Sunday, 21 July 2024


California Highway Patrol officers examine the scene of a crash near Lucerne, Calif., on Friday, October 29, 2010. Photo courtesy of Northshore Fire Protection District.

LUCERNE, Calif. – The drivers and passengers involved in two-vehicle crash on Highway 20 Friday afternoon escaped serious injury.

The crash, reported just before 3 p.m., took place just east of Lucerne.

Officials reported that a vehicle traveling eastbound lost control and crossed into the westbound lane, hitting another vehicle then heading up an embankment and rolling over back onto the roadway.

At one point the overturned vehicle was said to be smoking, with the roadway blocked, according to reports from the scene.

The male driver and his dog both were able to get out of the overturned vehicle, but the dog reportedly ran away from the scene, officials reported. The other vehicle had two human occupants and a dog.

The driver of the overturned vehicle was transported to Sutter Lakeside Hospital by Northshore Fire Protection District, which sent a chief, battalion chief, two engines and two medics, according to reports from the scene. The occupants of the second vehicle were treated and released at the scene.

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Looking for something fun to do for adults and children alike this weekend?

With Halloween falling on Sunday, a variety of spooky celebrations and events are planned around Lake County.

A rundown of events around the county follows.


Halloween celebration and parade: 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, Tatonka Trading, 14240 Lakeshore Drive, Clearlake. Contact Barbara Grier, telephone 707-995-1004. A free Halloween celebration, with a children's parade at 4:30 p.m. Carnival takes place from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.




Boo Bash: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 30, at Rob Roy Golf Club, 16451 Golf Road, Cobb, telephone 707-928-0121. The free event will feature a hayride, pumpkin patch, games and crafts. 


Pet Halloween contest: 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30, Hidden Valley Pet Palace, 18983C Hartmann Road, Hidden Valley Lake, 707-987-1981. Third annual pet Halloween costume contest. Everyone is welcome. Prizes will be awarded.

Halloween on the Silver Screen”: Event was canceled due to low ticket sales.


Kelseyville elementary parade: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Friday, Oct. 29, downtown Kelseyville. Street closures will take place along Main Street from Second to Fifth streets, Second and Third streets from Main to Gard, and Gard Street in front of the school for the elementary school parade. The community is invited to come and enjoy the costumes. Drivers are encouraged to be aware of ghosts, goblins, witches and werewolves in the area.

Dogtoberfest and pet costume contest: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30, Lake County Kennel Club of Northern California, 9925 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville, . The festival for canines and their people will feature a “mutt strut” – a dog costume contest – and many fun and games for dogs and humans, including hot dog bobbing, relay races, musical mats, agility course, rally course, Canine Good Citizen testing and a photo booth with Horat Photography. For the humans, there will be a free hot dog lunch and a bake sale.


Halloween parade: 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., Friday, Oct. 29, downtown Lakeport. Lakeport Elementary School will hold its annual Halloween parade featuring children in costume. Street closures on Main Street will be in place.

Corn maze: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, through Sunday, Oct. 31, Rancho de la Fuente, 2290 Soda Bay Road, Lakeport. Entry fee: $5. Guests are encouraged to bring flashlights to make the corn maze even more fun.

Rocky Horror Show: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30, plus a midnight show on Saturday, Oct. 30, Little Theater at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 401 Martin St., Lakeport. Presented by the Lake County Theater Co. No one under age 18 admitted without a parent. VIP tickets with goodie bag and front couch seating, $25; reserved seating, $20; general seating $15; $2 discount for seniors, Lake County Theater Co. members and students, and those who come in costume. VIP, reserved and general tickets are available in Lakeport at Catfish Books, 707-263-4454, and at The Game Shop, 707-262-5824; general seating tickets are available at Griffin Furniture in Clearlake, 707-994-2112, and the Shannon Ridge tasting room in Clearlake Oaks, 707-998-5686.

Downtown Trick-or-Treat: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30, in downtown Lakeport. Event will include a costume contest on Museum Square. Maps indicating trick-or-treat locations are available at all participating businesses or at the Lakeport Main Street Association desk in the lobby of City Hall at Second and Park streets. Sponsored by the Lakeport Main Street Association.

Halloween costume contest: 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30, Konocti Vista Casino, 2755 Mission Rancheria Road, Lakeport. Winner takes all – $500 cash.

KPFZ Halloween Dance & Costume Party: 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Oct. 30, Soper-Reese Community Theatre, 275 S. Main St., Lakeport. Adults-only party featuring no-host bar, four bands and costume contest with prizes for the top four costumes, including $500 cash for the winner. Tickets are available at the door: $10 for KPFZ members and $15 for non-members.

Halloween Smash: 1 p.m. gates open, races begin at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31, Lakeport Speedway, Lake County Fairgrounds, 401 Martin St. Speedway office can be reached at 707-279-9577. There will be off-road enduros, the boat race, and a haunted house and trick or treating for children. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 14 to 18 with children under age 14 admitted for free.

McBoo Costume Contest: 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, Lakeport McDonald's, 1400 Todd Road. Costume contest for children up through age 12. Sign ups take place until 6:15 p.m., with the parade afterward. Prizes offers.

Kiwanis Halloween party: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31, Clear Lake High School, 350 Lange St., Lakeport. There will be free games, candy and refreshments. Costume contest featuring prizes will be held at 7:15 p.m. Admission is free. All children preschool to age 13 and their parents are welcome.


Haunted house: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 31, Harley hippie's Coffee Shop & Internet Café, 6260 E. Highway 20, Lucerne, telephone 707-274-0400. For children up through age 13. The event is free, donations are welcome.


Halloween costume contest: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, Twin Pine Casino & Hotel, 22223 Highway 29, Middletown, , telephone 800-564-4872. Signups begin at 6 p.m., with all contestants in costume receiving $10 free play. Best costume wins $300, $200 for most original costume, $100 for scariest costume, $100 in free plan for the funniest costume and $75 in free play for the best celebrity impersonation.


Halloween dinner, dance: 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 30, Halloween dinner and dance at the Sons of Italy Hall, 2817 E. Highway 20, Nice, telephone 707-263-1606. Dinner, stew served family style with salad and bread, begins at 6 p.m. Prizes will be offered for the best contest, with music by Jim Williams. Tickets cost $15 at the door.

Halloween dance and costume contest: 7 p.m. to midnight, Robinson Rancheria Resort Casino & Bingo, 1545 E. Highway 20, Nice. Judging for best costume, most original costume, scariest costume and funniest costume. Dance starts at 9 p.m. with “Too Smooth,” contest winners announced at midnight.


High school parade: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, downtown Upper Lake, Upper Lake Union School District's Red Ribbon Day Parade. Parts of Main and Second streets will be closed to vehicular traffic.

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – This week the Lake County Air Quality Management District and Cal Fire lifted local burn bans and declaring an end to fire hazard season.

Lake County’s joint fire and air quality management district’s open burning program has incorporated both fire safety and air quality management since 1987. County officials say that the program has greatly contributed to the community’s superior fire safety and air quality.

Cal Fire said the recent wet weather has alleviated the dry fuel conditions which triggered the permit suspension earlier in the summer in the State Responsibility Areas.

“Although the suspension has been lifted, permits are still required, and that despite the welcomed rainfall, a period of dry windy condition could dry fuels to the point where wild land fires are possible,” said Cal Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit Chief Tim Streblow.

Both local and state officials emphasized that burn permits are still required for all burning.

Contact your local fire protection agency for a burn permit or the Lake County Air Quality Management District to obtain a Smoke Management Plan.

A smoke management plan is required for all burns over 20 acres in size, multi-day burns, standing vegetation burns, and whole tree or vine removals over an acre.

A fee is required for all burn permits, payable at the time the permit is issued. Agricultural and Residential burn permits, as well as Smoke Management Plans, are $22 and Land Development/Lot Clearing burn permits are $68.

Only clean dry vegetation that was grown on the property may be burned. Residential burn permits

require a one-acre or larger lot, a burn location that is located at least 100 feet from all neighbors and 30 feet from any structure. Lot Clearing burns require special permits available at your local Fire Agency.

Burn only the amount of material that can be completely consumed during the allowed burning hours. Read your “burn permit” carefully and follow all the conditions.

Each day of the burning season is designated as a “no burn day,” a “limited burn day” or a

“permissive burn day.”

On “no burn days” all open burning is prohibited, unless an exemption has been given for a specific burn. Burning is generally allowed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. only on permissive burn days. Read your permit for allowed hours of burning.

To determine the daily “burn day” status, use the contact information found on your issued burn permit.

Consider using the vegetative waste pickup provided with your waste collection services or composting

as an alternative to burning leaves. Contact your local fire safe council for chipping information. For

South County go to or your local fire station, for all other areas of the county call 707-279-2968.

The law requires that an able-bodied adult supervise all fires. Burning even a small amount of illegal

material can result in toxic ash and smoke that contain cancer-causing substances and contribute to other health problems. Burning prohibited materials can also result in significant fines.

Some people have smoke allergies and/or respiratory problems and their health is degraded by even small amounts of smoke. Please be considerate of your neighbors.

A permit does not allow you to create health problems for others and you can be liable for fines and other costs associated with your burning. Thank you for your cooperation this burn season.

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BLUE LAKES, Calif. – A Mendocino County man escaped injury after his vehicle went into Blue Lakes Thursday night.

Tan M. Van, 56, of Ukiah was the driver in the incident, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.

At 7:50 p.m. Thursday Van was driving a 1998 Toyota pickup truck westbound on Highway 20 west of Irvine Avenue near Blue Lakes, Tanguay said.

Tanguay said Van made an unsafe turning movement to the left and the truck crossed over the double-yellow lines and crossed the eastbound lane of traffic.

The truck continued to the left and traveled down a steep embankment to the south of the roadway. Tanguay said Van's pickup struck a tree and then continued into Blue lakes.

Van was able to exit the vehicle and he swam to shore, Tanguay said.

This collision is being investigated by CHP Officer Greg Buchholz.

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit reported that fire season is coming to a close.

Effective at 8 a.m. Monday, Nov. 1, Cal Fire will transition into winter preparedness mode, the agency reported.

The transition will include a reduction of seasonal firefighters – 185 personnel – as well as winter closing of selected Cal Fire fire stations and the end of fixed-wing aircraft for the season, officials said.

Cal Fire said the air tankers and air attack resources were released from service on Oct. 26, once the heavy rains blanketed the local area reducing the threat of a wildland fire.

However, Unit Chief Tim Streblow encourages residents to remember that even with increased rainfall, dry winds can still result in increased fire danger as fuels become dry.

The burn suspension was lifted on Oct. 25, but Cal Fire urged property owners interested in conducting control burns to check with their local fire agency and air pollution district to ensure they meet all fire and air pollution permit requirements prior to burning.

The unit includes the State Responsibility Areas (SRA) within six counties, Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Yolo, Solano and Colusa.

The Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit responded to more than 545 wildland fires within the six counties during the peak season, according to a Thursday report. The vast majority of these fires were less than 10 acres, due to aggressive initial attack by Cal Fire and local fire agencies.

Residents creating and maintaining 100 feet of defensible space around their homes had a major role in keeping these fires small, reducing the threat to life and property, the agency said.

“Creating a defensible space around structures has lead to many positive outcomes for the homeowner, as well as the firefighters who protect these structures during a wild and incident,” Streblow said.

Cal Fire reported that it will continue to respond to medical aids, hazmats, earthquakes and floods, or any statewide emergency from staffed stations throughout the unit.

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The notion that military people are too busy training, fighting or moving between assignments to pay close attention to personal finances is challenged by results of a new survey.

The first-ever “Military Financial Capability Study” finds that service members are more likely than civilians to keep up with monthly expenses, save for their kids’ education, avoid payday lenders, invest in stocks and bonds, and even check on their own credit scores.

Where military members clearly need more financial counseling is credit card balances. Twenty-seven percent carry more than $10,000 in credit card debt versus only 16 percent of civilians surveyed.

But overall “we can definitely say that [military personnel] are more savvy than the general population” regarding personal finances, said John M. Gannon, president of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent regulator of securities firms doing business in the United States. Its Investor Education Foundation, which sponsored the survey, operates on the fines collected from security firms that violate laws to protect investors.

Since 2006, the foundation has partnered with the Department of Defense to improve military financial readiness. It holds financial forums for service members, provides continuing education to on-base financial counselors and offers fellowships for military spouses to become Accredited Financial Counselors.

The foundation’s campaign to educate military people got its initial funding from $6 million paid by First Command Financial Planning Inc., of Fort Worth, Texas, in 2005 to settle charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company had mislead military investors.

The new survey of 700 service members and 100 spouses was conducted online in June and July of 2009. The results were linked to a national civilian survey on financial capabilities FINRA conducted earlier.

The report cautions that some disparities in answers from military and civilian respondents reflect demographic differences.

Military respondents were more likely to be younger, male, employed full time and high school graduates.

Also, the military sample didn’t precisely reflect the current force. There was a higher proportion of officers surveyed (31 percent) and a smaller proportion of young enlisted (10 percent in pay grades E-1 to E-4).

Still, Gannon said, the results capture financial challenges for military families and serve as a good baseline for future surveys.

Feedback from Defense and military officials who track financial matters, Gannon said, is that “our data is very spot on” in identifying issues that the troops face.

The report can be found online at:

It’s no mystery why the survey shows military people more financially literate than the civilian population, Gannon explained.

“If you look at the level of effort that the Department of Defense has put into financial readiness compared to private sector employers, it’s really tremendous,” he said.

He noted that a personal financial manager can be found on every base and the services have mandatory financial education requirements, starting from boot camp. “There aren’t too many private sector employers that have such substantial programs,” he said.

The survey found that 36 percent of military respondents have trouble paying their monthly bills but that compares favorably to nearly two thirds of civilians reporting trouble.

Fifty percent of military respondents reported having emergency money saved to cover at least three months of living expenses if needed. That varied by rank, of course, falling to 39 percent for junior and mid-grade enlisted and rising to 67 percent for officers.

“Fortunately, military personnel and their spouses are less exposed to the financial risks of unexpected medical emergencies than civilians as they are covered by health insurance,” the report notes.

Fifty-two percent of military respondents with financially dependent children were saving to send them to college. Only 41 percent of civilians with children were doing so.

Among respondents with bank accounts, which is virtually all service members, 21 percent of military respondents versus 24 percent of civilians had taken out some sort of non-bank loan over the last five years. That could be payday loans, auto title loans, pawn shops or “rent-to-own” stores. A third of junior enlisted respondents had used these services.

Worried that such lenders preyed on the military, Congress in 2007 set a cap of 36 percent on annual interest that can be charged military borrowers. Its full effect likely isn’t seen yet in this survey, Gannon said.

Military respondents, Gannon said, already are “much more likely to comparison shop for financial products and they’re much more willing to check their credit report and credit scores. That is something that the Department of Defense, through its financial readiness program, has always stressed and the numbers are really outstanding. I mean 72 percent of military respondents have obtained a credit report in the last 12 months [compared] to 40 percent of civilians. That’s really good.”

Given this and other positive survey results, the foundation will turn more of its attention to educating on credit card debt, Gannon said.

“Non-bank borrowing is still an issue [but] at least, based on our data, the military is doing better than the civilian population,” he added.

More disturbing is that 36 percent of military respondents versus 26 percent of civilians had at least four credit cards. Ten percent of the military reported over $20,000 in credit card debt versus seven percent of civilians.

To comment, send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120-1111.

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is warning motorists to avoid getting caught up in a drunk driving nightmare this Halloween weekend.

“When partying takes to the roadways, too often the result is tragic,” said CHP Lieutenant Mark Loveless, commander of the Clear Lake Area office.

Death is the most significant and obvious consequence of drunk driving, but a host of other nightmares also can occur, the agency reported.

Getting arrested for DUI can cost drunk drivers thousands of dollars in expenses, revocation of their driver’s license and possible jail time.

If you will be driving on Halloween, make sure you and all your passengers are buckled up and that only non-drinking drivers get behind the wheel.

“Halloween is an exciting event for children, but streets are dark and traffic is heavy,” said Lt. Loveless. “While children are putting on their costumes, parents should remind them about basic pedestrian safety – stay with parents or a group, cross at the corner and check for traffic before crossing the street.”

Motorists also need to be aware of children running from house to house, he said.

“The safest approach is for parents to accompany their children as they go from house to house,” Lt. Loveless said.

He recommends carrying a flashlight to illuminate the sidewalks and alert motorists.

Parents also should take precautions to ensure costumes are safe and that their child’s vision is not obscured, he said.

“This day can be a time of fun and fantasy for children. Don’t let it turn into a tragedy. Take safety along with you as you go from door to door,” Loveless said.

He issued a final safety reminder to motorists to watch their speed and to always buckle up and secure children in child safety seats.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif. – Officials are trying to locate a timber company employee reported missing earlier this week.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was contacted by the Mendocino Redwood Co. regarding Eric Grant, a company forest service technician whose truck had been located in the 200 block of North Highway 1 in Albion, according to Liz Evangelatos, an administrative assistant with the sheriff's office.

Evangelatos said sheriff's deputies were advised that Grant, a Fort Bragg resident, commonly takes his lunch breaks at the area of the bluffs in the afternoon, but did not return his truck to work or home.

Deputies, with the assistance of Mendocino Redwood Com. employees, Albion Fire, the U.S. Coast Guard and others searched the area of the bluffs as well as the trails and area of the sea shore to no avail.

At 9 a.m. Thursday the Mendocino County Search and Rescue team also joined the effort, which Evangelatos said is continuing.

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is continuing to come under fire for cuts he made to child care services earlier this month at the state budget process wrapped up.

On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell criticized Schwarzenegger's line-item veto of funding for the CalWORKS Stage 3 program, which provides subsidized child care services to low-income families.

O'Connell said the veto will have “far-reaching effects” that stretch beyond the loss of child care for struggling families.

Schwarzenegger has issued no statements from his office explaining his decision or responding to the criticisms, although the state finance department said he exercised line-item veto power to reduce general fund spending with a view to creating “a prudent reserve.”

O'Connell held a press conference in Oakland Tuesday to discuss the issue, and was accompanied by parents who may have to choose between welfare and their jobs because they can't afford child care.

“We stand at the cusp of a disaster,” O'Connell said. “The governor's veto has set the stage for a cascading set of circumstances that will disrupt struggling parents' employment, eliminate jobs of child care workers, force the closure of child care businesses, cause loss of early learning opportunities for kids, and worsen California's economic downturn.”

As Lake County News reported last week, Schwarzenegger made the cuts to the 12-year-old program on the evening of Oct. 8.

The move was completely unexpected, according to Teri Sedrick, co-director of Rural Communities Child Care, a program of North Coast Opportunities.

In Lake County, Sedrick said 73 local families, 149 children and 100 child care providers will be impacted by the cuts to the program, which helps families that have worked their way off of welfare and have been without cash aid for 24 months. This year's budget for CalWORKS Stage 3 in Lake County was $475,458.

The program ends effective Nov. 1, although legislators have indicated they plan to try to restore the $256 million in child care funds through other avenues, including seeking funds from the California First Five Commission and using savings from Assembly budget cuts, as Lake County News has reported.

O'Connell said Tuesday that the cuts will impact thousands more children around the state.

He said more than 187,000 children are already on long waiting lists for child care services, and Schwarzenegger's veto added 54,000 more names to the waiting list, which O'Connell said is a nearly 30-percent increase.

In addition, some 1,500 names will be added to the list of those children who would have moved into Stage 3 from Stage 2, O'Connell said.

Under CalWORKS, a family usually progresses from Stage 1 to Stage 3 as their employment situation stabilizes and working parents need help to cover the prohibitively high cost of child care in order to go to work and remain off public aid, state officials reported.

“The governor's veto is turning out to be a job reduction act at a time when California's unemployment rate is at a near-record high 12.4 percent,” O'Connell noted.

That's because California's subsidized child care system generates more than 130,000 related jobs, according to a study released by the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security entitled, “Cutting Child Care Out from Under Californians,”

Sedrick said last week that supporters of the program had put out a call for people to contact the governor's office to lodge complaints.

The governor's office, in turn, directed the resulting calls to O'Connell's office, which reported being inundated with messages from people told by Schwarzenegger's staff that there are other child care programs with available funding that can help them right away.

O'Connell said Schwarzenegger and his staff knew that thousands of California children are already on waiting lists for these scarce child care services. He called that message of false hope to parents “cruel and shameless.”

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Congressman Mike Thompson is looking to return to Congress for another two-year term. Courtesy photo.


LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Following a term in which there have been major national policy changes enacted in the nation's capital, Lake County's congressman has his eyes on things to come, and is asking to continue his service to the North Coast.

Mike Thompson, 59, is seeking his seventh term in Congress this November.

The Democrat from St. Helena has served in the House of Representatives since 1999. He divides his time between Washington, DC, and California's First Congressional District, which stretches across seven counties, including Lake, Mendocino, Del Norte, Humboldt, and portions of Napa, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

His wife, Jan, is a nurse practitioner. The couple have two sons – one a firefighter, the other a deputy sheriff – and three grandchildren.

During the time he's served in Congress, “My priorities haven't changed at all,” he said, adding that his focus in on, “The district, the district, the district.”

Natural resources, agricultural, fiscal responsibility and health care have all been big issues for the First Congressional District. In Lake County, additional issues are Social Security, heath care and Medicare. Thompson said he'll continue to keep the focus in those areas.

Thompson – a Vietnam veteran – is credited by local officials for his diligence in working to get a local Veterans Affairs clinic opened in the county. He was in Clearlake earlier this month to mark the opening of that facility, which took more than a decade of lobbying to get.

He recently received the endorsement of a number of businesses and organizations in the region, including the Farm Bureaus in Lake and Napa counties, as well as endorsements from numerous regional officials, with local supervisors Anthony Farrington, Jim Comstock, Denise Rushing and Jeff Smith, and Clearlake Mayor Judy Thein among them.

Thompson, a Blue Dog Democrat, is a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, an appointment he said he worked hard to get to make sure the district had a voice.

“I'm finally getting some rank on the committee where I'm able to do some good things,” he said.

During his current term, Thompson has been a part of major actions including the health care reform bill.

He said he had a “very heavy hand” in preventative medicine and telemedicine aspects in the House version of the bill. While those didn't make it into the Senate version, they were added into the law's regulations.

Health care reform has a long way to go, both in the roll out of the legislation – currently under way – and what's still needed, he said.

“Whenever you reform anything it's just the beginning,” Thompson explained.

Thompson also wants to see the country get rid of its trade deficit, and reduce its dependence on imported oil.

He remains dedicated to continuing his work on behalf of the wine industry, an economic power in his North Coast district. He said he is keeping his eye on proposed new legislation that would make it tougher for the smaller wineries that dot the North Coast and Lake County to ship wine out of state.

There's also Wall Street reform on the horizon, with President Barack Obama recently appointing Elizabeth Warren as a consumer advocate.

Reacting to the discontent in the local community and across the country, Thompson said, “I understand why folks are mad. Heck, I'm mad.”

During the August break from Congress Thompson held six town halls in the district. During those events, he saw some people who were angry. Many wanted tax cuts and deficit reduction. His question: How can we do both?

While Thompson has been returned to office over the last several years by wide margins, and enjoys a bipartisan popularity across the district, he's nonetheless facing a challenge this year from Republican and Air Force Reservist Loren Hanks, as well as Libertarian Mike Rodrigues and Green Party candidate Carol Wolman.

Hanks has criticized Thompson for being part of what he alleges is Congress' out-of-control spending, and for being involved in legislation – like health care – that he believes is intrusive and beyond the scope of government power. He's also called Thompson “an entrenched incumbent.”

In a message to supporters on the eve of Thompson's Oct. 17 appearance in Napa with President Bill Clinton, Hanks wrote, “District 1 voters know the federal government is too big, it spends too much, and Mike Thompson is an enabler of those epic proportions.”

Hanks also suggested that Clinton's appearance “indicates a fear of the voters' awakening.”

At that same campaign event, Clinton took aim at Hanks for not even living in the First Congressional District.

The Solano County Registrar of Voters Office confirmed to Lake County News that Hanks is registered as an absentee voter there, meaning he can't vote for himself in the upcoming election. But federal rules allow a candidate not to live in the congressional district in which they are seeking office.

As for Hanks' criticisms about spending, “There was a lot of spending that was done and, I would argue, needed to be done to keep us out of a Great Depression,” said Thompson.

He added, “I didn't run for Congress to vote for bailout bills.”

Some spending is needed, said Thompson, due to the country being “woefully behind” in infrastructure.

Democrats, said Thompson, have spent $2 trillion to try to address the country's recession. He laid blame for larges amounts of spending on the Bush administration, pointing out that Clinton left the White House with a balanced budget.

He said President George Bush took the country into a “war of choice” in Iraq. Thompson has opposed that war, while Hanks has supported it.

Thompson went on to point out that the Bush administration pushed for a $2 trillion tax cut and $1 trillion prescription drug bill, neither of which are paid for.

“What he's saying,” Thompson said of Hanks' allegations on spending, “is not even close to reality.”

He also accused Hanks of being “intellectually dishonest” about spending when he's passing out brochures about a tax cut extension that doesn't have a plan to pay for it.

Thompson said you can't spend more money than you have, and that's why he supported the “pay go” legislation.

“Everything we're doing, we're paying for,” Thompson said.

He doesn't believe there will be a massive control shift in Congress such as is being predicted, although he expects seats to be won and lost on both sides of the aisle. Thompson predicted single-digit margins of change in both houses of Congress.

Thompson has once again this year secured a large amount of financial support for his reelection bid.

Campaign finance reports through Oct. 13 made available through show that Thompson has raised approximately $1,749,748, spent $1,531,549 and has $1,330,039 in cash on hand. That overall total is about $167,000 less than he raised in the 2008 election cycle, which was his highest fundraising year to date.

Of the funds Thompson has raised this year, 49 percent, or $859,181, has come from political action committees, while $845,320, or 48 percent, came from individual contributions, with 3 percent or $45,247 reported from “other” sources.

Hanks has raised $83,103, spent $65,992 and has $17,109 in cash on hand, the reports showed. He's had no political action committee contributions, with 93 percent, or $77,520, coming from individual contributions. He's contributed 4 percent, or $3,135, to his campaign, and has received $2,448, or 3 percent of the total, from the “other” category.”

Rodrigues and Wolman both claimed no funds raised in the Oct. 13 report.

More information about the candidates in the race can be found online: , , and .

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A mailer circulating around the country has officials concerned and led Congressman Mike Thompson to issue a warning about it on Wednesday, calling it “nothing but a scam.”

Thompson urged seniors to ignore an informational card sent from the “National Processing Center” warning about impending cuts to Medicare.

The mailing reportedly includes an informational card requesting personal information that it then asks the recipient to mail back.

“This mailing is a scam,” said Congressman Mike Thompson. “It is not official or factual.”

He added, “Do not be frightened of it or allow them to take advantage of you. Congress is investigating it.”

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LOWER LAKE, Calif. – The Lake County Sheriff's Office is continuing the search for two armed suspects believed responsible for an attempted home invasion robbery and shooting early Monday at a Morgan Valley Road residence.

The incident led to a daylong search of the Lower Lake area and lockdowns at local schools that lasted for about three hours Monday morning, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Bauman said the two males suspects in the incident are still at large and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Both are described as black male adults. One is between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, with short, wavy hair, wearing a black beanie and all black clothing with several tattoos about the arms. The second man had braided hair, was wearing a black beanie and gray sweatshirt, and was possibly armed with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun.

The suspects allegedly broke into a home where they confronted Dustin Lee Wilson, 33, of Clearlake, the son of local businesswoman and council candidate Jeri Spittler, and Michelle Truong, 27, of Hercules.

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Wilson and Truong had been taken into custody on Oct. 22 for drug and weapons charges after a traffic stop in Middletown. A California Highway Patrol officer found them in possession of more than 2 pounds of processed marijuana and a handgun with two loaded magazines, the CHP reported.


Wilson also had been arrested by Clearlake Police on Oct. 16 for several felony drug charges and for attempting to bribe an officer, according to jail records.

Bauman said sheriff’s deputies responded to the Morgan Valley Road residence at around 8 a.m. on a report of a possible home invasion with shots fired. Units from the California Highway Patrol and the Clearlake Police Department also responded to assist.

When the first deputies arrived, Bauman said they found Wilson on the side of Morgan Valley Road, wearing only a pair of sweat pants with a bleeding arm that had suffered minor cuts when Wilson had run through a barbed wire fence while fleeing the home.

Wilson told deputies that he and Truong were asleep inside her home when they were awakened by two unidentified men, one of which had a gun to Wilson’s head, according to Bauman.

A struggle ensued between Wilson and the man with the gun, while Truong struggled with the second suspect, Bauman said. At some point, both suspects converged on Truong and Wilson fled the home as one of the men fired several shots at him from the front porch.

Wilson, who wasn't hit by the gunfire, went to the home of a neighbor, who called 911 after hearing the shots and seeing Wilson running to her house, Bauman said.

Bauman said Wilson told deputies he believed Truong, and possibly his 10-year-old son, were being held hostage in the home by the men.

During the ensuing 45 minutes, law enforcement secured a perimeter in the area and contacted outside agencies seeking air support, Bauman said. Lt. Brian Martin had told Lake County News earlier in the day that weather had prevented the sheriff's office from getting a helicopter from Sonoma County.

The sheriff's SWAT team also was called out, Bauman said.

Bauman said officials also notified area schools at around 8 a.m. to lock down their campuses – schools would be in lockdown until just before 11 a.m.

The schools closed down were Lower Lake Elementary, Lower Lake High School, Carlé Continuation High School and Lewis Alternative School, as Lake County News has reported.

When a call was made into the home, Bauman said Truong exited the residence and told deputies the men were gone. Deputies then entered the home and verified the suspects were in fact gone and the SWAT team was canceled.

Bauman said deputies later learned that Wilson’s son had already gone to school when the suspects entered the home.

Truong told deputies that after Wilson fled, the two men forced her into a bathroom and closed the door. She heard the men rummaging through things in the house, and then heard her vehicle start up and drive down her driveway, Bauman said. When she came out of the bathroom, she saw one of the men running from the home towards the back of the property.

Truong apparently remained in the home, not knowing where the suspects were, until the call was made into the home and deputies had her step out, Bauman said.

He said it appeared Truong's car keys were taken from the home along with some other unidentified property. Deputies located her car with the trunk open at the bottom of her approximate 200 yard driveway, abandoned at a locked gate.

Tire tracks and other items of evidence were located on a road in the back of the property. Bauman said it looked like one of the suspects tried to flee in Truong’s car until coming to the locked gate, and then presumably abandoned the car and fled on foot.

Investigators believe the other suspect fled to the back of the property and presumably drove away in the vehicle used to get to the house, Bauman said.

Deputies conducted an extensive search of the area for about five hours but were unable to locate either suspect, Bauman said.

Crime scene technicians were called in and processed the scene for evidence until about 3 p.m., according to Bauman.

He said the investigation is continuing into the home invasion, with officials looking at the motive and whether or not the victims and suspects may have been acquainted.

Anyone with information about the incident or the possible location and identities of the suspects is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit at 707-262-4200.

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 , on Facebook at and on YouTube at .

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