Sunday, 21 July 2024


Every Friday I cook the lunch for my daughter’s school (don’t be impressed, it’s only four students and a couple teachers), and after I delivered their lunch recently I decided that I wanted to have something new for myself.

So I started driving around looking for somewhere to eat, getting hungrier and hungrier. After a while I started getting a feeling of anxiety, like when your gas tank is on empty, and you passed up the last gas station thinking the next one would have better prices, but that was a long time ago and now you’re not sure if you’ll even make it to the next station before your engine sputters out and you’re stranded on a desolate stretch of highway waiting to be rescued ... OK, not quite that anxious.

I finally decided to stop in on Andie’s Hickory Smoked BBQ in the Oaks. I had never been there before but I’d heard good things about it.

It’s a very small place and the menu is quite concise. Ribs, wings, links, cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans, and you can have a couple different combinations of them, but essentially that’s the menu right there. That’s the way I think barbecue ought to be, simplicity at its finest. You know what they say, why guild the lily?

The staff is friendly and was immediately ready to take my order, and the food was ready within a couple of minutes. When I got my food served so quickly, I thought that this is the perfect place to head during a lunch break. You can pop in, get your food and zip back to the office in no time.

I got the combo with a little of everything, but I didn’t select the baked beans. Trust me, you don’t want me to eat baked beans. Avoiding them is my contribution to helping reduce the global carbon footprint. (Hmmm ...was that TMI?)

The ribs, wings and links are all great. The barbcue sauce isn’t one of those ketchupy, thick, artificially smoky, supermarket-type sauces. This is an amazing sauce! And the heat! The spiciness is fantastic and doesn’t stick to your tongue like napalm. This is more like a baseball bat hit: the spiciness whacks you full in the face, but then after a few seconds the burn turns to a tingle and then is gone. Some sauces have a burn that wraps around your tongue and masks any other flavor that comes along for the next fifteen minutes, but not this sauce... You ordered ribs, you get to taste ribs; you ordered wings, and you get to taste wings!

This was true about the smokiness of the food also, it was just right. Too often you eat something that is “smoked” and all you taste is a forest fire. Here it was just enough to accent the overall flavor of the meat. The ribs and chicken wings are tender and pull from the bone nicely with some resistance; they don’t fall off of the bone like they have been over-cooked all day long.

The cole slaw, potato salad and couple of slices of wheat bread included were decent, just the side items you expect to come with barbecue. They weren’t remarkable or exciting, but then again most people aren’t combing the streets looking for a good side order restaurant. “Honey, let’s go out to dinner, I’m really in the mood for cole slaw,” is not an often-repeated sentence in America.

I’m glad my search for someplace new led me to Andie’s. I wonder where I’ll wind up next time.

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.



LAKEPORT – A 19-year-old Lakeport resident has been sentenced to life in prison for allegedly stabbing and critically injuring a young Clearlake Oaks man during a March 2007 gang assault.

Visiting Judge Galen Hathaway sentenced Ricardo Tapia Muniz to life in prison on Friday on charges of aggravated mayhem and a gang enhancement, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.


Muniz pleaded guilty to the charges as part of an agreement with the District Attorney's Office. In return, an additional charge of attempted murder and a special enhancement of causing great bodily injury were dismissed.

Muniz was one of five suspects accused of attacking Alex Larranaga, then 19, outside of TNT's Restaurant near Library Park in Lakeport on March 16, 2007, said Hinchcliff.

Deputy District Attorney Gary Luck handled the prosecution of this case. Muniz was represented by a private attorney, Richard Petersen from Ukiah.

Petersen could not be reached for comment on the case Friday.

The prosecution had alleged that Muniz and the other defendants had attacked Larranaga because they believed his brother was a rival gang member and had “flashed” some gang signs at them.

Hinchcliff said witnesses at the scene had described Muniz as the individual who possessed a knife which he allegedly used to stab Larranaga. The other defendants in the case had hit and kicked Larranaga.

The attack left Larranaga with numerous stab wounds, which have left him partially paralyzed on his left side, where he has lost the use of his leg and arm, Hinchcliff reported.

Lakeport Police arrested the five suspects within a few hours of the stabbing, as Lake County News has reported.

Muniz had pleaded guilty to the aggravated mayhem charge and also admitted the gang enhancement, said Hinchcliff, according to Hinchcliff.

In a written statement, Luck said he is pleased with the case's outcome and sentence, noting that Muniz's sentencing brings to a conclusion the case against all five of the individuals arrested and prosecuted for this crime.

Two of the five assailants were juveniles at the time of the commission of the crime, but were treated as adults, Hinchcliff reported.

One 14-year-old male juvenile admitted his involvement in the crime and was sentenced through the juvenile court.

Other defendants in the attack included Elias Hernandez, Juan Luis Yepez and Mathew Allen Domeier, all of whom were sentenced to prison last August. Hernandez, then 20, was sentenced to seven years in prison, while Yepez and Domeier – both 17 when they were sentenced – received six- and seven-year prison sentences, respectively, as Lake County News has reported.

Lakeport Police Det. Norm Taylor, a gang expert who helped lead the investigation into Larranaga's assault, told Lake County News in an August 2007 interview that the five defendants were part of South Side Willow Point, a local Surenos gang, and were known to spend much of their time in and around the Willopoint Resort and Library Park.

Taylor said at the time that the group accounted for “a substantial portion of the active gang members in the community.”

Luck praised the excellent response and investigation of the members of the Lakeport Police Department, especially Taylor, who he said was “instrumental in completing the investigation and putting together an excellent case for prosecution.”

The sentence requires that Muniz serve a minimum of 15 years before he is eligible for parole, Hinchcliff said.

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


LAKEPORT – This Friday, artist Gail Salituri will preview artwork offered in a special fundraiser to benefit the effort to build a domestic violence shelter.

On April 1, Salituri began selling raffle tickets and taking bids in a silent auction for artwork offered as part of the Barbara LaForge Memorial Fund, as Lake County News reported in March.

Barbara LaForge was murdered in her frame shop in October of 2002. Salituri formed the memorial fund both to honor her friend and to benefit Lake Family Resource Center's domestic violence shelter fundraising campaign, which will receive all the proceeds from the fundraiser.

Salituri and businesswoman Kathy Fowler, a member of the Lake Family Resource Center board, will be at the Lake County Arts Council's First Friday Fling this week to show an original Salituri oil, “Lake County Hills Spring Bloom,” which will be offered in the silent auction. They'll also show a lithograph of watercolor artist John Clarke's painting, “Golden Gate,” which is offered in the raffle.

The First Friday Fling will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lake County Arts Council's Main Street Gallery, 325 N. Main St.

The auction and raffle will end on June 1, said Salituri. On that date, Fowler will draw the winning raffle ticket at Salituri's Inspirations Gallery, 165 N. Main St.

Tickets for the raffle 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.

Those interested in the fund also can visit Salituri's Web page,

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


CLEARLAKE OAKS – The Clearlake Oaks/Glenhaven Business Association is sponsoring the 25th annual Catfish Derby, from noon Friday, May 16, through noon Sunday, May 18.

Known by many as "the largest catfish derby west of the Mississippi," the event features an Adult Derby and a Kids Derby for those under 16 years old. Barbecues will be held on Saturday and Sunday.

The grand prize winner of the Adult Derby will receive a new boat, motor, and trailer plus cash prizes and the winner of the Kids Derby will receive a four-wheeled ATV.

Derby headquarters will be located at the Clearlake Oaks Fire Station, 12655 East Highway 20, and will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Derby headquarters also will be open for pre-registration from noon to 11 p.m. on Thursday, May 15. No registrations will be accepted after 11 p.m. on Friday.

Registration for the Adult Derby is $45 ($40 for those who pre-register on Thursday). Registration for the Kids Derby is $10.

Barbecues, which are included with registration, will be held both Saturday and Sunday, with a Saturday breakfast planned. Sunday will feature live music.

Proceeds from the event benefit community projects. For applications, call 888-CL-DERBY or 998-1006; for more information, call 998-3795.


A plaque commemorating the fallen crew will be dedicated in July in Magdalena, New Mexico, near the site of the 1942 crash. Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT – Sixty-six years after a young Lake County man and his crewmates died in a B-17 crash in New Mexico, local veterans are gathering to give him a proper military tribute

On Saturday morning a special ceremony will honor Staff Sgt. Thomas C. Ferron of Lakeport.

Ferron was only 22 years old when, on the night of Oct. 15, 1942, the B-17 on which he served as a radio operator crashed into a mountainside while on a routine training mission near Magdalena, New Mexico.

The entire nine-man crew – which was part of the Alamogordo Air Force Base's 459th Squadron, 330th Bomb Group – perished that cold night. In addition to Ferron, the crew included another Californian, 2nd Lt. Donald Jackson of Sacramento.

The Army brought the bodies of the men down from the mountainside, with Ferron returning to his family for burial in Lakeport.

The story might have ended there, had it not been for a man whose knowledge of the tragic story led him to creating a memorial tribute for the lost crew.

Rick Webster – who today lives in New Boston, New Hampshire – wrote to Kelseyville's American Legion Post No. 194 in March, seeking information on Ferron.

The letter came into the hands of the post's adjutant, Rich Feiro, a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant.

Webster related growing up near Magdalena, New Mexico, and recalled how, as a boy, he hiked up to the peak where the plane had hit, bounced over the top and burned. He recalled how parts of the plane – including its intact tail section – could still be seen there at the time. However, a 2006 hike to the site with his grandson revealed that brush had overgrown the area and only a few engine manifolds were still visible, with all other traces of the crash having disappeared.

He shared with Feiro that he wanted to see a roadside memorial to the men – much as he had seen for wartime-era B-17 crash along a Wyoming highway. Webster had researched the crash, found out the crew members' names and had a plaque created, which is due to be placed during Magdalena Old Timers Days in the first week of July.

Webster asked if the post could find out if Ferron still had any relatives because he wanted to invite them to the July ceremony.

Feiro began to do some research himself, along with some good, old-fashioned legwork.

He said he called the county recorder's office and was able to track Ferron's gravesite to Hartley Cemetery, just outside of Lakeport. Feiro then went to the grave, where Ferron is buried in a family plot next to his parents, Serena and Thomas.

In 1942, there was no special headstone for fallen soldiers, said Feiro. The only indication of military service on Ferron's headstone is an inscription of his wing insignia.

Feiro and other local veterans, including Herman “Woody” Hughes – a retired U.S. Naval Reserve captain and chaplain of Lake County's United Veterans Council – then worked on looking for Ferron's surviving family.

The local vets eventually tracked down a cousin of Ferron's who lives in Nice. “That's the only relative we've been able to find,” said Hughes.

As they continued to seek out Ferron's story, the men decided they wanted to hold a memorial ceremony for the young man.

Because Ferron and his crewmates died in a crash 150 miles from the base, Feiro said, “We doubted very seriously that he got a proper military burial.”

All of the county's veterans organizations have been invited to present their organization colors at a ceremony which will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 3, at Ferron's gravesite, with Hughes officiating, said Feiro.

The United Veterans Council's Military Honors Team – of which Feiro is the firing party commander – will offer a gun salute and a bugler will play “Taps.” The group also will perform the flag ceremony and present a flag to Ferron's family.

Organizers welcome the community to the special event, with a special invitation to veterans to come and honor a fallen comrade.

Hartley Cemetery is located at 2552 Hill Road East, Lakeport.

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


Ultimate 20 and Wabbits battle it out reaching across Clear Lake. Photo by Kitty Jones.


CLEAR LAKE – The Konocti Bay Sailing Club hosted its 24th annual Konocti Cup last Saturday, attracting a sizable field of boats and sailors who took part in the sunny day of sailing on Clear Lake.

Pat Brown, a sailing club director, said 40 boats completed in the daylong event, which features 26 miles of great sailing.

The full cup's winner was skipper Ben Landon and his Thompson 23 sailboat “Flight Risk” of the Richmond Yacht Club. Brown said this was the second year in a row that “Flight Risk” won the Konocti Cup title.

The Bilafer family, also from the Richmond Yacht Club, finished second to Landon in the Henderson 30 sailboat “Family Hour.”

Brown, himself a sailor since his childhood, finished third in his Melges 24 sailboat called “Flashpoint.”

First to finish and corrected winner in the Konocti Cup “Multi Hulls” was Bill Erkelens' “E2” Tornado 20 Cat, Brown said, followed by Paul and Laura Hastings in “Habit 1,” a Corsair 28.

Most of the competitors came from the San Francisco Bay Area, said Brown, with one competitor – skipper Ray Proffitt – traveling from Oregon to win first place in the half cup in his Balboa 26 “Lusty.”

Jim Westman, another Konocti Bay Sailing Club director, finished second to Proffitt in a Capri 26 called “Sante,” followed by Bob Hipkiss in a Capri 26 called “Way Cool.”

Conditions on the water Saturday were beautiful but hot, said Brown, with little wind – only about 10 knots.

Brown said any of the top three boats had a chance at beating the cup record – three hours, 10 minutes and eight seconds – set in 1987, but the lack of wind thwarted their chances. “The original record still holds.”

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



Flight Risk gets ready to cover Flashpoint. Photo by Kitty Jones.



KELSEYVILLE – A woman was hospitalized Friday night after authorities say her estranged husband shot her in self-defense as she was breaking into their home carrying a pick ax.

Margaret Johnson, 56, is reported to be in stable but critical condition at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Chief Deputy James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported Saturday.

Bauman said sheriff's deputies and the Kelseyville Fire District responded to the report of a shooting at the home of 75-year-old Dr. Don Johnson on Highway 29 at about 9:40 p.m. Friday night.

Arriving on scene, the deputies and emergency personnel found Margaret Johnson had been wounded by a single gunshot to the neck, according to Bauman. She was transported from the scene by ambulance and later flown to Santa Rosa for medical treatment.

On Friday afternoon, Margaret Johnson had reportedly been served with a restraining order by her husband, which he told deputies was the result of their ongoing marital troubles, Bauman reported.

The restraining order, Bauman added, had required that Margaret Johnson vacate the residence Friday.

Don Johnson – a dentist with a Lakeport practice – told deputies that he had already gone to bed for the night when, at some point after 9 p.m., a woman screaming outside of the house awakened him, said Bauman.

Bauman said Johnson told officials he took his handgun – which he kept near the bed – and began placing a call to the sheriff's office when he heard the sound of glass breaking near the back door.

Johnson then dropped the phone, according to Bauman's report, and went to the back of the house, where he saw his wife allegedly entering the house carrying a pick ax.

He then fired one shot, striking Margaret Johnson in the neck. Bauman said she fell to the floor into the broken glass from forced entry, and Don Johnson ran back to call 911.

Bauman said sheriff's detectives were called to the scene to assist in conducting a preliminary investigation.

Based on the evidence at the scene, which pointed to Don Johnson acting in defense of his life, deputies did not take him into custody, said Bauman.

Margaret Johnson, however, could face criminal charges, which are pending based on the investigation's outcome, Bauman reported.

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


THE GEYSERS – The Geysers area was shaken by a 3.2-magnitude earthquake early Thursday morning.

The quake occurred at 6:28 a.m. at a depth of nine-tenths of a mile, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The US Geological Survey report said the quake was centered two miles north northeast of The Geysers, four miles west of Cobb and seven miles northwest of Anderson Springs.

A total of 12 shake reports were made to the US Geological Survey, from Middletown to as far away as Tehachapi.

The area was last shaken by a 3.0 quake on April 15, as Lake County News has reported.

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


RODMAN SLOUGH The Lake County Land Trust will hold its sixth annual Art and Nature event at the Rodman Slough Preserve on Saturday, May 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The theme of the event this year is “Birds and the Bees, the Pollinators,” and will feature bee expert, Serge LaBasque who will lecture and present a live bee display.

Local nature artists will display and sell their art on the grounds of the preserve and many activities are being offered.

Guided nature hikes will be held on the hour and a special children’s walk is also planned. There will also be a children’s nature art exhibit, relaxing musical entertainment, and poetry reading by the contestants and winners of the “Youth Writes,” poetry contest.

Artists will gather from around Lake County to show and sell their paintings, much of which will be nature related. To gain entrance to the show, artists generously donate an art piece to the Lake County Land Trust. These donated pieces of art are sold at the annual Spring Benefit Dinner held at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro on Tuesday, May 13.

The Lake County Master Gardeners will be on hand to show you how to turn your own garden into a sanctuary for birds, bees and other pollinators.

Providing entertainment this year will be Sara Tichava and Jill Shaul as well as Travis Austin. Lunch and treats will be provided by Lakeport’s Cafe Victoria.

The Rodman Slough Preserve is located at the corner of Westlake Road and the Nice-Lucerne Cut-off, off of Highway 29 between Lakeport and Upper Lake.

For more information about the event, go to


From left, Kathy Fowler, Gail Salituri and Sandi Ciardelli at the First Friday Fling, where they discussed the Barbara LaForge Memorial Fund. Courtesy photo.


LAKEPORT – An effort aimed at helping raise funds for the county's domestic violence shelter raised hundreds of dollars at a Friday night event in Lakeport.

The Lake County Arts Council's First Friday Fling attracted a huge crowd to its Main Street Gallery.

Besides spotlighting the work of several artists, the event gave attention to the Barbara LaForge Memorial Fund, founded by artist Gail Salituri to raise funds for Lake Family Resource Center's domestic violence shelter fund.

Lake Family Resource Center Board member Kathy Fowler and Salituri spoke to the crowd, explaining the background of the effort and recalling LaForge, herself a talented artist who was murdered in her downtown framing shop in October of 2002.

On June 1 Fowler will draw the winner of a raffle for a lithograph of artist John Clarke's watercolor “Golden Gate.” On that date the silent auction for Salituri's original oil “Lake County Hills Spring Bloom,” also will end. On Friday the painting received a bid of $400.

Salituri plans to continue holding raffles and silent auctions for the remainder of the year.

Tickets for the raffle 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 visit Salituri's Web page,

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


NICE – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) invites the public to attend an informational open house to review a proposed project to improve the intersection of Route 20 and Nice-Lucerne Cutoff Road.

The drop-in style open house will be held on Thursday, May 15, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Nice Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, 3708 Manzanita Drive.

In addition to the no-build alternative, two alternatives are being considered to reduce collisions in the vicinity of this project: adding traffic signals or constructing a roundabout. Caltrans staff will be available to answer your questions and receive your comments.

To learn more about roundabouts, and how to navigate them, visit


CLEARLAKE – A Clearlake man was arrested last week, accused of setting on fire a roadside fruit and vegetable stand in Colusa County.

Norman Ralph Henderson, 61, was arrested April 23 after law enforcement received reports from people who allegedly saw his pickup leaving the stand, located along Highway 20 west of Williams, said Colusa County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Erdelt.

Erdelt said the California Highway Patrol pulled over Henderson, who was heading toward Clearlake, on Highway 20 near the junction with Highway 16.

Henderson was arrested and held in the Colusa County Jail until Friday, when he was released, said Erdelt.

Henderson has faced arson charges before in Nevada, according to Erdelt. “He admitted to being a convicted arsonist.”

A Woodland Daily Democrat report on the case said that Henderson also had been convicted of arson in Butte County four decades ago.

The Colusa County District Attorney's Office confirmed Monday that two arson charges – arson of a structure and arson of property – are being filed against Henderson. No arraignment date has yet been set.


The Daily Democrat reported that the fruit stand, in operation since 1997, suffered minor damage and had not yet opened for the summer season.

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


Upcoming Calendar

07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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