Wednesday, 29 March 2023


Kelseyville resident Peter Windrem speaks at the Tuesday night meeting. Photo by Maile Field.


KELSEYVILLE – A school board agenda featuring a possible change of the high school mascot from the “Knights” back to the “Indians” drew a crowd of 150 here Tuesday night.

Public comments ranged from “Let’s move on,” which arose repeatedly, to County Supervisor Rob Brown waving a check for $1,000 in the air to support the cost of changing back.

The open-ended “Approve/Disapprove/Discuss” item followed a controversial but unanimous decision almost two years ago to change from the Indian mascot, at the request of a local Native American tribal member. The decision to change the name was unanimously upheld two months later then was hotly debated during the most recent school board election.

Speaking to neither side of the issue Tuesday night was high school English and world history teacher Meredith Lahmann. “Is the cartoon we use while playing games really a top priority compared to our children’s academic needs?” she asked.

“Where were the outcries from the community when test scores plummeted?” she continued.

“I was happy as a Kelseyville Indian but I am also happy as a Kelseyville Knight because a mascot is a cartoon used to represent a team when it is playing a game,” she said. “Therefore, I do not invest much energy in it.”

Marr Olsen, wearing an Indian-logo black sweatshirt that read “ALWAYS AN INDIAN” on the back, objected. “It’s not a cartoon character,” he said.

“It’s like the eagle on top of the flag,” he explained, “that’s not a cartoon.”

Responding to remarks from Kelseyville resident and attorney Peter Windrem, who stated clearly that he is descended from “the earliest settlers,” Olsen said, “If anyone wants to be that sensitive about it, then deed your land back to ‘em.”

Windrem had reviewed the origin of the term “Indian,” noting that it was applied to Native Americans by early travelers from Europe who thought they had reached India. He said the name “Indian” is owned by a group of people who have now requested it not be used.

“The graceful thing to do,” Windrem advised, would be to thank the group for its permitted use and now that permission is withdrawn we stop using the name … “and we go on with our lives.”

Members of Mendocino County’s Native American community spoke as well, including a woman who identified herself as “Tony,” who said the issue is about respect.

“If my people went out and massacred your people and then called ourselves 'The Oakies' or something,” she said, that would not be respectful.

But Leah Palmer disagreed. Palmer, who identified herself as a member of Kelseyville’s class of ’93, addressed the crowd while holding an infant. She said she is teaching her daughter cheers that use the term “Indian” with respect.

“If anyone thinks they were disrespected, it was because they didn’t understand,” she said.

Palmer said that abandoning the “Indian” mascot name is like “uprooting a family.”

Several speakers commented that the discussion was creating “strife” and “derision” in the community.

“Our billboards on the highway call Kelseyville a Friendly Country Town,” Lahmann said. “Are we?”

The board decided to continue the mascot discussion until next month.


It's official former State Sen. Wesley Chesbro is now officially in the race for the Assembly's First District seat.

Chesbro paid his filing fees at the Humboldt County Elections Office on Friday and took out papers for the Democratic Party nomination in the race for the First Assembly District, his office reported over the weekend.

From 1998 to 2006 Chesbro represented the North Coast in the State Senate for eight years.

He's now hoping to succeed State Assemblywoman Patty Berg who is no longer able to serve in the State Assembly due to term limits.

Chesbro said he is calling his Assembly campaign “First District First,” to highlight his commitment to put the needs of First Assembly District residents ahead of all else.

The filing period for State Assembly candidates began on Monday, Feb. 11 and will close on March 7.

So far, Chesbro is the only candidate known to have taken out nomination papers and paid his filing fee.


Forrest Garrett offers advice in his "Shop Talk" column.


Mr. Ken O'Neal from Sacramento writes: "I am retiring within a few months and I am looking to purchase a house on the lake near Lakeport. I love it there and come up almost every weekend and will be settling in the area soon. While I was looking up Lake County information on the Internet I came across your Web site. I had not really thought about it before but I will need to get a new shop to take care of my Harley and other vehicles too. How do you know how to choose the best shop for repairs?"

I have asked Mr. O'Neal from Sacramento to follow my "Ten Rules Of Thumb" in order for him to find what he believes is the best shop in the area for his needs. We will take each rule one by one and apply in a practical application to see what an unbiased objector's result will be.

I have asked Mr. O'Neal, since Lakeport Garage/Ironhorse Creations will hopefully be one of the shops for his evaluation, that he be brutally honest about all his comments. He has advised me, "That's no problem, that's the only way I will be." I have also promised Mr. O'Neal that I will post his findings positive or negative about my own shop. This experiment should be fun and I hope you, like myself, look forward to the results.

Rule No. 1 for finding the right shop the first time

There are a number of factors that can be considered when choosing a repair shop, but with that said I first would tell you there are exceptions to every rule.

No. 1 Rule Of Thumb: Word of mouth, especially in a small community. Keep in mind that you need to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. The shop with the best repair record will be the most mentioned. If you're looking for the best price only then the best repair shop may or may not be on that list. Asking about the best shop or the best prices can have different answers.

Also consider whom you ask. If you ask someone who never takes their vehicle in for routine maintenance, chances are that person has vehicle breakdowns resulting from neglect. The result: repair costs can be a lot higher and they may have a skewed perception of that repair facility.

When I hear people say, "Brand X shop does great work, but they’re expensive," you should consider that if the job is done wrong the first time, then what is it going to cost you to do again? What else can a bad repair job damage on my vehicle and what harms can be caused to driver, rider, passenger or innocent bystander? A breakdown with our very busy business and family schedules can also be very inconvenient and even costly.

The exception to the rule applied here is if the shop has been in business three to five years or less. Three-plus years is usually what it takes for people to try the new shop, have a bad experience, realize their mistake, be greeted with a cold shoulder or even denied for warranty work. If the customer has a bad repair the first time then how will they feel having to do it over again? Then there’s the added amount of time for that information to be assimilated throughout the community.

O'Neal's comments and/or findings:

As far as I could determine there are six motorcycle shops in Lakeport, two in Nice, and a dealership in the next county with a couple of independent shops there. I decided to only concentrate on the shops in Lake County first. Two of the shops in Lakeport were mostly metric. One shop listed could not be found and no new phone number was listed. The word of mouth about your shop Lakeport Garage / Ironhorse Creations was an overwhelming good response in all aspects, I understand you have "We Will Beat Any Price Anywhere" policy but I did hear on occasion that the cost of repairs were higher, but they did add that they thought you have the best repair shop. I also heard you were into helping to raise money for local charities and that was a plus.

The other shops too had some mixed results, and as you asked I will not mention any other shop by name. One had every part you could ever want or need but no one was sure if they had a service department. Other shops had generally cheaper repair rates but a couple had comebacks and unhappy customers. These types of shops as I understand, falls into your category of a newly established shop (exception to the rule). A couple of comments that did disturb of two shops were that they are a bike gang outfit or club hangout. I'm not into that gang mentality and I am moving to Lake County to get away from all that, so if that is true than that's a minus for those shops.

My Comments on Mr. O'Neal's Findings:

There are a lot of riders these days with patches and group affiliation, and a lot in Lake County. Most of these groups like the ones I mention on my Web site are great people trying to do good things for our community. I would not judge a shop on a patch or club association alone.

About my shop policy "We Will Beat Any Price Any Where" some may have restrictions just as my disclaimer on my Web site says. Those restrictions are because some parts are discontinued for one reason or another and are no longer available. While brand X shop still has 12 of those items in his shop, I cannot beat a price of a part I cannot get.

There may also be parts manufactures or new manufacturers on the market that I am not set up with as a dealer. If time is not an issue I can set up a dealership status with these manufacturers and get that part you want at the price you need. Sometimes these dealer setups can be as simple as a fax of my information and be set up the same day and others go through a company's check list and sign offs and can take up to four weeks or longer. Most shops will honor this policy if they are smart, been in the business for a while and of course asked by the customer.

My policy is in effect not to undersell my competitors but for two reasons only. One: I don't believe that my customers and the people living in a small community should have to drive out of Lake County just to get that part they want at a price they can afford. Two: I don't want a customer bringing in a part for me to install on their vehicle that I would not recommend or that is inferior. In a case of a breakdown it creates a recipe for disaster between you and your relationship with your customer.

It is hard to explain that a new part can have a premature failure or that the new part can be bad right out of the box.

About my shop and pricing, I try to yearly evaluate my prices from other local sources and nearby dealerships. I try to price my labor in accordance to the standards and principles of the industry. I do appreciate you telling me that someone mentioned my shop being higher priced and I will look into my pricing.

Forrest Garrett is owner/operator of Ironhorse Creations and Lakeport Garage, family-owned and operated since 1968. E-mail him your questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


MIDDLETOWN – A Sunday morning crash claimed the life of a Middletown man Sunday.

Michael Medrano, 41, was the victim of the single-vehicle crash, his family confirmed Wednesday.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia said the collision that took Medrano's life occurred at about 12:25 a.m. Sunday.

Medrano was alone, driving his 1991 Nissan pickup westbound on Highway 175, west of the Dry Creek Cutoff, said Garcia.

“He was coming out of a slight curve in the road and veered off the road to the right and struck a tree head-on,” Garcia said.

The impact, said Garcia, caused the truck to spin out and hit another tree.

Medrano, who was wearing his seat belt, died at the scene, Garcia said.

Garcia said alcohol is believed to have been a contributing factor in the fatal collision. However, the CHP is awaiting a coroner's report before making a final conclusion.

Officer Steve Tanguay is investigating the case, Garcia said.

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


THE GEYSERS – The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) plans to conduct a control burn in The Geysers area this Tuesday.

Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit plans to conduct the burn between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

A control burn involves intentionally burning predesignated areas of brush under carefully controlled conditions to reduce hazards from wildfires and improve wildlife habitat.

Smoke from this operation may be visible in the northern Sonoma County areas of Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale, and in portions of Lake County, Cal Fire reported.

The benefits of the low intensity fire in the natural environment are:

– Cleansing of wild land debris. Excessive dead and down branches, brush and small trees will be consumed by fire, reducing the presence of fuels.

– Improving wildlife habitat. Removal of decadent fuel encourages the growth of seasonal grasses and plants which provide food and habitat to a wider range of animals.

– Killing disease. Low intensity fire helps eliminate and control diseased plants and trees.

– New growth. Controlled burning encourages the healthy growth of new plants, especially those fire dependent for renewal or seed dispersion.

– Reduces opportunity for destructive fires. Prescribed fires decrease the size and frequency of large uncontrolled destructive wildfires.


LOWER LAKE – A Clearlake woman has died as the result of a Friday morning head-on collision on Highway 29.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the 76-year-old woman sustained fatal injuries in the crash, which took place at 9:50 a.m. on Highway 29 north of Hofacker Lane, between Lower Lake and Hidden Valley.

The name of the woman was not released Friday pending family notification. The name of the other driver, an 85-year-old Clearlake Oaks man who sustained major injuries, also was not released.

The CHP report explained that the woman was driving her 2004 Ford Focus southbound on Highway 29 at about 55 miles per hour when, for an unknown reason, her vehicle drifted into the northbound traffic lane and the path of the male driver, who also was traveling at about 55 miles per hour in his 2005 Chevy Impala.

The two vehicles hit head-on, and the women suffered fatal injuries, according to the CHP.

The male victim was taken by air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the CHP reported.

Both drivers, the CHP noted, were wearing their seat belts.

CHP reported that the collision is still under investigation.

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


LAKE COUNTY – The county's Elections Office reports that the nomination period is open for local, state and federal elected office, with local candidates taking out initial paperwork to begin the process of running for office.

Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley reported that activity is picking up for offices that will be voted on during the statewide Direct Primary Election scheduled for Tuesday, June 3.

The primary will feature voting for supervisorial Districts 1, 4 and 5, as well as U.S. House of Representatives Congressional District 1 and State Assembly District 1. Candidates for the latter two offices, said Fridley, are to be nominated by political parties qualified to participate in the election.

The first step in filing is usually to take out a Form 501, which allows a candidate to raise money. Fridley said candidates would next file petitions to submit signatures in lie of paying a filing fee – usually about 1 percent of the elected office's annual salary.

Finally, to officially become a candidate, a person must filed a declaration of candidacy, she said.

So far, no local supervisorial candidates have filed declaration of candidacy paperwork, the deadline for which is Friday, March 7 at 5 p.m.

However, Form 501s have been filed in all districts, she said, as have petitions in lieu of filing fees, the deadline for which is Thursday, Feb. 21.

In District 1, the five people seeking to succeed Supervisor Ed Robey who have taken out the initial paperwork to run are James Comstock, Scott Fergusson, Don Dornbush, Susanne La Faver and Robert MacIntyre, said Fridley.

In District 4, incumbent Supervisor Anthony Farrington has filed the Form 501 and in-lieu of petition, with no other candidates appearing so far, said Fridley.

In the final District up for election this year, District 5, Fridley said challenger Robert Stark and incumbent Rob Brown both have taken out paperwork to pursue fundraising and signatures.

During this, the nomination period, candidates must file a declaration of candidacy to officially get onto the ballot, said Fridley.

So far, no State Assembly or Congressional candidates have filed declaration of candidacy papers, said Fridley. However, Humboldt County Libertarian Ed Musgrave was issued in-lieu of filing fee petitions to run for the State Assembly seat.

Fridley said that during the primary election the two active local partisan central committees, for the Republicans and Democrats, will elect members, who will appear on the ballot.

As they're accepting paperwork for the primary, Fridley said her office is still working on certifying the Feb. 5 presidential primary, which must be completed by early next month.

For more information regarding filing for the elective offices enumerated above or to be provided with a copy of the Lake County Candidate Handbook/Election Calendar, contact the Lake County Registrar of Voters Office, telephone 263-2372, or visit them at the Lake County Courthouse, 255 N Forbes St., Room 209, Lakeport.

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


Congressman Mike Thompson pours the fruit of his Lake County vines. Photo by Terre Logsdon.


FINLEY – Merlot and Ghiardelli, Zinfandel and dark chocolate-dipped strawberries, Barbera and chocolate mousse – all these flavors and more drew Lake County residents and visitors in droves to the second annual Wine and Chocolate held at Mt. Konocti Growers Saturday.

The event is a benefit for the Lake Family Resource Center domestic violence shelter project.

“What a tremendous show of support from the agricultural community and the community at large for the Lake Family Resource Center,” said Representative Mike Thompson, who was pouring for Bonterra Winery, a California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) winery, to which Thompson supplies grapes from his Lake County vineyard. “It’s an honor to be here.”

Twenty-eight different wineries – all with winegrapes grown in Lake County – were pouring their wines paired with fine chocolates or other desserts with chocolate.



Barney Fetzer and Angela Bowles pour Ceago

LOWER LAKE – Officials have reopened Highway 29 after a mid-morning crash closed down the roadway.

The California Highway Patrol reported that two small vehicles were involved in a head-on collision at approximately 10 a.m. on Highway 29 just north of Hofacker Lane between Lower Lake and Hidden Valley.

The roadway was completely blocked as rescue personnel and tow companies were called to the scene.

Rescue units were reported to be en route to the hospital, according to CHP, although initial reports were not clear about how many people were injured or where, precisely, they were being taken.

One lane of the highway was reopened just after 11 a.m., with both lanes reopened by approximately 11:19 a.m., the CHP reported.

Lake County News will follow up with more information as it becomes available.

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


LUCERNE – Burglars hit the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center over the weekend, taking hundreds of dollars in equipment, officials reported Monday.

Lee Tyree, who took over as the center's executive director on Jan. 1, said the building was broken into once or, possibly, twice on Sunday.

Taken was a brand new laptop computer, office equipment including phones and about $30 in change found in the offices, Tyree reported.

Tyree said she received a phone call on Sunday at about 1:30 p.m. from center board member Ken Kent, who told her about the break in.

She immediately went to the center, where she and Kent surveyed the damage.

The burglars appeared to have broken out the outreach office's window, gained access and then began going through desks to find cash, she said.

They then broke out the window to her office but didn't appear to have taken anything.

There also was about $30 in change spilled on the floor, she said.

However, the burglars didn't manage to get away with the center's extremely heavy safe, she said.

Tyree said she called the sheriff's office and made a report.

On Monday morning, when Tyree went in to work, she discovered they had come back, returned to her office and stolen her brand new laptop computer, which she had gotten last month.

“I'm sick about it,” she said.

The suspects also had taken phones, picked up the $30 in change and made another try at the safe, she said.

Tyree wasn't sure if two separate break-ins had occurred or if the suspects were actually still in the building and hiding when she and Kent arrived to call the sheriff on Sunday.

“It's kind of a scary feeling,” she said.

Due to the President's Day holiday, the Lake County Sheriff's Office could not be reached for comment Monday on the case.

Although center officials don't have any particular suspects in mind, they did find a possible clue on Monday – a green jacket had been left behind, sitting on Tyree's chair in her office.

Tyree said she may also have a clue to when at least one of the break-ins took place: JJ Jackson, the center's former executive director, reported to her that he was receiving calls on his home phone from the center's fax machine – which also can be used as a phone – early Sunday morning.

Tyree suspected the suspects might be close to home. “We have a lot of problems with the neighborhood kids.”

They are believed to be responsible for knocking over an extremely heavy concrete bench in front of the center, which the county's Parks Department had to use a backhoe to put right, she said.

In recent years the center has been the victim of other cases of vandalism, and Tyree said illegal dumping at the center's thrift shop is an ongoing problem.

Tyree said she's requesting additional sheriff's patrols around the building, and asks town residents to please call 911 if they see any suspicious behavior around the center.

Anyone with information on the break-ins should call the Lake County Sheriff's Office at 262-4200.

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


LAKE COUNTY – Lake County “Youth Writes” is a homegrown outreach to local students interested in writing and performing their original poetry in public. It also provides opportunities for students to meet other students with similar interests.

The event is open to Lake County students age 8-18.

To enter, simply show up at a warmup venue and read one or two of your original poems. No pre-registration is necessary but you will need to provide a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian with a phone number or email address where they can be contacted.

There will be warmup venues throughout the county during the month of April to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Selected poets will be invited to read at Rodman Slough Preserve on Saturday, May 3, between 11 a.m. and noon in conjunction with Lake County Land Trust’s Art and Nature Show.

Students are encouraged to show up at as many of the venues as they can. Local poets are encouraged to attend the events and visit with the students.

Warmup venues are scheduled for:

  • Holy Joe’s Coffee Shop in Upper Lake: 4 p.m., Friday, April 4.

  • Café Victoria in Lakeport: 1 p.m., Saturday, April 5.

  • Giovanni’s Coffee and Tea in Loch Lomond: 1 p.m., Saturday, April 12.

  • Tuscan Village in Lower Lake: Noon, Saturday, April 19.

  • Wild About Books in Clearlake: 3 p.m., Friday, April 25.

  • Calpine Geothermal Visitor’s Center in Middletown: 1 p.m., Saturday, April 26.

For posters, permission slips and additional information please contact Lorna Sue at 274-9254 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or download permission slips at


CLEARLAKE – A Lake County Habitat for Humanity project is among several North Coast low-income housing projects named recently as recipients of affordable housing program grants.

Congressman Mike Thompson and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco announced that $572,545 in grants were awarded to three housing projects, including the Clearlake Habitat Housing Project II and III in Lake County, which received $140,000 in Affordable Housing Program funding; Palisades Apartments in Calistoga, which received $212,545; and the Transitional Opportunities Toward Independent Living House in Ukiah, which received $220,000.

The three projects are expected to create 52 new affordable housing units. The Affordable Housing Program grants will be leveraged to support total construction costs of $8.2 million on the three projects.

Since 2000, the First Congressional District has received a total of $5.4 million dollars in Affordable Housing Program grants that have helped finance 29 projects and create 677 new rental and 85 owner-occupied units, the Federal Home Loan Bank reported.

The bank reported that it delivers low-cost funding and other services that help member financial institutions make home mortgage loans to people of all income levels and provide credit that supports neighborhoods and communities. It's one of 12 regional banks in the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

Lake County Habitat for Humanity President Richard Birk said this is the third such grant the organization has received from the Federal Home Loan Bank, with all three grants totaling $260,000.

Birk said it's a highly competitive process to receive the money, with Habitat competing with about 100 other organizations. Habitat goes through the lengthy application process to the bank every two years for the grants.

The funds will be applied toward the construction of seven houses that Habitat now has in the development stages, said Birk. Permits on the houses will be submitted in the coming weeks, with completion expected in about a year and a half.

The grant will supply $20,000 to offset costs of building each of the houses, which cost about $70,000 to build when counting all costs – land, permits and materials, said Birk.

In turn, the grants help keep Habitat's no-interest mortgages low, in the $200 to $250 per month range, said Birk. “This will keep that mortgage payment down to where we can reach to a lower household income level.”

Habitat for Humanity targets families who earn 50 percent of the federally determined median income, said Birk.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department listed median income as $53,800 for a nonmetro area in California in 2008. That would mean a family would be eligible for the Habitat program if they earned around $26,900 annually.

Habitat plans to build four homes this year and five the following, he explained.

“We're just finishing up on our 10th home here in the county,” said Birk.

While Habitat's charter covers all of Lake County, all of the homes the organization has built so far have been in Clearlake, the center of the largest need.

Property owners in Clearlake also have been willing to donate land to Habitat. Birk added that the organization wants to branch out to other areas in the county.

The Federal Home Loan Bank provides one of the biggest sources of income for Habitat for Humanity's local chapter, said Birk.

A grant through U.S. Housing and Urban Development pays for Executive Director Lisa Willardson's salary, as well as for the group's construction manager, Habitat's only two paid staffers in Lake County.

Birk said the organization will always be volunteer-based, and is constantly looking for more volunteers. You don't need to work in construction; they also need bookkeepers and help in the office.

The group also wants to find more people who want their own homes. Birk said they're in the process of selecting five families for future building projects. Two of the families have already been chosen, he added.

Birk said Habitat also is working on creating formal partnerships with the county's and the city of Clearlake's redevelopment agencies to work on meeting housing needs.

He said he wants Habitat for Humanity Lake County to be the go-to nonprofit when it comes to providing housing, with the group's goal being to make a significant dent in the county's low-income housing needs.

If you know a candidate family for a Habitat for Humanity home, or if you would like to volunteer or otherwise offer your support, contact the group at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 994-1100.

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


Upcoming Calendar

03.29.2023 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Virtual town hall
03.30.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
03.30.2023 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Character Design~Art Class for Teens
04.01.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
04.01.2023 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Lake County Spring Dance Festival
04.01.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lake County Spring Dance Festival
04.03.2023 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Courting The Muse~Mixed Media Art Class
04.06.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
04.06.2023 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Character Design~Art Class for Teens

Mini Calendar



Responsible local 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.
Cookies! uses cookies for statistical information and to improve the site.