Sunday, 14 April 2024

News

COVELO – Officials are investigating a shooting that took a Covelo man's life early Saturday morning.


The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported that Jason Ray McLean, 23, died after being shot several times in a gunfight with 22-year-old Andrew Timothy Card, also of Covelo.


According to the report, McLean appears to have instigated the gunfight.


Deputies were dispatched to the intersection of Short Creek Road and Murphy Ridge Road, a rural secluded area of the valley floor, just before 5 a.m. Saturday on the report of a shooting, according to the sheriff's office report.


Arriving at the scene they found McLean with multiple gunshot wounds. He was receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Deputies also learned that a private citizen had transported Card, who also had suffered a gunshot wound, to the Covelo Fire Department.


Before deputies could attempt to interview the men about the incident McLean died of his injuries and Card was flown by air ambulance to a Sacramento-area hospital for treatment. The agency reported that detectives responded to the hospital and later interviewed Card.


Sheriff's office deputies responded to the shooting scene to investigate. They found that earlier that morning there had been a party at the intersection of Short Creek Road and Murphy Ridge Road, with the party goers drinking alcohol at the scene.


McLean and Card, who had past problems, also were at the party, according to the report.


The sheriff's office reported that Card had been arrested on Sept. 2, 2007, after having stabbed McLean while the pair were at the Covelo Rodeo Grounds early that morning. Card was subsequently prosecuted by the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office and a sentence was imposed by the Mendocino County Superior Court.


At the time of the Saturday gathering, the men reportedly were friendly toward one another, according to the investigation.


However, while McLean was leaving the gathering he stopped the vehicle he was driving for an unknown reason while Card was standing nearby. Investigators reported that McLean got out of his vehicle with a high-powered rifle and gained Card's attention with a few spoken words.


According to the investigation, McLean fired the rifle at Card without warning. The bullet entered and exited Card's abdomen and arm.


Card produced a handgun and began to shoot at McLean while the pair were standing approximately five feet apart, based on the investigation's findings. The pair reportedly engaged in a gun battle wherein each shot several times at each other.


As a result of the gun battle, a preliminary examination of McLean's body showed he sustained approximately four gunshot wounds to include wounds to his torso, an arm and a leg.


Card appears to have only suffered one gunshot wound – the shot initially fired by McLean, officials reported.


Mendocino County Sheriff's officials report that Card is expected to survive his injuries after having undergone surgery.


The report said detectives recovered the rifle at the shooting scene and the handgun is currently outstanding.


Detectives are still conducting investigations into this case and persons with information are urged to contact the Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-467-9159.

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Wally Holbrook and Maggie Magliocco present the Kelseyville Sunrise Rotary scholarships to Melissa Denton, Paz Lozano, Karin Vandraiss, Andrew Serrano, Michaelyn Crawford and Amanda Mueller. Photo by Caitlin Andrus.

 

 

KELSEYVILLE – Nearly $120,000 in scholarships was awarded on Thursday as part of Kelseyville High School’s Senior Awards Night.


The cover of the event's program read, “Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.”


This proved to be true for many seniors who, as a class, received approximately $119,222 in scholarship money from various organizations, memorial funds and businesses.


Principal Matt Cockerton kicked off the ceremony in the student center at 7 p.m. by welcoming all senior students, faculty, friends, family and other guests. Senior Amanda Mueller led the attendees and participants in the flag salute.


Eric Larsen began the awards and scholarship recognition with the presentation of the California Scholastic Federation Awards, assisted by CSF President Megan Andre. Approximately 40 presenters took the podium to present various awards and scholarships throughout the next hour.


Presenter and K-Corps Coordinator and Advisor Joanie Holt told the crowd, “This is the only time that these members are recognized publicly for their time, dedication and many hours put in” to the search and rescue program.


She said that they each average 400 hours per year that they participate in the two-year program.


Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Basor also commended the group, stating that people “depend on the skills and abilities (of the K-Corps members) to find family members” and that he is “proud and happy to say that they do it extremely well.”


Accompanied by her daughter Makaila, Jackie Rodrigues presented a scholarship in memory of her other daughter, Ashlee Rodrigues, who died in a boating accident in 2006. Michalyn Crawford received the scholarship.


Jackie Rodrigues shared with the seniors one of her daughter’s favorite quotes, “Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so love the ones who treat you right, forget the ones that don't and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, then let it. After all, nobody said it'd be easy, they just promised it'd be worth it.”


Awards for athletes of the year were presented by Athletic Director Steve Olson to Megan Andre and Mike Duman.


Olson also presented the Babe Ruth Award to Maille McCallister and co-winners for the boys, Nick Schaefer and Troy Davis. McCallister and Duman were also recognized as Press Democrat Athlete of the Year nominees and Andre and Schaefer as Press Democrat Scholar Athletes.


Recognized and awarded for their accomplishments in the classroom, in the community, through agriculture and for other various accomplishments, were ceremony standouts Karin Vandraiss, Maille McCallister, Paz Lozano, Jonathan Bridges, Amanda Mueller, Melissa Denton and Megan Andre.


Vandraiss received a single scholarship in the amount of $38,000 from her future university, the University of Puget Sound in Washington. Andre also received a single scholarship from her future university, Portland’s Lewis and Clark, in the amount of $23,000.


The evening ended with the announcement of the sole Perfect Attendance Award presented to Jess Totorica, who was absent from the ceremony.


When asked what he thought about this year Senior Awards Night, Cockerton replied, “Given the state of the economy it is heartwarming to see (that) organizations stepped up and provided for the kids.”


He said that he was pleased with the number of presenters from the community and various organizations that showed up to honor these seniors.


Kelseyville High School's graduation will take place at 8 p.m. on the football field on Friday, June 12, with gates opening at 6:30 p.m.


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

 

 

 

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Brian Hanson presents the Christine Hanson Memorial Scholarship to Amanda Horne in honor of his mother. Photo by Caitlin Andrus.
 

 

 

 

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Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Gary Basor presentsK-Corps awards. Photo by Caitlin Andrus.
 

LOWER LAKE – Four Santa Rosa men have been arrested in connection with an illegal marijuana grow discovered this week in Kelseyville.


Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported that Reynaldo Damian Corrales, 29; Amador Davila Garcia, 35; Juan Amezcua Cornejo, 24; and 32-year-old Carlos Barrera Hernandez were arrested late Wednesday on felony charges of cultivating marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.


Bauman said that a sheriff's deputy on routine patrol spotted a pic-up truck backing out of a wooded area off of Highway 29 – south of the Konocti Conservation Camp in Lower Lake – on Wednesday at about 8 p.m. He said the deputy stopped to make sure the vehicle had not crashed into the brush.


One of the four men told the deputy they had been repairing a gate on the property and were just leaving but none of the men could say who the property owner was or how they could be contacted, Bauman said.


Once other deputies arrived to assist and detain the four men, the deputies checked the wooded area to determine why the men were really there, according to Bauman.


About 100 yards into the woods from the highway, deputies located a length of irrigation hose running from a water well up a hillside, said Bauman. Following the hose about 200 yards up the hill, they located a small handmade water reservoir dug in the ground and several hundred small marijuana plants growing from a seed bed.


Bauman said when the deputies returned to the truck and confronted the men about the marijuana plants, they were told they had been shown the grow site and provided the marijuana seeds by a man from Santa Rosa.


The men also said they started the grow about a month prior and were apparently told by the man who provided the seeds that once the marijuana they were growing was harvested, they would all be paid an unspecified amount of money, Bauman said.


Bauman said all four suspects were transported and booked at the Lake County Jail on felony charges of cultivating marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.


Each of the men are held on a $10,000 bond, however Bauman noted that immigration holds were also placed on all four by federal immigration officials.

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I’m here to educate, not insult; if some readers are insulted by the end of this special column I will understand, but I will also have done my job. After all, I sit at restaurants and watch you eat, and you need some advice.


Most Americans have the table manners of an Irish setter. I can hear you already claiming, “Not me!” as if you are the Apostle Peter being questioned. Face it, Peter knew Jesus and denied it, just as you have the etiquette that would make Miss Manners get the dry heaves and yet you still profess, “I have good manners!”


I’ve mentioned before the fact that I had grandparents that were a little pedantic when it came to proper etiquette and I have had formal etiquette training. I, however, don’t swagger into the every room like James Bond or open the car door every time for my family. I scratch my self inappropriately in public and sometimes a little too vigorously. I’ll admit that I’m not perfect, but I do put forth an effort for my fellow diners.


My wife loves it when we go to a formal event because I turn on the formal etiquette switch and become the most desired man at the table (except for the fact that I look like a yeti … in a tux). I can employ manners so refined that I have seen women gaze longingly at the idea of being treated with such courtesy and the men sitting at a table with me become embarrassed. But it’s the ones that never even notice what I do that I want to address today.


I went to a charity dinner not too long ago and fully expected to write about the event for this column. My wife wasn’t able to accompany me, and the tables seated even numbers so since I was there on my own I was seated at a table where I didn’t know anyone with other mismatched guests. The food was good, the ambiance was elegant, but the people at my table had such disgusting table manners that it ruined the evening for me, and I had no intention of sharing this horrible experience or marring this charitable event with a full sordid portrayal.


The dinner was served family style, which means the food comes on serving platters for the entire table and you serve yourself from the communal plate. The salad was brought to the table in a large bowl and immediately one of the ladies at the table began to pick the croutons from the serving bowl with her fingers and eat them. I couldn’t believe she was doing that, but then again all of the men at the table (except for me) were wearing hats; my hat was stashed in the corner of the room. Evidently nobody informed me that baseball caps are now considered formal dinner attire. I decided the faux pas to this point were forgivable and continued with my dinner.


When the main course arrived there were serving tongs with the food, but evidently they were a foreign tool to my compatriots as they all virtually simultaneously reached out with their forks and stabbed the food in the shared plate and hoisted it to their own dinner plate. I guess my dinner companions’ hunting and gathering efforts for the day were a failure and they needed to gorge themselves as quickly as possible before the saber-toothed cats showed up. Clearly my eyes must have widened in shock at the sight because one of the guests looked at me as if I had a frog on my face.


Later when one of the ladies of the table needed to leave for a moment, I rose up as she did and stood there as she left before sitting back down. The other men at the table looked at me momentarily, wondering where I was going, but then returned to chewing on the carcasses on their plates. It was at this point that the dinner became a dismal failure for me, which was unfair to my hosts. It wasn’t their fault; they had provided a lovely atmosphere with good food, but the behavior of my tablemates literally spoiled my appetite.


What’s the big deal about etiquette? Why should it matter how people act at in public?


Etiquette is a matter of mutually supported self-protection. Etiquette came about as a way for enemies to meet to discuss treaties and be assured that the each man wasn’t going to assassinate the other.


The handshake, for example, originated as a full grasp of an opponent’s forearm as a way of determining that he had no hidden knives up his sleeve. It evolved into a polite greeting among friends.


Raising a glass in a toast started out being a splashing of one man’s mead into another’s, and honor demanding they both drink to prove trust that there was no poison. Removing one’s hat indoors was required by the host so that he could see his guest’s face and determine his intentions.


Over time habits such as this evolved into civilized and polite social customs, but there is still merit in them. Displaying etiquette shows respect for your host and your host’s guests. Not picking food off a communal plate with your fingers is a sanitary issue.


Soon after my charity dinner fiasco, I attended a much more formal charity dinner (I attend a lot of charity dinners). Now me being the silly goose that I am, I expected to be joined by people of more refinement. I bet you’re laughing already aren’t you?


Here’s a couple of standouts: One of the women at the table knew someone at another table and they yelled back and forth to each other as if a conversation between people 20 feet apart is perfectly normal at a formal function. And maybe you’re not aware of this but it is perfectly proper to eat asparagus and fried chicken with your bare hands ... but not your baked potato. Really, I watched that take place this evening also.


I can understand why proper manners are falling by the wayside. Personally I think the fact that families aren’t eating together as much anymore is one of the main reasons that people don’t know or aren’t learning etiquette anymore. I had parents, grandparents and nuns with yardsticks always pushing proper etiquette on me and my siblings. It was a constant subject at every meal, even when dining at home. With the lack of eating meals together, there’s no opportunity to hone the finer points of etiquette, beyond “Don’t rub spaghetti in your hair!”


I’d like to help. Let’s cover a few basics ...


A gentleman should – yes, that’s what you should aspire to be – a gentleman should consider his date’s comfort at all times and in any way possible. He should accord her every display of respect. Why? In this day and age when women have equality, why should we treat them so specially? Because, let’s face it, we still want to be with them, don’t we? Behaving like a gentleman, you become desirable to women. Trust me on this, I’m no George Clooney. I’m surprised that I don’t have to club women over the head like a Neanderthal and drag them off by their hair. But once I turn on the refined manners, I get attention.


A gentleman stands up every time any lady leaves or arrives at the table. You have to be observant, notice that they are coming or going and have your napkin ready and wipe your mouth and swallow before standing. As I heard it said once, “The price for dining with a lady is eternal vigilance.”


A gentleman will not touch his food until every lady at the table has taken a bite out of their meal, not just his own date. It’s a sign of respect for women in general. No one should touch a drink or eat a bite until the host has. He or she sets the tone and pace of the meal or event, and that position should be respected.


There are many schools of thought on where your arms should be during dinner. The French custom is to see both hands in sight at all times, the origin being so they could be sure that their guests were not going to pull a knife on them. Therefore, they rest their forearms on the edge of the table. The English custom was established by more sanitary concerns, so they keep inactive hands in their laps. Under no conditions should elbows make it onto the table.


Never use your napkin as a handkerchief. ‘Nuff said.


Your drink is to the right side of your setting, your bread dish to the left. Remember it by “Drink Right.”


Wait staff is trained to serve you from the right and clear from the left, so cool it on the grand gestures and flailing arms. They know what they’re doing, or should.


I don’t know why I have to say this, but ... please, swallow your food before you speak. Your anecdote isn’t so interesting that I want to watch your food as you tell it.


Foods that it is considered to be proper etiquette to be eaten with the fingers are: artichokes, asparagus, bacon, cookies, corn on the cob, whole fruits or berries with stems, hamburgers, hors d’ourves, hot dogs, French fries, fried chicken, pickles, oysters on the half shell, potato chips ... you get the idea.


There are many more things that I could mention here but I think that these basics will make your meal and the dinner of your companions much more enjoyable and civilized. No one ever talks enthusiastically about their wonderful dinner with the Cro-Magnons next door.


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.

LAKE COUNTY – In response to the economic downturn, the Lake County Marketing and Economic Development Program has embarked on a focused promotional campaign to increase awareness of and tourism to Lake County this season with target markets in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento Valley.


Radio ad spots began running in June on KGO 810 AM in the San Francisco Bay Area and KSTE 650 AM in the Sacramento area and will continue into the month of August. The campaign promotes Lake County as an affordable, nearby vacation destination where visitors can experience the area’s charming towns, award-winning wines, and amazing outdoor recreation.


“Often, in tough economic times, many businesses and destinations hold back and don’t advertise,” said Debra Sommerfield, deputy administrative officer for Economic Development. “We decided to see this as an opportunity. With fewer advertisers out there, we have been able to negotiate ad rates and get more exposure for the money.”


While in previous years, Lake County was competing for travelers’ attention with higher-priced family vacations like air/cruise packages and theme parks, Sommerfield said that this year, travelers are looking to stick closer to home, and they are much more price-sensitive.


“We believe this puts Lake County in a good position to be considered as a viable vacation destination for value-seeking travelers from the Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley,” she said.


In April, the Lake County Marketing Program entered into an underwriting agreement to sponsor a new travel series on public television, “OpenRoad with Doug McConnell.”


The well-respected host of the former “Bay Area Backroads” show that aired for many years on KRON-SF, McConnell launched this new travel series this spring on public television.


The series is being broadcast on KQED on Monday evenings and randomly throughout the week and has been approved for syndication, which makes it available to any public television stations across the country which might choose to pick it up.


Lake County is featured with an on-air underwriting message at the beginning and end of each episode along with a presence on the show’s companion Web site, www.openroad.tv .


In addition, the Marketing Program is hosting a booth at the 12th annual Sunset Celebration Weekend, an event presented by Sunset Magazine, a monthly travel and lifestyle magazine focused on living in the West, which is held Saturday and Sunday, June 6-7, at the publication’s headquarters facility and test garden in Menlo Park.


This is the second year the county is participating in this event and once again is partnering with both the Lake County Winery Association, which is staffing the booth and pouring Lake County wines for event-goers to sample, and the Lake County Winegrape Commission, which is generously donating an impressive prize package.


The Lake County Marketing Program is a division of the County Administrative Office and promotes tourism to and commerce in Lake County. The Marketing Program’s promotional efforts range from advertising and print materials to travel shows and media relations.


Funding for the Lake County Marketing Program is derived from local transient occupancy taxes (hotel bed taxes) collected in the unincorporated areas of Lake County, as well as through participation agreements with other entities including the city of Clearlake, the city of Lakeport, Big Valley Rancheria, Robinson Rancheria and others.


For more information, contact the Lake County Marketing and Economic Development Program at 707-263-2580.

HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – The Hidden Valley Lake Association's (HVLA) board of directors has released its general manager and put an interim manager in place while an employment search is launched.


The association reported that on May 21 Jim Johnson was released from his employment agreement, which had been set to expire Dec. 31.


Succeeding Johnson is Charles Foster. Security Chief Charles Russ will be Foster’s backup, the board reported.


Foster told Lake County News that the board is now beginning to put together a package for a search for a new full-time general manager.


He anticipated that the search for a new manager will take at least a few months.


Residents with questions are urged to contact HVLA Board President Kathy Joseph at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Written messages also may be left for Joseph at the Hidden Valley Lake main office at 18174 Hidden Valley Road. Phone calls are discouraged.

Want to have good food and wine this month? Here are some events to check out.


You can now follow me on Twitter! Log onto www.twitter.com/foodiefreak and see what events I’m going to!


June 1: Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Michael Barrish and Scott Sommers on guitar and vocals, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244.


June 8: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Lake Blues All Stars with Neon will perform. Telephone, 707-275-2244.


June 12: Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake. Begins at 6 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. Telephone, 707-275-8030.


June 13: Concert in the Vineyard Series, Moore Family Winery, Kelseyville. The Fargo Brothers, Rock and Roll; fajita feast, $8, or hot dog meal, $5.


June 14: Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Will Seigel and Friends from Ukiah, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244.


June 15: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Blues Farm with Dave Broida will perform. Telephone, 707-275-2244.


June 19: Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake. Begins at 6 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. Telephone, 707-275-8030


June 21: Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. A special Father’s Day Brunch will be served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jay Blue on guitar, flute and vocals, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244.


June 22: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Twice as Good with Paul Steward will perform. Telephone, 707-275-2244.


June 26: Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake. Begins at 6 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. Telephone, 707-275-8030.


June 28: Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Austin & Owens on Flamenco guitar, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Telephone, 707-275-2244.


June 29: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bottle Rock Blues Band with Mike Wilhelm will perform. Telephone, 707-275-2244.


Ongoing activities


 

The New Cool at Konocti Harbor featuring David Neft. Konocti Harbor hosts “The Piano Man” David Neft, playing the grand piano from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in the relaunched dining room. Visit Konocti Harbor online at www.konoctiharbor.com.


Certified Farmers Market, Steele Winery, Kelseyville. A variety of produce grown in the area as well as flowers, coffee, pastries and bread, arts and crafts, and live entertainment. Saturdays starting at 8:30 a.m. until noon, May through October.


Langtry Estate and Vineyard Tours, Middletown. Langtry Estate and Vineyard is offering exciting and innovative tour programs. Guests ride in battery-operated Global Electric Motorcars. Tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday. The Tephra Vineyard Lunch Tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $40 per person includes lunch and wine tasting. 21000 Butts Canyon Road. Reservations required 24 hours in advance. Info: 707-987-2385.


Tuscan Village Friday Concert Series, Main Street, Lower Lake. Live music, food, wine tasting. Presented by 2Goombas and Terrill Cellars. 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Info: 707-994-3354.


A Taste of Lake County Wine Tours, countywide. Spend the day sipping fine wine, enjoying a gourmet picnic amongst the vines, taking in the rustic beauty of Lake County. Tour includes picnic lunch and tasting fees. Perfect for small groups. Tours of Napa also available. Visit Aero Shuttle online at www.aeroshuttleservice.com ; or call 707-987-1920.


Beer Master Dinner Series, Molly Brennan’s, 175 N. Main St., Lakeport. Second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Different brewery featured each month, with beers paired with each course of a five-course meal including dessert. Advance reservations required. Info: 707-262-1600.


Lake County Wine Tours, countywide. Experience the “Undiscovered Wine Country” that is Lake County. Taste award winning premier wines at friendly tasting rooms and in stunning vineyards. Knowledgeable guide, all tasting fees and a gourmet picnic lunch included. Visit them online at www.lakecountywinetours.com ; telephone, 707-998-4471.


If you have a food- or wine-related event and would like to have it listed in the coming months, please feel free to call Ross Christensen at 707-998-9550.

LAKE COUNTY – In 2004, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) invited Californians to join the fight against out-of-state registration. Now, five years later, the CHP’s “CHEATERS” (Californians Help Eliminate All The Evasive Registration Scofflaws) program has helped return more than $4 million to its rightful owner, the state of California.


“Every year, the state loses millions of dollars in revenue from California residents who unlawfully register their vehicles in other states or countries,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “With the help of the public, and our investigators, we’re able to return much needed funding to the state to help maintain our infrastructure.”


Last year, the “CHEATERS” program enjoyed its most successful year with more than $1 million in total fees collected from violators.


State law requires an owner to register their vehicle within 20 days of accepting employment or establishing residency in California. Failure to comply with the law will result in penalties.


Anyone who spots an out-of-state license plate can report it anonymously to the CHP’s Web site (www.chp.ca.gov).


When making reports it’s important to include the following:


  • State of plate;

  • License plate number;

  • Date and time observed;

  • Where it was observed;

  • Make, model and color of vehicle;

  • Any additional comments (decals, license plate frames, bumper stickers, etc.).


Once the information is submitted, it is automatically fed into the "CHEATERS" database. If there is enough information to prove that the owner or driver of the vehicle is a California resident, a compliance letter will be sent requiring the owner to properly register their vehicle.


“These violators are in California using our services, but not paying their fair share of the costs,” said Commissioner Farrow. “It’s time for vehicle registration cheaters to end their free ride, and pay

their fair share.”

LAKE COUNTY – The fifth-annual Lake County Wine Adventure, a two-day passport event, will be held July 25-26, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


This year’s Lake County Wine Adventure is once again being hosted by the Lake County Winery Association.


Adventurous wine enthusiasts will have an opportunity to discover “wine with altitude” and taste the reason why Lake County – with a grape-growing history that extends back to the mid-19th century – is fast becoming known for its award-winning wines, ultra-premium winegrapes, resort-style wineries and friendly tasting rooms.


Throughout the weekend, “wine adventurers” will taste wines from five of Lake County’s six distinct viticulture areas (AVAs) as they visit participating wineries, including: Ceago Vinegarden and Tulip Hill Winery in Nice; Brassfield Estate Winery in High Valley; Shannon Ridge Vineyards & Winery, High Valley Vineyard, and Noggle Vineyards & Winery in Clearlake Oaks; Villa La Brenta in Clearlake; Gregory Graham Winery, Ployez Winery, Terrill Cellars, and Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards & Winery in Lower Lake; Langtry Estate & Vineyards and Off the Vine at Twin Pine Casino in Middletown; Moore Family Winery on Cobb Mountain; Kelseyville Wine Co./Dusinberre Cellars, Rosa d’Oro Vineyards, Steele Wines, Inc., and Wildhurst Vineyards in Kelseyville. Shed Horn Cellars, Sol Rouge Vineyard & Winery, and Zoom Wines will be offered at Lake County Wine Studio, a multi-winery tasting room and wine bar located in the town of Upper Lake; Bell Hill vineyards will be offered at Focused on Wine, a wine bar located in downtown Kelseyville.


Adventure Tickets may be purchased online at www.lakecountywineries.org for $30 each. Each ticket entitles the holder to wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres at each winery, as well as a logo wine glass, winetasting booklet, and winery map. Several of the wineries also will offer barrel tastings, winery tours and entertainment.


Event-goers may leave their Adventure Tickets with the last winery they visit to be entered into a raffle for several prizes.


Event organizers promote responsible hospitality and encourage all participants to designate a driver. For more information, call (800) 595-WINE, (707) 355-2762, or visit www.lakecountywineries.org .


Lake County is part of the North Coast AVA, which also encompasses Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Within Lake County, five other AVAs exist – Clear Lake AVA, Benmore Valley AVA, Guenoc AVA, and the recently approved Red Hills AVA and High Valley AVA.


For those visiting from outside of the area, contact the Lake County Visitor Information Center at 800-525-3743 or www.lakecounty.com .

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Special agents with the US Postal Service Office of the Inspector General served search warrants at Upper Lake resident Aileen Krewson's business, My Sister's Attic and Bargain Basement, and her home on Friday, June 5, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

 

 

 

UPPER LAKE – Federal law enforcement agents served search warrants on an Upper Lake woman's downtown business and her nearby residence on Friday morning.


Neighbors said several federal agents with weapons arrived at about 8 a.m. and entered My Sister's Attic and Bargain Basement, located in Suite A at 9485 Main St.


The business, which rents its downtown storefront, is owned by Aileen Krewson. The antique and gift shop marked its grand opening on April 25 with a Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.


A short time after one set of agents arrived at the business, others appeared at Krewson's home on First and Government streets, where they held her in custody for most of the day while they searched her home.


The investigation is under the auspices of the US Postal Service Office of the Inspector General, said Special Patricia Ford-Smith, who was at the business along with several other special agents wearing dark blue vests that said “police” and “federal agent.”


Ford-Smith confirmed the service of the search warrants at Krewson's home and business. Neither warrant was drug-related, she said.


No arrests were being made on Friday, Ford-Smith added.


Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said the search warrant service wasn't being assisted by local authorities, and that they hadn't been notified it was taking place.


Krewson, a former Postal Service employee, told Lake County News that at around 8:30 a.m., after her boyfriend left for his job in Willits, she saw agents running down the street.


They completely circled her home; she said when she started to open the door to ask what was going on, agents – their weapons drawn – pushed in the door, knocking her backwards.


The special agents kept her in custody in her home from 8:30 a.m. until about 3 p.m. She said her boyfriend also was held by three agents at his workplace.


When he was allowed to return home late in the day, Krewson said 12 agents met him in the driveway and made him enter the house through the backyard, where she was able to speak with him for the first time since he left earlier in the day.


Krewson estimated about 12 to 15 agents total were in her house; four monitored her in the kitchen while the rest searched the home.


“They want to try to get me for workers compensation fraud,” said Krewson, who has had a long-running workers compensation case against the US Postal Service due to arm injuries suffered on the job, including a badly torn right rotator cuff that required surgery.


She said they took two books on dolls from her downtown shop; from her home they took some workers compensation files.


Regina J. King, assistant special agent in charge with the US Postal Service Office of the Inspector General's Pacific area field office in Oakland, said the federal search warrant and affidavit served at Krewson's business currently are under seal, and therefore she was unable to release any additional information or details at this time.


Office of the Inspector General special agents investigate crimes against the Postal Service and those involving postal employees and contractors, King said.


Krewson worked as a window clerk in two post offices in Hemet, located in Riverside County.


She won a December 2000 case against the US Postal Service, which had tried to withhold $59.58 from her salary to recover a shortage in her window credit account found the previous December, according to case records obtained by Lake County News.


In that case, her co-workers supplied written statements attesting to “her care and diligence in following required procedures.” She also had a clean audit history, with the one exception in the December 1999 finding.


Krewson said she took the Postal Service to court and won a case against them alleging harassment, discrimination and retaliation. But the fight for the $14,000 she said is owed to her has continued.


Along the way she said she lost her home and husband, so three years ago she moved to Upper Lake, and in April she opened her new store. “I was trying to get on with some kind of a normal life.”


Krewson said the Postal Service's motive is to get her off of workers compensation. “This is where the term 'going postal' comes from,” she said. “This is what they do.”


A female agent leading the operation reportedly made disparaging comments to Krewson's boyfriend, accusing Krewson of claiming she's being abused while she's “making a good living” at her new store.


Krewson said she's never had any legal problems – not event a speeding ticket – and added that it's humiliating that she has to prove her innocence.


She added, “This is going to force them to go to court.”


Krewson said she plans to reopen her store, and will be open on Saturday for the annual Wild West Day celebration.


King said that the information about Krewson's investigation should be made public at some point in the future, and that the case will be handled by the United States Attorney, Northern District of California.


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

HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – The state Department of Fair Employment and Housing is investigating a complaint alleging that the Hidden Valley Lake Association has discriminatory rules and practices that especially affect children and families.


In December, Kent Arndt – a stay-at-home father of three and former Hidden Valley Lake Association (HVLA) employee – submitted a complaint to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), alleging discrimination under the federal Fair Housing Act.


HUD accepted Arndt's housing discrimination complaint on May 8, and referred it to the state three days later, according to agency documents.


Annemarie Billotti, a spokesperson for the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, confirmed to Lake County News that the complaint – which she called “fairly new” – was now with their agency.


Because the matter is under investigation, Billotti could not offer any specifics about the situation.


Arndt alleged that the Hidden Valley Lake Association's practices are discriminatory against familial status, with rules that are too restrictive toward anyone under age 18.


Specifically, Arndt's claim alleges that the association's rules restrict children ages 13 through 17 from using the tennis courts, and the homeowners association's rules also state that “baby sitting children on the courts is prohibited.”


Arndt, who with his wife Bonnie has three children ages 1 through 7, said he was prohibited from bringing his children with him to the tennis courts on March 22, 2008.


In addition, Arndt alleged that the association's curfew rules are too restrictive toward minors.


The association has a curfew for children under age 18 between 10 p.m. and 6 p.m., which goes beyond the county's curfew for minors, which lasts from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. but also has many exceptions, Arndt said.


Arndt's 7-year-old daughter often visits friends who live three or four blocks away, but on June 25, 2008, Arndt said association officials prohibited his daughter from returning home by herself based on the rules.


The complaint names as respondents the Hidden Valley Lake Association and Jim Johnson, the association's general manager at the time of the complaint. Johnson was succeeded late last month by interim general manager, Charles Foster.


Department of Fair Employment and Housing investigator Michelle Partee was assigned to the case May 21 and has since begun working the case to determine if the association is discriminating against a “protected group” – which includes familial status, according to state law.


Late last month a draft conciliation agreement between Arndt and the association already was submitted to both parties for their consideration.


The terms of the agreement call for:


– Immediately allowing “all common areas of the community to be open to all residents regardless of age,” with possible exceptions for limits on the use of the pool and sauna, where one must be age 14 or older to use them unless supervised by an adult;


– Within 30 days of the full execution of the agreement, amending all rules to remove specific reference to age restrictions regarding the use of amenities, such as specified hours for tennis playing for teenagers and curfew. The association also would need to provide the Department of fair Employment and Housing “with written notification of all rules that have been amended/eliminated and how the residents of the community have been notified regarding the amended rules.”


– Removing all posted community signs which reference age restrictions in the common areas and tennis courts. The association must then submit photographic proof showing the sign(s) before and after removal of language specifying age restrictions within 30 days of the full execution of the agreement.


– Posting and maintaining the Department of Fair Employment and Housing fair housing poster in the clubhouse or association community area; the poster is supposed to be “prominently displayed so as to be readily apparent to all persons seeking and/or enjoying housing accommodations.” Within 30 days of the full execution of the agreement, the association must submit a photograph showing the displayed poster.


Arndt was told that if the complaint can't be worked out through an agreement, the department will complete its investigation and issue a decision on whether there was a violation of the law.


Foster said the association board received the materials last Thursday at their meeting.


“Outside of that they're reviewing it now and we have no other comment to make,” Foster said.


Arndt has lived in Hidden Valley Lake almost seven years, and was the association's activities coordinator from 2004 through 2008. During the course of his employment with HVLA, he spent a lot of time researching state and federal rules and regulations to make sure operations were in legal compliance.


He said questions such as those he raised in his complaint aren't new – similar ones relating to children and restrictions of their use of such facilities as the pool had been broached by other individuals. Such matters, he said, were “always being discussed.”


Arndt said his concerns came to a head after he became a parent – both through guardianship and adoption – in the course of a few years. Then it became evident to him that the rules were particularly restrictive against parents and families.


In February 2006, he informed then-general manager that Rick Archbold that he believed, based on his research, that some of HVLA's age restriction rules were potentially illegal and discriminatory against children, based on fair housing laws.


He said he received no response, and a month later he filed a complaint with HUD, which he later withdrew after the agency encouraged him to try to work it out with the community leadership first.


In November of 2007, the HVLA board reportedly discussed fair housing issues and sent them to their attorney to have the rules rewritten, but they never were, said Arndt.


He and his family filed a formal complaint with the association in May of 2007. He resigned from his job with the association in February of 2008, and three months later he and Bonnie took the matter to the association board of directors, where it was tabled.


“We followed the process and it went nowhere,” he said.


Eventually, after researching the matter further, he decided to take it to the government agencies. “For two years I've tried to bring this to the place where we are now, which is, 'Let's talk about this,'” said Arndt.


Arndt said Partee, who is acting as a go-between, has been candid in telling him that if the complaint process doesn't work there are other departments and agencies that might be able to affect some change. There's also civil court.


Billotti said when there is a complaint of discrimination against a homeowners association, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing has jurisdiction.


“We only deal with discrimination complaints,” she said.


Arndt acknowledged that homeowners associations often have their own rules, which he said he understands is “part of the experience” which helps protect the association against liability. But he alleges that state and federal law puts boundaries on what homeowners associations can do.


While Hidden Valley Lake got its start in the 1960s as a community marketed toward retirees and summer residents, it's since become a community filled with families, which Arndt suggested has been a difficult transition for some people and has resulted in resentment.


Arndt believes that the rules may be contributing toward a sense of prejudice toward families, which he said isn't good for promoting Hidden Valley Lake's community spirit.


“I believe Hidden Valley Lake can be a better, more enjoyable and more friendly community if these rules are fixed,” he said.


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

LAKE COUNTY – It's graduation season, and the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” will soon be playing at high school graduation ceremonies around Lake County.


Close to 600 students are expected to be picking up their diplomas over the next week and a half at Clear Lake, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, Upper Lake and Middletown high schools.


Upper Lake will kick things off with the first graduation for the Class of 2009.


The school will celebrate commencement this Friday, June 5. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. on the school's football field, 675 Clover Valley Road.


Approximately 90 students – a number which includes Clover Valley Continuation High School, whose seniors graduate with Upper Lake High – are expected to graduate, according to Tami Stogner, Upper Lake High's registrar.


Upper Lake has two valedictorians this year, both Academic Decathlon standouts – Belarmino Garcia Jr. and Kyle Coleman.


Stogner said the young men have grade point averages well above 4.0; following the final grade calculations being done now, both Garcia and Coleman could have GPA in the range of 4.6.


Coleman earlier this year also received a $20,000 Horatio Alger National Scholarship, as Lake County News has reported.


Hannah Johnson will be Upper Lake's salutatorian; Johnson has a 3.94 grade point average, Stogner said.


On Friday, June 12, the rest of the county's high schools plan to hold their commencement ceremonies.


Middletown High's senior class – 134 in all – will march to graduation beginning at 7 p.m. on the school's football field. The school is located at 20932 Big Canyon Road.


The school does not give out grade point averages, but reported that it has four valedictorians – Freza Paro, William Phelps, Nicholas Reed and Kelsey Welton. Salutatorian is Anthony Correia.


In Lakeport, Clear Lake High School, graduation will begin at 7:30 p.m. June 12 at the football field, according to counselor Paul Larrea. The school is located at 350 Lange St.


Larrea said 100 students will graduate from Clear Lake High this year.


The school's valedictorian and salutatorian have been chosen, but won't be announced publicly until the school's award ceremony, planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, in the high school gym.


Lower Lake High School's graduation also will begin at 7:30 p.m. June 12 at the Gordon Sadler Football Field, 9430 Lake St.


Approximately 141 student will pick up diplomas at Lower Lake's graduation.


This year's valedictorian is standout student Emmalena Illia, a member of the Academic Decathlon team and the student representative on the Konocti Unified School District Board of Trustees. Illia has a grade point average of 4.02.


Her colleague at the podium will be salutatorian Jamie Dawson, who has worked to receive a 3.96 grade point average. Both Dawson and Illia have been active in sports during their high school careers.


Kelseyville High's graduation will begin at 8 p.m. June 12 at the football field, 5480 Main St.


Counselor Sue Samota said 132 students will graduate from Kelseyville High this year.


Samota said the high school has two valedictorians – Jonathan Bridges, with a grade point average of 4.14, and Maripaz Lozano, whose grade point average is 4.13. Both students received straight As throughout high school.


Megan Andre is this year's salutatorian, said Samota. Andre is just a few points away from Bridges and Lozano, with a 4.11 grade point average.


Samota said the Class of 2009 will receive about $120,000 in scholarships at the high school's annual awards night, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4, in the student center. Samota said local dignitaries will be on hand for the presentations.


Local continuation high schools also are graduating this week and next.


Intermountain Continuation in Kelseyville will hold ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 4, at the Gard Street Campus.


Loconoma Valley Continuation High School's graduation will be held at the campus, 21256 Washington St. in Middletown, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 9.


Natural Continuation High School in Lakeport is scheduled to hold graduation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, at the Marge Alakszay Center, 350 Lange St.


Lower Lake's William C. Carlé Continuation High School will hold its graduation ceremony from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, at the campus, 9345 Winchester St.


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

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