Friday, 19 July 2024

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The Venoco gas well blow out just south of County Road 44 near County Road TT in Glenn County, Calif., on Friday, April 23, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Glenn County Sheriff's Office.
 

 

 

THIS STORY HAS BEEN CORRECTED; ONLY THE SECOND WELL WAS OPERATED BY VENOCO.


GLENN COUNTY – Authorities in Glenn County responded late last week to two natural gas blowouts in the county's unincorporated area.


Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones said his agency responded to two gas well-related emergencies last Friday, one on County Road 44 near Road TT close to Orland and the second on Road 99 near Road 7, just east of Interstate 5 north of Orland.


Jones said both gas well blowouts required evacuations but no injuries were reported.


The first event in the Orland area was resolved in a matter of hours with a well worker going in and turning off a valve, said Jones.


The second well blowout, however, was more problematic, Jones explained. “Methane gas could have been a real threat,” he told Lake County News in a Monday e-mail message.


When a sergeant and two deputies responded to the second blowout on Roads 44 and TT Friday, they found gas and dirt shooting upward, Jone said.


Fire and support agencies were detailed, an Office of Emergency Services command post and a hot zone were established, a large area was cordoned off, and one family evacuated and housed in the nearby city of Willows overnight, he explained.


Jones said he and two of his lieutenants also responded to the scene, along with Glenn County Environmental Health.


That second well stopped its eruption in the early morning hours of Saturday, Jones said.


Both well blowouts required a large personnel response, with the two emergencies placed on separate radio networks, and additional dispatchers and supervisors were called in to duty. Jones said the response taxed the small agency's resources.


Regarding the second well, “So far, twenty-one loads of concrete have been poured down the well to seal it off,” Jones said Monday.


Venoco Inc., with corporate offices are in Colorado, owns the second well, Jones said.


The company's Web site reported that Venoco acquired its interests in the Willows natural gas field in Glenn County in 1996 from Mobil, “operates substantially all of the field production” and has an average working interest of 65 percent.


Between the Willows and Grimes fields – the latter in Colusa County – the company reported that it has approximately 92 producing natural gas wells.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – April 26, 2010 - As April draws to a close, the time has passed to find a Census 2010 form locally or receive one by mail.


Currently the Census Bureau is preparing workers to go door-to-door to collect data from households who did not return their questionnaire before April 17.


If this third of the nation includes you, expect a visit in May, June or July.


If you never received a form and want to participate, this may be a relief. On the other hand, you may say, “Oh, goody – an interruption.” Or –“Ech, now I have to worry about my privacy.” Or – “Gadzooks – MUST I?”


Here are your answers.


Yes, you must. The decennial census is mandated by constitutional law and the Census Bureau is determined to count all of us, once and in the right place. The resulting statistics guarantee fair representation at the federal, state and local level and drives decisions about and funding for services and programs affecting our housing, parks, schools, roads, emergency services, energy and water systems, healthcare and elder support.


For each person not counted, our community will lose between $1,500 and $2,900 per year over the next decade, so participating is required AND important.


Talking with a census enumerator may represent an interruption but consider this: each household that did not mail in a form costs between $25 and $100 to count. Welcome the census worker or follow the instructions on the notice he or she leaves you and minimize that amount.


Enumerators will attempt contact with your household six times. If they fail, they talk to a neighbor to collect your information. Which feels more private – answering 10 “top line” questions with a professional who has taken a life long oath to protect your confidentiality or knowing that someone in your neighborhood shared their perceptions of your household?


Still concerned? You will provide your age, gender, ethnicity, phone number, whether your home is owned or rented, how many people lived under your roof as of April 1, 2010, and their relationships, ages, genders and ethnicity.


Safe from release to any agency or person for 72 years per Title 44 of the US Code, this year a court case challenging Title 44 proved that not even the Patriot Act can force the Census Bureau to divulge your information before that.


So check that enumerator’s identification, provide ONLY the information listed above and then, smile! With that 10-minute investment, you’ve safely helped your community move forward into this decade!


For more information visit www.census2010.gov.


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BLUE LAKES AND LUCERNE – Two crashes resulted in major injuries on Friday.


The first occurred near Blue Lakes shortly before 3:30 p.m., the second was reported on Highway 20 in Lucerne just after 8 p.m.


The Blue Lakes crash reportedly involved three vehicles, including a Chevrolet pickup, a Dodge SUV and a Chevrolet sedan, according to the California Highway Patrol. One of the vehicles had rolled over in the westbound lane.


A person was reported trapped in a vehicle, according to the initial CHP report.


The CHP reported that major injuries resulted, but the names of those involved were not immediately available.


Both lanes of traffic were blocked at CHP and firefighters responded to the scene. CHP reported that the roadway was reopened at approximately 4:44 p.m.


Later Friday, at 8:10 p.m. a vehicle was reported into a tree at Lucerne Harbor Park on Highway 20 at Ninth.


The collision also was reported to have resulted in major injuries, according to the CHP.


An air ambulance landed in Lucerne a short time later to transport the victim to an area hospital.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

KELSEYVILLE – A motorcyclist was transported to a Sonoma County hospital on Sunday following a morning crash.


The California Highway Patrol reported that the crash occurred shortly before 8 a.m. in the 10000 block of Fairway Drive at Larkspur Drive.


Dan Mola, a firefighter and paramedic with Kelseyville Fire Protection District, said an ambulance and engine responded to the crash scene, where they found that the male rider had lost control of the motorcycle while coming down a hill.


The rider ran into some bushes and hit the side of a parked pickup truck, Mola said.


“He was ejected from the motorcycle about 20 feet,” Mola said of the crash victim.


Mola said the rider suffered abrasions on his back, and his helmet was scuffed up as well.


The injured man also didn't know exactly where he was and asked repetitive questions, which Mola said was indicative of a concussion.


Due to concerns about head trauma, REACH air ambulance was called, landing at the nearby elementary school and transporting the rider to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Mola said.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LUCERNE – A Wednesday night fight led to a stabbing and a man's arrest for attempted murder.


Samuel Thomas Robbins, 35, of Lucerne was booked for assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder following the confrontation, which injured another Lucerne resident, 33-year-old Eugene Basurto, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


On Wednesday at about 9:20 p.m. sheriff's deputies responded to the area of space 21 at “Lucerne On The Lake” on Lakeshore Boulevard in Lucerne to investigate an anonymous report of a physical fight in progress, Bauman said.


When deputies arrived, they located two men, later identified as Basurto and Robbins. Bauman said Basurto was lying on the ground covered with blood and Robbins was kneeling over him holding a towel over what were later determined to be several laceration wounds.


Basurto was conscious and both he and Robbins initially told deputies they did not know who had attacked him, according to Bauman's report.


As deputies secured the scene, rescue personnel from the Northshore Fire Protection District were responded for treatment of Basurto’s injuries, Bauman said. Fire personnel coordinated a landing zone at Lucerne Harbor where Basurto was ultimately transported and flown out of county for further treatment by a REACH air ambulance.


The Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit was called out to assist in the investigation, which lasted throughout the night and well into Thursday morning, Bauman said.


While Robbins continued to deny knowing what had happened to Basurto, detectives developed enough information to secure a search warrant for Robbins’ residence at space 21 of the trailer park. Bauman said the search warrant was executed at about 12:45 a.m. Thursday and among other evidence collected, a bloody knife was recovered from the home.


After the evidence was recovered from his residence, Robbins was arrested and booked at the Lake County Jail on felony charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. He remains in custody with no bail, Bauman said.


Further details, including a motive for the apparent stabbing, are pending further investigation and Basurto’s current condition is unknown at this time.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf.

SACRAMENTO – On the occasion of “School Bus Driver Day,” the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is taking the opportunity to thank the dedicated school bus drivers for their commitment to safely transporting the state’s schoolchildren.


Each year the State Assembly recognizes the invaluable service provided by school bus drivers throughout California, and this year has designated the fourth Tuesday in April – April 27 – as “School Bus Driver Day.”


The safety of children often rests in the hands of trained school bus drivers for a couple of hours each day. The CHP provides initial driver training to school bus drivers who must also maintain educational requirements about current licensing, skills and knowledge.


The CHP also stringently tests all drivers on bus driving skills, equipment and mechanical aspects of their bus.


“School bus drivers are unsung heroes who are entrusted with the safety of our children on a daily basis,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Please be sure to thank these individuals if you or your child benefits from their services.”


Because of the nature of their passengers, school buses are strictly regulated with the state, not only for the pupils’ safety, but for the public’s safety as well.


School bus drivers must learn how to inspect a school bus and make sure that all equipment works. Drivers need to demonstrate an awareness of routes and mechanical and safety conditions.


Officer Mike Humble of the Clear Lake CHP office is the local school bus safety officer.


He estimated that there are about 40 school bus drivers in Lake County.


Humble said school bus drivers are the mostly highly regulated drivers on California's roads.


“They are specifically tested every five years,” Humble said. “They have to go through the whole process over again,” just like when they first received their certification.


In addition, Humble said school bus drivers have ongoing requirements, such as first aid and rules of the road on which they need to keep current.


“Our safety records is very good,” said Humble.


He added, “There are still collisions that occur.”


The goal is to help school bus drivers be as safe as possible, Humble said.


Each school district has its own transportation supervisor, who conducts training, keeps records current and monitors certain programs, Humble said. “Most of them are school bus drivers, too.”


Humble said he has safety meetings with local drivers, who train constantly.


Besides being drivers, they're often part-time counselors, mentors and friends to the children they transport, Humble said.


Some school districts participate in “School bus rodeos.” Drivers maneuver through a course and receive a grade for their performance. California’s school bus drivers are credited with thousands of accident-free miles every year.


School bus drivers can face many hazards while driving. They may assist students in learning, counsel them and may use discipline. Drivers consistently demonstrate patience and kindness toward students, parents and school staff while performing their duties.


The CHP encourages people young and old alike to recognize their school bus drivers for their continued and excellent services to the youth of California.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Joseph Eastham, 31, of Clearlake is a cadet at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento, Calif. Photo taken on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Editor's note: The following is a first-person account of Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede's participation in the California Highway Patrol's recent media day on March 10.


WEST SACRAMENTO – Sore muscles, tales to tell and a great appreciation for what it takes to become a California Highway Patrol officer are only some of the many things I gained after attending the fourth annual Media Boot Camp.


The all-day event was at the only live-in CHP Academy in the state – considered one of the finest law enforcement training facilities in the world.


The boot camp began at “0700 hours” sharp, or 7 a.m., in West Sacramento, so my drive from Lake County began at 4:30 a.m. that Wednesday, March 10. CHP Public Information Officer Steven Tanguay accompanied me to the event and doubled as my photographer.


The academy grounds is a completely self-contained facility on 457 acres and consists of administration buildings, dormitories, recreation rooms, a cafeteria, museum, classrooms, indoor and outdoor firing ranges, gymnasium, physical training facility, motorcycle training network, K-9 training area, scenario village, an emergency vehicle operations course with a high-performance driving track, two skid recovery practice areas and a defensive driving course.


The CHP invited 24 different media outlets, so both reporters and cameramen alike marched together throughout the day.


The morning flag ceremony demonstrated the discipline and seamless formation of the company of cadets that marched around to raise the flags.


The cadets go through an extensive application process in order to attend the CHP Academy. Once accepted, they spend about six months in the academy in their dormitories.

 

 

 

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California Highway Patrol cadets march during a day of activities on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.
 

 

 


Currently, there are 7,868 uniformed CHP personnel in California as of February, compared to the 23.7 million licensed drivers that the Department of Motor Vehicles said were in California in 2009.


As of February CHP employs 617 female uniformed personnel and 7,035 male personnel. The cadets train hard to earn their uniforms.


“Even if someone is in the best physical condition of their life, the CHP academy can still be a challenge,” said Tanguay.


CHP officials reported that there are anywhere between 80 and 200 cadets in the academy at one time.


“They train hard and learn to trust each other with their lives,” Tanguay said.


The cadets will learn to perform a plethora of different duties ranging from the typical motorist services to handling a sliding vehicle in a high-speed pursuit.


“Safety, Service and Security” is the CHP motto.


While they're in the academy, cadets may only have limited visitations with family and friends. Such visits are limited to Wednesday evenings and weekends.


“One of the hardest parts is being away from your family,” said Tanguay.


During their time at the academy cadets cannot afford to slip up – failing just one test could justify booting a cadet out of the academy, leaving them to have to apply from the start if they weren’t discouraged. While cadets are at the academy, they are constantly alert and following orders.


First and foremost, the drill officer had to teach all of us how to follow their commands and march in company – outside, just like the cadets. The cadets obeyed the muttered odd language of the man shouting commands.


The weather was forecast as cloudy with potential rain but the sun shone bright. Still, the wind was chilled and we all had our jackets. Our breath created little trails of warm air on that chilly morning.


After realizing that some people couldn’t tell their right from their left, we were marched, double time, into the gymnasium. There the true experience began – PT, or physical training. Tanguay was already chuckling at the crowd of uncoordinated media members.


Sgt. Marc Gomez led PT and battered us with loud commands. With one officer on stage demonstrating the exercise movements, we media folk had to follow along. All of our jackets came off.

 

 

 

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Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede practices self-defense techniques under the watchful eyes of CHP trainers during the California Highway Patrol's Media Day at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.
 

 

 


“Everything you are doing today is just like the training our cadets go through,” said Sgt. Gomez. “We didn’t change anything up too much.”


There was a wide variety of participants, from young to old and fit to not-so-fit. I’d say I was a young, so-so-fit participant. I, along with many others, was winded after simply following along during the demonstration.


We endured 13 solid minutes of crunches, leg lifts, jumping jacks, a variety of push ups and a few others.


The cadets must be fit and have to carry a belt of heavy equipment including their 40 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol, handcuffs, pepper spray, Taser and flashlight. They often will have to run wearing heavy leather boots in pursuit of a suspect as well.


With my face flushed from exertion, I hugged the water fountain on the way out of the gym. I was worried that the day had only just begun.


Then we were treated to a go on the academy's obstacle course. I went over a 4-foot wall, over and under bars, and zigzagged my way to the end in 38 seconds – 44 seconds including my penalties.


Although I felt nauseous from my morning coffee and lack of water, I pushed through and marched on to the next challenge. Then, we were split up into three different groups to rotate between the following three activities.


Guns, cars and self-defense


We were directed past the cracking, active firing range towards training area, Advanced Officer Safety Training (AOTS). Here they taught us some self-defense techniques. That was one of my favorite parts of the boot camp.


CHP officers have to be able to defend themselves – even in the event that they can’t reach their firearm.


The CHP made nearly 2.7 million arrests in 2009, according to State Wide Integrated Traffic Records System reports, or SWITRS reports.


Handling a gun calls for one to be able to handle shooting someone who is threatening their lives. The Force Option Training Simulator is one tool cadets train with to be able to make the split second decision whether or not to fire their weapon.


Although I was a pretty good shot, I was hesitant to pull the trigger a number of times when it would have been warranted.


Preventing and prosecuting drunk drivers is another big duty CHP officers have. According to SWITRS, the CHP made 94,732 DUI arrests in 2009. In 2008, 1,355 persons were killed in an alcohol-related traffic collision – 790 of those victims were killed by DUI drivers.


Several CHP officers gave us a crash course in handling DUI cases. We learned about nystagmus, which is involuntary jerking of the eye and I also conducted and was submitted to a couple field sobriety tests – all of which I passed of course.


After all of these events, I was very hungry and happily followed everyone to the cafeteria. The food was good and it hit the spot.

 

 

 

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Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede (center of picture) sits down to eat during the California Highway Patrol's Media Day at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.
 

 

 


We were treated to a video about the CHP and then a short meet and greet with Assistant Commissioner Ramona Prieto. She opened up the floor for questions.


“We like to see the bonding between public information officers and the media,” said Prieto. “We strive for transparency.”


Anywhere between 20 and 30 percent of a class of cadets drop out of the academy for a variety of reasons, she said.


After lunch, we were split up into two groups to rotate between the next activities. I was in the group visiting the skid pan after lunch.


The skid pan is a driving course where the track is watered down and the cars sport slick tires – to promote sliding. Most CHP officers agree that this test sends the most cadets home over any other. It is a skid recovery practice area. Here is where the cadets train in correcting a sliding vehicle while in pursuit.


Four different squad cars were ready to go and we all loaded up with a CHP officer at the helm. I got shotgun and had a lot of fun. One reporter in the back seat started to feel carsick.


After a few 180s, 360s and a lot of sliding, they offered us a go at the wheel – and I was first to jump on the opportunity. I spent the most time out there out of everybody in my group having the time of my life and getting pretty good at spinning too. I was surprised that cadets only get four shots to pass the skid pan exam.

 

 

 

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Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede gets behind the wheel for a driving skills test during the California Highway Patrol's Media Day at the CHP Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.
 

 

 


The next activity brought my adrenaline rush down to a somber state when we came to a staged vehicle collision – with victim, fake blood and crashed cars.


The CHP reported that in 2008 approximately 3,401 peopled died in traffic collisions.


In this scenario, the victim was hit head-on by an underage drunk driver. I assisted in removing the female victim from the crunched car and getting her on the stretcher. Another media member issued our newly-learned field sobriety tests to the “underage drunk driver,” which was actually a female CHP officer.


The boot camp came to a close after the staged crash and we all headed back to the cafeteria, where we would have the chance to meet some of the cadets that were currently training.

 

 

 

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A mock collision is a training tool for media visitors to the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.
 

 

 


I had the opportunity to interview a cadet from Clearlake, Cadet Joseph Eastham, 31.


Eastham entered the academy on Jan. 4 and is scheduled to graduate on July 9.


“I feel, even after only two and a half months, that I would step in the line of fire for my fellow cadets and that they would do the same for me,” he said. “We became very close very quickly.”


His wife of nine years, Cherie, 27, and two sons live in Clearlake and his parents own a house in Lucerne. Their oldest son, Deven, is 8 and son Hayden is 7. I contacted her after the boot camp to see how they felt about her husband's six months away from home.


“I wasn’t against it, I was worried about it,” she explained. “We have rarely spent time away from each other and the idea of being apart for six months was terrifying. I would have to learn to be a single mother and be apart from my best friend.”


She said that Hayden and Deven both handle their father’s absence very well, but their youngest doesn’t understand where he is or why.


Tanguay agreed that it was just as hard on his family when he was training in the academy.


Cherie Eastham is fully supportive of her husband's choice to become a CHP officer.


“I am so proud of my cadet,” she said. “I know this is what is right for him as a career choice and I know that this is the right decision for our family. I couldn’t be more excited to pin the CHP badge on him in July.”


Joseph Eastman said he isn't sure where he'll be posted after he graduates. That decision will be based on the needs of the agency and his performance.


After the short interview, Tanguay and I were given a tour of Eastham's living quarters and some of the classrooms he attends. Cadets are only allowed one cell phone, one family photo and one clock radio.

 

 

 

 

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Lake County News correspondent Tera DeVroede interviews Clearlake resident Joseph Eastham, a cadet in the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. Photo by CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.
 

 

 


Tanguay was walking down memory lane throughout this process, remembering when he was a cadet from March to September of 1997.


“I still got that knot in my stomach when we walked behind the gym for PT,” he said.


It takes a lot of physical training, mental control and teamwork to become a CHP officer. And though I was sore for a whole week after this event, I truly appreciate the CHP Academy – one of the finest law enforcement training facilities in the world.


For more information about the CHP and the agency's many programs, services and outreach efforts, www.chp.ca.gov.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Gary Costa, 37, is being sought in connection with the murder of a Bay Point, Calif., woman. Photo courtesy of the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office.



 


LAKE COUNTY – Bay Area authorities are searching for a man wanted in connection with the murder of the mother of his child and who is believed to possibly be headed to the North Coast region, including Lake County.


The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office has identified 37-year-old Gary Costa as a suspect in the killing of 26-year-old Sarah Morgan of Bay Point, according to a statement released by sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.


“He is still outstanding,” Lee told Lake County News on Thursday about Costa's status.


An arrest warrant for homicide was issued for Costa relating to Morgan's murder, Lee reported.


Shortly before 3 p.m. Tuesday Morgan was found inside a residence on the 600 block of Medanos Loop in Bay Point by apartment maintenance workers who heard a fire alarm, according to Lee's report.


When the maintenance workers entered the unit, the fire sprinklers were on and they found Morgan inside, Lee said.


Firefighters pronounced Morgan deceased at the scene. Lee said deputy sheriffs who responded determined that a homicide occurred and notified detectives and the crime lab.


The exact motive for the killing is not known at this time, although Morgan and Costa

had a relationship, Lee reported. Costa also the father of Morgan's child.


Officials believe Costa may be in the Clearlake, Ukiah, Sacramento or Vallejo areas.


Costa is described as a white male, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 200 pounds, with red hair and green-colored eyes.


He was last driving a black 2009 Toyota Camry with California license plate 6GAF450.


Costa is a parolee at large and should be considered armed and dangerous, officials warned.


Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Costa or information on the case is asked to call Contra Costa County Sheriff's detectives at 925-646-2441.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

THE US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY HAS UPGRADE THIS QUAKE FROM 3.2 TO 3.3 IN MAGNITUDE.

 

THE GEYSERS – A 3.3-magnitude earthquake was reported near The Geysers and Cobb areas Sunday evening.


The quake was reported at 8:44 p.m. at a depth of 1.3 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.


It was centered two miles east of The Geysers, four miles southwest of Cobb and four miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.


Shake reports to the US Geological Survey came in from several areas including Middletown and Lower lake, Calistoga and Windsor, and as far away as Danville.


A 1.1-magnitude aftershock followed at 8:47 p.m., centered in the same area, the US Geological Survey reported.


A 3.3-magnitude earthquake was reported near The Geysers on April 13, as Lake County news has reported.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – Imagine being mugged for your wallet. Then, imagine a judge letting the mugger go free and ruling that it was your own fault for carrying your wallet in the first place – that the bulging wallet in your back pocket was an invitation for a mugging.


Now, imagine the mugger is a rapist and the wallet is a tight pair of jeans.


That is what happened to one rape victim in Italy. A judge overturned a 45-year-old rapist’s conviction because his 18-year-old rape victim was wearing tight jeans, and that it is common knowledge that tight jeans can’t be removed without the wearer’s assistance.


The judgment sparked a worldwide outcry from those who understand that coercion, threats and violence go along with the act of rape. The unpopular verdict became an international symbol of myth-based injustice for sexual assault victims.


The “Denim Day California!” campaign began in 1999 with the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) and Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women (LACAAW) – now known as “Peace Over Violence,” as part of an international protest against the Italian High Court decision to overturn that rape conviction.


This year, Denim Day was observed on Wednesday, April 21 and many community members and business professionals showed their support by wearing denim.


Denim Day falls within April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The 2010 theme is, “Prevent sexual violence … on our campuses.” Wear a teal ribbon during the month of April to show you support for victims of sexual assault.


Tuesday, April 20 was the specific “day of action” for this month-long time of recognition. Look out for LFRC’s banner on Highway 20 between Main Street in Kelseyville and Live Oak Drive.


Last year, there were 99 reported sex crimes in Lake County, according to Lake Family Resource Center Program Manager LeMon Perales.


“If you extrapolate, there were 10 or more rapes per week in Lake County in 2009, but typically only two of those 10 victims will report the crime,” she said. “About 70 to 80 percent of sex crimes aren’t reported.”


The 99 reported sex crimes in Lake County most likely represent a much larger issue. Lake Family Resource Center is poised to respond to those that do come forward.


LFRC has a large variety of services available. They have a crisis hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233),that people may call to get help with issues such as suicide, domestic violence and sexual assault. The operators are expert listeners and support victims with their trust and believe that what they say is true.


“If you have been sexually assaulted, someone has robbed you of your personal power,” said Perales. “We give that back immediately.”


It all comes down to whether or not a victim willingly seeks help; by law LFRC keeps everything confidential, even from law enforcement, she said.


A rape crisis center also is available and provides a safe refuge for victim-survivors of sexual assault. Aside from a safe place, education and information on victims’ rights and law processes is also offered.


If only our community did not need such a resource. LFRC hopes to see the day when sexual assault ceases to occur in Lake County and across the nation.


Perales stresses that, although women are capable of committing rape, men are still the overwhelming perpetrators and women are the typical victims. Women have been speaking out against sexual violence for decades, and Perales says it’s time for men to do the same.


“Men need to step up and say that this is not what it means to be a man and that they won’t stand by and let those criminals treat women that way and ruin the male reputation,” she said. “Since men are mostly responsible, it is mens’ responsibility to stop it. Once the social pressure to end sexual violence is too much to bear, then maybe rape will stop.”


Perales often presents information on these sensitive subjects to the local high schools and agencies. She is willing to present anywhere she is invited.


To request a presentation at your club, agency, volunteer group etc., feel free to contact Perales at 707-263-0563.


Visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Web site at www.nsvrc.org/saam for more information and to purchase SAAM theme items. Also visit Lake Family Resource Center’s Web site for more information on all of their programs: http://lakefrc.org/programs.html.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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A Caltrans maintenance crew picks up trash along Highway 29 near Cruikshank Road near Kelseyville, Calif., on Thursday, April 22, 2010. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

 

 

 

LAKE COUNTY Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol joined forces in a statewide Litter Removal and Enforcement Day held on April 22, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Litter is an ongoing problem on State Highways.


Litter is not only ugly, it can lead to pollution. Last year alone, Caltrans spent $60 million picking up trash on California State Highways.


A total of more than 160,000 cubic yards of litter was removed last year, enough to fill 10,000 Caltrans garbage trucks, which would stretch about 52 miles if parked end to end!


Cigarette butts are the No. 1 item littered in California — they are discarded by the millions, often causing roadside fires, clogging storm drains, and threatening our water quality and wildlife.


In addition, motorists face the risk of accident, injury, and death as the result of trash and other debris fallen from vehicles hauling unsecured/untarped loads.


“Caltrans spends millions of dollars cleaning up trash from California highways when there are so many other uses for that money,” said Matthew K. Brady, Acting Caltrans District 1 Director. “We’re asking the public to help us reduce our trash problem – please Don’t Trash California.”


Caltrans said the dedicated volunteers who help clean state highways are a big part of the litter solution.


In Caltrans District 1 – Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake counties – there are about 320 Adopt-A-Highway groups made up of approximately 1,500 volunteers.


For more information on the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway program, please call Nita Brake-Mills at

707-441-5761.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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