Tuesday, 16 July 2024


LOWER LAKE – The Lake County Sheriff's Office is warning the public about a new scam that reportedly took $30,000 from a local woman.

Sheriff's Capt. James Bauman said Monday that an elderly Lower Lake woman reported on May 29 that she had been scammed out of $30,000 by a man posing to be her grandson on the telephone.

This is the third report of scams or attempted scams this year in which elderly victims have been called by someone posing to be a grandson who alleges to have gotten into trouble in another country and asks for large amounts of money, Bauman said.

Seventy-two-year-old Marie Newsom reported getting a phone call on the morning of May 28 in which the male caller told her he was her grandson, Joshua Hazzard, according to Bauman.

Bauman said the caller told Newsom that he and several of his friends had been arrested in Hong Kong for soliciting prostitutes and they needed $30,000 transferred to a Hong Kong bank to bail out of jail.

Immediately after getting the call, Newsom arranged for the transfer of funds to the Hong Kong bank, Bauman said.

The same man called Newsom back later in the day to see if she had transferred the funds and she told him she had, according to Bauman's report.

The following day, Newsom became concerned that she had been scammed and called her grandson’s other grandmother in Las Vegas where Hazzard apparently resides. She then learned Hazzard was in Las Vegas and had not been to China at all, said Bauman.

An elderly Clearlake Oaks couple fell victim to a similar crime in February of this year when they got a call from a man posing as their grandson who told them he was in jail in Canada and needed $3,000 to bail out, as Lake County News has reported.

Another elderly man from Clearlake Oaks got a similar call in January of this year in which the “grandson” asked him to wire $6,000 to Canada to get him out of trouble. Fortunately in that case, the would-be victim called his daughter and the mother of his grandson in Los Angeles before sending any money and learned his grandson was not in Canada, Bauman said.

Bauman said the sheriff’s office is again reminding all members of the public that there isn’t nearly as much advice on avoiding being the victim of such scams as there are ways to be defrauded.

However, aside from always protecting your personal information, members of the public are encouraged to always verify unsolicited transactions of any kind before acting on them, Bauman said.

Visitors pack Main Street in Upper Lake for Wild West Day on Saturday, June 6, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




UPPER LAKE – Cowboys, horses and visitors crowded Upper Lake's streets on Saturday as part of the 16th annual Wild West Day celebration.

The daylong event saw Main Street lined with vendors of all kinds – from food to clothing and jewelry and horse tack – plus historic displays of steam-run farm machinery and antique fire equipment. Most stores along the street also had their doors open to welcome visitors.

The day started with a pancake breakfast, and also included music, skits and wagon rides.

Wild West Day, sponsored by the Upper Lake Community Council and the Northshore Fire Protection District, recalls the town's past. Upper Lake was founded in 1854 and was the site of a stagecoach stop along the route from Sacramento to Mendocino.

Cowboys keep an eye on things during Wild West Day on Saturday, June 6, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



Northshore Fire Protection District, an event cosponsor, displayed some of the antique fire equipment from its Upper Lake station during Wild West Day on Saturday, June 6, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Nothing hearkens to the wild west like horses, which were in evidence as part of Wild West Day on Saturday, June 6, 2009. These horses took visitors on a ride through town. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

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. .

NICE – A vehicle crash late Sunday morning closed Highway 20 for more than an hour and a half.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the collision took place shortly before 11:30 a.m. near Robinson Rancheria in Nice.

A white pickup rolled over and hit two other vehicles, blocking the roadway.

CHP, Lake County Sheriff's deputies, Caltrans and Northshore Fire medics responded to the scene.

Three subjects, whose names were not immediately available, were reported injured, and two air ambulances came to the scene to transport them to the hospital.

The CHP reported the roadway was closed, with vehicles being diverted at the Reclamation Road cutoff.

Caltrans road signs were activated at the intersections of Highway 20 and Highway 53 and Highway 20 and Highway 29 to alert drivers to the closure.

The roadway reopened at 1:10 p.m., the CHP reported.

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

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.

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. .




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




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

CyberSoulMan Thurman Watts (right) with Koko Taylor. Courtesy photo.



I ain’t in no hurry

but I ain’t got no time to lose ...

Chicago Blues Queen Koko Taylor, June 5, 2007

These are difficult times for your CyberSoulMan. Some of you may know that my mother recently left this earth for the next level and I’m dealing with all the accompanying emotion that accompanies a loss of that magnitude.

Koko Taylor, who passed June 3, was an artist dear to my mom’s heart, as well as my own.

My mom helped shape my blues sensibilities. I’ve written before that my mom introduced me to the music of Sugar Pie DeSanto. By way of mother inserting Koko Taylor’s classic song “Wang Dang Doodle” on the hi-fi, I became a Koko convert as well.

I actually met Koko face to face several times – on two occasions at the Russian River Blues Festival. At the 2007 Russian River I hung with her one on one for about 20 minutes until Little Richard’s limo pulled up and he requested her queenly presence. I also spoke with her briefly at the Chicago Blues Festival last year

I was very proud of returning from the 2007 Russian River Blues Festival with a picture I’d taken with Koko Taylor to present my mother. She, in turn, proudly displayed the picture on her refrigerator.

Prior to the event on the Russian River, I interviewed Koko Taylor on June 5, 2007, by phone for my Internet radio show. When I told her that my mom introduced me to her music she remarked that she would like to meet mom when she came to California. I thought that a very kind thing to say and when I repeated it to mom she received it kindly as well.

When Koko agreed to do a radio promo for me she graciously insisted on doing multiple takes until it was perfect. She was so willing to please and thoroughly enjoyed her work.

During my travel to the Chicago Blues Festival of 2008, I was able to witness Queen of the Chicago Blues Koko Taylor meet and greet Queen of the West Coast Blues Sugar Pie DeSanto.

Here is how I reported it for www.soul-patrol.com .

Fast forward to June 6, 2008. Before leaving the Essex Hotel for sound check, Queen of the West Coast Blues Sugar Pie DeSanto is summoned by the hospitality coordinator to the parking garage because Chicago Blues Queen Koko Taylor wants to greet Sugar Pie. They meet and greet each other like the long-lost sisters in the blues that they are. They hug and charm each other with statements like, "What you gon' do girl?"

"Honey, I'm gon' kill 'em." Koko does her dance. Sugar Pie does hers. It's a Soul Patrol moment.

That was exactly a year ago Saturday. I listened to the audio of the interview I did with Koko on Saturday and will be posting it on my Web site in the near future. Then you can hear Koko explain how she and her husband came to Chicago in the early 1950s from Bartlett, Tennessee. They came by bus and when they arrived all they had was a box of Ritz crackers and 35 cents between them.

Her story entails her humble beginnings scrubbing floors for $5 per week, meeting the legendary Willie Dixon at Sylvio’s in Chicago, auditioning for Leonard Chess and catapulting to the top of the Blues world and staying there her whole career.

She performed her last gig on May 7, where she received her 29th award for Traditional Blues Artist of the Year. Koko Taylor, The Blues Wailer, rest in peace.

Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts.


Upcoming cool local events:

Lake Blues All-Stars w/Neon, Blues Monday, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 8, Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Telephone, 707-275-2233, or online, www.bluewingsaloon.com .

Open mike night, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 11. Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Telephone, 707-275-2233, or online, www.bluewingsaloon.com .

Chris Botti in concert, 8:15 p.m. Saturday, June 20. Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, 8727 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville. Telephone, 800-660-LAKE, or online at www.konoctiharbor.com .

Smokey Robinson in concert, 7:15 p.m. Saturday, July 31. Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, 8727 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville. Telephone, 800-660-LAKE, or online at www.konoctiharbor.com .

The Four Tops in Concert, 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31. Cache Creek Casino Resort, 14455 Highway 16, Brooks. Telephone, 888-77-CACHE, or online at www.cachecreek.com .


T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at www.teewatts.biz.






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.

Lucerne resident Jim Harris was aboard the destroyer USS McCook at the D-Day invasion in June of 1944. He recounted that day at a 65th anniversary commemoration held June 6, 2009, in Lakeport. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



LAKEPORT – Several dozen people gathering at the lakeside Saturday morning to remember the day, 65 years before, when 155,000 Allied soldiers took part in history's largest amphibious invasion on the beaches of Normandy, France.

D-Day – June 6, 1944 – was the day when thousands of troops and ships arrived and began the historic landing at Omaha, Utah, Sword, Juno and Gold beaches.

The actual operations ran from June 4 through 14, 1944, as part of Operation Overlord, an audacious and seemingly improbable plan that ultimately pierced Adolf Hitler's hold on Europe and led to the Allied victory in World War II.

The local ceremony, led by Ronnie Bogner, was held at the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association's memorial mast in Library Park. The Lakeport Sea Scouts – teenagers not many years different in age from the young men who would have arrived on Normandy's beaches decades ago – raised the American flag on the mast.

Rev. Mike Suski, a chaplain with the Lake County Sheriff's Office and Lakeport Police Department, offered an opening invocation.

Suski, born in Poland, said D-Day had special significance for him; his father, at age 16, was taken from his home by the Nazis and forced into slave labor in the salt mines on the border of Germany and France. The Allied advance freed the elder Suski and millions of others, and turned the fortunes of the war. Suski said his fathered died March 13.

He remembered those who gave their lives for freedom, peace and democracy, and prayed for those now serving in the country's leadership.

Businessman John Tompkins led the group in singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

Bob Bartley, a Kelseyville resident who is a member of a World War II reenactment group, wore an authentic wool uniform like that worn by the soldiers landing at Normandy. Bartley had attended last year's D-Day ceremony in full uniform, including the pack carried by the men, which can weigh as much as 70 pounds. He skipped that part this year, noting that it left his back out for days the last time.

Those heavy packs proved fatal for many soldiers in the landing. In some cases, the soldiers were let off of the amphibious carriers in deep water and had to try to swim to shore with the weight. It was noted during the ceremony that many men drowned under the packs' weight.

Other historic military touches included a 1968 Kaiser relay truck used by the Marines during Vietnam which Carl Thompson, a California Highway Patrol officer, is restoring.

One of the featured speakers was Lucerne resident Jim Harris, who was at both the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 and at D-Day, where he served aboard the destroyer USS McCook (DD 496).

He recalled the practice run for D-Day at Slapton Sands, near Dover, England. “This rehearsal was what you might call chaos,” he said, noting that German submarines showed up and sank three troop ships. Slapton Sands was kept so quiet that the men who died there were counted as casualties at D-Day he said.

The stormy weather in June of 1944 caused a delay in the invasion, he said. Many ships already had been under way and had to be rounded up after the cancellation order was given.

Eventually, though, on the morning of June 6, 1944, 5,000 vessels were under way toward the French coast. “We were so very fortunate that the fog held,” Harris said.

But there were problems with the landing, from men landing too far out and struggling under heavy packs to the soldiers scrambling up onto the beach to find they had only 8 feet of beach up against a cliff to find safety, while fierce fire came from the cliffs above at Pointe du Hoc.

Harris said the USS McCook's captain saw Germans firing from the cliffs above onto the Allied forces on the beaches. The admiral gave the command to go after them, so the 345-foot McCook was steered into the breakers, trying to avoid mines while attempting to get close enough to shoot at the cliffs above. With each wave, the ship had to be thrust into reverse to avoid the mines or running aground.

In his book “The Americans at D-Day,” author John C. McManus writes that the McCook shot 1,000 rounds that day.

Harris, a helmsman on the McCook, said she and another destroyer, the USS Carmick, wiped out the German fire power in the cliffs in about 20 minutes, including German “tiger” tanks.

“That was the longest day I ever lived,” he said.

Another World War II veterans, 89-year-old Bob Tucker, spoke at the ceremony.

Tucker wasn't at D-Day, but he took part in the Allied invasion of North Africa in 1942 under Gen. George Patton, “the greatest soldier that walked this earth.”

He shared D-Day statistics: there were 5,303 ships, 13,000 US paratroopers, 325 heavy bomber planes and 2,500 dead. Omaha Beach was an important landing spot because of the cliffs and reefs that prevented landing elsewhere along the coast.

Recalling his own trip to Europe for the war, Tucker said as he sailed out of New York City, he looked at the Statue of Liberty and said, “Oh, girl, I may never see you again.”

Punctuating the end of the ceremony was a rifle salvo by the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team and the playing of “Taps.”

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




The Lakeport Sea Scouts posted the colors at the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association's memorial mast in Library Park at the beginning of 65th anniversary commemoration held June 6, 2009, in Lakeport. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Bob Tucker, a World War II veteran, discussed the war and D-Day on June 6, 2009, in Lakeport. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




The United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team offers a salute as the bugler plays

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.”

Upcoming Calendar

07.16.2024 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Board of Supervisors
07.16.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.16.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Lakeport City Council
07.17.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
07.18.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clearlake City Council
07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop

Mini Calendar



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