Friday, 12 July 2024


ALDER SPRINGS – A 3.0-magnitude earthquake – followed by several smaller shakers – was reported Friday morning in the Mendocino National Forest.

The quake, originally measured at 3.2 but later downgraded by the US Geological Survey, occurred at 9:05 a.m.

The epicenter was six miles west of the Alder Springs area, 17 miles north northeast of Lake Pillsbury, 17 miles west northwest of Stony Gorge Reservoir and 39 miles north northeast of Ukiah, the US Geological Survey reported. The quake was recorded at a depth of 3.4 miles.

The US Geological Survey received one shake report – from Redwood City, 242 miles away, according to records.

Over the course of the day, three more quakes near Alder Springs were reported – one measuring 2.0 in magnitude and two measuring 1.3, and all centered either to the west or to the west southwest of Alder Springs, the US Geological Survey reported. Depths for the quakes ranged between 1.7 and 5.3 miles.

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MIDDLETOWN – The public is invited to a community meeting concerning the recently completed draft Middletown Area Plan Update.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Lake County Community Development Department and members of the Middletown Area Plan Advisory Committee will host a community meeting at the Middletown High School to introduce the Draft Middletown Area Plan Update.

The meeting – which previously had been scheduled for Dec. 8 – will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Middletown High School multipurpose room, 20932 Big Canyon Road.

Information will be provided during the meeting concerning changes in policies, zoning and land

use designations that are proposed by the Draft Middletown Area Plan Update.

The draft area plan was developed by the Advisory Committee and the Community Development Department as an update to the area plan adopted in 1989.

When adopted, this area plan will provide an updated policy framework and plan to guide future growth within the planning area. The planning area includes the communities of: Middletown, Hidden Valley Lake, Anderson Springs, Coyote Valley and Guenoc Valley, along with the outlying rural areas.

The draft Middletown Area Plan Update is available for review on the Web at .

Copies of the draft area plan are also available at the county libraries, and at the Community Development Department located on the third Floor of the Lake County Courthouse.

For more information, call the project's manager, Kevin Ingram, at the Community Development Department, 707-263-2221.

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A work crew puts in place the new Upper Lake Arch on Tuesday, December 1, 2009. Photo by Eric Seely.



UPPER LAKE – On Tuesday afternoon, a work crew installed the new arch leading into downtown Upper Lake.

The project is a key piece of the town's downtown revitalization project, which began over the summer.

County Deputy Redevelopment Director Eric Seely said the arch installation “represents a major milestone of the Upper Lake Main Street Project.”

The $1.7 million downtown improvement project is upgrading both sides of Main Street, extending from Highway 20 down to the intersection at Second Street – including undergrounding of utilities and new sidewalks, county officials reported. Main Street also is being rebuilt and new streetlights have been installed.

Seely said improvements are still coming, with the column stone work and landscaping to be installed in the coming weeks.

Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon owner Bernie Butcher commended Seely and the redevelopment agency for the work downtown.

While street repaving was under way last week, Butcher said the street was only shut down for a few days, and the crews did a good job of allowing access to Main Street businesses.

“When finished, it will be quite an attractive transformation,” he said of the project.

Butcher gave Seely kudos, noting that Seely has personally overseen the project every day during construction.

The arch and new streetlights are in place in time for the town's holiday celebration and Christmas parade, which takes place on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 5. Upper Lake's merchants and residents invite everyone to come and join in the fun.

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A closeup of the lettering on the new Upper Lake Arch. Photo by Eric Seely.




A crew member works on fastening the edge of the new Upper Lake Arch on Tuesday, December 1, 2009. Photo by Eric Seely.




Pat Lynch, owner of Hi-Way Grocery, strikes a strongman pose. Photo by Jim Robbins.




Work crews worked on repaving a portion of Main Street in Upper Lake last week. Photo by Bernie Butcher.




The newly installed arch is just in time for the town's holiday celebration this weekend. Photo by Eric Seely.

WASHINGTON, DC – The nationwide unemployment rate showed a slight improvement in November, with jobs lost in the month down significantly, according to a Friday report.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the US unemployment rate was 10 percent, down from 10.2 percent in October. In November 15.4 million Americans were out of work.

The California Employment Development Department's most recent report – issued late last month – reported the state's unemployment at 12.5 percent in October. Lake County's unemployment for that month was 16.2 percent, as Lake County News has reported.

While a minor improvement, the 10 percent national unemployment rate still accounts for the second-highest unemployment rate of the year, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics records.

At the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons was 7.5 million, and the jobless rate was 4.9 percent. In December 2008, the rate was 7.2.

The rate has grown steadily throughout 2009, beginning at 7.6 percent in January and edging upward on a monthly basis.

There was a brief exception to that trend, in May, June and July, when unemployment rates were 9.4, 9.5 and 9.4 percent, respectively, showing a minor rollback before the rate climbed to 9.7 in in August.

Perhaps the most encouraging part of the report came in job loss numbers.

Federal officials reported that nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged since October, with a loss of 11,000 jobs.

The agency noted that, in the prior three months, payroll job losses had averaged 135,000 a month. In November, employment fell in construction, manufacturing, and information, while temporary help services and health care added jobs.

Among the major worker groups, unemployment rates for adult men (10.5 percent), adult women (7.9 percent), teenagers (26.7 percent), whites (9.3 percent), blacks (15.6 percent) and Hispanics (12.7 percent) showed little change in November. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.3 percent, not

seasonally adjusted.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs fell by 463,000 in November. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose by 293,000 to 5.9 million. The percentage of unemployed persons jobless for 27 weeks or more increased by 2.7 percentage points to 38.3 percent.

The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed in November at 65.0 percent. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.5 percent.

The number of people working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in November at 9.2 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

About 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in November, an increase of 376,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12

months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 861,000 discouraged workers in November, up from 608,000 a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 mil-

lion persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Total nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in November (-11,000). Job losses in the construction, manufacturing, and information industries were offset by job gains in temporary help services and health care. Since the recession began, payroll employment has decreased by 7.2


Construction employment declined by 27,000 over the month. Job losses had averaged 117,000 per month during the 6 months ending in April and 63,000 per month from May through October. In November, construction job losses were concentrated among nonresidential specialty trade contractors


Manufacturing employment fell by 41,000 in November. The average monthly decline for the past 5 months (-46,000) was much lower than the average monthly job loss for the first half of this year (-171,000). About 2.1 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since December 2007; the majority of

this decline has occurred in durable goods manufacturing (-1.6 million).

Employment in the information industry fell by 17,000 in November. About half of the job loss occurred in its telecommunications component (-9,000).

There was little change in wholesale and retail trade employment in November. Within retail trade, department stores added 8,000 jobs over the month.

The number of jobs in transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality showed little change over the month.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 86,000 in November. Temporary help services accounted for the majority of the increase, adding 52,000 jobs. Since July, temporary help services employment has risen by 117,000.

Health care employment continued to rise in November (21,000), with notable gains in home health care services (7,000) and hospitals (7,000). The health care industry has added 613,000 jobs since the recession began in December 2007.

In November, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 0.2 hour to 33.2 hours. The manufacturing workweek increased by 0.3 hour to 40.4 hours. Factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. Since May, the manufacturing workweek has increased by 1.0 hour.

In November, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 1 cent, or 0.1 percent, to $18.74. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent, while average weekly earnings have risen by 1.6 percent.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from a loss of 219,000 to a loss of 139,000, and the change for October was revised from 190,000 jobs lost to 111,000 jobs lost.

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Ron Keas captured the setting full moon on the morning of Wednesday, December 2, 2009, in Lucerne.


LUCERNE – The full moon this week provided a great opportunity for local photographer Ron Keas.

Keas caught the full moon setting at 6 a.m. Wednesday from a Lucerne Park.

A frequent contributor to Lake County News, more of Keas' work can be seen at his Web site, .

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SALT LAKE CITY – Last week a Cobb man received a 10-year federal prison sentence for attempting to lure a 13-year-old Utah girl to his home to have sex with him late last year.

Robert Lavern Davison, 41, pleaded guilty in August to one count of coercion and enticement for illegal sexual activity, as Lake County News has reported.

Judge Dale Kimball gave Davison the 120-month sentence on Nov. 23 in the US District Court of Utah's Central Division.

When Davison leaves prison, he will be subject to 20 years of supervised release, must register as a sex offender and won't be allowed to have contact with children under age 18 without adult supervision approved by the US Probation Office, according to Kimball's ruling. The ruling also specifically ordered Davison not to contact the young victim.

Kimball ordered Davison to pay $5,502.20 in restitution.

Davison's sentencing had been set for Dec. 17, but officials moved to have it earlier following the completion of a psychosexual examination that had been ordered in August, according to court records.

Portions of the sentencing document, including the statement of reasons, were sealed by the court.

Late last year, Davison had allegedly persuaded the young teenager, who he had met on the Internet while playing “World of Warcraft,” to meet him in California, as Lake County News has reported.

The girl, from Centerville, Utah, was reported missing by her family, according to case records. Police later found her at a Salt Lake City bus station with a ticket Davison purchased for her through a third party.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Davison on Feb. 12 at his home. The Lake County Sheriff's Office assisted in the arrest and service of search warrants.

Kimball's order last week included a recommendation to the federal Bureau of Prisons that Davison be placed in a facility where a sex offender management program is available, “preferably in California to facilitate family visitation.

The order also included the recommendation that Davison be placed in protective custody for his safety.

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From left, Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown, Congressman Mike Thompson and Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins gathered to celebrate the fire district's new water tender at the Clearlake Oaks Fire Station on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009. Photo courtesy of Northshore Fire Protection District.

CLEARLAKE OAKS – This week Northshore Fire Protection District marked the addition of a new water tender made possible through a federal grant.

Congressman Mike Thompson visited the district's Clearlake Oaks Fire Station on Monday to celebrate the new equipment, which Fire Chief Jim Robbins said is the district's second water tender.

Robbins said the water tender – built by Fouts Brothers Fire Equipment of Smyrna, Georgia – will be based at the Clearlake Oaks station. The other one the district has is in Upper Lake.

Accompanying Thompson were representatives from the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development Santa Rosa office.

A grant through USDA Rural Development's Economic Impact Initiative Grant Program helped make the water tender purchase possible, as Lake County News has reported.

The agency gave the district a $100,000 grant in June, and the district provided another $57,000 to pay for the equipment, Robbins said.

In September the district also received 20 new air packs and 20 new lightweight air tanks paid for through a $78,000 grant of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, also through USDA Rural Development. The district supplemented that grant with $25,000 to purchase the new equipment.

The district, with a $2.3 million annual budget, has 17 paid staff and 72 volunteers to cover 228,300 acres or 350 square miles, making it the largest fire district by area in the state, as Lake County News has reported.

Robbins said they're working on some new grant applications to USDA Rural Development now, hoping to receive funds for a new ambulance for the Clearlake Oaks station.

The district also wants a new machine that fills air bottles for firefighters' breathing apparatus. The machine would be built right into a truck, Robbins said. The district currently is looking for a company to build the equipment.

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The new water tender, purchased with help from a United State Department of Agricultural Rural Development grant, is one of only two such pieces of equipment in the entire Northshore Fire Protection District, the third largest district in size in the entire state. Photo courtesy of Northshore Fire Protection District.

KELSEYVILLE – A Kelseyville man was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly hit a bicyclist and fled the scene.

Mark George Sanders, 59, was arrested for felony hit and run following the incident, which occurred at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at the stoplight at Kit's Corner, the intersection of Highway 281 and Highway 29, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.

Tanguay said 77-year-old Kelseyville resident Derek Millard was on his bicycle, stopped at the intersection's northeast corner during a red light.

Millard pressed the button for pedestrian crossing, and when the light turned green and the pedestrian crossing green light was activated, he began to cross the Highway, according to Tanguay.

At that time, Sanders was driving his 1997 Mazda pickup truck westbound on Highway 281 approaching the intersection. Tanguay said Sanders' light turned green and as he made a right turn onto northbound Highway 29 the front of his pickup truck struck Millard as he was crossing the road.

Millard was thrown off of his bicycle and Tanguay said Sanders fled the scene in his truck. A witness was able to get the information on the pickup truck and the information was broadcast over law enforcement radios.

A CHP officer spotted the Mazda pickup truck and pulled Sanders over, arresting him for felony hit and run, according to Tanguay.

Millard sustained moderate injuries to his side and hands as a result of this collision, Tanguay said.

The CHP reported that alcohol is not a factor in the collision, which is still under investigation by CHP Officer Mark Crutcher.

In addition to the hit and run charge, Sanders was booked on a misdemeanor probation violation, with bail set at $10,000, according to jail records. He remained in the Lake County Jail late Wednesday.

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KELSEYVILLE – A three-vehicle collision near Kit's Corner Monday evening caused a temporary closure of Highway 29 and resulted in minor injuries.

The California Highway Patrol reported that crash took place just after 5 p.m. south of Kit's Corner, which is the intersection of Highway 29 and 281.

One of the three vehicles involved was a big rig with a flatbed, the CHP reported.

The crash blocked both lanes of Highway 29, with traffic on the northbound lane diverted to Soda Bay Road, according to the report.

The CHP reported that Caltrans was called to the scene to bring sand for helping remove spilled diesel on the roadway. Towing companies also were requested, with a call put out for a tow truck large enough to move the big rig.

Shortly after 6 p.m. officials opened Highway 29 at Highway 175 to Cobb, with one way traffic control taking place past the scene.

The CHP reported that there were minor injuries to individuals involved in the crash, but specifics – including the number of injuries – weren't immediately available Monday evening.

The highway was scheduled to be reopened shortly before 7 p.m.

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CLEARLAKE – Christmas wish trees and charity drives around Lake County are seeking help from the community in order to assist families in need this holiday season.

A Christmas wish tree is being hosted by the city of Clearlake, and is located in the lobby of Clearlake City Hall, 14050 Olympic Drive.

Now in its third year, the Clearlake wish tree is for children from around Lake County who are sponsored through Social Services/Child Protective Services and Lake Family Resource Center.

Ornaments on the tree include identification numbers – no names – and basic information about the particular child, including gender, age and a gift idea.

Wrapped gifts can be brought by Wednesday, Dec. 9, or community members can make a monetary donation to the city of Clearlake with “Christmas wish tree” noted on the check and organizers will do the shopping for them.

Vice Mayor Judy Thein, who has helped organize the tree over the last three years, said a shopping trip for some of the gifts is planned for Friday.

She said the donations and generosity to benefit the children this week has been “overwhelming.”

Thein said they still have 68 children they're collection gifts and donations for this holiday season.

“It's touching the community in so many ways,” she said of the effort.

Another wish tree effort is taking place at Umpqua Bank branches in Kelseyville, at 4280 Main St., and Lakeport, at 805 11th St.

Umpqua Bank also is collecting gifts for children in the care of Child Protective Services in Lake County. The children range in ages from 2 months to 17 years.

The Umpqua Bank trees in Kelseyville and Lakeport have approximately 150 names on them, according to bank officials. People can stop by the bank, choose a tag and sign the register, and then return the wrapped gifts and tags by Dec. 10. They also will take monetary donations and do the shopping.

For more information about Umpqua Bank's effort, call the Lakeport branch at 707-262-3342.

A number of other efforts are going on around the county to help those in need this holiday season.

The Upper Lake Fire Auxiliary Christmas Cheer Program is raising funds and collecting goods to distribute in its holiday baskets.

The effort includes a wish tree at the Westamerica Bank branch in Upper Lake, where they're seeking gifts of new toys and clothing for children age 1 month to 17 years.

Donations of food – particularly whole hams and turkeys – and funds are being sought. For information call Pet Acres at 707-275-2729 or Clarke's Collectibles in Nice at 707-274-9175.

This Saturday, Langtry Estate & Vineyards is hosting its annual Christmas charity drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the winery, 21000 Butts Canyon Road, Middletown.

They'll have music, pictures with Santa, shopping and collection of donations for local charities.

For information call Langtry Estate & Vineyards, 707-987-2385.

Then this Sunday, Dec. 6, the 17th annual Lake County Toy Run, will circle Lake County.

Bring an unwrapped new toy to the Kmart parking lot on S. Main Street in Lakeport and join the 11 a.m. fun run around the Clear Lake to the Kelseyville Lions Club. Lunch, sponsored by Clear Lake Road Riders, costs $10. For more information call 707-263-9000.

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VACAVILLE – A man convicted of the 1990 murder of his mother was denied parole in a Monday hearing.

The Board of Parole Hearings denied parole for convicted murderer James Robert Ivsich, 48, according to Lake County Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.

Hinchcliff attended the lifer hearing at California State Prison-Solano in Vacaville to argue against Ivsich’s release.

Ivsich was convicted of the second-degree murder of his 56-year-old mother, Patricia Erickson, Hinchcliff said. Judge Robert Crone Jr. Sentenced Ivsich to 16 years to life on Jan. 14, 1991.

Ivsich's minimum eligible parole date was March 31, 2001, said Hinchcliff, who attended previous parole hearings for Ivsich to oppose his parole.

According to investigation reports by the Clearlake Police Department, Ivsich was living with his mother at the time at their residence on Alvita Avenue in the city of Clearlake.

Ivsich was reportedly abusing alcohol and had been verbally abusive and threatening toward his mother on previous occasions according to witnesses.

When officers arrived at the Alvita Avenue residence on May 1, 1990, they found Erickson inside the residence with two stab wounds, one in her chest and one in her back. Ivsich was sitting in a chair with a bloody fixed blade knife lying next to him. His blood alcohol level shortly after the incident was .32, four times the legal limit for driving.

Ivsich initially told investigators he did not remember what happened except that he was home with his mother when she suddenly fell over with a knife in her back. He subsequently told investigators that he had left the house and when he returned home he gave his mother a hug and found a knife in her back.

He later told investigators he came home and an unknown intruder ran out of the house past him and he found his mother with a knife in her.

Ivsich was last denied parole in December 2008 for a three-year period. However, due to a change in the law on length of parole denials, Ivsich was given a new hearing on Nov. 30, Hinchcliff said.

At the hearing the parole commissioners agreed with Hinchcliff’s argument that Ivsich still presented an unreasonable risk of danger to the public if released at this time, and that based on his failure to obtain counseling and treatment while incarcerated, it was unreasonable to expect he would be ready for parole for at least five years.

His parole bid was subsequently denied.

Hinchcliff said Ivsich's next chance for parole and a parole hearing will not be until December 2014.

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Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Jay Beristianos on the scene of the fire on Monday, November 30, 2009. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bergem.



NORTH LAKEPORT – Firefighters quickly put out a small wildland fire that broke out in the north Lakeport area Monday evening.

Cal Fire said the blaze was reported at about 5:20 p.m. It was located in the area of Bridge Arbor and Robinson roads.

Local residents traveling through the area reported seeing a large fire, with one person telling Lake County News that at one point it looked like four separate fires.

Lakeport firefighters Andrew Bergem and Brian Hajik were passing by and were the first on scene to report the conditions, Bergem said.

They saw four spots, light flashy tule vegetation, moderate rate of spread, with no structures immediately threatened, said Bergem. The men also assessed the resources needed and access, which Bergem said was difficult due to terrain.

Hajik requested a response from Lakeport Fire Protection District, which sent one engine, and Cal Fire Boggs Mountain, Bergem said.

Northshore Fire, which also responded, had a water tender and at least one engine on scene, based on reports from the incident. Cal Fire sent one engine and started to send a bull dozer, but it was canceled.

When the fire was contained at about 6:15 p.m., it had burned between four and five acres, according to Cal Fire.

Bergem said the fire was contained by firefighters with the help of a natural fire break – a creek that surrounded the southern and eastern perimeters of the fire, where it burned itself out.


See video of the fire, shot by Michael Augustine, at .

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