Saturday, 15 June 2024

News

THE GEYSERS, Calif. – A 3.3-magnitude earthquake was recorded near The Geysers geothermal steamfield on Sunday morning.


The quake, which occurred at 11:51 a.m., was located three miles east northeast of The Geysers and 15 miles southwest of Clearlake at a depth of seven-tenths of a mile, according to the US Geological Survey.


Four shake reports were made from three zip codes – Middletown and Lower Lake, and San Francisco, 122 miles away, according to survey data.


Over an hour-and-a-half-long period, a number of very shallow – or “poorly constrained” – temblors followed that larger quake, ranging in size from 1.1 to 2.4 and happening both near The Geysers and Cobb, US Geological Survey records showed.


A 3.2-magnitude earthquake occurred just southwest of The Geysers last Friday morning, 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 .

UKIAH, Calif. – A 3.0-magnitude earthquake was reported near Ukiah on Saturday.


The quake occurred at 1:47 a.m. Saturday five miles north northeast of Ukiah and 35 miles northwest of Clearlake at a depth of 4.3 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.


The survey received 23 shake reports from five zip codes – Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Willits, Potter Valley and Sylmar.


At 2:04 a.m. a smaller quake, measuring 1.8 in magnitude, was recorded at a depth of 4.8 miles seven miles north northeast of Ukiah, seven miles north of Talmage and 14 miles west northwest of Upper Lake, the US Geological Survey 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 .

THE GEYSERS, Calif. – A 3.2-magnitude earthquake was recorded near The Geysers geothermal steamfield on Friday morning.


The quake, reported at 8:51 a.m., was located just southwest of The Geysers at a depth of 2.2 miles, according to the US Geological Survey. It was located 15 miles southwest of Clearlake and 25 miles north northwest of Santa Rosa.


The US Geological Survey received five shake reports from four zip codes – Novato, Fairfax, Concord and San Jose.


Just after 3:36 p.m. Friday, a 1.4-magnitude earthquake was reported six miles southeast of Lake Pillsbury and 14 miles north of Upper Lake, the latest in a series of small shakers in that area.


A 3.0-magnitude earthquake was reported 10 miles southeast of Lake Pillsbury on July 30, 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 .

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A mare taken in during the Bureau of Land Management's wild horse roundup in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area near Susanville, Calif., on Friday, August 13, 2010. Just before the picture was taken the mare received her vaccinations and deworming, and was waiting to be turned into pens at the Litchfield Corrals not far from the roundup area. The BLM said the horses in the herd usually are bay or brown. While this mare's markings are unusual, the agency said there are quite a few pintos in the group that exhibit similar subtle, irregular spotting that is low on the body. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management.
 

 

 

 

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT BLM HERD MANAGEMENT AREAS IN CALIFORNIA.

 


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Federal officials have begun a six-week operation to gather horses from one of the state's biggest mustang herds, a roundup that's expected to be California's largest this year and the second largest in the nation.


The roundup of wild horses and burros from the 798,000-acre Twin Peaks herd management area – located 25 northeast of Susanville along the California/Nevada state line – began Aug. 11, according to Bureau of Land Management spokesperson Eric Curtis.


“Our goal is to round up as many of the horses as we can and leave about 450 of them on the range,” said Curtis.


A roundup in the area hasn't taken place since 2006, Curtis said.


The operation started the same day the federal Ninth Circuit Court denied an injunction to stop it, the BLM reported.


That injunction was filed July 15 by In Defense of Animals along with ecologist Chad Hanson, wild horse sanctuary founder Barbara Clarke, DreamCatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary and wild horse enthusiast Linda Hay.


In Defense of Animals and its fellow plaintiffs in the July federal court filing cited the deaths of 12 mustangs in a Nevada roundup in July among its criticisms of the BLM roundup operations, saying that the “mass and illegal removal” of the federally protected mustangs “serve the livestock industry and other commercial interests that exploit our public lands.”


After conducting ground and aerial assessments of the herd management area, the BLM concluded it could move forward with the roundup, originally scheduled to begin Aug. 9.


District Manager Nancy Haug said BLM crews found that the more than 2,000 wild horses and more than 200 wild burros due to be rounded up appeared in good condition and showed no visible signs of dehydration.


However, Haug stated, “The current population of wild horses and burros remains far above the number the range can handle, and this roundup is necessary to keep both horses and range in that healthy state.”


She said the BLM was taking special precautions for the heat during August and early September. Helicopter gathers aren't conducted during the foaling season, which Haug said happens between March 1 and June 30, in order to ensure foals are strong enough to be moved with their mothers.


On the roundup's first day, 119 wild horses were gathered before noon by the BLM's contractor, Utah-based Cattoor Livestock Roundups, and transported to temporary holding facilities, the BLM reported. The animals were reported to be in good condition and health, with high body condition scale ratings.


The following day, Aug. 12, another 164 horses were gathered, including 61 studs, 72 mares and 31 foals, the BLM reported.


One older mare was euthanized that day due to a pre-existing injury, and one small foal fully recovered from difficulties the night before and was reunited with its mother, officials reported.


By Friday, 370 horses had been gathered and 253 had been shipped to the Litchfield Corrals east of Susanville, the BLM reported. Reports weren't available for Saturday or Sunday.


In addition to Litchfield, horses also will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center, which is located in Nevada not far from the herd management area, Curtis said. The goal is to minimize the time the animals spend in trucks.


The Twin Peaks herd traces its ancestry to a variety of sources, according to the BLM. While some of the original horses in the area came from Spanish stock, many of the horses are descended from US Army Cavalry horses prior to and during World War I, as well as draft and light breed ranching stock.


Curtis said some of the herds in the region exhibit heavier draft horse characteristics and therefore tend to be larger than the usual mustang.


“They are just beautiful,” she said, adding, “They're quite healthy.”


The herds don't show signs of dumped domestic horses. Although domestic horses are turning up in some herd areas in the nation because their owners can't afford to keep them, the animals don't have an easy time of it, said Curtis.


“The wild herds don't take kindly to those horses,” which Curtis said “often get pretty beat up” and don't know how to forage or survive on the range.


She said the Twin Peaks horses are mostly brown and bay in color, they're good-sized – 14 to 16 hands and 900 to 1,100 pounds – and are good for endurance.


The BLM said the animals live in a high desert environment, with limited grass resources on a rugged landscape.


The Twin Peaks horses are expected to be popular at adoption events the BLM is planning to hold around the state, Curtis said.


The adoption events also come to the North Coast; the last one in Lakeport took place June 5, as Lake County News has reported.


Those who adopt the horses are required to provide information to BLM of where and how the horses are being kept, said Curtis.


“We have folks who follow up with them over the course of a year,” she said.


The measures are intended to prevent neglect and stop the horses from being picked up for slaughter, she said.


It's only after the horses have been kept satisfactorily for a year that ownership is handed over, said Curtis.


If the horses aren't being properly cared for by their new owners, Curtis said the BLM takes them back.


If the horses aren't adopted after a certain period of time, most will be taken to the Midwest to longterm pastures, Curtis said.


Others will go to programs in Colorado and Nevada where prison inmates train the horses, Curtis said.


The BLM sends some of the horses there, and still others go into the “extreme mustang makeover program,” where she said teams of trainers compete to gentle the animals.


One such competition was just held in Colorado six weeks ago. More about that competition can be found at http://extrememustangmakeover.com/.

 

The Twin Peaks Herd Management Area is one of 22 in California, according to the BLM. Of the public land the federal agency administers in California, the wild horse and burro population covers 7.1 million acres plus an additional 2.3 millions acres of private land.

 

 

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After an early morning capture of a small band, wranglers position a trailer to carry horses to the Litchfield Corrals near Susanville, Calif., on Friday, August 13, 2010, the third day of the Bureau of Land Management's mustang and burro roundup in the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area in Northern California. Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management.
 

 

 


Mustangs being scapegoated, supporters say


In a January opinion piece on wild horses published in the Los Angeles Times, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wrote, “We need a comprehensive and balanced approach built on new partnerships, new thinking and new courage to tackle an issue that, unfortunately, has no easy solution.”


He suggested fertility control, eco-tourism related to signature herds and public-private partnerships to establish new sanctuaries in the Midwest and East.


Advocates for the horses say that the current methods and policies used by the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management aren't working and aren't humane, and instead of roundups they support on-the-range management of the wild horses and burros as a means to maintain healthy herds and healthy range lands.


In Defense of Animals and other plaintiffs in the federal injunction filed last month alleged that the planned roundup at Twin Peaks violated the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act and the National Environmental Policy Act in a “manner that is both arbitrary and capricious,” and accused the BLM of “crafting a solution and then searching for a problem.”


While wild horses are blamed for range damage by livestock grazing, the plaintiffs said that mustangs comprise only a small fraction of grazing animals on public lands, and are outnumbered by other livestock 50 to one. Meanwhile, the BLM has reportedly increased cattle grazing allotments in areas where the horses are being rounded up.


Of the 245 million acres managed by the BLM, cattle grazing is allowed on 160 million acres, and wild horses are on 26.6 million acres shared with cattle, wild horse proponents reported.


The groups also alleged that the Obama administration has accelerated wild horse and burro removal, with 36,000 wild horses warehoused in government holding facilities – which they called “zoo-like” – and only 33,000 wild horses free on the range.


Environmental attorney Rachel Fazio, who was involved with the July injunction, said the Department of Interior “has a policy of removing mass numbers of wild horses from the range without supporting its conclusion that such drastic measures are ecologically necessary.”


In addition, she alleged that the agency won't provide to the public the data to support the removals – which she said violates the legal requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act – and that it disregards the damage done by livestock.


The groups said the BLM authorizes up to four times more cattle than wild horses, and nearly seven times more sheep than burros in the Twin Peaks area, and that the agency has the legal authority to limit livestock grazing in order to make more forage available for wild horses and burros.


The BLM says it's done just that. The agency said it's worked with ranchers who run cattle on BLM-managed land to reduce livestock numbers by 50 percent compared to 30 years ago in response to available resources.


Daily updates on the Twin Peaks roundup can be found at www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/eaglelake/wild_horse_and_burro/twinpeaksgather/gatreports.html.


See a video about the roundup here: www.blm.gov/ca/media/video/twinpeaksgather-2010/index.html.


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, Calif. – A third information meeting describing two government programs that can help Lake County residents with financial assistance is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31.


The meeting will be held at the Lucerne Community Clinic, 6300 E. Highway 20 at 14th Street, Lucerne.


The programs are administered by Catholic Charities Lake County Programs, and are part of the federal government stimulus bills to help people who live in Lake County and pay rent. The programs can assist qualified residents who are experiencing hardship due to the current economy and/or a sudden loss of income.


The August meeting will help explain who is most likely to qualify and how the application process works.


The programs can help people who:


  • Are in jeopardy of losing their current rental housing;

  • Need money to catch up on late rent payments;

  • Are at risk of homelessness or who are homeless and need help to re-establish housing;

  • Need help in paying past due utility bills.


Mortgage assistance of any kind is not covered.


To qualify, residents must meet federal income guidelines, as well as requirements such as documentation of payments to landlords or utilities companies, and proof of legal residency. All information and documentation is verified during the review process.


Due to limited space, reservations are required; call 707-987-8139.


The programs are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009/ Homeless Prevention and Rapid-Re-housing Program, and the Federal Emergency Shelter Grant for Lake County is funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) via California Department of Housing & Community Development.


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 .

This supplements my previous article on the same subject with a basic discussion of two “carrot and stick” methods that may help ensure that your testamentary wishes are respected after you die: the “no contest clause” and the “forced election” (aka “the widow’s election”).


Let’s discuss each individually.


The “no contest clause” used in a will and/or trust is the most trusted legal tool to make beneficiaries accept and not quarrel over the decedent’s estate plan.


Very simply speaking, a no contest clause deters a beneficiary from bringing lawsuits to contest the terms of a trust or a will, involving certain allegations. The deterrence is to disinherit a beneficiary entirely if he or she should bring such a contest and fail.


Under current law, as of Jan. 1, 2010, “no contest clauses” now only apply to the following three types of legal challenges: “direct contests” – those contests alleging forgery, improper execution, lack of capacity, menace, duress, fraud or undue influence, and alleged revocations of trusts and wills that are brought without probable cause; actions to determine the character, title or ownership of property – if expressly provided for as triggering a contest; and filing a creditor’s claim or an action to enforce a creditor’s claim – if expressly provided for as triggering a will/trust contest.


The “probable cause” exception for bringing a direct contest protects a beneficiary who brings the contest based on a “reasonable belief” at the time that further legal discovery will lead to evidence supporting a “direct contest.”


The scope of the no contest clause should be drafted with particular attention to who is likely to bring what type of contest.


The no contest clause only deters beneficiaries who stand to lose something significant by bringing a contest so that the beneficiary’s fear of losing what they are assured of receiving outweighs their desire (greed) to try to receive more.


Some people chose to buy peace for their primary heirs by leaving something significant, with a no contest clause attached, to a beneficiary whom they otherwise might entirely disinherit.


Next, the “forced election.” A forced election occurs when a decedent’s will or trust forces a beneficiary to choose between either accepting an inheritance (under the will or trust) or asserting his/her ownership rights in property that the decedent’s will or trust gives entirely to someone else.


The forced election typically involves a deceased spouse attempting to give one or more items of community property to someone other than the surviving spouse/co-owner by inducing (or coercing) the surviving spouse to accept an inheritance of money (or other property) that is left to the surviving spouse under the same legal instrument.


Nowadays, however, the “forced election” is seldom used due to its adverse tax consequences, its engendering acrimonious feelings in the surviving spouse, and the existence of better alternatives.


For example, consider a married man who writes a will gifting his and his wife’s community property residence to a testamentary trust (established at his death) that provides for the lifetime benefit of his surviving wife (if she survives) and that thereafter leaves all to the husband’s children from his prior marriage; in the same will the husband also leaves a generous gift of money to his surviving wife as an incentive to obtain her cooperation.


Thus, the surviving wife must either accept her husband’s testamentary gift of money and the right to remain in the couple’s home until she dies, or else assert her one-half ownership right in the couple’s community property residence. Whether the surviving spouse will agree usually depends on how generous is the incentive.


Neither of the foregoing “carrot and stick” approaches guarantees that the decedent’s wishes will be respected and that litigation will be avoided.


They are, amongst the available tools, along with those discussed in my prior article, available to help ensure that one’s testamentary wishes are carried out.


Dennis A. Fordham, attorney (LL.M. tax studies), is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. His office is at 55 First St., Lakeport, California. Dennis can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 707-263-3235.


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 young purple eggplant ripes on the vine at Leonard Organics in Kelseyville, Calif. Photo by Esther Oertel.
 

 

 

 


Whether you call it a melongene, brinjal, garden egg, patlican, aubergine or eggplant, it’s one of the world’s most versatile vegetables and is featured in the cuisine of countries on almost every continent.


From the Caribbean to Thailand, from Ethiopia to the American South, and from Italy to India, eggplant provides the basis for dishes with an amazing diversity of flavors.


With the edible, soft seeds contained in its center, botanically the eggplant is considered a berry. As a member of the nightshade family, it’s related to tomatoes, sweet peppers and potatoes.


There’s a surprise surrounding its family tree. The eggplant is closely related to tobacco, and the bitter taste of its seeds comes from nicotinoid alkaloids. An addiction to eggplant, however, must be blamed on its flavor, color or preparation, as the amount of nicotine contained within is negligible.


They’re a favorite of vegetarians, as the flesh is rich, with a meat-like texture. I often pull eggplant out of my “bag of tricks” when I prepare vegetarian cuisine as it’s a great meat substitute for a hearty meal.


They’re a fantastic brain food due to the presence of the powerful antioxidant nasunin, which has been shown to protect the fats in brain cell membranes. Other antioxidant compounds abound that have been shown to promote cardiovascular health and even lower cholesterol.


Eggplants are a great source of fiber, and contain minerals such as potassium, manganese and copper, as well as important B vitamins.


They’re native to India and the surrounding countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.


They were first cultivated in China in the 5th century B.C., were brought into Africa before the Middle Ages, and were introduced to Italy in the 14th century. Thomas Jefferson, an avid experimental gardener, is credited for introducing them to the U.S.


Cultivated varieties range in size from the golf ball-sized Thai eggplant to a two pound variety grown near the Ganges River in India. Wild eggplants have been known to grow on stalks as tall as 7 feet.


The eggplant with which we’re most familiar is called the American, or globe, eggplant, with its characteristic glossy deep purple skin and rotund shape. European eggplants, such as the Italian and Holland varieties, are more elongated, and those from Asia, such as Japanese, Filipino and Chinese eggplants, are long and quite thin. Hawaiian eggplants are the thinnest I’ve seen, with a shape similar to a zucchini.


Each of the varieties mentioned above, save the Chinese eggplant, which is deep lavender, are dark purple; however, other varieties come in a broad range of colors, such as the apple green or green goddess eggplants and the white eggplant, which has a delicate flavor and tough skin.


Small, globelike Indian eggplants are deep red, and early European cultivars were yellow or white, resembling chicken eggs, thus spawning the term “eggplant.”


The flesh of the eggplant is spongy and somewhat bitter in its raw state, though more recent cultivated varieties are not quite as bitter as their ancient counterparts. When cooked, it has a subtle and complex flavor.


Like chicken or tofu, eggplant provides a platform for a plethora of flavors, changing like a chameleon when paired with different sauces and spice combinations. Eggplant is as delicious in a rich Italian tomato sauce as it is in a Thai coconut curry or a spicy African salad.


If an eggplant is young, its skin can be delicate enough to leave on for cooking; otherwise it should be peeled. An interesting preparation is to peel it partially for a striped pattern of skin and flesh. This allows the skin (and its nutrients) to flavor the dish.

 

 

 

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A young, developing eggplant nestled amidst the vines grown at Jim Leonardis

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A mosquito sample has yielded the first evidence of West Nile virus' presence in Lake County this year.


The sample, collected near Upper Lake on Aug. 10, tested positive for the disease, according to a Friday report from Lake County Vector Control District and Lake County Health Services.


The discovery comes a month later than West Nile virus was found in the county in 2009, when a necropsy on a dead crow collected in Lucerne confirmed the bird was positive for the disease, as Lake County News has reported.


Overall, West Nile virus has been detected in 28 counties so far this year, compared to 35 in 2009, according to the California West Nile Virus Web site.


In addition, the state reported that there are 16 human cases this year – there were 10 by Aug. 13, 2009 – with four horses so far affected, compared to three last year. The affected horses were in Sacramento, San Joaquin and Madera counties.


The number of dead birds is down, reported at 219 so far, with 299 reported at this time last year. There have been 51 sentinel chickens and 11 squirrels detected with the virus, compared to 56 and two, respectively, last year, the state said.


The virus usually appears in insects and animals before it affects humans, county officials reported.


Mosquitoes transmit the virus both to humans and animals, so local and state officials urged people to prevent exposure to mosquito bites. One way is to use scientifically tested repellents.


“When properly used, mosquito repellents that have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are safe and effective,” Lake County Health Officer Dr. Karen Tait said in a Friday statement.


Tait reported that most people who become infected with the virus show no symptoms and will recover, while 20 percent of those who contract it will develop fever, headache, and other nonspecific

symptoms that may last several weeks.


However, one in 150 people will develop severe illness known as neuroinvasive disease, Tait said. People over age 50 and diabetics appear to be at most risk for the disease's more severe forms.


There is no vaccine for humans, but horses can be vaccinated against it.


Earlier this week, California State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer issued a statement in which he urged horse owners across the state to have their horses vaccinated as the disease returns for the year.


All four horses diagnosed in California with the disease so far this year were either unvaccinated or hadn't been vaccinated completely, Breitmeyer reported.


Horses contract the disease from carrier mosquitoes and are not contagious to other horses or people, and Breitmeyer said not every horse exposed to the virus will die.


“Outbreaks of West Nile virus are still a risk for horses,” Breitmeyer said.


Signs of West Nile virus include stumbling, staggering, wobbling, weakness, muscle twitching and inability to stand, according to Breitmeyer.


Dr. Jamesina Scott, district manager and research director for the Lake County Vector Control District, said in a Friday statement that the district is working hard to reduce the risk of mosquito bites and West Nile virus to Lake County residents and visitors.


However, Scott said they need the public's help to find backyard habitats for mosquitoes, such as neglected swimming pools or ornamental ponds.


“Mosquitoes are easy to control in these habitats if we know where they are,” she said. “Just one neglected swimming pool can produce thousands of mosquitoes per day, and cause problems for an entire neighborhood.”


Scott said people need to drain standing water sources around their homes that may breed mosquitoes and they need to protect themselves with long sleeves or an effective repellent during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.


To report a dead bird or squirrel, call 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or visit the California Department of Public Health’s West Nile virus Web site at www.westnile.ca.gov.


For more information about vector control services, to get mosquitofish or report neglected

swimming pools to the vector control district, call 707-263-4770 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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 .

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Lake County's newly elected superintendent of schools will start work sooner than expected, with his predecessor to step down this month.


On Wednesday night the Lake County Board of Education accepted county Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck's resignation.


Geck told Lake County News that he will retire effective Aug. 31, clearing the way for Wally Holbrook, elected in June to succeed him, to take office before January.


He said this was an opportune time to step down.


“Our idea was to really look at leadership transition,” Geck said.


Holbrook said he was excited about getting to work early.


He said he will be serving on an appointment basis until he formally takes office in January.


The development, said Holbrook, “was evidence of a good transition that Dave and I have been working on for awhile.”


Holbrook said it's an opportunity for him to step into the role at the same time as schools around the county start. “I'm looking forward to that.”


Geck himself took office early in 2006, with his predecessor, Bill Cornelison, stepping down early so Geck be sworn in during a September ceremony.


After the June 8 election, in which Holbrook won with 59.6 percent of the vote, he began meeting with Geck and the deputy superintendent, along with other officials at the office of education and county board of education members.


Geck said the sooner they could put the transition into place, the more money they could save.


He is at the stop salary step – $122,000 a year – for the office, while Holbrook will begin at $116,000.


Geck will work, unpaid, to assist Holbrook through the rest of the transition, with the district covering his health benefits for the remaining four months of the year.


With those savings, and with Holbrook working three-quarter time until January, Geck said the district is estimated to save $30,000 in salary costs over the coming 16 months.


Holbrook said he has been spending a lot of time getting to know people, and understanding how people and programs fit together in the office of education.


“I'm learning every day,” and enjoying it, said Holbrook.


He's looking forward to starting work at the start of the school year, with its unique energy.


Once in office, Holbrook said a review of all of the office of education's programs and services will start right away.


Geck has been with the Lake County Office of Education for 14 years and has a 35-year career in education, more than 30 years of it spent locally. He decided last fall not to seek a second term.


He and his wife, Rose, are retiring at the same time, and are looking forward to being able to work together on future projects.


Both are educators, but he said they may not work in education and instead might pursue projects in a different area.


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 .

NAPA COUNTY, Calif. – A Friday evening vegetation fire along Highway 29 inside Napa County was attributed to a man mowing grass late in the day.


The fire, which was dispatched around 5 p.m., was located just north of Calistoga on the west side of Highway 29 on the way up Mount St. Helena, according to Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.


Cal Fire sent 18 engines, six hand crews, four bull dozers, two helicopters and four air tankers to fight the blaze, located in thick brush, Berlant said. Napa County Fire and other area agencies also sent resources to the scene.


Berlant said one firefighter sustained a minor injury while fighting the fire, which had reached 10 acres by 10:30 p.m. but was 60-percent contained at that time.


The California Highway Patrol reported that its officers, along with Caltrans, were called to close Highway 29 around 5:30 p.m.


Berlant said the highway was closed for several hours, but had reopened by around 9 p.m.


The cause of the fire was a man using a lawnmower to cut dead grass at around 5 p.m. which, even though it's late in the day, is still part of the peak time for daily temperature, said Berlant.


Firefighters were to remain on scene through the night and into the morning to fully contain the fire and monitor hot spots, Berlant said. The fire is expected to be fully contained by 8 a.m. on Saturday.

 

Berlant said that, although temperatures have been below average for this time of year, conditions are heating up and fire danger is therefore increasing.


Cal Fire urges homeowners who are clearing dead weeds to make sure they do it before 10 a.m., when it is cooler out, said Berlant. The blade of lawn mower or weedeater can easily strike a rock and start a fire.


In addition they urge people not to mow on dry or windy days.


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 .

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – Water users in the Kelseyville and Finley areas are being urged to boil water for the next few days in the wake of a low water issue that occurred on Thursday.


Some customers in the area reported receiving hand-delivered notices from Lake County Special Districts, while others received calls from the agency through the Office of Emergency Services' reverse 911 system.


Lake County News also received reports from Kelseyville residents of the water being off in downtown Kelseyville for about two hours on Thursday morning.


Pete Preciado, Lake County Special Districts deputy administrator, said the system experienced low water pressure on Thursday morning, resulting in a lot of calls from customers.


“Right now everything's back to normal,” he said Thursday afternoon. “The system is fine, the water is fine.”


However, he said Special Districts was asking customers to purify their water before drinking it, with boiling one of the ways to achieve that goal.


“Anytime you lose system pressure you could suffer back siphonage, and that could bring water into the system,” he said.


Last week construction began in downtown Kelseyville to increase the size of the water main, a project Preciado said is expected to conclude next Tuesday.


Preciado said district workers valved off an area of Main Street where that work is going on.


“We are isolating sections of pipe and redirecting the water,” he said.


He said that, following their investigation into the low water pressure occurrence, they believe the way the area was valved caused the problem.


“The wells are fine, the pipes are fine, the storage tanks are fine, it was just the valving off for construction,” he said.


Preciado said once Special Districts settled on a cause, the focus then turned to getting the water pressure restored, flushing the lines and notifying the public.


He said they were in the process of collecting bacteriological samples to make sure the water was safe to drink. They have to have two days of consecutive clean samples before the health department will rule the water safe.


Preciado said Special Districts is telling customers in the Kelseyville and Finley areas who have received the notices and calls to boil their water until a paper notice is placed on their door notifying them of the boil water order's cancellation.


If everything goes well, the earliest the order would be lifted is Saturday afternoon, Preciado 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 .

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