Monday, 22 July 2024


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – Seven tribes in California will have improved access to vital water services through funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Indian Health Service (IHS) on Wednesday announced $90 million nationwide in “shovel ready” infrastructure projects designed to better protect human and environmental health in Indian Country.

“On tribal lands, 10 percent of homes lack access to safe drinking water compared to less than one percent of non-native homes. Together with the Indian Health Service, EPA is using Recovery Act funds to provide much-needed support for water and wastewater systems in Indian Country,” said Laura Yoshii, acting regional administrator for the U.S. EPA in the Pacific Southwest.

Yoshii said the funding creates jobs for tribal members, addresses critical infrastructure needs and will increase access to drinking water and basic sanitation services.

“By 2010, over 4,400 tribal homes in the Pacific Southwest are expected to receive piped drinking water or basic sanitation services for the first time,” she said.

The tribes receiving funds include the following:

  • Tule River Indian Reservation will receive $6,371,470 to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant serving 268 homes;

  • Round Valley Indian Tribes will receive $474,380 to expand its wastewater treatment facility serving 132 homes;

  • Redwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians will receive $316,770 for improvements to its wastewater treatment plant serving 32 homes;

  • Grindstone Indian Rancheria of Wintun-Wailaki Indians of California will receive $205,310 to upgrade sewer connections serving 10 homes;

  • Redding Rancheria will receive $180,070 to expand sewer connections serving 13 homes;

  • Quechan Tribe will receive $340,630 to upgrade sewer lines serving 15 homes;

  • Campo Band of Kumeyaay Indians will receive $753,100 for drinking water treatment serving 29 homes.

Continuing a tradition spanning 20 years, EPA and IHS’s combined effort to improve water services in Indian Country contributed to their identification of 95 wastewater and 64 drinking water priority projects to be completed by IHS’s Sanitation Facilities Construction Program through EPA Recovery Act funds.

The projects exceed the Recovery Act requirement that 20 percent of the funds be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on Feb. 17 and has directed that the recovery act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To see how every dollar is being invested, visit .

BUTTE COUNTY – In a Monday hearing a convicted murderer was granted his request for a new judge as part of proceedings to determine his competency during his trial more than a quarter century ago.

Gerald Stanley, 64, made his appearance in Butte County Superior Court on Monday via teleconference from San Quentin State Prison, where he is on death row.

Appearing with his public defender, Chico attorney Dennis Hoptowit, Stanley asked to have Judge Steven J. Howell disqualified from the case.

In a June 4 letter to the Butte County Superior Court, Stanley said he wanted Howell removed for bias.

Howell, who was assigned to preside, in turn appointed Judge Gerald Hermanson to take the case, according to Lake County District Attorney Jon Hopkins, who was in Butte County for the hearing.

Stanley was convicted of the August 1980 murder of his wife, Cynthia Rogers, at her father's resort in Nice. He was sentenced to death and sent to death row in February 1984.

The former hunting guide also had done prison time for murdering his first wife, Kathleen Rhiley, in 1975. His wife, Diana Lynn Ramel, went missing on Feb. 14, 1980, but he has maintained his innocence in her death. Then, before Cynthia Rogers was shot, a 19-year-old Redding woman, Sheryl Ranee Wright, went missing, and Stanley was being investigated for her murder at one point as well.

His murder conviction has been the subject of numerous appeals and legal proceedings over the years.

However, it took a new turn in March of 2008 when federal court Judge Frank C. Damrell ruled that a new hearing was needed to determine whether or not Stanley had been mentally competent during his trial's death penalty phase.

Damrell's finding was based on a female juror who had been a domestic violence victim but hadn't disclosed it in court. Stanley told Lake County News in a phone interview earlier this year that he and his attorneys had been aware of the woman's experience but had wanted to keep her on the jury anyway.

Nevertheless, that kicked off a new series of legal proceedings in Butte County, where the trial – which took place during the latter half of 1983 and into early 1984 – was moved from Lake County due to pre-trial publicity.

Hopkins has said previously that, despite the length of time that has passed, a retroactive competency hearing could be held, and he plans to argue that Stanley was sane at the time of trial.

Stanley, in a June 29 phone interview with Lake County News, had worried that the Monday hearing might not take place because he said San Quentin officials were considering postponing it due to his health.

“I'm ready, I want to do this. It's important,” he said.

Stanley, who has heart problems, said he began a hunger strike after he claimed he was assaulted by prison guards – who also allegedly took photos from his cell – on June 25.

Hopkins said Stanley had written the court threatening not to show up at the hearing because of the issues.

A prison spokesman couldn't be reached for comment before the end of the day Monday to address the allegations.

Stanley has alleged similar abuse issues before, and in a June 1 letter to the court accused San Quentin officials of interfering with his legal mail and calls, while he said guards were making him wait “in stand up cages for hours.”

He said they're trying to force him to provide the location of Ramel's body, which he has stated is to be found buried in a creek bed in Manton, in northern Tehama County.

Earlier this year Stanley gave Tehama County officials information about where he and a friend buried Ramel, who he said overdosed. He's offered the information over the years in exchange for an execution date.

At a Sept. 15 hearing, which Hopkins said was set Monday, Stanley is expected to argue for representing himself in court and is expected once again to seek to have Hoptowit removed. He told Lake County News on June 29 that he wanted Hoptowit off the case.

That issue was supposed to be discussed at the Monday hearing, but Hopkins said Hoptowit requested more time.

Stanley also has once again indicated that he wants Hayward attorney Jack Leavitt to represent him in court. He had wanted to bring Leavitt on previously, but was turned down by Howell last September.

In March of 2008, Stanley had a chance to ask for Leavitt, but instead requested Mark Olive, a Florida attorney who specializes in death row cases and has worked on Stanley's case in the past. Hoptowit was appointed at that time by Judge Sandra McLean.

Last month Stanley wrote to the court once again saying he wanted Leavitt on the case, and accusing Hoptowit and the federal defenders working his case of continuing “to deceive me and the courts.” He said he wants to represent himself with Leavitt's help.

Hoptowit could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Explaining his plans, Stanley said, “We're going to agree with Jon Hopkins that I was competent in 1983 and that I'm competent now.”

Hopkins said that he hopes on Sept. 15 to be able to set a date for a hearing on the feasibility of a retroactive competency hearing.

He admitted that, with the delays in the case, it's entirely possible that hearing won't happen this year.

“We just need to get going here,” he said.

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


ST. HELENA – A Sunday fire destroyed two structures in Calistoga, according to a Monday report.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief and Fire Marshal Pete Muñoa reported that the fire was reported just after 11 a.m. Sunday at 1202 Tucker Road in unincorporated Napa County.

He said firefighters from Cal Fire, Napa County Fire, Calistoga City Fire and St Helena City Fire Departments responded to the incident.

The first arriving firefighters reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the buildings, said Muñoa.

Muñoa said a total of two structures were destroyed. The total estimated damage – including the buildings and their contents – is $125,000.

The sole resident, a man in his 50s, is being assisted by the Napa Chapter of the Red Cross. Muñoa said no injuries were reported.

Investigators from the Napa County Fire Marshal’s Office believe the cause of the fire to be accidental, Muñoa said.

A Cal Fire helicopter drops water on a burning outbuilding in north Lakeport on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




LAKEPORT – About eight acres burned Wednesday afternoon as the result of what appears to be two separate fires that may have merged in the north Lakeport area.

The fires burned near Highway 29 in an area near a housing development not far from Sutter Lakeside Hospital, as Lake County News reported earlier this afternoon. Mop up work continued through the afternoon and early evening in the area.

One outbuilding was destroyed, and firefighters on scene estimated about eight acres were charred.

Nearby, homeowners wetted down their homes as gusts of wind carried the flames close to the houses, according to Lake County News correspondent Harold LaBonte, who was at the scene.

A helicopter made about six water drops on the outbuilding that burned, which appeared to be a major fire hot spot, as other aircraft flew over the scene.

No injuries were reported, and officials at the scene did not identify an ignition source for the fire.

Lakeport, Northshore and Kelseyville Fire Districts were on scene, along with Cal Fire, US Forest Service and Konocti Conservation Camp, according to Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins.

Robbins estimated a total of 40 firefighters from the various agencies were involved in fighting the fire.



The remains of the burned outbuilding destroyed during a fire in the north Lakeport area on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




The flames moved close to the Lakeside Heights subdivision in north Lakeport on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




The fire surrounded the tennis court and pool for the Lakeside Heights subdivision in north Lakeport on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




A fire truck in the midst of a charred field in north Lakeport on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




A Cal Fire helicopter made several water drops on a burning outbuilding in north Lakeport on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



THE GEYSERS – Two sizable earthquakes hit The Geysers area Monday evening.

The first, measuring 3.8 in magnitude, occurred at 5:29 p.m., while the second, occurring at 10:03 p.m., was 3.7 in magnitude, according to the US Geological Survey.

The 3.8-magnitude quake occurred at a depth of 1.5 miles, and was centered two miles north of The Geysers, five mile west of Cobb and seven miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.

Residents of Clearlake and Kelseyville reported feeling it locally, while the US Geological Survey also received shake reports from Sonoma County and more than 130 miles away in Citrus Heights.

The earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter Scale was 1.9 miles deep, centered three miles north northeast of The Geysers, four miles west of Cobb and seven miles west of Anderson Springs. Shake reports came from as close as Kelseyville and as far away from San Francisco.

The first quake of the evening had a Mercalli Modified Intensity Scale rating of IV, which means some damage occurred and it was felt by many people, according to the strong ground motion sensors in Anderson Springs and Cobb.

The second quake had a Mercalli rating one step higher, at V, which means more people felt it and there was more potential for property damage.

On June 30 the county had a 3.8 quake, followed the next day by a 3.0, as Lake County News has reported. Both were in The Geysers area.

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

Lakeport's fireworks display on Saturday, July 4, 2009. Photo by Ron Keas.




LAKE COUNTY – Lake County residents and visitors were out in force this hot, clear weekend, enjoying Independence Day festivities around the lake.

Clearlake Oaks kicked off the celebration on Friday evening with its fireworks display.

On Saturday, the cities of Clearlake and Lakeport celebrated July 4 with all-day festivals that culminated in nighttime fireworks displays.

The International Worm Races, an annual favorite, were back again this year. Always an opportunity for good fun, the race had the worms at their mark with coaches standing by.

Possibly the most hilarious event of the weekend was the second annual cardboard and duct tape boat race off of Library Park in Lakeport.

Since last year, competitors have been perfecting their efforts. The boats held up even better, with only one child managing to sink a boat this time around.

Find a video of the 12 and under age division race shot by correspondent Terre Logsdon at the YouTube Lake County News Channel, .




Residents and visitors line the lakeshore in Lakeport's Library Park during the Saturday, July 4, 2009, celebration. Photo by Ron Keas.




Boats off of Lakeport's Library Park on Saturday, July 4, 2009, before the annual fireworks display. Photo by Ron Keas.




Lakeport's annual fireworks display on Saturday, July 4, 2009, was once again spectacular, and could be seen across the lake. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Carnival games offered tests of skill during Clearlake's annual Independence Day celebration. Photo by Glen R. Erspamer Jr.




Clearlake's annual Independence Day carnival featured rides, vendors and a full day of fun. Photo by Glen R. Erspamer Jr.




LAKEPORT (4:41 p.m.) – Firefighters are battling a fire in the north Lakeport area that has already burned an outbuilding and is close to homes.

The fire appears to have started at Highway 29 and is being fanned by gusting winds, according to Lake County News correspondent Harold LaBonte, reporting from the scene.

So far the fire has burned several acres and is threatening homes on Lancaster, across from Sutter Lakeside Hospital, according to LaBonte.

People are trying to secure their homes, and in some cases working alongside firefighters to keep homes safe. LaBonte estimated the flames in one area came within 50 feet of the homes.

Lakeport and Northshore Fire Protection Districts, Cal Fire and the US Forest Service are among the agencies on the scene.

The fire is being fought both from the ground and the air, with aircraft dropping water on hot spots in the area, including a burned outbuilding that had large amounts of construction material inside.

Some of the plywood appeared to be exploding, and loud popping noises and black smoke were coming from an area where a transformer may have been located.

Lake County News will post more updates as more information becomes available.

From left, worm racing stars Desirae Bradley-Cordova, Colleen Garner, Nikki Tucker and her mom holding sister Alyssa Tucker. Courtesy photo.


CLEARLAKE – The competition proved brutal from the beginning when, during the first heat, the judge for the 0-5 category called out, "Oh! We have some worms crawling over worms!"

Trainers and their parents cheered the worms on as the squiggling creatures inched their way toward the finish line in each race. Spectators crowded around the racing circle, eager to see which worms would move on to the finals.

To start every heat, trainers placed their worms in the center of the racing board. When the race began, the worms were to crawl to the outside of the racing circle a full 12 inches away.

Approximately 200 racers participated in this year’s event on Saturday, July 4, at Austin Park in Clearlake.

Despite the stiff competition, the worm Dizzy 4 Desi – trained by 13-year-old Desirae Bradley-Cordova from Oroville – took first place, earning her $100, a first-place trophy and bragging rights until next year.

Although no one could be sure, the worms radiated a hint of nervousness as each countdown began. However, Colleen Garner, the local worm champion from Clearlake, won the second-place spot with her worm, Madame Worm. Garner earned $75 with a second place trophy.

Nikki Tucker from Rocklin took the third place trophy along with $50 to go toward her next year's entry.

Her sister, Alyssa Tucker, won the fourth place trophy and $25. She was asleep from all the excitement of the day by the time the final prizes were handed out. That is OK – a long day of racing is tiring for one who is just 2 years old. Earlier in the day, watching her with her squirming worm in hand was adorable.

There may not be another event like this in the world, which is why we had participants from as far away as England this year. This event is extraordinary; where else but Clearlake can you race a worm?

This event is sponsored by the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, but it could not happen without the help from the volunteers.

Thanks also got to Affordable Signs & T’s; Arbor House Bed & Breakfast; BiCoastal Media; C&G Enterprises (music DJ); Clearlake Code Enforcement Officer Lee Lambert, Bill Edmunds (worm master) and his son Jim Edmunds; Foods Etc.; Tom Hewlett DDS and wife Carol; Konoctees; Lakeshore Bait & Tackle; Mendo Mill; Penny Slaver; Shannon Ridge Vineyards & Winery; Wild About Books; and chamber volunteers Al Devilbliss, Natasha Russell, Nicole Lenhart, Tammy McClain, Jim, Zack and Jake Peters.



The annual worm race drew fierce competition on Saturday, July 4, 2009, in Clearlake. Courtesy photo.




As the race heats up, the worms' support teams cluster closely on Saturday, July 4, 2009, in Clearlake. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY – Seven nonprofit organizations, five high schools, senior centers and health programs have been selected as beneficiaries of this year’s Lake County Wine Auction, announced Margaret Walker-Stimmel, president of the sponsoring Lake County Wine Alliance.

The Wine Alliance, a nonprofit organization of wineries, winegrape growers, vineyard owners, related businesses and community supporters founded in 2000, raises funds to benefit “the arts, health and community” of Lake County, while promoting Lake County as a premier growing region for fine wine grapes. An all-volunteer board of directors and auction committee plan and direct the annual charity event.

This year’s Wine Auction, the 10th annual, will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the National Guard Armory, north of Lakeport.

In these times of challenging economic uncertainties for many local nonprofit programs and agencies, the sponsors recognized the need to limit expenses in order to donate more funds to the beneficiary groups.

Walker-Stimmel noted that over $714,000 in proceeds has been contributed to Lake County programs from the first nine events, held at the Buckingham Golf & Country Club with the support of owner Mark Wotherspoon.

The Wine Alliance board has expressed its appreciation to Wotherspoon and his staff for their exceptional contributions to the community through hosting the auction activities.

This year’s beneficiaries are the Allegro Scholarship Program, Lake County Hunger Task Force, St. Helena Hospital Clearlake Mammography Fund, Stitch and Give Knitters, Vietnam Veterans of Lake County, People Services Inc., Senior Law Project Inc., the fine arts programs at the five Lake County high schools and the Meals on Wheels programs at five senior centers.

A special “fund a need” portion of the live auction will benefit the Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum project of the Lake County Historical Society.

Beneficiaries were selected by the Wine Alliance board of directors and a committee of community members, and chaired by Judy Luchsinger.

The event is a black tie affair that showcases fine foods and wines from Lake County restaurants, caterers, and wineries. The ticket price is $100 per person and includes participation in the live and silent auctions and dancing to live music, provided this year by the LC Diamonds.

Tom DiNardo, sommelier diplomate with the International Sommelier Guild, is this year’s guest auctioneer. He will be joined by Stephanie Green, sommelier and owner of the Kelseyville wine shop, Focused on Wine.

Andy Beckstoffer, chairman and CEO of Beckstoffer Vineyards, and a major North Coast vineyard owner, is the Wine Auction event chair.  Congressman Mike Thompson, chair of the 2008 benefit, is a special guest.  Beckstoffer and Thompson continue their longtime support of Lake County and the expanding local wine industry.  Rob Roumiguiere, partner in Roumiguiere Vineyards and Wine Alliance treasurer, is this year’s master of ceremonies.

A record number of applicants submitted their funding requests to the Wine Alliance, demonstrating the number of programs in Lake County seeking financial assistance.

The recipient organizations will use their grants for the following projects.

The Arts: The Allegro Scholarship Program assists exceptional music students with financial needs and will receive $2,000. The fine arts programs at each of the five high schools in Lake County (Clear Lake High, Kelseyville High, Lower Lake High, Middletown High, and Upper Lake High) will share the balance of funds in this category.


The Lake County Hunger Task Force will receive $2,500 to assist senior centers and food banks with produce from its community gardens.

The balance of funds will be shared equally by the five senior centers that provide “meals on wheels” or nutrition programs and the St. Helena Hospital Clearlake Medical Imaging department for its no-cost mammograms to low or no-income women.


The Stitch and Give Knitters will receive $1,000 to help them provide knitted items to the women’s shelter, pregnant teen program, Head Start program, and newborn hats to the area hospitals.

The Lake County Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America will receive $5,000 for its advocacy and outreach programs, including the Avenue of Flags at local cemeteries, and providing gifts to patients at extended care facilities.

Remaining funds in this category will be shared between Peoples Services Inc., and Senior Law Project Inc. People Services has been meeting the needs of the developmentally disabled in Lake County for 35 years. The Senior Law Project provides legal help to elder clients in Lake County.

The Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum project of the Lake County Historical Society will receive special attention through a “fund a need” live auction lot. The recently relocated structure is considered to be Lake County’s oldest “stick-built” building, dating to the late 1850s. It will be the centerpiece of a new interpretive museum for Lake County’s agrarian past.

Additional events include winemaker dinners at several locations on Friday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m.  More details about hosts and locations will be announced later. The proceeds from the dinners will also be contributed to this year’s beneficiaries. Tickets will be $60 per person, after the purchase of a ticket for the Wine Auction.

Members of the Wine Alliance board include Margaret Walker-Stimmel, president; Marie Beery, vice president; Pamela Shine-Duncan, secretary; Rob Roumiguiere, treasurer; and Kaj Ahlmann, Judy Luchsinger, Wilda Shock, and Janet Thompson, directors.

More information, tickets and reservations, and sponsorship opportunities may be obtained by contacting the Lake County Wine Alliance by phone, 866-279-WINE, by mail, P.O. Box 530, Kelseyville, CA 95451, or at .

From left, Clear Lake campus Dean Bryon Bell, new Yuba College President Patricia Adkins and Kevin Trutna, Yuba College's vice president of academic and student services. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




CLEARLAKE – Yuba College's new president paid a visit to the Clear Lake campus for a reception on Tuesday.

Dr. Patricia “Kay” Adkins spent her first day on the job Monday in the college's Marysville headquarters, and was in Clearlake Tuesday to visit the campus, its staff and administrators.

Adkins succeeded President Paul Mendoza, who retired. She was selected after a nationwide search that began in January, led by the Association of Community College Trustees, in collaboration with the Yuba College Community District Governing Board and chancellor.

The process included public forums to gather input on constructing a presidential profile, acceptance of applications through April and then, in mid-May, public forums in Marysville and Clearlake where finalists spoke to the community, according to a college statement.

“The excellent work of the search committee should be commended,” said Yuba College Community District Board Chair Alan Flory in a statement. “They orchestrated an elaborate five-month process and chose four exceptionally well-qualified finalists, of which Dr. Adkins was the best fit for our district. We are excited to have Dr. Adkins on board and look forward to her leadership in stewarding Yuba College into the future.”

In her new job Adkins will oversee 120 faculty and an estimated 10,000 students – 6,000 of them full-time – across eight counties and nearly 4,200 square miles of rural Northern California, from Marysville and Woodland to Clearlake, according to college officials.

She arrives in California with husband, Barry Gowin – a retired educator – from Ohio, where she was provost of Columbus State Community College.

Adkins herself is a community college graduate. She earned an associate of science degree from Shawnee Community College in Illinois before going on to receive both her bachelor's degree in elementary education and master's degree in education from Southern Illinois University.

At Illinois State University she earned her doctorate in higher education administration.

During her career she's held various leadership positions in community colleges in Illinois, where she worked for 14 years, as well as eight years in Florida's community colleges.

Working in both rural and urban settings, Adkins has experience working with business and industry, plus a strong background in strategic planning and regional accreditation processes.

Adkins said she was attracted to Yuba College because of the school's quality, reputation and student-centered philosophy. She also was “extremely impressed” with the college's history of community involvement.

California's budget crisis means colleges all over California don't yet know what budget they'll have in the coming fiscal year. There are a lot of agencies in the same boat, said Adkins.

But Adkins is pragmatic about the fact that she's arriving at a time when California is having so many financial struggles.

“Every state's budget is imploding now for education,” she explained.

When the going gets tough, it's time for administrators like Adkins to look at core programs and services and make sure they're responding to the needs of their particular communities.

“The community college has two missions,” said Adkins.

The first is helping young people get their transfer units to go on to universities or four-year colleges. Adkins said the second mission focuses on offering occupational, vocational and credential programs for adults.

“We've always served both,” Adkins said of the college's missions. “There's not one that's more important than the other.”

Right now, Adkins is busy getting to know her faculty, staff and students as a prelude to assessing where the college needs to go next.


Adkins plans to take a collaborative approach in working with the community college system's chancellor, her faculty and the school's strategic plan to build on Yuba College's goals and existing programs.


She also will have the opportunity to oversee the district's building and facilities improvements which are funded through its $190 million Measure J bond, approved by voters in November of 2006.

“It's coming at a very good time,” said Adkins.

The Clear Lake campus has 11 full-time faculty and about 700 full-time students, said campus Dean Bryon Bell.

Bell estimated that the campus has around 11 acres. Measure J includes $9 million to build the campus a new 30,000-square-foot multi-use building that will include a student center, science lab and culinary space, in addition to other facilities.

At one point the college was looking at possibly moving its campus to another location, said Bell.

However, now college officials are in discussions with the Konocti Unified School District to explore the possibility of purchasing three acres of the Oak Hill Middle School campus next door, Bell said. Konocti Unified closed that school earlier this year but has moved some alternative programs there.

“We're just looking at our options right now,” said Adkins.

Classes start for the fall semester at the Clear Lake campus on Aug. 17, Bell said.

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LAKE MENDOCINO – A Cloverdale man drowned late last week at Lake Mendocino, according to a Monday report from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Matthew Arreguin, 26, was on a camping trip with his family when the tragedy occurred, according to the report.

The sheriff's report explained that Arreguin and his friends were towing a large raft out into the water.

For unknown reasons, Arreguin turned around and started to swim back towards shore. Near the shore, in approximately four feet of water, Arreguin yelled for help and went under the water, the report said.

Arreguin was pulled from the water by a bystander after being under water for approximately one minute, according to the report.

Just after 4 p.m. Friday, emergency services were dispatched to Lake Mendocino for a possible drowning victim with cardiopulmonary resuscitation in progress in the area of the Kyen Campground, officials said.

Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies, patrolling the lake in their patrol boat, responded to the location, where they found Army Corps of Engineers personnel and bystanders performing CPR until emergency medical services from Redwood Valley Fire and Ukiah Ambulance arrived on scene.

Emergency medical services continued with life-saving techniques but Arreguin died on scene.

Sheriff's officials did not directly state alcohol was involved, but offered the reminder that people should be careful and safe when drinking alcohol in and around the water.

Arreguin is the second drowning victim this month at the lake.

A Redwood Valley man, 19-year-old Pablo Macias, drowned in the lake on June 16, but his body wasn't found until a week later, as Lake County News has reported.

LAKE COUNTY – With no state budget in place, last week the state began giving IOUs to the state's 58 counties.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Legislature are locked in budget impasse over the shape of the budget ahead.

Last Tuesday, Schwarzenegger followed through on his promise to veto a budget that didn't fully resolve the state's crushing deficit issues. He then issued an emergency declaration on Wednesday – the day the new fiscal year began – and expanding the number of furloughs for state workers.

The governor also called a Proposition 58 legislative special session to address the budget, giving them 45 days to solve the crisis, otherwise no other bills will be able to be addressed and they'll be forced to remain in session.

On Thursday, State Controller John Chiang began issuing $776 million in registered warrants – also known as IOUs – to county governments for CalWORKs grants, administration of social services, mental health services and alcohol and drug treatment programs. Counties are mandated to provide those services under state and federal law, according to the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). In February, Chiang also had delayed some payments.

Chiang said the state's “massively unbalanced spending plan” and cash shortfall haven't been seen since the Great Depression, with its $2.8 billion cash shortage in July estimated to grow to $6.5 billion in September. And after that, he said, “we see a double-digit freefall.”

Only those categories determined by the state constitution, federal law and court decisions will receive regular payments this month, Chiang's office reported.

The IOUs are added injury for counties, which already are facing proposed cuts of $4.3 billion, according to CSAC, which said some counties could themselves be pushed to the financial brink as a result.

“We are putting the governor, Legislature and residents we serve on notice that we cannot uniformly ensure the delivery of critical health, public safety and other vital services in the current fiscal

environment," said Gary Wyatt, Imperial County supervisor and CSAC president.

“Let's be clear, services will be disrupted at the local level, and the state's inability to resolve its budget issues is severely impeding counties' ability to meet the needs of the people we serve,” Wyatt said.

CSAC accused the state of pushing its cash crisis down to counties, which it said will be forced to conserve cash by paring down services, such as libraries, parks or road maintenance, or by issuing their own IOUs to vendors in order to make ends meet.

Lake County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox said the state budget agreement approved several months ago included payment deferrals to counties for certain programs for two months, so the county already was anticipating IOUs, which he said are better than standard payment deferrals because of the interest earnings tied to them.

Cox said the state set an interest rate of 3.75 percent on the IOUs on Thursday. He said the notes will mature on Oct. 2.

“That's actually a very favorable interest rate and better than we can do on most of our current treasury investments,” said Cox.

He said the county's primary bank, Wells Fargo, will accept the state's warrants through at least July 10, so there is no immediate impact on the county.

Cox said he doesn't anticipate the state's payment deferrals and IOUs to force the county to borrow from outside sources, because the county's treasury has sufficient funding and reserves.

He estimated that the county's Social Services Department received revenue for July aid payments last month, so they are good until the end of July, and they have other resources to get them through August.

Cox is concerned about deferrals of mental health revenues to the county's Mental Health Department, which already has been operating on a very tight budget. Cox said Mental Health has no ability to absorb additional payment deferrals and will likely require interim financing from another source in the county budget.

With the state under tremendous pressure to bring the budget to a conclusion, Cox said he doubts the IOUs and deferrals will continue for an extended period, and that the county should be able to weather the situation until then.

For Cox and other county officials, the bigger concern is the outlook of a final state budget, which has a laundry list of potentially negative impacts for Lake and its sister counties.

“The county could very well end up with a long-term loss of road maintenance funding, a long-term borrowing by the state of our local property tax revenues, significant amounts of new fees imposed by the state for forensic lab services and other state services that we must use to fulfill our responsibilities, a loss of Williamson Act open space subvention revenues, and major long-term financial implications of changes to the welfare and mental health programs – implications that will result in a substantial shift of costs from the state to the county,” said Cox. “Those are the things I'm most concerned about and anxious to see resolved.”

CSAC said the state is proposing to raid $1.7 billion in local gas tax funds. There also is the proposed suspension of Proposition 1A of 2004, which protects local government revenue.

“Counties are not confident that the state will be able to repay the property tax 'loan' in a timely manner, as the Constitution requires,” the group said in a statement last week.

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

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