Thursday, 18 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY – The Lake County Sheriff's Office reported Friday that a homicide victim whose body was discovered last week in an illegal marijuana garden has been identified.

The body of Jose Luis Tafolla, 29, was identified as the result of an autopsy conducted Monday at the Napa County Coroner's Office, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Tafolla had been reported missing from Santa Rosa on Sept. 1. Sheriff's official discovered his body in a shallow grave in a large marijuana growing operation off of Highway 175 in Middletown last week, as Lake County News has reported.

Bauman said sheriff’s detectives attending the autopsy found that Tafolla had sustained multiple high-velocity gunshot wounds. Fingerprints collected during the autopsy were used to confirm Tafolla's identity on Tuesday.

On Monday, a combined task force of sheriff’s detectives, sheriff’s Search and Rescue and members of Kelseyville’s K-Corps conducted a daylong extended search of the eradicated marijuana operation and homicide scene for any remaining evidence relating to the homicide. Bauman said the search operation yielded several more items of physical evidence, including more ammunition and spent firearms cartridges believed to be connected to the homicide.

On Thursday, sheriff’s detectives served two search warrants relating to the homicide investigation on residences in the city of Santa Rosa, said Bauman. Those search warrants resulted in the interview of several potential witnesses and revealed the identities of several new persons of interest.

Since detectives began this investigation, they have learned that Tafolla reportedly left Santa Rosa on Aug. 24 with two associates and went to the marijuana grow in Lake County, apparently intending to steal marijuana by force to settle a debt owed to one of them by one of the growers, according to Bauman.

The three were not supposed to return to Santa Rosa for about a week but the day after they left, Tafolla’s two associates returned without him and his girlfriend – who Bauman said was previously believed to be Tafolla's wife – became concerned.

By Labor Day weekend, Tafolla had still not returned to Santa Rosa. When his girlfriend insisted on knowing his whereabouts, one of the two he went to Lake County with a week prior told her he had been shot and killed in a gun fight when they tried to steal the marijuana. Bauman said she then notified authorities in Santa Rosa of circumstances surrounding Tafolla’s disappearance.

Interviews and the condition of Tafolla's body when he was recovered from the marijuana operation indicate he was killed on or about Aug. 24, said Bauman.

He said that the two men arrested as they fled the area of the marijuana operation on Sept. 3 are still believed to be connected to the homicide, however, the investigation has yet to yield enough information to either charge them or clear them of any direct responsibility.

The investigation remains open pending further work by sheriff’s detectives, Bauman reported.


LAKEPORT – A tree took down a power pole and power lines in an area of Lakeport on Thursday.

The lines and power pole were in the area of Third and Crawford, officials reported.

Brandi Ehlers, a Pacific Gas and Electric spokesperson, said the initial outage was reported at 5:31 p.m. and involved secondary power lines.

She said the outage affected eight customers in downtown Lakeport from 18th to Starkeys Lane and from Clearlake Avenue to Highway 29.

PG&E workers were transporting a new pole through town on Thursday evening. Ehlers said they were replacing the pole and restringing the lines.

She said power should be restored to all customers by 5 a.m. Friday.

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


LAKEPORT – Sheriff's officials are looking for a Lake County Jail inmate who walked away from a work assignment on Wednesday afternoon.

Leticia Flores Batres, 34, of Santa Rosa, a minimum security inmate assigned to Lake County Animal Care and Control, was last seen by animal control staff cleaning kennels with fellow inmates at about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Captain James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported.

About a half hour after she was last seen, Animal Care and Control – which is now located next to the Lake County Jail – notified jail staff that Batres was missing after searching the area, Bauman said.

After conducting their own search of the Animal Control and jail grounds – which included a formal count of the jail housing units – jail staff confirmed Batres had walked away from her work assignment outside of the jail facility, said Bauman.

Several sheriff’s patrol units responded to the apparent escape and commenced with an extensive search of the area for Batres. Bauman said that, a short time into the search, one deputy located the jail-issued denim shirt rolled up and discarded behind the Animal Care and Control facility along with her jail identification tag.

All potential routes leading away from the animal control and jail facilities were thoroughly searched but Batres had yet to be located late Wednesday, according to Bauman.

Batres is described as a Hispanic female adult, 5 feet 4 inches tall, 135 pounds, with medium length black hair and brown eyes. Bauman said her tattoos include a “band” on her left ankle, a heart on her upper right arm, and “Flores” on her back. She is believed to be still dressed in blue denim jail issued pants, a white T-shirt and jail-issued shoes.

Batres was classified as a minimum security inmate who was booked on May 29 for a Lakeport Police Department bench warrant for transportation of a controlled substance, Bauman said. She was serving a 365-day sentence and had an Immigration and Naturalization hold placed on her.

Bauman said Batres has an alias of Leticia Hernandez Flores. Officials recently discovered she also has an outstanding misdemeanor warrant of arrest out of Sonoma County for contempt of court and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Leticia Batres should immediately notify the Lake County Sheriff’s Department at 263-2690.


KELSEYVILLE – A Friday morning fire destroyed a Kelseyville home.

Engineer/Paramedic Jim Dowdy of the Kelseyville Fire Protection District, who was incident commander, said an off-duty district fireman spotted the blaze at 3045 South Lake Drive.

The home was fully engulfed when it was first reported, said Dowdy. The fire was dispatched at 10:30 a.m.

Kelseyville Fire responded with four engines, while Lake County Fire Protection sent a water truck and and and engine, and Cal Fire provided two engines, a hand crew, a battalion chief and a helicopter, Dowdy said.

The fire destroyed the two-story home and burned less than a quarter-acre of nearby wildland, said Dowdy.

No one was at home when the fire broke out, and Dowdy said no firefighters were injured.

He said the home is a complete loss. A full damage estimate wasn't available Friday afternoon, although Dowdy guessed that the home was worth about $350,000.

It's been a busy few weeks for home fires, with previous blazes destroying homes in Kelseyville and Upper Lake.

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


LAKEPORT – The 29th Annual Clear Lake Splash-In is scheduled to return to Lakeport later this month.

The event will take place Sept. 19 through 21.

Organized by SeaPlane Operations LLC, the Clear Lake Splash-In is the oldest and largest seaplane gathering in the Western United States.

Concurrent with the splash-in is the Lakeport Seaplane Festival at Library Park on Saturday, Sept. 20.

Arrivals and registration begin Friday, Sept. 19, at noon with most activities scheduled for, and aircraft arrivals expected on on Saturday, Sept. 20.

Headquartered at the Skylark Shores Resort, the event utilizes the nearby Natural High School field for on-shore parking of amphibious seaplanes. Land planes use nearby Lampson Field and the Aero Airport Shuttles provides shuttle services to and from the venues.

Exhibitors from Big Foot Air, Delta Seaplane Tours, Norcal Aviation, the Seaplane Pilots Association and Leading Edge Insurance will be providing information and seminars for anyone interested in Flying and Seaplanes.

Community support from Lake County, the City of Lakeport, the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Lake County 4H Club, the Lake County Public Works Department, and the Lakeport School District has made this the local, successful event it has become.

The event draws visitors from throughout the region, with hundreds of people coming to see the planes on exhibit in Lakeport.

Part of the weekend is the Lakeport Seaplane Festival put on by the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce. Now in its second year, the festival celebrates the annual return of the seaplanes to Lakeport. Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, the L.C. Diamonds will present a free concert in the gazebo at Library Park.

Taking place in Library Park from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Festival features seaplane rides, model aircraft flying from 11a.m. to noon. At 12:15 p.m. there will be demonstrations by both Air Station Sacramento's fixed wing C 130 doing a survival equipment drop just off shore and a helo doing a rescue demo in the same spot to follow, seaplane flying exhibitions on the lake in front of the park, vendors, food booths and great fun for the whole family.

Four local car clubs will participate in a “Show and Shine” display of their beautiful cars: The No Name Car Club, Lake County As, Mt. Konocti Antique Auto Club and the Corvettes of Lake County. The Lakeport Fire District will have a booth with an engine on display and the Lakeport Police Department will have information on display as well.

The official opening of the festival will be at 11 a.m. with a parachute jumper landing at the Third Street ramp.

Seaplane pilots from throughout the region, and from out-of-state, attend to show off their planes and see others. Approximately 50 seaplanes are expected to attend, making an interesting day of flight and ground displays. Water bombing contests and spot landing contests will allow pilots to showcase their planes and flying skills.

The Lake County 4H Club will provide food and drink during the day at the Natural High School Field and the Skylark Shores Resort as well as a tri-tip dinner at the Skylark Shores Resort Saturday evening.


See for complete information. Further details will be posted on the Website as times and events are confirmed. Photos from past Clear Lake Splash-Ins are available on the website as well.


NORTH COAST – One group in Lake County and three in Mendocino County will receive a total of $445,860 in transportation planning grants, Caltrans reported this week.

The groups applied for the funds, which were awarded on a competitive basis for fiscal year 2008-09, according to Caltrans.

The Transportation Planning Grant program complements the Governor’s Strategic Growth Plan for transportation, which reduces congestion below today’s levels while accommodating future transportation needs from growth in the population and the economy, Caltrans reported. The Governor’s Strategic Growth Plan incorporates GoCalifornia, a plan designed to decrease congestion, improve travel times, and increase safety.

Lake County/City Area Planning Council will receive $160,000 for their “State Route 53 Corridor Study.”

This project will evaluate current and future traffic conditions, with a primary emphasis on access points, including future interchange locations and designs, and develop preliminary long-term plans to address highway and local road needs.

The city of Fort Bragg will receive $75,889 for their “South Fort Bragg Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Plan.” It involves reaching out to under-represented citizens and developing a comprehensive plan to improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility and access along the busy South Main Street corridor.

Mendocino Council of Governments will receive $148,000 for their “Community Action Plan – City of Point Arena,” which will create a downtown streetscape and parking plan by evaluating crosswalk locations, bike lanes, pathways, current parking, traffic circulation and access, and the existing discontinuity of sidewalks.

MCOG and Mendocino Transit Authority will receive $61,971 for their “Commute Transportation Study for Mendocino County.”

The project will focus on the development of a Commute Transportation Plan between the outlying inland communities of Mendocino County to the city of Ukiah, and the potential demand for commute service between the Willits and Ukiah areas to Sonoma County.

Transportation Planning Grants are intended to promote strong and healthy communities, economic growth, and protection of the environment.

In accepting these grants, these groups agree to be a partner with Caltrans in its common mission to improve mobility and the quality of life in California.

Funding for these grant programs is contingent on the passage of the 2008-09 State budget.


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – After a busy season of forest fires closed the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forest officials reported that the wilderness will reopen at 6 a.m. Monday, Sept. 15.


The wilderness area was closed June 26 due to wildland fire activity and in the interest of public safety. The closure was initially effective through the end of the 2008 fire season, which traditionally ends in October with the first rains.

Last month the Yolla Bolly Complex was contained after burning nearly 90,000 acres in two months, officials reported.

For visitor safety, the portion of the Wilderness on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest will remain closed until further notice due to the number of snags along trails.

The reopening means hunters and other recreational users will be able to enjoy the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness this fall before the rain starts.

However, until there is significant rain, forest officials warn that we are still in an active fire season and this area has already been affected by fire. Visitors are asked to use caution in these areas and to respect the fire restrictions that are still in place.

Because there is inherent risk in any outdoor activity, visitors are cautioned that they should be aware of the challenges associated with recreating in wilderness areas, including:

  • Falling dead trees or tree branches – commonly known as snags – especially in windy conditions. Note that trees in burned areas may still look alive, but could be unstable after being burned.

  • Weak and unstable spots on the forest floor from burned out stumps and roots.

  • Slippery conditions from ash, needles, and other debris, particularly when wet.

  • Flash floods and mudslides in burned areas without vegetation.


Visitors should be prepared for changing weather conditions, including temperature fluctuations and the potential for precipitation, especially at higher elevations.

Campsites should be located away from burned areas, areas that may be subject to falling or rolling debris or trees, or beneath cliffs or steep slopes.

Visitors also are asked to help protect forest resources by remaining on designated roads. Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available for the Mendocino National Forest.

For more information, contact the Six Rivers National Forest Mad River Ranger District at 707-574-6233 or visit; the Mendocino National Forest Covelo Ranger

District at -707-983-6118, Grindstone Ranger District at 530-934-3316 or visit; or the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Supervisor’s Office at 530- 226-2500 or visit


LAKE COUNTY – After several weeks of clear blue skies smoke from Northern California wildfires has begun making its way back into Lake County's air basin.

The smoke that was visible in recent days is from uncontrolled fires burning in the north part of the state, including the Iron Alps Fire along with the Shasta-Trinity and Klamath National Forest wildfires, Lake County Air Quality Management District officials reported.

Hazy conditions are expected to be temporary with the return of blue skies. Local air quality has been in the good range and is expected to remain in the good range through the weekend, according to the district.

West to southwest winds are expected through Friday, keeping much of the wildfire smoke to the north and east of Lake County.

Some residual smoke may impact areas of Northern California, including Lake County at a much reduced level, until these lightning complex wildfires are extinguished.


CLEARLAKE OAKS – The Clearlake Oaks County Water District Board will hold a special meeting Thursday to select a new director.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the district's office, 12952 E. Highway 20.

Last month, longtime board member Pat Shaver resigned shortly after community members began to call for her removal from the board at a particularly heated public meeting to discuss a potential rate hike, as Lake County News has reported.

Within days of Shaver's resignation, board Vice President Mike Anisman and President Helen Locke also tendered their resignations. Both had said in previous interviews that the district's serious financial condition had come as a total surprise to them after they were seated earlier this year.

Anisman's resignation became effective Sept. 5; Locke's originally was to have taken effect Sept. 5 as well.

However, that was going to leave the board without a quorum and hamper its ability to choose new directors to fill the vacant slots, so Locke pushed back her resignation date and will stay to help choose Shaver's replacement, which is the purpose of Thursday's meeting.

Four candidates have expressed interest in succeeding Shaver – Mike Benjamin, who has served in various public service capacities in the city of Wheatland; Bob White, a former board member who lost his reelection bid last November, the same time as Locke, Anisman and Frank Toney were elected; Dena Barron, owner of Lake Village Estates; and Lowell Estep, who works for Highlands Water District.

Locke told Lake County News Tuesday that the board will interview the four candidates during the special meeting and then make a decision. The board also will consider adopting a resolution to change signatures on two bank accounts.

She said the board is still finding out the protocol for how it must appoint new directors to take the seats she and Anisman are vacating. Those replacements aren't expected to be named Thursday.

Estep said Tuesday he became interested in joining the board after he heard about their original rate hike proposal, which suggested 39.4-percent increases for both sewer and water.

In his role at Highlands Water, Estep takes care of the district's pipes, so he understands how a water district operates.

He said it's important to get audits of the district's books done so informed decisions can be made.

Estep also suggested that it's important to do one's homework before going to a board meeting “screaming and yelling,” such as what happened at the rate hike meeting last month.

On Tuesday the district's recently formed finance committee met for the first time. Toney, who spearheaded the group in order to put more focus on managing the district's budget, said the meeting went well.

In addition to choosing a new director, the board is expected to adopt a previously approved resolution to change the district's meetings from 3 p.m. on the third Wednesday to 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month.

Directors agreed last month to move the meetings to encourage more public participation.

If that resolution is finalized Thursday, the district board will hold its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 18.

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


Customers crowd into the gas station Thursday afternoon. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – What started out as a customer appreciation promotion at a Lakeport gas station ended with traffic gridlock and public safety concerns.

On Thursday, Tower Mart on Lakeport Boulevard began selling regular unleaded gasoline for $1.99 per gallon, with discounts for other grades of gas as well, except for diesel, which remained at $4.29 per gallon.

Tower Mart Regional Manager Walt Huth said he found out from the corporate offices Thursday morning that the reduced gas was being offered beginning at noon as part of a special promotion.

At about 12:01 p.m., Lakeport Police started receiving a deluge of calls, said Sgt. Kevin Odom of Lakeport Police.

Over the next few hours, callers reported a massive traffic jam at Highway 29's Todd Road exit and down Lakeport Boulevard, said Lt. Brad Rasmussen. There also were reports of irate people – some of them getting ready to fight.

Lakeport Unified School District's transportation supervisor called to express concern about school buses being able to get through town between 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., said Rasmussen.

Odom and Officer Norm Taylor initially were sent out to investigate the situation, and found traffic was lined up from the station down Lakeport Boulevard to Main Street, Rasmussen said.

Both northbound and southbound off ramps were backed up with traffic almost to the highway, said Rasmussen. At one point, drivers were backing down the off ramps or blocking intersections. Gas station clerks were out near the road beckoning divers into the business.

“We discovered they had not done any planning for this,” said Rasmussen, who added the promotion was supposed to go on for four days.

A California Highway Patrol sergeant and a Lakeport Public Works superintendent responded to the scene along with Lakeport Police. Rasmussen said they quickly became concerned that if the promotion went on until 5 p.m. as planned, the public safety concerns would only mount.

Rasmussen said the clogged streets caused delays for people trying to get to other businesses in the area and to Mendocino College's Lake Center on Parallel Drive.

Across the street, McDonald's owner John Norcio said that he did not feel that his lunchtime business had been adversely effected. His staff had begun taking orders from drivers waiting in the backup and had runners delivering food directly to the cars.

Rasmussen spoke to Lakeport City Attorney Steve Brookes about legal concerns before asking the station to shut the promotion down until he could meet with city officials to form a plan.

Police didn't want to harm the station's business but their concerns about safety were the primary issue, Rasmussen explained.

Store manager Debbie Bottorff said the sale shut down about 1:30 p.m.

Rasmussen said police helped control traffic around the gas station. Anyone still in line when the shutdown was called were allowed to purchase gas. By the time police left the area it was nearly 3 p.m.

People were still busily stopping into the station all afternoon.

Bottorff said sales figures for the sales period were not available Thursday afternoon. She estimated that on a normal day the station pumps a total of 2,600 gallons.

Tower Mart offered the reduced gas at seven other areas around the state, including Lincoln and Lathrop. In Lathrop, the resulting traffic jams also led to a shutdown over public safety concerns, according to media reports.

Rasmussen said he had asked Huth to meet with city officials Friday morning to go over a plan for future reduced gas sales, and Huth agreed, although later in the day he changed his mind and canceled.

Huth indicated that the Lakeport station would still offer some gas discounts in the coming days, with prices expected to be set at $3.29 through the weekend.

Elizabeth Larson contributed to this report.

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




Traffic was lined up down the highway off ramp. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




The line of vehicles stretched down to Main Street. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




The prices at the station haven't been seen in a long time. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



From left, Julie Price, Bruce McCracken and Juan Ortega with one of Lake County Waste Solutions' new split body trucks for collecting garbage and recyclables. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



LAKEPORT – Thinking green, living green and developing greener technologies and business models is on a lot of peoples' minds these days. {sidebar id=94}

Some of the most original work going on to make lives greener isn't just going on in think tanks or startup companies; if you want to see the front line of green, you have no farther to go than a local garbage and recycling center.

Lake County Waste Solutions has a franchise agreement with Lake County, and collects trash, recyclables and greenwaste in all unincorporated areas of the county except Middletown, Cobb and the Clear Lake Riviera. They also have the trash collection agreement for the city of Clearlake and for Ukiah.

Bruce McCracken and two partners bought the company, formerly known as Timberline, in September 2007. Before becoming a part owner, McCracken had been involved with managing the company's local operations on and off since 1988.

Since purchasing the company McCracken and his partners have made substantial investment in the company, including updating the 20 garbage trucks that serve Lake County in order to meet new California Air Resource Board guidelines, and have replaced 12 trucks in the county's fleet. The company employs 61 people, 32 of them at its Lake County operations.

“I'm a proud papa,” McCracken said of his company.

He's especially proud of the new “split body” trash collection trucks, two of which run in Clearlake and three in the county.

A brand new split body truck runs just under $300,000 and allows both trash and recyclables to be dumped into the same truck and separated into the truck's two holding bins. The trucks make trash collection more efficient, said Julie Price, the company's recycling manager.

The trucks have, however, generated a little public concern.

When they first appeared on the streets and people saw recyclables being dumped with the trash, the company began getting a lot of calls. Juan Ortega, the company's dispatcher, said some drivers were being chased down the street. McCracken said he thinks more people are interested in where their garbage and recyclables go, which gave rise to the reaction.

Even with the new investments, the company has managed to keep its rates low, averaging about $12 per month. “We're not only the lowest in Lake County, we're the lowest in the region,” said McCracken.

Lake County Waste Solutions has plans to expand its Soda Bay Road facility to include a larger transfer station that will be built on an adjacent piece of land. The company and the county are in discussions about having the new transfer station take over for the county's Bevins Street trash collection facility, at no additional cost to customers. The new transfer facility would come online next year.

McCracken said the new center will allow the company to increase its efforts to pull more recyclable items out of the trash. “We think you could see diversion skyrocket in the county.”

The current yard would be used as a recycling buyback center, with more space to welcome customers. The facility also would be covered to be more welcoming in all weather. McCracken said they may even be able to have their own version of “Recycle Town,” the reclaimed materials sales center at the Sonoma County Dump.

Once they collect trash, it isn't just a matter of taking it to the landfill. For a garbage company to take a lot of trash to the dump isn't good for the bottom line, said McCracken. “Taking it to the landfill is what we don't want to do.”

Rather, they're looking at every opportunity to divert more materials from the trash and into cash.

Last November, as an experiment, McCracken and several staffers at their Ukiah facility went through the contents of a garbage truck and sorted it all by hand. They found that as much as 70 percent of what was in the trash was really recyclable.

McCracken said more manufacturers are realizing that it's both less expensive and better for their public image to use materials that can be recycled or are themselves reused. At the same time, the garbage collection industry is changing – and it's not just about trash anymore.

So, what materials do they find in the trash that don't belong? Paper, plastics and construction materials, they say.

In the case of plastics, they can now take all types, rather than just a few as in the past, including plastic bottle caps.

Rigid plastics, such as toys, milk crates and laundry hampers, also now can find a place in the company's blue recycling containers.

As recycling manager, Price's job is to look for businesses that reuse the myriad materials that are found in the trash. She said she has a big “to do” list of materials for which she's looking to find new uses.

Her job also will include a public outreach campaign. The company's new Web site,, is set to launch next month and will feature information about recycling and how people can help divert more of the waste stream from the dump.

McCracken said they're always looking at new opportunities to keep things out of the landfill. That led them to sell greenwaste to businesses that make wood chips out of it or, in some cases, to bioenergy companies.

Electronics – televisions, computers and the like – are taken to a Fresno facility where they're disassembled, said McCracken.

Cardboard, much of it produced in China, is usually sold back to recycling businesses in that country, he said.

The company's Ukiah facility will begin accepting clothes and shoes next month from its Mendocino County customers. Price said they have a contract with Goodwill, which takes the clothes. They hope to be able to offer the same service in Lake County in the future.

McCracken said the company's next big goal is to find uses for materials such as food waste and roof tiles.

Price said it's amazing what people will throw away; they're always finding things that can be reused. They said all of their office furniture is reclaimed from the trash. Sitting outside of the offices were four matched wooden chairs in good condition that had been thrown out and which one staffer was taking home.

With recyclables becoming more valuable, the company is becoming more protective of the materials. Lake County Waste Solutions and other local garbage collection companies are keeping an eye out for recycling poachers.

McCracken said it's a growing problem which isn't just illegal but breaks their franchise agreement. “It's potentially tens of thousands of dollars a year.”

He attributes the increase in recycling poaching to two main reasons – the lagging economy and the prices of materials skyrocketing.”

Because of those higher prices, metal thefts also have been a concern in some parts of the state. He said ATT has a number they ask recyclers to call if someone appears with a spool of copper wire.

However materials prices recently have begun falling; some of that may be due to factories in places like China, where the need to improve air quality during the Olympics led the country to temporarily close down some of its factors, Price said.

Some of the company's future goals include looking at alternate fuels for garbage trucks. For now, they're still running on diesel, although McCracken said garbage companies in other parts of the country are looking at hybrids. “Something's coming,” he said.

The dream, said McCracken, is that someday trash itself could be used for fuel, an idea he said “is not too Jetsony.”

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



The split body trash trucks make garbage and recyclables collection more efficient. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


LAKECOUNTY – It may be OK to rescue California Redemption Value (CRV) beverage containers from a public garbage can but it is definitely not OK to remove any recyclable material from a recycling container or drop off location, says one county official.

Jackie Armstrong of Lake County Public Services said theft of recyclables can be classified as misdemeanor or infraction, but if the recycling agent elects to pursue civil action, the court may award damages three times the value of the stolen recyclables up to $2,000 for a first offense and $5,000 for a second offense.

Most people agree that local scavengers are performing a service when they remove recyclable materials from garbage cans, said Armstrong – after all, no one wants to see recyclable materials taking up space in the landfill.

But she said it's another matter entirely to remove recyclable materials, including CRV containers, from recycling containers, including residential curbside totes, or a drop off recycling location.

According to California Public Resources Code Section 41950, once recyclable materials have been segregated from solid waste materials and placed in recycling containers or at a designated recycling collection location, the recyclable materials become the property of the authorized recycling agent (i.e. garbage company), Armstrong explained.

Recyclables theft doesn't constitute a serious problem in Lake County as a whole, although Armstrong said they've encountered trouble spots in some areas.

It's a serious enough problem in some parts of the state that legislation has been introduced to crack down on it. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) authored AB 1778, meant to stop professional poaching rings operating in neighborhoods with curbside recycling services.

Armstrong said recycling poachers also increase the risk of identify theft, so if you see someone digging through recycling carts in your neighborhood, please let the poacher know that the activity is prohibited by law and call your garbage company to report the incident.

For more information about this or other waste management issues, call the county Public Services Department at 263-1980.


Upcoming Calendar

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
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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