Sunday, 21 July 2024

News

BLUE LAKES, Calif. – A Lakeport woman was the victim of a Friday morning three-vehicle collision near Blue Lakes.


Kimberlee Annette Westbay, 52, died in the crash, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


The collision occurred just after 10:30 a.m. Friday on Highway 20 at Scotts Valley Road near Blue Lakes, officials reported.


Anton Timothy Kloiber, 34, of Piercy was driving a black 2008 Chevy Tahoe westbound on Highway 20 when he is alleged to have allowed his vehicle to travel into the oncoming lane in front of Westbay's black 1990 Nissan pickup, according to the CHP report.


The two vehicles collided, with Westbay's Nissan spinning off the roadway, the CHP said.


The CHP said Kloiber's Tahoe continued westbound, hitting the left rear of a red Ford F-150 pickup driven by 48-year-old Dale Box of Upper Lake.


Westbay was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said, with Kloiber complaining of minor pain and Box sustaining no injuries, the CHP said.


The CHP arrested Kloiber shortly after 11:30 a.m. on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the report.


He was booked into the Lake County Jail just after 7:30 p.m. Friday on felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing bodily injury. Bail was set at $150,000.


Kloiber later posted bail and was released. He had been scheduled to be in court on Monday.


Bauman said an autopsy was performed Monday morning on Westbay, with the cause of the crash pending further investigation by the CHP. Officer Greg Buchholz is the case's investigative officer.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

SONOMA COUNTY – A wildland fire that burned in the town of Bodega over the weekend is 100-percent contained, Cal Fire reported Sunday.


The blaze, which began just after 12:30 p.m. Saturday, was located in the 18000 block of Highway 1, according to the Sunday report.


The fire burned 98 acres, and destroyed two parked vehicles and one outbuilding. It was fully contained by 8 a.m. Sunday, Cal Fire said.


Officials said the cause is under investigation.


Approximately 200 firefighters were assigned to the incident and were continuing with mop up, which was expected to continue late Sunday and possibly into Monday morning due to the heavy fuels involved, state fire officials reported.


One firefighter injury was reported. Cal Fire said the firefighter in question, from Sonoma County Fire and Emergency Services-Bodega Volunteer Fire Co., sustained significant injuries while working on the Bodega Fire Saturday afternoon.


The volunteer firefighter – also a seasonal firefighter with Cal Fire – was actively working on the fire when he came into contact with an energized downed power line. Officials said he sustained an electrical shock and subsequent burns.


He was transported by helicopter to a burn center for treatment. Cal Fire said that as of Sunday morning the firefighter was reported in stable condition and medical staff is continuing with treatment and evaluation.


The accident is being investigated by a Cal Fire Serious Accident Review Team, which is a standard practice when injuries of this type occur.


Officials said the 911 emergency call system which was out of service in some areas servicing the community of Bodega Bay was expected to be fully restored by telecommunication crews by late Sunday.


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LAKEPORT, Calif. – In deliberations that took just over an hour a Lake County jury on Thursday acquitted a local doctor who had been accused of inappropriate conduct toward a patient.

 

At the end of what defense attorney Patrick Clancy said was an emotional five-and-a-half-day-long trial, the jury found Dr. Corey Warner not guilty of sexual battery by fraudulent representation and a second count of sexual battery under a different section of the penal code.

 

Prosecutor Ed Borg said jury selection took place Sept. 14 and the presentation of evidence began the next day. The jury went into deliberations on Thursday and returned a short time later with the not guilty verdict.

 

Warner, 41, was arrested June 10 following the conclusion of an investigation into allegations made by a female patient, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office's June report.

 

The patient alleged that on July 7, 2009, she visited Warner's practice at Hidden Valley Medical Services in Hidden Valley for an examination following a fall from a horse, according to Clancy.

 

Clancy said the patient alleged that Warner gave her a breast exam she didn't request. “He claimed, and his records showed, that no such exam was ever given,” Clancy said.

 

Borg said the woman also alleged that Warner thrust his pelvis against her while having her bend over to do a range of motion exercise.

 

The woman, whose name was not released by the defense or prosecution, reported the alleged incident on the same day that she said it occurred, Borg said.

 

Clancy alleged that while the sheriff's office said the investigation had been going on close to a year before Warner was arrested, there actually had been large delays in the investigation, which he said amounted to more than 11 months.

 

“It's the worst case in terms of an investigation that I've ever seen,” Clancy said.

 

Clancy suggested that it should have taken a week to wrap up the inquiry into the case's facts. “The delays were just totally unconscionable, totally inexcusable.”

 

While he didn't blame the initial lag on sheriff's Det. Mike Curran, Clancy said Curran didn't speak to witnesses in the case, including doctor's office staff, for many months afterward. That's an issue, he said, because, “Everyone knows that memories fade with time.”

 

Borg disputed Clancy's claims about the delays. There were timing issues – which were a concern for the jury – but he said they weren't as serious as Clancy portrayed them to be.

 

While it should have taken just a few days for the deputy who took the report to pass it on to Curran, Borg said for some reason it wasn't routed to Curran immediately. Curran got the case late in November and had completed most of the investigation within a month.

 

The defense theorized that the female patient was angry with Warner after she received a steroid shot for poison oak in January 2009, with the shot resulting in a 5 centimeter by 4 centimeter by 2 centimeter depression on her buttocks, Clancy said.

 

During the trial Clancy called a number of witnesses to testify to Warner's moral character and exceptional professional reputation.

 

Those witnesses included other local doctors and some of Warner's own patients, one of them a man whose young wife died unexpectedly last year and who broke down on the stand, saying he could never have made it without Warner's support.

 

“They love him. They absolutely love him,” Clancy said of Warner's patients.

 

Clancy said the backbone of the defense included the office procedures and standards of practice used to ensure client protection, which they went over in detail during the trial.

 

Borg said Clancy gave “an excellent closing argument” in which he highlighted what he considered the flaws in the case. Clancy in turn noted that Borg was both professional and ethical in his approach to the prosecution, and he felt Judge Andrew Blum was very fair in his handling of the case.

 

The jury came back with its verdict at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Borg said.

 

After speaking with jurors, “Essentially, it came down to they didn't feel we had proven the case,” Borg said. The jury also had problems with inconsistencies in the alleged victim's testimony and the testimony of office staff.

 

In his conversations with jurors, Clancy said they noted they didn't find the patient a reliable witness.

 

With the verdict decided, “What happened afterwards is what is utterly amazing,” said Clancy.

 

Warner and his wife were hugging and crying, and as the jurors walked out, each patted him on the back, according to Clancy.

 

The jurors waited outside to talk, and the female jurors later approached Warner and asked him to be their doctor, Clancy said.

 

He said the female jurors also got together with Warner's wife to let her know that they didn't just vote not guilty, but that they voted him innocent. Some of the jurors also reportedly confronted Curran after the trial, Clancy said.

 

While the Warners never doubted he would be acquitted, the prosecution has taken a toll on them. At the same time, Dr. Warner has continued his practice, Clancy said.

 

Dr. Warner is taking a few days off to be with his wife before getting back to his patients on Monday, according to Clancy.

 

However, while he loves his patients and is being asked to say, Clancy said Warner is having to give considerable thought to whether he will stay in Lake County.

 

Sheriff Rod Mitchell said Friday that once Curran got the case, he brought the shortfalls in its handling to the attention of both Mitchell and Capt. Rob Howe.

 

Mitchell said review steps have been put in place to avoid such delays in investigations going forward.

 

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

COVELO, Calif. – A local man was among several people taken into custody Saturday during a fight in downtown Covelo during which he assaulted some Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies.


Moses Reeves, 24, of Nice was arrested for resisting arrest, assault on a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer and public intoxication, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.


At 11 p.m. Saturday Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were working the Round Valley area, Smallcomb said. Indian Days was being held over the weekend, with a large group of visitors in the valley for the festivities.


Smallcomb said deputies were dispatched to the area of the Buckhorn Bar where several physical fights had been taking place. These fights included Lake County patrons fighting local Round Valley residents.


When the deputies arrived at the Buckhorn Bar, they observed a physical fight taking place involving Reeves, Smallcomb said.


The deputies observed Reeves was bleeding from the mouth and approached him due to his injuries, Smallcomb said.


Reeves refocused his attention on the deputies and allegedly began assaulting them. Smallcomb said Reeves and the two deputies went onto the ground, at which time numerous other patrons started surrounding all three subjects.


The deputies were able to restrain Reeves and with the assistance of the bar owner and some other patrons were able to remove Reeves from the angry crowd. During this incident Smallcomb said Reeves, who sustained a bloody lip earlier at the bar, spit into the eyes of one of the deputies.


A request for further law enforcement was summoned and several officers including the California Highway Patrol, Willits Police Department,Cal Fire, Round Valley and Cahto tribal officers responded to downtown Covelo, he said.


When the additional officers arrived, they arrested 45-year-old Covelo resident Laurence Britton for resisting arrest, along with approximately six other individuals for miscellaneous charges including public intoxication and outstanding warrants, Smallcomb said.


Other subjects arrested William Short, 37, of Willits, and Wesley Card, 30, of Covelo, both for public intoxication, he said.


Smallcomb said all of the suspects were transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Docked at the Skylark Shores, seaplanes graced the shore of Clear Lake at the 31st annual Clear Lake Splash-In on Saturday, September 25, 2010. Photo by Terre Logsdon.
 

 

 





LAKEPORT, Calif. – Mythical, majestic and “just plain wrong!” were some of the exclamations overheard on Saturday in Lakeport as the seemingly-impossible happened time and again: airplanes landing – and taking off – from the surface of the waters of Clear Lake.


It was all part of the action at the 31st annual Clear Lake Splash-In, which continues Sunday.


Seaplane pilots from around the United States made their way to Lakeport for the annual Splash-In, the largest gathering of seaplanes west of the Mississippi.


The annual celebration of seaplanes featured handmade, ultra-light and antique craft.


“Once again, the community support for this event has been great,” said Chuck Kimes, organizer of the event.

 

 

 

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The 1945 Grumman G-44 Widgeon is a shining example of the fascination of seaplanes. The plane was featured at the 31st annual Clear Lake Splash-In on Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Terre Logsdon.
 

 

 


Kimes credited Melissa Fulton, chief executive officer of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, Doug Grider, Lakeport's Public Works superintendent, the Upper Lake Future Farmers' of America and the Sea Scouts for helping make this years' event another success.


Although primarily a seaplane pilots' event, the Clear Lake Splash-In attracts the young and the young-at-heart alike who want to get a closeup look at these magnificent flying machines.


“I'm amazed at the variety of airplanes here,” said Walter Windus, chair of the Splash-In Board of Directors.


Windus explained that the variety of planes participating in the event is unique – and even unusual for seaplane pilots to experience.


“There are all makes and models here, from planes made in somebody's garage by hand, to planes over 50 years old, restored and worth over $1 million,” he said.

 

 

 

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The Piper Apache was a popular plane at the annual Clear Lake Splash-In on Saturday, September 25, 2010. Photo by Terre Logsdon.
 

 

 


Lake County resident and seaplane pilot Mike Dunlap, who was on ramp patrol duty with his trusty golden retriever to keep the crowds safe, also noted the cooperation and assistance the city of Lakeport gives to this event.


The two-day event, which has taken place in Lakeport for 28 out of the 31 years the event has been held, is a great benefit to the local economy, Dunlap explained.


“Between motel rooms, dining out, buying fuel and more, we've estimated that participants add more than $80,000 to the local economy during the Splash-In,” Dunlap said.


The call came over the radio before 1 p.m. that so many planes had flown in for the event that Lampson Airport was full – there was no more room for “regular” planes to land, park and take a shuttle over to the site of the Splash-In.


“But they'll make room,” Dunlap said, as he was expecting another pilot from Nevada who had already registered.

 

 

 

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Pilot James Nezgoda polishes up his 1947 Republic RC-3 SeaBee at the 31st annual Clear Lake Splash-In on Saturday, September 25, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Terre Logsdon.
 

 

 


Because of the more stringent guidelines this year to prevent the introduction of quagga and zebra mussels, coupled with the inspection program, organizers were concerned that it might keep pilots from coming – but that was not the case.


“We worked with the county and we worked with our pilots, and everything worked out fine,” Kimes said.


As spectators admired the seaplanes on the grounds of Natural High and the docks at Skylark Shores, wondering how the planes made the leap from water to sky, Dunlap joked, “What keeps planes in the air? Money. And Seaplanes? More money.”


But for the aficionados of aviation, as well as seaplane pilots and dreamers, seeing the intersection between sky and water was priceless.


E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf.

 

 

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In the shade of the wings, fellow pilots and spectators alike talk of aviation and the wild blue skies at the 31st annual Clear Lake Splash-In on Saturday, September 25, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Terre Logsdon.
 

 

 

 

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Sleek lines, blues skies, and flat waters make for a wonderful weekend of flying in Lake County, Calif., which hosted the 31st annual Clear Lake Splash-In on Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, 2010. Photo by Terre Logsdon.
 

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A fire on Friday, September 24, 2010, burned an outbuilding and endangered nearby homes in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Brian Hajik.
 

 

 

 

 



LAKEPORT, Calif. – A late afternoon fire in Lakeport burned an outbuilding, burned nearby vegetation and got close to some homes.


The fire was reported shortly before 5 p.m. on Lakeshore Boulevard, according to reports from the scene.


Lakeport Fire firefighter/paramedic Ponciano Hernandez, the agency's duty officer on Friday, said the fire was located in the area of Lakeshore Boulevard and Rainbow Road.


Hernandez said the fire burned an outbuilding and then got into vegetation on the hill.


“We had some houses threatened up on top,” he said.


It took about an hour from the time firefighters arrived on scene to the completion of mop up, Hernandez said.


Lakeport Fire sent three engines, Cal Fire sent a battalion chief and Kelseyville Fire sent an engine, he said.


The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Hernandez.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

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Firefighters work at the scene of a fire off of Lakeshore Boulevard in Lakeport, Calif., on Friday, September 24, 2010. Photo by Brian Hajik.
 

 

 

 

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Lakeport Fire with mutual aid from Kelseyville Fire and Cal Fire responded to put out the blaze in Lakeport, Calif., on Friday, September 24, 2010. Photo by Brian Hajik.
 

UKIAH, Calif. – A Sunday pursuit led law enforcement officials to a large marijuana operation in Ukiah, where 19 suspects were taken into custody.


Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said deputies were assisting the California Highway Patrol in a foot pursuit involving a stolen vehicle which had contained three subjects and a large quantity of marijuana.


Deputies, CHP and Ukiah Police officers ended up at a large industrial building located at 3771 Christy Lane, Paco's Painting in pursuit of the suspects, Smallcomb said.


On arrival law enforcement officers discovered a large industrial marijuana processing operation inside the location. Smallcomb said the building was approximately 30 feet by 60 feet and full of hanging and processed marijuana.


Approximately 700 pounds of processed marijuana was seized inside the location, Smallcomb said.


Arrested at the location for processing marijuana were Jacob James Francisco Corona, 20, of Ukiah; Austreberto Fuentes Cruz, 27, of Ukiah; Roberto Flores, 20, of Santa Rosa; Pablo Hernandez Fuentes, 42, Redwood Valley; Carmen Gonzalez, 39, of Hopland; Jose Busio Martine, 39, of Healdsburg; Arselea Corona, 65, of Ukiah; Francisco Diaz Corona, 50, of Ukiah; Luis Alonso Corona, 35, of Ukiah; Roberto Buenrostro, 34, of Ukiah; transient Juan Becerra Vazquez, 37; Heriberto Martinez, 30, of Ukiah; Castro Cruz, 29, of Healdsburg; Ismael Diaz Corona, 57, of Mesa, Ariz.; Gerado Moreno, 27, of Hopland; Alfaro Manuel Mendoza, 19, of Ukiah; Antonio Paniagua Lemus, 67, of Santa Rosa; transient Ivan Pandagua, 27; and Raul Valle, 27, of Ukiah.


The suspects were transported to the Mendocino County Jail, Smallcomb said.


He said special agents from the Major Crimes Task Force assisted at the location and are continuing to follow up on leads into the complete ownership of the operation.


Homeland Security was contacted and has placed immigration holds on several of the listed suspects, according to Smallcomb.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Not much went right for the Lower Lake Trojans against St Helena on their football field on Friday, September 24, 2010. Here star running back EJ Jermany fumbles on Lower Lake's first possession. Photo by Ed Oswalt.

 



 

LOWER LAKE, Calif. – The previously winless St. Helena Saints stormed into Lower Lake Friday night and dominated the Trojans football team by a score of 37-12, handing Lower Lake their first defeat of the season.


Lower Lake’s win/loss record now stands at 2 and 1.

 

 

After the loss, a visibly discouraged head coach Stan Weiper said he was “surprised at how bad we were” and added, “We were out of sync from the start.”

 

 

St. Helena got on the board early, needing just five plays – all runs – to score first, capped by a 30-yard sprint from Saints running back Charles Bertoli into the Trojans end zone.


The extra point by kicker David Martinez made it 7-0.

 

 

Lower Lake’s Marcus Radovan took the ensuing kickoff return back to St. Helena’s 47 yard line, but EJ Jermany fumbled the ball on the Trojans' opening possession and St. Helena recovered.


The Saints took advantage of the turnover, driving 73 yards in nine plays to score their second touchdown.

 

 

Lower Lake got on the board with their next possession – the longest of the game for the Trojans – when Devante Scott carried the ball six yards into St. Helena’s end zone and brought the score to 14-6.

 

 

“We’re capable,” Weiper said. “We just need to get back on track.”

 

 

But St. Helena answered on their next possession, taking 11 plays to march 65 yards downfield, scoring on a Richard Hoppe quarterback keep from the Trojans’ 6-yard line. The added extra point brought the first quarter to a close with Lower Lake trailing 21-6.

 

 

An interception on the Saints' 29 yard line by defensive back Peter Del Bondio led to a 37-yard field goal by David Martinez, and St. Helena broadened their lead to 24-6.


The Trojans were forced to punt on their next possession, and when the Saints scored on a 21-yard run from tight end Alex Quirici, Lower Lake ended the first half trailing 31-6.

 

 

The Saints continued to dominate in the second half, when Bertoli ended Lower Lake’s opening third quarter possession by intercepting an errant Trojan pass and returning it 64 yards for another St. Helena touchdown.

 

 

The Trojans managed to score only once more in the game, when Roy Percoats ran the ball 85 yards downfield to score Lower Lake’s second touchdown.

 

 

 

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Joseph Taylor was one of three players to throw a pass for Lower Lake; the three combined to complete three of 12 attempts in the game with St. Helena on Friday, September 24, 2010. Photo by Ed Oswalt.
 

 

 


After failing to make the twp-point conversion, the Trojans trailed 37-12, the final score of the game.

 

 

“We didn’t do anything well,” Weiper said after Lower Lake’s first loss. “We thought we could play competitively, and we just didn’t.”

 

 

The Trojans went three for 12 with 48 yards passing (and two interceptions), and carried the ball 38 times for 274 yards rushing.


Defensively, Trojans linebacker Antonio Hines had an impressive nine tackles, one assist and one quarterback sack against the Saints.

 

 

In junior varsity action, Lower Lake’s Jessie Meldrum caught a Jason Mallory pass at midfield to score the game’s only touchdown, and the Trojans made the two-point conversion to beat the Saints 8-0, improving their record to 2-1 this season.

 

 

Lower Lake plays again next Friday, Oct. 1, at home against Upper Lake, which lost to Ft. Bragg 48-12 on Friday night, bringing their record to 1-2 this season. The Trojans will travel to Cloverdale to take on the Eagles Oct. 8.


For more pictures of the game visit www.sportsphoto.us/20100924/index.html.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The California Highway Patrol is investigating two fatal crashes that occurred Friday morning.

 

One occurred near Blue Lakes shortly after 10:30 a.m. and the second was a hit-and-run collision involving a vehicle and a motorcycle at Highway 29 and Siegler Canyon Road that took place after 11 a.m., according to CHP and witness reports.

 

The crash on Highway 20 at Blue Lakes involved three vehicles, according to CHP Officer Dallas Richey.

 

Richey did not have full details available mid-afternoon, as the report wasn't complete.

 

Northshore Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Steve Hart said one of the vehicles went over the side of the road and was about 10 feet from the lake.

 

One person was pronounced dead at the scene, and the other crash victims suffered minor injuries and refused medical care, Hart said.

 

In addition to Hart, Northshore Fire responded with two ambulances and two engines, and Lakeport Fire sent one ambulance as mutual aid, he said.

 

Hart said the crash temporarily shut down the highway while first responders got on scene.

 

“We were able to open up one lane for traffic control within the first 15 minutes,” he said. “We did get it going as fast as we could.”

 

Hart said the scene was cleared after about two hours, with one person detained by CHP.

 

The incident at Highway 29 and Siegler Canyon involved a vehicle that hit a motorcycle and then left the scene, Richey said.

 

The motorcyclist was flown out by air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he later died, according to Richey.

 

A suspect vehicle has been found but Richey said the suspect hasn't yet been identified.

 

Lake County News will follow up with more information as it becomes available.

 

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Zino Mezoui took part as a vendor at the Kelseyville Olive Festival on March 21, 2010. Photo by Maile Field.

 



KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – A local restaurateur is being remembered by friends for his warmth, generosity and good food after his death from a motorcycle crash on Friday.


Zino Mezoui, 57, owner of Zino's Ristorante and Inn in Kelseyville, died from injuries sustained in a Friday morning collision with a vehicle at Highway 29 and Siegler Canyon Road.


Friends shared the news which they confirmed with family. Postings were being made on Facebook in memory of Mezoui throughout the weekend.


The California Highway Patrol and the District Attorney's Office were investigating the crash on Friday, with the driver of the vehicle fleeing the scene afterward, as Lake County News has reported. As of Sunday, no arrests in the case had been reported.


CHP Officer Dallas Richey said Friday that the motorcyclist – in this case Mezoui, who Richey didn't identify by name at that time – had been flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.


“He was such a charming beautiful person who really contributed to what Lake County is,” said friend Maile Field.


Mezoui's death marks the second loss of a well-known and respected businessman this month. On Sept. 4, local Realtor Byron Whipple was killed in a boating crash on Clear Lake.


Tony Barthel, owner of Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast Resort in Nice, found out early Saturday morning about Mezoui's death after seeing it posted on Facebook.


“He was someone you always looked forward to spending any amount of time with,” Barthel said.


“Plus, he was one hell of a cook,” Barthel added.


Mezoui had a passion for cooking, Barthel said.


That passion was in his blood – Mezoui's Web site noted that he came from three generations of French and Italian chefs and restaurateurs.


Mezoui was born in France and moved to the United States in the 1980s, according to an August 2009 profile written by JoAnn Saccato of the Lake County Community Co-op.


He and wife, Jan, arrived in Lake County in 2006 from Sonoma, where he had operated Zino on the Plaza for 25 years, according to his Web site.


While they had planned to retire, those plans didn't last for long, and they opened up their new restaurant at 6330 Soda Bay Road, overlooking Clear Lake.


In addition to working to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, Mezoui crafted food using fresh produce purchased from local farmers, according to Saccato's profile.


Mezoui was a very warm and personable man, said Barthel, “a kind soul in the community” who was always there for people.

 

 

 

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Jan and Zino Mezoui, from a picture posted on their Web site, www.zinoclearlake.com/index.html.
 

 

 


As innkeepers, Barthel said he and his wife, Peggy, were always happy to send visitors to Mezoui's restaurant.


The Barthels managed to get away from their own business for an anniversary dinner on Thursday night, with the restaurant being one of their favorite special occasion places.


“You always knew you were getting a hug going in,” Tony Barthel said.


After their dinner Thursday, the Barthels hung out and chatted with Mezoui, who shared with them his excitement about his motorcycle, which he said was finally ready to ride after being in the shop.


The ride on Friday that ended in Mezoui's death apparently was the ride he'd been looking forward to for so long. Barthel said that, having been there to hear Mezoui talk about the motorcycle made the news of his death from the crash all the more difficult.


“That was the end of the night for us” when they got the news at about 4 a.m. Saturday, he said.


Joey Luiz, another friend of Mezoui's, posted the news on Facebook.


Luiz said his roommate had come upon the crash before first responders arrived at the scene, and told Luiz that people were there trying to render first aid.


It was later when Luiz heard from another friend who had gone to the restaurant – which was open for business as scheduled – that Mezoui had died. That's when Luiz said he put it all together.


“I'm still numb about the whole thing,” said Luiz.


He had fond memories of dinners there and visits with Mezoui, who he remembered as generous and full of fun.


They knew each other personally and professionally, with Mezoui calling Luiz in 2007 about purchasing local wines for his restaurant.


Luiz said Mezoui was “probably one of the warmest, kindest people I've ever known.”


At a Clear Lake Chamber dinner last year, which coincided with the end of Luiz' tenure as president, he said Mezoui helped put on a fun event, providing for Luiz a throne, toy crown and robe.


Field, another of Mezoui's many friends, said she'd been e-mailing friends from New York to Hawaii over the weekend, and they all immediately expressed regret and remembrance.


“Zino had a magical ability to make his guests feel at home whether we were celebrating an afternoon on the lake and had come in dripping wet and windblown or if we were wearing our pearls and schmoozing out of town business people,” Field said.


“He somehow remembered that I had minored in French in college and always therefore greeted me in French. He was also fluent in Italian,” she said.


Field, who recently moved from Kelseyville to Washington, DC, said no one on the East Coast will ever achieve that balance of friendly and professional that Mezoui did.


“And did I mention the food? No words describe it,” she said.


Field, who plans to come to Lake County this week for harvest, said the suspect in the hit-and-run had better turn themselves in, because with her coming to town, “jail is the safest place to be” for them.


The loss is a deep one, said Barthel.


“I think that this community is really going to miss Zino,” he said.


According to Barthel, Mezoui's family is planning to continue with his work and keep Zino's open.


Mezoui's life, his friends agreed, was far too short, but one filled with passion.


“What a great life, to do what you love,” Barthel 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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. – Hundreds of firefighters were on the scene of a fire in Bodega Bay on Saturday, according to state fire officials.


The fire began Saturday at 12:34 p.m. near the 18000 block of Highway 1, Cal Fire reported.


Cal Fire said there were approximately 300 firefighters working the wildland incident, including personnel from Cal Fire and Sonoma County Fire Services including the volunteer companies of Bodega, Bloomfield, Cazadero, Camp Meeker, Valley Ford and Wilmar, and local fire departments from Bodega Bay, Forestville, Goldridge, Marin County, Monte Rio, Rancho Adobe, US Coast Guard FD and Windsor.


The wildland fire was 89 acres 90 percent contained Saturday night, according to the Cal Fire report.


One firefighter injury was been reported, with the firefighter transported to a Bay Area hospital for medical treatment. Cal Fire reported that the firefighter was in critical but stable condition.


The wildland fire threatened homes and the town of Bodega. Cal Fire reported that one outbuilding and two vehicles were destroyed by the wildland fire. Firefighting crews were committed overnight and will continue mop up through Sunday.


There are two road closures at this time – Highway 1 and Bodega Highway, and Highway 1 and Estero Road, according to Cal Fire.


As a result of the fire, the 911 emergency call system was down for the residents in Bodega Bay, although the Bodega Bay Fire District is currently staffed and available to response to local emergencies, Cal Fire said.


Officials urged Bodega Bay residents to call 707-875-3001 to report emergencies until the 911 emergency call system is restored.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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A vehicle collided with a tree on Elk Mountain Road near Upper Lake, Calif., on the night of Thursday, September 23, 2010, resulting in minor injuries for the driver. Photo by Gary McAuley.


 

 


UPPER LAKE, Calif. – A vehicle that crashed into a tree near Upper Lake Thursday night resulted in minor injuries for the driver.


The crash occurred just after 10:30 p.m. several miles up Elk Mountain Road, just north of the U.S. Forest Service ranger station, according to the California Highway Patrol.


The two-door Chevrolet went off the roadway and hit a tree, according to reports from the scene.


The CHP reported the driver was 26-year-old Kara Snow, who was alone in the car.


Responding to the scene were the CHP, Lake County Sheriff's and Northshore Fire Protection District.


Northshore Fire was dispatched at approximately 10:37 p.m., according to Battalion Chief Steve Hart.


Hart responded along with one engine, one medic unit and two off-duty battalion chiefs.


The driver had been able to get out of the car on her own, according to Hart. She was transported by Northshore Fire ambulance to Sutter Lakeside Hospital.


The CHP reported that Snow suffered minor injuries.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf.

 

 

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California Highway Patrol, Lake County Sheriff's Office and Northshore Fire Protection District officials examine a vehicle that collided with a tree on Elk Mountain Road near Upper Lake, Calif., on Thursday, September 23, 2010. Photo by Gary McAuley.
 

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