Saturday, 13 July 2024


WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, 37 members of Congress from California and Oregon, including North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson, called for congressional hearings on Vice President Dick Cheney's involvement in the political decision that killed 80,000 spawning salmon.

They made this request to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) after a Washington Post investigative report found that Cheney pressured mid-level bureaucrats in the Department of Interior to divert water from the Klamath River Basin for political gain.

"We've known since 2002 that the Bush Administration manipulated science in a perverse and petty attempt to win votes," said Thompson. "Now it appears that this manipulation goes straight to the top. Despite what he may think, Vice President Cheney is not above the law and not above Congress' oversight. We want a thorough investigation of his involvement in the largest salmon kill and fishing disaster in our nation's history."

In 2002, the Interior Department diverted water from the Klamath River Basin to farmers in Oregon, resulting in the death of 80,000 adult salmon.

The Washington Post reports that Vice President Cheney called for the damaging water policy to secure the farmer's votes, despite scientific evidence that it would endanger two federal protected species of fish, a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Thompson and others brought a lawsuit against the Administration in 2002, and three courts found that the water diversion was "arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Endangered Species Act."

In the letter to Chairman Rahall, the members of Congress wrote, "The ramifications of that salmon kill are still being felt today as returns to the Klamath River are so low that commercial, sport and tribal fishing seasons have been curtailed for the past three years. In fact, last year's commercial fishing season for all of California and Oregon was cut by over 90 percent, and was the largest commercial fishing closure in the history of the country, causing over $60 million in damages to coastal economies."

"Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of Vice President Cheney choosing political gain over the health and welfare of the American people and our natural resources," added Thompson. "It's time the vice president is brought out of the shadows and held accountable for his actions."


WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Congressman Mike Thompson joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues in opposition of efforts to expand domestic offshore oil and gas drilling.

As they do each year, proponents of offshore drilling attempted to lift the current congressional moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) through amendments in an appropriations bill.

Thompson and his allies criticized this proposal as dangerous and unnecessary, and they urged their colleagues to vote against them. The amendments will be voted on in the next few days.

"Lifting the moratorium on new drilling could result in disastrous economic and environmental consequences," said Thompson. "Yet it will do nothing to reduce our dependency on oil and gas."

The moratorium on OCS drilling has been a bipartisan agreement in Congress for 25 years, and it has been renewed annually since 1982.

However, the moratorium has come under regular attack, which is why Thompson recently introduced a bill to permanently protect the North Coast from drilling.

The Northern California Ocean and Coastal Protection Act (H.R. 2758) will permanently prohibit oil and gas drilling off the coasts of Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.

"California's North Coast would be especially vulnerable if the moratorium was lifted," added Thompson. "Drilling off the North Coast would threaten our marine life and cause our local economy to suffer."

The North Coast is part of a unique upwelling zone, one of only four in the world. These zones support incredibly abundant and productive marine life, which local fishing communities depend on.

The North Coast also supports a large tourism industry vital to local and state economies that is dependent upon its pristine cove and beaches and spectacular views.

"Every year, there are attacks against the moratorium, and I'm afraid that one day it might be lifted," said Thompson. "An oil spill off our beautiful North Coast would be devastating. My bill will make sure that never happens."

On Thursday, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will review Thompson's bill.

Watch Rep. Mike Thompson speak on the House floor:,80_hflr062607_063.wmv&sTime=00:02:42.0&eTime=00:00:37&duration=00:02:55.0&UserName=anne%252E&sLocation=&sExpire=1.


CLEARLAKE – Clearlake Police are stepping up patrol of the Austin Skate Park after a large Sunday evening fight involving as many as eight people left five injured.

A report from Clearlake Police Lt. Mike Hermann noted that Clearlake Police officers responded to the fight at 630 p.m. Sunday.

When they got to the park, Hermann reported officers found three victims, including a 28-year-old male who was on the ground and unconscious. Two more victims also were found.

Police determined that the fight started when one male subject looked at another male's girlfriend. Hermann said several other subjects joined the fight, with as many as eight people becoming involved, ranging in ages from teens to young adults in their mid-20s.

Although police have indications that some of those involved with the fight may have been wearing gang-related attire, Hermann's report stated that there is currently no evidence to prove the fight was “gang provoked.”

Hermann said that none of the subjects involved in the fight were previously known to police.

The 28-year-old male victim was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for neck injuries that authorities later determined weren't life-threatening, Hermann reported. No actual weapon was used on the victim, who mostly suffered from bruising to the throat, said Hermann.

Two other victims, ages 20 and 17, were treated and released for minor injuries, Hermann reported.

Police contacted a witness to the fight and obtained pictures of some of the individuals involved that had been taken with a cell phone, according to Hermann.

The main subject in the case, said Hermann, has been identified but has not yet been arrested.

Because of the incident Hermann said Clearlake Police will be stepping up law enforcement in that area, aggressively patrolling the skate park during the summer months.

Sgt. Brett Rhodes is leading the investigation into the fight incident, Hermann reported. Anyone with information about the fight is asked to call Rhodes at 994-8251.

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


LAKEPORT – It's been a busy and productive year for KPFZ, Lake County's community radio station.

As the all-volunteer station has pursued its goal of being on air at high power this fall, KPFZ and its volunteer force have secured the county's commitment of a $30,000 grant, reached an agreement for antenna space on Mt. Konocti and, now, found and rented studio space in downtown Lakeport.

Station manager and founder Andy Weiss reports that KPFZ's new studio space will be located at 149 Main St., Suite 240.

“The third element of getting community radio into Lake County is in place,” said Weiss. “We've raised the money, have permission to put the transmitter and antenna on Mt. Konocti, and now we have secured a very promising studio space.”

The new home for community radio includes three rooms – an office/reception area; a radio control room for "live" broadcasting; and a production studio for news, recording, editing, promos and on-air spots – amounting to about 650 square feet, Weiss said.

Weiss said the building that houses the studio “is Victorian, well appointed and charming,” with halls filled with artwork, a large deck out back, a location central to the courthouse, businesses and other media, plus great views of the lake, mountains and downtown Lakeport. All of those aspects make it an ideal place for a community radio station, Weiss said.

The building's owner, Ross Kauper, gave the station an excellent deal on a two-year lease with the option for third year, Weiss said.


KPFZ has been looking for independent studio space for many years, said Weiss. Previously, the station broadcast out of a private residence and the back room of a private business. He said KPFZers are all very excited about this big step towards putting community radio on the air in Lake County.


KPFZ's work is far from over, noted Weiss. “Next, comes the organizing and building process, with our target date of sometime in November 2007 for getting on the air."

If you are interested in finding out how you can help KPFZ, contact Andy Weiss, 274-2152 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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


Bill Winter of Lower Lake says he takes his truck with a 300-gallon tank to the Lower Lake County Water Works standpipe, in the background, every other day to augment his wells. Winter was one of several community members who appealed a decision to shut off the standpipe to the water district board Monday night. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


LOWER LAKE – Families in Morgan Valley who draw extra water for their homes from a water standpipe owned by the Lower Lake County Water Works won a brief reprieve Monday night.

In an emergency meeting, the water district's board of directors voted 4-0 to rescind a decision from its June 12 meeting to shut off the standpipe on July 1. Board Chair Frank Haas said the board took the action due to dropping levels in the district's wells.

The board extended the shutoff notice to July 31, saying they'll reevaluate their water conditions at that time. They also urged out-of-district water users who rely on the standpipe to attend a Wednesday meeting of the Highlands Water Co. to see if that district might offer them water.

General Manager Al Tubbs explained that his first obligation, according to state water law, is to his in-district customers. The Morgan Valley residents who use the standpipe are outside of the district, he explained, and can only be sold water if the district has a surplus.

The district's eight wells are now running 16 hours a day to serve about 900 hookups. Water use in the district hasn't changed, he said, but the supply has, with wells that once produced more than 200 gallons a minute now producing just over 110 gallons a minute.

Of the roughly 20 people who crowded into the small board room Monday, most were Morgan Valley water users, who were concerned that they hadn't been notified that there was an issue and were finding out with little notice. They said they are paying customers, although they're not within the district proper.

Tubbs said there are standpipe users who are not reporting usage, to the tune of 10,000 gallons in May that can't be tracked. Community member Torrie Quintero said the amount of water all the residential users take out of the standpipe can't account for all of that missing water.

Tubbs said the district can't account for another 467,000 gallons in May throughout the rest of the district. That amounts to a loss of 28 percent of the water the district pumps from its wells.

A central issue for most of those in attendance was commercial and construction trucks being allowed to draw heavily from the standpipe, using the potable water for spraying down roads and dust control. One of the decisions that came out of the meeting was to cut off commercial access to the standpipe as of Friday, June 29.

The board agreed that there was an emergency, and that it should extend the deadline for shutting off the pipe until they've conferred with Highlands Water Co. and evaluated water supply. Morgan Valley resident Bernice Britt said she spoke with Highlands officials, who said they would need to put in a standpipe to serve the residents.

Board member Frances Ransley said she sympathized with the water users, but added “you are taking your chances” when you buy land with a well and no other water source.

“I realize you guys are between a rock and a hard place,” she said.

Britt said she and her neighbors would like to be annexed to the district and will pay to do so. Quintero, Jo Cunningham and Rebecca Barnes-Lipman said after the meeting that they're working on an annexation application to the Local Area Formation Commission.

Tubbs suggested also issuing new keys to the current standpipe users, which the board voted to do.

Originally, the district reported that 28 families used the standpipe. Upon further research, they found they only had 12 active residential accounts and four commercial accounts, which means that 12 keys are being used but not being paid for or logging water usage. The new keys will stop that, said Tubbs.

Tubbs said he very concerned for his wells, that if they run draw he's concerned they won't recharge. He warned water users that in a month's time they still may be cut off, and that they needed to find other water sources as a backup. In-district customers also are receiving a conservation notice in their next billing.

“This is the future,” said Ransley, noting that conservation was becoming an issue for everyone.

Ellen Hardenburger asked that the district notify standpipe users quickly if an emergency situation – like the wells running dry – looks imminent. Hardenburger said water users weren't notified properly of the possible shutoff being discussed at the June 12 meeting.

Quintero said there's state law – such as Tubbs noted in serving the in-district water users first – and there's real life, which includes longtime standpipe availability. She said real life leads to new laws, and that everyone needs to communicate and work together to find solutions to issues like water availability.

Supervisor Ed Robey sat in on the meeting, and advised the board that, procedurally, they should rescind the previous shutoff order and make separate motions to extend the deadline, which they did.

Separately, the board voted to end commercial trucks' access to the standpipe as of June 29, issue new keys and evaluate standpipe water usage after another month.

Standpipe users are urged to attend the Highlands Water Co. meeting on Wednesday. For more information on time and location, call 994-2393.

Despite the sometime heated atmosphere of the meeting, residents thanked board members during and after the meeting for changing their mind. Outside the building after the meeting, Tubbs and Quintero even shared a hug.

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


KELSEYVILLE At long last a park in the Clear Lake Riviera is coming closer to becoming a reality.

The four-acre parcel adjacent to the elementary school has been targeted for a community park.

A public meeting was held June 12 at the elementary school to get community input on the park design.

Some of the ideas that are being considered would be baseball diamonds, soccer fields, picnic tables and playground equipment. The cost of such a project is currently up in the air until the community expresses what it wants in a park.

“We have $300,000 to work with,” said Supervisor Rob Brown. “Obviously that won’t be enough but we are not sure how much more we will need. It all depends on what the community wants in a park.”

Brown said the community can help by giving the county as much input as early as possible about what they expect their community park to look like.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Brown. “I know there are a lot of people in the Riviera that have expressed interest in this and I’m glad it is this much closer to being a reality. We’ve had a very good conversation with Superintendent of Kelseyville School District Boyce McClain as well as Riviera Elementary School Principal Enrico Frediani to develop a relationship with them in order to make this happen.”

Presently the elementary school is being used after classes are out for recreation without the benefit of restroom facilities. The new park will create a new recreation area on property already owned by the county and provide much needed public restrooms.

Currently after school a gate is placed across the road into the school to keep vehicles out. In the summer and in the evenings one can see several cars parked in the entrance while the occupants continue to the elementary school on foot.

Plans are also on the horizon for a much larger park on the edge of the Clear Lake Riviera subdivision.

The owner of a large parcel of land to the south of the subdivision and east of Soda Bay Road is planning to submit a subdivision proposal for roughly 150 lots.

The developer has shown a willingness to work with the Clear Lake Riviera Board in order to make this subdivision palatable to the neighborhood. He has proposed donating roughly 250 acres of land for a large public park.

“Aside from the obvious recreational activities, this park would provide much needed wildlife corridors and the protection of the Thurston Creek watershed,” said Alan Siegel, president of the Clear Lake Riviera Home Owners Association. “The placement of a park legally usable by all of our residents would undoubtedly raise property values as well as offer myriad recreational activities. And while we are excited about this possibility we will bring every issue to the neighborhood for input.”

Realtor Ray Perry is a member of the CPS/Country Air Kelseyville office. Visit his Web site at


LAKE COUNTY – The Employment Development Department's latest report shows that Lake County's unemployment rate dropped in May.

Unemployment dropped to 7.2 percent, down 0.6 percent from April, according to a report from Dennis Mullins of the Employment Development Department's North Coast Region.

While down from April, that 7.2-percent rate is still up from May 2006's 6.6 percent, Mullins reported.

California's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate for May was 4.9 percent, according to Mullins, while the nation's was 4.3 percent.

Surrounding county rates included 8.5 percent for Glenn, 11.5 percent for Colusa, 4.0 percent for Sonoma, and 5.2 percent for Mendocino, noted Mullins.

Lake County's unemployment rate ranked it 39th out of the state's 58 counties.

Marin ranked No. 1 with the lowest unemployment rate, at 3.3 percent, Mullins reported. Imperial County had the highest at 16.2 percent.

Total industry employment grew by 190 jobs (1.3 percent) between May 2006 and May 2007, according to Mullins, ending the year-over period with 15,330 jobs.

Year-over job growth occurred in the following categories: farm; natural resources, mining and construction; information; professional and business services; private educational and health services; and government.

Year-over job losses occurred in manufacturing, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality.

Industry sectors trade, transportation and utilities, and other services had no change over the past year.

The farm sector led industry gainers for the year-over period adding 70 jobs and government – which includes federal, state and local agencies – gained 60, Mullins reported.

In looking at employment numbers, Mullins explained that as a sub-sector of government, local government represents about 90 percent of Lake's total government employment and consists of agencies such as public schools, the community college, tribal administrations (includes casinos), special districts (includes fire, water sewerage), and city and county governments.

Public schools account for about 40 percent of Lake's local government employment, he added.

Other industries that added jobs: natural resources, mining and construction, and private educational and health services each added 40; professional and business services and information were up 10 jobs each.

Leisure and hospitality led industry sector decliners for the period shedding 20 jobs, Mullins reported, while financial activities and manufacturing each dropped 10.

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



A firefighter worked to stop the blaze as it moved along a neighborhood fence on Saturday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – Fire officials are reporting that the cause of a fire that endangered a Lakeport neighborhood on Saturday was a lawnmower.

As Lake County News previously reported, the blaze broke out near a neighborhood on Alterra Drive and Crystal Lake Way shortly before 3 p.m. Saturday.

About 30 homes are located nearby, and fire personnel advised residents of numerous homes to evacuate their homes as they worked to control it.

The fire was contained later that afternoon, with mop-up operations continuing until late into the evening.

Lakeport Fire Protection District Chief Ken Wells said Monday that the 4.5-acre blaze was traced to an area resident mowing grass.

Wells said because the fire was accidental, charges won't be brought against the person doing the mowing.

Lawn mowing is a serious source of potential fires, said Wells, who urged people to mow early in the morning or late in the evening, when fire danger is much less.

The blaze destroyed one barn, one playhouse, neighborhood fences and numerous junker vehicles, said Wells.

Putting out the fire relied on the efforts of agencies around the lake and beyond, said Wells.

A total of 36 firefighters from Lakeport Fire Protection District; Northshore Fire, including engines from its Upper Lake, Lucerne and Nice fire stations; Kelseyville Fire; the U.S. Forest Service; and Lake County Fire Protection in Clearlake fought the fire, said Wells. Another 30 hand crew members came from Cal Fire.

A total of 10 engines came from all of those agencies, plus a bull dozer and helicopters from Cal Fire and a Forest Service water tender, said Wells. Both Cal Fire and the Lake County Fire Protection District also sent battalion chiefs to assist Wells.

Wells added that there were no injuries, either to residents or firefighters.

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


A playhouse burns in Alterra Drive resident Mike Hampton's backyard. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



LAKEPORT – A grass fire that broke out Saturday afternoon endangered numerous homes, caused firefighters to evacuate residents, and burned at least one outbuilding and several vehicles.

The fire occurred in the area of Crystal Lake Way and Alterra Drive in north Lakeport, bordering a neighborhood of about 30 homes.

Keith Hill of Cal Fire's incident center reported that they received a call for mutual aid at 2:56 p.m.

Mike Hampton, who lives along the south side of Alterra Drive, said his wife called to tell him about the fire at 2:45 p.m. while he was still at work for AT&T in Ukiah. Hampton said his wife reported hearing sirens at that point.

At 2:51 p.m., with the fire spreading quickly, Hampton's wife called 911 and and was told to evacuate her home immediately. Hampton said his wife immediately took their children and did just that, calling him as she did so, and he immediately left Ukiah.

Emergency personnel told the other residents to evacuate their homes as well, as high winds pushed the fire down the hill and in the direction of the homes with smoke so thick that visibility on the ground was down to 80 feet.

Panicked people were running down the streets carrying their children, pets and their possessions.

Many also stayed behind, using shovels and buckets of water from swimming pools to build defense lines between the fire and their homes.

About a dozen engines were on scene, coming from agencies including Lakeport Fire Protection District, Northshore Fire, Kelseyville Fire, U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire. The Lake County Sheriff's Office and California Highway Patrol also were on scene, with CHP directing homeowners to move their vehicles to a safe area behind a local gas station.

Cal Fire sent two engines, one dozer, two hand crews, a battalion chief, one air attack, one helicopter and two air tankers. The specifics of how many personnel and engines from other agencies was not available Saturday evening.

The Cal Fire air tankers proved critical to the firefighting effort. Firefighters at the scene noted trouble getting enough pressure from the neighborhood's fire hydrants. Hampton confirmed that the homes in the area have struggled with water pressure for some time.

Cal Fire personnel on the radio could be heard pinpointing the precise area to drop water on the fire, with officials making efforts not to drop it too heavily on the area's homes.

The grass fire which emergency personnel indicated may have begun when a resident was mowing grass with a lawnmower burned trees, hundreds of feet of a shared neighborhood fence and then followed side fences closer to residence.

Estimates on the fire ranged from four to eight acres is size, with a definite size not yet confirmed from Lakeport Fire.

As many as 50 firefighters were still at the scene later into the evening after 6 p.m., mopping up and putting out hot spots.

Hampton and his family were safely back in their home on Saturday night, although they were shaken by the experience. One of the buildings to burn that day was his children's playhouse in the backyard. The heat from the fire was so intense that it caused some windows in his home to break.

Several cars and a sailboat also were lost in the fire, with further building losses unconfirmed Saturday evening.

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


Neighborhood residents were told to evacuate. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


One of two Cal Fire helicopters dropped water on the fire. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


A firefighter works on a shared back fence along which the fire traveled. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


A view of several acres burned on Saturday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


Some of the losses in Saturday's fire included several vehicles and a sailboat. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



SACRAMENTO A key Senate committee on Tuesday passed a bill by Patty Berg that would protect Californians from the kind of red tape snafus that slowed the flow of emergency aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

“Californians do not need red tape during disasters,” said Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Eureka. “My bill will prevent this by allowing doctors and nurses to help Californians in their time of need.”

Under Assembly Bill 64, California officials would recognize out-of-state medical licenses of emergency volunteers during a declared state emergency. The bill would establish a system where California medical professionals can also register their credentials so they can help fellow Americans in other states.

During the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, volunteer doctors and nurses were prevented from giving aid because they did not have Louisiana or Mississippi medical licenses. One such volunteer, Robert Edinger, told the Lexington Herald Journal that he was unable to help Hurricane Katrina victims on the gulf coast because he lacked a Mississippi nursing license.

“We must prevent the horrors of red tape during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort from happening in California,” said Berg. “Californians must never wait entire days or weeks for help when it is a life and death situation.”

Assembly Bill 64 is part of a national effort to create a national registry where medical professionals, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists and members of the funeral home industry can help in other states besides their home state. Kentucky and Colorado have enacted similar legislation.

The California Nurses Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the California Association of Physician Groups, the California Dental Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the California Society of Health System Pharmacists, the California Federation for Animal Legislation, the California Professional Firefighters Association, and the Regional Council of Rural Counties support the bill.

The Senate Governmental Organization Committee voted unanimously in favor of AB 64. It now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Visit Berg's Web site at



Bugler Pete Esterbrook of Santa Rosa performs a call to post during the dedication of a Seabiscuit Statue at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, Calif. Saturday, June 23. Esterbrook is the only racetrack bugler in Northern California. Photos by Suzette Cook/



WILLITS – Former Vice President Walter Mondale and his wife Joan, celebrated throroughbred racehorse owner Harry Aleo, and descendants of the owner, trainer, and jockey of Seabiscuit on Saturday paid tribute to the legendary American racehorse as a classic, life-sized bronze sculpture of the equestrian giant was unveiled and formally dedicated at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits.

The private ceremony took place more than 55 years after a Seabiscuit statue had been removed from the ranch where the horse legend spent his final racing and retirement years, died, and was buried.

"Seabiscuit was a most unlikely champion – a down-on-his-luck horse whose looks didn't inspire confidence in anyone – except for the people who mattered most – his owner Charles Howard, his jockey Red Pollard, and his trainer Tom Smith," said Mrs. Mondale, official representative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "They were an amazing team, this horse and these three men. They worked miracles and in the depths of the Depression that seemed to go on and on, they gave people something to feel good about."

Retired Marine Col. Michael Howard, great grandson of Charles Howard, read a statement from Laura Hillenbrand whose best-selling book rekindled national interest and led to an Academy Award-nominated film about the great horse and the remarkable team who owned, trained, and raced him.

"I can say with perfect certainty that nothing could have thrilled (Charles Howard) more than to see people gather here at his beloved ranch to dedicate a statue crafted to celebrate Seabiscuit and to carry the horse's legend forward to new generations," said Hillenbrand. "May the world never forget the magnificent Seabiscuit."

Besides Mrs. Mondale and Col. Howard, other speakers at Saturday's event were Aleo, owner of Lost in the Fog, the most popular San Francisco Bay Area horse since Seabiscuit; John Pollard Sr., nephew of Seabiscuit jockey Red Pollard; Anthea Hartig, Western Director, National Trust for Historic Preservation; Jani Buron, former ranch resident and author of "The Spirit of Seabiscuit"; and Bill Nichols, former ranch hand and author of "Seabiscuit-The Rest of the Story". Dashing Lil'Biscuit, a Seabiscuit descendant, made a brief appearance.

Representing the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation were the emcee, Jacqueline Cooper, owner and breeder of the American Legend Horse Farm which is raising Seabiscuit's descendants at Ridgewood, and Foundation President Tracy Livingston.

The foundation is a nonprofit group formed to protect and preserve the historic buildings and natural resources of the remaining 5,000 acres of the Howard Ranch. "The return of the statue marks the start of a new era at the ranch, one which ultimately will see the completion and execution of a full-blown restoration and preservation plan," commented Livingston.

Famed Western artist and sculptor Hughlette "Tex" Wheeler cast two statues from Seabiscuit in 1940-41 while the horseracing legend was still alive.

About a decade ago, the Howard family donated one of the sculptures to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. In February 1941, Seabiscuit himself helped unveil the second statue at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California where it remains in the garden paddock area.

Custom design statue makers, Icon Bronze of Anchorage, Alaska and its affiliate, Atlas Bronze Casting of Salt Lake City, crafted the replica unveiled today from a new rubber and fiberglass mold of the original in Saratoga Springs. V. Fontana, a family-owned fine granite and marble products manufacturer near San Francisco that made the original five-ton dark diamond gray granite pedestal, used the same polishing equipment to produce the new base. The inscription is the same: "Biscuit's courage, honesty, and physical prowess definitely place him among the thoroughbred immortals of turf history. He had intelligence and understanding almost spiritual in quality."

Chris and Anita Lowe of Bishopstone, Wiltshire U.K., foundation benefactors and collectors of Seabiscuit memorabilia, generously provided funding for the monument. The Lowes were made honorary citizens and given a key to the city of Willits by Mayor Tami Jorgensen. "There have been countless famous racehorses throughout the ages from all over the world," said Chris Lowe. "But few if any have captured the imagination and inspired an entire nation as Seabiscuit."

Nestled in the oak and redwood-studded ranchlands and mountains of northern California, Ridgewood Ranch was where Seabiscuit was nursed back to health after a serious injury. Seabiscuit's recuperation set the stage for an electrifying blaze-of-glory career finish at Santa Anita Park that captivated Depression-era America.

Still a working ranch, Ridgewood has been designated one of America's most threatened historic places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The current owner, Christ's Church of the Golden Rule, has endeavored to be a model steward of the ranch by keeping developers at bay and by permanently protecting the historic structures that constitute Seabiscuit's legacy. The church has worked toward restoring several historic buildings and has joined the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, the National Trust, and others to develop an overall preservation and resource management plan and identify necessary funding sources for the effort.

For more information, contact the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, Ridgewood Ranch, 16200 Highway 101, Willits, CA 95460, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The foundation Web site address is

For a full gallery of picture from the Seabiscuit statue unveiling, go to,com_wrapper/Itemid,37/.




From left, Nick, Lorine and Leo of D'Agostino Vineyard & Winery in Hidden Lake Valley won top honors for their Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Photo by Terre Logsdon.


KELSEYVILLE Lovely downtown Kelseyville was the site of the fifth annual Home Winemakers Festival.

The temperate and breezy Saturday afternoon coaxed amateur winemakers to pour the fruit of many vines into the glasses of Clear Lake Performing Arts (CLPA) supporters.

Many gifted home winemakers from Lake County and surrounding areas poured their home-crafted wines at the festival, co-sponsored by the CLPA Auxiliary and the Kelseyville Business Association.

The early judging determined that the D'Agostino Vineyard & Winery in Hidden Lake Valley produced the No. 1 Sauvignon Blanc and No. 1 Merlot.

Funds from the festival support CLPA programs such as the Lake County Youth Orchestra, Financial Assistance Program, Elementary School and the Lake County Symphony Orchestra.

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


District 1 Supervisor Ed Robey poured Mireya Turner's 2005 Syrah to a captive audience. Photo by Terre Logsdon.




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