Thursday, 25 July 2024


The United Veterans Council's Military Funeral Honors Team at a recent funeral in Kelseyville. The group has been named among the beneficiaries of this year's Wine Auction. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY – Ten community organizations and agencies that work hard to make Lake County a better place have been chosen to receive the proceeds of this year's Wine Auction. {sidebar id=84}

Thirty-five groups applied for funding from the annual event, which over the last eight years has contributed more than $621,500 to local programs since the first event was held at Guenoc Winery in 2000, according to the Lake County Wine Alliance. The beneficiaries are selected by the Wine Alliance Board of Directors.

The beneficiaries from 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 Lake County Literacy Coalition and the fine arts programs at five Lake County high schools.

The Buckingham Junior Golf Program will receive support through the auction of golf balls to fund activities of the Lake County Junior Golf Council, the Wine Alliance reported.

The ninth annual Wine Auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Buckingham Golf and Country Club, Kelseyville. This year's gala charity benefit is chaired by Congressman Mike Thompson.

Military Funeral Honors Team chosen this year

This is the first year the United Veterans Council's Military Funeral Honors Team has received a grant, said Rich Rich Feiro, the team's firing party commander.

Feiro, who founded the group, said they've offered military honors at 490 funerals since May 2001, the year they started. A retired Air Force man, Feiro formed the group because he wanted to see veterans receive an honorable and proper military ceremony when they are laid to rest.

The team currently has 24 members, mostly retired vets, including four buglers, a chaplain, numerous riflemen and Feiro. The team is certified by the Department of Defense.

It costs the team about $5,000 a year to travel to do its solemn work, said Feiro. Demand is growing; this past month, they had 13 funerals, which is well above the average. Most are World War II vets, who reportedly are dying at a rate of 1,000 each day across the United States.

When a veteran dies, funeral homes ask the families if they want a military funeral. If they do, the funeral homes call Feiro, who then swings into action, scheduling the team and making contact with the branch of the military to which the vet belonged. That branch then sends an active duty member to the funeral.

The team performs a three-volley salute at the funerals, the symbolism of which is part of a long military tradition going back to Roman funeral rites, he said. In more recent wars, when truces were called for the purpose of burying the dead, volleys signified the work of burials was done. Since the Civil War, the playing of “Taps” has been a party of military funerals as well.

For each funeral, Feiro estimates he spends at least two hours doing paperwork and making arrangements, including sending off the veterans' information to the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense, who track veterans' death.

The riflemaster, he added, spends at least an hour per funeral cleaning and doing any needed repairs on the group's seven 1903-era Springfield rifles, which the government gave the team for free.

Feiro said the funds the group receives will be used for everything from repairs on the team's bus, to meeting rising gas prices, replacing uniforms and repairing the rifles which, because of their age, require expensive parts and repair.

The group accepts private donations and is seeking more grants like that from the Wine Auction to keep up their work, said Feiro. Donations may be made to the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team at P.O. Box 1365, Kelseyville, CA 95451.

“Every penny helps,” he said.

An important opportunity for children, horses

Susie Wiloth of Wiloth Equine Therapy and Riding Center said she was excited by the news of receiving a grant from the Wine Auction. She said she was guaranteed to receive at least $2,500 from the benefit. This is the first year she's applied.

The school, operating since May 1, 2006, is located in Lower Lake in the Noble Ranch Estates.

Wiloth's school provides about half of its riding sessions to the mainstream public, with the other half devoted to therapeutic sessions with special needs children around the county. Her school is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and can be found online at

Wiloth said she will take the funds from the Wine Auction and match them to provide more free therapeutic sessions for children.

She works with all seven school districts to provide – at no charge – the therapeutic sessions to children who need them, either at her main facility or at a rented arena space in Kelseyville. Her mainstream business helps support the therapeutic side, Wiloth explained, as do weekend fundraiser rides.

In addition to helping children, the school helps horses. Many of the horses taking part in the therapy work have been rescued and themselves rehabilitated, an effort Wiloth plans to increase in order to have more horses for her school.

Caring for Alzheimer's patients, families

Adult Day Care/Respite of Clearlake is a multi-year recipient of funds from the Wine Auction, having received awards in previous years, including last year, said Director Eva Johnson.

The program offers day care for Alzheimer's patients, including classes and activities, said Johnson. It also benefits families by giving them some time away from caregiving.

Johnson knows firsthand the struggle to care for an Alzheimer's patient. Her husband was diagnosed in 1984 with Alzheimer's, a disease which wracked his family, including most of his siblings. He fought a losing, 13-year battle with the disease, dying in 1997.

“The year he died was the year I started the program up in Clearlake,” she said.

The program offers two days of care in Clearlake, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at St. John's Lutheran Church. It's affiliated program in Lucerne offers a day of care on Thursdays, also at the Lutheran Church.

They have activities for clients, including projects like flower arranging, said Johnson.

She said of the clients, “We have them for a short time, but it allows them to have a place where they can have a special time.”

Johnson is also concerned about the increase in Alzheimer's cases that may result from the large baby boomer generation.

The day care and respite program is under the umbrella of the Senior Support Services program based at the Upper Lake Senior Center, located in the old courthouse on Mendenhall and First, Johnson said.

Johnson said the program is mostly volunteer, and more volunteers are needed. She also has a few paid staffers.

She said gets calls all the time from people seeking help, although she said she's troubled that most families still don't know about the services available to help them.

“It is a wonderful program and I'm very proud of it and how it's developed,” she said.

Many other worthy groups included

Other projects named as beneficiaries of this year's event include:

The Arts: Kids 4 Broadway will provide tuition scholarships for children ages 6-14 to participate in productions and learn the discipline of working in the theater; fine arts and performing arts programs at Clear Lake High School, Kelseyville High School, Lower Lake High School, Middletown High School, and Upper Lake High School.

Health: Lake County Special Olympics will use its funding to purchase sports equipment, uniforms and training supplies, and provide transportation to out-of-county competitions. Hospice Services of Lake County will continue its high quality, end-of-life care for all who need its assistance.

Community: Church Women United continues to provide shoes for school-age children in need. Operation Tango Mike prepares and ships care packages to Lake County residents deployed in military combat zones. The Lake Family Resource Center will operate separate summer camps for young men and women ages 12 through 17. The Lake County Literacy Coalition will train more tutors to serve adults needing help with reading and writing English.

The Lake County Wine Alliance is a nonprofit organization of wineries, winegrape growers and community members founded in 2000, according to a group statement. The all-volunteer group raises funds to benefit “the arts, health and community” of Lake County while promoting Lake County’s fine wines and its premier grape growing region.

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LAKE COUNTY – In the most recently reported campaign financing period, candidates in the three supervisorial races raised just under two-thirds of the total funds they've accumulated so far this year, according to campaign finance documents.

The filings, due from all candidates last week and submitted to the Lake County Registrar of Voters, covered the period from March 18 through May 17 with additional tallies for 2008 thus far.

The nine candidates across three supervisorial districts raised a total of $22,873.19 in this reporting period, and $35,127.67 for the entire year to date thus far, documents showed.

Total expenditures for all candidates reached $21,702.52 for March through May, and $29,435.43 for the year.

Raising the most money across all campaigns for both the year and the two-month reporting period was James Comstock of Middletown, running for the District 1 supervisorial seat. So far this year Comstock has raised $11,519.19, with $9,727.19 accumulated during the latest reporting period.

The second-largest amount raised for the year so far was accumulated by Robert Stark, who is challenging incumbent Rob Brown for the District 5 supervisorial seat. Stark raised $5,025 from March through May, and $6,125.22 for the year.

District 1 Supervisor hopeful Susanne La Faver raised the third-highest amount for the year among all candidates, $5,998.26, as well as the third-highest amount for the reporting period, $3,704.

Brown has spent the most so far this year of any candidate – $9,335.08 – nearly twice the next-highest spender, Comstock, at $5,773.86. Brown said he had raised money last year which was held over for this spring's expenditures. Brown raised $3,961 this spring and $1,523 from March through May.

Incumbent District 4 Supervisor Anthony Farrington, who is running unopposed, raised no money in either the reporting period or the rest of the year.

The following are basic breakdowns of total amounts raised and expenditures for the two-month reporting period. Contributions of $100 or more that must be listed per election rules also are included.



Total raised this reporting period: $9,727.19 ($200 in loans)

Expenditures this reporting period: $5,240.57

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $11,519.19 ($700 in loans)

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $5,773.86

Contributions received: William A. Throop, Calpine power plant tech, Clearlake, $100; Peter Luchetti, cattle rancher/Luchetti Ranch, Sausalito, $5,000; Larry Menzio, Menzio Tire, Middletown, $150; Michael R. Wilson, chief executive officer of Bi-Coastal Media, Hidden Valley Lake, $200; Bill Djernes, cattle rancher/Djernes Cattle Co., Middletown, $150; Rudy Smith, grape grower for Mount St. Helena Vineyard, Middletown, $1,000; Richard Traverso, retired, Hillsborough, $200; Fletcher Thornton Sr., Judo instructor/Middletown Judo Club, Middletown, $250; Helen Esaacson, housewife, Middletown, $250; J. Kurt Steil, retired, Middletown, $1,000; Ron Minudri, insurance broker/Minudri Insurance, Kelseyville, $100; David L. James, retired, Clearlake Oaks, $500; Ken C. Porter, contractor/Kimco Development, Hidden Valley Lake, $250.


Total raised this reporting period: $800

Expenditures this reporting period: $315.28

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $1,800 ($1,000 in loans)

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $851.21

Contributions: Robert Riggs, attorney, Kelseyville, $500; Patricia Dornbush, retired, Santa Rosa, $300.


Total raised this reporting period: $1,000

Expenditures this reporting period: $1,497

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $2,970

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $2,386

Contributions: Patrick M. Clark, self-employed/handyman, Lower Lake, $200; Larry Boardman, LT Boardman Enterprises, Finley, $400; Hollis Hadley, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Lower Lake, $400.


Total raised this reporting period: $3,704

Expenditures this reporting period: $4,003.23

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $5,998.26 ($257.26 in nonmonetary contributions)

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $5,446.89

Contributions: Wendy White, retired, Glenhaven, $100; Beverly A. Norton, retired, Sacramento, $299; Terri Anne Chase, IS director/Ritz Food Services, Hidden Valley Lake, $100; David James, retired, Clearlake Oaks, $500; Lois M. Moore, professor/University of San Francisco, Novato, $250; Christopher Layton, owner/Christopher's Inn and Pine Grove, Calistoga, $250; Marilyn G. Davin, freelance writer/editor, Ferndale, $100; Robert Riggs, attorney, Kelseyville, $1,000; South Lake Democratic Club, Clearlake, $100; National Women's Political Caucus of California, Oxnard, $500; Pacific Gas and Electric Co., San Francisco, $100.


Total raised this reporting period: $1,044 ($200 in nonmonetary contributions)

Expenditures this reporting period: $984.28

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $2,044 ($200 in nonmonetary contributions)

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $984.28

Contributions: John Amdt, Lower Lake, $100; Brian Fisher, Kelseyville, $150; RAH Signs and Outdoor Media, Hidden Valley Lake, $200 worth of magnet signs (nonmonetary contribution).


Total raised this reporting period: $50

Expenditures this reporting period: $800.99

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $710 ($20 in nonmonetary contributions)

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $1,868.68

Contributions: None listed over $100.



Total raised this reporting period: $0

Expenditures this reporting period: $782.81

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $0

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $782.81

Contributions: None.



Total raised this reporting period: $1,523

Expenditures this reporting period: $6,506.43

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $3,961

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $9,335.08

Contributions: Citizens Anti-Crime Committee, Rancho Santa Margarita, $500; Don Emerson, retired, Cobb, $200; William Kearney, pharmacist, Lakeport, $200; Jim Jonas, petroleum distributor, Lower Lake, $100; Michael Lampson, retired, Kelseyville, $100; Steven Ellis, rancher, Lower Lake, $100.


Total raised this reporting period: $5,025

Expenditures this reporting period: $1,571.93

Total raised calendar year-to-date: $6,125

Expenditures for calendar year-to-date: $2,006.83

Contributions: Wendy White, retired, Glenhaven, $100; Robert Riggs, attorney, Kelseyville, $500; Therese Nelson, retired, Cobb, $100; Thomas Slaight, retired, Cobb, $500; KW Homes, contractor, Cobb, $250; Rendee Burns, Realtor, Cobb, $100; Robert Morrison, retired, Sunnyvale, $300; Bill Sullivan, retired, Cobb, $100; Milt Andreason, retired, Cobb, $100; South Lake Democratic Committee, Clearlake, $100; California United Homecare Workers Political Action Committee, San Bernardino, $1,000; Patricia Keel, retired, Cobb, $100; Thomas Slaight, retired, Cobb, $500; Stephen Klein, librarian, Long Beach, $200; Rob Roy Golf Club, Cobb, $250; Elaine Robinson, retired, Cobb, $100; Steven Zalusky, retired, Cobb, $250.

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CLEARLAKE – Federal officials conducted raids on several medical marijuana dispensaries around Northern California on Wednesday, including one in Clearlake. {sidebar id=81}

Ken Estes' Holistic Solutions on Olympic Drive was the site of an enforcement action by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, accompanied by the Lake County Narcotic Task Force.

The Clearlake dispensary, along with other dispensaries Estes manages in San Mateo and Richmond, as well as the homes of his managers and grow sites in Oakland, San Leandro and Humboldt County, were targeted, according to a statement from California's chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Lt. Mike Hermann of Clearlake Police confirmed that the raid took place, but said the department wasn't directly involved. DEA, he said, notified the department that their agents were in town for the operation.

One Clearlake Police officer who is on the Lake County Narcotic Task Force was present, Hermann said.

The Lake County Narcotic Task Force referred questions about the Wednesday action to DEA.

A brief statement issued by the DEA to Lake County News confirmed that an “enforcement operation” had taken place, but added that all documents relating to it were under court seal.

“Searches were conducted at several locations throughout the Bay Area and Northern California,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña said in the statement. “Items of evidentiary value were seized from these locations. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.”

Dave McCullick, whose D&M Compassion Center has been in Clearlake for the last two years, said his business partner, Matthew Ward, witnessed the DEA at Estes' business in the early afternoon.

Lake County News was unable to reach Estes Thursday. McCullick said Holistic Solutions has been in Clearlake for three years, and in its current location on Olympic Drive for less than a year.

California NORML and McCullick called what took place at Holistic Solutions a “smash and grab” where agents take all the operation's cannabis and patient records, along with any money on hand or in bank accounts.

“The last couple of years when they've been doing the busts, people aren't arrested or even charged,” McCullick said.

McCullick said there's no rhyme or reason to why certain dispensaries are targeted, and the DEA hasn't indicated why they pursue some rather than others. Based purely on manpower, McCullick said he doesn't believe DEA can get to all of the state's numerous dispensaries.

The California NORML statement noted that Estes “believes that the raids were initiated on the tip of a former associate who was facing a lengthy federal sentence on cultivation charges.”

McCullick said his business hasn't had any issues with the DEA.

Nor has had he had any problems with Clearlake Police, according to McCullick, who said he has worked to keep the lines of communication open with Police Chief Allan McClain as well as with other local officials.

However, last October, the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized nearly 100 marijuana plants from his business partner's home in Lakeport. Ward, who was at the compassion center when the raid took place, maintained that the plants were part of a legal medical marijuana grow.

A few months earlier, in August 2007, the FBI seized 30 mature plants from the Lakeport home of Howard Holtz, as Lake County News reported.

McCullick pointed to the ongoing friction between state and federal law, which he says is placing both medical marijuana patients and law enforcement in the middle. Dispensaries like his, he said, are just trying to give patients access to good, safe medicine.

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LAKEPORT – A longtime former city department head has died.

Larry Jack, 64, who served as Lakeport's finance and parks director for many years, died at his home in Puerto Rico late last week, said City Attorney Steve Brookes.

Jack was to be brought back to Lake County over the weekend, said Brookes, with funeral services to take place sometime this coming week.

Brookes said Jack joined the city's finance department around 1980, working his way up to leading finance and parks before he retired in 2002. During that time, he oversaw a significant portion of the city's growth, and would become one of the longest-serving city department heads.

Jack, a graduate of Pepperdine University, moved to Lakeport in the late 1970s, after having worked at Hughes Aircraft in Southern California, said Brookes.

He was good with numbers and also brought a sense of humor to his work, Brookes added.

While keeping busy in city government, Jack also found time to be a volunteer fireman, said Brookes.

Jack helped hire former Police Chief Tom Engstrom, who remembered Jack as a wonderful person to work with, a professional and “a great guy.” Engstrom expressed shock and sadness at his death.

“He's basically responsible for bringing me here to Lakeport, which is probably one of the best things that has ever happened in our family's life,” said Engstrom.

Jack's responsibilities made him close to being a city manager, said Engstrom. The city hired its first official city manager, Randy Johnsen, in 2001.

Engstrom recalled Jack's professionalism as he guided police chief candidates – including Engstrom – through the interview process. Serving as police chief in Soledad at the time, Engstrom said Jack visited the community to do a background check, and kept him up-to-date on what was happening when.

“So we got to know each other pretty well,” said Engstrom, who was a guest at Jack's wedding to his wife, Nidia.

Nidia Jack is originally from Puerto Rico, but the couple met in Lake County. Engstrom said Larry Jack purchased land in Puerto Rico and dreamed of building a home there after retirement, which he did. Jack showed Engstrom plans for his home – a concrete, hurricane-proof building – with views of the ocean.

Brookes said Jack had been in Puerto Rico about three years, and they had kept in touch. Engstrom said Jack extended invitations to all of his friends to come and visit him at his new home.

Engstrom said Jack was a good guy and a good family man, with two grown children – a son and a daughter. “He was very proud of his kids.”

Engstrom said he'll miss his friend, who gave him the opportunity to come to Lakeport. “I'll always be grateful to him for that.”

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KELSEYVILLE – As sheriff's officials continue their work into a stabbing that occurred in Kelseyville two weeks ago, the young man who was wounded is on the mend, but his mother said the stab wound he received came close to being fatal.

Loren Uriarte, 20, was stabbed by an as-yet unidentified assailant in an incident that happened in the early morning hours of May 16 in downtown Kelseyville.

His mother, Christine Diener, said her son was hospitalized, underwent surgery and is now recovering at home in Kelseyville. But if the knife had hit an inch or so in any direction from its contact point in Uriarte's stomach, the story might have ended differently.

Uriarte and friends Darrin Sullivan and Josh Ponce were at Uriarte's home that night watching movies when they received a phone call from Sullivan's father, Dave, who asked them to come to Kelseyville to give him a ride home. He had been having drinks and said he couldn't drive.

Kim Sullivan, Dave Sullivan's wife, confirmed her son and his friends went to pick up his father at about 11:30 p.m. May 15.

The three young men got into Ponce's new Honda Accord and headed down to Kelseyville to pick up Sullivan at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro, said Diener.

When they arrived, they found a melee – a fight with numerous individuals and Sullivan on the ground being kicked, said Diener.

As the three young men jumped out of the car, they yelled, “We don't want to fight!” A large man, standing about 6 feet, 2 inches tall, ran toward them, said Diener.

Ponce got back in the car. Meanwhile, Uriarte was “clocked” in the face by the large man and went down on the ground, Diener said. When Uriarte got back up that's when he was stabbed in the stomach by an unidentified assailant.

On instinct, he ran back to the car, clutching his stomach, but not quite sure of what happened, according to his mother. While Uriarte was in the car, Diener said the large man started hitting and kicking the car.

At the scene Darrin Sullivan also was punched, said Kim Sullivan.

Ponce drove Uriarte to his grandmother's Kelseyville home, where an ambulance was called to take him to Sutter Lakeside Hospital.

As Uriarte was at the hospital, his mother called the hospital about 1 a.m. and they put her son on the phone, she said.

She said his wound was located on the left side of his abdomen, a few inches from his belly button.

He underwent a four-hour surgery later that morning, in which doctors removed 6 inches from his small intestine, said Diener.

The doctors told the family that the stabbing was done with “great force,” and that if the weapon had struck to the right side of the stomach rather than the left, it could have perforated the liver or the major artery.

Uriarte was hospitalized for five days at Sutter Lakeside, whose staff his mother praised for their care and attention to her son. He's now home, still recovering.

Dr. Keith Long also was present at the scene, officials confirmed, but he has offered little comment other than to say he was “jumped” during the fight.

Because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, the sheriff's office has not offered specifics relating to others involved or their role in the situation that night.

However, Sheriff Rod Mitchell said Friday that progress is being made on the case.

“There's still some significant steps that need to be taken,” he said, before the investigation is concluded.

That includes more interviews, including another with Uriarte, he said.

Diener said her son initially spoke with a sheriff's office patrol deputy at the hospital in the early morning hours of May 16.

Kim Sullivan said sheriff's investigators interviewed her son and husband early on May 16 also, and followed up with them on Friday.

Dave Sullivan was off from work for four or five days, Kim Sullivan said, and has been suffering from headaches.

Mitchell said he's confident the case will reach a conclusion.

“We will be submitting this to the District Attorney,” he said.

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THE GEYSERS – Residents from Cobb to Kelseyville and as far south as the Bay Area reported feeling one of the county's largest quakes this year which occurred late Thursday.

The US Geological Survey reported a 4.1-magnitude, 0.7-mile-deep earthquake occurred at 9:48 p.m. three miles southeast of The Geysers, four miles west of Anderson Springs and five miles south southwest of Cobb.

The big quake was preceded by approximately 16 seconds by a smaller, 3.-5 magnitude quake centered two miles east southeast of The Geysers. That quake was not added to the US Geological Records until later in the day Friday.

Cobb resident Roger Kinney reported the quake lasted about six to eight seconds. After it began there was a lull and then the motion increased again, he said.

A series of smaller earthquakes followed within an hour, with the largest being a 2.6-magnitude temblor centered two miles east of The Geysers, according to the US Geological Survey.

A total of 105 reports were made to the US Geological Survey by people who felt the large quake, most of whom – approximately 20 – were in Middletown. The area with the second-highest number of reports was Healdsburg, with 18. The San Francisco area also had numerous reports from those who felt the evening temblor.

According to Lake County News records, this is only the second quake of 4.0 magnitude or above to occur in the county this year.

Another quake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale occurred on Feb. 23, one mile north of The Geysers.

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Artist John Clarke draws the winning ticket for his "Golden Gate" lithograph at Inspirations Gallery Sunday, as Kathy Fowler (center) and Gail Salituri look on. Photo by Sheri Salituri.

LAKEPORT – The first drawing in a memorial fundraiser for the county's domestic violence shelter campaign was held Sunday.

Artist Gail Salituri held the LaForge Memorial Fund drawing at her Inspirations Gallery, located at 165 N. Main St.

Gloria Flaherty, executive director of Lake Family Resource Center – which is spearheading the Freedom House domestic violence shelter effort – and businesswoman Kathy Fowler, secretary of the Lake Family Resource Center Board of Directors, were on hand for the afternoon drawing.

Watercolor artist John Clarke of Kelseyville drew the winning raffle ticket for a lithograph of his painting, “Golden Gate.” The winner is Karen D'Bernardi of Kelseyville.

Having Clarke be a part of the fundraiser was meaningful to Salituri, who said Clarke has been featured in her gallery for eight years.

“He is one of the most creative artists of today,” she said. “His paintings are magical, whimsical and unique. He is a true asset to our gallery.”

Clarke is known for using an eye-catching watercolor on silk technique, applying a watercolor block to hold some colors in place and other times, using various forms of alcohol to create movement and texture, Salituri explained.

“I admire John's willingness to create works of arts for various venues such as the Lake County Wine Alliance, and now our cause, the LaForge Memorial, to benefit The Freedom House,” she added.

Roger Rynearson won the silent auction for Salituri's original oil, “Lake County Hills Spring Bloom,” painted specially for the fundraiser.

The fundraiser, which began in April, has so far raised about $1,300 for the shelter effort, in memory of Salituri's friend and artist, Barbara LaForge. Over the weekend alone, $125 in raffle tickets were raised through the help of Marie Beery at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville, Salituri said.

“We met our goal on the first auction and raffle,” she said. “The support of Kathy Fowler and Gloria Flaherty has been a gift to us. The general public who is supporting this cause is helping to build the shelter.”

She also thanked the Lake County Arts Council for sharing their First Friday Fling last month with Salituri and Fowler, who spoke about the fundraiser at the event. Salituri also thanked the Saw Shop for showing and selling raffle tickets and extended thanks to all who have participated so far.

“Every day I am surprised by a cash donation from family and friends,” she said. “Thank you to all who made this first raffle and auction happen.”

Salituri's goal is to raise a total of $5,000 by Christmas time. She's already warming up her brushes, planning to offer more of her original works in the months ahead.

The next drawing will be Aug. 1, said Salituri.

Two items will be offered in the August raffle; "America's Pride,” a Thomas Kinkade print, custom-framed, measuring 14 inches by 17 inches, with a value of $350; and a custom-framed beveled mirror, 24 inches by 30 inches, valued at $650.

For the silent auction, Salituri will offer another of her original oils, “Overlooking Carmel, Monterey Pine,” measuring 8 inches by 10 inches. The painting, valued at $475, has an opening bid of $100.


For the Oct. 1 drawing, offerings include a custom-framed lithograph of Clarke's “Cable Car,” valued at $400; a framed photograph by Lyle Madeson, valued at $250; and Salituri's “A View of Lake County,” a 12-inch by 16-inch original oil with a value of $800.

The final raffle of the year will take place on Dec. 1. For that event, The Kitchen Gallery has donated a silver tray, the Gilliam Estate has offered various prints and Salituri will offer an original oil depicting koi, measuring 8 inches by 10 inches, and valued at $475.

Salituri is working to raise the profile of the shelter campaign, and do her part to bring it closer to reality.

Efforts like Salituri's are important to the shelter campaign, said Flaherty. They show community support, which is critical as Lake Family Resource Center pursues more grants.

Tickets for the raffles will be available at Inspirations Gallery, 165 N. Main St., Lakeport; Lake Family Resource Center, 896 Lakeport Blvd., Lakeport; and the Lakeport Chamber of Commerce, 875 Lakeport Blvd.

For more information call Salituri at Inspirations Gallery, 263-4366, or visit her Web page,

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LAKEPORT – A fundraiser event to benefit the county's domestic violence shelter building campaign will take place Sunday.

Artist Gail Salituri will hold a drawing at her Inspirations Gallery on Main Street at 2 p.m. Sunday as part of her Barbara LaForge Memorial Fund, which is assisting in raising funds for Lake Family Resource Center's shelter building effort.

The Sunday drawing will announce the winner of a raffle for a lithograph of artist John Clarke's watercolor “Golden Gate.” Clarke will draw the winning ticket, Salituri reported Friday.

A silent auction for Salituri's original oil “Lake County Hills Spring Bloom,” also will end on that day.

In addition, she will announce the art that will be available in the next silent auction, which will end in the late summer.

Salituri began the effort earlier this spring in honor her friend, Barbara LaForge, who was murdered in 2002.

For the remainder of the year Salituri plans to hold raffles and silent auctions to raise funds for the shelter.

Tickets for the raffles will be available at Inspirations Gallery, 165 N. Main St., Lakeport; Lake Family Resource Center, 896 Lakeport Blvd., Lakeport; and the Lakeport Chamber of Commerce, 875 Lakeport Blvd.

For more information call Salituri at Inspirations Gallery, 263-4366, or visit her Web page,

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


KELSEYVILLE – Two weeks after a confrontation in downtown Kelseyville resulted in a stabbing, authorities continue to try to get answers about who was responsible for the assault.

As Lake County News first reported early last week, the stabbing occurred in the early morning hours of May 16 on Kelseyville's Main Street.

Chief Deputy James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said a 20-year-old man was hospitalized with a stab wound following the confrontation, which was not gang-related. The victim reportedly underwent surgery.

But despite the fact that there were as many as four people listed as victims in the event – including the young man who was stabbed – and at least seven more who were witnesses, Bauman said getting straight answers from those involved has been a challenge.

“We haven't gotten to the bottom of it,” he said.

The confrontation appears to have involved different parties of adults who were out having dinner and drinks that evening at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro, according to accounts Lake County News has received on the case.

The incident reportedly resulted from words that were exchanged between individuals in the various parties, leading to a physical fight that involved both male and female participants. The stabbing victim and another young man were caught up in the situation after having arrived there with the intent of giving a ride home to a subject who had been drinking.

However, as Lake County News approached various people who had reportedly been present that night or who had family members involved, they said they were unable to comment due to the ongoing investigation.

Kim Sullivan, whose husband, Dave, was injured that night would only confirm that he was recovering.

A staffer with the office of dentist Dr. Keith Long, who had been having dinner that night with friends before the confrontation took place, said Long “was jumped and he wants it to all just go away.”

Likewise, sheriff's investigators continue to have trouble getting clear information from witnesses and victims, including the young man who was stabbed, Bauman said.

Because stories haven't remained consistent, the case remains a challenge, Bauman said.

“It is still pending,” he said. “We have not given up and the Investigations Branch is still working on it.”

Anyone with information on the case should call the Lake County Sheriff's Office at 262-4200.

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


I was in The Kitchen Gallery in downtown Lakeport (I’ll cover them another day) and I asked if they knew of anyone who sharpened knives locally. The woman behind the counter mentioned a man who could “do miracles with knives” and scribbled a name and number on the back of a card.

Being a cynic I thought, “Miracles? Yeah, right.” I mean, I still needed my knives sharpened, but I certainly wasn’t expecting a revelation.

So I called the man whose name was on the card, Richard Ethridge, and brought him my first round of knives.

He’s an open and very interesting person. Spending his youth in the Marine Corps and hanging out in San Francisco at the height of the Haight-Ashbury days, Ethridge is something of a free spirit and nomad. He got into knife sharpening in 1968 and fell in love with it.

“Steel makes sense to me,” he said.

With that talent under his belt he started wandering from place to place around the country, doing odd sharpening jobs to support himself, and picking up and leaving whenever he wanted to move on.

When he was in his 40s, Ethridge apprenticed with Exclusive Cutlery in San Francisco for two and a half years. He then worked for some of the large clothing manufacturers in the city, sharpening their tools.

He is now retired but likes to keep his hand in the sharpening business. And he does it for the love and the art and the craftsmanship of it, not just to make a buck.

Ethridge is an artist as well as a master craftsman, working in pencil, pastels, photography and graphic design, in addition to the metalwork. “But I always come back to working with steel,” he said.

He does all his work freehand, by feel and eye, something most people don’t do anymore. But just how good are his sharpening skills?

A couple of days after I dropped off my first batch of knives, he called me to say that they were done. When I arrived to pick them up he showed them to me, and not only were they exceptionally sharp but they were polished and more beautiful than the day that I bought them.

Then he demonstrated to me just how sharp they were by shaving the hair off a spot on his arm. Which makes me wonder, how is it anybody in the cutlery industry has any hair left on their arms?

That evening as I started dinner preparations I pulled out one of the newly sharpened knives and was absolutely amazed – no, not amazed – struck with fear at how sharp my knives had become. I mean, in the kitchen the knife is my tool, to do what I command, yet right then I had respect for the blade’s ability.

All I had to do was point my knife at an eggplant and just out of sheer terror it immediately fell apart into perfect slices, as if it would rather fall apart of its own free will rather that feel the blade. Maybe that is an exaggeration, but seriously, the knives Ethridge worked on are so sharp that they slide through their tasks without effort.

I have since brought to Ethridge every kind of knife I have to be sharpened: chef’s knives, filet knives, paring knives, even some of my favorite gardening tools like my asparagus knife, and my prized Japanese machete. My daughter even had him polish and sharpen her woodworking tools. Every time, I’m stunned with the beauty and the quality of the job.

I’m convinced that if you were to give Ethridge a rusty harmonica he could return it to you as a razor sharp kitchen tool that could still be in tune (not that you would want to have it near your mouth in any way)!

There are people everywhere who do a great job at what they do and I appreciate every one of them, but very rarely can I call someone a “master craftsman” without any hesitation or fear of overstatement like I can with Ethridge. He not only makes knives work to their full potential, but he also beautifies them beyond expectation.

Since he’s retired now and works in his own small space, Ethridge can’t really manage large items like swords or saws. He prefers to do fine cutlery restoration, to work with knives, scissors, clippers, and smaller garden tools.

His prices are very reasonable, especially considering the quality job he does. So reasonable that I have never asked him how much a job would be, I just ask him “What do I owe you?” when it’s time to pick up my knives. If the job is big enough, say a beauty shop or cooking school, he can do the work at their site, but with the cost of gas and everything I wouldn’t expect him to come to my house for my small amount of knives.

Ethridge is on my list of true hidden jewels of the county, and we are far richer to have him here.

You can get your knives sharpened with Ethridge by calling him at 707-631-1772. His place in Nice is easy to find in a beautiful park, 2570 Lakeshore Dr. No. A-3.

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.


SACRAMENTO Assemblywoman Patty Berg was batting a perfect 1000 last week, earning support for every bill she took up during a marathon floor session as legislators raced to meet a key deadline that means life or death to their bills.

Berg, D-Eureka, sent four bills to the state Senate during the session that ran from 9 in the morning until 10 at night. The long meetings are in keeping with the “house of origin” deadline: Assembly bills that fail to emerge from the Assembly before the gavel falls Thursday can no longer be considered during this year, the final year of a two-year session.

Berg won approval for a bill that requires doctors to give desired information to their dying patients; a bill that fights Medicare insurance scams; a bill that encourages medical students to study geriatrics; and a bill that would empower the state to help collect financial penalties from spouse abusers.

“It was a very good day,” Berg said last week, tired from the long session. “I think we made progress.”

Joining her package of bill that had previously been sent to the Senate were:

– AB 2487, which would help victims of domestic violence by using the state’s existing collections tools to help recoup civil judgments. Too often, said Berg, victims of violence are left destitute, even if they win a judgment against their abuser. The state’s Department of Health Services estimates that 1 in 5 women who went hungry for lack of money in the last decade also was a victim of domestic partner violence.

– AB 2543, which would help physicians and other health professionals repay their student loans in exchange for a commitment to serve the state’s growing elder population. Right now, there is only one board-certified geriatrician for every 4,000 Californians over the age of 65. Similar statistics are cited regarding specially trained nurses and social workers.

“The Baby Boom generation is on the verge of retirement and old age,” said Berg. “We have to have a workforce that’s ready to deal with that.”

– AB 2842, modeled on a law in Maine that puts restrictions on the way insurance agents can deal with seniors when they try to sell prescription drug plans as part of the federal Medicare Part D program. This is one of three bills Berg is authoring that deal with the way seniors are targeted in the financial and insurance marketplaces.

– AB 2747, which requires health care providers to answer the questions of their dying patients, when the patients want to know their options. Studies have shown that too often doctors resist talking about dying and death with their patients because of a professional culture that considers death a failure. Berg says dying people are better served when they are allowed to know the details of treatment options and pain management that other patients have received during their final days.

“Now, it’s on to the Senate, and then to the governor’s desk,” said Berg, who will leave the Assembly later this year, having served the three terms allowed under the state’s term-limits law.


A REACH air ambulance lands at Upper Lake County Park on Wednesday afternoon during the mass casualty incident, a drill for emergency responders. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


UPPER LAKE It's a horrifying scenario: At the finish line of a triathlon event where hundreds of spectators are gathered, a multi-vehicle auto collision takes place. There are dozens of injuries, numerous deaths and utter pandemonium. {sidebar id=78}

That was the carefully choreographed disaster situation played out at Upper Lake County Park on Wednesday afternoon. The object was to give local and state agencies an opportunity to evaluate how they work together in emergency situations.

The Lake County Office of Emergency Services conducted the mass casualty incident in cooperation with numerous other agencies, among them Northshore Fire, Lake County Fire and Kelseyville Fire Protection districts; California Highway Patrol; Lake County Sheriff's Office; Cal Fire; the state Office of Emergency Services. Caltrans officials also were on scene to help control traffic past the park, which was a concern, with some drivers stopping to take a look at the action.

Before the exercise started at 3 p.m., volunteers decked out in fake blood, make up to create wounds such as compound fractures and, in some cases, prosthetics illustrating severely injured limbs went over their parts in the drama. Moaning, groaning and other realistic touches were encouraged.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia said that the scenario included 18 simulated fatalities, 40 major traumas, 25 delayed traumas (meaning major injuries that are not life-threatening) and 25 walking wounded, all of which were attended to by emergency personnel.

Agency incident commanders were Northshore Battalion Chief Pat Brown, Chief Deputy James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office and CHP Sgt. Dave Stark.

During the first 30 minutes, Brown was furiously directing first responders, adjusting directions and writing plans on a white board on the side of his Northshore Fire vehicle.

He said after the drill that his scribe a note taker assigned to keep track of his instructions came away with four pages of handwritten notes.

Those notes, and the event itself, will help Brown and other emergency responders fine-tune their local incident command system.

Brown carries an Incident Command System chart with him at all times. He said it's the basis of how response is organized for any major incident, be it fire or vehicle crash.

The system was developed in California 30 years ago, but isn't used universally. That's what Brown discovered when he was in New York City in 2001 to assist with recovery operations after Sept. 11.

Following a trip through a decontamination tent where simulated chemicals and fuel were removed volunteer victims were to be transported to medical facilities, Garcia said.



Volunteer victim Mireya Turner is wheeled into a decontamination tent, where victims in a hazmat situation are cleaned of chemicals or other hazardous materials. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


One of the event's organizers, Lake County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Willie Sapeta said Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Redbud Community Hospital, Ukiah Valley Medical Center and Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits each would receive a set of victimsfive major, five minor and five delayed while the simulated casualties would be taken to mortuaries.

Helicopters began landing shortly before 4:15 p.m., led by a REACH air ambulance and a Cal Fire helicopter, with a CHP helicopter landing about 15 minutes later.

State Office of Emergency Services officials also were a part of the afternoon event.

George Lowry, assistant chief of communications, and Memoree McIntire, an emergency services coordinator whose area of responsibility includes Lake County, were at the scene.

Lowry said he offered technical support to the participants on communications issues.

McIntire acted as one of several evaluators who monitored the agencies' coordinated performance, including how the command post was set up and how the line of communication from the incident commanders to all of their personnel worked.

Overall, the group did well, she said.

"They know where some of their downfalls were but, overall, they were really good," she said.

McIntire said counties don't have to have the exercises annually, but should have them every few years.



Volunteers posed as crash victims who were tended by emergency personnel. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


Lowry said the Homeland Security Exercise Evaluation Program gives grant funding for events such as the one on Wednesday. Prior to Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency also had preparedness programs, he said.

Sapeta said the exercise was the culmination of seven months of planning, and cost about $15,000, which was paid for by the Homeland Security grant funds.

Officials were due to have a "hot wash" meeting after the exercise, which McIntire explained was a time to talk about how everything worked. From there, they'll create an action plan to address areas that need improvement.



One of the event's incident commanders, Pat Brown (second from left) discusses the situation with incident staff. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



Garcia said the last multi-agency exercise was held last summer at Konocti Conservation Camp. That event's scenario concerned a simulated crash involving a busload of school children.

Since that last exercise, the fire districts have a whole different group of first responders due to high turnover, said Sapeta. Getting those new personnel a chance to practice together is important.

"We'll focus on next year's training based on what our deficits were," he said.



Volunteer victims in the simulated crash at the scene before first responders arrive. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins said that the last time a large, multi-agency response was necessary for a disaster event locally was in 1996, when the Fork Fire raged across parts of the Northshore.



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


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