Wednesday, 24 July 2024


Students in the Kelseyville Kids Garden Club at work. Photo by Thelma Dangel.

KELSEYVILLE – A local school's program to introduce children to gardening is reaping benefits beyond produce – it's teaching children responsibility and the joy of growing one's own food.

Helen Finch's enthusiasm and talent for gardening are no secret, especially to those who have visited her annual Art in the Garden event.

In 2006, Finch volunteered to form the Kelseyville Kids Garden Club for fourth and fifth graders at Kelseyville Elementary School.

The number of students has grown from 30 to a crowd of 50 who come after school on Tuesday and Thursdays from 2 to 3 p.m. Children meet in a classroom to form teams and discuss the day's objectives and then it's off to the garden.

As a member of Trowel and Trellis Garden Club-Mendo-Lake District, California Garden Club Inc., I wanted to view their garden and it was time well spent.


Children's activities include digging, turning, amending and preparing the raised beds for seeds or seedlings that they have already grown in cell packs. Their tools are regular sizes. After their work they are taught to clean up before their gardening time is over for the day.

They weed, string, stake, fertilize, and finally harvest and enjoy their veggies and flowers.

Sometimes the children help to prepare a meal; other times, Helen and the parent/grandparent/neighbor volunteers prepare something for them to try.

For the children, cooking is very engaging; no one wants to be left out. While I was visiting, the girls set the tables and brought me a few flowers to enjoy.

Helen also has the children involved with the Free Kitchen Project at the Kelseyville Senior Center. Once during each season, the children are invited to harvest vegetables, prepare a meal and serve it to the people who come to dinner on the first Sunday of the month.

Helen is a very knowledgeable, patient gardener and teacher.

Many members of the community, Big Valley Lions in particular, have generously donated many of the items from the children's garden club wish list. Clear Lake Trowel and Trellis Garden Club has also been very supportive and made the school's club their Christmas project this year, providing most everything else on the list, including not one, but two much-needed picnic tables.

Some very thoughtful restauranteurs at Marcie's Brick Grill, Saw Shop Bistro and DJ's Pizza have provided the very important compostables that feed the garden.


There is a wonderful staff of other volunteers who spend as much time as they can at the garden or working behind the scenes. They include Margaret Eutenier, Pat Beedle, Teresa Marks, Andrea Anderson, Cindi Browzynski, Karen Long, Theresa Mather and Mary Bogle.



If you would like to share some of your time in the garden with Helen, she would love to hear from you. She can be reached at 707-279-9400.



The children learn to raise vegetables and flowers from Helen Finch, who volunteers to teach the club. Photo by Thelma Dangel.




Community clubs have helped provide equipment, picnic tables and other things on the club's wish list. Photo by Thelma Dangel.




Another view of the raised beds where the children garden. Photo by Thelma Dangel.



Church member Ginger Frank (foreground) and District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing dig in their shovels during the groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the planned Thornton-Canady Community Center in Clearlake Oaks on Thursday. Several church and community members took turns at the shovel as part of the official beginning of construction for the center, which will be available to the entire community. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

CLEARLAKE OAKS – A small, heartfelt ceremony on Thursday afternoon broke ground on a new community center that will offer services to young and old alike.

Members of Clearlake Oaks Community United Methodist Church, Supervisor Denise Rushing, county Deputy Redevelopment Eric Seely and other community residents gathered for the 1 p.m. ceremony, held at The Plaza at the site of the planned Thornton-Canady Community Center.

Church member Ginger Frank said the 4,350-square-foot, one-story building will feature a 400 square foot reading room which will also be used for senior day care; a 2700 square foot recreation room where teens and children can play basketball and badminton, and where community meetings and other special events can be held.

The center is named for the church's late pastor, Bill Thornton, and his wife, Associate Pastor Ruth Canady.

The Rev. Dr. Rick Schlosser, the church's senior pastor, led the ceremony, which included blessings and prayers for the property and its future purposes. Schlosser asked Canady to be the first to take a shovel and turn the soil at the site of the planned center.

“When we first came here, Bill had a vision,” said Canady.

Thornton and Canady worked with the church for years to help set changes in motion in Clearlake Oaks, which was acknowledged during the brief ceremony.

County Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Cox, who couldn't make the groundbreaking, sent along a letter with Rushing expressing his sincere appreciation to all those involved in the project.

“This facility, along with the reconstruction of The Plaza and the new Nylander Park, will make Clearlake Oaks a model for other communities in Lake County,” Cox wrote.

None of Clearlake Oaks' projects would have been possible without community involvement and support, said Cox, who credited the church and its members for helping make the community's dreams become realities.

“The renaissance that Clearlake Oaks is undergoing is a direct result of this community's resolve,” Cox wrote.

Cox said he was confident that Pastor Thornton “is looking down upon those gathered at The Plaza today with a smile on his face.”

Rushing added, “I am continually awed by the power of the heart and – when people decide to come together – what is possible.”

Seely added that Clearlake Oaks' community members are “building on each others' successes.”

Schlosser said the church family is dedicated to making the community better. He credited Canady for her guidance in teaching about the power of a small group of people who are willing to open their hearts.

He added that he hopes the center will be a place of welcome to everyone.

Church and community members shared how the power of teamwork and prayer had made a difference in Clearlake Oaks.

“I see such a fresh breeze blowing into this town,” said Steve Alden, the former chair of the church's building committee.

Ken Young, a Clearlake Oaks resident and a staffer at the Community Care HIV/AIDS Project-Drop In Center, said when he and his wife moved to the town seven years ago, it was a very different place. Meth labs were all over the Oaks then, he said.

“There's physical evidence that things are changing,” said Young.

Frank said construction on the building began last week. The ground where the building will sit had been raised and leveled with fill. Trenching for the slab and retaining walls scheduled to start after Christmas, Frank said.

The steel building cost $149,000, and came in pieces which need to be assembled, a process which will start in January, said Frank.

The finish work on the building's inside will be completed with volunteer labor.

Schlosser estimated that the total cost of the building and assembling its shell will reach $175,000, funds which the church accumulated through fundraisers and a loan from the California Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Eventually, the goal is to include a commercial kitchen in the building, said Frank, which is likely to raise the total construction cost to about $300,000.

Anyone interested in donating time or money to the effort is encouraged to call church treasurer Margaret Medeiros at 998-9563; or Associate Pastor Ruth Canady, 928-4453.

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


LAKE COUNTY – With a new year on the horizon, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) wants to remind motorists of a handful of new laws, passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, that go into effect in 2008.

"These new laws will make California's roads safer for motorists and will strengthen law enforcement's ability to crack down on those who try to skirt the law," said CHP Commissioner Mike Brown.

Below are the major changes to driving regulations and vehicle equipment.

Wireless Telephones (SB 1613, Simitian). This law makes it illegal to use a wireless telephone while driving, unless that phone is designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking operation and is used in that manner. The law provides an exemption for emergency purposes. The law banning the use of hand held cell phones by motorists goes into effect July 1, 2008

“Don’t wait until July to get familiar with this law,” said Brown. “A hands-free headset would make a nice gift for the holidays.”

Wireless Telephones, Under 18 (SB 33, Simitian). This law makes it illegal for a minor to use a wireless telephone (even if it’s hands-free) or other mobile service device (any device used to communicate electronically), while operating a vehicle. The law provides an exemption for emergency purposes. This law goes into effect July 1, 2008.

“New, inexperienced drivers don’t need any distractions while behind the wheel,” said Brown. “Results can be deadly.”

The following new laws take effect Jan. 1, 2008:

Smoking with Minor Passengers (SB 7, Oropeza). This law prohibits anyone in a vehicle from smoking when a minor is present. This law applies whether the vehicle is stopped or moving. This is a secondary violation. An officer cannot stop a driver to determine if they’re in violation of this law.

Double Fine Zones (AB 112, Wolk). This new law is Highway 12 specific. It designates the segment between I-80 in Solano County and I-5 junction in San Joaquin County as a Safety Enhancement Double Fine Zone.

Coating License Plates (AB 801, Walters). This new law prohibits the use or sale of a “product” (spray coating) that impairs the reading of a license plate by an electronic devices such as red-light cameras, toll booth cameras and license plate readers.

False Registration (AB 1589, Duvall). This new law, sponsored by the CHP, allows a peace officer to tow a vehicle that is displaying false registration, false license plates or fraudulent registration or registration stickers. Current policy is to cite and only tow if the registration is more than six months out of date.

Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (EPAMD) (AB 470, DeSaulnier). This new law expands on the current law, making it illegal to operate an EPAMD (such as Segways) at an unsafe speed for conditions, in a reckless manner or at a speed that endangers the safety of others. Operators must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on foot, or disabled persons.

Bicycle Illumination (AB 478, Wolk). The new law now requires a person operating a bicycle during darkness to use lights and reflectors while riding upon a highway, a sidewalk, or a bikeway.


SAN FRANCISCO – Conservation groups filed a lawsuit Dec. 19 in federal district court challenging a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reduce protected habitat for the California red-legged frog.

The frog, made famous by Mark Twain's story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," is a California native once abundant from the Central Coast to the Sierra Nevada foothills, and also in Lake County.

The suit was one of 13 filed last week challenging the Bush administration's political interference in management of 55 endangered species and 8.7 million acres of public land.

Suits over six other species were filed in November. Earthjustice filed the California red-legged frog suit on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity.

At issue is an April 13, 2006, Endangered Species Act rule, adopted by the service, that revised the "critical habitat" for the California red-legged frog by reducing it from 4.1 million acres to approximately 450,000 acres.

The service agreed to revise the frog's critical habitat rule as a result of a closed-door settlement between industry and the service that was approved over the objections of a coalition of conservation groups.

The California red-legged frog's critical habitat rule is one of several dozen species decisions that may have been manipulated by former Interior Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie MacDonald, who resigned in disgrace in May.

Both the Inspector General and Government Accountability Office have ongoing investigations in political interference by MacDonald and others in Endangered Species Act decisions.

This isn't the first time the service has been challenged in court over the California red-legged frog and its critical habitat. Following a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups in 1999, the service initially agreed to designate the subspecies' critical habitat, even though the agency was under a statutory duty to do so since the species was listed in 1996.

"The red-legged frog won't survive unless we protect its habitat" said Mike Senatore, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, "Julie MacDonald's interference is inexcusable. She is an endangered species death star."

"We're headed back to court not only to protect Mark Twain's celebrated jumping frog, but also to protect the scientific integrity of the Endangered Species Program," said Erin Tobin of Earthjustice. "The California red-legged frog, once common across the state, appears to have been the victim of politics. We urge the Department of the Interior to promptly revise the frog's critical habitat and fix the mess created by Julie MacDonald and possibly others."

Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show that Julie MacDonald improperly influenced the scientific integrity of the frog's critical habitat rule in an attempt to reduce protections for the frog for the benefit of developers and other special-interest groups.

The service conceded on Nov. 23 that the frog's critical habitat "should be revised," but suggested it would only do so "as funding is made available."

The service decided to reconsider six other species listing and critical habitat decisions influenced by MacDonald, but conservation groups argue that the controversy extends well beyond Julie MacDonald and these seven species decisions.

The Center for Biological Diversity has pledged to file suit over 55 species whose protections were illegally overturned by MacDonald or other high-level officials.

Spurred by documents uncovered by the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, lawmakers recently have called for a wider review of Julie MacDonald's decisions.

The General Accounting Office is currently looking into the process by which the service arrived at its decision to revise the seven species listing and critical habitat decisions.

At the request of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), the Inspector General agreed to reopen his investigation and broaden it to consider whether there was improper political interference with the science in 18 species decisions.


LAKE COUNTY – An omnibus appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives Wednesday night includes funding for the Middle Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project, along with the war in Iraq, medical research, K-12 education, college financial aid, energy independence and rural health care.

The House approved H.R. 2764 – the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008 (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008) – on a 272-142 vote on Wednesday, according to GovTrack.

Congressman Mike Thompson, who was unable to vote on the bill because he's recovering from surgery, issued a Thursday statement on the bill that praised parts of it and criticized others.

“The priorities of the federal budget over the past seven years have been completely out of touch with the needs of American families,” Thompson said in the statement issued by his office. “This spending bill invests in areas that will improve the lives of every American, such as education, health care, the environment and critical infrastructure projects.”

The bill included $227,000 for Lake County’s Middle Creek Ecosystem Restoration Project, which was secured by Thompson.

Anne Warden, Thompson's Washington communications director, said the funds will be used for a feasibility study on the project, which will restore 1,200 acres of wetlands and 500 acres of floodplain in the Clear Lake area.

The restoration project will reconnect the Scott’s Creek and Middle Creek to the historic Robinson Lake wetland and floodplain, as Lake County News has reported. These two watersheds provide 57 percent of the water flow into Clear Lake.

“Restoring Middle Creek will improve our area’s protection from flooding,” said Thompson. “It will also have a very positive effect on the wetlands surrounding Clearlake.”

However, in Thompson's view, the bill has definite drawbacks.

“Unfortunately, this bill also includes billions more for the war in Iraq – a war that has already cost our country $500 billion,” said Thompson, a Vietnam veteran who has been critical of the war since its beginning. “I am extremely frustrated that we continue to fund the president’s ill-advised war without any plans for bringing our troops home.”

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


LAKE COUNTY – Motorists who are naughty instead of nice this holiday season may get far worse than a lump of coal from the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

“We really don’t like being the Grinch, but if that’s what it takes to save lives on the roadway, we’re prepared to play that role,” said CHP Lieutenant Dane Hayward, Commander of the CHP Clear Lake Area Office.

Up to 80 percent of the CHP’s uniformed officers will be on the roadway this holiday season for the Maximum Enforcement Periods for Christmas and New Years, Hayward reported.

“We’re giving up quality time with our families to ensure holiday travelers arrive at their destination safely. All we ask in return is for cooperation from drivers,” Hayward said.

Motorists are reminded not to drink and drive, don’t speed, and always wear a seat belt and be sure your kids are in child safety seats.

Eighty percent of the people killed during the recent Thanksgiving holiday Maximum Enforcement Period were not wearing seat belts, the CHP reported.

“We expect a lot of traffic this holiday season, so allow yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going, be patient and courteous to other motorists, and be aware of changing weather conditions,” advised Lieutenant Hayward.

Last year 28 people were killed on California roadways and 1,351 drivers were arrested for DUI by the CHP during the Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period. During the New Year’s Maximum Enforcement Period 38 people were killed and 1,481 arrested for DUI.

Locally, during the Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period there were 11 traffic collisions with three injuries and zero fatalities, also 10 drivers were arrested for DUI by the Clear Lake Area, the CHP reported.

During the New Year’s Maximum Enforcement Period there were seven traffic collisions with five injuries and zero fatalities, and eight drivers were arrested for DUI by the Clear Lake Area, according to the CHP.

Motorists can report suspected drunk drivers by calling 9-1-1 with a description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel.


LAKE COUNTY – A state Department of Justice review has concluded that the law enforcement investigation into an April 2006 sailboat crash that involved a top Lake County Sheriff's deputy and claimed the life of a Willows woman was handled properly. {sidebar id=47}

The attorney for a man facing criminal charges in the case, however, called the Department of Justice's review “meaningless.”

On Aug. 20, citing media reports – among them television broadcasts – about the case that left many county citizens “apprehensive about the adequacy and fairness of the subsequent investigation,” Sheriff Rod Mitchell requested the Attorney General's Office review Sacramento County's investigation and his department's procedures.

One of the factors drawing attention to the case was the involvement of Russell Perdock, a chief deputy with the Lake County Sheriff's Office, who was off duty at the time of the crash.

On the night of April 29, 2006, Perdock – at the wheel of his 24-foot speedboat – hit a 27-foot sailboat driven by Carmichael resident Bismarck Dinius and owned by Mark Weber of Willows.

The collision mortally injured Weber's fiancee, 51-year-old Lynn Thornton, who died May 2, 2006, at UC Davis Medical Center.

Because of Perdock's involvement, Mitchell requested the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office's Marine Services Unit conduct the investigation, as Lake County News has reported. Early in his law career Mitchell had worked as a deputy for Sacramento County.

Mitchell issued a Friday statement in which he related that the Department of Justice contacted him Dec. 10 that they would soon issue written findings in the case.

On Thursday, the findings were hand-delivered to Mitchell, he reported.

“I have determined that the contents of the report will not have an influence on issues pending before the Courts,” he stated. “Consequently, I am releasing the report in its entirety at this time.”

The nine-page report includes a cover letter to Mitchell from George B. Anderson, director of the Department of Justice's Division of Law Enforcement, in which Anderson states, “we did not find any areas requiring further investigation, or a need for policy enhancement based on the information you provided.”

The review's “Methodology” section explains that its scope and methodology were largely determined by Mitchell's request for a review of the investigation's sufficiency, areas for further investigation, and changes or enhancements to department policy.

“It was not the goal of this review to re-investigate this incident,” the document states. “Hence, this review relied expressly on written records and digital imagery generated by the Lake County and Sacramento County Sheriff's Departments, local hospital records and analysis records of the Department of Justice, Bureau of Forensic Services.”

An information interview of Mitchell also was conducted, the review states.

The review recounts the circumstances of the crash, and touches upon one of the most contentious issues surrounding the crash – whether or not Weber's sailboat, Beats Working II, was under way with its running lights on.

Weber and Dinius have contended that the boat's lights were on, and have cited the backup testimony of witnesses who saw the lights. However, the Department of Justice's review referenced the original investigation, which found the lights were not on, pointing to an examination of the switch panel that showed the bow and stern light switches were in the “off” position.

The document also explored the issue of Perdock's speed.

His speedboat hit near the sailboat's stern with such force that it went airborne and landed on the sailboat's other side, according to investigative documents. Perdock stated during an interview with Sacramento County Sheriff’s Marine Services Unit Investigator Charles Slabaugh that he was traveling between 40 and 45 miles per hours for a short period of time shortly before the crash took place.

The review found that the law enforcement response – including initial rescue and handling of the parties involved – followed standard law enforcement practice, as did the handling of evidence. It also concluded that Mitchell's request for a third-party investigation was “prudent given the involvement of the Lake County Sheriff's Chief Deputy, even though he was off duty at the time of the incident.”

The investigative reports and records portrayed “a consistent chronology of events with few minor exceptions where date/time errors were made on three medical forms.”

Those errors dealt specifically with the time and date entries on the medical forms when blood draws were taken at Redbud Hospital for Perdock and Sutter Lakeside for Dinius and Weber. In particular, the errors made it appear that Perdock's blood draw was taken nearly 24 hours after the accident; similarly, request for blood draw forms for Dinius and Weber showed incorrect times and dates.

“It is likely that the mistakes on the forms were due to fatigue, or carelessness of staff members in the last few minutes of the calendar day,” the report states.

Ultimately, the report concludes that the investigation “appears complete.”

The Department of Justice review itself appears to contain a few errors, among them the incorrect date of death for Lynn Thornton; it stated she died the day after the accident, not three days later. The name of the chief investigator from Sacramento County also is misspelled throughout.

In addition, the report stated that two Sacramento County Sheriff's investigators “conducted the remainder of the investigation” beginning May 1, 2006. However, investigation records obtained by Lake County News show that two Lake County Sheriff's deputies remained active in interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence after May 1.

Mitchell's Friday statement noted, “Nothing in the DOJ's findings can be expected to relieve the family and friends of Lynn Thornton of their sense of loss. Nor can this report lift the burden of anxiety for all of the people who were directly impacted by this incident.”

However, he concluded that the report should remove from county residents “any remaining doubts or apprehension” about his office's handling of the incident.

Defense attorney reacts to report

In June the Lake County District Attorney's Office charged Dinius with vehicular manslaughter involving a vessel and misdemeanor boating under the influence of alcohol, because he is alleged to have had a blood alcohol level of 0.12, as Lake County News has reported.

Perdock is not facing criminal charges in the case, although the findings of an investigation conduct by the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office found broke federal inland navigation rules by not adhering to the “safe speed” rule, which requires that a boat operator at all times maintain a speed that allows them to stop the vessel “within half the distance of forward visibility.”

Victor S. Haltom, the Sacramento attorney defending Dinius, said the review was meaningless and addresses “no issues of consequence” in the case.

Pointing to the review's stated scope, which the document stated was based largely on Mitchell's request letter, Haltom contended in e-mail correspondence with Lake County News, “Thus, this was not an independent review process. In order for it to have been independent, it would have been necessary for the scope and direction of the review process to be determined by the reviewing agency (DOJ), rather than the agency being reviewed (LCSO).”

Haltom, who earlier this year filed a motion to have the District Attorney's Office removed from the case because of its close working relationship with the sheriff's office – which he argued would make it difficult for Dinius to receive a fair trial – said those close connections are ignored in the review.

“The report does not note that Sheriff Mitchell was a groomsman in Mr. Perdock's wedding,” he wrote. “The report does not address the close relationships between the various law enforcement officials involved in this case.”

Nor did the Department of Justice contact him or any representatives of Dinius' defense for the review, Haltom added. “Only one side of the story was reviewed: the necessarily slanted LCSO side of the story.”

The Department of Justice review only looked at the law enforcement reports the case generated plus the “informational interview” of Mitchell, Haltom said, further evidence in his opinion that it was not an independent review.

“This was one government agency's endeavor to determine whether another government agency's conduct can plausibly be characterized as 'good enough for government work,'” he wroted. “Since DOJ's 'Investigative Review' does not fit the bill under this lowly standard, it does not provide a justification for finding that LCSO's investigation was good enough for government work. It plainly was not, as will be seen during the litigation of this case.”

Haltom added, “The reality of this case is plain. Mr. Perdock's recklessness caused Lynn Thornton's death. He alone is responsible. He knows it. LCSO knows it. The prosecution of Mr. Dinius is a travesty. The DOJ report does not address these issues. It is meaningless, bureaucratic poppycock.”

Case has had previous Attorney General involvement

This isn't the first time the California Attorney General's Office has been called in on some aspect of this case.

As noted previously, Haltom sought to have the District Attorney's Office removed from the case. That necessitated a response from the Attorney General's Office, which appeared in Lake County Superior Court on Aug. 31 and it successfully argued against Haltom's motion.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins told Lake County News earlier this year that he also had asked the Attorney General's Office for an opinion on whether or not his office should prosecute the case and who should be charged before he moved forward with prosecution.

Following a case review the Attorney General's Office found no reason for Hopkins' office not to proceed with the case.

To read the full Department of Justice report, visit the Lake County Sheriff's Web site at


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The burglars weren't able to get into the business and appeared to have only taken guns close to the broken front window. Photo by Harold LaBonte.






LAKEPORT – A Lakeport gun shop was the victim of a late night burglary that was discovered early Wednesday morning.

Burglars hit Lake County Guns, located at 422 S. Main St., according to shop co-owner Clifton Rakic.

Among the items taken from the shop were a number of .22-caliber rifles, said Rakic.

Lt. Brad Rasmussen of the Lakeport Police Department confirmed late Wednesday that the firearms were stolen from the shop and that police had taken a report on the case.

At 2:43 p.m. Wednesday police and sheriff's office dispatchers issued a countywide officer safety “be on the lookout” for four .22 caliber rifles taken from the gun shop.

When interviewed by Lake County News at 3:30 p.m., Rakic had not yet concluded a complete inventory of stolen items.

However, he acknowledged that at least two and as many as four rifles that had been on display near the broken front window were indeed missing. There was no mention of any missing ammunition.

Rakic approximated the retail value of each weapon to be around $100.

The person or persons responsible had disabled the alarm system by shutting off the electric power before smashing the left front window with a rock, which Lakeport Police collected as evidence, said Rakic.

The storefront's heavy glass is backed by thick steel bars, spaced just inches apart. The perpetrators were unable to gain full access to the shop and were only able to grab those weapons within two or three feet of the broken shards, according to this reporter's observations.

Rakic said this is the first major problem he has had since the store opened a year and a half ago.

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



A one-and-a-half-foot diameter hole where thieves reached in to steal guns. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




The exterior of Lake County Guns, which remains open for business after its co-owner discovered on Wednesday morning that it had been burglarized. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



ST. HELENA – North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson is resting comfortably after undergoing a routine surgery this weekend, his office reported Monday.

Anne Warden, Thompson's Washington, DC-based communications director, said the congressman was suffering from diverticulitis, an inflammation of the large intestine.

Thompson's surgery took place on Sunday at St. Helena Hospital, where he remained on Monday, Warden said.

The surgical procedure is a common one and Thompson suffered no complications, Warden added.

Thompson's doctors expect him to make a speedy recovery, said Warden.

“He will spend a few days in the hospital and then return to his home in St. Helena,” she said. “It’s anticipated that he’ll be fully active in four weeks.”

Congress is expected to recess for a winter break this week, said Warden, with the session resuming on Jan. 15.

Warden said Thompson scheduled the surgery for this week because it's the only time of year when he could find enough time away from his duties in the House of Representatives to recover.

However, he's still likely to miss a few votes while off for recovery, Warden said.

According to the Mayo Clinic's Web site, diverticulitis develops from a condition called diverticulosis, which is caused by small, bulging pouches in the digestive tract.

The condition is common in people over age 40, according to the Mayo Clinic, and its frequency goes up with age; more than 50 percent of the US population over the age of 60 has the condition.

When the pouches become inflamed or infected, the resulting condition is diverticulitis, which can result in several symptoms, most notably severe abdominal pain, the Mayo Clinic reports.

Serious diverticulitis cases like Thompson's require surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic. The most common form of corrective surgery removes the diseased portion of the intestine.

Age, lack of exercise and not enough fiber in the diet all are risk factors for developing diverticulitis, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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KELSEYVILLE – A Kelseyville woman sustained major injuries when her vehicle struck a tree just before noon on Friday.

Nancy Anderson, 66, was injured when her 2000 Ford Taurus went off the road and hit the tree at 11:53 a.m., according to California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia.

Anderson was driving westbound on Point Lakeview Road, east of Sunset Ridge Drive, when she failed to negotiate a right curve in the road, said Garcia.

Anderson's vehicle went off the road's north edge and struck a tree, said Garcia.

The crash left Anderson with severe injuries that were not, however, life-threatening, said Garcia. Her vehicle also received major damage.

There were no passengers or other vehicles involved, Garcia added.

Kelseyville Fire's ambulance transported Anderson to Sutter Lakeside Hospital for treatment, according to Garcia.

CHP Officer Steve Curtis is investigating the incident, Garcia reported.


President George W. Bush signs into law HR 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007, at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.


WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a final version of the Energy Independence and Security Act, landmark energy legislation that will make our country more energy independent, cut energy costs for families and reduce global warming.

The legislation was passed by a vote of 314-100. President George W. Bush signed the bill Wednesday.

“The Energy Independence and Security Act is an historic step toward improving our environment and decreasing our dependency on foreign oil,” said Congressman Mike Thompson. “This legislation is going to have a tremendous impact on our country’s future and will save Americans billions in gas and energy costs.”

HR 6 will increase vehicle fuel efficiency to 35 miles per gallon in 2020 – the first congressional increase in 32 years – and slash U.S. oil consumption by more than 4 million barrels per day by 2030. The legislation also expands the use of American-grown biofuels to 36 billion gallons in 2022 and increases the efficiency of buildings, homes, appliances and lighting.

“Millions of American families are struggling with the rising cost of energy and gasoline,” added Thompson. “This bill sets our country on a course toward reining in these prices while simultaneously conserving our natural resources.”

Unfortunately, provisions in the original bill that would have strengthened and extended tax credits for renewable energies like solar, geothermal and biomass were dropped by the Senate in order to secure a majority of support, Thompson's office reported.

“These provisions would have helped American households and businesses save money and reduce their carbon footprint. I’m extremely disappointed they were removed by the Senate,” said Thompson. “However, I’ll work to ensure we complete the greening of our tax code as soon as possible next year.”

Thompson voted to support the bill when it was previously in the house several weeks ago. However, for the next several weeks he is recovering from surgery at his home in St. Helena, according to his staff, so he did not vote on the bill in its final form.


Parolee David Elliston was apprehended last Friday night with the help of a sheriff's K-9. Lake County Jail photo.



NICE – Sheriff's deputies and a K-9 unit helped catch a parolee late last week who was wanted for several felony warrants.

A Monday report from Sgt. Brian Martin of the Lake County Sheriff's Investigations division explained that deputies arrested transient David Edward Elliston Jr., 25, in Nice on Dec. 14.

At 9:49 p.m. Dec. 14 sheriff's deputies responded to 2957 Merced St. in Nice after receiving information that Elliston Jr. was staying at a residence there, Martin reported.

Elliston, who was on parole for an assault with a deadly weapon charge, had outstanding felony warrants for auto theft, receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and violation of parole, Martin reported.

According to Martin, Elliston also had a history of violence and a history of running from deputies during past arrest attempts.

Because of those factors and Elliston's “parolee at large” status, Martin said several deputies – Joe Dutra, Steve Herdt, John Drewrey and Rich Ward – responded to the Merced Street address in order to deter Elliston from once again trying to escape.

Anticipating Elliston might try to escape, Ward also brought with him his canine partner, Axel, Martin reported.

When deputies knocked on the home's front door, Elliston exited through the rear door, looked at the deputies and started to flee, Martin reported.

Despite the fact that deputies ordered him to stop, and warned him repeatedly they would deploy the canine if he didn't, Elliston continued to run, Martin reported.

Ward deployed Axel, who caught up to Elliston and detained him so that deputies could take him into custody, Martin reported.

Elliston was booked into custody at the Lake County Jail following minor medical treatment at a local hospital for the bite he received from Axel.

Jail records show Elliston, a painter and tattoo artist originally from San Francisco, remains in custody on a no-bail hold due to the felony parole violation charge.


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