Tuesday, 06 June 2023

News

ANDERSON SPRINGS – A small earthquake shook Anderson Springs Friday afternoon.


The quake, measuring 3.1 in magnitude on the Richter scale, was recorded at 3:20 p.m., according to the US Geological Survey.


The US Geological Survey reported that the small earthquake was centered two miles west of Anderson Springs, four miles east southeast of The Geysers and five mile south of Cobb. It occurred at a depth of 1.6 miles.


Four reports were submitted to the US Geological Survey from people who reported feeling the quake, including one person each from Middletown and Pope Valley, one from Novato and one from Stockton.


The US Geological Survey reported a 3.0 quake near The Geysers on Dec. 23, as Lake County News previously reported.


Across the county, the Lake Pillsbury area, which has had increased seismic activity this year, had two small quakes – a 2.7 and a 2.6 – that occurred just after 6 p.m. Friday, according to the US Geological Survey's records. Both of those small earthquakes were centered eight miles west northwest of Lake Pillsbury.


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


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THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED. 

 

LAKE COUNTY – Snowy conditions in parts of Lake County caused mayhem Thursday night, with dozens of cars reported sliding off area highways and drivers fighting in the road.


On Thursday evening Caltrans issued requirements for vehicles to have either chains or snow tires while traveling from one mile north of the junction between Highways 29 and 53 to the junction with Highway 281/Kit's Corner.


On Highway 175, Caltrans reported that chains were required on all vehicles except four-wheel drives with snow tires on all wheels from six miles east of the junction with Highway 101 in Mendocino County to two miles west of the junction with Highway 29 outside of Lakeport.

 

County Public Works Director Gerald Shaul said his road crews was out by about 4 p.m. Thursday in an effort to clear and sand county roadways.


Shortly after snow began falling in parts of Lake County in the early evening, the California Highway Patrol's incident logs showed several cases of cars either becoming stuck in the snow or sliding off onto road shoulders.


Snow fell on the Hopland Grade, where the CHP reported a vehicle was stuck in snow in the middle of the road on the Lake County side.


The CHP reported that as many as seven vehicles were stuck in snow just after 7 p.m. on Bottle Rock Road between one and two miles from Highway 29. About half the vehicles needed to be towed out.


The Lake County Roads Department sent out a plow to clear Bottle Rock, which was reportedly free of snow about six and a half miles from the highway, according to the CHP. Officials had to call out more than one tow service in order to find tow equipment capable of towing the cars without losing traction in the snow.


Across the county, things only got worse as the evening progressed.


At 8:41 p.m. CHP reported that 15 vehicles had gone off the road on Highway 29 near Kit's Corner.


Scanner traffic indicated at about 9 p.m. that as many as 30 vehicles were stuck on roadsides countywide, as sheriff's personnel, fire departments and other county departments were called for assistance.


Emergency personnel, in some cases, were stuck behind multiple vehicle jams and accidents, or were stuck themselves, according to radio reports.


Just after 10 p.m., CHP reported that approximately 23 vehicles had slid off Highway 29 just south of Diener Drive near Lower Lake, with 11 of them stuck in the snow.


The Lake County Sheriff's Office closed the Glasgow Grade a short time later, according to radio reports. The roadway has since reopened.


The CHP reported the need for Caltrans to bring sand and snow plows to the Glasgow Grade area, while local tow companies reported being out of chains.


In some cases, delays and being stranded caused some peoples' tempers to flare.


At Kit's Corner, where the roadway was blocked by cars unable to navigate the snow and ice, the CHP reported that fights were breaking out between drivers.


Tow trucks had to help remove some of the vehicles, while Caltrans sent a plow which cleared the roadway shortly before 10:30 p.m., according to CHP reports.


Snow affected other areas of the North Coast.


In Mendocino County, the CHP reported that portions of Highway 101 – between northbound Highway 101 at Uva, just north of Redwood Valley, and southbound 101 at Browns Corner just south of Willits – was closed for a few hours due to snow on the Willits Grade. The closure was lifted at about 10 p.m., according to a CHP report.


In Napa County, 1 inch of snow was reportedly sticking to Highway 29 at the summit of Mount St. Helena, according to the CHP.


CHP reported shortly after 1 a.m. Friday that all Lake County roadways were open.


Caltrans' chain requirements on areas of Highways 29 and 175 in Lake County remained in effect early Friday.


For the latest on roadway conditions, visit Caltrans' Web site at www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi or call their information line at 800-427-7623.


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


Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.


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LAKE COUNTY – Mediacom customers suffered a lengthy Internet service outage Wednesday.


The service interruption in an area of the Northshore was reported at about 10 a.m., according to a Mediacom representative.


Although there was no exact cause known for the outage, the Mediacom representative suggested longer outages usually result from issues with the company's fiberoptic cables.


Service was finally restored at about 3:30 p.m.


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


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LAKE COUNTY – County officials reported Friday that they were preparing for more snow as the weekend arrived.


Snow fell steadily in Cobb, Kelseyville and Lakeport, with some snow also reported around Clearlake, according to the National Weather Service.


County Public Works Director Gerald Shaul, who also oversees county road maintenance, said that at about 4 p.m. Thursday, as snow was arriving across parts of the county, road crews were already out and beginning to plow and clear roadways, Shaul said. “We don't wait to get called out.”


Shaul said at this time of year, his road crews split their shifts in order to be available for weather-related calls.


Road crews were out all night long Thursday, sanding and plowing county roads in the wake of the snowfall. “We've got people sleeping today getting ready to go back out again tonight.”


He said road crews, which have six plows at their disposal, focus on major collectors and arterial roads, such as Bottle Rock Road, which tend to have more traffic. Subdivision roads are secondary.


Bottle Rock, the Diener Drive area and Kit's Corner all were problem spots Thursday night, with the California Highway Patrol reporting vehicles going off the roads in those areas.


An area at the top of Bottle Rock is consistently a problem, said Shaul, mostly because people tend to drive too fast even in difficult conditions.


Road crews also are dispatched to areas to help when accidents take place, said Shaul.


Although CHP reports from Thursday night indicated dozens of cars going off area roadways due to snow, Officer Mike Humble said Friday that no actual collisions were reported as a result of the weather.


“We only have one documented crash,” said Humble, explaining that the incident was not weather-related, because it took place in Nice, where no snow fell.


Humble said CHP managed OK Thursday night, with five units working plus some officers on overtime.


“This is part of our normal maximum enforcement deployment for the holidays,” Humble said.


Snow didn't prove a major concern for the cities of Lakeport and Clearlake, according to officials.


Lakeport's Public Works Department reported that no snow plowing had taken place, and Lakeport Police reported no accidents or other weather-related incidents.


Clearlake Police Lt. Mike Hermann said he knew of no snow falling within the city Thursday, but wet conditions led to slushy, muddy streets.


Sheriff Rod Mitchell said that, despite a busy night Thursday, “We did not have to increase staffing as a result of the weather.”


The snow did, however, impact the agency's response time to calls, Mitchell added.


Mitchell said the sheriff's office was anticipating more snow overnight Friday and, with it, more calls to their dispatch center.


Snow was again falling in parts of the county late Friday, with the CHP reporting snow sticking on Highway 20 near the Double Eagle Ranch outside of Clearlake Oaks. Rain was falling steadily along parts of the Northshore Friday evening.


Highways 20, 29 and 175 all were reported clear and free from chain restrictions in Lake County late Friday, according to Caltrans.


However, the county Department of Public Works reported that chains or four-wheel drive vehicles were required when driving on Elk Mountain or Bartlett Springs roads.


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


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Valerie LaBonte takes a walk through the snow in downtown Lakeport. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



LAKEPORT – It didn't exactly arrive in time for a "White Christmas," but snow began falling at lake level around 8 p.m. on Thursday evening, making road conditions hazardous in some parts of the county.


The snow was mixed with rain, with outdoor temperatures registering at 35 degrees and falling.


Other areas around Lakeport reported one-half inch of accumulation by 8 p.m. – along with numerous children out playing in the snow.


Unfortunately for the kids, school is already out of session this week so there's no chance of a "snow day."


The National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a snow advisory which will be in effect until 2 a.m. Friday morning for elevations down to 500 feet with an 80-percent chance of precipitation overnight tonight.


Friday will see a 50-percent chance of precipitation with highs near 47, according to the National Weather Service.


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


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LAKE COUNTY – Calpine Corp. has received the go ahead from a federal bankruptcy court judge to move forward with its reorganization plan, which includes emergence from bankruptcy early next year.


On Dec. 17 Judge Burton R. Lifland of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision confirming Calpine's Sixth Amended Joint Plan of Reorganization, company officials reported.


Lifland ruled that the company had met all of its statutory requirements necessary to confirm its plan, according to a statement from the company.


The ruling came less than a week after Calpine reported that 91 percent of its creditors voted in favor of the reorganization plan.


The federal bankruptcy court decision puts Calpine on track to emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy early next year, prior to Feb. 7, 2008, the company reported.


"We continue to be very proud of what we have been able to accomplish as we work to emerge as a financially stable, stand-alone company with an improved competitive position in the energy industry,” Calpine Chief Executive Officer Robert P. May said in a written statement.


Gregory L. Moody, Calpine's general counsel and chief restructuring officer, said in a written statement that the company's reorganization has been the largest and most complex conducted under the new bankruptcy laws.


Calpine filed the reorganization plan in federal court in June, a year and a half after it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2005, as Lake County News has reported.


In November, the Associated Press reported that Calpine plans to give up attempts to recover $2 billion in “preferential payments” that it made to businesses 90 days before its bankruptcy filing. Calpine, as a business in bankruptcy, could have filed to recover those funds under bankruptcy law.


Mel Scott, a Calpine spokesman, told Lake County News that Calpine's next step is to emerge from bankruptcy before the first week of January.


After the emergence, Scott said Calpine plans to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CPN, replacing the current symbol, CPNLQ.


The company, founded in 1984, owns 19 of 21 geothermal units in the 40-square-mile Geysers steamfield network, which is the world's largest geothermal facility, Dennis Gilles, Calpine's senior vice president for geothermal power operations, told Lake County News in an interview earlier this year.


In May Calpine announced that it planned to invest $200 million in its operation at The Geysers. That effort seeks to expand steam production and identify new sources of geothermal power, and replace geothermal turbines with more efficient models.


The Geysers plants generate 725 kilowatts of power, enough to supply 725,000 households, according to Giles, and employ 350 of the company's 2,300 workers.


Calpine reports that, companywide, it's capable of delivering nearly 24,000 megawatts of electricity in 18 states.


Since declaring bankruptcy, Calpine has sold off some of its holdings, but has maintained that its Lake County operations are core to its future plans and that The Geysers geothermal plants would not be sold.


On Dec. 17, following the court's ruling on the reorganization plan, May credited Calpine's employees for their hard work and dedication “during these uncertain and challenging times.”


“Calpine would not have been able to accomplish all that we have during our restructuring without the outstanding effort and commitment of our employees,” May said.


During the spring of 2006 court documents showed that Calpine cut its workforce by 975, but officials have told Lake County News they have to plans for further reductions.


The company still hasn't determined exactly how its emergence will happen, said Scott. The company continues to negotiate with all of its creditors, he added.


On Dec. 21 Calpine announced that it would issue warrants to purchase 50 million shares of its new common stock, or about 10 percent of the common stock to be issued pursuant to its reorganization plan, to holders of its currently outstanding common stock. Each warrant will represent the right to purchase a single share of Calpine's new common stock.


Calpine is also still figuring out how much its new stock will be worth based on a complex formula, said Scott.


On a possible stock value, Scott said, “It's a little early for us to try to provide that.”


However, a scenario in court documents suggests that if the company ultimately issues 500 million shares, stocks could be valued at $23.88 per share. Calpine's current stock is trading at 26 cents per share.


“We're ready to move forward at this point,” said Scott.


For more information or to see Calpine's court documents, visit www.calpine.com or www.kccllc.net/calpine/.


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


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LAKE COUNTY – Five people were arrested Thursday as part of an enforcement operation conducted by the Lake County Gang Task Force.


Lt. Dave Garzoli of the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported Friday that 17 local law enforcement officers from five different agencies took part in the operation, which targeted known or suspected members of criminal street gangs.


Participating agencies included the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Patrol and Investigations divisions, Lake County Sheriff’s Office Central Dispatch, Lakeport Police Department, Lake County Probation Department, California Highway Patrol and Lake County Narcotics Task Force.


Garzoli said the task force's activities Thursday took place at several locations in and around the Lakeport and Kelseyville areas, resulting in the five arrests.


The task force arrested 18-year-old student Armando Barajas Vasquez of Kelseyville for possession of a dangerous weapon with a gang member enhancement, Garzoli reported. Jail records indicated Vasquez's bail was set at $25,000. He remained in jail Friday night.


Two 16-year-old Hispanic male juveniles from Kelseyville also were arrested on probation violations, Garzoli reported.


Other arrestees included Brittney Leanne Amparo, 18, of Kelseyville for possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana in a motor vehicle; and Alfredo Corona-Ramirez, 20, a laborer from Finley, for obstructing/resisting a peace officer in performance of their duties.


Garzoli reported that the task force's mission is to gather intelligence on criminal street gangs, street gang members, and their associates and to conduct directed anti-gang law enforcement operations in effort to combat and suppress criminal street gangs and their influences in Lake County.


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


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Mark Johnson of McKinleyville was arrested following a semi truck crash Wednesday night. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

 

 

THE DRIVER'S AGE HAS BEEN CORRECTED BASED ON HIS BOOKING SHEET. 


PARADISE COVE – California Highway Patrol officers arrested a Humboldt County truck driver for allegedly driving drunk Wednesday night after he flipped a semi truck carrying a load of frozen crab.


Mark Johnson, 50, of McKinleyville was taken into custody following the crash along Highway 20 just west of Paradise Cove, said CHP Officer Rob Hearn, the investigator at the scene.


Hearn said Johnson was under the influence of alcohol while driving the big rig and trailer, which went off the road and down a short embankment.


The crash was reported to the CHP Dispatch center at about 9:40 p.m., according to CHP incident logs.


While driving eastbound, Johnson flipped the truck while emerging from a sharp curve in the road. “Due to his intoxication he entered the curve too fast,” said Hearn.


That caused Johnson to lose control of the truck, with investigators suggesting that the trailer may have flipped first, taking the cab with it. Johnson reportedly received only minor injuries.


The truck's trailer was filled with frozen Dungeness crabs, said Hearn. The crabs were contained in the trailer, with no signs of any seafood on the roadway.


Less than a gallon of diesel fuel was spilled, with emergency personnel managing to contain the rest of the fuel, said Hearn. There were no environmental concerns as a result, he added.


CHP was assisted at the scene by an engine and crew from Northshore Fire Protection District and another engine from Cal Fire's Clearlake Oaks station.


A semi tow truck arrived at the scene shortly before 11 p.m. to begin the job of removing the truck's wreckage.


CHP managed to keep the road open, using flares and traffic control to guide vehicles past the crash, which officials said was a crime scene.


CHP reported at 11:44 p.m. that the trucking company could not get to the scene for cleanup for at least five hours, and that they planned to dispose of all the cargo.


Officials decided that the five-hour wait was not sufficient, so a Cal Fire inmate crew was called to clean up, arriving after 1 a.m. The trucking company will be billed for removing the truck and cargo from the scene.


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

 

 

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The truck flipped over while coming out of a curve near Paradise Cove. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

 

 

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LAKE COUNTY – Christmas arrived just minutes after Santa Claus visited Lake County late Monday night.


Santa Claus' sleigh, pulled by his nine reindeer, was spotted over Lake County just moments before the stroke of midnight Monday, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command's (NORAD).


NORAD's radar system picked up the sleigh as it left Lake County and headed on to San Francisco and then to Southern California.


The Christmas Eve Santa Claus tracking effort officially ended at 1 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, as Santa and his reindeer finished his worldwide run in Hawaii and returned to the North Pole.


Santa's office issued a statement saying he'll be resting up and starting preparations for next year.


To see videos of his trip and the places he visited, go to www.noradsanta.org/en/home.htm.


Here's wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to our friends of all faiths.


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A snowman took shape in Lakeport Thursday night amidst the first winter snow. Photo by Ryan Eldredge.

 

LAKE COUNTY A snow advisory has been issued for Lake County and surrounding mountains overnight Friday and into Saturday morning.


At 4:17 p.m. Thursday the National Weather Service in Sacramento issued a snow advisory for Lake County and the surrounding mountains as another weather system moves through the area with both rain and snow forecast.


Cobb received 4 inches of snow Thursday night, while Clearlake received 1 inch according to the National Weather Service. They predict accumulations of up to 2 inches throughout the county Friday night.


Snow levels will be around 1,500 feet at first then rising to more than 4,000 feet by early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service states.


A snow advisory means that intermittent periods of snow may cause travel difficulties.


As reported earlier by Lake County News, numerous cases of cars sliding off area roadways were reported Thursday night following snow flurries.


The National Weather Service advises drivers to use caution on the roads and reduce speeds due to slippery road conditions and limited visibility.


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

 

 

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Pepper the Dalmation enjoys the snow at home in the Clear Lake Riviera. Pepper's people, Karin and James Green, sent in this photo.

 

 

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James and Karin Green's Chihuahua Chip samples the snow Thursday night. Courtesy photo.

 

 

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LAKEPORT – If it feels cold enough to snow this morning, you're right.


The National Weather Service in Sacramento says that Lakeport might see 1 to 2 inches of snow by Friday afternoon.


The below-freezing air that the National Weather Service predicted to flow into the county overnight will precede another weather system that will bring a 30-percent chance of rain after 10 a.m. this morning, with daytime highs in the low to mid 40s.


The National Weather Service is forecasting a 60-percent chance of precipitation overnight tonight in areas of Lake County, combined with lows in the 30s, which may turn to snow, with Lakeport seeing accumulations of up to 2 inches, and 3 to 5 inches at higher elevations.


Precipitation is expected to taper off by 10 a.m. Friday. according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to reach the mid to high 40s – so any snow that may occur overnight and into Friday morning will melt off before mid-day.


For the weekend in Lake County, the National Weather Service expects a 40- to 50-percent chance of rain on both Saturday and Sunday, with highs near 50 and lows in the mid 30s.


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


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LUCERNE – A Sunday night house fire destroyed a Lucerne home, officials reported Monday.


A two-story shake home located at 6369 13th Avenue caught fire late Sunday at about 10:30 p.m., with Northshore Fire Protection District firefighters dispatched shortly afterward, reported Fire Captain Dave Emmel.


Twelve firefighters and four engines from all of Northshore Fire's stations responded, said Emmel, along with mutual aid from Lakeport Fire Protection District.


The house's resident was home when the fire started, said Emmel, but she was able to escape without injury.


The fire was put out by 11:30 p.m., said Emmel, with mop up continuing until about 12:45 a.m.


“We saved a lot of the house but it's not livable,” he said. “It really is a complete loss.”


Emmel said he wasn't sure of the home's value. Zillow.com listed the home's value at just over $125,000.


The woman who lived in the home didn't tell firefighters how the fire might have started, said Emmel, and the cause is still under investigation.


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


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Upcoming Calendar

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06.07.2023 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Clearlake City Council special meeting
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