Monday, 22 July 2024


NORTH COAST – A Lake County man was one of several people arrested by law enforcement officials this week who were seizing illegally grown marijuana in Mendocino County, including the Covelo area.

Lt. Rusty Noe of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported that 21-year-old Daniel Isaiah was arrested on Wednesday in Covelo.

For the past several weeks Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies and California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement agents have been investigating specific targets in the the Covelo area, Noe reported. They began serving search warrants and conducting open field raids on Tuesday.

From Tuesday through Thursday, deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, California Department of Justice, CAMP, Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, Mendocino County Probation, Ukiah Police Department and the California Highway Patrol conducted a series of marijuana raids in the Covelo Area, according to Noe.

Noe said the raids against commercial growers were a result of numerous complaints of uncontrolled marijuana cultivation in the rural Covelo area.

During the service of these search warrants no evidence or claim of medical marijuana was made. With the exception of one suspect, all the 12 suspects arrested were from outside of Mendocino County, said Noe, a large portion were from outside of California, including three Mexican nationals.

Isaiah, of Lakeport, and Daniel Goss, 27, of Santa Cruz were arrested Wednesday in the Bently Ridge area of Covelo, said Noe.

The men were allegedly found in possession of 62 marijuana plants and 100 pounds of processed marijuana, said Noe. They also were alleged to be in possession of four firearms – including one AK47 assault rifle.

Noe said both Isaiah and Goss were caught after attempting to escape. Isaiah was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of cultivating marijuana for sale and possession of marijuana for sale, with bail set at $25,000.

The rest of the two-day operation officials netted 3,343 marijuana plants, taken from both public and private lands; 40 pounds of processed marijuana; methamphetamine and illegal mushrooms; a large, very flammable and potentially dangerous butane honey oil hashish lab used to convert marijuana into a high quality hashish oil; and shotgun and a .223 rifle.

Noe said that deputies reported that some of the marijuana plants seized were so large that it became difficult to lift 15 marijuana plants with a helicopter capable of lifting 600 to 700 pounds.

Arrested in the week's raids were Mexican nationals Joeyah Ruiz, 26, Jose Franco, 19, and Valdovinos Cruz, 22; Oregon residents Morgan Costley, 24, Natalie Darves, 25, and Jordan Feathers, 28; Mark Pacitti, 29, of Florida; Gevitye Goins, 24, of Michigan; Yesenia Deuluna, 30, of Los Angeles, and Blake Hastings, 27, of Covelo.

Noe said in the past Mendocino County was promoted as a place to come and conduct marijuana cultivation operations.

“It became common knowledge that illegal activity was accepted,” he said in a written statement. “This is no longer the case. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will investigate and prosecute illegal commercial marijuana cultivation on a case by case basis.”


Bonny Hanchett. Courtesy photo.


CLOVERDALE – Lake County publishing pioneer Bonny Hanchett will be remembered at a memorial service planned for Saturday.

The service for Hanchett will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Fred Young Chapel in Cloverdale, 428 N. Cloverdale Blvd.

Bonny Jean Hanchett, 88, died at her home in Cloverdale on Sunday, Sept. 7 with her family nearby. Bonny was owner and publisher of the Cloverdale Reveille newspaper for the past 20 years.

Bonny Jean was born on July 26, 1920 in Muskegon, Mich. to Valentine and Dorothy Howland. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest and attended Washington State University at Pullman where she became interested in journalism and was the first female editor of the college newspaper, The Evergreen.

At college, Bonny met her beloved future husband, Ross Allen Hanchett. The two were married in Asotin, Wash. in 1943 after they graduated college. Ross then entered the US Army and soon was serving in the Pacific Theater of WWII as a radio operator on a B-24 bomber.

The couple’s oldest son, Val, was born in 1945, when Ross was still serving in the Army Air Force, but after he returned the couple settled in Everett, Wash. Two daughters were born there, Mary Beth and Roberta, and in the early 1950s the family moved to Woodland, Wash. where Ross and Bonny purchased the Lewis River News. Another son was born in Woodland, Jon, and then, in 1955, Bonny and Ross bought the Clear Lake Observer-American in Lake County and moved to Lower Lake with their four children.

It was in Lake County that Bonny Jean made her mark as a crusading journalist, bringing important issues to public awareness. She made a name for the Observer with her astute reporting on local politics, especially water issues involving Clear Lake.

The family sold the Clear Lake Observer in 1986, and shortly after the paper sold, Ross passed away. Bonny then became the owner of the Cloverdale Reveille and continued her community focus as reporter, editor and publisher for almost 20 years. She saw many changes in the small city of Cloverdale and made many friends there. She also was owner and publisher of the Campbell Express in Campbell for 15 years.

Bonny leaves her children, Val Hanchett and his wife, Neena; Mary Stowell, and her husband Dennis; Roberta Lyons, and her husband Harry; and Kathryn McKaig, and her husband Dennis. She leaves six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She also leaves her nephew, Ed Bailey and his wife Barbara. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ross; son, Jon; and sister, Betty Poohar.

Following Saturday's service a gathering will be held at the family home in Cloverdale.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting contributions be made to the Cloverdale Historical Society, one of Bonny’s favorite causes. The address is: The Cloverdale Historical Society, P.O. Box 628, Cloverdale CA 95425.


LAKEPORT – A Mendocino County man is facing a potential sentence of 14 years in prison after he was convicted last week of a number of felonies related to a December 2007 kidnapping and robbery case in Clearlake.

Anthony Scott Cape, 42, was convicted by a jury on Sept. 9 of five felony offenses, including kidnapping, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and making a criminal threat, according to a report from the Lake County District Attorney's Office.

Witnesses revealed that the violent episode began on Dec. 4, 2007, when the 25-year-old male victim, a Mendocino County resident, arrived at a Clearlake residence in the middle of the night.

The victim, who had a history of dealing marijuana, had been invited to the residence to obtain marijuana to sell, according to testimony.

He entered the residence with two other individuals. While the victim used the restroom, Cape emerged from hiding, and beat the victim after knocking him into the empty bathtub by stomping on the victim's head with work boots and punching him in the face with closed fists.

Another person then joined Cape in the bathroom and assisted Cape by helping bind the victim's wrists and ankles with black plastic zip ties.

Cape and the other perpetrator left the victim momentarily in the bathroom, and when they returned, they caught the victim attempting to call 911 from his cell phone. They grabbed the phone and forced the victim to the garage where the victim's car had been moved. Cape and the other man opened the victim's trunk, removed the victim's belongings from inside, and then stuffed the victim in the trunk.

They were then joined by the other man who had gone to the residence with the victim. With the victim in the trunk, the three men drove through Clearlake.

Unknown to Cape and the others, the victim had a second cell phone which he tried to use to contact the police from inside the trunk. Being unfamiliar with the city of Clearlake, the victim was unable to tell the 911 dispatcher his precise location. He was only able to explain the brief circumstances of his abduction and the type of vehicle he was in.

Clearlake Police Department officers attempted unsuccessfully to locate the victim's vehicle while he was calling 911 from its trunk.

The vehicle turned off the main road and onto Ogulin Canyon Road. Believing that if he did not escape he would be killed, the victim used the emergency latch from inside the trunk to raise the lid. The victim was able to roll out of the moving vehicle and into a ditch where he ended up staying the night.

In the morning, the victim was able to cut the zip ties from his wrists and ankles and seek help.

Clearlake Police Detective Sgt. Tom Clements personally headed the investigation which resulted in the overwhelming evidence against Cape, including Cape's hand print evidence on the trunk of the abandoned vehicle.

Judge Richard Martin, who presided over the trial, is expected to sentence the defendant on Oct. 6.

Cape faces a potential sentence of 14 years in state prison, the District Attorney's Office reported. Because at least one of the convictions is classified as a violent felony strike, Cape will be required to spend at least 85 percent of his sentence in prison custody.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney John R. DeChaine. Thomas Quinn served as defense counsel.


Linda Herndon and Joanna Richardson-Jones were seated on the Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District board earlier this month. Courtesy photo.


HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – The Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District and the Hidden Valley Lake Association both have new board members.

The community services district reported that it has seated two new directors this month.

Linda Herndon was appointed and administered the oath of office at a special district meeting on Sept. 5, with Joanna Richardson-Jones receiving her appointment and taking the oath at the district's regular meeting on Tuesday.

Herndon has a business background in management, business relations and has served on several boards through her business career.

Richardson-Jones brings expertise in business and experience in leadership through her career, combined with a passion for the Hidden Valley Lake community, water quality and its abundance. She has served on the Hidden Valley Lake Association Board for the past several years.

Over at the Hidden Valley Lake Association, community resident Kathy Joseph was elected to succeed Judy Mirbegian on the Hidden Valley Lake Board of Directors at the Thursday board meeting.

Joseph joins a board that includes President Don Dornbush, Vice President Tom Miller, Secretary Cheri Johnson, Treasurer Diana Marshall, and directors Joanna Richardson-Jones and Rick Munroe.

Two directors seats are still up for election, including Dornbush's. A candidates' forum is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Hidden Valley Lake Association Country Club.

Dornbush, Bob Brossier, Joseph Martin, John P. Ryan, Dan Sheehy, Eric Soderstrom and Bill Surber are running for the two seats, and will be available to answer questions from community members at the forum.

For more information about the agencies and their activities, including dates and times of meetings, visit the Hidden Valley Lake Association online at, or the community services district at


SACRAMENTO – The Air Resources Board today released two reports that highlight how implementing AB 32, California's pioneering climate change law, will provide net benefits to both California's economy and public health.

"The facts are in. These reports support the conclusion that guiding California toward a clean energy future with reduced dependence on fossil fuels will grow our economy, improve public health, protect the environment and create a more secure future built on clean and sustainable technologies," said ARB Chair Mary Nichols.

The reports analyze the economic and public health impacts of the recommended measures in the draft Scoping Plan, the State's policy framework that outlines how California will reduce greenhouse gases 30 percent by 2020, as required under AB 32.

The economic analysis indicates that ARB's strategy will create jobs and save individual households money. And, California will achieve those benefits while enjoying a net benefit in economic growth between now and 2020, compared to the "do-nothing" scenario where California continues to rely heavily on fossil fuels as it does today.

The public health analysis demonstrates that implementing the recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will build on existing air pollution programs that reduce smog-causing chemicals and toxic soot, providing significant additional public health and environmental benefits.

The economic analysis compares the recommendations in the draft Scoping Plan to doing nothing and shows that implementing the recommendations will result in:

  • Increased economic production of $27 billion;

  • Increased overall gross state product of $4 billion;

  • Increased overall personal income by $14 billion;

  • Increased per capita income of $200;

  • Increased jobs by more than 100,000.

The public health analysis shows that programs under AB 32 will improve on existing air pollution cleanup programs. As a result, in 2020:

  • An estimated 300 premature deaths statewide will be avoided;

  • Almost 9,000 incidences of asthma and lower respiratory symptoms will be avoided;

  • 53,000 work loss days will be avoided.

The recommended approach that was analyzed includes a mix of strategies that combines market-based regulatory approaches, other regulations, voluntary measures, fees, and other policies and programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The economic analysis used analytical models that measure economy-wide impacts of those policies and measures.

The analysis indicates that the bulk of the economic benefits are the result of investments in energy efficiency that more than pay for themselves over time. Additionally, the results in the economic analysis may underestimate many economic benefits since the models do not include lower costs from innovation and improved technologies expected under a market-based program.

ARB is seeking public comment on both reports. Those comments will be considered in the development of the proposed Scoping Plan prior to it being presented for adoption to the Air Resources Board at its November hearing.

ARB is the lead agency for implementing AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, and is part of an administration-wide effort to address climate change and mitigate the most severe projected impacts of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions statewide.

Both reports, with appendices, can be found at


On Tuesday, Lake County News looked at the Academic Performance Index and what it does, along with a rundown of local test scores. In this installment, a sampling of local superintendents share reactions to the latest test results.

LAKE COUNTY – With the release earlier this month of the Academic Performance Index, or API, local educators are reviewing how their schools performed and, for the most part, there's satisfaction about how local students tested.

The API is a weighted average of student test scores with a numeric range of between 200 and 1,000, according to Tim Gill, director of curriculum and instruction for the Lake County Office of Education.

The test subjects include English language arts, math, social studies and science, and school scores also include results of the state's high school exit exam, said Gill.

The state's target for schools is a score of 800 and above. Two Lake County schools, Riviera Elementary and Cobb Mountain Elementary, are in that target area.

Schools with ratings of less than 800 have specific yearly goals, and 11 local schools met both schoolwide and subgroup growth targets in the most recent testing.

With the test results being released, educators are assessing their test scores and how their schools performed. Lake County News spoke with three local superintendents to get their reactions to the testing news.

Konocti Unified School District

Konocti Unified School District's new superintendent, Bill MacDougall, said he's pleased with the overall performance of district schools, most of which found improvement.

The district has several schools in the 700 range, which is what the district was looking for, said MacDougall.

All of the schools this year showed a great deal of improvement, he said, adding that he's proud of both students and staff for their efforts to make that happen.

Lakeport Unified School District

Lakeport Unified School District Superintendent Erin Hagberg said she's also pleased with her district's overall performance because they are maintaining scores in the mid-700s.

“I was especially impressed with the growth in scores at both Terrace Middle School and Clear Lake High School,” she said, which improved by 25 and 20 points, respectively.

“As a district, we are concerned about the achievement gap in our Hispanic and Native American student populations and in our socioeconomic disadvantaged students,” she said. “Our teachers and administrators continue to focus on meeting the needs of those particular groups of students.”

Hagberg said she thinks schools should be held accountable for student achievement and the public has a right to know that information.

“It is unfortunate, however, that such an emphasis is placed on only one form of assessment,” she said. “In a successful learning environment, student progress is measured continually by the classroom teacher and monitored by the entire staff. By using a variety of assessments on a regular basis, a teacher can determine a child’s academic strengths and weaknesses and then modify the instruction accordingly.”

Besides state expectations, there are the expectations assigned by federal standards, such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

“Because the NCLB proficiency bar is raised significantly each year, it is a struggle to increase student achievement at such an unrealistic rate,” she said.

As a result, she said classroom teachers have to focus more and more instructional time on the core subjects that are tested in Standardized Testing and Reporting.

Because there is a limited amount of time in the school day, Hagberg said less time can be spent on enrichment activities such as art and music in order to meet the standards.

“Creating well-rounded learners has become a tremendous challenge for our teachers due to the NCLB requirements,” she said.

Middletown Unified School District

Schools in the Middletown Unified School District have shown consistent strength in testing over the years.

This year, district Superintendent Korby Olson said what was noticeable for him was a sizable drop in Coyote Valley's score, from 818 to 792.

Scoring for small schools can be volatile, Olson explained. With a kind of measure like the API, the larger the sample size, the less likely there is to be an impact on score due to the performance of any particular group during a year.

He said the school is exploring what was the possible cause of that drop.

Just as interesting is Middletown High's score, which went down one from 719 to 718, but showed 30- and 40-point jumps for socially disadvantaged and Hispanic student subgroups, respectively. “Something went right there,” he said.

The school has always done fairly well on its exit exam results, he said. “It looked to me like we still have pretty strong scores there.”

The highest-scoring school on the API in the district and the county is Cobb Mountain Elementary, where Olson was principal for 10 years. The school's score for 2008 is 855, up from 847 the previous year.

Olson calls the school “a pretty special place” which began placing strong emphasis on state standards beginning in the 1990s. That, coupled with a stable staff, has helped the school succeed.

“Cobb has had the highest API in Lake County since we started measuring,” he said.

The school's score dipped last year but this year regained ground to its level two years ago.

Olson said Cobb Elementary takes a unique approach to education. “Everything is built around the idea that it's OK to be smart.”

That includes having numerous academic competitions which challenge young brains. In turn, the children strive hard to achieve in that welcoming culture.

Olson said there is value to the API measure. However, he said the problem is there are not enough measures of academic achievement, and that the API is a “slice of time” that only looks at performance at a given period. For a standardized test, that's the only way it can be done, Olson said.

He said the state's standards are so high that children who test in the basic category here might be in the proficient range in other states. He said the API system is a much more friendly growth model then federal standards.

Like Hagberg, he has concerns about federal standards, which are going up so dramatically that even schools considered high performing will soon be in the program improvement category.

From now until 2013, every school must advance its scores in the federal government's Adequate Yearly Progress – AYP – measure, he said.

Olson said he doesn't disagree with the goal of constant improvement. However, he's concerned that if high performing schools get lumped into performance improvement, it will water down the importance of improving scores for those schools that really need the help.

To see the testing results for your school and district, visit

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


BUCKINGHAM – The county's preeminent charitable fundraiser, the Lake County Wine Auction, will take place Saturday, and there are still opportunities to attend the event for those who want to enjoy great local wines and food while benefiting local groups.

The Wine Auction will be held beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday under the big tent at the Buckingham Golf & Country Club, 2855 Eastlake Drive, Kelseyville.

U. S. Congressman Mike Thompson, First District of California, is the event chair, with Andy Beckstoffer, chief executive officer of Beckstoffer Vineyards, acting as the master of ceremonies.

The event's supporting organization, the Lake County Wine Alliance, will have a limited number of tickets available for purchase at the door on Saturday, the group reported Friday. Tickets are $100 per person.

Donations from sponsors already have brought in more than $90,000 for the ninth annual event.

Last year's net contributions to county charitable beneficiaries was $93,000; in its previous eight years, the Wine Auction has donated $623,002 to local nonprofits, with 2005 having the highest single amount of $125,000.

The beneficiaries chosen for this year's event are Kids 4 Broadway, Lake County Special Olympics, Wiloth Equine Therapy and Riding Center, Hospice Services of Lake County, Adult Day Care/Respite of Clearlake, the Military Funeral Honors Team, Church Women United, Operation Tango Mike, the Lake Family Resource Center, the County Literacy Coalition and the fine arts programs at five Lake County high schools.

In addition to benefiting groups such as these, the event also showcases fine wine and food from local businesses. Twenty-three wineries will pour wine and 17 restaurants, caterers or markets will serve gourmet foods.

The evening will feature 32 lots in a live auction, and 165 items in the silent auction. Auctioneers are Archie McLaren, founder of the Central Coast Wine Classic and a rare and fine wine consultant, and Jed Steele, owner and winemaker of Steele Wines of Lake County.

For more information and to purchase tickets for any of the events, call 866-279-WINE.


CLEARLAKE OAKS – When the Clearlake Oaks County Water District Board meets Thursday, the board will have both a new evening meeting time and a new board member.

At a special meeting last Thursday the board chose Mike Benjamin to succeed board member Patricia Shaver, who left the board last month, said Darin McCosker, the district's general manager.

Shaver did not give a specific reason for her resignation, but it came in the wake of a recall effort that Benjamin himself launched against both her and then-Vice President Mike Anisman.

Benjamin now joins Frank Toney and Harry Chase on the board. Board President Helen Locke and Anisman also gave their resignations; Anisman's became effective Sept. 5, and Locke stayed on long enough to help select Benjamin.

Her resignation took effect Sept. 12, the day after the special meeting, said McCosker.

McCosker said Anisman's and Locke's seats still need to be filled, which the district has 60 days to do.

“The board could potentially appoint both positions at the next regular meeting in October,” he said.

McCosker said the board will meet at its new time at 7 p.m. Thursday. Last month the board voted to change the meeting time from mid-afternoon on the third Wednesday of the month to evenings on the third Thursday to encourage more public participation.

Shaver's former position will be up for reelection at the end of next year, along with Chase's, said McCosker. As to the seats formerly held by Anisman and Locke, they expire in 2011.

According to government code, if a vacancy occurs within the first 130 days prior to the next general district election, the person appointed to fill the slot will hold it until that election. The person who is then elected to fill the vacancy will hold office for the unexpired balance of the term of office.

Other government code sections call for board seats to be staggered, which is why the law has the elections for board seats staying on a specific schedule.

At Thursday's meeting the board will elect is new president and vice president, review financial reports, receive a report from the Finance Committee/Budget Workshop, discuss a customer appeal and hold a closed session for an employee discipline issue.

The district's office is located at 12545 E. Highway 20. See the full agenda at

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


THE GEYSERS – A recent stream of quakes measuring 3.0 magnitude and above continued Tuesday, when another shaker was recorded in The Geysers.

The US Geological Survey reported that a 3.0-magnitude quake occurred at 5:59 a.m Tuesday.

It was centered two miles north of The Geysers, four miles west southwest of Cobb and seven miles west northwest of Anderson Springs at a depth of 2.4 miles, the US Geological Survey reported.

Last Saturday, the area was shaken by a 3.3-magnitude temblor followed by a 3.5-magnitude quake Sunday evening, as Lake County News has reported. That seismic activity followed a 3.6-magnitude shaker near Willits last Friday, and a 3.0-magnitude quake near Healdsburg on Sept. 9.

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


A 1964 Grumman Widgeon flown at last year's event and owned by Todd Dickey of Arizona. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – Colorful seaplanes will be gracing Lake County's skies this weekend as the 29th annual Clear Lake Splash-In opens on Friday.

The event – the largest gathering of seaplanes west of the Mississippi – will be held in Lakeport beginning Friday, with an all-day festival on Saturday.

The public can get a close-up look at float planes, talk with pilots, and witness a spectacle of aerial events including water-bombing contests, a parade of seaplanes, fly-bys and more.

Seaplanes will be parked on the grounds of Natural High on Main Street for up-close viewing, stunning views of Clear Lake and Lake County from aboard a seaplane, aerial acrobatics during the spot landing and water bombing contests.

A welcome concert will take place Friday at 6 p.m. in Library Park.

On Saturday, the Kiwanis will sponsor a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Lakeport Yacht Club on the waterfront. The breakfast is open to the public.

The festival grand opening will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, kicking off a day of seaplane rides, model aircraft flying, seaplane flying exhibitions on the lake in front of Library Park, vendors, food booths and great fun for the whole family.

The event ends Saturday at 4 p.m. Seaplanes will depart from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Festival sponsors include SeaPlane Operations LLC and the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce as well as other local organizations.

For information call 775-781-1434,



A fully restored 1959 Piper Apache with its original paint scheme and colors at last year's festival. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


CLEAR LAKE RIVIERA – Clear Lake Riviera Community Association property owners have selected a new board.

The association held an election over the summer which was disqualified due to errors on the ballot, as Lake County News has reported.

That led to the board calling another election, the results of which were finalized this week, according to the association.

Elected to the board were Donna Moeller, with 432 votes; Patricia Howell, 418; Walter Zuercher, 402; and Anthony Gniadek, 333.

Also receiving votes were James Irwin, 322; Darrell Watkins, 305; and Denise Frane, 271.

The four new board members also were the top vote getters in the disqualified election, according to ballot counts.

This most recent election also drew several hundred more votes.

The association reported that three mediators from Lake County Dispute Resolution Services volunteered their time to count the ballots. The impartial third parties offered their help in light of the contentious nature of the previous election.

The new board will be seated at the association's annual meeting, scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20.

The meeting will be held at the Clear Lake Riviera Community Association community hall, 9689 Soda Bay Road.

For more information contact the association office at 277-7281.

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


LAKE COUNTY – How do local schools measure up? Newly released Academic Performance Index, or API, results show how the county's schools are making the grade when it comes to state performance standards.

The API is a weighted average of student test scores, explained Tim Gill, director of curriculum and instruction for the Lake County Office of Education. The testing system rates schools on a numeric index with a low of 200 and a high of 1,000; the statewide target is 800.

Gill said when students take the California standards test, they're given a score: 1,000 for advanced, 875 for proficient, 700 for basic, 500 for below basic and 200 for far below basic. If every student received the top score, the school's API would be 1,000.

The test's subjects are weighted differently, said Gill, with English language arts counting higher than math, which in turn is ranked higher than social studies and science.

“The state and federal accountability reports provide educators, parents, and our communities with important data about student progress in their schools,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, when he released the results earlier this month. “The results show that our schools are making real progress and that more students in California are meeting the challenge of higher expectations.”

According to O'Connell's office, 53 percent of schools in California made their API growth targets based on 2008 data, an increase of 8 percentage points from 2007. Locally, 11 schools met both their schoolwide and subgroup growth targets, according to test score data.

Thirty-six percent of all California schools are now at or above the target of 800, up 5 percentage points from the year before. In Lake County, two schools, Riviera Elementary and Cobb Mountain Elementary, are among the schools above that target number.

Overall, O'Connell pointed to some narrowing of the achievement gap between white and Asian students and their peers who are black, Hispanic or English learners. O'Connell said the API gives schools more credit for improvement made by the lowest-achieving students, "which encourages educators to focus on improving the achievement of students who struggle the most."

Black students statewide increased their API this year by 14 points and Hispanic students by 17 points; at the same time, white students increased by 10 points and English-learner students increased by 14 points.

California's high school exit exam is a part of the scoring for high schools, said Gill. Students who pass receive 1,000 points, those who don't receive 200 points. "So it's all or nothing."

In general, the county's high school exit exams scores also have been very good and fairly consistent in recent years, said Gill. The test's questions are written to middle school standards.

The most recent scores indicate that 75 percent of students countywide passed the test's language arts component. "That's a fairly high rate of passing," said Gill.

For the math component, test results show 73 percent of county students passed.

Students first take the test in 10th grade. The passing percentages go down considerably, Gill pointed out, as older students who didn't pass the test the first time are retested; those students are part of a group not proficient with standards.

Gill said California's target for all of its schools is an API of 800. For schools scoring below 600, each year they have a 5-percent minimum annual score improvement; schools with scores of 700 or above have a minimum improvement goal of five point. Those above 800 don't have a required annual goal.

Included in the scoring is a measurement for each of certain specific subgroups based on socio-economically disadvantaged students and those belonging to certain ethnic groups or English learners.

Gill said almost all of Lake County's schools have shown dramatic improvement when comparing recent scores to those from 2004-05.

"As a county over the last four or five years, we've seen incredible growth in our API, as has the state," he said. However, comparatively, local schools are about in the same place.

He said it's hard to know if the testing is actually improving the quality of education. The tests are based on content standards of which all teachers and districts are aware.

"What the testing system has done, it has encouraged our schools and districts to pay attention to that set of content standards," he said.

A potential down side of that, said Gill, is less flexibility in the subject matter the schools can teach.

Has the test improved education? "I don't feel like I can answer that question," said Gill.

Gill said some people feel that the test have caused schools to lose a lot, like physical education classes in elementary school and art.

Tomorrow: Local superintendents share their perspectives on the testing.

Local school test scores

Kelseyville Unified School District

Elementary schools

Kelseyville Elementary: 2008 score, 781; 2007 score, 790; growth target, 5; actual growth, -9; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.

Riviera Elementary: 2008 score, 819; 2007 score, 811; school scored above state target so there were no stated goals; actual growth, 8; did not meet subgroup growth target.

Middle schools

Mountain Vista Middle: 2008 score, 723; 2007 score, 701; growth target, 5; actual growth, 22; met statewide and subgroup growth targets.

High schools

Kelseyville High School: 2008 score, 701; 2007 score, 683; growth target, 6; actual growth, 18; met statewide and subgroup growth targets.

Konocti Unified School District

Elementary schools

Burns Valley Elementary: 2008 score, 711; 2007 score, 689; growth target, 6; actual growth, 22; met schoolwide growth target but not subgroup growth target.

East Lake Elementary: 2008 score, 720; 2007 score, 756 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); growth target, 5; actual growth, -36; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.

Lower Lake Elementary: 2008 score, 757; 2007 score, 727; growth target, 5; actual growth, 30; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.

Pomo Elementary: 2008 score, 719; 2007 score, 673; growth target, 6; actual growth, 46; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.

Middle schools

Oak Hill Middle: 2008 score, 652; 2007 score, 644; growth target, 8; actual growth, 8; met schoolwide growth target but not subgroup growth target.

High schools

Lower Lake High: 2008 score, 626; 2007 score, 646; growth target, 8; actual growth, -20; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.

Small schools

Richard H. Lewis Alternative: 2008 score, 745 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 643; growth target, 8; actual growth, 102; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.

Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM) schools

Blue Heron: 2008 score, 449 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 465; growth target not applicable; actual growth, -16; schoolwide and subgroup growth targets do not apply.

William C. Carle High (Continuation): 2008 score, 687 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 682; growth target not applicable; actual growth, 5; schoolwide and subgroup growth targets do not apply.

Lakeport Unified School District

Elementary schools

Lakeport Elementary: 2008 score, 751: 2007 score, 787; growth target, 5; actual growth, -36; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.

Middle schools

Terrace: 2008 score, 766; 2007 score, 741; growth target, 5; actual growth, 25; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.

High schools

Clear Lake High: 2008 score, 747; 2007 score, 727; growth target, 5; actual growth, 20; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.

Small schools

Lakeport Alternative (Home School): 2008 score, 696 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 759; growth target, 5; actual growth, -63; met subgroup growth target but not schoolwide growth target.

ASAM schools

Natural High (Continuation): 2008 score, 545 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 520; growth target not applicable; actual growth, 25; schoolwide and subgroup growth targets do not apply.

Lucerne Elementary School District

Lucerne Elementary: 2008 score, 727; 2007 score, 749; growth target, 5; actual growth, -22; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.

Middletown Unified School District

Elementary schools

Cobb Mountain Elementary: 2008 score, 855; 2007 score, 847; school scored above state target so there were no stated goals; actual growth, 8; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.

Coyote Valley Elementary: 2008 score, 792; 2007 score, 818; school scored above state target so there were no stated goals; actual growth, -26; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.

Minnie Cannon Elementary: 2008 score, 732; 2007 score, 721; growth target, 5; actual growth, 11; met schoolwide growth target but not subgroup growth target.

Middle schools

Middletown Middle: 2008 score, 795; 2007 score, 787; growth target, 5; actual growth, 8; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets;

High schools

Middletown High: 2008 score, 718; 2007 score, 719; growth target, 5; actual growth, -1; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.

Small schools

Lake County International Charter: 2008 score, 752 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 growth, 720; growth target, 5; actual growth, 32; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.

Upper Lake Union Elementary School District

Elementary schools

Upper Lake Elementary: 2008 score, 704; 2007 score, 701; growth target, 5; actual growth, 3; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.

Middle schools

Upper Lake Middle: 2008 score, 681; 2007 score, 672; growth target, 6; actual growth, 9; met schoolwide growth target but not subgroup growth target.

Upper Lake Union High School District

Upper Lake High: 2008 score, 682; 2007 score, 671; growth target, 6; actual growth, 11; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.

ASAM schools

Upper Lake Community Day: 2008 score, 430 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); the school did not have a valid 2007 Base API and will not have any growth or target information.

Schools that were not listed did not have any testing information reported.

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


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