Sunday, 21 July 2024


LAKEPORT – It's too early to tell yet what the impacts of recent lawsuits and foreclosure actions will have on a lumber company with roots in Lake County, according to a company spokesman.

Piedmont Lumber & Mill Co. – which has sites in Lakeport, Calpella, Santa Rosa, Tracy and Pittsburg, and a quarry – is facing several serious legal and financial matters.

On March 1 Umpqua Bank filed a lawsuit seeking judicial foreclosure against the company. The same day, a federal lawsuit was filed against the company over its alleged failure to pay benefits to its union-represented employees, as Lake County News has reported.

Also on March 1, Umpqua Bank filed notices of default against the Lakeport store at 2465 S. Main St., which is a securing property on two loans totaling more than $14.5 million, according to county documents.

All of that bad news was topped off by a fire that burned Piedmont Lumber's Walnut Creek store on March 13. Contra Costa County Fire Protection District investigators completed their examination of the property this week but have not made a determination about the fire's cause, and also continue looking at the cause of a previous fire at the company's Pittsburg location last August.

Piedmont Lumber spokesman James Simmons told Lake County News on Friday that he is assisting the company with responding to inquiries about the Walnut Creek fire primarily.

“That's what we're focused on right now, is how to emerge from the Walnut Creek fire,” he said. “That's where all the attention has been.”

He said the company's managers have been given information about the fire situation which they're free to distribute to staff.

Regarding whether or not the company will rebuild and reopen the Walnut Creek location, “It's way too early to know,” he said, pointing out that the company only took back control of the premises earlier this week.

Simmons didn't have information on the company's plans for addressing the foreclosure actions and lawsuits, also noting it's too early. He also didn't know if the company was talking to its employees about its financial situation or whether store closures could result.

The company currently has about 180 employees across all of its sites, and 45 at its Lakeport store, Simmons said.

There have been recent staffing changes across the company but Simmons didn't have specifics.

Regarding concerns about the future of the Lakeport store, Simmons said that's understandable. “It's a nice store, it's a nice town.”

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

SACRAMENTO – In making his appointments this week, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez put two North Coast legislators in important leadership positions.

Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) was appointed as the State Assembly’s Majority Whip and Assemblyman Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata) will chair the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Evans previously served as chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. The new appointment went into effect Thursday.

“I am extremely honored that the speaker has entrusted me with this important position,” she said in a written statement. “I look forward to helping to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the State Assembly and to make our state more responsive to the needs of all Californians.”

Evans, who is currently in her third and last term in the Assembly, is running for the District 2 state Senate seat currently held by Patricia Wiggins, who is retiring at year's end. Also in that race are Lawrence Wiesner, David Rosas, Tom Lynch and Joanne Sanders.

In appointing Chesbro to the chairmanship of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, Pérez said Chesbro “has a deep knowledge of the issues, a background in recycling that includes years of service on the Integrated Waste Management Board and strong, positive relationships with environmentalists and the natural resources industries.”

Chesbro thanked Pérez “for entrusting me with the stewardship of these vital committees.”

“My focus in the Assembly since the day I took office has been to put the First District first,” Chesbro said in a press statement. “All the issues these two committees have jurisdiction over directly impact the First District, including California’s Environmental Quality Act, forestry practices, land conservation, coastal protection, oil spills, solid waste and recycling, renewable energy, air quality and climate change.”

Pérez also appointed Chesbro to serve on the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, Governmental Organization, Higher Education and Budget committees, including the Budget subcommittees on Health and Human Services and Education Finance.

He also will remain chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Disabilities.

Chesbro is seeking reelection this year. He will face Green Party candidate William P. Meyers and Republican Karen Brooks in the June 8 primary.

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UKIAH – Two young Ukiah men were arrested Wednesday after they allegedly took part in stabbing two other Ukiah residents during a fight.

Ryan Raya, 21, and Gabriel Hernandez, 19, were arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery and participating in a criminal street gang, according to a report from Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies, with the assistance of Ukiah Police officers, were dispatched to the 2100 block of South State Street in Ukiah at 9 p.m. Tuesday regarding a multiple stabbing incident, Smallcomb said.

Deputies arrived on scene along with medical personnel to learn that the first victim, a 23-year-old identified as “Alejandro,” had received a stab wound to his lower abdomen, while 19-year-old “Armando” was stabbed in the legs, according to the report.

Smallcomb said officers learned that the two victims had been outside an apartment in the 175 block of Laws Avenue when they were confronted by the listed suspects.

The suspects advised the two victims they were “Norteno” – referring to themselves as gang members – and demanded money from the victims. The suspects then attacked and stabbed the two victims before fleeing. The victims advised they did not release any money to the suspects.

Alejandro was transported to the hospital and treated for injuries that were not life threatening. Smallcomb said Armando received medical treatment at the scene.

Deputies continued their investigation into identifying the suspects and were able to obtain possible names of the suspects. Smallcomb said they eventually identified Raya and Hernandez as the main suspects responsible for the victims injuries. Both are known gang members.

On Wednesday at 1 a.m. Deputies Massey, Mcbride and Donald Scott proceeded to the suspects residences where they were contacted and subsequently arrested without incident, Smallcomb said.

The two suspects were arrested and booked, with bail for each set at $125,000.

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LAKEPORT – The final list of nominees for this year's Stars of Lake County Community Awards has been finalized.

The Lake County Chamber of Commerce released the list, which is included below, on Friday.

The Stars Selection Committee is receiving their books of nominations this weekend and will meet on Thursday, March 25, to discuss and vote on their selections, according to chamber Chief Executive Officer Melissa Fulton.

The results of that meeting will become known on Saturday, April 10, at the 13th annual Stars of Lake County Awards Program.

This year Stars is being held in the concert showroom at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice.

Nominees, community members and sponsors will gather for a special evening of recognition for the people who make Lake County a special place to live, work and play.


David Neft will once again entertain everyone during the reception, which begins at 5 p.m.

Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. with the presentation of Awards at 7:15 p.m.

Following the presentation of awards, there will be DJ music for those who wish to dance, presented by Tony Barthel of the Featherbed Railroad B&B.


Fulton said the Lake County Chamber wishes to thank all who took time to write nominations; their sponsors, including Cliff and Nancy Ruzicka, Westamerica Bank, Barry Parkinson, McDonald's Lakeport, Polestar Computers, Strong Financial Network, Lake County Land Trust, Foods Etc., Bruno's Shop Smart, Congressman Mike Thompson, Shannon Ridge Winery & Vineyards, John Tomkins, North Lake Medical Pharmacy and the Lake County Record-Bee.


Tickets for Stars are on sale at the Lake County Chamber office at 875 Lakeport Blvd., Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nominees tickets are $50 per person, while general public tickets are $60 person person.

Please contact the Chamber at 707-263-5092 with any questions.



1. Andy Weiss, Lakeport

2. Kyle A. Reams, Lucerne


1. Mildred Pickersgill, Lakeport

2. Paula Bryant, Hidden Valley Lake

3. Jennifer Rodgers, Clearlake

4. Maria M. FitzGerald, Hidden Valley Lake

5. Cheri Johnson, Hidden Valley Lake


1. Mendo Mill Lumber & Home Center, Clearlake

2. Lake County Department of Social Services, Lakeport

3. Lakeport Grocery Outlet, Lakeport


1. Pogo’s Pizza, Kelseyville

2. A&B Collision, Clearlake

3. Featherbed Railroad B&B, Nice

4. Quail Run Fitness, Lakeport

5. Kelsey Creek Coffee, Lakeport

6. Howard’s Grotto, Clearlake

7. Doug Reams Dental Office, Lucerne

8. Floortown, Clearlake


1. Peggy Alexander, Clearlake

2. Darren Brookshire, Hidden Valley Lake


1. Brian Sumpter, Cloverdale

2. Barbara Clark, Lakeport

3. Jill Hoeffer, Lakeport

4. Lucas Madrzyk, Lower Lake


1. Chance Crail, Lakeport

2. Benjamin Mullin, Lucerne


1. Cylinda Neidenbach, Kelseyville

2. Tenae Stewart, Middletown

3. Courtney Havrilla, Upper Lake

4. Laura Wold, Lucerne


1. Yerba Santa Goat Dairy, Lakeport

2. Renker Farms, Lakeport


1. Lake County Theatre Co., Lakeport

2. Bert Hutt, Lakeport

3. Vicki Werkley, Lower Lake

4. Richard Seisser, Lakeport


1. Denise Johnson, Kelseyville

2. Carol Thorn, Lakeport

3. Phil Spooner, Clearlake Oaks

4. Scott and Melody Deleon, Lakeport

5. Alberta Knoll, Lakeport

6. Pete and Carol Germenis


1. Richard Birk, Hidden Valley Lake

2. Debra Rodrique, Middletown


1. Mrs. Freda Mohr, Lakeport

2. Jean Welch, Lakeport

3. Harry Graves, Clearlake

4. Edward McDonald, Lakeport

5. Rita Doyle, Clearlake

6. Jacque Spiker, Middletown


1. Paperless Newspaper via, Lucerne

2. Cardboard and Duct Tape Regatta by Lakeport Yacht Club, Lakeport

3. Woody’s Café (at Kelseyville Lumber), Kelseyville


1. Lake County Community Radio, Lakeport

2. Soroptimist International of Clear Lake, Clearlake

3. L.E.E.F., Lakeport

4. Mt. Konocti Facilitation, Lakeport

5. Lakeport Rotary Club, Lakeport

6. Lake County AARP tax preparers, Lakeport


1. P.A.C.K Arts Academy, Middletown

2. Healing Rooms of Lake County, Clearlake


1. Audrey Lenore Keithly Murphy, RN, (Posthumously)

2. Thomas Hewlett, DDS, Clearlake

3. Frances Crary (Posthumous)

4. Esther Tarin-Flores, Kelseyville


1. LuLu’s Ice Cream & Desserts, Kelseyville

2. Lyndall’s Sport Stop Grill, Kelseyville

3. Guido’s Pizzeria, Kelseyville

4. Lake County Jazzercise, Middletown


1. Terry Knight, Lakeport

2. City of Clearlake Planning Commission, Clearlake

3. Bill Stone, Clearlake

4. Marilyn Waits, Kelseyville

5. Roberta Lyons, Lower Lake

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MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Snow pack measurements taken at Anthony Peak on the Mendocino National Forest at the end of February show that precipitation this winter is slightly above average.

The average snowpack measured at the end of the month was 70.4 inches, with water content measuring 25.7 inches, forest officials reported on Thursday.

Those measurements are 113 percent of average snow pack and 105 percent of average water content, according to the report.

The historic average for this time of year is 61.8 inches of snow pack and 24.7 inches of water content.

“We started this season with a bang at 121 percent of average for water content, but are approaching average this month,” said Forest Hydrologist Robin Mowery. “There are still several decent storms predicted this season and the hope is that snow pack will be at least average this year, if not better.”

For reference, 1991 was the record low with 4.1 inches of snow pack. The record high was in 1969 with 148.8 inches of snow pack.

Mendocino National Forest employees Jordan Saylor and Kevin Case took the recent snow measurements.

Snowpack and water content monitoring is an important tool in determining the coming year’s water supply. The data is used by hydrologists, hydroelectric power companies, the recreation industry and other organizations.

More than 50 agencies and utilities, in coordination with the California Department of Water Resources, visit hundreds of snow measurement courses in California’s mountains as part of the Cooperative Snow Surveys Program. For more information on California snow surveys, please visit .

Originally established in 1944, the Anthony Peak snow course provides data for precipitation draining into the Grindstone watershed into Stony Creek and the Black Butte Reservoir, ending in the Sacramento River.

Runoff from the Mendocino National Forest is critical in providing surface water and ground water for the surrounding communities.

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The law gives spouses equal rights to designate death beneficiaries to community property assets that pass without probate to designated beneficiaries (so-called, “nonprobate community property assets”).

Such nonprobate community property assets include retirement annuity policies, and employee benefit or retirement plans where the participant contributed marital (community property) earnings to such investments.

Let’s examine the legal requirements for designating beneficiaries and for changing such designations.

The law recognizes that nonprobate assets act as will substitutes even though the testamentary formalities associated with a will are not required with respect to designation of beneficiary forms.

Accordingly, a married person can only bequeath (gift) his or her one-half of the community property interest in a nonprobate asset upon the death of the participant spouse, whose life span dictates when the nonprobate asset in question passes to someone else.

That is, both spouses must sign the designation of death beneficiary form in order to control the disposition of 100 percent of the nonprobate community property asset – such as an annuity or retirement plan – upon the death of the participant spouse in question.

By signing this form, the nonparticipant spouse is consenting to the designation of beneficiary.

If the participant spouse later signs a new designation of death beneficiary form, without obtaining the consent of the nonparticipant spouse, then the outcome depends on whether or not the nonconsenting spouse is alive. If he is still alive, the new designation of death form controls the disposition of only one-half of the nonprobate asset.

For example, say the original (consented-to) designation of beneficiary for a retirement plan provides that the couple’s daughter receives 75 percent and their son receives 25 percent; and thereafter the participant spouse signs a new designation of beneficiary form (a modification) without the consent of the non participant spouse and changes the distribution to 50 percent to each child.

That second (modified) designation is only effective as to the one-half community property interest controlled by the participant spouse. The earlier signed consent by the nonparticipant spouse on the original designation of beneficiary form is revoked, which means that the other half of the nonprobate asset passes pursuant to the “will” of the non-participating (now non-consenting) spouse, and may entail a court probate of the non-consenting spouse’s will.

If the nonconsenting/nonparticipant spouse is not alive when the modification was executed, then the outcome depends on whether the deceased nonparticipant spouse revoked original consent and gave his community property rights to his surviving spouse (to allow him or her full control).

That is, did the deceased nonparticipant spouse sign a will, or other written document, that revoked consent and gave away the rights and interest to such nonprobate community property asset? If so, the modification will control the entire the nonprobate community property asset. In our example, the retirement plan would then pass equally to daughter and son alike.

Otherwise, where the modification is signed after the spouse has died, the original (consented to) designation of death beneficiary form becomes irrevocable and so remains effective as to the nonconsenting spouse’s one-half interest in the community property asset.

In our example, this means half of the retirement plan still goes 75 percent to the daughter and 25 percent to the son (as originally agreed), while the other half goes 50 percent to each child (pursuant to the modification).

As a rule, if husband and spouse each have the same children and are in agreement, I recommend that each spouse allow the other full control over nonprobate community property assets.

If, however, the spouses have separate children and so have different testamentary intentions, I caution against each spouse granting the other full control.

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

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The weigh-in site is ready for action this week at Library Park in Lakeport, Calif., where the Bassmaster Elite Series Golden State Shootout will take place from Thursday, March 18, to Sunday, March 21, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.


LAKEPORT – Competitors are set to launch Thursday in the Bassmaster Elite Series Golden State Shootout.

Pro anglers will be blasting off at 7 a.m. from Library Park in Lakeport.

Anglers and pros alike were invited to compete in the five-day event.

There have been noticeably more fishermen out on the water, which is because March 15, 16 and 17 were practice days.

Tournament waters – considered all waters open to public fishing in Clear Lake and all rivers, creeks and canals connecting to Clear Lake – have been off-limits to pros from Feb. 15 through this past Sunday.

All contestants had a briefing along with registration on Wednesday at Robinson Rancheria.

They are to report to Library Park between Third and Fifth streets Thursday to launch their boats. Contestants will go out in flights. Flights and check-in times will be staggered to give each contestant equal fishing time.

The launch site is also the weigh-in site, so participants must be back by 3:30 p.m. for weigh-ins for the three days of the tournament. Each day the fish limit is five and they may not be smaller than 12 inches.

On Saturday, the top 50 pros and top 50 participating marshals will be announced and pros that placed 13th through 50th will receive their awards.

The top 12 pros will be known by Sunday; that will be the final day of the competition. The awards presentation will be held at the weigh-in site.

For more information, visit . For general information about Bassmasters fishing tournaments and Bassmasters Magazine, visit and .

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

The Dingwall family, from left, Shirley, Sgt. Tommy Dingwall, his father Tom Dingwall and grandfather Tom Dingwall. Photo by Ron Quick.


LAKEPORT – The February packing party brought a great surprise for Operation Tango Mike volunteers.

Sgt. Courtney T. (Tommy) Dingwall and his wife Brenda arrived for a surprise visit to share their thanks for local support during the Marine’s deployment. They were accompanied by the sergeant’s grandparents and father, and Brenda’s parents.

Volunteers were delighted with the visit and were happy to see the young man home and safe. Sgt. Dingwall shared some stories from his deployment, answered many questions and sincerely thanked everyone for the care packages and support he had received.

Sgt. and Mrs. Dingwall then stuck around to lend a hand packing care packages for other deployed troops.

This month, volunteers will be preparing Easter care packages for our troops. The packing party will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 18, at Umpqua Bank, 805 11th St., Lakeport. Rumor has it that we may have another visitor!

The March packing party is significant as it will mark seven years ago that I first sent a care package to a soldier in Afghanistan. I began doing so with friends when a couple of our co-workers were deployed.

Our co-workers returned home, but the need for troop support still existed. I continued sending care packages and began enlisting the help of others. Since then, the effort has grown to what has become known as Operation Tango Mike (Operation Thanks Much).

Lake County’s generosity and caring spirit has ensured that troops receive monthly care packages, even in difficult economic times. Somehow, the community always comes through and there are enough supplies, volunteers to lovingly pack them and funds to ship them.

There are similar troop support efforts around the country. However, many groups pack only quarterly or specifically during the holidays. Operation Tango Mike has grown and endured and care packages are sent every month. In fact, once a name is placed on the recipient list, that individual receives a monthly care package throughout his/her deployment. Troops can count on Operation Tango Mike’s support.





Ginny Craven, founder of Operation Tango Mike, and Sgt. Tommy Dingwall. Photo by Ron Quick.




Lake County is filled with giving and caring people who share of themselves in so many ways. This effort is one of the manifestations of that goodness and all that makes Lake County a wonderful place to live.

On Sunday, March 21, Operation Tango Mike volunteers, members of the Military Funeral Honors Team of Lake County and the Kelseyville Lions Club will co-sponsor a community event.

A pancake breakfast will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Kelseyville Lions Club, 4335 Sylar Lane, with proceeds benefiting the family of Sergeant First Class David Hartman.

SFC Hartman was killed in Pakistan on Feb. 3, leaving behind his pregnant wife Cherise and toddler son Mikey.

Many of the soldier’s family members reside in Kelseyville and have expressed their gratitude for the community’s support.

For further information regarding Operation Tango Mike, please call 349-2838 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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LAKEPORT – Sheriff's officials are continuing to search for clues to the whereabouts of a Lakeport man who went missing earlier this month shortly before he was due to turn himself in to serve a jail sentence.

William Michael Farrell, 49, was reportedly last seen leaving Konocti Vista Casino Resort Marina in an older wooden boat on March 7, as Lake County News has reported.

On Wednesday Sgt. Dennis Ostini on the Lake County Sheriff's Marine Patrol said there still was no sign of Farrell.

“I'm checking daily some of the places where I can only guess he may surface,” Ostini said.

On March 10, the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol found Farrell's boat capsized and submerged about 400 feet off of Buckingham Peninsula.

Investigators found no obvious signs of a collision or other damage to the boat, which was reportedly more than 50 years old and is believed to have had a leak. Farrell's girlfriend also told investigators that the boat's outboard motor had a history of mechanical problems.

In examining the boat, Marine Patrol concluded it could easily have been swamped by the lake's windy conditions on March 7, officials reported.

Farrell had been scheduled to turn himself in at the Lake County Jail on Wednesday, according to attorney Stephen Carter, who represented Farrell in a welfare fraud case, for which he was sentenced Feb. 8.

Carter said he was able to get Farrell felony probation rather than prison, and his sentence included 200 days of jail time, with 37 days of credit served, and Farrell only required to serve half time, or about 80 days in all.

In addition, Farrell was required to repay $3,174 in restitution. Carter said he already had made some payments.

Sheriff's Capt. Rob Howe said they were aware of Farrell's court case.

He said the sheriff's office assigned a detective to follow up on Farrell's disappearance and continue to investigate it as a missing person's case.

Farrell is described as a white male adult, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 185 pounds, with brown hair, blue eyes, a goatee-style beard, tattoos on both forearms, and a significant surgical scar at the center of his chest and abdomen.

Officials didn't have information on what he was wearing when he left the casino March 7.

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

LAKEPORT – If you've been noticing a lot of rocks coming off a stretch of Highway 29 north of Lakeport, you're not alone.

For more than a month local residents have been reporting rocks flying off of Highway 29 – from about the Highway 175 turnoff to the Hopland Grade and as far north as Hill Road – which has resulted in damaged windshields and dents on vehicles.

As a result Caltrans is reporting that it's planning a repaving project to fix the damaged roadway.

Agency spokesman Phil Frisbie said they've received calls from the public about the roadway's condition.

Frisbie said the cooler weather caused the top layer of asphalt to deteriorate, resulting in the flying rocks.

Last week Caltrans secured funding for an emergency paving project, Frisbie said.

They've been allocated about $4 million from a special fund that's used each year to address unforeseen problems with roads, he explained.

“We're planning on repaving approximately eight miles of the highway near Lakeport,” he said. “That should be happening this spring or summer.”

They're moving forward with preparing the project's specifications, which Frisbie said will allow them to put the project out to bid.

The funds are allowing Caltrans to move forward quickly on the project, which Frisbie said normally would take several years to complete.

In the mean time, they've stepped up their highway sweeping schedule, with maintenance crews trying to sweep the highways about twice a week, Frisbie said.

Crews were in evidence along that stretch of highway last week.

“Our phone calls have been decreasing since our maintenance people have been out there,” he said.

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

Upcoming Calendar

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
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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