Wednesday, 17 July 2024



CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The new Veterans Affairs clinic under construction in Clearlake is on schedule to open in October, the county's veterans service officer and health department head said Thursday.

Jim Brown said a grand opening for the new clinic is scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 13. Local dignitaries and Congressman Mike Thompson will be on hand for the event.

The 10,000-square-foot clinic is located at 15145 Lakeshore Drive, with Vila Construction Co. of Richmond doing the construction work, as Lake County News has reported.

The groundbreaking for the project – which had at least 10 years of lobbying behind it – took place last April.

The VA has been handling oversight of the construction and keeping the county informed, with Brown saying he's getting updates on the progress.

At the same time, Veterans Service Office staff have been busy enrolling veterans who want to receive the health care services offered there, he said.

Brown said it's estimated that there eventually will be about 3,500 vets enrolled for the clinic's services. Altogether, the county has a veterans population of about 8,000.

Some of those veterans who currently want to transfer health services from Ukiah and Santa Rosa may be held off until newer enrollees are brought in, he said.

The Veterans Service Office also will have space at the clinic, according to Brown.

“We do expect to have some presence in the clinic, probably about two days of the week,” he said.

The Veterans Service Office staff will be “doing everything,” said Brown, from talking about health care issues and enrollments to giving information about home loans.

While veterans will be able to get a wide array of general health care services at the clinic, Brown said major procedures will still require travel to Santa Rosa or San Francisco.

Currently, veterans can catch a bus from Clearlake City Hall down to the Bay Area every weekday morning at 5 a.m. for major treatments, but the clinic may now serve as a staging place for those trips, he said.

“That's something that we've just started talking about,” Brown added.

Brown said those trips and the associated logistics will be overseen by the VA.

For veterans wanting to enroll for health services, it's not too late. Call the Lake County Veterans Service Office at 707-263-2384.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Following concerns last month that a transit worker strike could occur locally, contract negotiations between the company that operates Lake County's transit services and its union-represented employees came to a successful conclusion this week.

Paratransit Services of Bremerton, Wash., which holds the contract for Lake Transit Authority, and Teamsters Local 624, based in Santa Rosa, reached a tentative agreement for a three-year contract for 35 transit employees on Sept. 1, as Lake County News has reported.

This past Sunday in Lower Lake, that tentative agreement went before a vote of a committee representing the workers, said Ralph Miranda, a union spokesman and negotiator on the contract.

“The offer was unanimously accepted and recommended by the committee,” he said.

Randy Grove, Paratransit Services' director of operations and human resources, confirmed the settlement.

“We are pleased that an agreement could be reached,” Grove said.

Miranda said the contract terms include a 1.5-percent wage increase retroactive to July 1, up from the 1 percent wage increase Paratransit Services had previous proposed.

He said they also will continue with the current health plan offered by Paratransit Services, with an agreement that the company and employees would split the costs of any increases the insurance company implements.

The two sides agreed to reopen negotiations on medical benefits and wages on June 30 of the next two years, he said.

In turn, the union agreed in the contract to Paratransit Services' request to freeze longevity increases, which Miranda previously said include step increases between five and 10 years of service.

“We agreed to freeze the step increases, which was one of the big item that was delaying it,” he said.

Miranda said federal mediator David Weinberg, who has worked with the two sides over the last several weeks, was very helpful in getting a resolution.

“The atmosphere at the bargaining table, I've got to say, really turned cooperative,” said Miranda, noting that everyone wanted to get an agreement.

Though the union had set deadlines for strikes last month, Miranda said they hadn't wanted to interrupt services for the thousands of local residents who depend on local transit.

Paratransit Services officials also had emphasized that they didn't want to see service interruptions.

“Paratransit Services values its employees,” said Grove. “In turn, the employees value their commitment and responsibility to provide safe and efficient transportation services to the residents of Lake County.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Volunteer workers at the Soper-Reese Community Theatre in Lakeport, Calif., include, from left to right, Marc Spillman, Kelseyville Lumber Truss Division;; Jim Plank, Soper-Reese Theatre, facilities; John Ross, Soper-Reese Theatre, theatre manager; Mike Beale, Guido

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The Lake County Social Services Department is beginning an online customer service survey to gauge how it's serving the community.

The agency, headquartered in Lower Lake, is the county department with the largest budget – $45 million – most of which comes from the state, as Lake County News has reported.

It oversees numerous offerings, from In-Home Supportive Services to Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, CalWORKS, Medi-Cal, food stamps and a variety of other relief-based programs.

Director Carol Huchingson reported Thursday that they were launching the online customer satisfaction survey.

“Based on our commitment to excellent customer service, we are encouraging persons served by our department to complete a survey anytime, online at,” she said.

From that Web page, users can click on the link for English or Spanish versions of the survey.

“The feedback you give us will help us enhance our service delivery,” Huchingson said.

For those without access to computers, hard copy customer satisfaction survey forms also are available in the agency's Lower Lake lobbies, she said.

The survey asks about ease of application for services, if the person received information about other services and if that information was explained, were they able to ask questions or voice issues, were questions answered and issues resolved, who they dealt with and overall satisfaction.

Social Services can be reached via telephone at 707-995-4200.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – AIDSWALK Lake County invites the community to come out this weekend and help with the work of raising awareness about AIDS and its prevention.

The third annual event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Austin Park in Clearlake.

Come and walk along with Hospice Services of Lake County, Yuba College Rotaracts, Head Start and many others.

Walk alone for a small donation or with a team of four for only $25.

Although the walk is only three-quarters of a mile, organizers say the walk invokes a warm, community spirit.

Local health and wellness caregivers will have booths, including the Sutter Mobile Health team which will offer free health screenings. Also on hand will be a diverse community of caring, civic groups, including the Stonewall Democratic Club, Lake County PRIDE, Save The Lake, The Sierra Club, CLO/Glenhaven Business Association, the Clearlake Oaks Community Methodist Church, Clearlake United Methodist Church and many more.

Enjoy the arts and crafts and the delicious gourmet food by “Kim Young & Crew,” and join the silent auction of art and things, including a weekend getaway and raffle prizes, all of which will be awarded the same day.


“Without A Net,” a band composed of local educators, will provide the music.

AIDSWALK Lake County is produced by Community Care HIV/AIDS Program and The Drop In Center and the special Lake County communities.


For more information about AIDSWALK Lake County call 707-995-1606.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKEPORT – National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed annually across the nation on the third Friday in September.

This year the commemoration takes place on Sept. 17.

To mark the date and remember those who were or are prisoners of war or missing in action and their families, a gathering will be held at the gazebo in Library Park in Lakeport at 8 p.m.

The program will include a candlelight vigil, speakers Woody Hughes and Dan Christensen, and music by Robert Deppe.

The Military Funeral Honors Team of Lake County will also fire the traditional rifle volleys and play “Taps.” It is a rare opportunity to view a nighttime rifle firing.

More than 1,700 American personnel are still listed as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam conflict. There also are personnel not accounted for from the current conflicts.

Though National POW/MIA Recognition day is not a public holiday it is a national observance.

You are encouraged to take time to remember and honor our American POW/MIA service members.

Everyone is welcome. Please bring a candle to light.

For more information, please call 707-349-2838.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Local officials gathered for a check-passing ceremony at Lakeport Fire Protection District in Lakeport, Calif., on Wednesday, September 16, 2010. From left to right, Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke, Arlin Pischke and Wally Cox, all members of Lakeport Kiwanis; Lakeport Fire Chief Ken Wells, receiving the check from Cox; Siri Nelson, chief administrative officer of Sutter Lakeside Hospital; Lakeport Police Lt. Brad Rasmussen, also a Lakeport Kiwanis member; and Steve Grant from Zoll, the company that manufactures the AutoPulse cardiac pump. Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Thanks to the generosity of community members and groups, Lakeport Fire Protection District officials will be able to pay off a life-saving piece of equipment.

On Wednesday Chief Ken Wells received a check from the Lakeport Kiwanis Club to go toward the purchase of an “AutoPulse” cardiac support pump, which already has helped save local lives.

The device, according to Wells, offers a more powerful and effective manner of doing chest compressions as part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with more blood pushed through the body.

The check presented to fire officials Wednesday came from proceeds of an Aug. 28 fundraiser breakfast, which raised about $3,100, along with numerous donations from groups and individuals.

“The community just stepped up and helped out with this,” Wells said. “We're still getting donations.”

Among the major donors were Lakeport Kiwanis, Early Lake Lions and Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Sharon and Jim Hubman, Denise Hinchcliff, City Center Realty and John Whitehead, said Wells.

The family of Glenn Wilds, a former Lakeport firefighter and commissioner who died Sept. 3, also asked that donations be made to the fire department for the machine, Wells said, adding they received a $200 donation in Wilds' memory.

At the Aug. 28 breakfast, the Lakeport Volunteer Firefighters Association and the Lake County Channel Cats both pitched in to help, said Wells.

The Channel Cats were instrumental in selling tickets ahead of time and did a great job as servers at the event, he said, adding they also were pretty cute.

The end result was the department was able to purchase the AutoPulse outright, he said, along with some replacement LifeBands, which are placed around the chest and used for chest compressions. A new machine costs $15,000, but the agency was able to buy a reconditioned one for less.

The volunteer firefighters association has started an AutoPulse account, said Wells. “We're going to keep that account going so eventually we would purchase another one.”

He added, “I would like to see one on every ambulance.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Vehicle thefts dropped statewide but rose locally in 2009, according to a new California Highway Patrol report.

The CHP said that statewide vehicle thefts are down for the fourth consecutive year.

“Vehicle theft prevention efforts by law enforcement agencies and the public are paying off,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Since 2005, California has realized a 35-percent reduction in stolen vehicles.”

The agency attributes the decrease in thefts to enforcement, education and technology – all three of which have contributed to the largest decrease in decades of the number of vehicle thefts in California.

The CHP reported that 169,058 vehicles were stolen in 2009, which represents a 15.4-percent decrease from 2008, when 199,766 vehicles were stolen.

“Even with the decrease, on average, a vehicle is stolen every three minutes in California,” said Farrow.

In Lake County, the trend appears to be the reverse.

For 2009, 156 vehicles were stolen, up 16.4 percent from the 134 vehicles stolen the previous year, according to CHP statistics.

Lake County had approximately 84,941 registered vehicles in 2009, with the 156 stolen vehicles representing 0.27 percent of that number, and 0.09 percent of the statewide thefts, statistics showed.

In Lake's neighboring counties, thefts were mostly down last year. In Yolo, thefts dropped by 14.9 percent, 9.4 percent in Colusa, 9.1 percent in Glenn, 4.2 percent in Mendocino and 1.9 percent in Napa. In Sonoma, there was a 0.6 percent increase in thefts in 2009.

The CHP said that of the vehicles reported stolen in 2009, more than 88 percent were recovered. However, the economic loss to Californians exceeded $1 billion.

Statewide, the number of recoveries actually dropped by 13.5 percent from 2008, when 173,328 vehicles were recovered, to 149,884 vehicles recovered in 2009

Lake County showed an increase in stolen vehicle recoveries. In 2008, 125 stolen vehicles were recovered, a number which increased 5.6 percent to the next year, when 132 were found.

Lake's recovery statistics were far better than those of its neighbors, which registered the following numbers: Colusa, -8.6 percent; Glenn, -37 percent; Mendocino, -21 percent; Napa, -8.8 percent; Sonoma, 1 percent; Yolo, -12.8 percent.

In 2009, the top automobile for theft was the 1991 Honda Accord, followed by several other Honda Accord and Civic models from the 1990s. The CHP said the top personal trucks for theft included 1986, 1987 and 1988 model Toyota pickups, while 2007 Suzuki and Yamahas topped the motorcycle theft list, followed by 2006 through 2008 model year Hondas.

Southern California is a hot spot for vehicle theft, the CHP reported.

Approximately 53.4 percent of all thefts in 2009 occurred in the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, according to CHP numbers.

“In order to put thieves out of business and keep from becoming a victim, we must remain vigilant in our efforts,” Farrow said.

Law enforcement is aided by the strategic deployment of bait cars, license plate recognition systems, joint task force operations, vehicle theft training and district attorney cooperation to help drive the vehicle theft numbers down year after year, according to CHP officials.

“Vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity,” added Farrow. “Citizens are on the front lines when it comes to prevention.”

The CHP encourages the public to safeguard vehicles by parking in a secure or highly visible location, always locking the vehicle’s doors, using an alarm system and never leaving a vehicle running unattended.

The agency also urged citizens to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Shane Hutchins has been on the run from Mendocino County law enforcement for three months. Photo courtesy of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.




MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif. – The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is attempting to locate a wanted parolee who has been on the run for three months.

Shane Hutchins, a 32-year-old transient from the area, is being sought on a variety of charges, including evading and resisting arrest and being a wanted parolee, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

Smallcomb said Hutchins has been evading law enforcement for the past three months in incidents that took place in Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and Ukiah.

During that time, Hutchins has allegedly been involved in three vehicle pursuits, where at least one deputy injured himself in an accident involving the pursuit, said Smallcomb.

Hutchins also has allegedly been involved in two foot pursuits with law enforcement officers who were attempting to apprehend him for the listed charges, Smallcomb said.

In addition, Smallcomb said Hutchins is wanted for a California State Parole violation.

According to witness statements, Hutchins has been known to be in possession of either handguns or knives during these incidents. Smallcomb said Hutchins has further stated he was “not going back to prison.”

Anyone with information on Hutchins' possible whereabouts is asked to contact the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office at 707-463-4086. Callers can remain anonymous.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

WASHINGTON, DC – Hundreds of American Indian and Alaskan Native communities will receive almost $127 million to enhance law enforcement, bolster justice systems, prevent youth substance abuse, serve sexual assault and elder victims, and support other efforts to combat crime, the US Department of Justice reported Wednesday.

The grants are the first under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), a new effort combining 10 different Department of Justice grant programs into a single solicitation.

Tribes in the North Coast region receiving grants include the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians in Mendocino County, which received a COPS- Tribal Resource Grant Program for $332,949 and $675,000 from a tribal governments program.

Also in Mendocino County, the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Covelo were granted $319,285 to develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems.

In Sonoma County, the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians were granted funds for tribal justice systems in the amount of $329,107.

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli announced the CTAS awards at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Perrelli noted that Attorney General Eric Holder and other Department of Justice leadership held tribal listening sessions last year.

The department developed CTAS in response to views shared at these sessions, Tribal consultation events and other feedback from tribal leaders.

"Today, we take another major step toward true nation-to-nation collaboration," said Perrelli. "CTAS is not only a more streamlined grant-making process, it is part of the department's broader strategy of increased engagement with tribal communities across a broad range of areas."

CTAS includes most of the tribal programs from the department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The programs were listed as 10 purpose areas.

In previous years, tribes seeking funding for more than one of these purposes would need to submit multiple grant applications. With CTAS, tribes were able to submit a single application while selecting multiple purpose areas, ranging from juvenile justice to violence against women.

"This approach not only saves time and resources, but it also allows tribes and the Department to gain a better understanding of overall public safety needs," Perrelli added. "Through CTAS and other initiatives, we have sought to take action to respond to tribal leaders and help end the inexcusably high crime rates in tribal communities."

Additionally, COPS Office Director Bernard Melekian, addressed the National Native American Law Enforcement Association's 18th Annual National Training Conference Wednesday in Las Vegas. Director Melekian simultaneously announced the CTAS awards to the approximately 400 tribal law enforcement representatives in attendance.

All federally recognized tribes were eligible for CTAS. OJP, COPS, and OVW worked together in making the award decisions.

Tribal leaders have been invited to a tribal consultation session on Oct. 5 in Spokane to discuss ways to improve the department's grant-making process in future years.

Other California tribes receiving grants included:

  • Barona Band of Mission Indians: COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $98,443.

  • Bishop Indian Tribal Council: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems,$350,000; and COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $55,625.

  • Hoopa Valley Tribe, develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $324,800; prevent and reduce alcohol and substance abuse-related crimes, $349,846; COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $136,747.

  • La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians: COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $366,951; develop new demonstration projects on violence prevention and rehabilitation, $499,999; tribal sexual assault services program, $300,000.

  • Los Coyotes Band of Indians: tribal governments program, $200,000.

  • Pala Band of Mission Indians: prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $274,926.

  • Pauma Band of Mission Indians: COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $338,050.

  • Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000.

  • Pit River Tribe: prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $398,384; tribal governments program, $450,000.

  • Shingle Springs Rancheria: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000; prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $300,000; and tribal governments program, $398,149.

  • Smith River Rancheria: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000; COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $75,300.

  • Southern Indian Health Council Inc.: tribal governments program, $558,804.

  • Yurok Tribe: prevent and reduce alcohol and substance abuse-related crimes, $500,000; COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $497,866; enhance accountability for delinquent behavior, $300,000; provide community outreach and victim assistance services to address elder abuse, $100,000; tribal sexual assault services program, $300,000.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

UPPER LAKE, Calif. – The identity of the victim of a hit-and-run vehicle collision last week has been released by local officials.

Merlin James Pruitt, 73, of Ukiah was identified as the crash victim, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Pruitt left Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino at about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 9 and was traveling northbound in his wheelchair on the westbound shoulder of Highway 20, as Lake County News has reported.

A half-hour after Pruitt left the casino, 30-year-old Manuel Herrera of Nice is alleged to have hit Pruitt with his vehicle while traveling at around 70 to 80 miles per hour, according to the California Highway Patrol report.

The CHP reported that a Caltrans crew found the debris from Pruitt's wheelchair along the roadside before discovering his body in an area off the roadway.

Later that day, the CHP arrested Herrera on charges of felony hit and run resulting in death and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license, officials reported. He later was released after posting $10,000 bail.

Bauman said an autopsy on Pruitt is scheduled for Tuesday morning at the Napa County Coroner’s Office.

The CHP is continuing the investigation on the hit-and-run case.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Alex Hadgis of Kelseyville, Calif., runs the Solar System Slalom. Photo courtesy of Nancy Brier.



LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A lucky handful of Lake County elementary students ended summer with a blast this year at Camp Walla Walla Hoo Ha, a hands-on science exploration camp where science and art collide.

Fifteen young campers were greeted with puzzling questions: If the sun were the size of a front door, how big would earth be? If the sun were the size of a grapefruit, how far away would Pluto be?

Campers explored these questions and dozens more of their own in a fast-paced, action-packed week of science, crafts, physical fitness and performing arts.

On day one, campers built a model of the solar system. It was massive, the huge globular sun dangling from a sturdy tree limb, and it stayed on display at camp all week to serve as a fun artistic centerpiece and an excellent point of reference for space related questions.

An 8-foot sphere, the sun glowed red, yellow and orange with flickers of purples and blues. Planets were built to scale, with Jupiter being about the size of a basketball and Saturn stealing all the glory with its magnificent rings.

Building this giant system helped put the incomprehensible nature of space into a more down to earth realm, and it made the campers hungry.

After a fortifying snack and a spirited round of rocket relay races, campers created individual 3-D solar system models of their own to take home.

“I want to live at space camp,” said 6-year-old Aiden Hall, a particularly ardent fan of science.

Camp Walla Walla Hoo Ha, whose mission is to bring science to life and inspire school age children to improve skills in science, technology, engineering, and math, debuted this summer in Lake County. Plans to expand the program are under way.

“Six months ago, I heard a Silicon Valley executive literally pleading for more science education in California,” said camp founder Nancy Brier, a Lake County entrepreneur with a strong interest in education.

According to STEM, a Silicon Valley foundation that encourages education in science and technology, California ranks second to the bottom nationally in science education among eighth graders, but Brier said she believes that small steps can turn these numbers around.

“I’d like to see Lake County take a leadership role in the shift,” she said.




Space camp instructor Nancy Brier demonstrates a model of the inner planets at Camp Walla Walla Hoo Ha. Photo courtesy of Nancy Brier.



By day two, campers were ready to explore in depth the inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and the asteroid belt.

They learned that the inner planets are mostly made up of rock, that they are relatively close to the sun and that they orbit faster than the outer planets.

Each camper made his own replica of the inner planets, and their replicas actually revolve on their own orbital paths, an artistic keepsake and a scientifically accurate representative of the day’s theme at camp.

“It was so much fun,” said an exuberant Michael Wiser of Kelseyville, just as day two ended.

His mother, Meredith Wiser, said she couldn’t believe how much Michael was learning. “It's all he talks about, and the knowledge he’s acquiring is amazing,” she said.

On day two, each camper also selected a role to play in a performance called “The Living Solar System,” presented by the Milky Way Players at week’s end. Campers made their own costumes and rehearsed all week to portray their best interpretation of the planets, the asteroid belt, space explorers and other roles which reinforced the core learning of the week.

The third day of camp offered a closeup look at the sun, the moon and the earth. Campers split up and visited stations all over the campground to discuss specifics and conduct experiments.

At the moon station, campers studied NASA photos of craters on the surface of the moon. Campers then recreated the moon surface, and using various sized “asteroids” projected at differing angles and speeds, made their own craters and discussed them.

They also looked at photos showing shadows cast on the earth by the moon and learned about the how our view of the moon changes during its various phases. Many campers were shocked to learn that the earth is actually larger than the moon.

At the earth station, campers learned about polar ice caps, the earth’s axis and equator, and how the earth moves relative to the sun.

At the last station, campers visited the sun itself, where a 3-D poster showed in amazing detail what the surface of the sun actually looks like.

They compared that poster to the flame of a candle and discussed the impact of heat on earth and other planets.

Campers tossed pebbles into a plastic container decorated with the sun’s image. If those pebbles represent earth, it would take a million to fill the sun.

That afternoon, campers recreated the view of earth from space with a 3-D craft that included topographical land masses, the equator and the earth’s axis.

For 5-year-old Audrey Dierssen of Kelseyville, the earth project was a favorite. “I liked making the land and mixing them with paint, and I loved getting the earth tattoo from NASA.”

Contributions and consultations from professionals at Jet Propulsion Labs in Los Angeles helped furnish the camp with educational materials, cool tattoos and stickers.

Day four shifted the focus to the outer planets, which are mostly gas.

“Making our own gas planet was cool,” reported Miles Mattina of Lakeport.

Campers discussed how the outer planets, other than Pluto, are generally large, made of gas and orbit slowly. At craft time, they replicated Saturn in a craft that mimics Saturn’s glamorous rings of ice and dust.

Lots of physical activity punctuated the science activities at camp. Six-year-old Lauren Trippeer especially liked the Solar System Slalom, an obstacle course in which campers made timed runs around the planets in order.

Starting at the sun, each camper had to make a complete orbit around each planet and race back to the finish line while another camper documented the score. “It was awesome,” Lauren exclaimed, panting and red faced.

By Friday, campers were eager to show off their knowledge, and parents and family members were invited to join the fun.

As a warmup to the performance, campers challenged parents to a game of space trivia, a match that put the parents to shame. Campers eagerly raised their hands to each and every space related question, while parents, mostly mystified, could only guess at the answers they may have known long ago.

To answer the opening questions: if the sun were the size of your front door, Earth would be about the size of a nickel. And if the sun were the size of a grapefruit, Pluto would be about a half a mile away.

Camp Walla Walla Hoo Ha culminated just as the school year gets under way.

Perhaps the most promising moment of the action-packed week came at the very end when 6-year-old camper Clara Andre was overheard to say, “This year, I’m going to ask my teacher for more science.”

For more information about the camp, contact Nancy Brier at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .




Participants in the inaugural Camp Walla Walla Hoo Ha included, back row, left to right

Upcoming Calendar

07.17.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
07.18.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clearlake City Council
07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

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.