Saturday, 04 February 2023

News

CLEARLAKE – A candlelight vigil planned for Thursday will focus on protecting children in the wake of a high school student's fatal stabbing nearly two weeks ago.


The vigil will be held from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Austin Park in Clearlake.


The theme for the event is "Bringing a Community from Healing to Kindness."


Dr. Bill MacDougall, the new Superintendent of the Konocti Unified School District, will be one of the featured speakers.


The gathering will promote a community-wide effort to create an environment that honors, nurtures and protects all children. The community is invited to attend, and asked to bring friends, family and candles to light.


The vigil will fall on the two-week anniversary of the stabbing death of 17-year-old Heather Valdez of Clearlake, a student at Carlé High School.


The teen died June 5 following a confrontation that allegedly involved a Carlé classmate, 18-year-old Gabrielle Varney.


Varney is being charged with murder and remains in the Lake County Jail.


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LAKE COUNTY – More help from Lake County was on the way Saturday to help fight Butte County's Humboldt Fire.


Northshore Fire Protection District reported that an engine from its Upper Lake station plus three firefighters headed out Saturday as part of a strike team composed mostly of Mendocino fire personnel.


Pat Brown, a battalion chief with Northshore Fire, said this is the second time this year an Upper Lake engine has been sent to assist with an out-of-county fire.


In May, Northshore firefighters had traveled to the Santa Cruz Mountains, where they worked on the Summit Fire, which burned 4,270 acres.


That fire has been dwarfed by the Humboldt Fire in Butte County, which on Saturday had reached 23,163 acres and was 45-percent contained.


A total of 3,826 firefighters were on scene Saturday, of which 1,574 were with Cal Fire, the agency reported.


Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit also had deployed firefighters to the Humboldt Fire late last week, as Lake County News reported Saturday.


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


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UPPER LAKE – A town hall meeting for the Upper Lake community is planned for June 18.


District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing will host the meeting, which will take place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Upper Lake High School cafeteria, 675 Clover Valley Road.


During the meeting's first hour, county officials and local coordinators will provide an update on local projects and issues.


Officials planning to attend include County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox, Deputy Redevelopment Director Eric Seely, Sheriff Rod Mitchell, Public Works Director Brent Siemer and Water Resources Deputy Director Pam Francis.


The second half of the meeting will include an open forum with a question-and-answer session moderated by Rushing. Community members will have the chance to discuss critical issues of concern to the Upper Lake community.


For additional information contact Rushing at 263-2368 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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LAKEPORT – The California Highway Patrol has named the lead suspect who they're seeking in connection with a high-speed chase that took place last week.


On Tuesday, the CHP said they're filing charges with the District Attorney's Office against Evonne Sheree Donohue, 38, of Crockett, according to CHP Officer Adam Garcia.


Donohue is being charged with felony evading police, fraud, vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and other violations.


The CHP has not yet arrested Donohue, who they're still attempting to locate, Garcia said.


Donohue is alleged to have led CHP on a high-speed pursuit June 10, as Lake County News has reported.


CHP Officer Mark Crutcher spotted Donohue allegedly speeding in a stolen Dodge Ram pickup on Highway 29 at around 9:30 p.m. June 10.


When he attempted to pull the pickup over it fled. The occupants reportedly were throwing objects out of the pickup during the pursuit, but Garcia said none of those objects were recovered.


The pursuit eventually ended in downtown Lakeport, where police and sheriff's deputies joined CHP in attempting to apprehend the pickup's occupants, who fled the scene on foot.


Investigators found in the truck a number of stolen items, said Garcia, including more than 200 credit cards and identification cards alleged to have been stolen. He said it's still not been determined how the cards were illegally obtained.


Lakeport resident Marian Muniz, 49, is believed to have been Donohue's accomplice and passenger during the pursuit, said Garcia. No charges have been filed against her at this time, with the investigation – led by Crutcher – continuing.


Donohue has a lengthy criminal history, said Garcia. That includes a first-degree burglary arrest in Lake County January of 2007.


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


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Quinoa, pronounced “KEEN-wah,” was the second-most important of the three primary foods of the Incas, the first being the potato and the third being corn. It was so valuable to them that they called it “The mother of all grains.”


In the ancient Incan equivalent of throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game, the ruling monarch ceremoniously planted the first quinoa every year with gardening equipment made of gold. Modern marketers call quinoa “the supergrain of the future.”


Well, let’s not get our hopes TOO high. If you want to get really technical quinoa isn’t a grain, but a seed of a plant related to the weed goosefoot. White or “sweet” quinoa is the most common, but there also is red and black quinoa available.


Quinoa has a bitter seed coating called saponin that protects it from being eaten by birds while out in the field. In modern commercial processing this is rinsed off before sale, but the Spaniards arriving to the New World didn’t do this, and so ended up not liking the taste of quinoa. As a result, potatoes and corn made it back to Spain from the newly discovered Incan lands, but quinoa was shunned as “Indian food.”


Later, when the Conquistadors became horrified with the violent and bloody Incan religious sacrificial practices, anything Incan became taboo. All writings were burned and native foods were forbidden, sending the discovery of quinoa into obscurity.


This is a shame since quinoa has been a food for over 3,000 years. Had these exploring Europeans been able to distinguish the good things from the bad of Incan customs and culture and not “throw out the baby with the bath water,” this amazing food would be as widely appreciated today as corn is.


Although I think the Incas were probably lacking registered dietitians they sure knew their stuff! Quinoa is nearly a perfect food. It has an average of 16.5 percent protein, it’s full of balanced amino acids (lysine, methionine and cystine), calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, fiber (45 percent of your daily value on average per serving), starch, sugars and linoleic acid; it is gluten free AND kosher.


When it comes to nutritional benefits this grain kicks the butts of rice, wheat, corn, barley and millet (not that millet is on many pantry shelves). It is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. One cup serving of uncooked quinoa provides 36 percent of your daily carbohydrates and 43 percent of iron, and 626 calories (93 from fat, 437 from carbohydrates). If you are on a fixed income then you need quinoa; it will provide you a healthier meal for less money.


Quinoa is available at several Lake County grocery stores. It’s inexpensive and easy to cook. I’ve found quinoa cooked with water rather plain, so I cook it in chicken stock/broth, and then upon serving I add a pat of butter. The basic recipe is one part quinoa to two parts liquid.


Quinoa typically cooks in 15 minutes, but the really cool part is that it actually TELLS you when it’s done. The grains swell up, become translucent, and the germ ring pops out adding a “springy” look to the grains. You can also prepare quinoa in the microwave or rice cooker.


In my efforts to make sure I give you as much information possible, I decided to experiment with the idea of growing quinoa sprouts. I enjoy growing my own sprouts and have a countertop sprouter set, but I hadn’t tried quinoa sprouts before.


So I put a teaspoon of the seeds into my seed sprouter and watered them. I used the very same ones that I bought from the grocery store to cook, no special ordering needed. Twelve hours later the seeds had already started to grow.


If you choose to sprout your own quinoa keep them in a sunny window since the more sunlight they get the more nutritious they become. Although the initial sprouting occurred quickly, after three days I didn’t have a very impressive crop of sprouts, but they are beautiful, being green, white and purple.


Flavor-wise the sprouts are delicious; it was reminiscent of childhood when I would nibble on fresh clover out in a field. For those of you who didn’t spend your childhood as a cow in the Midwest, a better description would be a fresh vegetable taste almost like mixing raw asparagus and cucumber. Quick side note: Always water with fresh clean water, as reusing the water in the bottom of the sprouter set hastens fermentation.


The sprouts have even more nutritional benefits than cooked quinoa, which are already very high. This makes quinoa even more versatile. The sprouts are reported to be higher in vitamins and minerals than plain cooked quinoa, are cleansing for the heart and arterial system, and reduce fat in the blood stream.


Raw food enthusiasts and vegans use quinoa to replace the protein they are lacking from meat. They have many creative uses for quinoa including making banana and quinoa sprouts breakfast drinks, and dehydrating quinoa sprouts and sprinkling them over other foods for extra nutrition. Some pet food companies are even putting quinoa sprouts into pet food.


You can make your own gourmet BLT sandwich by substituting prosciutto for the bacon and quinoa sprouts for the lettuce, but keep the tomato. Put them on some toast with mayo and you have yourself a super-nutritious gourmet sandwich.


The seeds will remain viable for about two years if stored in an airtight container. The sprouts have a maximum shelf life of about two weeks if stored in the refrigerator. If you don’t keep the sprouts in the refrigerator they can ferment, and yes, there is quinoa beer out there. There are even recipes available online for cooked quinoa sprouts. Gee, maybe this is the supergrain of the future.


Not only does quinoa produce a grain-like seed, sprouts and beer but there also is quinoa flour and quinoa pasta. You can “pop” quinoa seeds like popcorn, but in a dry skillet. Then add milk and eat it like breakfast cereal. Due to quinoa’s high fat and oil content it should be stored in the refrigerator to keep it from going rancid. I personally don’t store mine in the fridge, because I use it up way before it has a chance to go bad.


So with the nutrition, ease of cooking, variety of methods and historical significance you have no reason NOT to get this ancient Incan superfood on your next shopping trip. Come on try it, it’s not like I’m asking you to sacrifice your enemy on an altar and eat his still-beating heart.


Quinoa, it’s not just for Incas anymore.


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.


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WASHINGTON – On Thursday, a House subcommittee held a hearing on Congressman Mike Thompson's bill to help veterans who were unknowingly tested with chemical and biological weapons in the 1960s and 70s.


The House Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs held a hearing on a Thompson-authored bill that would give these veterans health benefits and compensation for illnesses resulting from “Project 112” weapons tests.


Thompson hopes this hearing will ultimately push his bill toward consideration by the House, his office reported Thursday.


Project 112, which included ship-based Project SHAD, was conducted between 1963 and 1973 by the Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal agencies.


The DoD now admits that during these projects, unknowing military personnel were involved a number of chemical weapon tests such as VX nerve gas and Sarin nerve gas and were exposed to biological weapons such as E. Coli, Rabbit Fever and Q fever.


“First the government denied the tests existed,” Thompson said in a written statement. “Then they said the tests happened but were harmless. Now they admit dangerous substances were used on our military personnel, yet they still refuse to give them care for their illnesses. We can’t change the past, but we can begin to right this wrong by giving these men the proper health care and compensation they earned.”


HR 5954, introduced by Thompson (D-St. Helena) and Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) in May, provides veterans of Project 112 a “Presumption of Service Connection.” This means the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) presumes the relationship between service and a health condition, making the veterans involved eligible for medical benefits and/or compensation for their conditions. For example, veterans exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War are already given a “Presumption of Service Connection.”


“I understand security classifications and the sensitivity of our operation,” said Jack B. Alderson, a retired Lt. Commander from the U.S. Navy Reserves and resident of Thompson’s district. “However, these were not volunteers but service personnel ordered to do a dangerous job and they did it, and did it well, now their nation needs to take care of them.”


In 1964, Alderson was the officer in charge of five U.S. Army light tug boats that were used to test chemical and biological weapons, as Lake County News has reported. The tug boats acted as sampling stations and targets for disseminated weapon clouds.


After the DoD admitted to Thompson that the tests did exist and included harmful agents, they released more than 6,000 names of military personnel used in the tests.


However, the GAO reported in February that the DoD had halted their efforts to disclose additional names and many veterans remain unaware that they were even involved. The Thompson-Rehberg legislation would require the DoD to hand over all the names to the VA, which must then notify the veterans.


The subcommittee didn't indicate on Thursday when a vote might take place. However, Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner has indicated support for the measure.


The Thompson-Rehberg legislation has been endorsed by the Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America.


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LAKEPORT – Students at Terrace Middle School found themselves being evacuated from their classrooms on Friday when a classmate was found with what looked like a bomb but which turned out to be a facsimile.


Lakeport Police Officer Jarvis Leishman, who is the school resource officer for the Lakeport Unified School District, said the fake device was found before the end of school Friday – which also happened to be the last day of school before the beginning of summer vacation.


A seventh grade boy had the object – made from a 12-ounce water bottle, a film canister and wires that were duct-taped together – in his backpack, said Leishman.


The boy and his friends reportedly play a game in which he planned to use the object. Leishman said the boy took it to school to show his buddies. “I don't think he really intended to scare anybody.”


Leishman said he was on his way to the school when the object was found, and fellow Lakeport Police Officer Jim Bell arrived before him to check out the situation.


Students were evacuated to the school's sports fields while the fake bomb was checked, said Leishman. It did look like a bomb, although “a poorly made one,” he said.


Bell looked it over and determined that it was a fake, Leishman said. The object felt heavy, and it turned out that the boy had filled it with dirt, which Bell confirmed after he opened it up and dumped it out.


Once the situation was determined to be resolved, the students were called back into their classrooms, roll call was taken and the children were sent home, said Leishman.


Although it was a fake, the boy may face some repercussions. “I cited him for possession of a facsimile bomb,” said Leishman.


He said the case was sent to the county's juvenile probation department, where they'll decide how to proceed.


Leishman said cases where fake bombs are prosecuted require a malicious intent, and he didn't believe that the child had intended any harm.


At the end of his first year as school resource officer, Leishman said this is the only incident of this kind to happen during his time with the school district.


There were, however, seven expulsions during the school year for students who made “active shooter” type threats against others in the district, he said.


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


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COBB – A tree that fell into power lines caused an outage late Friday for several hundred Cobb-area residents.


Pacific Gas and Electric reported Saturday that the outage, which occurred at 4:19 p.m. Friday, was caused when a third party was cutting down a tree.


The tree fell into the power lines, knocking them down, said company spokesperson Brandi Ehlers.


Initially, the outage left approximately 646 customers without power, Ehlers said.


“We were able to restore 559 at 8:05 p.m.,” she said.


The remaining 87 customers' power was restored at 1:38 a.m. Saturday, Ehlers reported.


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


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LAKEPORT – Authorities have not apprehended two suspects who led the California Highway Patrol on a high-speed pursuit along Highway 29 and through downtown Lakeport on Tuesday night.


The two suspects – believed to be women – ditched a stolen Dodge Ram pickup filled with stolen items in the area of Martin Street after the chase, as Lake County News reported Wednesday.


CHP Officer Adam Garcia said CHP Officer Mark Crutcher spotted the pickup speeding at about 9:30 p.m. while it was traveling northbound on Highway 29 near Argonaut Road, between Kelseyville and Lakeport.


When Crutcher attempted an enforcement stop on the pickup, the vehicle took off, said Garcia.


The pursuit continued northbound on Highway 29 until Park Way, where the pickup turned off and headed down to Lakeshore, continuing back into town, said Garcia.


CHP was joined by sheriff's deputies and Lakeport Police, who continued the pursuit down Main Street. The vehicle was finally abandoned on Martin near Hartley, said Garcia, with the two suspects escaping on foot.


Inside the vehicle investigators found a large amount of stolen credit cards and driver's licenses, said Garcia.


While there are no arrests in the case yet, Garcia said the investigation has yielded some good leads.


The pickup, said Garcia, was stolen out of Vallejo.


The vehicle also sported metallic First Choice Abbey Carpet signs on its sides. The owner of the Danville store told Lake County News that the signs had been stolen from him about a week ago. The business' phone number had been cut off the bottom of the signs.


Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.


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


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MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – A fire in a part of the Mendocino National Forest located within Tehama County has burned nearly 7,000 acres.


The Whiskey Fire, located five miles northwest of Paskenta, ignited on Thursday, according to the US Forest Service. The cause is under investigation.


On Sunday the Whiskey Fire was 25-percent contained at 6,815 acres, Cal Fire reported.


The Unified Command by the Forest Service and Cal Fire's Tehama-Glenn Unit initially led the effort to bring the fire under control, before turning the fire's management over to Nor Cal Interagency Incident Management Team II on Friday. The team draws on expertise from federal, state and local fire fighting agencies throughout California.


The fire was initially reported at about 12:30 p.m. June 12 as about 10 acres in size before it spread rapidly through the brush, according to the US Forest Service.


The fire is burning in chaparral brush and grass in a sparsely habited area of the forest, at elevations of 1,500 to 4,000 feet, officials reported. Conditions include hot temperatures and dry vegetation due to winds and little precipitation.


Portions of Forest Roads M-2 and M-4 were closed to public travel to expedite movement of fire equipment and personnel to the fire lines, officials reported. Five structures are listed as threatened but there is no evacuation ordered.


In other fire news, Cal Fire reported Sunday that Butte County's Humboldt Fire was 80-percent contained at 23,162 acres.


Firefighter numbers had been scaled back to just under, 1,200, from a high of nearly 4,000.


Northshore Fire personnel and firefighters from Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake Napa Unit were sent to Butte County to assist with the containment effort last week, 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..


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LAKE COUNTY – As wildland fires continue to rage across the state – aided by unseasonably dry conditions and high winds – Cal Fire's local firefighters are once again leaving the county to provide assistance.


Cal Fire spokesperson Suzie Blankenship said Friday that personnel from the agency's Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit had been sent to fight the Humboldt Fire in Butte County.


Lakeport Fire officials said Friday that, so far, no local fire districts have sent personnel to combat that fire.


Late Friday, Cal Fire reported that nearly 6,000 structures – both homes and businesses – were threatened by the fire, which has so far burned just under 23,000 acres along Highway 32 and Humboldt Road on Stilson Canyon. It was only 20-percent contained on Friday night.


The dangerous conditions have caused residents to be evacuated from the southernmost portion of the town of Paradise; the communities of Butte Valley and Butte Creek Canyon also have been evacuated, according to Cal Fire.


Earlier in the week, the Pine Fire broke out near Cloverdale. Blankenship said an engine and a bulldozer from Middletown, two engines from the Kelseyville-Cobb Cal Fire station, three crews from Konocti Camp, and a helicopter and helicopter tender – both from Boggs Station – were on that fire, the cause of which is still under investigation.


“We were still committed to the Pine Fire when the Humboldt broke,” said Blankenship.


Some firefighting assistance that had been sent from other parts of the state was released early to respond to the Humboldt Fire while the Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit finished cleaning up at the Pine Fire, Blankenship said.


Since then, three “overhead” or supervisorial/logistical personnel, a strike team of Konocti Camp crews – including five engines and up to 18 firefighters – and some other incident command personnel from the unit have left for the Humboldt Fire, she said.


Some 2,842 firefighters – of which 1,094 are Cal Fire personnel – were on the Humboldt Fire Friday, Cal Fire reported. Costs to fight the fire so far have reached $1.2 million.


The Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit also has a strike team of five engines still committed at the Martin Fire in Santa Cruz County, said Blankenship. The Martin Fire has so far burned 600 acres and is 65-percent contained, Cal Fire reported.


Smoke from the Humboldt Fire could be seen making its way across Lake County's air basin in recent days, creating a haze and bringing with it a noticeable burning smell.


Bob Reynolds of the Lake County Air Quality Management District reported Friday that easterly winds had carried the smoke 60 miles to Lake County.


The smoke from the fire and existing weather with offshore flow causes the smoke to be trapped in a re-circulating path over Northern California and within the Lake County Air Basin, he explained.


The high sunlight input and moisture cause photochemical reactions in the air that further reduces visibility by forming secondary particles in addition to the smoke, according to Reynolds.


Unless weather patterns change, Reynolds said the smoke and haze over Lake County could continue for several more days.


In the Sacramento Valley, Reynolds said visibility has reportedly dropped to a quarter of a mile in some areas, and the heavy smoke conditions were raising health concerns.


Reynolds said that, despite the poor air quality, the pollution levels have not been high enough to be a health threat to Lake County's air quality. The measured levels are only about 65 percent of the allowed ambient air quality health standards.


Anyone who is especially sensitive to respiratory irritants or suffers breathing impairment should stay indoors and avoid unnecessary exercise, he said. If using air conditioners, place them on recirculation mode.


Reynolds urged people who are sensitive, who suffer from asthma or pulmonary disease, or have other health problems to consult their health care professional if they experience any health problems.


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


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HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – A solo-vehicle collision in Napa County late last week claimed the life of a local man.


James Curtis Powell, 48, of Hidden Valley Lake died when his pickup overturned and went down an embankment, according to a report from the California Highway Patrol's Napa office.


Powell was driving his 1996 Ford Ranger northbound on Knoxville Road north of Eastside Road, in a remote area in the region of Lake Berryessa, the CHP reported.


He was traveling between 35 and 40 miles per hour when, for an unknown reason, his pickup veered to the left, in a right curve, colliding with a concrete bridge wall, according to the report.


Powell's pickup went over the roadway edge and rolled onto its side about 20 feet down the embankment, the CHP reported.


CHP reported that witnesses found Powell unresponsive inside the pickup.


Because of the area's remoteness, locating the vehicle required the CHP to use a helicopter, which helped guide emergency personnel to Powell's truck.


Powell was pronounced dead at the scene, CHP reported.


The investigation into the collision is still under way. CHP said that it's unknown if drugs or alcohol may have been a contributing factor to the fatal crash.


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


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