Saturday, 20 July 2024


WASHINGTON – Last weekend, as chairman of the House Intelligence subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence, Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) visited several sites throughout Iraq to conduct oversight of intelligence-related matters.

A statement he released following his return from Iraq seemed to confirm Thompson's stance on the need to get US troops out of Iraq. His spokesperson Anne Warden said Thompson has been to Iraq twice before.

“In addition to meeting with General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, as well as some of my own constituents, I had the honor of spending some time with our troops,” he said. “Our brave men and women in uniform continue to do an amazing job despite being overextended and caught in the middle of a civil war.

“You need to look no further than the recent increase in attacks on the Green Zone – an internationally-controlled, fully-protected area in Baghdad – and the ongoing threat of Improvised Explosive Devices to know how important strong, effective intelligence is to ensuring our troops return home as fast and safe as possible.

“This war has given Iran the opportunity to strengthen its influence in the region. After my visit, I believe more strongly than ever that Iran’s threat must be addressed by bringing the world together through a surge in diplomacy. Strong intelligence gathering capabilities is the key to peacefully nipping the problem of Iran in the bud. It’s also the key to fighting terrorism worldwide, improving our national security and keeping us out of future wars.

“I continue to support immediately beginning the redeployment of our troops out of Iraq and giving the Iraqi government full responsibility for their national security,” he said. “I believe we must work with the United Nations to develop an international strategy for controlling the violence in Iraq and ensuring it does not spread across borders, which would certainly lead to a regional civil war.”


LAKE COUNTY – Flags at California Highway Patrol offices throughout the state were flown at half-staff on Thursday and will be at half-staff again on Friday in honor of officers killed in the line of duty.

The families of three CHP officers were joined Thursday by Business, Transportation and Housing Agency Secretary Dale Bonner and CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow to place a wreath at the CHP Academy’s Memorial Fountain.

"The officers who have fallen upheld tradition in such a way that we can all be proud," said Secretary Bonner. "The prayers and gratitude of Californians are with the families of all of the brave officers we honor here today."

The CHP Academy Memorial Fountain bears plaques engraved with the names of each of the Department’s 213 officers killed in the line of duty since its formation 79 years ago.

This year, the names of the following three CHP officers were added to the fountain:

  • Officer Robert F. Dickey who was killed June 10, 2007, in an automobile collision on I-8 while on patrol in Imperial County. Officer Dickey was a five-year veteran and worked out of the CHP’s Winterhaven Area office. He is survived by his wife and son.

  • Officer Douglas S. Russell who was struck and killed while deploying a spike strip to stop a vehicle involved in a pursuit on Highway 50, July 31, 2007. The 22-year veteran worked out of the CHP’s Placerville Area office and is survived by his wife.

  • Officer John Miller who was killed in an automobile collision Nov. 16, 2007, while searching for a reported drunk driver. Officer Miller had served with the CHP for one year and was assigned to the Dublin Area office. He is survived by his wife and two children.

"We live under the protection of brave men and women who risk their lives every day in an effort to make California one of the safest states in the country," Commissioner Farrow said.

Flags at CHP offices throughout the state also will be flown at half-staff from May 11 through May 17 in observance of National Police Week.


CLEARLAKE – Police continued their investigation Tuesday into the murder of a Clearlake man.

Nicolai Chukreeff, 40, was stabbed to death in an incident that took place late Sunday night at the Harbor Lite Resort on Lakeshore Drive, as Lake County News has reported.

On Tuesday Lt. Mike Hermann of the Clearlake Police Department said that investigators were continuing to conduct interviews, but no arrest had yet been made.

Also on Tuesday, Chukreeff's autopsy was to be performed, said Hermann.

Preliminary findings from the autopsy are expected to be issued shortly, Hermann added.

Police are asking anyone with information on the case to call Detective Sgt. Tom Clements at 994-8251.

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


Norman Henderson of Clearlake is facing 10 felony arson counts for allegedly setting fires in Clearlake and Bartlett Springs. Lake County Jail photo.



LAKE COUNTY – A man who fire investigators allege set numerous fires in the last year, primarily in the Bartlett Springs area, has been arrested.

Norman Ralph Henderson, 61, of Clearlake was arrested Friday afternoon for allegedly setting a string of arson fires between April 25, 2007, and this past April 10, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.

Henderson is being charged with 10 counts of arson, Hinchcliff said. Lake County Sheriff's Investigator Corey Paulich, and Lake County Arson Task Force Investigators Brice Trask and Chris Vallerga made the arrest Friday afternoon.

The felony charges, according to Hinchcliff, allege that Henderson intentionally set 10 fires in the year-long time period, including two recreational vehicles in the city of Clearlake, and eight fires along Bartlett Springs Road between Lucerne and Indian Valley Reservoir.

The fires officials are charging Henderson with setting in the Bartlett Springs Road area include two vacation residences that were a total loss, three structures in the Bartlet Springs Resort area including the Bartlett Springs water bottling facility, a cabin owned by the Yolo County Flood Control District and two wildland/brush fires.

The old Bartlett Springs Resort lodge, which resort caretaker Zane Gray had rebuilt in 1989, was the first of the buildings to be burned last year, said Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins. That building, as Lake County News reported, burned July 28.

The next building was a transfer station that the old Vittel bottling company had use to fill trucks, said Robbins.


Then, on Sept. 11, 2007, the Bartlett Springs gazebo, which Gray also had restored, was set ablaze. At the time, county officials had been looking at trying to move the gazebo down to the site of the future Ely Stage Stop Museum.



The historic Bartlett Springs Resort gazebo, restored in 1985 by caretaker Zane Gray, pictured on May 6, 2007. The gazebo was destroyed in a fire on Sept. 11, 2007. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


Robbins said it angered him that firefighters had saved the structures in the 1996 Fork Fire, only to have them so senselessly destroyed.

The most recent fire, which took place April 10, was a privately owned cabin, said Robbins.

Arson investigators were having a hard time pinning down leads, especially because the Bartlett Springs area is so remote, said Robbins.

While they had received some vehicle descriptions and made tentative vehicle stops on people coming down the hill, they were frustrated in their attempts to make any definite connections to the case, said Robbins, adding that anyone in the area would have a 17-mile head start on first responders.

It was an incident in another county that helped break the case, said Robbins.

Henderson came to the attention of local fire investigators after he was arrested in Colusa County late last month for setting ablaze a roadside fruit and vegetable stand near Williams, as Lake County News has reported.

Colusa County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Erdelt told Lake County News that Henderson admitted to being a convicted arsonist in cases that took place in Nevada. The Woodland Daily Democrat also reported that Henderson had been convicted of arson in Butte County about 40 years ago.

Robbins said Williams Fire Chief Jeff Gilbert had a hunch about Henderson after he was questioned by Colusa County officials about the fruit stand fire.

Gilbert called Robbins the next day and said, “We may have your guy,” Robbins recalled.

The Lake County Arson Task Force – a group of qualified arson investigators from area fire districts, the sheriff's office and district attorney's office – picked up the case from there, said Robbins.

Robbins said he was grateful to the arson task force and the sheriff's office for their hard work to crack the case.

He said the arrest will help the residents and landowners in the Bartlett Springs area feel more at ease after a year of fearing for their homes and property.

Robbins estimated that the last time they had a serial arsonist on the Northshore was in the 1980s, and the man – who was convicted of setting a series of grass fires – went to prison for a long time.

“It's hard to get 'em, but once you get them they admit to it, because they're pretty proud of what they're doing,” said Robbins.


Arson Task Force member Brice Trask, who also is a station caption with Lake County Fire Protection District, said many of the local strike team members that worked on the Fork Fire in 1996 are now on the task force.

After having worked so hard to save the buildings, Trask said it meant a lot to the Arson Task Force to catch the arsonist responsible for taking out most of what remained of the historical resort.

“It's kind of ironic that we come back and catch the guy that burned it down,” Trask said. 

Henderson is in custody of the Lake County Jail in Lakeport, with bail set at $100,000.

Hinchcliff said Henderson is scheduled to be arraigned on the arson charges early next week.

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


Alicyn Yaffee accepting a certificate at the April 28 reception. She moves on to Sacramento State. Her sister went on to college last year. Her father is comedian Marc Yaffee of Kelseyville. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKE COUNTY – Efforts to increase the number of local students who will attend four-year colleges are seeing results, say county education officials.

The Lake County Office of Education's College-Going Initiative, now in its fourth year, seeks to give students the knowledge they need about college requirements in order to move them on to higher education, said Jamey Gill, a curriculum and instruction specialist.

It appears to be working based on a few years' worth of data, although the county's college attendance numbers still aren't huge.

Gill said last year 105 local students were accepted to four-year colleges. That number edged up slightly this year to 108. Gill called the numbers “encouraging.”

This year the program has begun tracking community college students making the move to a four-year school this year, said Gill. Five students from Yuba College are going on to new schools, and the Lake County Office of Education is working with Mendocino College to track how many local students are moving to four-year institutions.

Twenty-six local graduates were accepted at University of California institutions, among them Santa Cruz, Berkeley and Davis, said Gill. Popular California State Universities include Sonoma State – one of the schools with the largest Lake County student population – along with Humboldt, Chico and Sacramento.

A few students are even on their way to out-of-state schools, Gill added.

The business of getting to college, said Gill, is much bigger than just having good grades or filling out the application.

A great deal rests on completion rates for “A” through “G” courses, which are completed in high school and make students eligible to attend four-year colleges or universities, she explained.

“We are below the state average, though, and that's what we're really working on,” she said. “We want to get kids eligible.”

Gill said many students don't understand the course requirements until it's too late. “It makes many voices” outside of school counselors – including parents, teachers and others – to get the message across, she added.

Lake County Office of Education Superintendent Dave Geck said the resources that go into the program are a combination of his agency's staff coupled with the staff efforts of higher education partners such as the University of California, San Francisco.

The Office of Education receives money from the University of California to assist in some of the program's projects, said Geck.

The College-Going Initiative includes special grade-level activities to get students to the point of meeting all the criteria for higher education, said Geck.

Those activities include special presentations, college visitations, SAT preparation classes and financial aid workshops, and algebra academies for eighth graders, he said.

The initiative tops off the year with a celebration of students who are making that next big step in their education.

On April 28, the Lake County Office of Education held its third annual dinner and reception for students accepted to four-year institutions.

Eighty-five of the 113 students honored – along more than 100 family members, friends and teachers – attended the evening event, held at Kelseyville High School.

Also there to recognize the students were two dozen top officials from a cross section of Lake County school districts.

Guest speakers included Dr. Blas Guerrero from the University of California Office of the President, Geck and Kathy Kelley from the office of state Sen. Pat Wiggins.



Dr. Blas Guerrero speaks to students April 28. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


Guerrero offered comparisons of his personal experiences of his growth and education in California to the future opportunities the soon to be graduates may look forward to and advised that they could return to Lake County as “the role models of the next class of graduates.”

Geck said Guerrero has personally helped Lake County's College-Going Initiative in its efforts.

The Kelseyville High School Jazz band provided the evening's music and several Kelseyville high students contributed their time and efforts in the kitchen as well as serving and busing tables during the dinner hour.



Lake County Office of Education Superintendent David Geck speaking at the annual reception dinner April 28. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


Gill said the students “were really excited” at the event.

“It just pumps the kids up,” she said.

The dinner is meant to encourage the students and make sure they take the next steps to get to college in the fall, said Gill. It's also an opportunity for families to celebrate and be recognized.



The annual dinner celebrates students going on to college along with their families. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


Many of the young people served by the initiative are the first in their family to make it to college, she noted.

Gill said the initiative is trying to keep the upward growth trend for college attendance going. In the coming years she believe some local education programs like algebra academies are going to increase the pool of students eligible to attend college.

Just around the corner is another College-Going Initiative event, Higher Education Week II, scheduled for May 12 and 13. The two days of workshops are aimed at all local students – upper elementary, middle and high school – and their parents, and offer the chance to learn more about several visiting colleges, as well as the college and financial aid application processes.

Lake County students accepted at four-year colleges or universities

Karina Acosta, Saint Mary's College

Jayson Adair, DeVry

Myrna Aleman, CSU Sonoma

Rathid Aliji, UC Riverside

Cecily Anaraki, UC Irvine

Johnathan Bateman, CSU Humboldt

Katrina Beaudin, CSU Sacramento

Cassie Belden, UC Santa Barbara

Nathan Bell, UC Irvine

Amanda Bettencourt, UC Davis

Danielle Bettencourt, Pacific Union College

Cole Bordisso, CSU Sonoma

Casey Bowlin, UC Santa Barbara

Kasey Bresso, University of Wyoming

Bianka Buchanan, CSU Long Beach

Celestine “CeCe” Burgher, CSU Sacramento

Rawley Butler, Silver Lake College (Wisconson)

Annemarie Catrambone, Art Institute of San Francisco

Daniella Cazares, CSU Long Beach

Luis Cazares, CSU Sacramento

Cori Cockerton, CSU Sacramento

Noemi Cocone, Saint Mary's College

Krista Collins, CSU Sonoma

Guy Conger, Whitworth University of Washington

Ashley Crawford, CSU Humboldt

Kristin Currier, CSU Sonoma

Nikeedra Davis, CSU Chico

Katie Davis, CSU Humboldt

Candy Diener, CSU Sonoma

Nicholas Driver, UC Santa Barbara

Chyere Duncan, CSU Sacramento

Antoine Ellis, CSU Sacramento

Zoe Everett, University of Minnesota

Jennifer Frazell, University of Nevada Las Vegas

Daniel Gildea, UC Davis

Tyler Glazier, Brigham Young University, Idaho

Ashlee Graham, UC Santa Cruz

Robin Grayhorse, UC Santa Cruz

Rebecca Grupe, CSU Sacramento

Vanessa Guerrero, CSU Sonoma

Tracy Herrmann, Pillsbury Baptist Bible College

Jameson Holder, Crown College, Minnesota

Tyler Hunt, UC Santa Cruz

Erik Jameson, UC Davis

Trevor Johns, CSU San Diego

Loren Jones, DeVry

Norris Jones III, DeVry

Correy Koshnick, CSU Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Ashley Lamb, CSU Sonoma

Bobby Latona, CSU Humboldt

Anna Lopez, Southern Oregon University

Benjamin Lopez, CSU Humboldt

Kyle Lowry, DeVry

Beatris Lozano, CSU San Francisco

Kate Lyons, UC Berkeley

Haley Mabery, University of Oregon

Benjamin MacDonald, Whitworth University of Washington, California Baptist University

Armando Martinez, St. Mary's College

Samantha Mattern, CSU Northridge

Maria Mendoza, CSU Sacramento

Jennifer Miller, CSU Chico

Stephanie Mitten, CSU Humboldt

Teina Moore, CSU Chico

Amanda Moore, UC Santa Cruz

Kayla Myrick, UC Davis

Kylynn Nelson, DeVry

Sarah Norris, UC Davis

Tyler O'Brien, Lourdes College

Kersti Olof, CSU Sonoma

Kellen Olson, CSU Chico

Francisco Olvera, DeVry

Victor Padilla, UC Davis

Hina Parmar, CSU San Jose

Aryn Pauly, CSU Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cierrra Peel, CSU Long Beach

Valerie Peng-Plevney, CSU Sacramento

Danielle Peterson, SF Academy of Art

Cynthia Pimentel, UC Davis

Joseph Rebolledo, CSU San Diego

Gabriela Reyes, CSU Sonoma

Victor Rico, CSU Sacramento

Darcy Rogers, CSU Humboldt

Chuck Rosencrans, UC Berkeley

Mary Ruffcorn, CSU Humboldt

Geneve Rupert, Schiller University

Joshua Salazar, UC Davis

Juan Salguero, CSU Humboldt

Jesse Salmeron, UC Santa Cruz

Austin Schader, CSU Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Kelsey Sills, CSU Sacramento

Ashley Smith, Simpson University

Brent Smith, Masters College

Corey Smith, CSU Humboldt

Jodi Snider, Lewis & Clark

Conor Sullivan, CSU Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Maegan Taylor, CSU San Diego

Noah Thorn, CSU Sacramento

Keith Todd, UC Davis

Nancy Trejo, UC Santa Barbara

Ashley Underwood, CSU Sonoma

Veronica Valadez, CSU Sonoma

Enrique Villanueva, CSU Chico

George Weiss, UC Berkeley

Andy Weiss, CSU San Jose

Nicole Wells, UC San Diego

Eric Wessendorf, UC Santa Cruz

Alexandrea Williams, CSU Sonoma

Beau Woodson, UC Berkeley

Alicyn Yaffee, CSU Sacramento

Megan Young, CSU San Marcos

Jonathon Ziemanski, DeVry

Elise Zolczynski, UC Santa Barbara

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


GLENHAVEN – A Tuesday afternoon crash injured a Yuba City couple and an Upper Lake man.

Stephen Raetz, 67, his wife Jackie, 62, and Samuel Miller, 69, all sustained injuries in the head-on collision which took place just after 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia.

Garcia said Stephen Raetz was driving his 2005 Ford Taurus eastbound on Highway 20 in Glenhaven when his vehicle crossed over the double yellow lines and struck Miller's 1993 Toyota Corolla head-on.

A preliminary investigation indicates that Stephen Raetz may have fallen asleep at the wheel prior to the collision, said Garcia.

Jackie Raetz sustained major injuries which were not life-threatening, said Garcia. She was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital via REACH air ambulance.

Miller sustained minor to moderate injuries and was taken to Sutter Lakeside Hospital by Northshore Fire ambulance, said Garcia, while Stephen Raetz sustained minor injuries but was not transported.

CHP Officer Efrain Cortez is investigating the collision, Garcia said.

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


CLEARLAKE – Police arrested four teenagers this week for selling prescription pills at Lower Lake High School.

Lt. Mike Hermann of the Clearlake Police Department reported that School Resource Officer Carl Miller arrested one student Wednesday and three others on Thursday for possession and sales of controlled substances.

Hermann said the students are alleged to have brought prescription medication – specifically, muscle relaxers – to campus and were selling the pills for $1 each.

The four students were all males, ages 15 and 16, said Hermann.

The first was arrested Wednesday after being found in possession of the pills and under the influence, Hermann said. The student was later issued a citation and released due to his condition at the time.

Later during the day, three female students also were found to be under the influence of the pills, and two of them were transported to the hospital for drug overdoses, according to Hermann's report.

During the investigation, Miller identified the three other male students who were also involved in the sales and distribution of the pills, said Hermann. The three students were subsequently arrested Thursday and transported to Juvenile Hall.

Hermann said police believe that one of the students is responsible for bringing approximately 50 pills to school and splitting them with the other subjects who assisted in selling them.

Miller determined that approximately 32 pills had been sold to students at the school within the last several days, said Hermann.

Cases like those discovered at Lower Lake High appear to be on the rise nationwide.

A 2007 report from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America stated that a disturbing nationwide trend is seeing more teenagers abusing prescription drugs.

The partnership's studies have shown that more teens abuse prescription drugs than any other illicit drug, with the exception of marijuana.

One in five teens – or 4.5 million teenagers across the US – reported abusing a prescription pain medication, with the same number reporting abuse of a prescription stimulant or tranquilizer. In addition, one in 10 reported abuse cough and cold medicines, some of them containing the active ingredient dextromethorphan, according to the report.

The research also showed that only about one-third of parents discuss the dangers of prescription drug abuse with their teenagers.

A Web site for teens,, supported by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, offers resources to help educate young people about drug and alcohol abuse.

Hermann said the investigation into the prescription drug sales at Lower Lake High School is continuing. Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Miller at 994-8251.

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




LUCERNE – California Water Service, the drinking water division of the state Department of Public Health, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and its Division of Ratepayer Advocates were in Lucerne Wednesday evening to update the community on work at the Highway 20 treatment plant – and on paying for it.

The meeting was arranged by the Lucerne Community Water Association (LCWO) and attracted nearly 90 people.

LCWO President Craig Bach presented a petition with 430 signatures to Sean Wilson, a regulatory analyst with the CPUC. He said the petition asks that California Water Service Co. make full financial information on the $7.1 million plant upgrade available to the community.

The plant upgrades were required by the state Department of Public Health, which suggested a moratorium on new connections in 2006. The DPH had told Cal Water in 2002 there were deficiencies in the treatment plant and directed the company to correct them.

Cal Water applied for a 30-year, zero-percent interest loan from the State Revolving Fund for reimbursement of the costs it has incurred in the work. The plant is due to be in operation this September, and the company has announced it will then impose a water bill surcharge of $17.36 monthly to repay the loan.

The upgraded plant, which uses membrane filtration and ultraviolet disinfection, will allow for 10 percent growth in connections to the system; Bruce Burton of the drinking water division said that limit is a state requirement.

Some questioners wanted to know why the cost had grown from $3.6 million since the plant upgrade was first proposed in August 2005.

Cal Water rates manager Tom Smegal and engineer Jeff Yarne said some of the costs included $1.7 million for engineering studies on other properties which proved unsuitable for a treatment plant, and that there have been dramatic increases in in materials and transportation costs. They said costs at other locations would have been much higher.

Frank Parker, a Lucerne resident who worked on a crew that maintained the city of Weed's well and spring-fed water system in the 1960s, criticized the company severely for the overruns on its engineering studies, which were originally estimated at $260,000, and suggested they should have used Cal Water employees rather than consultants to do the work.

Yarne explained that Cal Water staff engineers are not construction engineers and the number of plants the company builds one every other year doesn't justify keeping construction engineers on staff.

Responding to 10-year-old Arthur Wilkie's question about what happens to the plant's old materials, Yarne said anything that can be recycled will be, including valuable steel and brass.

One questioner wanted to know how the treatment deals with "mercury in the water." Burton told him in 23 years of working in the district and monitoring testing he has never seen a sample positive for mercury, although it is in the lake sediment.

Much of the last hour of the two-hour meeting was taken up with the question of profits and explanations of the law governing loans from the State Revolving Fund.

Wilson and Danilo Sanchez, manager of the DRA, explained that construction funded by the State Revolving Fund does not become part of the rate base, and cannot create profit for the company if it sells the property. The financing is overseen and tracked by the CPUC, the DRA and a fiscal agent, such as a bank. Surcharges for loan repayment are kept in a balancing account and can be used only to repay the loan, Wilson said.

All Lucerne residents have received rate relief of $17 per month since the company's last rate increase was settled in July 2006, with the intervention of LCWO and its pro bono attorney, Steve Elias of Lakeport. The discount is funded by a one cent surcharge on Cal Water's other customers in California, some 500,000 households.

In addition, low-income Lucerne residents receive a $10 discount on their water use. Sanchez said four or five other California communities receive similar rate relief.

The company had asked for a 246 percent increase and received 121 percent.

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


Editor's Note: The original article incorrectly stated that Frank Parker worked at the city of Weed's water treatment plant. Instead, he was on the city crew which maintained the well and spring-fed water system in the 1960s. Weed does not have a treatment plant, he said.



UKIAH – A Clearlake woman was arrested by Mendocino County officials late last week on drug charges.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported this week that 46-year-old Tina Huffman was arrested shortly after 1 a.m. May 1 after a car she was riding in was pulled over in the 4000 block of N. Highway 101 in Ukiah.

Deputies detected the odor of marijuana coming from Huffman's purse, a search of which revealed more than an an ounce of marijuana, methamphetamine, a glass methamphetamine pipe and an hypodermic syringe, the report stated.

Huffman was evaluated, determined to be under the influence of a controlled substance, and arrested, according to Mendocino officials.

She was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for possession of a controlled substance as well as possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

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LUCERNE – Confusion over details of Lucerne water bills was clear at Wednesday night's meeting with the California Public Utilities Commission and California Water Service, at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center.

Gay Guidotti, the company's customer service representative in Lucerne, explains the charges itemized on bills:

  • 5/8-inch service charge, $61.80 “readiness to serve,” which includes the delivery system.

  • X CCF* at $5.1628 per CCF – one CCF equals 100 feet or 748 gallons. The rate was settled on as an incentive to conservation and an alternative to a higher fixed service charge.

  • 5/8-inch service surcharge SDWBA 9.20 repayment of a 1980s bond through the Safe Water Drinking Bond Act for improvements to the system. At the time, the system was owned and operated by Robert and Nadine Strauss of Lucerne.

  • CPUC fee, $1.10 supports statewide work of the California Public Utilities Commission.

  • Other charges or credits, $0.95 various small, approved, charges built in to the last negotiated settlement.

  • Rate Support Fund Assistance, -$34.00 a discount for everyone in the Lucerne District, supported by a one-cent surcharge throughout the California Water Service districts.

  • Low Income Rate Assistance, -$20.00 a discount for low income ratepayers who have enrolled in the LIRA plan. Cal Water reports 28 percent of Lucerne ratepayers are enrolled. Applications for the program are available at the company office, 6304 East Hwy 20, Lucerne.

Contact Sophie Annan Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


KELSEYVILLE – The Lake County Land Trust will hold its sixth annual Spring Dinner at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro on Tuesday, May 13 in Kelseyville.

The dinner is hosted by Marie Beery, and sponsored by Foods Etc. in Clearlake. The food, wine, and services are donated to support the Land Trust and its projects.

The public is cordially invited to attend the event, which starts at 6 p.m. with a no-host cocktail hour.

Numerous paintings by local nature artists will be on display and for sale. The artwork is donated by the artists to the Land Trust as part of the fundraiser. Several of the paintings will have been given awards stemming from the Land Trust’s Art and Nature event (held on May 3).

The proceeds from this dinner will go to the Land Trust’s many projects, including the Rodman Slough Preserve, the upcoming effort to preserve Mount Konocti, and other plans for preserving and protecting the beautiful habitats of Lake County.

The Rodman Slough Preserve is located on the north end of Clear Lake at the intersection of Westlake Road and the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff.

The Trust spearheaded the preservation of the property and hosts hikes and events there. The property is open for guided nature walks every Saturday morning, weather permitting.

The Land Trust is a private, nonprofit local organization dedicated to land conservation and protecting Lake County’s natural, recreational, historical and scenic resources.

To make reservations, at $60 per person, simply call the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro at 278-0129. Payment is made the night of the dinner, with all proceeds going to the Lake County Land Trust.

For more information about the Lake County Land Trust or the upcoming dinner, go to or call 995-1398.


CLEARLAKE – The family of a man who was stabbed to death Sunday night remembered him as caring, kind and generous, and expressed disbelief over his murder.

Nicolai Chukreeff, 40, was stabbed to death in an incident Sunday night that took place at the Harbor Lite Resort on Lakeshore, according to a Monday Clearlake Police report.

Clearlake Police had not made any arrests on Monday in connection with the murder.

“I want the person caught, whoever did it,” said Chukreeff's younger sister, Michelle Giguiere of Santa Rosa.

Giguiere said her brother was born in San Jose and spent most of his youth in Santa Rosa. He was the second-oldest of five children, which included three boys and two girls.

Chukreeff's other sister, Ellena, said he had lived in Clearlake for the last five years. For two decades had had worked in construction, with cement work being his specialty.

Earlier this year, he had open heart surgery to repair a defective heart valve, Ellena Chukreeff said. He had spoken to their grandmother last Wednesday after a checkup with his doctor, which showed his heart to be in good condition.

He had looked forward to living a long and healthy life following his surgery, his sisters said.

Nick Chukreeff's sisters said he loved to fish and go boating, and shared his passion for fishing with his family, including his two nephews. He was so good at fishing that they jokingly called him “the fish whisperer.” Giguiere also remembered his great laugh.

“That's what we don't understand,” said Giguiere. “He was so loving. He'd give the shirt off his back to anybody who needed it.”

He also was a father figure to his younger siblings, said Giguiere, all of whom had a difficult upbringing. That, she said, brought all of them closer.

Nick Chukreeff's family-oriented outlook made him particularly protective. Giguiere said recently she had been ill and he made the trip from Clearlake to Santa Rosa just to check in on her. He'd do anything for his family, she said.

“I'm just looking for justice,” Ellena Chukreeff said in an e-mail message to Lake County News.

She also questioned what happened to her brother and who was with him. Neither she nor her sister received information from police on Monday.

Giguiere said the words “only the good die young” keep going through her head.

“My heart hurts so bad, because whoever did this took a really good person,” she said.

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Upcoming Calendar

07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

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