Wednesday, 22 May 2024

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It’s been suggested to me that I should write an in-depth book about Lake County and its wine industry. I’m very interested in the subject and the idea of taking on the project excited me.


The idea was placed in my head over a year ago, and I just haven't been able to act on it. The problem with getting started on it is that I spend so much time on the Foodie Freak columns that I don’t have time to write anything else.


I literally spend almost the same amount of time as a full-time job researching for my columns. At this moment I have about 40 columns in different levels of completion on my computer.


I’m also working on my own signature line of specialty foods, made locally with local ingredients, and hopefully you will see them in stores soon.


While juggling all of these projects keeps me busy and provides me with a steady stream of things to do, I can’t possibly work on a book at the same time.


Since this is what I’d like to do, I’ve decided that I am going to take what I’ll call “a sabbatical” from the Foodie Freak columns, to pursue writing a book about the Lake County wine industry.


I want to chronicle everything anyone could ever want to know about wine in Lake County. I’m going to find the ruins of old wineries, discover lost vineyards and define who currently owns what vineyard

where. This book will eventually be available on Lake County News.


When I am finished writing the book, my wife and I will look into continuing the Foodie Freak series. In the mean time, you will most likely still see my name pop up in Lake County News if and when I report on an events I attend, if a new food venue opens or telling about a class I’ll be teaching, but the weekly columns will be on hold until further notice.


In the event that I do decide to continue the Foodie Freak columns at a later time, I don’t believe I’ll continue doing restaurant reviews anymore. I have become too widely recognized around the community to conduct the reviews anonymously.


Several times now when I have walked into a restaurant, I see the staff group together, start whispering

and pointing at me, and I just know I will be getting special treatment. If I can’t get treated like the general public then I can’t do an accurate review.


So if anyone wants to take those reins and try to keep their anonymity they are welcome to it. Contact Elizabeth Larson, editor of Lakeconews.com and discuss your interest with her.


Thank you to everyone who tells me how much they enjoy my writing. Please feel free to introduce yourself if you see me around the county. Also, if you have any information about old wineries, new

wineries, lost vineyards, and Lake County history, I would love to hear from you. I’ll be spending the next month at the museum.


Good Things,

Ross A. Christensen “The Foodie Freak”

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community. Follow him on Twitter, http://twitter.com/Foodiefreak .


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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An investigator looks over a white minivan which hit another vehicle head-on, killing one of that second vehicle's passengers, in a collision that took place on Highway 20 on Friday, April 9, 2010, just east of Nice, Calif. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 

 


NICE – A crash just outside of Nice on Friday afternoon claimed one life and resulted in several other injuries along with a lengthy blockage on Highway 20.


The two-car, head-on collision occurred on a curve just west of Tulip Hill Winery on the eastern outskirts of the town of Nice just after 2:30 p.m.


California Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Moorhouse said a white minivan driven by an as-yet unnamed female driver was traveling westbound along Highway 20 when it collided with the front driver side of a second vehicle that was traveling east.


That second vehicle, which appeared to be a green Jeep Cherokee, had several passengers inside, one of which was killed in the crash, Moorhouse said.


For a reason that Moorhouse said investigators haven't yet determined, the minivan's driver had drifted off the side of the road, where her tire tracks could clearly be seen in the gravel on the shoulder.


She then traveled back onto the highway and collided with the second vehicle, Moorhouse said.


“We're still trying to piece it all together as to why it happened,” Moorhouse said.


A female passenger seated behind the driver of the second vehicle was the fatality, according to Moorhouse.


Sgt. Gary Basor of the Lake County Sheriff's Office was on scene acting as deputy coroner, and was assisted by mortuary technicians in removing the woman's body from the scene.

 

 

 

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Firefighters and paramedics struggled to extricate a victim at the scene of a collision just east of the town of Nice, Calif., on Friday, April 9, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 


The victim's identity was not immediately available, which is customary pending the notification process.


The driver of the white minivan did not appear to be under the influence, said Moorhouse. She was uninjured, and had been traveling alone.


He said CHP was continuing to investigate her situation. Another CHP officer took the woman from the scene of the crash in the front passenger seat of his patrol car.


Northshore Fire Protection District firefighters spent about an hour and a half extricating the victims from the wreckage of the second vehicle.


Fire officials at the scene reported two subjects from that vehicle had major injuries and two others were “walking wounded.”


One of the victims was screaming as they tried to pull her out of the vehicle, the top of which firefighters had to slice off in order to get to the injured.


A Northshore Fire ambulance ferried the crash victims to nearby Ceago Vinegarden, which had a field that REACH Air Ambulance was using as a landing zone.


Moorhouse said three victims were transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The remaining crash victims were taken to Sutter Lakeside Hospital, the CHP reported.


Highway 20 was completely blocked – with traffic stretching at least two miles from the scene – as rescuers and tow companies came and went from the crash site. Accident warning signs were posted to warn drivers about the closure.


The highway remained closed just after 5 p.m. About a half hour later, one-way traffic was opened up, and the roadway was fully reopened at 6 p.m.


CHP reported receiving calls about people parking their vehicles alongside of the road east of the crash scene and leaving them.

 

Late Friday, the CHP reported that a child riding in the vehicle had been transported to the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland for treatment, and was in critical condition.

 

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

 

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The tire tracks from a white minivan which is believed to have gone off of Highway 20 near Nice, Calif., on Friday, April 9, 2010, before veering back onto the roadway and hitting another vehicle, killing one of its passengers. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

LAKE COUNTY – After three years of drought conditions, Lake County residents know that receiving more rain is beneficial – even though Clear Lake is nearly full – and more rain is on the way to help extend the wildflower season.


During the day on Wednesday and into the evening, many residents were seen fishing and boating on Clear Lake as temperatures topped out in the low 70s.


Late Wednesday, Clear Lake was at 7.42 feet Rumsey according to the US Geological Survey gauge, rising from 7.20 feet Rumsey on Sunday, as previously reported.


A full lake is 7.56 feet Rumsey, according to Lake County's Water Resources Division.


Skies should continue to be clear Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento, although temperatures will be slightly cooler than on Wednesday and only reach in to the low- to mid-60s.


The weekend is forecast to start off partly sunny on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service, as temperatures begin to slide downward as a low-pressure system moves in to Lake County. Saturday daytime highs are forecast to reach only into the 50s.


On Sunday, the chance of rain returns and increases throughout the day and into the evening, the National Weather Service predicts, with a daytime high only in the low 50s.


Throughout the week, overnight lows are expected to remain above freezing in most areas of Lake County according to the National Weather Service.


That prediction is good news for area farmers who have had to wake in the early mornings before dawn several times in the past few days to implement frost protection measures.


E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Work on the Clear Lake State Park Education Pavilion is under way, and expected to be completed sometime in the summer of 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


 


KELSEYVILL E – The new education pavilion going up in Clear Lake State Park will aid the Clear Lake State Park Interpretive Association in their goal to educate the public about the valuable natural and cultural resources surrounding beautiful Clear Lake.


Ground was broken on the project at the park, located at 5300 Soda Bay Road in Kelseyville, on Oct. 4, 2008, as Lake County News has reported.


A lot of fundraising effort was needed for the education pavilion, which will provide a year-round sheltered area for nature related studies and activities for students of all ages, the Clear Lake State Park Interpretive Association (CLSPIA) reported.


“We give full praise and appreciation to the entire community for its help, financially and emotionally,” said CLSPIA Chair Madelene Lyon. “Without this wonderful support, construction would not be under way. We are also grateful for the hours and funds provided by California State Parks to assist with the project.”


The pavilion will be located next to the visitor’s center.


“It is amazing what lives in the water here,” said Lyon. “We have over a thousand kids that come here on school field trips. They gather mud samples and water samples.”


Equipment such as microscopes will be available for studying the nature Lake County has to offer; a WiFi connection also is currently in the works for college-level studies, Lyon said. Such a facility is not available elsewhere in Lake County.


Lyon had the idea for the project on her trip to a state park luncheon at Patrick’s Point State Park, just north of Eureka. The facility they dined in influenced the education pavilion.


Work began on the pavilion Dec. 14, 2009, but fundraising and brainstorming efforts began much earlier.


From initial blueprint drafts through review by many departments within the State Department of Parks and Recreation, including local park staff, all had to be followed closely until the bid for construction was let, the agency reported.


The California Conservation Corps received the bid for construction in March 2007 for $165,250.

 

 

 

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The foundation has been poured for the education pavilion. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 


“We raised nearly $107,000 as a result of the wonderful response we got from the community, and the California State Parks Foundation gave $60,000 in funding,” said Lyon.


Completion of Clear Lake State Park’s education pavilion does not have a definite date.


“We have to roll with the punches,” said Lyon. “I’m guessing the opening will be early to mid-summer.”


The education pavilion will most likely be available for reservations to host other community and private events, said Lyon, but she stresses that they have not yet reached a point where that is relevant to discuss.


To find out how to donate to CLSPIA, call Lyon at 707-279-4395 or visit www.clearlakestatepark.org/clspia.htm for more information. There is also a podcast about the park available at http://www.calparks.org/podcasts/ .


For a map of Clear Lake State Park, visit www.clearlakestatepark.org/map.htm.


E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Upper Lake, Calif., resident Gary Lewis, who served as District 3 supervisor for eight years, ending in 2006, is back in the race in 2010. Lewis said he enjoys helping people solve problems. Courtesy photo.




UPPER LAKE – A former county supervisor says he's back in the race this year.


Gary Lewis, 66, of Upper Lake has joined the race for District 3 supervisor, a seat he won in 1998 and held through 2006.


In the race along with Lewis are two other Upper Lake residents – the incumbent, Denise Rushing, who defeated Lewis in a hotly contested 2006 race, and Robert Hesterberg.


Although the 2010 race for District 3 supervisor has three candidates as it did in 2006 race – Shalean Smith, another Upper Lake resident, was the third person in the 2006 election – the two races are notably different in tone and the amounts of money raised so far.


In 2006, Lewis and Rushing ran to November in a campaign that saw more than $100,000 raised between the two top candidates, which Lewis said is a county record.


That campaign had not just cash but rhetoric, as the two campaigns battled over the Northshore, how it had been led and its hopes for the future. Lewis also was criticized for using a county cell phone to make personal calls, which he said totaled $150 over several years and which he repaid.


“That's what happens when you don't pay attention,” he said.


This year, Lewis said he's taking a far different, more “subdued” approach. “I'm not running against Denise, I'm running for Gary. So I don't have any bad things to say about anybody,” he said.


He also doesn't plan to raise anywhere near what he did in 2006, when the county had a different economy,he said. Lewis in fact filed a form with the Registrar of Voters Office saying that he does not expect to raise more than $1,000.


Explaining that decision, he said that, considering the economy currently, it would be hypocritical to ask people for money. Instead, he's taking a word-of-mouth approach.


“If people want to elect me, that's fine, if not, that's OK,” he said.


Lewis purchased land in Lake County in 1968 and moved here permanently in 1974. He and wife, Darla, live on a 20-acre property next door to the Mendocino National Forest and bordered by Salt and Middle creeks.


Noting that he believes in taking care of one's land, he said he's kept the property native, with its big pines, Douglas fir and madrone trees. He said bears, turkeys, foxes and other wild critters make their home there as well.


In the nearly four decades that he's lived in the county, Lewis said he's seen the population grow form about 26,000 to nearly 68,000 now. He favors incremental growth.


“I wouldn't want to see it just get paved over,” he said. “None of us want to see that.”


He's owned a hardware store in Upper Lake which he later sold – and which he said he wished he hadn't, as it later closed – before running a business selling pumps and water systems that he also later sold and now is operated at AAA Pumps.


From there he went into financial planning, a job that took him away from Lake County too much. So he came home and applied for a job in the county's Code Compliance Division, where he worked from 1993 to 1997. He said it was an interesting job and he learned a lot doing it.


When he heard that then-Supervisor Louise Talley wasn't going to seek reelection, he decided to run, and took office in 1999.


During his eight years in office he said he took more than 8,000 calls and was proud of the fact that he always returned them and tried to help people.


He said he never dreamed he would be in government, but he enjoyed the work. “I really have a passion for just solving problems,” he said, noting that's one of the reasons he jumped into this year's race.


“I didn't join in because I have animosity or anger. I am perfectly content in my lifestyle,” he said.


Today, he works in sales and marketing for Mendo Mill, chairs the Northshore Business Association, takes part in activities with Upper Lake's town council and is chair of the local Resource Advisory Committee, which helps determine projects paid for by funds received the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, which distributes money to areas based on historic timber receipts.


He's also a member of an advisory commission that makes recommendations to the federal government regarding best usages for lands on the coast. “It's been a lot of fun,” he said of working with the group.


Lewis, who was treated for prostate cancer several years ago, said he's doing well, with no signs of the cancer's recurrence, and he's taking care of himself, exercising and eating right to stay healthy.


A low key campaign


He said he's doing his campaign work on evenings and weekends, speaking to people about their concerns, many of which center around the economy. However, Lewis said he has no keys issues or platforms.


He said he's looking at the total picture of tourism, agriculture, seniors needs and young kids “and how it all comes together.”


Lewis sees the county's fiscal challenges, and how county government will need to tighten its belt and possibly lay off people at a time when unemployment locally is higher than he's ever seen it.


At his church, Upper Lake United Methodist, where he's chair of the board of trustees, they're seeing more people seeking help, with church members donating canned food and clothing to help community members in need. Increasingly, neighbors are going to have to help neighbors, he said.


Regarding the economy, Lewis said the issue will be how to get things moving. “We're never going to be an industrial or commercial hub, nor do I think anybody wants it that way.”


He said the county needs to maintain its agriculture and tourism industries, and he said it needs to be made more tourism friendly.


That's one of the reasons he said he spoke in favor of the Cristallago resort and housing project, proposed to be located in north Lakeport. He said the project will be a good use for the land, and will offer a “phenomenal” resort aspect.


“That's the kind of thing that will make Lake County survive, is the resort tourism industry,” he said.


Other issues Lewis is hearing about from community members are marijuana growing and its impacts on the local economy, the rising costs of needed services – like water in Lucerne – and parents' worries that their children won't be able to stay in the county due to lack of jobs, which he said always has been a concern. There also are challenges for businesses, which he said don't need increasing mandates from government.


He points out that local government can do a lot for the community. Redevelopment on the Northshore has been a big success, he said, and downtown Upper Lake looks “beautiful” in the wake of a project there.


The Upper Lake project has had some community members up in arms because of the changes to the streets, but, he added, “I think people are starting to appreciate it.”


The changes to the downtown are attracting visitors, he said.


“Economically, I think it's a real plus for our whole community,” said Lewis, pointing to the work of local businesses like the Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon and Cafe, and antique store owner Tony Oliveira, who are boosting the boutique aspects of the town.


He said he would like to see the county take a more active role in helping businesses deal with regulations – such as those enforced by Environmental Health – and assisting people in staying in their homes during the foreclosure crisis.


“The county needs to be proactive, I believe, in trying to work with banks,” he said, suggesting they could convince the banks to renegotiate mortgages and put people on rental agreements so homes don't degenerate.


“There's nothing worse than desperate people,” he said. “They do desperate things.”


Lake County is increasingly going to have to fend for itself, said Lewis, with the state wanting more of its money. “We're really going to have to watch and help one another,” he said.


He said he's not making any promises, but has pledged to work with people on their concerns, as long as they understand that everyone has to work as a team.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

CLEARLAKE – In the ongoing effort to encourage county residents to take part in the 2010 Census, the local Complete Count Committee will host the “March to the Mailbox” event on Saturday, April 17.


The special day of activities and fun for people of all ages will be held at Austin Park, 14077 Lakeshore Drive, in Clearlake from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


There will be free food, fun, live music, information about the US Census and help completing the forms.


People will be counted regardless of immigration status, age and whether or not they live in transitional housing.


All information shared with US Census workers will be confidential.


Counting everyone in the community is important in order to bring much-needed federal funding for health and education services to the county.


Each person missed on the 2010 Census will cost the community more than $2,900 in programs and services, according to the US Census Bureau.


As of Wednesday, the national mail participation rate for the 2010 Census was at 63 percent, the agency reported. The top five states are Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan.


California's return rate was 61 percent on Wednesday, according to the mail participate rate tracker located at http://2010.census.gov.


Lake County's rate thus far is 52 percent, which puts it behind neighboring counties. The county's overall participation rate in 2000 was 54 percent.


Within the county, Lakeport has a 63-percent return rate, while Clearlake is at 51 percent, the US Census reported.


Until the middle of April, the US Census will accept forms by mail. Afterward, US Census workers will visit homes in order to count people who have not returned the forms by mail.


For help completing the 2010 Census form, contact the US Census Bureau seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 866-872-6868 (English) or 866-928-2010 (Spanish).


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

KELSEYVILLE – Two local residents were hurt in a Friday morning head-on collision near Kelseyville.


Carrie Hanks, 52, and Justin Barber, 53, both of Kelseyville, were hurt in the crash, which occurred at 9:30 a.m. on Highway 29 near Kelseyville, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.


Tanguay said that Hanks was driving her 1992 Pontiac Bonneville southbound on Highway 29, south of Cruickshank Road.


For an unknown reason, witnesses reported that Hanks' car went to the left and crossed over the painted solid double-yellow lines and entered the northbound lane of traffic directly in front of Barber's 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, Tanguay said.


The two vehicles collided head-on and came to rest blocking both lanes of traffic, he said.


Hanks was transported by REACH to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for major injuries to her head, chest and legs. Tanguay said Barber was transported by the Kelseyville Fire Department to Sutter-Lakeside Hospital for moderate injuries to his head, neck and chest.


The road remained blocked for approximately 90 minutes, according to Tanguay's report.


Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this collision, said Tanguay. Both drivers were wearing their seat belts and both vehicles had air bags that deployed.


There were two dogs in Hanks' Pontiac at the time of this collision that sustained injuries. Tanguay said Lake County Animal Care and Control immediately arrived on the scene of the collision and provided emergency care for the dogs.


This collision is still under investigation by Officer G. Buchholz.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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The Andy Johnson Memorial Skate Park will be the site for the third annual "Andy Day" on Saturday, April 10, 2010, in Clearlake, California. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




CLEARLAKE – Help keep Clearlake Skate Park open while enjoying live music and a barbecue lunch at the third annual Andy Day at the Andy Johnson Memorial Skate Park Saturday.


The event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. at 14077 Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake.


In addition to lunch there will be t-shirts and a raffle drawing.


The park, open to both skateboards and BMX bikes, was closed for repairs due to broken and cracked surface panels, specifically a big hole in one of the ramps, said Ken Savin, a member of the Clearlake Skate Park Committee.


“The city has been good about using the materials that were purchased in the summer of 2008 by a grant from the Redbud Health Care District,” said Savin.


However, those parts were used up and, due to liability concerns, the park had to be closed until funds could be secured for new material to do repairs, Savin explained.


Savin said he and some of the other skate park committee members put together another grant proposal to Redbud Health Care District to receive funds for repairs.


Last November the Redbud Health Care District responded to the grant proposal with another $3,500, Savin reported. Aside from ramp repairs, that donation also helped purchase helmets for kids who use the park.


The park was reopened Feb. 24, Savin said.


Repairs have been, and will most likely continue to be, ongoing – especially since the riding surface is not concrete but Skatelite, he said.


Skatelite is the industry standard used for ramps at the XGames and Dew Action Tour, Savin said. It is expensive, running around $200 or so a sheet, so the group only orders it when we can get a larger order to help reduce the price by quantity.


Pouring concrete ramps and walls would be the ideal solution for the park, as concrete requires much less maintenance, Savin explained.


“We hope to maybe raise some money to make some real changes or improvements to the park, but that is far down the road, I think,” said Savin.


He said the city of Ukiah is in the process of beginning a cement park. They have been raising money for the last 20 years, with the cost projected to be over $1 million.


Other options for Clearlake might include an indoor location to reduce the impact of the weather and elements on the ramps. Savin said that would require money to purchase or rent, or someone willing to donate property.


The Andy Johnson Memorial Skate Park was named after young skateboarder and BMX rider, Andy Johnson, who died in a car crash at the young age of 18 in 2006, as Lake County News has reported.


Savin said then that there used to be animosity between skateboarders and BMX riders, but Johnson – who participated in both sports – helped those two groups to unite.


Pictures of the park along with short descriptions are available at www.concretedisciples.com and www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM7FKV_Andy_Johnson_Memorial_Skatepark_Clearlake_CA.


E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


LAKEPORT – The Lake County Respect For All Task Force will meet Tuesday, April 13, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


The meeting will take place at the Lake County Office of Education, 1152 S. Main St., Lakeport.


The focus will be on strategies for the group’s goals and next steps.


The Lake County Respect For All Task Force, a group of local individuals, is striving to increase awareness about safe and inclusive learning environments. The group is working to identify possible actions to help the Lake County community.


A look at the Lake County project, including interviews of task force members, was recently featured on Scott Shafer’s “California Report” on KQED.


Individuals interested in helping the task force in its efforts to assist youth and their families in assuring safe and inclusive learning environments are invited to attend the meetings.


More information about the Respect For All Task Force is available on the GroundSpark Web site, www.groundspark.org. Individuals planning to attend the meeting should notify Joan Reynolds by sending an email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by April 12.


The Respect For All Project, a program of GroundSpark (www.groundspark.org), in cooperation with Lake County Healthy Start and Lake County Family Resource Center, is collaborating with local educators, high school students, community leaders, and representatives from a variety of organizations.


Lake County was chosen as one of three California counties for the pilot project. The task force has been meeting periodically over the last 15 months.


Respect For All Project coordinators Chung and Barry Chersky have traveled from the Bay Area on several occasions to facilitate meetings of the group. However, cuts in funding have now prohibited the two from continuing their visits to Lake County. The group of local volunteers has pledged to continue the work started by the committee.


A proposal for the Lake County project explains that GroundSpark, The Respect for All Project (RFAP) “is a nonprofit organization that seeks to create safe, hate-free schools and communities by providing youth and the adults who guide their development the tools they need to talk openly about diversity in all of its forms.”


As part of its work toward safe and inclusive learning environments, task force members identified a list of goals and split up responsibilities.


The goals include identifying community resources, networking and expanding the task force, pursuing support for gay/straight alliances, developing and fundraising for Challenge Day events at schools, and reviewing policies and implementation strategies.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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The body of Donald Scott Williams, 38, of Red Bluff was found in a burned residence on County Road 25 in Orland, Calif., on Sunday, April 4, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Glenn County Sheriff's Office.

 

 


GLENN COUNTY, Calif. – A man whose body was found earlier this week in a burned out residence owned by a Glenn County supervisor has been identified, and he appears to have been the victim of foul play.


Donald Scott Williams, 38, of Red Bluff was identified Thursday following an autopsy that had to use dental x-rays to confirm the identify of his burned body, according to Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones.


Authorities found Williams' body last Sunday in the rubble of an uninhabited residence that's owned by Glenn County Supervisor Leigh McDaniel. The home is located on a farming property that McDaniel owns near Orland.


The home burned Sunday evening, and Jones said the fire is being investigated by the Glenn County Arson/Bomb Task Force.


McDaniel, who is not believed to be involved in any way with the incident, told investigators previously that he had left the residence uninhabited, and that it was burglarized two years ago for its copper plumbing and wiring.


Det. Kelly Knight of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit attended the autopsy, conducted by forensic pathologist Dr. Thomas Resk, Jones reported. Knight had obtained Williams' dental x-rays – he was suspected of being the victim – and gave them to forensic odontologist Dr. Robert Kearby, who was able to identify Williams.


Jones said the autopsy's preliminary results confirmed investigators' original assumptions that Williams died at the hands of another.


In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, Jones said his office won't release the means by which Williams was killed, or any further details regarding the death itself, at this time.


Sheriff’s detectives notified Williams' next of kin, including an 18-year-old daughter who resides with Williams' former spouse. Williams' parents resident outside of California and in separate states, but Jones said William's mother came to Glenn County and met with investigators in Willows on Friday morning.


Williams was released from state prison to supervised parole on Dec. 2, 2009. Jones said Williams was on active California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation parole at the time of his death, and listed his address as Red Bluff at the time of his last booking into the Glenn County Jail, which was on December 20, 2007, Jones said.


The state parole officer assigned to Williams – who was known to frequent the Orland area – also been notified of his death, according to Jones.


Jones said the investigation is continuing, and investigators were back at the scene on Thursday, along with fire investigators, to gather further evidence.


Authorities are still trying to locate a vehicle belonging to Williams, a red 1995 Geo with California license plates with the number 5AZB659, Jones said.


Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of this vehicle, or who has any information regarding the death of Williams, is asked to call Det. Kelly Knight or Sgt. Sean Arlin at 707-934-6431, or the Sheriff’s Secret Witness number at 707-934-6627.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

KELSEYVILLE – A Kelseyville woman has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving following an early morning crash on Wednesday.


Yesenia Lopez, 25, was injured in the crash, as was her 15-year-old female passenger from Santa Rosa, according to Officer Steve Tanguay of the California Highway Patrol.


At about 1:17 a.m. Wednesday Lopez was driving her 1990 Toyota Corolla westbound on Bell Hill Road, east of Boggs Lane, Tanguay reported.


While negotiating a righthand turn in the roadway, Lopez lost control of her vehicle. The CHP report said that Lopez's Toyota traveled to the left and crossed the eastbound lane of traffic and went off of the road into a dirt and grass field.


The Toyota then came back to the right and back onto the road, crossed both lanes of traffic and went off of the road north of the roadway and struck a tree, Tanguay reported.


He said Lopez and the teenage passenger were not wearing their seat belts and were thrown forward into the windshield.


Lopez sustained injuries to her pelvis and was transported by REACH to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Tanguay reported. The juvenile passenger sustained injuries to her head, hands and hip, and was transported to Sutter-Lakeside Hospital before being transferred to UC Davis Medical Center.


Lopez was placed under arrest for felony DUI due to the injuries sustained by her passenger, said Tanguay.


He said the collision is being investigated by Officer Korey Reynolds.


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GLENN COUNTY – A residence on land belonging to a Glenn County supervisor burned this weekend, and the remains of an as-yet unidentified person were found in the rubble.


Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones reported Tuesday that the uninhabited residence – located at 6260 County Road 25 west of Interstate 5 and south of Orland – burned Sunday evening. It was owned by District 5 Supervisor Leigh McDaniel, 55.


At about 7:40 p.m. Sunday, Melvin Yancy, 67, who resides in the 6000 block of County Road 23, reported to the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office that there was a very large fire, south of his residence, according to Jones.


Sheriff’s deputies and the Orland Fire Department were dispatched. Emergency responders found an unoccupied home, approximately 2,800 square feet in size, fully involved. Jones said that Orland Fire Department, supported by the Artois Fire Department, provided an aggressive initial attack; however the dwelling was a total loss, with an estimated value of $150,000.


As the fire was suspicious in nature, the Glenn County Arson/Bomb Task Force was contacted and the on-call team, led by Team Leader Det. Kelly Knight of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office, responded, Jones said.


When the fire had been suppressed to the point of allowing investigators into the burned rubble for an initial assessment, Jones said the charred remains of an adult human were located in an area in or near what would have been the living room portion of the dwelling.


The entire area of the fire and the farm it is part of, was cordoned off. Jones and Lt. Richard Warren were notified of the situation, and deputies and fire personnel provided crime scene security throughout the night.


At daylight, additional sheriff’s detectives, assisted by California Department of Justice crime scene technicians and criminalists, and forensic pathologist Thomas Resk, M.D. commenced their investigation. Jones said they would be supported later in the morning by arson investigators from Cal-Fire.


Orland Fire Department personnel returned to the scene to cool hot spots so investigators could complete the arduous task of methodically sifting through the burnt out rubble, Jones said.


The human remains were found to be that of an adult male in his mid-thirties. A charred identification card was located; however a positive identification by dental records will be necessary by a forensic odontologist. An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday, Jones said.


Members of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Posse were called to guard the entrances to the ranch and crime scene and maintained security throughout the night.


Investigators returned to the scene Tuesday morning to continue sifting through ashes and debris, said Jones. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit continued their investigation.


Jones said McDaniel related that he has owned the property since 1999 and maintained a farming operation there. He has not rented the home for the past two years and has allowed the home to remain vacant and unfurnished.


McDaniel told investigators that the home had been burglarized two years ago this month. Thieves had ripped out walls and removed copper electrical wiring and copper plumbing. An estimated $500 worth of copper had been removed and an estimated $9,500 worth of damage was done, this according to McDaniel’s report, which the sheriff’s office responded to on April 12, 2008.


According to Jones, McDaniel stated that he had maintained electrical service to an outside breaker box which, to his knowledge, was in the off position, thus disallowing electricity to the interior of the residence. Damaged water pipe had not been repaired, so there was no water supply to the home. McDaniel also indicated there was no propane or natural gas being supplied to the home.


He said that, to the best of his knowledge, the residence was locked and secured.


McDaniel had no idea of the identity of the victim, Jones said.


The Glenn County Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone who may have been in the area of County Road 25 on the evening of the fire, or who may have any information regarding the possible homicide, call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-934-6431 or the Secret Witness Line at 707-934-6627.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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