Wednesday, 24 July 2024


MENDOCINO COUNTY – A local man has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for a murder-for-hire plot to kill his political rival that took place nearly five years ago.

Kenneth Allen Rogers, 52, was convicted last summer of conspiring with an employee, Richard Peacock, to kill Alan Simon on June 17, 2005, in Westport. Since the shooting Rogers had moved to Lake County, as Lake County News has reported.

Last Friday, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ron Brown denied Rogers' motion for a new trial, denied probation and sentenced Rogers to a state prison term of 25 years to life for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted murder with special findings of willfulness, deliberation and premeditation, according to a report from the office of Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott.

Rogers will not be eligible for parole until he has served a full 25 years in prison.

“Everyone can sleep better knowing a very violent criminal has been sentenced,” Simon said.

On July 22, 2009, a Mendocino County jury of eight women and four men in Ukiah convicted Rogers of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and attempted first-degree murder, in the 2005 shooting of Simon, then 53.

Simon had replaced Rogers on the Westport County Water Board in an August 2004 recall election and had then voted to fire Rogers as assistant fire chief.

The evidence at trial showed that Rogers at the time of the shooting was chairman of the Mendocino County Republican Party, and that he viewed these setbacks as hurtful to a political career in Sacramento.

The shooting occurred at 10:26 p.m. on a Friday night, when Peacock, after knocking on the front door of Simon's residence, shot through it nine times.

Simon dove to the floor, resulting in his being grazed by a bullet in the forearm and scalp. He was able to remain conscious and give the 911 dispatcher a description of the shooter's vehicle, a white Miata convertible with unique damage to the left front fender.

The next day Peacock, then a 54-year-old resident of Sacramento and an employee of Rogers with a long criminal record, was arrested in Laytonville.

In September 2006, Richard Peacock was tried and convicted for attempted murder. Because of Peacock's having “three strikes,” he was sentenced to 71 years to life.

Tim Stoen, the deputy district attorney prosecuting Rogers, called a variety of witnesses to establish guilt by circumstantial evidence.

The evidence showed that the gun discarded by Peacock had been in the possession of Rogers, that Rogers had a photo of Simon's house on his digital camera, that Rogers was so angry with Simon that “spittle was flying” at the mention of his name, and that Peacock did not know Simon and had no connections to Westport.

After the trial – in which Rogers had been represented by Lakeport attorney J. David Markham – Rogers hired new defense counsel, Kenny Giffard, from Sacramento.

On March 26, prior to rendering judgment and sentence, Judge Brown conducted a hearing on Giffard's motion for a new trial, which was based primarily on the allegation of “ineffective assistance of counsel.”

Giffard contended that Markham had made a prejudicial mistake in asking a question he did not know the answer to in advance, and had improperly advised Rogers not to testify on his behalf.

At the hearing Mr. Markham testified there was a tactical reason for asking the “blind” question so as to show Rogers was not the “loose cannon” the prosecution contended him to be. Markham also testified he had advised Rogers of his right to take the witness stand, but had recommended he not do so.

Markham said he had made that recommendation based on 22 hours of meetings with Rogers, during which he determined Rogers was unable to adequately explain important evidence, made incriminating statements with unawareness of their effect and came across as unbelievable.

Markham, who is certified by the California State Bar as a criminal law specialist, further testified he was able to keep away from the jury photos of Miracle-Gro next to water pipes in the water district headquarters which the prosecution contended showed the stealing of public water to irrigate pot plants, and was able to keep away from the jury a flier allegedly circulated by Rogers saying “Heil Simon.”

Rogers also testified at the hearing. He denied having anything to do with Simon's shooting and contended Markham had been ineffective as his counsel.

Judge Brown, who had presided over the trial, ruled that Giffard had not met his burden to show ineffectiveness of counsel and denied the motion for a new trial.

Stoen argued that probation should be denied for a number of reasons, including the sophistication of the crime.

“This was almost the perfect crime,” Stoen said. “Alan Simon is shot in his own house, separated from other houses and in a rural area, at 10:30 at night. Nine bullets go through his door … If it were not for the providential act that he ducked, he would have been killed. His body would not have been discovered until 8 a.m. or so the next day at the earliest. By then the shooter, Richard Peacock, would have been long gone from Mendocino County to his home in Sacramento, and the gun would have been thrown into the Sacramento River.

“Nobody would have remembered Richard Peacock being in Westport on the day of the shooting, since he came at night, so as to be able to identify him as the shooter,” Stoen continued. “And Kenneth Rogers would have relaxed on his property, having formulated an intent to kill and having sent his lackey to do the killing, with no physical connection to any of the empty cartridges on Alan Simon's front lawn. That, your Honor, is how close we came to have a murder on our hands which would never – repeat never – have been solved.”

Based on the probation officer's recommendation, Judge Brown denied probation. Following the Penal Code's required sentence for conspiracy to commit first degree murder, Judge Brown sentenced Rogers and remanded him into the custody of the California Department of Corrections.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY – The US Census has opened several questionnaire assistance centers around Lake County to assist area residents by answering questions and getting them needed forms.

Census Day is this Thursday, April 1.

If you have not received your questionnaire you can pick one up at the centers or a “Be Counted Kiosk,” which can also can be found in areas of the county.

The questionnaire assistance centers are scheduled to operate through April 19. The locations are temporary and may change, depending on levels of local assistance needed by residents.

Census officials hope that people will fill out their 10-question form and mail it back as soon as possible, saving millions of taxpayer dollars.

It costs the government just the price of a postage stamp when a household mails back the 10-question form, which should take just 10 minutes to complete. It costs the Census Bureau $57 to send a census taker door-to-door to follow up with each household that fails to respond.

At a map-based feature and widget application allows communities to track how well they are responding by mail and how they compare to neighboring cities, counties or states.

The following is the list of questionnaire center and kiosk locations.


Redbud Library

14785 Burns Valley Road

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday

12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday

Queen of Peace Catholic Church

Knights Room, Parish Hall

14435 Uhl Ave.

4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays

Services available in both English and Spanish


Cobb Mountain Area Water District

16595 Highway 175

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays

1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays


Lake Family Resource Center

5350 Main St.

Open during normal business hour

St. Peters Catholic Church

Glebe Hall

4085 Main St.

4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday

Services available in both English and Spanish

Lake Pillsbury

Soda Creek Store

26853 Elk Mountain Road, Potter Valley

11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday


Lake One Stop

55 1st St.

1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

Services available in both English and Spanish

Lakeport Library

1425 N. High St.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday

12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday


Lucerne Alpine Senior Center

Country Club Drive

11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Wednesday

Lake County Visitors Center

6110 E. Highway 20


2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Wednesday

12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays

12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sundays


2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, April 5-7, April 12-14 and April 19

12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays, April 4, 11 and 18


Senior Citizens Inc.

15299 Central Park Road

9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday

Upper Lake

Bachelor Valley Grange

9355 Government St.

Open during normal business hours

Habematolel Tribal Offices

375 E. Highway 20

2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .




Duck season!

Wabbit season!

Duck season!

Wabbit season!

To set the record straight, duck season ended recently here in Lake County. Wabbit, er, rabbit season never closes.

Most of us in the area have heard the familiar sounds of gunshots in the morning during the colder months of the year when duck season is open, and duck is readily available in grocery stores.

Rabbit is also seen in stores on occasion, but since Bugs usually gets all the good press I’m going to

promote Daffy today.

I gave up hunting years ago and a part of me regret it since I would love to have a supply of wild game on a regular basis. Our county has such a bounty of wild boar, geese, hare, turkey and deer, not to

forget the ducks.

At times I wish I could hunt, but I gave it up for very good reasons and I won’t go back. But if anybody has any extra wild game they don’t want, I won’t turn it down.

I usually purchase two ducks per month from the grocery store, not just because I love the flavor but it’s usually about $1.99 per pound which makes it far cheaper than beef. This makes it very economical to feed my family. I can usually make two meals out of one duck, so if you do the math you’ll see we eat duck about four times a month.

On other birds you buy in the grocery store, like chicken, capon and turkey, you get both light and dark meat. That is because these birds are so domesticated that they don’t use their wings to fly and so the

meat on the breast is very light. Since ducks do use their wings actively the breast meat is dark; there is no white meat on a duck.

The dark meat of duck isn’t like the dark meat of other fowl since it is leaner, firmer and more reminiscent of beef than of bird. It’s also perfectly acceptable for the meat to be served rare, the way most gourmands prefer it.

Cooking a duck breast to an internal temperature of 155 degrees then removing it from the heat and letting carry-over heat finish the breast as it rests for a couple minutes will give you best results.

While there are several breeds of domesticated duck that you will find available, the most common is the White Pekin (PEE-kin). Most people consider it to have the best flavor, the right amount of fat, the

highest weight to meat ratio, and is the least “gamey.” Don’t confuse the “Pekin” duck with “Peking” duck since one is a bird and the other is a recipe FOR the bird.

Both farmed and wild ducks feed on natural foods, though what the farmed birds eat is more controlled. The domesticated ducks eat corn, wheat and soybeans, and are given no antibiotics, steroids or gross

stuff. Wild ducks are opportunistic feeders eating almost any aquatic life that it can swallow, including grasses, grains, etc.

Ducks have a comb-like system on the inside of their bills that allows them to open their bills in the water, take in some water, close their mouths, then squeeze the water out of their bills while keeping any critters from getting out.

Imagine taking in a mouthful of chicken noodle soup, then closing your teeth and spitting the soup out, the chicken, veggies and noodles would be trapped in your mouth while the liquid would be expelled.

If a duck sticks their tail up in the air and their head down to the bottom of the water to eat then they are called “dabbling ducks” (shelducks, perching ducks and diving ducks are other categories). White Pekins are dabbling ducks.

If you are a believer of the adage, “You are what you eat,” this would mean domesticated ducks taste clean and fresh while wild ducks taste like mosquito larvae, worms, snails and algae, i.e., gamey.

While many people like myself love the gamey flavor of wild game it can get old after a while, so

farm raised duck is a great every day type of meat.

Duck skin has a thick layer of fat underneath it. Of course, fat floats and keeps you warm, the two things a duck needs. This fat is popular among chefs to cook all sorts of things since it is rich and

has a high smoke point.

When I get a duck I use all of it, up to its full potential. First, when I’m dismembering a duck I cut out any fat and excess skin I can find, and there’s lots of it. I put it in a sauce pan on low heat until the fat is rendered. I then pour that fat into jars marked “duck pudge” and store it in the refrigerator. I use this rendered fat to cook cubed potatoes with rosemary and a little salt and pepper. It’s a family favorite in our house.

Then I make a stock out of the duck bones with some onions, carrots, mushrooms, garlic and pepper, and it comes out thick and hearty, with a flavor similar to beef stock. Duck meat is very versatile too.

Michael Ruellman’s book “Charcuterie” has an amazing “Duck Prosciutto” recipe that I make on a regular basis.

A boneless, skinless, duck breast has 40-percent less fat than a similar chicken breast. Duck is high in iron, niacin, and selenium but lower in calories than most other meats. While duck skin has a considerable fat under it, the meat itself is very low in fat, including saturated fats. Since my family is trying to eat healthier, duck fits in perfectly with our needs.

In my opinion duck is an environmentally “green” meat. (Finally, the title of the column makes sense!)

Duck farms produce their meat more quickly than beef, acre per acre, so they produce more protein on less land. The ducklings hatch and grow for about six to eight weeks before being “processed,” at which point they are around 6 to 7 pounds in weight.

When they reach harvest size ducks are processed and immediately frozen which protects the meat from bruising or spoilage on their way to you. The ducks heads and other by-products are used to

make pet foods, their bedding is composted and used as fertilizer for vegetable farms, and the feathers are used in the bedding and clothing industry.

A duck’s feed conversion is 2 to 1, meaning for every 2 pounds of feed it eats, it grows by 1 pound, compared to pork at a ratio of 4 to 1, and beef being up to 10 to 1. So duck produces more food to less feed than most other meat animals. This makes duck a very efficient protein source.

Ducks are also raised in humane, clean conditions, typically on family-owned farms by people who really care about the little waddlers. They rise at the quack of dawn, have breakfast with quackers, and spend their day indoors so they don’t have to experience any fowl weather or worry about predators. They eat good food and are never charged for it, it just goes on their bill.

They don’t live in cages, but rather in large barns with plenty of room to exercise. Ducks have a good (low carbon footprint) life. So not only is the meat healthier for you but it’s healthier for the planet.

By the way, numerous studies have found that duck quacks DO echo, so don’t believe those e-mails of weird facts.

Having duck also gives you the feeling that the food is going to be more special. For example, just the thought of “duck spring rolls” as opposed to “chicken spring rolls” makes quite a different impression

on your feelings of the dish. The duck makes you think, “Oooh, how exotic.”

So duck is a superior product all across the board and is economical and environmentally friendly – “The green meat.”

Yoikes! And away!

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. Follow him on Twitter, .

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKEPORT – A late night crash on Saturday outside of Lakeport injured three teenagers and required the work of several local agencies to respond and clear the scene.

The crash occurred just after 11 p.m. on Lakeshore Boulevard at Penelope Court, according to a report from Firefighter Paramedic Brian Hajik of the Lakeport Fire Protection District.

Hajik said the Lakeport Fire Protection District was dispatched to the crash, with the initial reports indicating unknown injuries and one vehicle involved.

Shortly after Lakeport Medic Engine 5012 and Ambulance 5013 left for the scene, dispatch advised that several callers were reporting at least one patient was lying in the street with major injuries, resulting in a request for a second ground ambulance and one medical helicopter was made, Hajik reported.

Before fire personnel arrived on scene, a Lake County Sheriff's deputy arrived on scene and reported one patient with major injuries and two with moderate injuries, according to Hajik's report. A third ground ambulance and second helicopter was requested as Lakeport Fire units arrived on scene.

Fire Capt. Bob Holbrook established fire command as Lakeport paramedics began triaging patients. Hajik said paramedics found three patients, all approximately 18 years old and all ejected during a rollover inside a compact car traveling at an unknown rate of speed.

The three teenagers had various multisystem trauma injuries. Hajik said extrication tools were not required to remove them from the vehicle.

After triage, paramedics began rendering advanced life support to the most acute patients as a request for a third air ambulance was made, he said.

Due to the number of patients and lack of timely resource capabilities, a multiple casualty incident (MCI) was declared. Hajik established communications with Sutter Lakeside Hospital and established MEDCOM, the incident commander for patient transport destinations and prehospital advisory.

Working with the incident commander, Hajik said multiple landing zones were identified and secured with aid from law enforcement.

The first and most critical patient was transported to Sutter Lakeside Hospital helipad by Lakeport Fire at 11:27 p.m. Hajik said the second patient transported to a landing zone at the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff at Lakeshore Boulevard by the Northshore Fire Department. Patient number three was transported directly to Sutter Lakeside Hospital due to an extended estimated time of arrival for the third helicopter.

Contributing factors such as alcohol, seatbelt use, speed and others are still being determined by law enforcement and not available as of Sunday, Hajik said.

No injuries to emergency responders were reported and the incident was terminated at 12:09 a.m. Sunday, according to Hajik.

A total of two chief officers, two engines, four ground ambulances, three helicopters and several

volunteer firefighters responded. Hajik said the incident was safely and effectively mitigated with

aid from Lakeport Fire Protection District, Northshore Fire Protection District, Lake County Sheriff, California Highway Patrol, CALSTAR and REACH.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Congressman Mike Thompson stops to talk with 4-H members Blair Brokes and Jonathan Smith at Thompson's annual ravioli feed at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lakeport, Calif., on Saturday, March 27, 2010. Photo by John Jensen.


LAKEPORT – For another year, Congressman Mike Thompson donned his red apron and – joined by local leaders – served up pasta and an update from Washington, DC, as part of his annual ravioli feed.

The 19th annual event was held once again at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

Hundreds of people gathered to enjoy local wines and specially prepared food for the event, served by Supervisors Jim Comstock, Anthony Farrington and Denise Rushing; Clearlake Mayor Judy Thein; and superintendent of schools candidate Wally Holbrook.

“We're stronger than we've been before,” Thompson told the crowd.

Last year, the big legislative issue was the bailout, this year it was health care.

Thompson – who is coming off of a tense, contentious time in Congress – said he wanted to get beyond the partisan politics.

He added, however, “I just want you to know that it's not just as easy as us wishing it to happen.”

After 14 months of working on health care reform, Thompson said the next big effort will be financial reform which, in part, will seek to protect people from predatory lenders.

He said he thinks efforts to repeal the health care legislation will fail, adding that President Barack Obama would not sign any such bill if it did pass Congress.

Health care reform isn't a new project in Washington, DC, Thompson said. “Access to quality, affordable health care started with a guy named Teddy Roosevelt.”

Roosevelt ran for a third term in 1912 as a candidate for the Progressive Party, the platform of which included several key issues, among them “Social and Industrial Justice,” according to a copy of the platform provided by the American Presidency Project.

That platform plank stated, in part, that the party supported the “protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social insurance adapted to American use.”

Thompson's comments about health care got a standing ovation from many people in the room.

He outlined benefits the bill will offer small businesses, rural areas and seniors, and said that, by 2014, 30 million more people will have health care coverage.

“We're already paying for all the people who aren't covered,” he said.

Thompson said he's seeing hopeful signs every day that things are getting better in the nation, a fact he credited to hard working people like those at the Saturday evening dinner.

The band “Public Nuisance” played the event, its members including Lakeport City Clerk Janel Chapman; Lakeport teacher Lisa Deppe and her husband Robert, a local veterans leader; retired Lakeport City Manager Randy Johnsen; April Knoll, wife of Lakeport Redevelopment Director Richard Knoll; and District Attorney Jon Hopkins.

Local 4-H members helped serve desserts and clean up, and live and silent auctions were held.

As is customary at the events, e-waste – old computers and electronics – are collected for recycling, some of which are reconditioned and then given to local nonprofits. One of the groups receiving a free computer was the local Avenue of the Flags group.

Thompson said they collected 3,000 pounds of e-waste Saturday, and over the past six years have brought in one million pounds of e-waste from around the district.

The event also completely recycles all of the materials it uses, 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 .

CLEARLAKE – On Friday, the Sierra Club Lake Group filed a suit against the Clearlake Redevelopment Agency and a developer over the city's recently approved shopping center plan, alleging that the city violated state law by approving the project without a full environmental impact report.

The petition for writ of mandate names the Clearlake Redevelopment Agency, KK Raphel Properties LLC of Danville and 25 unidentified individuals.

The suit challenges the city's Feb. 25 certification of a mitigated negative declaration and project approval for the project – to be located at 6820 and 6828 Old Highway 53, on the site of the now-closed Pearce Field airport – and seeks to have the decision set aside.

During the city's consideration of the project, the Sierra Club Lake Group had urged them to conduct a full environmental impact report (EIR) – as had some other community members and leaders, including county Supervisors Rob Brown and Denise Rushing.

“The community deserves a complete EIR,” said Cheri Holden, chair of the Sierra Club Lake Group. “It's just that simple.”

Mike Raphel, one of KK Raphel Properties' principals, said they had no advance notice of the filing, which he called “unfortunate.”

Clearlake City Administrator Dale Neiman was out of town on vacation this week, and Vice Mayor Joyce Overton said the council hasn't been notified of the action yet.

She added that she wasn't surprised by the action. A Sierra Club letter sent to the council during the project consideration led Overton to believe that might be the outcome.

Overton – who had requested an EIR and voted against the mitigated negative declaration but otherwise voted for the project – said she didn't know why the Sierra Club was taking the action, noting it's “not like it's going in tomorrow.”

KK Raphel Properties is proposing to purchase 15 acres of the airport site, where it will build a shopping center with 154,179 square feet, including about 137,000 square feet for a Lowe's home improvement center, plus other commercial tenants including include sitdown and fast food restaurants, as Lake County News has reported.

The Sierra Club alleges that the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by certifying the mitigated negative declaration in lieu of preparing a full EIR, which the group asserts was required because there is “substantial evidence in the administrative record” that the project will have “numerous significant environmental effects.”

The suit asks that the city's certification of the mitigated negative declaration be set aside, that the effects of the project's approvals be stayed pending the suit's hearings and that the club receive an award of attorney's fees and costs.

Holden said that the suit had to receive approval not just from the Sierra Club Lake Group but from the Redwood Chapter and the state organization.

She said the group felt that the community deserves to see a whole EIR and a complete analysis, along with an indepth study of impacts and mitigations.

However, Raphel said a lot of research already has been done on the project during the three years the city and KK Raphel Properties have worked on it.

Now, he said they'll have to take a look at the suit and speak to Lowe's. The city's plans call for escrow to close on the property by next February.

He said they've been through such suits before, but in this case it's unique, because the city was supportive of the plan, which he said was a top redevelopment goal.

“In the meantime, the financial condition of the city doesn't get any better,” said Raphel, who added, “We got close to the finish line.”

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 .

COBB – Area officials spent several hours late Sunday and early Monday morning dealing with downed utility lines.

The live wires and a tree were blocking the roadway at Bottle Rock Road and Rainbow Drive in the Cobb area shortly before 8:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Cal Fire, which cut up the tree, and the Lake County Roads Department responded to the scene, the CHP reported.

Pacific Gas & Electric, AT&T and Mediacom also were called, according to the report. AT&T wasn't expected to be on scene until around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

The roadway was cleared of everything but the AT&T line by around 10:36 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. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Google posted this map showing the locations of the applications and letters of support. Each small dot represents a government response, and each large dot represents locations where more than 1,000 residents submitted a nomination. Courtesy of Google.


LAKE COUNTY – With the deadline now past to submit responses to Google's request for information for its ultra high speed fiber-to-home test project, the Internet giant has to get down to the work of choosing where to locate the project.

Google's deadline for responses was Friday.

The company aims to have a fiber experiment reaching between 50,000 and 500,000 people with one gigabit per second speeds, which are roughly 100 times faster than speeds available to most Americans today.

The county of Lake's Internet Technology Department submitted a response on behalf of local government, and numerous local residents wrote letters in support of Lake County being chosen.

A Lake County for Google Fiber page on Facebook – which was started late last week – had more than 500 fans early Sunday morning, a number that continues to grow. The page can be found at!/pages/Lake-County-for-Google-Fiber/112982728711959?ref=tsf .

Late Friday Google's fiber-to-home Project Manager James Kelly reported that applications came in from 1,100 communities, with 194,000 individuals submitting letters of support.

“We're thrilled to see this kind of excitement, and we want to humbly thank each and every community and individual for taking the time to participate,” Kelly wrote. “This enthusiasm is much bigger than Google and our experimental network. If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access.”

In the months ahead, as they zero in on a location, Kelly said Google will conduct site visits, meet with local officials and discuss the potential sites with third-party organizations.

“Based on a rigorous review of the data, we will announce our targetcommunity or communities by the end of the year,” he said.

Kelly said Google's broadband plan is designed to compliment the U.S. government’s 10-year broadband plan. He said that plan aims to subsidize broadband connections in rural areas, and bring 1-gigabit connections to every community in the U.S.

He pointed to flaws in the government's plan, including the possibility that 85 percent of homes wouldn't have a choice of providers and therefore could face higher prices.

Among the responses to Google's call for information were suggestions that the faster Internet speeds would assist in jumpstarting the economies of communities and the nation at large, expand education and business opportunities, and allow for increased telecommuting – which would help the environment.

“Bandwidths such as those would bring forth the cloud computer era and put real tools into the hands of those who could benefit most from them,” stated one submission from Fayetteville, Ark.

One person from Bonsall, Calif., promised to bake Google a pie if their community was chosen.

A person from Houston said they wanted to experience Internet speeds available to people in other countries.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's latest report on broadband speeds around the world, released last June, Japan leads the world in broadband speed with an advertised average of nearly 93 kilobits per second, followed by Korea with 80 kilobits per second and France with 51.

The United States is ranked No. 19 worldwide, with an average advertised speed of nearly 10 kilobits per second, according to the report.

That report also found that “future growth in super fast broadband is likely to come from fibre-optic networks, rather than DSL or cable,” with fast-growing fiber networks in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United States.

Lake County residents and others who would like to support the county's Google Fiber applications are urged to continue checking in at the Lake County for Google Fiber Facebook page and inviting friends to become fans while the selection process is under way.

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 – A former model and actor who last year failed to show up for his trial has been arrested and is facing extradition back to Lake County.

Justin Force Lazard, 43, was taken into custody in New York City while attempting to enter the United States after returning from the Caribbean, according to Lt. Brad Rasmussen of the Lakeport Police Department.

Police arrested Lazard on July 4, 2006, after he was found exposing himself in front of numerous witnesses who were attending a public fireworks display at Library Park, Rasmussen said. Lazard reportedly struggled with officers, who used Tasers to subdue him.

Further investigation led to the Lake County District Attorney's Office filing charges against Lazard, who later donated playground equipment for Lakeport's Library Park, as Lake County News has reported.

Last May he was scheduled to go to trial on misdemeanor charges of annoying or molesting a child under 18, engaging in lewd conduct in public and indecent exposure. However, he failed to appear and the Lake County Superior Court issued a bench warrant for Lazard's arrest, according to court records.

In recent weeks, the Lakeport Police Department had stepped up its efforts to find Lazard, who it made its most wanted person.

Rasmussen said they contacted the police department in Woodstock, New York, where Lazard is believed to have been living, and the two departments were working together to arrest Lazard and have him brought back to Lake County for trial.

“They've agreed to work with us on attempting to take him into custody,” he said. “They were willing to help.”

The district attorney's office in Ulster County, New York, also was working on a fugitive warrant, he added.

Then, as Lazard was coming through US Customs and Border Protection at around 4 p.m. East Coast time on Friday, that agency ran a check on him and found the arrest warrant, said Rasmussen.

“Today was just a fluke,” said Rasmussen. “We didn't know he was out of the country at this time.”

About three and a half hours later, Lazard was turned over to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, where Rasmussen said Lazard was booked on the warrant.

“We had advised the port authority police that we will extradict him,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said Lazard will need to appear in court next week in New York City, where the Queens District Attorney's Office is filing a fugitive warrant. Then he must go to court for identification and extradition proceedings.

Lazard could try to challenge extradition and try to post bail, which is $25,000 just from the Lakeport Police Department's warrant. “In some states they have to go to court and see a judge there before they can possibly make bail,” Rasmussen said.

It's possible that Lazard could make bail in New York, but Rasmussen said that the Woodstock Police might pick him up again.

Now police are waiting for word from the New York authorities about Lazard's status and when he might be ready for extradition. In the meantime, the Lake County District Attorney's Office is preparing a governor's warrant seeking extradition, Rasmussen said.

He added, “Although it's a misdemeanor, it's a serious misdemeanor and we consider it a serious offense in our jurisdiction, and we want him to answer to the charges filed again him, which he's failed to appear for for close to a year at this point.”

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 .

THE GEYSERS – A 3.7-magnitude earthquake was felt near The Geysers early Sunday morning.

The quake occurred at a depth of a mile and a half at 2:39 a.m., according to the US Geological Survey.

It was centered one mile northwest of The Geysers, six miles west southwest of Cobb and eight miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.

The agency received nine shake reports from eight zip codes, with reports coming form Kelseyville and Middletown, areas of Sonoma County such as Cloverdale, Petaluma and Sebastopol, and as far south as San Jose.

The last quake of magnitude 3.0 or above reported in Lake County occurred on March 10, as Lake County News has reported.

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 .

A young Operation Tango Mike volunteer with some of the care packages at the packing party on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Ron Quick.

LAKEPORT – Sometimes things are just meant to be. It must be the case for Operation Tango Mike.

Every month, the community comes together to pack and ship care packages for deployed troops. Every month, there are somehow adequate supplies for the packages and funds for shipping. Even in these difficult times, the community’s generosity ensures support and care packages for our troops.

Just as the March 18 packing party was getting under way, I was reading the most recent thank you letters received from deployed troops and thanking our volunteers for sustaining our efforts.

At that moment, Suzi DeFrancisci and Paul Bryant wheeled in a cart carrying a giant cake and gorgeous bouquet of flowers. They were presented to me as a marker of our seven years of continuous dedication to our deployed troops.

I will be the first to admit that I was overcome with emotion and asked that Paula Bryant read the card accompanying the flowers. I couldn’t read through the tears rolling down my face.

After we all composed ourselves, I spotted a handsome young man standing tall in his dress uniform. Senior Airman Jonathan Hulsey had come to pay a visit! I invited SrA Hulsey forward and he came to the front of the room to address the crowd.




An emotional Ginny Craven looks at an anniversary card at the Operation Tango Mike packing party on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Ron Quick.



He began by saying, “I don’t get emotional. But I want to thank everyone for the support I received while I was deployed.”

It was then that the young man’s voiced cracked a bit and everyone in the room knew how much every care package meant.

Hulsey went on to speak of his sincere gratitude for the care packages, cards, letters and simply knowing that people cared.

He presented an American flag, folded in the traditional triangle, as a symbol of his gratitude to Operation Tango Mike and the Lake County community. It was accompanied by a certificate from The Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component (CJSOAC), whose slogan is “Quiet Professionals.”

The certificate read, “United States Air Force, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). This is to certify that the accompanying flag was carried on a covert night operation, by members of the 22nd Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron, United States Air Force while deployed to Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This flag is presented to Operation Tango Mike on behalf of the Assault Zones Reconnaissance Team.”

Hulsey explained that the mission was unique, was a first time operation and is likely to never be repeated in the history of the United States Air Force. Of course, we all wanted to know more, but being the consummate professional Hulsey simply said, “That’s all I can say.”

That presentation and that moment brought home, once again, the critical need to support our troops. Hulsey thought ahead, while preparing for a covert night operation, to take with him a flag for his supporters. Those care packages must have made some impact on that Airman.

The packing party progressed and Hulsey stayed, joining his supporters to assemble care packages for deployed troops. Hulsey and his family politely excused themselves, saying they were going to join the rest of the family for Christmas. Yes, it was going to be Christmas in March for the Hulsey family who had waited for their Airman’s safe return.




Senior Airman Jonathan Hulsey reads a certificate from The Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component to Ginny Craven at Operation Tango Mike's packing party on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Ron Quick.



Before leaving, Senior Airman Jonathan Hulsey called me aside. He looked at me at said, “Please, tell these people how much I appreciate all they did for me. I mean it.” He gave me a hug and neither of us could or needed to say anything more.

I doubt there could have been any better way to end a packing party or to mark Lake County’s seven-year anniversary of sending care packages.

Operation Tango Mike packing parties are held at 6 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at Umpqua Bank, 805 11th St., Lakeport. Everyone is welcome.

For further information please call 707-349-2838 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Donations are appreciated and may be submitted to 5216 Piner Court, Kelseyville, CA 95451.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .




The certificate from The Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component presented to Ginny Craven of Operation Tango Mike at the group's packing party on Thursday, March 18, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif.

California law protects certain surviving family members of a deceased person in several important ways: temporary possession of the family dwelling and exempt property; a probate homestead set-aside; and a family allowance.

These protections lessen the detrimental impact of lengthy probates and favor a deceased person’s dependents at the time of death over the decedent’s creditors.

Probate protections even favor the surviving family when the deceased person’s will gives his estate go to other persons.

Let’s examine who is protected and how each of these protections work.

Who is protected? The surviving spouse and surviving minor children are the only persons entitled to all of these protections so long as their status remains. That is, so long as the surviving spouse doesn’t get remarried or the minor children don’t reach majority, as relevant.

In addition to the surviving spouse and minor children, the decedent’s adult disabled and dependent children are entitled to receive a family allowance, or maintenance money). Sometimes, at the court’s discretion, the decedent’s dependent adult children and dependent parents may also be granted a family allowance.

Temporary possession of the family home and exempt property is immediately allowed to the surviving spouse and minor children without any court order. This means that they can remain in control of the family dwelling, clothing, household furniture, and certain other property that is exempt from creditor claims.

This temporary possession lasts until 60 days after the inventory and appraisal is filed with the probate court during the administration of the decedent’s probate estate; it can be extended by court order. The protection can last for many months.

A probate homestead set-aside can pickup where the temporary possession of the home ends, and can commence upon the filing of the probate inventory. The probate homestead is itself temporary. It may either last for a short term (such as six months) or a long term (such as the surviving spouse’s remaining lifetime or until the minor children reach majority).

In setting the duration of the probate homestead, the court will usually consider the needs and income of the surviving spouse and minor children, the length of the marriage, and the surviving spouse’s age.

For example, a surviving spouse aged 55 years old, and with limited means of support, may be given a probate homestead for her remaining lifetime.

Lastly, the probate homestead remains answerable to the decedent’s creditors and for any loans secured against the real property (homestead) at the decedent’s death.

The family allowance exists to maintain certain family members during the administration (settling) of the probate estate and is paid out of the decedent’s estate. It is granted a high priority (No. 5) in the order of what expenses and debts the administrator of an estate must pay.

As soon as the administrator has set sufficient funds aside to pay the expenses of administration – such as executor and attorney fees – the administrator shall pay the family allowance.

If more than one person is entitled to a family allowance and one of them has sufficient means to provide for himself, then the family allowance is granted only to those others who lack the sufficient means from other sources.

The family allowance either terminates with the final order of distribution to beneficiaries of the probate estate (at the latest) or earlier.

If the probate estate is insolvent, or has more debts than assets, the family allowance must end within one year of the commencement of the probate administration (i.e., the date when letters testamentary were issued to the executor).

Legal counsel is needed in order to take advantage of these family protections; petitions must be filed with notice to appropriate parties.

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.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Upcoming Calendar

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
08.24.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.