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From left, Leslie Lovejoy, Vera Crabtree and Nicole Grammer during the event setup on Thursday, May 8, 2009. Photo courtesy of Angie Lagle.

LAKEPORT – Sutter Lakeside Hospital is busily putting the finishing touches on its new Health & Wellness Expo.

The event takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 9, on the hospital grounds, 5176 Hill Road East, Lakeport.

The theme of this year's expo is “Catch the Spirit! Embrace, Learn and Align.”

A team of Sutter Lakeside staffers has worked since last fall to organize the expo, which will feature everything from adult health care screenings to the Find Your Fun! Expo for Kids. The team includes Leslie Lovejoy, Vera Crabtree, Nicole Grammer, Carrie McClure, Christine Petty, Michele Andre-Newton, Kathleen Stuart and Angie Lagle.

The hospital isn't just debuting its new event this week, it's also welcoming its new chief executive officer, Siri Nelson, who arrived Monday. Nelson comes from Sutter Amador Hospital, where she served as chief financial officer.

The Saturday event will feature six tents: car seat safety; the family birth center, covering family nutrition and breastfeeding; respiratory therapy, which will include smoking cessation and oxygen saturation; cardiology, with glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure checks; physical therapy, with a balance check and biofeedback; and discharge planning, where visitors can learn about power of attorney and medical directives.

There also will be a variety of vendors and workshop sessions on acupuncture, the healthy aging brain, yoga, transforming obstacles to achieve your dreams, Tai Chi Chuan, the Four Agreements, Tibetan sound healing, cooking, Pilates, Eastern healing and more.

Lovejoy called it a “very well-rounded program.”

Keynote speakers will be Dr. Fred Allen Wolfe, a quantum physicist, writer and speaker whose talk in the main tent at 11 a.m. is titled “Be the Change: Mastering the Quantum Physics of Life!”

At 5 p.m., Dr. Joan Borysenko, an author and lecturer who is a pioneer in integrative medicine and an authority in the body-mind connection, will speak in the main tent on “The Wisdom of the Heart.”

Lovejoy said Borysenko had done a previous conference at the hospital and agreed to come back and speak at the expo. “She really was impressed with our model and what we're doing here,” said Lovejoy.

The hospital's model includes four levels – signs of sickness, healthy body, healthy thoughts and feelings, and a healthy person.

Lovejoy said Sutter Lakeside wanted to integrate all of its aspects at the expo. “I think we've evolved in our image of ourself.”

For the children's portion of the expo, McClure said the goal is to help educate and inspire children to care about their health. “That's going to look different for kids than adults.”

Tammi Silva, director of the hospital's community relations, Wellness Center, marketing and Lakeside Wellness Foundation, said the hospital wants to build a generation of healthy children.

They'll introduce children to a variety of sports and physical activities, encourage them to try new foods and bring their own healthy lunch, said McClure.

Petty said middle and high school students who are part of the hospital's Leadership Adventure will take part as role models, showing how it's cool to be active and healthy.

Silva said they plan to make the expo an annual event.

Hospital staff is excited about the openness and welcoming atmosphere of the expo model, said Lovejoy. “I think it's here to stay.”


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

Volunteers pick up trash along Highway 53 on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.




LAKE COUNTY – Areas along Highway 53 are cleaner thanks to a statewide Litter Removal and Enforcement Day held Wednesday.

Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and Keep California Beautiful joined forces in the cleanup effort, which is meant to address the ongoing problem of litter along state highways.

Caltrans District 1 spokesman Phil Frisbie said 30 Adopt-A-Highway volunteers helped Caltrans employees remove approximately 100 bags of trash from along Highway 53.

Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway volunteers and groups who participated in the Litter Removal and Enforcement Day in Lake County were Debbie Ogulin, Galilee Lutheran Church, Konocti Vista Casino and Lake County Stonewall Democrats.

Frisbie said the overall amount of trash found alongside the road this year appeared about the same as in previous years, with some larger trash items already having been removed because Caltrans maintenance crews have started mowing, and large items can damage their mowers.

On Wednesday Caltrans reported that it spent $57 million in 2008 alone to pick up trash along California state highways, where litter not only is unsightly but gives rise to pollution.

Litter commonly found on highways includes food wrappers, napkins, tires, magazines, motor oil and anti-freeze containers, and soda cans and other recyclables, Frisbie reported. Highway littering carries fines up to $1,000.

Caltrans reported that a primary source of litter is untarped truck loads.

“Litter is a big issue, but we can all be a part of the solution,” said Charlie Fielder, Caltrans District 1 director. “Please hold on to your garbage until it can be disposed of properly. If you use a truck to haul loads, tarp your load to keep it contained.”

For more information on the Caltrans Adopt-A-Highway program, call Nita Brake-Mills at 707-441-5761.

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



Piles of dumped trash that Caltrans found along Highway 53 during the cleanup effort on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.




Some of the 100 bags of trash volunteers and Caltrans removed from along Highway 53 on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.




A Caltrans sign alerts drivers to the cleanup effort on Wednesday, May 6, 2009. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.




One load of trash and other debris removed during the statewide Litter Removal and Enforcement Day held Wednesday, May 6, 2009. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

LAKE COUNTY – The loss of homes to foreclosure across the United States, California and Lake County is showing no signs of slowing, and local Realtors are warning of another wave of foreclosed homes that is about to come onto the market.

The latest news from Irvine-based RealtyTrac shows that foreclosure activity nationwide increased 9 percent in the first quarter of this year over the fourth quarter of 2008, and was up 24 percent from the first quarter of 2008.

In all, there were 803,489 properties – or one home in every 159 homes across the United States – that had some sort of foreclosure filing against them, whether it be default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions, in the first three months of this year.

The report noted that March foreclosure activity was up 17 percent over February, and 46 percent over March of 2008.

In Lake County, there were 662 foreclosure filings in the first quarter, up 68 percent from the 393 filings in 2008's fourth quarter, and a rise of 108 percent from the 318 filings in the first quarter of 2008, according to numbers RealtyTrac provided to Lake County News.


The actual number of Lake County homes repossessed by banks was 125 in the first quarter, up from 68 in the same period in 2008, but down from 136 in the fourth quarter of last year.


James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said they saw a record level of foreclosure activity in March, more than 12 percent higher than the next highest month on record.

“Since much of this activity was in new foreclosure actions, it suggests that many lenders and
servicers were holding off on executing foreclosures due to industry moratoria and legislative delays,” Saccacio said.

He said it's also likely that the drop in bank repossession activity can attributed to these processing delays, rather than to any of the prevention programs currently in place.

Saccacio added that it’s very likely that the number of bank repossessions will increase again now that most of the moratoria have been lifted.

The top 10 states for foreclosures during the first quarter of 2009 were, in order, California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Virginia.

RealtyTrac said that California accounted for nearly 29 percent of the nation's total filings for the first quarter of this year, with 230,915 properties receiving foreclosure filings.

California's foreclosure activity increased 35 percent from the previous quarter and 36 percent from 2008's first quarter.

Local Realtors report on trends

Anita McKee, president of the Lake County Association of Realtors, said Realtors are continuing to see a lot of activity.

“The foreclosure market is really bad at the moment,” she said. “Some of the agents are getting four a day, every day.”

McKee said they're hearing that the banks are holding back on another group of foreclosures set to come onto the market until the current foreclosure are sold and cleared.

“We're expecting a lot more to come,” said McKee.

Some areas of the county are being hit especially hard, including the Clear Lake Riviera, where McKee said some homes are selling for 40 and 50 percent less than they would ave in 2006.

With those drops in value, it's very hard for homeowners who are not in foreclosure to get their money out of the homes, said McKee.

That's when they try short sales. McKee said the banks are being more cooperative when it comes to accepting offers for less than the amount that is owed. She said the bigger banks, such as Chase, are attempting to work with homeowners.

McKee said there are a lot of opportunities for buyers, including Federal Housing Administration loan programs and the new $18,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers or anyone who hasn't bought a home in the last three years. There also is an increase in lease-option purchases, which allow prospective buyers to build up their credit.

Lots and land aren't moving, and few builders are building new homes, said McKee, whose business deals with high-end properties. She said the high-end market hasn't been greatly impacted; she recently closed a sale on a $1.3 million lakefront home.

Many investors are buying up homes under $200,000, but homes in the $300,000 to $500,000 range aren't moving, said McKee.

Clearlake Realtor Dave Hughes, who is focusing on foreclosures in the south county, said he's seen a small spike in the number of foreclosure listings, and is expecting to see more foreclosures coming onto the market in the next 30 to 60 days.

Hughes said he believes Hidden Valley Lake is the most active area in Lake County for foreclosures. “It saw the best surge in values when things were good.”

Over the last six to eight months, there have been about 105 active listings in Hidden Valley Lake, said Hughes. As of last Thursday, 50 of those were in escrow.

“That's huge,” he said. “It was running around 30.”

He estimated about 70 percent of the foreclosed homes he's listing are vacant, with the remaining 30 percent having the owner or tenants.

“We will pay people to move,” he said.

Depending the company – with Fannie Mae paying the highest amounts – tenants or owners could receive between $1,000 to $4,000 to move within 30 days.

Hughes said he's seeing the average sales price decline, which has led to a lot of sales activity, particularly in the Hidden Valley Lake area. That's aided by low interest rates for buyers.

“If it's the right price when it hits the market, you’ll see multiple offers,” Hughes said.

Hughes said he recently listed a five-acre property with a modular home for $173,000; by the next day he had three offers. In Riviera West, he valued a foreclosed home at $195,000, but the bank's asset manager asked him to drop the sales price, which he did, to $175,000. He received six offers and it's now in escrow for $200,000.

He said he's seeing loan options for prospective buyers including a 100-percent US Department of Agriculture loan and FHA loans with 3.5 percent down. He added that he's seeing a lot more of the latter.

“It’s a good time to buy,” said Hughes. “Even if things go down a lite more, you’re not going to get hurt that bad.”

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


LAKEPORT – A small ceremony planned for Saturday will honor the county's fallen law enforcement officers as a national commemoration for officers killed in the line of duty is set to take place next week.

A wreath will be laid on the police memorial in Museum Park in downtown Lakeport at 1 p.m. and “Taps” will be played, said Lakeport resident Mike Pascoe, a member of the Iron Warriors Motorcycle Club, which is sponsoring the event.

The Iron Warriors is a national public safety officers club, with 40 chapters throughout the United States, said Pascoe.

Pascoe – a retired federal officer whose son and daughter are a game warden and a probation officer, respectively – said the club wanted to honor the officers this year. He said no local commemoration for National Police Week, May 10 through 16, was planned and the group didn't want to let the time pass without a remembrance.

Three Lake County law enforcement officers have been killed on the job: Sheriff George W. Kemp, 1910; Deputy Sheriff William David Hoyt, 1967; and Sgt. Richard Helbush, in 1981. The woman accused of killing Helbush, Annika Ostberg Deasy, was returned to her native Sweden in April to serve out her prison term, as Lake County News has reported.

Next week, a series of events in Washington, DC will honor officers killed while in service. The events include the 21st annual candlelight vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, a two-day survivors' conference on May 14 and 16, and the National Peace Officers' Memorial Service on May 15 at the US Capitol.

Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke, Lt. Brad Rasmussen and two other officers will attend this year. All of the men pay for their own way and don't use department funds for the trip, said Rasmussen.

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WASHINGTON – On Wednesday Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced legislation to protect the nation’s children from preventable illnesses, which he believes will help save lives and reduce health care costs.

The bill requires individual and group insurers, employee benefit plans, and health savings accounts to cover preventive benefits for children without copayments or deductibles.

“My bill would ensure that all kids will be able to go to the doctor for the kinds of preventive check-ups that keep kids healthy and cut health care costs by reducing the need for extended hospitalization and more expensive treatments,” said Thompson.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends preventive care measures for children including immunizations, newborn and infant examinations, and early screening for medical conditions and illnesses.

However, health plans do not uniformly cover such preventive services. For example, one in four Americans with employer-sponsored insurance do not have coverage for regular infant and toddler check-ups. Similarly, one in five employer health care plans do not cover childhood immunizations.

“As families struggle to make ends meet in this deepening recession, the last thing they should have to worry about is whether they can afford to bring their children to the doctor for regular preventive-check ups,” said Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA. “Every child deserves a healthy and safe start to life, and Congressman Thompson’s bill would make this a reality by requiring health care plans to cover preventive care for children. This legislation would make it more affordable for families to bring their children to the doctor by eliminating copayments and deductibles for children's preventive care services.”

While some states mandate coverage of certain preventive services, there is no national policy that guarantees children access to necessary preventive care.

While in the California State Senate, Congressman Thompson successfully passed legislation that requires many health care plans to cover preventive care for children.

Congressman Thompson’s new bill would further extend and expand this benefit, and eliminate copayments and deductibles for this type of care.

LAKE COUNTY – Starting later this month, a survey will take place that looks at the high speed Internet services offered in Lake and neighboring counties.

The Center for Economic Development (CED), California State University, Chico Research Foundation, will conduct a telephone survey to households and businesses in Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Sutter and Yuba counties.

The survey will be utilized to identify areas throughout the region that are served, underserved or unserved by high speed Internet service.

Economic development and education administrators, Internet service providers (ISPs), local government leaders and other business professionals will be able to utilize the information to make decisions about the services they provide to those in the upstate region of California.

High speed Internet is a critical component of economic, education and business development.

This project is funded by the California Emerging Technology Fund, which was established and funded by the SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI merger agreements approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in November 2005.

The fund focuses on “achieving ever-present access to broadband and advanced services in California, particularly in underserved communities through the use of existing and emerging technologies.”

CED has contracted with the Program for Applied Research and Evaluation at the CSU Chico Research Foundation to conduct the telephone survey. All individual answers will be kept strictly confidential.

The survey will continue through the summer with the goal of obtaining complete surveys for 1,200 households and 400 businesses.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Don Krysakowski, assistant director at the CED, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 530-898-4598.

LAKEPORT – A teenager who slashed another student with a razor blade has been arrested.

Lakeport Police arrested the 14-year-old boy, whose name is not being released because he is underage, on April 28.

Lt. Brad Rasmussen said police received a report just after 1 p.m. April 28 from Terrace Middle School that the student allegedly had attacked another male juvenile.

Two officers were dispatched to the school, where the vice principal had both students in the office, Rasmussen said.

The investigation revealed that the 14-year-old had allegedly made a derogatory comment to the younger boy, whose back was turned. Rasmussen said that when the 13-year-old turned around to ask what was being said, the older boy opened his wallet, pulled out a small razor blade and slashed at him.

The razor blade hit the back of the 13-year-old's left hand, causing a half-inch slash that went through the skin.

“It wasn't a real serious injury,” said Rasmussen.

The boy's mother took him to Sutter Lakeside Hospital afterward, but police received no further information about the injury, Rasmussen said.

“We ended up arresting the 14-year-old suspect for assault with a deadly weapon and he was booked into juvenile hall,” said Rasmussen.

Police have had no previous contact with the young suspect, Rasmussen said.

This is the first year that Lakeport Police has not had a school resource officer. That position, formerly held by Officer Jarvis Leishman, had to be rolled back into regular patrol, with two other positions unfilled.

Rasmussen said it's hard to tell if there is an increase in incidents at the school. “We have seen continuing situations that come up occasionally where law enforcement is needed.”

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

LAKE COUNTY – A group that's created a program to help end homelessness among the community's children will hold its major fundraiser of the year this weekend.

The Friends of Safe House of Lake County will hold the second annual golf tournament, dinner and an auction on Saturday, May 9, at the Rob Roy Golf Club in Cobb.

Registration starts at 11:15 a.m. and tee off is at 12 p.m. The format for the golf tournament is a four-person scramble. Dinner immediately follows the tournament with a live auction, silent auction and raffle. Kathy Fowler Chevrolet will once again donate a car for a hole-in-one prize.

Safe House, a project of the Lake County Community Action Agency (LCCAA), began two years ago. The newly-created program is providing transitional, short-term residence and a comprehensive program of services for Lake County runaway, homeless, and “throwaway” youth between 13 and 17 years old, according to the organizers.

Dr. William MacDougall, superintendent of Konocti Unified School District, reported that the number of identified homeless school-age children was over 600 as of May 2008. This equals 6 percent of the total school enrollment of nearly 10,000. Many of those children are below the social service radar so that the actual number of homeless youth is believed to be well above 600.

LCCAA Executive Director Georgina Lehne credited MacDougall with getting the Safe House effort off the ground, saying it was his dream and goal.

Lehne said the Safe House effort has raised more than $23,000. About $19,000 of that came from last year's golf tournament.

She estimated that about $100,000 needs to be raised for the effort, which is already well under way, thanks to the donation of a home in Clearlake to house children in need. The Safe House opened its doors in March.

The house currently is at capacity, and housing six children, she said.

“It means so much to this community to have this house,” said Lehne.

She said the Safe House is being run under the auspices of the LCCAA's New Beginnings program, said Lehne. The salary of the woman who oversees the program is being offset by her work with New Beginnings client groups.

That means that 100-percent of the funds raised for the Safe House go directly to the effort and not salaries, said Lehne.

Lehne said the community's support for the Safe House has been outstanding, with service clubs to individuals stepping up.

“Everybody in this whole community is contributing in one form or another all year round,” she said.

Lehne added, “It's wonderful to see the community come together to support this. They can't do enough for us.”

There are still spots open for the Saturday golf tournament, said Lehne. If you don't want to play golf, you can come to the dinner in the evening or just send in a donation. “Anything is appreciated.”

For more information about the fundraiser call Carol Germenis, 707-928-4280; Sandi Hearn, 707-928-5713, or Lehne, 707-995-2920.

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to the Lake County Community Action Agency, P.O. Box 969, Clearlake, CA 95422. Additional information regarding the Safe House program may be obtained by calling LCCAA at 707-995-2920.

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

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared May 3 through 9 Wildfire Awareness Week, to remind Californians to be vigilant as the state approaches peak fire season and to highlight the importance of the homeowner’s role in preparing their property ahead of time to survive a wildfire.

Cal Fire will be conducting fire safety inspections throughout the state over the coming weeks to educate homeowners of the importance of wildfire safety and to ensure that homes have 100 feet of Defensible Space.

“Wildfire Awareness Week is designed to remind Californians of their ability to make their homes fire safe,” said Chief Del Walters, Cal Fire director. “Fire prevention is team effort that starts with homeowners preparing well in advance of a fire.”

This year’s Wildfire Awareness Week theme is centered on the idea that fire protection is a team effort, “You provide the DEFENSE, We provide the OFFENSE.”

The first part of fire prevention starts with homeowner’s creating 100 feet of Defensible Space around their homes.

The second is Cal Fire’s part when a wildfire does occur, the department has a large arsenal of different equipment to protect Californians.

Cal Fire will use Wildfire Awareness Week as an opportunity to answer questions about fire safety and how to be better prepared in an emergency situation.

To view the full governor’s proclamation:

For more information on Wildfire Awareness Week, visit

LAKE COUNTY – The third annual AmeriCorps Week takes place May 9 through 16 and will include local events that offer the opportunity for community services.

Organizers say AmeriCorps Week provides the perfect opportunity to bring more Americans into service, salute AmeriCorps members and alums for their powerful impact, and thank the community partners who make AmeriCorps possible.

“AmeriCorps is a transforming experience, and no one can tell the AmeriCorps story better than those who serve,” said AmeriCorps Director Rob Young. “We believe in the power of people to make positive change, and AmeriCorps members are powerful change ambassadors. I am delighted to witness our President continue to shine the spotlight on service as he and his wife encourage more people to embark on their own service journey.”

Over the past years, some of the AmeriCorps Week activities have included honorary AmeriCorps member for a day, radio interviews, handing out stickers and magnets at schools, assisting with community events, bike helmet and car seat fitting stations, planting community gardens, community clean ups, and editorials from AmeriCorps members.

In planning AmeriCorps Week, AmeriCorps committee members identify community needs, coordinate with community partners, and implement these events.

This year’s AmeriCorps Week committee has planned a stellar lineup of events in which they invite the community to participate. They include:

  • Saturday, May 9: Food drive at the Grocery Outlet (Lakeport), Sutter Lakeside Hospital and Mendo-Mill in Clearlake from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;

  • Monday, May 11: Blood drive in the Grocery Outlet parking lot from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.;

  • Tuesday, May 12: Blood drive in the Clearlake Wal-Mart parking lot from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.;

  • Saturday, May 16: The group will assist at and participate in the Relay for Life event held at Clear Lake High’s football stadium from 10 a.m. until Sunday morning.

Since 2001, the Lake County Office of Education’s AmeriCorps Program has provided needed assistance to thousands of Lake County students, community members and organizations. AmeriCorps provides trained, dedicated members to tutor and mentor youth, assist after-school programs, help communities respond to disasters, as well as recruit and manage traditional volunteers.

Nationally, AmeriCorps engages 75,000 people each year in intensive, results-driven service through more than 2,000 nonprofits across the country.

In Lake County, 50 AmeriCorps members serve at 37 school, preschool, Healthy Start and after-school sites countywide. The group's focus is on helping young people succeed in school. These members gain valuable training, civic knowledge, disaster preparedness education, assist with volunteer recruitment, as well as plan and assist with a variety of community events.

Since 1994, more than 500,000 Americans have served in AmeriCorps. Those interested in learning more about community events and available service opportunities in Lake County can visit or call 707-263-6291.

AmeriCorps is administered by CaliforniaVolunteers and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Their mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. For more information, visit

From left, Matt Sheridan of GMAC's Bay Area offices, Kathy Fowler, Dannielle Ward and Kathy Fowler Chevrolet sales manager Tim Wynacht in Lakeport on Monday, May 4, 2009. The presentation was to give Ward the keys to her 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt and a check for $6,000 to cover taxes for winning the car through GMAC Finance's

LOWER LAKE – One of Lake County's best known criminal defense attorneys has died.

Stephen Tulanian, a one-time candidate for judge who was known for taking on some of the toughest criminal defense cases in the local courts, died suddenly on May 2. He was 58 years old.

Tulanian's untimely death left friends and fellow attorneys stunned.

Steve Elias, who has worked as a co-counsel with Tulanian, said he had seen him on Friday night during a get-together with friends at Tulanian's Lower Lake home.

Elias said Tulanian, who he said seemed like “the healthiest guy alive,” was his usual energetic, vital self on Friday, so his death the next day was a shock. Lake County News has not been able to confirm his exact cause of death.

Lakeport attorney J. David Markham is handling Tulanian's cases, according to a message left for those who call Tulanian's Lower Lake office.

Supervisor Rob Brown, who owns a bail bonds business, was friends with Tulanian.

Tulanian was fierce in his defense of clients, and anyone going against him in court had to be on their game, said Brown. “Both sides had a lot of respect for him.”

Tulanian graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972, going on to get his law degree in 1976 from the University of San Francisco School of law, according to the resume on his Web site.

He went into private law practice in 1977 in Napa County, after achieving an impressive feat – passing the bar exam on the first try.

Tulanian's criminal law practice in Lake County began in 1981.

During his decades of practice his work wasn't limited to the local courts. His Web site states that he appeared in courts in more than 15 Northern California counties, including the United States District Court in San Francisco. His nearly 32 years of practice encompassed more than 200 jury trials, with a focus on criminal cases.

Stephen Carter, who along with wife Angela Carter heads Lake Legal Defense, which handles the county's public defender's contract, said he's known Tulanian since coming here 15 years ago.

“He was a really fine person and a fine lawyer,” said Carter, who noted that he and his wife were saddened by the news because they thought so highly of Tulanian.

Elias called Tulanian a “remarkable trial lawyer” who he used to sit and watch in court out of admiration for his legal technique.

“I never saw anybody as good as him,” said Elias.

Tulanian used those skills to win acquittals in high profile cases, such as the first “Three Strikes” case in Lake County.

But perhaps his most notable victory was in defending Charles “Eddy” Lepp, a marijuana activist who became the first person to be arrested and tried under California's Compassionate Use Act, Proposition 215, which Californian's approved in 1996.

In 1996, the Lake County Narcotic Task Force eradicated 131 mature marijuana plants that Lepp said he had a doctor's recommendation to grow, and charged Lepp with cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale, according to a synopsis of the case on Tulanian's Web site.

With Tulanian acting as his defense attorney, Lepp became the first person to be acquitted under the law. Since then Tulanian has been regularly featured in resource lists of the state's medical marijuana defense attorneys.

Lepp, who was at an event on Sunday, could not be reached for comment.

“He was very passionate about marijuana as medicine,” said Elias, calling that stance “a major expression” of Tulanian's politics.

In such a lengthy and varied law practice, defeats are part of the territory, and Tulanian had his share.

In 2000, he ran for judge of Lake County Superior Court's Department 4, losing out to Stephen Hedstrom.

A year later, Tulanian appeared in court to defend a Valencia man in a high-profile murder case.

Tulanian and fellow attorney Judy Conard represented Jeffrey Duvardo, who was accused of killing his elderly parents, Donald and Mary Ann Duvardo of Nice, in March of 1999.

Despite Tulanian's and Conard's expert defense, Duvardo – prosecuted by then-Chief Deputy District Attorney Jon Hopkins – was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

When he wasn't practicing the law, Tulanian had a passion for guitars, said Elias.

“He has an incredible collection of guitars,” said Elias, noting that Tulanian also played music.

Corvettes were another longtime love, although Elias said he hadn't ever been out for a ride with Tulanian in one of his beloved cars.

Carter said Tulanian always had the latest Corvette, and it was a passion he took seriously – going to Corvette driving schools to learn how to get the most out of his cars. He also loved technology and gadgets.

Tulanian had an inquisitive mind and an “excited intellect,” said Carter. “He brought that both to his practice of law and life in general.”

Carter said Tulanian had talked – “off and on” – about retiring. But, like a lot of veteran defense attorneys, he had trouble letting go of his work. Carter said that's because being a defense attorney is a profession in which you can see “on a daily basis the good work you do.”

Unfortunately, he didn't get the chance to retire. But, Brown added, “He liked his job.”

Carter said Tulanian, who was often seen with a friendly smile to match his sense of humor, has been an important figure in the county's legal system.

“He's going to be really missed,” said Carter.

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

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