual of the young, exuberant MJ.

I’ve called several friends and colleagues to get their take on the phenomenon, Michael Jackson.

M says: “My earliest memory of Michael Jackson was him at about the age of 8 on television singing with his brothers. I just thought he was the cutest little something that could be. I had no idea he would develop into the icon he became. Even though I’m older than him, he made me feel younger than him as I grew up. I just adored him and when I heard it on television today, I just went down to the floor. What I’m having a problem with is how the media can’t separate what he allegedly did in his personal life from his sheer artistic genius. We are all human and subject to error … I’ve been meaning to purchase the 25th anniversary edition of “Thriller” and “We Are The World.” I called Barnes and Noble almost immediately and they were already sold out. I had to order them …”

A says: “It’s a devastating thing to lose two icons in one day. Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I was in the military during the Vietnam War era when Michael Jackson came out with “ABC.” We marked time with him. It’s like when you’re a child and your parents mark the door frame or the wall to indicate how tall you were. Then to know that he had a painful childhood and the ridicule he endured as an adult because he was different, not perfect enough for some people. His music, though, moved the spirit of people. I don’t care what you say about him, he had a global effect on people. Tonight, a whole ocean of tears will fall. People were married and made love on Michael Jackson music, babies were conceived …”

R says: “The comparison to Presley is almost frightening. When you go that far you have no where else to go. Celine Dion says it the best. She says how you continue to try to beat yourself? You have no one else to out do so you try to out do yourself. Once you reach that pinnacle of success you have to learn how to coast through it. Celine went to Las Vegas and relaxed. Hendrix and others blasted themselves right out of here. Michael’s exit was slower. They are saying he was pretty sick. They also just reported that his will stipulates the Beatles catalog goes back to Paul. That he regretted losing Paul’s friendship.”

And so the saturation continues. CNN reported on the story well into the night. Well, into the ocean of tears that A refers to above.

Me? I agree with Michael’s intonation at the beginning of “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”:

You know I was, I was wonderin’, you know, if we could keep on

because, the force has got a lot of power and

it make me feel like

it make me feel like … Oooh.”

I believe the King of Pop has returned to the force from whence he sprang.

Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts.


Upcoming cool events:

Bill Noteman & The Rockets play the Lakeport Summer Concerts at Library Park, 200 Park St., on Friday, June 26, at 6:30 p.m.

The Neville Brothers, Jeffrey Osborne, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Eric Bibb, Elvin Bishop, Denise Lasalle and more at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival from Friday, June 26, through Sunday, June 28, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Monterey, CA. Telephone, 831-394-2652 or online .

Smokey Robinson in concert, 7:15 p.m. Saturday, July 31. Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, 8727 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville. Telephone, 800-660-LAKE, or online at .

The Four Tops in Concert, 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31. Cache Creek Casino Resort, 14455 Highway 16, Brooks. Telephone, 888-77-CACHE, or online at .

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at .

LUCERNE – The investigation into the cause of a Lucerne man's death in a Monday morning home fire continued on Tuesday.

Harry Jon Waner's home on Highland and Second had been under guard by Lake County Sheriff's officials through Monday night, and it remained cordoned off on Tuesday as Lake County Arson Task Force investigators continued their work.

Northshore Fire personnel found human remains inside Waner's burned trailer on Monday, prompting a full investigation, as Lake County News has reported.

As of Tuesday, the coroner's office hadn't confirmed that it was the body of the 58-year-old Waner that firefighters had found, although he was reported to have been at home when the fire broke out.

A sheriff's official also didn't respond to an inquiry about the outcome of a Tuesday autopsy.

Waner's new wife, 53-year-old Sandra Jean Bronson, remained in the Lake County Jail with bail set at $250,000 as the investigation continues.

Sheriff's investigators arrested her on Monday after finding she had been at Waner's home the night before in violation of a domestic violence restraining order issued against her on June 15, according to Capt. James Bauman.

Bronson was due in court on Monday for arraignment on a misdemeanor charge of battery on a non-cohabitant for allegedly assaulting Waner on June 11, according to court records. She's due back in court on June 29 for disposition and setting of future court proceedings.

Officials have not indicated that any other charges against Bronson are forthcoming.

Waner had allegedly assaulted her on May 29 and was himself facing a misdemeanor charge of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse as a result.

A neighbor told Lake County News on Monday that the couple recently had married but weren't living together.

Both Bronson and Waner have lengthy legal records that stretch back as far as 1991 in Lake County.

In the case of Bronson, who works as a caregiver, she's faced prosecution for drugs, driving under the influence, perjury, welfare fraud and vandalism.

Waner had previous convictions in two separate domestic assault cases as well as for DUI, and also had been prosecuted on drug charges.

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

Investigators look over the scene at a residence on Highland Avenue on Lucerne where the body of a man was found in his burned home on the morning of Monday, June 22, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED: 12:06 a.m. Tuesday, June 23

LUCERNE – Authorities are investigating a death and home fire in a Lucerne neighborhood.

Investigators spent most of Monday combing the ruins of a home on the corner of Highland and Second avenues.

It was there early Monday morning that they discovered human remains just inside the front door of the burned trailer home, Sgt. Jim Samples, supervisor of the Lake County Sheriff's Office's Major Crimes Unit, said at the scene Monday afternoon.

Samples characterized the situation's circumstances as “suspicious.”

Officials haven't yet formally identified the remains, but they're believed to be those of the home's resident, Harry Jon Waner.

Waner's wife, 53-year-old Sandra Jean Bronson, was taken into custody on Monday for having violated a domestic violence restraining order, according to Sheriff's Capt. James Bauman.

Northshore Fire Protection District firefighters were dispatched to a reported structure fire at the residence at approximately 4:50 a.m. Monday, Bauman said.

Next-door neighbor Craig Bach said he and his wife awoke to hear their neighbors shouting, and then a man rang the bell at their gate repeatedly. When Bach got out to the gate he saw the glare from the flames.

By the time he got out in the street, he said the trailer was gone. “Trailers just go too quick,” he said.

Battalion Chief Pat Brown said three Northshore Fire engines, an engine from Cal Fire in Clearlake Oaks plus resources from Northshore Fire's Clearlake Oaks station responded to the scene, along with a total of 15 firefighters.

Firefighters arrived to find the single-wide mobile home fully engulfed, said Bauman. Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the area for crowd control.

Bach said the fire appeared to have started in the front of the trailer. Despite the fire being so close to his home, a large oak tree between the two residences acted like a shield, protecting his house.

“Considering the proximity, I'm just incredibly fortunate,” said Bach, who credited the fire district's response for saving the entire block.

Bauman said that, about a half-hour into battling the fire, emergency personnel on scene requested the Lake County Arson Task Force respond to investigate the fire.

Sheriff's detectives also responded to the scene based on information that Waner may have been at the home when the fire broke out and that human remains were believed to be amongst the rubble, Bauman said.

Officials secured a search warrant, Bauman said, which allowed an investigation of the scene to move forward.

Bauman said Arson Task Force members from Northshore Fire, Cal Fire, Lake County Fire, the sheriff’s office and an arson dog team from the Woodland Fire Department investigated the scene throughout the day.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff also was on scene as the investigation at the residence continued Monday afternoon.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office Mobile Emergency Operations Center was set up across the street on Highland Avenue, between Second and Third Avenues. The area was cordoned off by yellow crime scene tape, as was a portion of Second.

Neighbors gathered to watch as investigators – wearing white boots and blue gloves – combed the scene, taking pictures and looking through burned debris that surrounded the trailer's burned-out structure.

It was about three hours into the investigation that sheriff’s detectives learned that Bronson had been at the home the previous night in violation of a domestic violence protection order, Bauman said.

Bronson, whose booking sheet lists her occupation as caregiver, was located at another home in the neighborhood at about 9 a.m. Monday, said Bauman.

Following questioning by detectives, Bronson was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of violating the restraining order, Bauman said.

Her bail on Monday was set at an enhanced amount of $250,000, pending further investigation of the fire, according to Bauman.

Bauman said Waner's restraining order against Bronson was effective on June 15, the date it also was served.




Sandra Bronson was in custody at the Lake County Jail on Monday, June 22, 2009, where she was being held for violation of a domestic violence restraining order. The home of Bronson's husband, Harry Waner, was destroyed by fire early Monday, and human remains found inside his trailer are believed to be Waner's.



Final identification of the remains isn't yet complete, and the determination of the fire's cause also remains under investigation, Bauman said.

Brown, who worked as incident commander along with Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins, said firefighters were released from the scene just after 4 p.m. Monday.

However, sheriff's officials remained on scene through the night, guarding the property. Highland Avenue between Second and Third, and well as a portion of Second Avenue, remained cordoned off.

Bach, who has lived on Highland for nearly four years, said Waner has been his neighbor the whole time, renting the trailer that burned Monday.

Waner played the guitar and the men had spent time together playing music, Bach said.

He recalled seeing Waner the last time on Friday, but believed Waner had been around all weekend.

Bach called the relationship between Waner and Bronson “very interesting.”

He said the two, who he estimated had known each other at least a few years, had gotten married several weeks ago.

Bach said he missed the reception and when he saw Waner some time later he apologized for not making it to the event.

He recalled Waner telling him that Bronson had turned into “the bride from hell,” and that she was “crazy.”

In recent weeks Bach said neighbors on the street had reported hearing Bronson threaten to kill Waner.

Bauman said more information on the case will be released as its confirmed by the Arson Task Force and the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit.

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



Investigators cordoned off Highland Avenue in Lucerne on Monday, June 22, 2009, so they could investigate a fire and death. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.





A crime scene investigator walks around the remains of Harry Waner's Lucerne home on Monday, June 22, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Harry Waner's trailer home burned quickly in the early morning fire on Monday, June 22, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

Upcoming Calendar

09.30.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Kelseyville Pear Festival
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.01.2023 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Ron Green Memorial Benefit Concert
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
10.06.2023 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
David Arkenstone & Friends in concert
10.07.2023 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship Breast Cancer Run & Walk
10.07.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
Columbus Day
10.12.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.