Thursday, 25 July 2024





Duck season!

Wabbit season!

Duck season!

Wabbit season!

To set the record straight, duck season ended recently here in Lake County. Wabbit, er, rabbit season never closes.

Most of us in the area have heard the familiar sounds of gunshots in the morning during the colder months of the year when duck season is open, and duck is readily available in grocery stores.

Rabbit is also seen in stores on occasion, but since Bugs usually gets all the good press I’m going to

promote Daffy today.

I gave up hunting years ago and a part of me regret it since I would love to have a supply of wild game on a regular basis. Our county has such a bounty of wild boar, geese, hare, turkey and deer, not to

forget the ducks.

At times I wish I could hunt, but I gave it up for very good reasons and I won’t go back. But if anybody has any extra wild game they don’t want, I won’t turn it down.

I usually purchase two ducks per month from the grocery store, not just because I love the flavor but it’s usually about $1.99 per pound which makes it far cheaper than beef. This makes it very economical to feed my family. I can usually make two meals out of one duck, so if you do the math you’ll see we eat duck about four times a month.

On other birds you buy in the grocery store, like chicken, capon and turkey, you get both light and dark meat. That is because these birds are so domesticated that they don’t use their wings to fly and so the

meat on the breast is very light. Since ducks do use their wings actively the breast meat is dark; there is no white meat on a duck.

The dark meat of duck isn’t like the dark meat of other fowl since it is leaner, firmer and more reminiscent of beef than of bird. It’s also perfectly acceptable for the meat to be served rare, the way most gourmands prefer it.

Cooking a duck breast to an internal temperature of 155 degrees then removing it from the heat and letting carry-over heat finish the breast as it rests for a couple minutes will give you best results.

While there are several breeds of domesticated duck that you will find available, the most common is the White Pekin (PEE-kin). Most people consider it to have the best flavor, the right amount of fat, the

highest weight to meat ratio, and is the least “gamey.” Don’t confuse the “Pekin” duck with “Peking” duck since one is a bird and the other is a recipe FOR the bird.

Both farmed and wild ducks feed on natural foods, though what the farmed birds eat is more controlled. The domesticated ducks eat corn, wheat and soybeans, and are given no antibiotics, steroids or gross

stuff. Wild ducks are opportunistic feeders eating almost any aquatic life that it can swallow, including grasses, grains, etc.

Ducks have a comb-like system on the inside of their bills that allows them to open their bills in the water, take in some water, close their mouths, then squeeze the water out of their bills while keeping any critters from getting out.

Imagine taking in a mouthful of chicken noodle soup, then closing your teeth and spitting the soup out, the chicken, veggies and noodles would be trapped in your mouth while the liquid would be expelled.

If a duck sticks their tail up in the air and their head down to the bottom of the water to eat then they are called “dabbling ducks” (shelducks, perching ducks and diving ducks are other categories). White Pekins are dabbling ducks.

If you are a believer of the adage, “You are what you eat,” this would mean domesticated ducks taste clean and fresh while wild ducks taste like mosquito larvae, worms, snails and algae, i.e., gamey.

While many people like myself love the gamey flavor of wild game it can get old after a while, so

farm raised duck is a great every day type of meat.

Duck skin has a thick layer of fat underneath it. Of course, fat floats and keeps you warm, the two things a duck needs. This fat is popular among chefs to cook all sorts of things since it is rich and

has a high smoke point.

When I get a duck I use all of it, up to its full potential. First, when I’m dismembering a duck I cut out any fat and excess skin I can find, and there’s lots of it. I put it in a sauce pan on low heat until the fat is rendered. I then pour that fat into jars marked “duck pudge” and store it in the refrigerator. I use this rendered fat to cook cubed potatoes with rosemary and a little salt and pepper. It’s a family favorite in our house.

Then I make a stock out of the duck bones with some onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and pepper, and it comes out thick and hearty, with a flavor similar to beef stock. Duck meat is very versatile too.

Michael Ruellman’s book “Charcuterie” has an amazing “Duck Prosciutto” recipe that I make on a regular basis.

A boneless, skinless, duck breast has 40-percent less fat than a similar chicken breast. Duck is high in iron, niacin, and selenium but lower in calories than most other meats. While duck skin has a considerable fat under it, the meat itself is very low in fat, including saturated fats. Since my family is trying to eat healthier, duck fits in perfectly with our needs.

In my opinion duck is an environmentally “green” meat. (Finally, the title of the column makes sense!)

Duck farms produce their meat more quickly than beef, acre per acre, so they produce more protein on less land. The ducklings hatch and grow for about six to eight weeks before being “processed,” at which point they are around 6 to 7 pounds in weight.

When they reach harvest size ducks are processed and immediately frozen which protects the meat from bruising or spoilage on their way to you. The ducks heads and other by-products are used to

make pet foods, their bedding is composted and used as fertilizer for vegetable farms, and the feathers are used in the bedding and clothing industry.

A duck’s feed conversion is 2 to 1, meaning for every 2 pounds of feed it eats, it grows by 1 pound, compared to pork at a ratio of 4 to 1, and beef being up to 10 to 1. So duck produces more food to less feed than most other meat animals. This makes duck a very efficient protein source.

Ducks are also raised in humane, clean conditions, typically on family-owned farms by people who really care about the little waddlers. They rise at the quack of dawn, have breakfast with quackers, and spend their day indoors so they don’t have to experience any fowl weather or worry about predators. They eat good food and are never charged for it, it just goes on their bill.

They don’t live in cages, but rather in large barns with plenty of room to exercise. Ducks have a good (low carbon footprint) life. So not only is the meat healthier for you but it’s healthier for the planet.

By the way, numerous studies have found that duck quacks DO echo, so don’t believe those e-mails of weird facts.

Having duck also gives you the feeling that the food is going to be more special. For example, just the thought of “duck spring rolls” as opposed to “chicken spring rolls” makes quite a different impression

on your feelings of the dish. The duck makes you think, “Oooh, how exotic.”

So duck is a superior product all across the board and is economical and environmentally friendly – “The green meat.”

Yoikes! And away!

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. Follow him on Twitter, .

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LAKE COUNTY – Several years ago a US Housing and Urban Development report estimated that 1 to 1.5 percent of people living in Lake County are homeless. In 2007 this translated to somewhere between 639 to 959 homeless persons in Lake County.

Who are the homeless?

  • 85 percent of homeless families are headed by single mothers with an annual income of less than $8,000;

  • 40 percent needing transitional housing are women, mostly fleeing domestic violence;

  • 25 to 40 percent of the homeless in Lake County are children;

  • There are more homeless children now than in the Great Depression;

  • Of all homeless men, 33 percent are veterans.

With the rapid rise of unemployment in Lake County these numbers are not likely to go down soon, but we can end homelessness if we as a community have a will to do so.

A more complete picture is needed if we are going to end homelessness in Lake County, but how do we get the better picture?

One tool in our arsenal is the US Census and the dozens of community agencies and churches that are already attempting to meet the needs of people presently experiencing homelessness.

On Monday and Wednesday of next week these groups have banded together to create a place where homeless people can come to be counted for the census and receive benefits.

The US Census count is safe and confidential. No information will be collected except the 10 questions on the census form and that information with not be shared with anyone outside of the census.

Even the Patriot Act does not have the power to require a release of information (despite what some You Tube videos are saying).

At two of the sites (Clearlake and Upper Lake) people coming to be counted will receive a backpack, one day’s worth of food, a flashlight and a hygiene kit. At the third site (Middletown) they will be provided with hot coffee, a continental breakfast and a hygiene kit.

The problem? We have to get the word out!

If you are part of a service agency that receives requests for help from people who are homeless (think couch surfers and people living out of their cars, as well), please refer them to one of these three sites.

If you see someone asking for money or carrying a sign saying they are homeless and will work for food – don’t pass them by without looking them in the eye. Ask if they heard that free food is available if they will just show up and be counted.

The sites are as follows:

  • Monday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lighthouse in Clearlake, located at 14147 Lakeshore Drive;

  • Wednesday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Middletown, located at 15833 Armstrong St.;

  • Wednesday, March 31, from noon to 4 p.m. at Northshore Christian Fellowship, located at 9456 Main St., Upper Lake.

How will a more accurate count help us to end homelessness in Lake County?

First and foremost it will give us a more accurate picture of the problem, but the US Census data also controls the disbursement of millions of dollars of aid that will go to programs like those addressing food insecurity and homelessness. Please, help Lake County be counted!

Rev. Shannon Kimbell-Auth leads the congregation at United Christian Parish in Lakeport and is a member of the Lake County Complete Count Committee for this year's US Census effort.

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CLEARLAKE – On Friday, the Sierra Club Lake Group filed a suit against the Clearlake Redevelopment Agency and a developer over the city's recently approved shopping center plan, alleging that the city violated state law by approving the project without a full environmental impact report.

The petition for writ of mandate names the Clearlake Redevelopment Agency, KK Raphel Properties LLC of Danville and 25 unidentified individuals.

The suit challenges the city's Feb. 25 certification of a mitigated negative declaration and project approval for the project – to be located at 6820 and 6828 Old Highway 53, on the site of the now-closed Pearce Field airport – and seeks to have the decision set aside.

During the city's consideration of the project, the Sierra Club Lake Group had urged them to conduct a full environmental impact report (EIR) – as had some other community members and leaders, including county Supervisors Rob Brown and Denise Rushing.

“The community deserves a complete EIR,” said Cheri Holden, chair of the Sierra Club Lake Group. “It's just that simple.”

Mike Raphel, one of KK Raphel Properties' principals, said they had no advance notice of the filing, which he called “unfortunate.”

Clearlake City Administrator Dale Neiman was out of town on vacation this week, and Vice Mayor Joyce Overton said the council hasn't been notified of the action yet.

She added that she wasn't surprised by the action. A Sierra Club letter sent to the council during the project consideration led Overton to believe that might be the outcome.

Overton – who had requested an EIR and voted against the mitigated negative declaration but otherwise voted for the project – said she didn't know why the Sierra Club was taking the action, noting it's “not like it's going in tomorrow.”

KK Raphel Properties is proposing to purchase 15 acres of the airport site, where it will build a shopping center with 154,179 square feet, including about 137,000 square feet for a Lowe's home improvement center, plus other commercial tenants including include sitdown and fast food restaurants, as Lake County News has reported.

The Sierra Club alleges that the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by certifying the mitigated negative declaration in lieu of preparing a full EIR, which the group asserts was required because there is “substantial evidence in the administrative record” that the project will have “numerous significant environmental effects.”

The suit asks that the city's certification of the mitigated negative declaration be set aside, that the effects of the project's approvals be stayed pending the suit's hearings and that the club receive an award of attorney's fees and costs.

Holden said that the suit had to receive approval not just from the Sierra Club Lake Group but from the Redwood Chapter and the state organization.

She said the group felt that the community deserves to see a whole EIR and a complete analysis, along with an indepth study of impacts and mitigations.

However, Raphel said a lot of research already has been done on the project during the three years the city and KK Raphel Properties have worked on it.

Now, he said they'll have to take a look at the suit and speak to Lowe's. The city's plans call for escrow to close on the property by next February.

He said they've been through such suits before, but in this case it's unique, because the city was supportive of the plan, which he said was a top redevelopment goal.

“In the meantime, the financial condition of the city doesn't get any better,” said Raphel, who added, “We got close to the finish line.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

MENDOCINO COUNTY – On Friday a Southern California man was sentenced to more htan 30 years in prison for a home invasion robbery and assault case that authorities allege was motivated by plans to steal marijuana.

Thirty-three-year-old Long Beach resident Juan Octavio Fernandez, also known as Angel Morales-Orellana, was sentenced to 30 years and eight months to life by Judge Richard Henderson, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.

He was charged with home invasion robbery, aggravated kidnapping for robbery and 11 other felonies and 13 special allegations.

Fernandez was convicted after a week and a half trial by a seven-woman, five-man jury, which reached its verdict at the end of the second day of deliberations, officials reported. Deputy District Attorney Brian Newman, with attorney Paul Lozada representing Fernandez.

In early January of 2008, Fernandez and six other men allegedly invaded a Branscomb home. The men, some of whom were wearing masks tied up the homeowner and imprisoned his wife and two small children in a bedroom while they ransacked the house.

When there were unable to find any money or marijuana they began to torture the man using an electronic stun gun, blows to the head, and even stabbed him with a fork.

It was only when he was threatened with a gun that the homeowner agreed to show them where the money was hidden. Three of the men, including Fernandez took the homeowner to a location about a half-mile away where the money was found hidden in a stump. On the way they had to cross a rain swollen creek via a makeshift bridge.

Once they had the money the robbers took virtually everything of value from the house and fled in two vehicles. Before fleeing they gagged the homeowner and his wife and duct-taped them to two chairs. They locked the children, ages 2 and 6, in the bathroom. The homeowner was able to free himself and alert law enforcement.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies located Fernandez driving one of the getaway vehicles just north of Ukiah and began to the chase. After stopping initially at the West Road overcrossing, Fernandez and the other men fled south on highway 101 at speeds of over 90 miles per hour.

California Highway Patrol officers joined the chase and deployed a spike strip on the freeway at Gobbi street. Fernandez avoided the spike strip and then took the Talmage exit.

During the chase the firearm, stun gun and other evidence were thrown out of the vehicle. The chase continued on the back roads to Hopland where Fernandez ran over a second spike strip. The chase did not end until reaching the Mendocino-Sonoma county line. Fernandez was the driver and the vehicle was full of property taken from the home, and more than $37,000 in cash.

Seven men are known to have participated in the robbery. Johan Espinosa, age 26 of Long Beach, has entered a guilty plea to seven felonies and admitted one special allegation. He is awaiting sentencing and faces up to 15 years in state prison.

Ruben Salazar, age 42 of Long Beach, also entered a guilty plea to seven felonies and admitted one special allegation. He has been sentenced to 15 years in state prison.

Ryan Whitman, age 35 of Fort Bragg, entered guilty pleas to two felonies and has been sentenced to 11 years in State Prison.

Anthony Melendez, age 44 of Los Angeles, has his case set for trial to begin May 3. Law enforcement is still seeking the remaining two men.

District Attorney Meredith Lintott said this kind of violent crime stems from marijuana production – five of the seven men involved traveled here for no other reason than to commit a violent robbery of a person they believed to be a marijuana grower.

Lintott said she intends that every person who comes to this county and commits a violent crime will face the full punishment allowed by law.

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KELSEYVILLE – Faced with another year of budget challenges, local school district representatives gathered on Tuesday to hear about ways to work together to achieve cost-savings and improved services to schools and students.

More than 40 people – including representatives from all seven Lake County school districts and members of the public – gathered at Kelseyville High School for the “Shared Services Workshop.”

The school districts in Lake County are facing devastating cuts in funding from the state and are looking at all options for capturing cost savings that can be used to support school programs, according to a report from the Lake County Office of Education.

As part of the effort, the Lake County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck and the Lake County Board of Education hosted the workshop for board members, administrators and members of the public.

Geck shared that the focus of the evening was “to listen and learn about strategies that may have potential for our county.”

A panel of representatives from districts outside of Lake County described their success in implementing shared services strategies.

“Shared Services” were described as strategies where school districts collaborate to take advantage of individual district resources, create economies of scale and reduce redundancies.

The panel presentation was a part of a special board meeting that began with dinner provided by the Kelseyville food services program.

After the dinner, Superintendent Geck opened the panel presentation by explaining that the evening was the result of the Lake County Board of Education’s desire to seek ways to enhance efficiencies and effectiveness in services to schools and students in order to help districts use the cost savings to support student learning.

He described the ongoing work being done by school districts to create savings by utilizing county-wide opportunities for joint purchasing of custodial supplies, diesel, gas, oil and propane.

Geck also mentioned the shared transportation services model being used in the Upper Lake and Lucerne districts, where they share a transportation director, buses, bus drivers and bus maintenance staff.

He then introduced the panel members and they shared their experience with shared services.

They included Suzanne Grass, director of child nutrition services for the Grass Valley School District, who explained how she and her staff provided food services to the elementary school districts in Nevada County.

Her program provides breakfast and lunch meals to the districts that then warm the meals and serve them to their students.

She shared that the Grass Valley School District had been providing this service for over 30 years.

During the question and answer period, when asked about maintaining nutritional standards with the prepackaged meals, Grass responded that she must meet the same standards that individual districts are required to meet.

The next panel member, Keller McDonald Superintendent of the West Sonoma County High School District, described the shared transportation services provided by the West County Transportation Agency.

The agency was established in 1988 by seven elementary school districts and one high school district. The goal of the agency is “to provide safe and student centered services at the most reasonable cost.”

He listed as benefits to the districts optimal bus routes, optimal use and management of the bus fleet, cost savings on fuel purchasing and access to regional bus replacement grants for conversion to compressed natural gas. McDonald also said centralized employee training and retention was a plus.

When asked about the impact on employees when the agency began, he stated that all employees were ensured full employment for a set period of time and that employee salary schedules were tied to salaries for school transportation employees in the region.

The final panel member was Dr. Sue Field, superintendent of the Bennett Valley Union School District. She shared a variety of areas where her district was participating in shared services with neighboring districts.

Field explained that the opportunity for collaboration can be as simple as sharing a staff member between two small districts that were individually unable to offer a full time assignment, but together could do so together.

She discussed the potential for collaboration in the area of business services, like human resources support and payroll. Her district was pleased with the food services they were receiving from the Santa Rosa City Schools and transportation services from the West County Transportation Agency.

After questions and answers, Geck wrapped up the workshop by listing next steps that will be facilitated by his office.

He said he would invite stakeholders from all the school districts to participate in a work group that would be charged with addressing four questions:

  • Do additional shared services make sense considering our local circumstances in Lake County?

  • What services, if any, are the best candidates for additional shared services?

  • What legal structures best match our needs for supporting shared services in Lake County?

  • What is the realistic time frame for implementing any identified shared services?

He thanked the panel members for their presentations and the audience for their participation. County Board Vice President, George Ryder thanked everyone as well and closed the meeting.

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LAKEPORT – A former model and actor who last year failed to show up for his trial has been arrested and is facing extradition back to Lake County.

Justin Force Lazard, 43, was taken into custody in New York City while attempting to enter the United States after returning from the Caribbean, according to Lt. Brad Rasmussen of the Lakeport Police Department.

Police arrested Lazard on July 4, 2006, after he was found exposing himself in front of numerous witnesses who were attending a public fireworks display at Library Park, Rasmussen said. Lazard reportedly struggled with officers, who used Tasers to subdue him.

Further investigation led to the Lake County District Attorney's Office filing charges against Lazard, who later donated playground equipment for Lakeport's Library Park, as Lake County News has reported.

Last May he was scheduled to go to trial on misdemeanor charges of annoying or molesting a child under 18, engaging in lewd conduct in public and indecent exposure. However, he failed to appear and the Lake County Superior Court issued a bench warrant for Lazard's arrest, according to court records.

In recent weeks, the Lakeport Police Department had stepped up its efforts to find Lazard, who it made its most wanted person.

Rasmussen said they contacted the police department in Woodstock, New York, where Lazard is believed to have been living, and the two departments were working together to arrest Lazard and have him brought back to Lake County for trial.

“They've agreed to work with us on attempting to take him into custody,” he said. “They were willing to help.”

The district attorney's office in Ulster County, New York, also was working on a fugitive warrant, he added.

Then, as Lazard was coming through US Customs and Border Protection at around 4 p.m. East Coast time on Friday, that agency ran a check on him and found the arrest warrant, said Rasmussen.

“Today was just a fluke,” said Rasmussen. “We didn't know he was out of the country at this time.”

About three and a half hours later, Lazard was turned over to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, where Rasmussen said Lazard was booked on the warrant.

“We had advised the port authority police that we will extradict him,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said Lazard will need to appear in court next week in New York City, where the Queens District Attorney's Office is filing a fugitive warrant. Then he must go to court for identification and extradition proceedings.

Lazard could try to challenge extradition and try to post bail, which is $25,000 just from the Lakeport Police Department's warrant. “In some states they have to go to court and see a judge there before they can possibly make bail,” Rasmussen said.

It's possible that Lazard could make bail in New York, but Rasmussen said that the Woodstock Police might pick him up again.

Now police are waiting for word from the New York authorities about Lazard's status and when he might be ready for extradition. In the meantime, the Lake County District Attorney's Office is preparing a governor's warrant seeking extradition, Rasmussen said.

He added, “Although it's a misdemeanor, it's a serious misdemeanor and we consider it a serious offense in our jurisdiction, and we want him to answer to the charges filed again him, which he's failed to appear for for close to a year at this point.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Kelsey Creek has seen an especially large run of the Clear Lake Hitch this year. Here they're pictured on Thursday, March 18, 2010. Photo by Philip Murphy.







LAKE COUNTY – The annual spawning migration of the Clear Lake hitch seems to be at its peak, with indications that this remarkable spectacle may be particularly spectacular this year.

The hitch (lavinia exilicauda chi) is a fish found only in Clear Lake and a California listed Species of Special Concern; they live deep in the lake most of the year, but during a brief breeding season every spring move up into the surrounding creeks.

Once present in unimaginable abundance, hitch were a valuable food source for wildlife and of great importance to the native people of the region, but their population has declined substantially over the past 50 years, for reasons that are not completely understood.

Recently they have been found in reliably large numbers only in Kelsey and Adobe creeks.

This year might just be different.

The Chi Council, an organization dedicated to the long-term survival of the hitch and which has recruited dozens of volunteers to observe the spawning migration, has as usual recorded large schools in both Kelsey and Adobe creeks.

Numbers were especially high in Kelsey Creek, where one grouping below the detention structure off Finley East Road was described as being 20 yards long and containing perhaps 10,000 fish, “more fish than water.”

Also, for the first time in several years, the group has received observations from Robinson, Pool, Hendricks, Manning and Clover creeks.

The most exciting news of all was a report of a school consisting of a few hundred hitch in Middle Creek, where the county has constructed a series of rock weirs to facilitate fish passage.

This the first significant sighting in Middle Creek since 2006, which also happens to be the last year of “normal” rainfall in the Clear Lake basin.

Details about the hitch run are available at the Chi Council website,, where still photographs and a video of spawning in progress have also been posted.

The council is also hoping to schedule a field trip to see the 2010 migration in person. This event has tentatively been planned for Saturday, March 27.

For confirmation and meetup details, check the Web site or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Clear Lake Hitch pictured in Clover Creek in Lake County Calif., on Thursday, March 18, 2010. Photo by Tom Smythe.

LAKEPORT – Lakeport Speedway will host its inaugural car show, the “Show and Shine,” at Kelseyville Lumber on Sunday, March 28.

The event will take place from noon to 4 p.m.

KXBX 98.3 FM radio will broadcast live from the show for its duration.

The first 200 people to show up will receive a free Lakeport Speedway Scratcher.

Come see the new Coors Light Modifieds, and the always entertaining Clover Hydro Jammers.

Also at the car show will be the NCRA Mini Stock and Street Stocks. There will be the Champion from the Airport Auto Brokers Late Models as well as cars from The Snake Pit Development Bombers.

On Display will be the No. 3 car that Dale Earnhardt drove, presented by Andy Scopazzi.

There will be a custom tricked out Milk Van on display from Lake County Car Audio & Security with a bumping sound system cranked up.

We will have the biggest hand-built rock crawlers in the county put together by Lake County Off Road.

Come on out with the family and see all the fun people, cars, and get some signed autographs from the drivers of all these crazy machines.

The speedway is getting pumped for its action-packed season with five Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino Boat Races and back again this season the Lake County Off Road Destruction derbies.

The Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino Boat Racers will be running for the first time for the McAtee Marine Repair Points Fund.

The Lake County Off Road Destruction Derbies will go into their second points season at Lakeport Speedway. It is crazy, it is insane, it is the best entertainment one can buy for the money at Lakeport Speedway.

Also back on the Fourth of July Weekend will be the 22nd annual Deake Lyndall Memorial.

Come out to the speedway this year and be part of the record breaking attendance at the largest entertainment venue in Lake County – the Lakeport Speedway, your community-based not-for-profit speedway and the place for family entertainment.

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California law protects certain surviving family members of a deceased person in several important ways: temporary possession of the family dwelling and exempt property; a probate homestead set-aside; and a family allowance.

These protections lessen the detrimental impact of lengthy probates and favor a deceased person’s dependents at the time of death over the decedent’s creditors.

Probate protections even favor the surviving family when the deceased person’s will gives his estate go to other persons.

Let’s examine who is protected and how each of these protections work.

Who is protected? The surviving spouse and surviving minor children are the only persons entitled to all of these protections so long as their status remains. That is, so long as the surviving spouse doesn’t get remarried or the minor children don’t reach majority, as relevant.

In addition to the surviving spouse and minor children, the decedent’s adult disabled and dependent children are entitled to receive a family allowance, or maintenance money). Sometimes, at the court’s discretion, the decedent’s dependent adult children and dependent parents may also be granted a family allowance.

Temporary possession of the family home and exempt property is immediately allowed to the surviving spouse and minor children without any court order. This means that they can remain in control of the family dwelling, clothing, household furniture, and certain other property that is exempt from creditor claims.

This temporary possession lasts until 60 days after the inventory and appraisal is filed with the probate court during the administration of the decedent’s probate estate; it can be extended by court order. The protection can last for many months.

A probate homestead set-aside can pickup where the temporary possession of the home ends, and can commence upon the filing of the probate inventory. The probate homestead is itself temporary. It may either last for a short term (such as six months) or a long term (such as the surviving spouse’s remaining lifetime or until the minor children reach majority).

In setting the duration of the probate homestead, the court will usually consider the needs and income of the surviving spouse and minor children, the length of the marriage, and the surviving spouse’s age.

For example, a surviving spouse aged 55 years old, and with limited means of support, may be given a probate homestead for her remaining lifetime.

Lastly, the probate homestead remains answerable to the decedent’s creditors and for any loans secured against the real property (homestead) at the decedent’s death.

The family allowance exists to maintain certain family members during the administration (settling) of the probate estate and is paid out of the decedent’s estate. It is granted a high priority (No. 5) in the order of what expenses and debts the administrator of an estate must pay.

As soon as the administrator has set sufficient funds aside to pay the expenses of administration – such as executor and attorney fees – the administrator shall pay the family allowance.

If more than one person is entitled to a family allowance and one of them has sufficient means to provide for himself, then the family allowance is granted only to those others who lack the sufficient means from other sources.

The family allowance either terminates with the final order of distribution to beneficiaries of the probate estate (at the latest) or earlier.

If the probate estate is insolvent, or has more debts than assets, the family allowance must end within one year of the commencement of the probate administration (i.e., the date when letters testamentary were issued to the executor).

Legal counsel is needed in order to take advantage of these family protections; petitions must be filed with notice to appropriate parties.

Dennis A. Fordham, attorney (LL.M. tax studies), is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. His office is at 55 1st St., Lakeport, California. Dennis can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 707-263-3235.

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LAKE COUNTY – After highs in the upper 60s and 70s for the previous week, Thursday's return to cooler weather is reminiscent of recent winter weather.

In recent days there have been reports of hail and snow flurries around Lake County, with more rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast and a hazardous weather outlook issued for Lake County Friday through Wednesday.

According to the National Weather Service in Sacramento, Friday and Saturday skies will clear again and spring-like temperatures will return, with highs in the low 60 to mid 60s as high pressure builds over the county.

However, a series of storms will take aim at the area for much of next week beginning Saturday evening.

Clouds and rain return on Sunday, increasing throughout the day, with rainfall totals expected near three-quarters of an inch, according to the National Weather Service.

On Monday, the precipitation is forecast to increase, and the National Weather Service expects 2 inches of rainfall over areas of Lake County, with snow levels dropping below 3,500 feet overnight.

Rain showers are likely through the end of next week with a break on Friday, the National Weather Service reported.

Throughout these series of storms, temperatures are forecast to be mild in Lake County with highs in the 50s and lows in the upper 30s to mid-40s, with rain totals nearing 3 inches.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains may accumulate several more feet of snow – ideal for springtime skiing, forecasters said.


For the latest weather information, please visit the link on the home page.

E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY – The first major campaign finance filing for candidates in local races shows that nearly $49,000 has been raised over the last two months.

The statements cover the period from Jan. 1 through March 17.

Contributions include cash, nonmonetary gifts and loans.

The race that's raised the most money so far is for Lake County superintendent of schools, with more than $25,000 raised.

Candidate Wally Holbrook brought in just over $20,005 in contributions – the largest amount of any candidate in any race so far. That includes $4,000 in loans, nearly $8,500 in nonmonetary contributions and about $7,500 in cash.

His opponent in the race, Judy Luchsinger, raised just over $5,400 – all in cash contributions – in the same period.

Nearly $7,500 was raised in the two-month reporting period by district attorney candidates, with incumbent Jon Hopkins bringing in just over $5,300 compared to challengers Doug Rhoades, with $1,450, and Don Anderson, with $665.

The three sheriff's candidates brought in, combined, just under $4,000 during the reporting period. Challenger Jack Baxter raised $1,650, incumbent Rod Mitchell had $1,649 and challenger Francisco Rivero reported $680 in contributions.

In the race for District 2 supervisor, Joyce Overton raised just over $1,700, with incumbent Jeff Smith reporting no contributions during that period.

For the District 3 supervisorial race, incumbent Denise Rushing reported just over $9,500, while challenger Bob Hesterberg reported $900 in contributions, which he made to himself in the form of a loan. The other challenger in the race, Gary Lewis, filed a special form in which he stated he intends to raise less than $1,000.

Breakdowns for the financial reports follow.


Don Anderson

Beginning cash balance: $1,000
Total contributions received this period: $665
Itemized contributions: $600
Unitemized contributions: $65
Nonmonetary contributions: $0
Expenditures: $0
Total cash ending balance: $1,665
Outstanding debts: $0

Itemized contributions:

Richard Allen, Clearlake Oaks, retired, $100
L.R. Russ Addiss, Kelseyville, Self-employed accountant, $500

Jon Hopkins

Beginning cash balance: $200
Total contributions received this period: $5,319
Itemized contributions: $3,650
Unitemized contributions: $669
Nonmonetary contributions: $0
Loans: $1,000 (made to self)
Expenditures: $1,882.83 ($1,566.06 itemized, $316.77 unitemized)
Total cash ending balance: $3,636.17
Outstanding debts: $0

Itemized contributions:

Frederick Lambert, Half Moon Bay, professor, Hastings College of the Law, $500
Gerri Brown, Kelseyville, victim advocate, county of Lake, $100
John Candido, Lakeport, retired, $100
James Hagan, Lakeport, podiatrist, $500
Dana Kearney, Kelseyville, pharmacy technician, Northlake Medical Pharmacy, $100
Gary Cambra, Lakeport, auto sales, Kathy Fowler Chevrolet, $100
Patricia Novatny, Clearlake, landscape design, Highlands Landscaping, $100
Milo Hoovler, Clearlake, auto parts sales, Clearlake Auto Parts, $100
Brad Onorato, Napa, district representative for Congressman Mike Thompson, $250
Christian L. Hansen, Kelseyville, retired, $100
Toni M. Scully, Lakeport, pear grower, Scully Packing Co., $100
Richard Hinchcliff, Lakeport, chief deputy district attorney, county of Lake, $300
James Rothberg, Cobb, mortgage broker, Mountain Mortgage, $100
Kathleen Serano, Carlsbad, retired, $100
Jack Williams, Oceanside, retired, $100
Carol Germenis, Cobb, retired, $100
Tom Cushing, Santa Rosa, psychologist, $250
Donna Thomas, Lakeport, real estate, TFI LLC, $200
Susan J. Martin, Kelseyville, retired, $100
Pamela Maes, Kelseyville, nurse practitioner, Maes Family Practice, $100
Jim Fetzer, Lucerne, winery owner, Ceago Vinegarden, $250

Itemized expenditures

Lake County Registrar of Voters, filing fees, $550.50
Lake County Registrar of Voters, filing fees, $1,015.56

Douglas Rhoades

Beginning cash balance: $0
Total contributions received this period: $1,450
Itemized contributions: $1,250
Unitemized contributions: $200
Nonmonetary contributions: $0
Loans: $0
Expenditures: $135.83 ($125 itemized, $10.83 unitemized)
Total cash ending balance: $1,314.17
Outstanding debts: $0

Itemized contributions:

Laurel Groshong, Lakeport, retired state administrator, $250
Nancy Rhoades, Kelseyville, educator, Lake County Office of Education, $500
Ron Green, Lower Lake, attorney, $100
Mitchell Hauptman, Lakeport, attorney, $200
Bill Wolfe, Kelseyville, retired tire salesman, $100
Quinn Law Offices, Lower Lake, attorney, $100

Itemized expenditures:

Staples, printing materials for campaign literature, $125


Jack Baxter

Beginning cash balance: $0
Total contributions received this period: $1,650
Itemized contributions: $1,650
Unitemized contributions: $0
Nonmonetary contributions: $0
Loans: $0
Expenditures: $74.21 (all unitemized)
Total cash ending balance: $1,650
Outstanding debts: $0

Itemized contributions:

John Cassotta, Valencia, retired, $100
Richard T. Long, Mission Viejo, vice president and director of law enforcement, 3SI Security Systems, $500
Amy Glazer, Lakeport, retired, $1,050

Rodney Mitchell

Beginning cash balance: $4,375.43
Total contributions received this reporting period: $1,649
Itemized contributions: $1,100
Unitemized contributions: $199
Nonmonetary contributions: $350
Loans: $0
Expenditures: $2,507.26 ($1,763.38 itemized, $393.88 unitemized)
Total cash ending balance: $3,517.17
Outstanding debts: $0

Itemized contributions:

Morton Levine, Clearlake, self-employed physician, $100
Terry Fries, Kelseyville, self-employed, Fries & Fries Consulting, $500
Phil Garner, Clearlake Oaks, lineman, Pacific Gas & Electric, $100
Mike Browning, Middletown, self-employed, The Cowpoke Cafe, $200
Gil Vanattenhoven, Folsom, self-employed, Van & Associates, $100
James Walker, Kelseyville, master electrician, Sonoma County, $100

Nonmonetary contributions:

Becky Mitchell, Lakeport, disabled, Web site development, $350

Itemized expenditures:

Robert Pierce, photography, $143.15
Lake County Registrar of Voters, candidate filing fee, $1,069.73
Lake County Registrar of Voters, candidate's statement for ballot, $550.50

Francisco Rivero

Beginning cash balance: $1,705.91
Total contributions received this reporting period: $680
Total contributions received calendar year to date: $3,229.22
Itemized contributions: $250
Unitemized contributions: $430
Nonmonetary contributions: $0
Loans received year-to-date: $2,499
Expenditures this reporting period: $1,376.98
Expenditures for this calendar year: $2,220.29
Total cash ending balance: $1,009.91
Outstanding debts: $2,499

Itemized contributions:

Randall Aiman-Smith, Oakland, self-employed attorney, $250

Itemized expenditures:

Lake County Registrar of Voters, candidate's statement publishing fee, $550
Lake County Registrar of Voters, filing fee, $794


Wally Holbrook

Beginning cash balance: $579.52
Total contributions received this reporting period: $20,005.75
Total contributions received calendar year to date: $21,005.75
Itemized contributions: $5,094
Unitemized contributions: $2,412
Nonmonetary contributions: $8,499.75
Loans received year-to-date: $4,000
Expenditures this reporting period: $18,770.37
Expenditures for this calendar year: $18,770.37
Total cash ending balance: $5,035.13
Outstanding debt: $7,109.75

Itemized contributions:

James Hermann, Kelseyville, retired, $100
Amy Wind, Lakeport, esthetician, Lakewind Skincare, $200
Dennis Rollins, Lakeport, retired, $160
Cathy Brennan, Lakeport, retired, $500
Robert R. Riggs, Kelseyville, attorney, Katzoff & Riggs, $200
A.K. Holbrook, Tucson, Ariz., retired, $1,000
Carol Bettencourt, Lucerne, retired, $100
Pam and Gary Maes, Kelseyville, nurse practitioner and doctor, $100
Mark A. Cooper, Clearlake, dentist, Clearlake Dental, $100
Marsha Thibodeaux, Kelseyville, counselor, Safe Schools Lake County Office of Education, $100
Korby Olson, Hidden Valley, district superintendent, Middletown Unified School District, $175
Flora Krasnovsky, Oakland, retired, $100
Walter Lyon, Kelseyville, farmer, $100
Dan McAdams, Lafayette, retired, $250
Michael Casey, Lakeport, retired, $200
Cameron Reeves, Lakeport, retired, $200
Tom Jordan, Lakeport, management consulting, Cerenio Management Group, $100
John Berry, Kelseyville, Kelseyville Unified School District principal and Lake County Record-Bee golf columnist, $150
Carleton Stewart, Kelseyville, school principal, Konocti Unified School District, $150
Dorothy Christiansen, Walnut Creek, retired, $100
Robert Groves, Fairfield, retired, $499
Thomas Nixon, Kelseyville, retired, $200
James Robert Hilton, Kelseyville, retired, $100
James Knox, Lakeport, retired, $100
April Leiferman, Kelseyville, principal, Konocti Unified School District, $110


Wally Holbrook, $1,000
Linda Holbrook, $3,000

Nonmonetary contributions:

Marc and Brenda Hooper, Kelseyville, consultant, Ag Unlimited and Lyman Group Inc., creation and maintenance of Web site and database, $8,499.75

Itemized expenditures:

Clearlake Rotary, Clearlake, civic donations, $500
Gary Olsen, Kelseyville, campaign consultant, $1,000
Ireland Agency Inc., Windsor, meetings and appearances, $475
Lake County News, Lucerne, advertising, $150
Lakeport Yacht Club, Lakeport, meetings and appearances, $150
Linda Holbrook, Kelseyville, $273.57 (subvendor, Uline, Waukegan, Ill., campaign literature and mailings; subvendor, Badge-A-Mini, Oglesby, IL, campaign paraphernalia
Linnell Printing, Kelseyville, campaign literature and mailings, $1,447.31
PayPal, San Jose, bank transaction fees, $106.66
RA Hamilton Co., Hidden Valley Lake, campaign paraphernalia, $389.70
Lake County Registrar of Voters, candidate filing and statement fees, $2,153.59
Rob Roy Golf Course, Cobb, meetings and appearances, $180
Soper-Reese Community Theatre, meetings and appearances, $100

Accrued expenditures:

Linda Holbrook, Kelseyville, $2,109.75 (subvendor, Econoline Signs Inc., Santa Rosa, campaign paraphernalia)

Judy Luchsinger

Beginning cash balance: $0
Total contributions received this reporting period: $5,438
Itemized contributions: $1,300
Unitemized contributions: $4,138
Nonmonetary contributions: $0
Loans received year to date: $0
Expenditures this reporting period: $6,624.20
Total cash ending balance: $3,013.80
Outstanding debts: $4,200

Itemized contributions:

David and Loraine James, Clearlake Oaks, retired, $500
Tom and Ruth Lincoln, Lakeport, owners, Lincoln-Leavitt Insurance Agency, $200
William C. and Victoria N. Myer, Kelseyville, owners, Piedmont Lumber, $500
William H. H. Wolfe, Kelseyville, retired, $100

Itemized expenditures:

Andrew Luchsinger, Tucson, Ariz., Web design, $400
Lakeport Enhanced Education Foundation, Lakeport, meetings and appearances, $500
Lake County Registrar of Voters, Lakeport, candidate filing and statement fees, $1,524.20


Joyce Overton

Beginning cash balance: $0
Total contributions received this reporting period: $1,708.58
Itemized contributions: $1,200
Unitemized contributions: $508.58
Nonmonetary contributions: $380
Loans received year to date: $500 (to self)
Expenditures this reporting period: $1,528.05
Total cash ending balance: $680.53
Outstanding debts: $0

Itemized contributions:

Piedad Treadway, Clearlake, retired, $1,000
Friends of Pat Wiggins 2010, Santa Rosa, state senator, $100
Joan Moore, Clearlake, In-Home Supportive Services, $100

Nonmonetary contributions:

Dian Gibson, Clearlake, owner, Sunset Resort, printing, $200

Itemized expenditures:

Lake County Registrar of Voters, candidate statement, $268.06
Lake County Registrar of Voters, pro-rated filing fee, $475.52, Web site domain registration, $109, Web site hosting, $105.35

Jeff Smith

Beginning cash balance: $2,683.68
Total contributions received this reporting period: $0
Itemized contributions: $0
Unitemized contributions: $0
Nonmonetary contributions: $0
Loans received year to date: $0
Expenditures this reporting period: $826.98
Total cash ending balance: $1,864.85
Outstanding debts: $0

Itemized expenditures:

Lake County Registrar of Voters, candidate's statement, $268.06
Lake County Registrar of Voters, candidate's filing fee, $550.77


Gary Lewis

Lewis filed a Form 470, which means he does not anticipate raising or spending more than $1,000 this calendar year.

Robert Hesterberg

Beginning cash balance: $0
Total contributions received this reporting period: $900
Itemized contributions: $900
Unitemized contributions: $0
Nonmonetary contributions: $0
Loans received year to date: $900 (to self)
Expenditures this reporting period: $282.23
Total cash ending balance: $617.77
Outstanding debts: $900

Itemized expenditures:

Lake County Registrar of Voters, filing fee, $282.23

Denise Rushing

Beginning cash balance: $467.77
Total contributions received this reporting period: $9,506
Itemized contributions: $7,475
Unitemized contributions: $579
Nonmonetary contributions: 1,452
Loans received year to date: $0
Expenditures this reporting period: $2,635.75
Total cash ending balance: $8,234.02
Outstanding debts: $0

Itemized contributions:

Harris and Lamb LLC, Clearlake Oaks, Internet business sales, $1,000 ($1,409 year-to-date)
Mike Thompson for Congress, Sacramento, $1,000
Howard Friel, Kelseyville, retired, $100
Victoria Brandon, Lower Lake, retired, $500
Paul Bradford Onorato, Napa, field aide for Congressman Mike Thompson, $500
Lars Crail, Kelseyville, farmer, $500
Paul Marchand and Juliana Vidich, physician at Sutter Lakeside Hospital and rancher, $2,500
Roberto Lozano, Kelseyville, retired, $100
Steve DeVoto, Kelseyville, farmer, $500
Susanne La Faver, Hidden Valley Lake, retired, $100
Tyler Lee, Lucerne, retired, $250
Blaine Wishart, Kelseyville, retired, $200
Carol Bettencourt, Lucerne, retired, $100 ($160 year-to-date)
Irenia Quitiquit, Nice, environmental director, Scotts Valley Pomo, $25 ($380 year-to-date)
Ed Robey, Lower Lake, retired, $100

Nonmonetary contributions:

Loretta McCarthy, Upper Lake, retired, silent auction – jewelry and jar, $115
Denise Rushing, Upper Lake, District 3 supervisor, silent auction – beverage cases and eggs, $308
Grant Murray Jr., Upper Lake, retired, silent auction – wine barrel, $150
Clarke's Collectibles, business, silent auction – collectible, hall rental from Sons of Italy, $270
Harris and Lamb LLC, Clearlake Oaks, Internet sales, silent auction – kayak, $409

Itemized expenditures:

PayPal Inc., San Jose, bank service fees, $132.73
Lake County Registrar of Voters, Lakeport, filing fees, $483.12
Harbor House Restaurant, Nice, fundraising events, $230.05, Foster City, campaign paraphernalia, $146.12

Miscellaneous increases to cash:

Luisa Acosta, Finley, silent auction items – teapot, photo, egg plate, collectibles, $110
Lona Jeppeson, Lucerne, silent auction items – earrings, jewelry, statues, $100
Irenia Quitiquit, Nice, silent auction item – inflatable kayak, $355

The next deadline for candidates' campaign finance filing will be May 27, according to the Lake County Registrar of Voters' election calendar.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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