Saturday, 25 May 2024

News

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Census takers will be fanning out into Northern California and knocking on the doors of households that didn’t mail back their 2010 forms beginning Saturday, May 1.


The U.S. Census Bureau will launch the Non-Response Follow-Up (NRFU) operations next month – where census takers will collect information from households that did not return their census forms. Thousands of local residents have been hired as census takers to complete this important task.


The US Census Bureau reported that the nation's mail participation rate this year as 72 percent, which tied the 2000 participation rate.


California's mail participation rate for this year was 71 percent, down from 2000's rate of 73 percent.


Lake County's rate this year was 60 percent, an improvement over its 54-percent rate in 2000. The cities of Clearlake and Lakeport registered 60 percent and 73 percent response rates, respectively.


“The Non-Response Follow-Up operation plays a vital role in helping achieve an accurate 2010 Census count and determine the allocation of federal funds for community services,” said Seattle Regional Director Ralph Lee. “We ask that you cooperate with census takers should they contact you. It’s easy, important and safe. Information collected by census takers cannot be shared with any other government agency; they’ve taken a lifetime oath to not reveal any data.”


Mike Burns, deputy regional director for the Seattle Regional Census Center, will provide more details outlining the large-scale effort to count every person at in San Francisco May 3.


In most cases, census workers will make initial visits during afternoons, early evenings and weekends. Workers will identify themselves with a census ID badge that contains a Department of Commerce watermark.


The census taker may also be carrying a bag with a Census Bureau logo. Census workers will not ask for citizenship status, Social Security numbers, credit card or banking information.


If asked, he or she will provide supervisor contact information and/or the Local Census Office phone number for verification. If census workers are unable to reach a household member in-person, they will also attempt contact by phone to conduct the interview with the household member.


The Census Bureau began monitoring mail response rates since March 17, 2010, to estimate the local NRFU workload. Recruitment and training for NRFU operations began in November 2009.


An estimated 635,000 census takers will be deployed around the nation for this operations, with more than 19,000 in Northern California. The Census Bureau’s Northern California region stretches from Santa Cruz County, to the south, and the Oregon border, to the north.


The NRFU operations are scheduled to be completed by July 10.


Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census takes place every 10 years. Census data determine boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts.


More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed annually based on census data to pay for local programs and services, such as schools, highways, vocational training, emergency services, hospitals and much more.


Learn more about the 2010 Census at www.2010census.gov.


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 .

ST. HELENA – The Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) announced that burn permits are required effective Saturday, May 1.


Burn permits are required for any type of open burning in State Responsibility Areas (SRA) of Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Solano, Yolo and Colusa counties.


State Responsibility Areas are generally the unincorporated, rural, grass, brush and timber covered portions of California.


“It will only take a few weeks of sunshine and spring winds to turn the green grass brown so please take care while burning,” said Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit Chief Ernie Loveless.


Cal Fire officials emphasize that the agency's permit requirements are in addition to any air quality control district and local fire agency permits. It is the responsibility of anyone planning to have a controlled burn to make sure they meet all permit requirements.


Lake County has a countywide ban on open burning which goes into effect on May 1. Some exemptions for agricultural burning may be granted. Contact Lake County Air Quality for information on the burn ban in Lake County, telephone 707-263-7000.


In Napa, southwestern Solano, and southern Sonoma counties permissive burn season ends April 30 for crop replacement, forest management, orchard pruning and attrition, and range management.


Anyone conducting open burning must keep the fire within permit requirements at all times. Failure to maintain control of the fire will result in the permit becoming void and the possibility of the permittee having to pay for fire suppression costs, fines, and civil damages.


Basic requirements include continual monitoring by a responsible adult, at least 10 foot clearance to bare mineral soil around the pile, and adequate control resources (tools, water, etc.).


Open burning should not be conducted when winds exceed 10 miles per hour.


With the approach of fire season, Chief Loveless urges residents to make sure that their property has defensible space against wildland fire.


Changes in state law have increased the required clearance around structures from 30 feet to 100 feet.


For more information on burn permits or wildland fire safety, residents may contact their local Cal Fire facility for more information, or go to the Cal Fire Web site at www.fire.ca.gov.


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 .

Retired persons often wish to enhance their current income. Many even want to make a contribution back to their community. These seemingly opposing wishes can be reconciled through a charitable gift annuity, a form of planned giving.


A charitable gift annuity involves a contribution of assets to a nonprofit organization in exchange for fixed income payments under the terms of an annuity contract.


Let’s examine how the annuity works.


First, how is the income amount determined? The fixed income is calculated using a fixed annuity rate (percentage) multiplied by the initial contribution.


The rate (percentage) depends on the age of the person, or persons (if a couple), receiving the payments, and on the payment start date.


The American Council on Gift Annuities publishes rate tables (available online) that many nonprofits follow. These rates ensure that the charity keeps approximately 50 percent of the value of what was contributed to purchase the charitable gift annuity.


For example, using the current tables, a person age 70 years, seeking an immediate gift annuity for his lifetime only could expect to receive an annual return (annuity) of 5.7 percent on the value of his initial one time contribution.


If he contributes $100,000, then he will receive $5,700 each year for the rest of his life. (Note: The rate would decrease slightly if he received monthly or quarterly payments.)


Moreover, if a couple were to purchase a charitable gift annuity and receive payments over their combined life expectancy – so that the surviving spouse would continue to receive annuity payments –then the rate would reflect the couple’s combined actuarial life expectancy.


Second, what assets can be contributed to “purchase” the annuity? Often these annuities are purchased with cash. Sometimes a charity will accept stocks and bonds or a residence (or ranch) in exchange for the annuity.


Third, what are the tax consequences to a charitable gift annuity? If cash is contributed, then the consequences are as follows: (1) an immediate tax deduction in the year of the gift for the so-called present value of the charitable remainder; which means the excess of the initial cash contribution over the present value over the lifetime annuity income stream; and (2) annual recognition of ordinary income on the annuity interest income.


If appreciated stocks or bonds are contributed, then in addition to ordinary interest income each year, capital gains will incrementally be recognized each year over the term of the annuity. Gradual recognition of the capital gains is usually much better than immediate recognition, as would occur if one were to sell the stock first, and then “purchase” the charitable gift annuity.


Lastly, charitable gift annuities presume a significant charitable intent on the part of the donor. Persons charitably included who wish both to make an immediate gift while alive and increase their income, may be interested.


If so, call the planned giving department of the intended nonprofit organization and request literature; then evaluate this option with your financial planner.


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

COBB – The search for two suspects allegedly involved in an attempted armed robbery at a Cobb Mountain home on Wednesday afternoon yielded no arrests but resulted in the lockdown of a local school.


The case originally involved the report of a man who was said to have entered a neighbor's home on Meadow Drive shortly before 1 p.m., as Lake County News has reported.


Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said the suspect had allegedly attempted to rob the home owner, who had a friend call authorities to report the incident.


Bauman said nothing was taken from the victim’s home and he was not injured.


While deputies were still responding to the scene they received another report that a second man had been seen on foot in the area and was possibly involved in the robbery attempt, Bauman said.


He said both the alleged suspects had been reported leaving the area on foot in opposite directions.


The man with the gun was described by officials as a dark skinned male in his 30s with short, corn-rowed hair and a goatee, as tall as 5 feet, 9 inches and weighing 180 to 200 pounds, and wearing a black jacket, black boots, and tan carpenter type pants.


Bauman said the man was in possession of what may have been a .25-caliber handgun that he reportedly kept in his right jacket pocket as he left the scene.


The second man said to have been involved had a less detailed description; Bauman said he was only described as having a dark complexion, wearing a baseball cap and carrying a back pack.


The first suspect was reportedly seen on Highway 175 near Cobb Mountain Elementary School, which is less than a mile from the Meadow Drive location, according to a map of the area. Bauman said the man was spotted taking one of the trails into the woods behind the school.


Bauman told Lake County News earlier Wednesday afternoon that the man was spotted near the school shortly after 1 p.m., just as the children were about to be loaded onto school buses.


But he said the sheriff's office was able to notify the school in time to keep the children there at the locked facility while deputies arrived, secured the school and set up a search perimeter for the suspect.


Middletown Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Korby Olson said the district sent out phone messages to parents to let them know the situation. The school also released children directly to their parents while the lockdown was in place.


Danielle Huck, who was expecting to pick up her son from school at 1:10 p.m., said her daughter had just gotten home from school in Middletown and heard the situation unfolding on a police scanner. Huck then attempted to call the school, with only the message machine picking up.


A short time later she got the phone call from the school telling her of the lockdown, and about 10 minutes after that another call informed her that the children were being put on buses home.


By about 2:20 pm, the school was able safely release all students to their families, Bauman said.


Meanwhile, during the search that ran into the late afternoon – lasting about two hours – the sheriff's office sent multiple units, along with Major Crimes Unit detectives and a K-9 team, to search for the suspects, said Bauman.


The California Highway Patrol also helped patrol the area; Roger Kinney, a Cobb resident and Lake County News contributor, said both sheriff's and CHP cars were slowly driving around the area.


Kinney had reported winter weather conditions around Cobb throughout the day Wednesday, including snow, rain and hail.


Those weather conditions led to the cancellation of a CHP helicopter that Bauman said had been requested to assist with the search.


Despite the extensive search of the area, Bauman said neither of the two suspects were located Wednesday.


However, a backpack similar to the one seen with the second man was later found near the Hardester’s Store and recovered by authorities, Bauman said.


Bauman said the investigation is continuing.


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 .

 

Posted at 2:16 p.m.


COBB – The report of an armed suspect in the Cobb area touched of a Wednesday afternoon search and resulted in a school lockdown as officials sought to keep area children safe.


At 12:55 p.m. the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a report from a person who stated that an armed man had entered a neighbor's home on Meadow Drive and that the neighbor had asked them to call authorities, according to Capt. James Bauman.


Bauman said he didn't yet have much information on the suspect or the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding that numerous sheriff's units and a canine team were involved in the search for the suspect.


“It's very much unfolding still,” Bauman said shortly before 2 p.m.


Cobb Mountain Elementary School was placed on lockdown, said Dr. Korby Olson, Middletown Unified School District's superintendent, who spoke with Lake County News at around 1:40 p.m.


“The suspect was spotted on the campus,” said Olson.


At around 1:11 p.m. – just as the school's children were about to be loaded on buses to head home for the day, the suspect was spotted heading up the trails behind the school, Bauman said.


The school is located less than a mile from Meadow Drive, based on an Internet map search.


Bauman said the sheriff's office was able to catch school officials in time to notify them, and the lockdown resulted.


Olson said the district was planning to send out a phone message to parents, who can pick up their children directly.


“Right now we're just being safe,” Olson said.


At around 2 p.m. parents reportedly received calls notifying them that their children were being placed on buses home.


Lake County News will continue to follow the story and provide updates as they become 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 .

LAKE COUNTY – Lake County once again got high grades and was ranked amongst the best counties nationwide for clean air in the annual American Lung Association State of the Air Report.


The report, out this week, grades areas on an A through F scale by comparing local ozone and small-particulate concentrations with the federal air quality standards.


Many areas around the nation and the state received failing grades, but Lake County received an “A” grade for ozone, a “B” grade for short term particulate pollution and was ranked 10th cleanest county in the nation for annual particulate average concentrations.


Lake County is one of only nine counties in California that did not have any days of ozone air pollution levels in the unhealthful range, according to the report.


In the 2009 report, Lake County was ranked No. 3 nationwide for cleanest air, as Lake County news has reported.


Doug Gearhart, the county's pollution control officer, attributed that change in ranking to the 2008 wildfires that plagued the region.


Lake County did have several days of unhealthy air during the 2008 wildfires, which Gearhart said will affect Lake County’s rating for several years as the grading is based on a three years of data.


“That was the only significant impact on the air quality in Lake County in the last three years,” said Gearhart.


Lake County's air quality instruments continued working during the wildfires and so got accurate readings which counted against the county. Gearhart said the same instruments failed for four neighboring counties – which also had issues with the wildfires – preventing them from getting accurate readings.


As a result, Gearhart explained that those counties got A grades while Lake County got a B for short term particulate pollution from the American Lung Association.


“We worked with them to try to come up with a resolution, but they were unable to come up with a legal way to resolve that issue in their report,” he said.


Even with the wildfire impacts, Lake County is the only county in California to place in the top

10 cleanest counties in the country for small-particulate levels, the report showed. Mendocino, Inyo and Santa Cruz counties are the only other counties in California to make the top 25.


That record was documented by continuous air quality monitoring over the past three years, which showed that ozone and small particles in the air never exceeded allowable levels during that time.


Gearhart called that ranking a “spectacular and amazing achievement.”


“It really does say a lot for the air quality we enjoy here,” he said.


He attributed the success of the county's air quality management program to strong community support

and cooperation of local agencies, the local fire protection districts, Cal Fire, the local agricultural community and industry.


Gearhart said the report does a good job of capturing everything that's going on with local air quality.


The State of the Air Report grades are the latest recognition of a long history of air quality accomplishments in Lake County, said Gearhart.


Strong local support for clean air measures has enabled the county to comply in full with not only the Federal Clean Air Standards, but also with the more rigorous California standards for ozone and other air pollutants for the past 20 years, according to Gearhart.


He said no other air district in California can match that record.


However, Gearhart said there could be new state and federal restrictions on the horizon that could affect the county's standings.


He said the state is considering tougher diesel and ambient air quality standards, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency is suggesting a new and very stringent ozone standard.


“Our attainment status could be in jeopardy,” he said.


That, he said, would affect every industry – including agriculture – as well as homeowners.


Losing the ozone attainment could mean smog checks for everyone, plus additional regulations on agriculture, Gearhart said.


Ozone occurs naturally and also is formed from vehicle emissions, Gearhart explained.


“It really impacts almost everything that happens in Lake County,” 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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

CLEARLAKE OAKS – Two local men were injured Tuesday morning when their vehicles collided head-on along Highway 20.


Injured in the crash were Dennis Callison, 50, of Clearlake Oaks, and Howard Kelsey, 54, of Lucerne, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.


At approximately 8:44 a.m., Callison was driving his 1995 Ford westbound on Highway 20, west of Henderson Drive. Tanguay said it was raining at the time, and when Callison entered a sharp curve in the roadway, the back tires of the Ford broke traction on the wet roadway.


The Ford started to slide out of control, traveling to the left and crossing into the eastbound lane of traffic directly in front of a 2004 Jeep driven by Kelsey. Tanguay said the two vehicles hit head-on.


The force of the impact pushed the Jeep off of the roadway and it began to roll over onto its top, coming to rest on its roof approximately 2 feet into the lake, Tanguay said. Kelsey was able to free himself from the Jeep and went up the embankment to check on Callison.


The Northshore Fire Protection District transported both men to the hospital, Tanguay said.


CHP Officer Brendan Bach is investigating the collision.


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 – State officials are reporting that traffic collision deaths on the state's highways and here in Lake County are down.


Four years after the California Highway Patrol (CHP) received funding to bolster the ranks of CHP officers throughout the state, the increased staffing appears to have shown a positive impact on traffic safety and a reduction in the economic impact of traffic collisions and fatalities statewide, the agency reported.


Although final statistics are not yet available, preliminary numbers show that in the three years since the increase in new officers, approximately 700 fewer people have died on the state’s highways and unincorporated areas – roadways primarily the responsibility of the CHP, according to CHP statistics.


The economic savings as a result are estimated at more than $3 billion, using statistics from the National Safety Council that approximates the average cost of fatal and nonfatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes.


During the same time, preliminary statistics show there were more than 19,000 fewer people injured resulting in a potential savings of nearly $4 billion. The calculable costs of motor-vehicle crashes are wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle damage and

employers’ uninsured costs.


As a result of the projected lower fatalities, the Mileage Death Rate – a standard measurement of traffic safety that translates into the number of persons killed per one million miles of travel – is anticipated to reach its lowest level in history for 2009.


Similarly, numbers of collisions and fatalities on Lake County's highways are down.


Statistics provided to Lake County News by Jaime Coffee of the CHP's Sacramento headquarters show a 57-percent drop in collisions from 2006 to 2009, and a 45-percent drop in collision-related deaths during that same time period. The latter number is well above the state average.


In 2006, collisions numbered 802; 16 of those crashes resulted in a total of 20 fatalities.


The following year, there were 741 collisions, with 14 fatal crashes that resulted in a total of 17 deaths.


In 2008, the numbers dropped again, to 671 total collisions, 14 of which were fatal with 15 total deaths.


Coffee said that 2009 numbers are still preliminary. However, they show a drop to 344 total collisions, with 10 fatal crashes and a total of 11 deaths.


While preliminary numbers show fatal collisions are down approximately 29 percent statewide, enforcement and services to the public have increased, meaning a quicker response to collisions and roadway hazards and a higher level of assistance to motorists who call for help from the CHP.


Officers issued 8 percent more citations statewide; however, they also gave 74 percent more verbal warnings to motorists. Motorist services increased 13 percent, according to CHP statistics.


Additionally, for the first time in the Department’s 80-year history, all 103 field offices are now staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


“Saving lives is what traffic safety is all about,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “The efforts of these officers and law enforcement throughout the state mean that more people are traveling home safely at the end of the day.”


In 2006 Schwarzenegger vowed to increase CHP patrol positions by 1,000 officers. The governor’s promise marked the first time in 40 years that the CHP had been provided an increase in officer positions intended strictly for patrol responsibilities. To date, 540 new officers have been hired and are actively patrolling in commands throughout the state.


“It’s clear that the additional officer staffing has proved to be beneficial to all Californians and those who visit and use the state’s roadways,” Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “I applaud the dedication of all CHP officers to keep the roads safe for everyone.”


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 .

Image
Sean Adams performs at the first Skate Jam in Lakeport, Calif., on Saturday, April 24, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.

 

 

LAKEPORT – The community rallied to show its support for the sport of skateboarding at the very first Skate Jam skate competition that took place at Library Park on Saturday, April 24.


People of all ages gathered to enjoy a gorgeous day, cheer on their skater friends and family, and spend their money at the vendor booths, with proceeds going toward building a skate park on Lakeport’s side of the lake.

 

For a high quality video of the event, see Patrick Armstrong's work at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcdqVxBv9cw .


Westside Community Park has a designated area for a skate park, but that’s about it. It will cost a lot of money to build a quality cement skate park for skaters on this side of the lake to enjoy.


Event organizers Bill Bibler, owner of Paradigm Concrete Artisans, and Adam Bulik, owner of Freedom Skate Shop, both came together in an effort to provide youth with a fun, safe and local area to skate.


There was a large turnout for the event which, aside from fierce competition, had entertainment including live music.


The idea for the event began with a group of mothers who were trying to gain support for a skate park in Lakeport – but they needed a lot of help.


Bibler learned of this group one day when he walked into Freedom Skate Shop, owned by his friend Bulik, to talk about a skate park in Lakeport as well. They tried to meet with the group of moms but the meeting fell through.


It was Bulik who suggested that they needed a skate jam, and that was the beginning, Bibler said.


After two months of planning, the Skate Jam hit Library Park’s sidewalks. Bibler estimated the event attracted more than 700 skateboarders and their supporters.


Many skaters around Lakeport can’t get to the skate park in Clearlake, let alone the next county over in Ukiah. So, they have ended up shredding the concrete around local businesses and public streets.


Bibler he's watched the local skaters get hassled by the police, and added that if local businesses and authorities are tired of dealing with the kids on the streets, then they should help to raise money for somewhere the kids can go.


“Let’s get some money raised as fast as possible and build a skate park, please,” he said.


There is already a designated plot of land for a skate park within the Westside Community Park project, but the grant money that has gone toward the park hasn't been used for that purpose yet. Bibler thinks it will cost roughly $300,000 for a quality skate park to be built there.


It's hoped that the event, and those to follow, will put a big dent in that number so that Lakeport can soon have a skate park to call its own.


Many businesses made donations such as Molly Brennan’s, Kelseyville Wine Co. and Main Street Pizza, as Lake County News has reported.


Big fund generators were the raffles. The big prizes were a Temper-Pedic bed, donated by Pam Scully of Lakeport Furniture, the YZ 110 Yamaha pit bike partially, donated by Hillside Honda, and a hand-carved water feature donated by Paradigm Concrete Artisans.


To donate funds to help construct a skate park in Westside Community Park, visit Freedom Skate Shop, Lakeport Furniture or Mendo Lake Credit Union to make a deposit into the skate park fund account.


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

 

 

 

Image
Greg

THE US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY HAS CHANGED THE RATINGS ON THESE TWO QUAKES.

 

THE GEYSERS – It was a one-two punch for The Geysers and Cobb areas late Tuesday afternoon, when two 3.1-magnitude earthquakes were reported within five seconds of each other.

 

However, the US Geological Survey later changed its report to show that the first quake was a 1.5 in magnitude and the second was 3.5 in magnitude.

 

The US Geological reported that the first quake occurred at 4:07 p.m. and was centered one mile from The Geysers, four miles west southwest of Cobb and six miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, at a depth of 1.2 miles.


The second quake, which was measured at a depth of one-tenth of a mile, had an epicenter located one mile north northeast of The Geysers, five miles west southwest of Cobb and six miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.


The first quake resulted in one shake report from San Jose being submitted to the US Geological Survey, while five shake reports from areas including Clearlake Oaks, Sacramento, Mountain View, San Francisco and San Jose came in as a result of the second quake.


A 3.3-magnitude quake was reported near The Geysers Sunday evening, 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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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