Thursday, 25 July 2024

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It’s easy to imagine awkward moments on college campuses these days as veterans of the Iraq/ Afghanistan era mix with another category of student also using generous education benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.


“What’s your service and where did you serve?”


“I didn’t. My dad (mom) did.”


More than 38,000 military children and spouses have gone to college this past year on benefits transferred to them from military careerists and recent retirees. And that flow has just begun.


Through early September, the services had approved requests from 145,000 service members to transfer GI Bill benefits to 331,000 children and spouses. Congressional auditors two years ago estimated the transferability feature alone would add $10 billion to program costs over the first decade.


Benefits can be transferred to a spouse if the member has served at least six years and commits to four more. Transfer to children, in return for that extra time, is allowed after 10 years’ service.


But GI Bill transfers are in overdrive right now because Defense officials made almost the entire career force eligible, and eliminated or reduced that extra service obligation for those near to retirement.


As a result, awkward moments over transferability are occurring on Capitol Hill too. In July, at a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) said the Department of Defense “has too broadly extended this benefit.”


Akaka said Congress believed transferability would be used selectively, to retain members with critical skills, and not to reward all careerists.


Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), chief architect of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, in a brief interview Friday, recalled how he hesitated to accept transferability when pushed by the Bush administration in final GI Bill negotiations.


“My personal focus was on the citizen soldier who spends a tour and then returns to civilian life. They are the ones who were to benefit, as they did from the original GI bill, the World War II GI Bill. To help these people get on with the rest of their lives has been my main focus,” Webb said.


“I would like to see the numbers on transferability,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m opposed but I would be very curious to see the numbers.”


And on his visits to the Pentagon, Webb added, “I’d like to see senior leaders over there spend more time talking about how great this benefit is for the people who leave the military. Yet every time I come over they want to talk to me about transferability … I remind them they ought to be just as happy about those people who have gotten out” after fewer than six years.


The first bill Webb introduced as a new senator in 2007 was a GI Bill to rival the post-World War II benefit, paying the full cost of college for a new generation of warriors, at least at state-run schools. When his idea gained steam in early 2008, Republican leaders countered with a more modest plan to beef up the Montgomery GI Bill. Defense leaders preferred this, fearing Webb’s more generous plan would put force readiness at risk, enticing many to leave for college after a single hitch or mid-career.


Then-Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) proposed a compromise, a transferability test to allow members to give half of their new GI Bill benefit to family members. Bush had endorsed transferability in his 2008 State of the Union address, so it snowballed into a very robust feature of Webb’s bill.


Eligibility would depend on how Defense officials wrote the implementing regulation. What they produced was far more inclusive than many observers had expected. Even some veterans’ service organizations were surprised at how expansive they made GI Bill transferability.


“DoD got this great retention tool. Instead of managing it by specific military occupational specialty or hard-target skill sets, DoD says ‘It doesn’t come out of our budget so we’re going to give it to everybody,’” complained an education expert for one vet organization. “They made the application for transferability so liberal it was perceived as a retiree benefit. That, very clearly, was not the intent of the legislation. It’s the equivalent of paying new retirees a retention bonus for being retired.”


Akaka thought he had a partial solution in May when he introduced a comprehensive bill to reform the Post-9/11 GI Bill. He tucked in a provision to shift the cost of transferability from the VA budget to DoD, so Defense officials would tighten eligibility or suffer the fiscal consequences. By August Akaka had pulled that provision at the request of Defense officials.


DoD has no plans to tighten transferability rules.


“Transferability will help us continue to recruit and retain highly qualified American youth,” said Robert E. Clark, assistant director for accession policy at DoD.


It’s a tool, he said, “to address the force management goals of the services, while allowing career service members to share the benefits they've earned with their families.”


Members qualified for transferability only if they were on active duty on or after Aug. 1, 2009. In opening it to the entire career force, Defense officials relaxed the four-year added service obligation for anyone eligible to retire from August 2009 through July 2012. This had to be done, officials said, to preserve force structure and promotion opportunity.


That very large wave of eligible families with older children will pass with time and won’t be seen again. One official put it this way:


“The old-guys-get-the-money stuff pretty much happens in the first year or two,” he said. “After that, they're all signed up and it's the people completing six years who are your new class of [transfer] takers. So in the end, all warriors will have benefited … but it will grow to become applicable only to those completing their sixth year – a retention sensitive group – exactly as Senator Akaka suggests.”


To comment, send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to Military Update, P. O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120-1111.


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Silent auction items and bid sheets line the tasting room bar during the Lake County Wine Auction on Saturday, September 18, 2010, at Ceago Vinegarden in Nice, Calif. Proceeds from the silent auction totaled $6,179, an average of more than $100 for each of the 57 items. Photo by Esther Oertel.
 

 

 

 

 


NICE, Calif. – The shimmer of the late afternoon sun on Clear Lake was a fitting backdrop for the arrival of hundreds of guests to the 11th annual Lake County Wine Auction on Saturday.


Ceago Vinegarden, surrounded by gardens and perched on the shores of the lake in Nice, was the venue for this year’s event.


All available tickets – 350 of them – were sold out a month in advance, a first for the Wine Auction, and the rambling Mediterranean-inspired courtyards and various tasting rooms of the winery provided ample space for the sellout crowd.


The Lake County Wine Alliance has sponsored the auction since its inception in 2000 for the purpose of raising money for nonprofit organizations throughout Lake County.

 

 

 

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This year

SACRAMENTO – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is marking National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 19 through 25, by educating the public about properly securing their most precious loved ones.


“One of the most important jobs you have as a caretaker is keeping a child safe when riding in a vehicle,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Whether it’s a car seat, booster seat or seat belt, make sure you properly secure your children and yourself every time you get behind the wheel.”


According to 2008 statistics – the most recent year of finalized data – of the 28 children younger than age six who were killed in vehicle collisions in California, 21 were not properly restrained.


California law requires that children be properly secured in the back seat in a child restraint system until they are at least 6 years old or 60 pounds.


Additionally, children under age 16 must be properly secured in either a child restraint system or seat belt.


CHP officers issue thousands of citations annually for child safety seat violations throughout California.


According to the Office of Traffic Safety, on the first offense, a child passenger violation will cost $445 with penalty assessments.


A second or subsequent offense carries a cost of $1,025. If the parent is not in the vehicle, the driver gets the ticket.


“A child safety seat provides the best possible protection for children in the event of a crash,” said Farrow. “But it’s important to make sure that the seat children are riding in is properly installed and the one best suited for them based on age and size.”


During National Child Passenger Safety Week, many CHP area offices will offer free car seat inspections and have scheduled events on Saturday, Sept. 25.


Trained car seat technicians will demonstrate how to properly fit children in the seats and install the seats into cars.


Parents and caregivers can call their local area CHP office to find free clinics near them.


You can visit the CHP Web site at www.chp.ca.gov and click on “Divisions and Offices,” to find contact information.


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 .

UKIAH, Calif. – Solar 
Living 
Institute’s
 14th 
annual renewable 
energy 
and 
sustainable 
event, 
SolFest, 
will be held at the 
Redwood 
Empire Fairgrounds
 in
 Ukiah on Saturday, Sept. 25, and Sunday, Sept. 26.


The event is back after a one-year hiatus.


For more than 14 years SolFest has attracted up to 10,000 attendees due to dynamic keynotes speakers, education panels and workshops, music and celebration as a way to demonstrate solar and sustainability applications, said Solar Living Institute Executive Director Ross Beck.


SolFest 
is 
the 
original 
“greenest
 show
 on
 earth”
 featuring 
a
 two‐day, 
family‐friendly, 
green
 festival 
of more than 50 informative 
workshops and
 education 
panels, 
hands‐on 
demonstrations, 
prime
 networking
 opportunities, celebrations
 and
 world‐class
 entertainment
 with 
thousands
 of
 sustainable living enthusiasts 
in attendance.




SolFest
 offers 
music,
 camping,
 kids' 
area, 
the MoonDance
 and 
a 
new
 location 12 
miles 
north 
of 
the 
Solar 
Living 
Center. 




Robert 
F.
 Kennedy Jr.
 is 
the 
keynote
 speaker
 at
 this year's event. He 
will speak
 on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 25.



“We
 are 
honored
 to
 host
 such
 a
 powerful
 environmental
 leader
 as
 Mr.
 Kennedy,” said Beck.


Other notable speakers at the event include Arianna Huffington, Ed Begley Jr., David Blume, David Orr, Rhone Resch, virtual Bill McKibben, AG Kawamura, Paul Dolan and Congressman Mike Thompson.


Panels cover solar electric cars, off-grid solar in the third world, youth for green schools, green building for the 21st century and community resilience and localization.


Workshops range from Alcohol as Fuel and Starting a Solar Business, to Beekeeping, Eco Home Remodeling and Greywater Systems. Demonstrations illustrate Wind Turbines, PV System Performance, Eco-bricks and Medicinal Herbs.


For musical entertainment there's Poor Man's Whiskey, DGINN on the Main Stage. Sila, DJ Dragonfly and The Jug Dealers for Moondance, and non-stop music at the Solar Stage: Keegan Smith, Bucky Walters, Trailer Park Rangers, Misner & Smith, Linda Ferro Band, Alexis Harte, The Mighty Chiplings, Bruce Klein's Galactic Band, Festival of Friends, DJ Kevin West and Charlie Vaughan & Friends.


Children ages 12 and under may attend for free. Family stage programming has hands-on pottery making, hula hooping, tumbling and juggling workshops, puppetry, Native American storytelling, songs and music.


KRCB's Film Pavilion features the Natural Heroes series: the Brower Youth Awards, Global Oneness, Voyage of the Veizo, The Story of Stuff and How Cuba Survived Peak Oil and more.


The Network Cafe offers up to date information on green career options in today's economic climate and tips on writing a resume. Stop by and start a conversation with both experts and fellow citizens. Be inspired by the notable achievements of past Solar Living Institute Interns.


Visit hundreds of exhibits and booths showcasing green businesses and products. Enjoy organic and biodynamic wine, beer and fine food.

 

Visit www.solfest.org 
to 
learn 
more.




Tickets are now on sale. For ticket information and pricing visit www.inticketing.com/events/104481/Solfest-XIV.


For more information about 
Solar Living
 Institute visit www.solarliving.org.


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

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – State and national unemployment rates increased slightly in August, while Lake County's rate dropped, according to the state's latest labor statistics report.


The Employment Development Department reported that Lake County's unemployment rate dropped from an unadjusted rate of 17.3 percent in July to 16.8 percent in August. The county registered 14.8 percent unemployment in August 2009.


Lake ranked 53 out of the state's 58 counties for its August unemployment rate, the report showed.


Statewide, unemployment edged up to 12.4 percent in August from 12.3 percent in July, with nonfarm payroll jobs decreasing by 33,500 during the month, based on data derived from two separate surveys that the Employment Development Department released. The August 2009 unemployment rate was 12 percent.


The U.S. unemployment rate also increased in August to 9.6 percent, up from 9.5 percent in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That national rate for August actually is slightly lower than in August 2009, when nationwide unemployment reached 9.7 percent.


A federal survey of 5,500 households, done with a smaller sample than the survey of employers, showed an increase in the number of employed people during the month. It estimated the number of Californians holding jobs in August was 15,968,000, a decrease of 49,000 from July, and down 71,000 from the employment total in August of last year.


The number of people unemployed in California was 2,261,000, up by 11,000 over the month, and up by 81,000 compared with August of last year, the state reported.


“The latest job numbers show that Californians are continuing to suffer from slow job growth, and things will only improve when there is strong hiring in the private sector,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “That is the No. 1 reason I went on my trade mission – to drum up support for California’s products and services and create jobs.”


Schwarzenegger said it must be made easier for businesses to invest and hire to help turn the economy around.


The Employment Development Department reported that there were 620,844 people receiving regular

unemployment insurance benefits during the August survey week, compared with 666,502 in July and 790,099 in August 2009. At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 65,261 in August, compared with 73,817 in July and 69,488 in August of last year.


This past August, Imperial County registered the highest unemployment rate, at 30.4 percent, with Marin having the lowest rate, with 8.4 percent, according to the report.


Lake County's labor force was composed of 26,360 people in August, of which 4,430 were unemployed. That's compared to 26,120 workers and 4,520 unemployed the previous month, based on state labor statistics.


Lake's neighboring counties posted the following rates and state rankings: Glenn, 17 percent, No. 55; Yolo, 11.6 percent, No. 22; Mendocino, 10.8 percent, No. 14; Sonoma, 10.5 percent, No. 11; and Napa, 9.4 percent, No. 4.


Within Lake County, Upper Lake had the lowest unemployment in August, with 8.7 percent, while Clearlake Oaks registered a 24.9 percent rate.


The following unemployment rates were reported for other areas of the county, from highest to lowest: Nice, 24.4 percent; city of Clearlake, 24 percent; Lucerne, 17.7 percent; Kelseyville, 17.1 percent; Middletown, 17 percent; city of Lakeport, 16.2 percent; Cobb, 15 percent; Lower Lake, 14.1 percent; Hidden Valley Lake, 13.9 percent; and north Lakeport, 13.3 percent.


State data shows lost jobs over the month


The Employment Development Department's report on payroll employment – wage and salary jobs – in the nonfarm industries of California showed that jobs totaled 13,827,900 in August, a net loss of 33,500 jobs since the July survey. This followed revised data that showed a loss of 22,900 jobs in July.


The report showed that two categories – mining and logging; and professional and business services – added jobs from July to August, gaining 500 jobs. Professional and business services posted the largest increase over the month, adding 300 jobs.


At the same time, the state reported that nine categories – construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government – reported job declines this month, down 34,000 jobs.


Of that group, government posted the largest jobs decline over the month, down by 9,200 jobs, which the state said included the loss of 7,700 temporary federal Census jobs.


In a year-over-year comparison – August 2009 to August 2010 – nonfarm payroll employment in California decreased by 113,100 jobs (down 0.8 percent), the Employment Development Department said.


Three industry divisions – mining and logging; professional and business services; and educational and health services – posted job gains over the year, adding 61,500 jobs. At the same time, the state said professional and business services recorded the largest increase over the year on a numerical basis, up 38,700 jobs, a 1.9 percent increase.


Mining and logging recorded the largest increase over the year on a percentage basis, up 2.4 percent, or an increase of 600 jobs, the state reported.


State data showed six categories – construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government – posted job declines over the year, down 174,600 jobs.


Based on the report, government employment showed the largest decline over the year on a numerical basis, down by 47,700 jobs, a decline of 1.9 percent, while construction showed the largest decline over the year on a percentage basis, down by 7.6 percent or 44,700 jobs.


One sector, information, reported no change over the month, the state report showed.


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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California Highway Patrol officers check near Queen of the Rosary Church in Lucerne, Calif., during a manhunt for Johnny Colcleaser of Vallejo, Calif., on Monday, September 20, 2010. Photo by Frank Hodges.
 

 





LUCERNE, Calif. – Late Monday, the Lake County Sheriff's Office continued to search for a suspect who had been the focus of a manhunt earlier in the day and was said to be armed and dangerous.


Shortly before 5 p.m. Lake County Central Dispatch warned local law enforcement officers to be on the lookout for Johnny Merritt Colcleaser, 27, of Vallejo.


Colcleaser, who has an active warrant for a parole violation, was last seen Monday morning in Lucerne wearing a blue t-shirt and blue jeans and carrying a 9 millimeter handgun, according to sheriff's officials. He is 6 feet tall, 150 pounds, has brown eyes and long brown hair in a pony tail.


The be on the lookout notification also warned that Colcleaser could be in possession of an additional firearm – an AK-47.


Colcleaser had fled from deputies earlier in the day after allegedly making threats to a cousin at a Ninth Avenue residence, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


Bauman said at about 9 a.m. a 24-year-old Lucerne man called 911 and reported his cousin – later identified as Colcleaser – had threatened to kill him. Colcleaser was reported to have had a 9 millimeter handgun and was last seen walking on 11th Avenue towards Highway 20 in Lucerne.


Several deputies responded to the area, and Bauman said the first on scene spotted Colcleaser, who then took off running.


The deputy chased Colcleaser on foot over fences and through yards, and during the chase Colcleaser dropped a handgun but turned around and picked it back up before he took off running again, Bauman said.


The foot chase ended in the area of Ninth Avenue and Highway 20 when Colcleaser disappeared into a creek bed and the deputy lost sight of him. Bauman said the suspect was seen again momentarily emerging from the creek bed but disappeared again when deputies converged on him.


During the four hours that followed, numerous sheriff's deputies and sheriff's detectives searched for Colcleaser, according to Bauman.


Bauman said the California Highway Patrol responded to the area to close it off while the search went on. CHP officers also helped search for Colcleaser, including checking the area of Queen of the Rosary Church on Country Club Drive.


A Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was requested to come to the area to assist with the search, Bauman said.


The sheriff's SWAT team was called when it was believed Colcleaser may be in a residence on Ninth Avenue, according to Bauman.

 

 

 

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A Lake County Sheriff's deputy aims a weapon at a home on Ninth Avenue where Johnny Colcleaser was believed to have been hiding in Lucerne, Calif., on Monday, September 20, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.
 

 

 


Bauman said deputies secured the Ninth Avenue home where Colcleaser was believed to be located while the SWAT team was en route to the scene, and evacuated several nearby businesses, including Lucerne Pharmacy and Foster's Freeze. The sheriff's office also issued a reverse 911 telephone notification about the situation.


Lucerne Elementary School also was locked down for a few hours late in the morning, according to school secretary Angela Austin.


The CHP closed Highway 20 between Seventh and 13th avenues as the sheriff's SWAT team arrived on scene, staged and prepared to search the home on Ninth Avenue where Colcleaser was believed to be located, Bauman said.. However, when the SWAT team entered and searched the house and its outbuildings at about 11 a.m. Colcleaser wasn't found.


Bauman said deputies continued searching Lucerne's neighborhoods for several more hours but, as of 2 p.m., Colcleaser was not located.


During that time, Bauman said sheriff's deputies also went out on reports of several suspects that they thought might have been Colcleaser, with no luck.


“The last time and place we saw him was when he popped out of the creek momentarily,” Bauman said.


The search wasn't completely fruitless – deputies found in the creek bed a blue plaid shirt Colcleaser had been wearing, Bauman said.


The bigger find – they located an unoccupied 2002 Ford pickup truck 13th Avenue that they believe Colcleaser drove to Lake County, Bauman said. The pickup was reported stolen out of San Pablo.


Bauman said the motive for Colcleaser's alleged threats against his cousin's life remain under investigation.


Community members should by no means confront Colcleaser, Bauman said.


Anyone with information on Colcleaser’s whereabouts should immediately call the Lake County Sheriff’s Office by dialing 911.


For footage of the day's search, see Lake County News' YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews?feature=mhum.


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 www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

 

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A Motor Vehicles photo of 27-year-old Johnny Colcleaser of Vallejo, Calif., wanted for questioning in connection to alleged threats he made while armed on Monday, September 20, 2010.
 

LAKEPORT, Calif. – The annual Konocti Challenge bicycle ride will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, featuring courses of various lengths and challenge levels around the scenic shores of Clear Lake.

 

Set in beautiful Lake County, the Konocti Challenge features three challenging event courses as well as a leisurely 19-mile Family Fun Ride for kids of all ages.


Riders can opt for the 30-mile course that winds through the resort and vineyard sections of north Lakeport; for the more adventuresome riders, the event also offers a 65-mile course (100km) and an endurance-testing 100-mile course, both of which follow the north and east rim of Clear Lake and wind into the foothills of the south and west, offering breathtaking views of the lake and vineyards, which are in full bloom in October.

 

All three rides begin and end at the Lakeport Yacht Club, at the water’s edge, in Lakeport.


The 65-mile and 100-mile rides get underway between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., and the 30-mile riders leave between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.


Registration fees range from $10 to $60 depending on the course selected. Registration includes a tasty well-earned barbecue at the end of the course.


The event proceeds benefit local and international Rotary programs.


More information about the event and online registration may be found at www.konoctichallenge.com or by contacting Jennifer Strong, 707-262-1880.


Challenge registrations also are accepted the Friday before the event at the Lakeport Yacht Club in Library Park, Lakeport from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

 

For visitor information, contact the Lake County Visitor Information Center at 800-525-3743 or www.lakecounty.com.


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. – At a time when public services are being increasingly relied upon, Lake County's transit authority is facing challenges due to dwindling financial resources coupled with the need to update its fleet.


Lake Transit Authority is a joint powers authority formed in 1996 between the county and the two cities to provide transit services – from buses that traverse the county to dial-a-ride services.


Mark Wall is general manager of Lake Transit. Since 2007, the agency has contracted for transportation services with Bremerton, Wash.-based Paratransit Services, a community-based nonprofit organization which also provides services in Washington and Oregon. In California, besides Lake County, Paratransit Services has operations in Tehama and Glenn counties.


Paratransit Services and Teamsters Local 624, which has represented local transit workers since 2007, reached an agreement on a new three-year employment contract which was ratified by the employees last Sunday, as Lake County News has reported.


That alleviated concerns about a strike, which had arisen over the summer after negotiations appeared to have deadlocked.


With services continuing uninterrupted, that's one less concern for the transit authority, which is facing budget challenges and aging equipment, said Wall.


Such challenges for transit agencies are a statewide concern. The California Transit Association has regularly reported on raids the state has carried out against transit funding over the last several years.


Late in 2009, the association fought the Schwarzenegger administration all the way to the California Supreme Court, which refused to review the Third District Court of Appeals ruling that the funding diversions violated statutory and constitutional amendments.


State transit assistance – which previously was $500,000 annually – was cut and then restored last year. However, the funding source isn't guaranteed, Wall said.


While the state gave the transit agency $350,000 retroactively to cover this year and last, Wall said it's expected that the funding source will go away completely in the 2011-12 fiscal year.


In addition, the local transportation fund – derived from a quarter cent of state sales tax in Lake County – is down by around $100,000 this year, he said.


Both funding sources are used for operating the transit system. To try and keep funding even, Wall said the transit authority has pursued federal grants and increased fares last year. To increase federal funding, they've redesignated routes to have more of an inner city schedule, but that means less flexibility.


The transit authority has been able to avoid cutting services, which many other areas of the state have seen happen, such as Pinole, which has cuts of 50 percent over two years, he explained.


“We're very, very fortunate,” Wall said.


With half of the fleet – or about six to seven buses – beyond the normal life expectancy, the district had to use that $350,000 from the state, along with stimulus and Proposition 1B funds to buy new vehicles, Wall said.


Ridership also has gone down after seeing big increases in recent years.


Wall said the first three quarters of 2010 saw 228,467 passengers, down from 239,504 the previous year, a loss of about 11,000 passengers, or 5 percent.


He attributed the decline to people not having the money to ride as much as they did previously.


That decline in ridership equates to about $34,000 less fair revenue than anticipated, or a 10-percent decrease, he said.


The Area Planning Council estimated the Local Transportation Fund would have approximately $1,150,175 for the 2009-10 budget year, said Wall. That was just adjusted downward to $965,846.


“We have no reserve left,” he said.


The 2009-10 grand jury report found Lake Transit was facing a $384,457 deficit going into the 2010-11 fiscal year.


Wall said that deficit has been alleviated, at least for now.


With state transit assistance funding restored, “We're whole this year but we don't know what it looks like next year.”


He added, “The rest of us are realizing that we have to make things work.”


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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Lake County Sheriff's deputies involved in a search for an armed suspect gather behind the Lucerne Pharmacy in Lucerne, Calif., on the morning of Monday, September 20, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.
 

 

 

LUCERNE, Calif. – Authorities spent Monday morning scouring the Northshore town of Lucerne for an armed man who allegedly had run from a deputy.


The Lake County Sheriff's Office identified the suspect as 27-year-old Johnny Colcleaser of Vallejo, who is wanted for questioning regarding threats he allegedly made while armed.


Shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday, sheriff's officials confirmed that the search for Colcleaser was still under way.


Colcleaser had allegedly run from a deputy – who saw that he had a pistol in the waist of his pants – and headed into the creek bed between Eighth and Ninth avenues, according to initial reports at the scene.


The sheriff's office reported that Colcleaser was last seen at about 9:20 a.m.


A Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter, California Highway Patrol and the Lake County SWAT Team were called in to assist the sheriff's office with the search, and perimeter controls were set up around the town.


One area resident reported that the helicopter's loudspeakers warned residents to stay inside and keep their doors locks, and that deputies also drove through neighborhoods warning residents to keep indoors.


The Lake County Sheriff's Office also reportedly sent out a reverse 911 call warning area residents of the situation.

 

 

 

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Lake County Sheriff's deputies expanded their search for 27-year-old Johnny Colcleaser of Vallejo, Calif., to Foothill Drive in Lucerne, Calif., on Monday, September 20, 2010. Photo by John Jensen.
 

 

 


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Deputies and officers staged in an alley between Ninth and 10th avenues behind the Lucerne Pharmacy and Foster's Freeze as the helicopter circled overhead.

 


A report of movement in the trees above Foothill Drive drew deputies to the hillside there, where they expanded the search for Colcleaser, who they did not locate at that time.


CHP officers also searched the area of the Queen of the Rosary Catholic Church on Country Club Drive.


Angela Austin, secretary at Lucerne Elementary School, said the school started receiving calls Monday morning from concerned parents, and she called the sheriff's office to ask what to do.


The result was that the school was locked down for a few hours, with children kept inside classrooms from about 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., she said.


Kindergärtners were allowed to go home at 12:30 p.m., while older students were to be released at their normal times later in the afternoon, according to Austin.


The Lucerne Pharmacy – located in the midst of the search area – confirmed that it closed its doors for a few hours in the morning but had reopened by early afternoon.


By early afternoon the helicopter was no longer at the scene and the large law enforcement presence was no longer evident.


Colcleaser is described as a white male adult, 6 feet tall and 150 pounds. Officials said he has long dark hair in a pony tail.


Residents in the area were requested to lock their doors and immediately report suspicious activity to the Sheriff's Department Dispatch at 707-263-2690.


Officials emphasized that community members should not attempt to apprehend Colcleaser if they encounter him.

 

 

 

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A Motor Vehicles photo of 27-year-old Johnny Colcleaser of Vallejo, Calif., wanted for questioning in connection to alleged threats he made while armed on Monday, September 20, 2010.
 

 

 


Colcleaser was allegedly involved in an incident in American Canyon three years ago this month in which he and two accomplices – one of whom was wanted at the time – were spotted getting into a stolen car, according to the Napa Valley Register.


In that September 2007 situation, Napa Sheriff's deputies apprehended Colcleaser after a foot chase and charged him with resisting arrest, violation of parole and possession of stolen property, the Napa Valley Register reported.


For video of the morning search, see the Lake County News YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews?feature=mhum, or the Lake County News Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf.


Tera DeVroede and John Jensen contributed to this report.


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 www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, has awarded over $3.1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) “stimulus” contracts to five small and one large business for projects that support the district’s mission.


The projects include construction and upgrading of major recreation and community-use areas, endangered-species preservation, water recycling and vital fish-hatchery operations.


The money was awarded to six California companies, five of which are small businesses, according to Lt. Col. Torrey DiCiro, San Francisco District commander.


The district made the following ARRA awards:


  • Coyote Valley Dam Comfort Stations Repair/Replacement, Lake Mendocino at Ukiah: $113,298 to Belmont-based MIE Inc., a small business.

  • Elevator Hoistway Control-Structure Seepage Repair, Warm Springs Dam, Lake Sonoma at Geyserville: $18,644 to Livermore, Calif.-based CSRW, Inc., a small business.

  • Warm Springs Dam Control Structure Repair, Warm Springs Dam, Lake Sonoma at Geyserville: $4,080 to Livermore-based CSRW Inc., a small business.

  • GIS Data Development of Salinas and Arroyo Rivers, Monterey County: $149,493 to Concord, Calif.-based Towill Inc.

  • San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Project, Contra Costa County: $2,406,145 to Yuba City, Calif.-based North Star Construction and Engineering Inc., a small business.

  • San Francisco Bay Multipurpose Building Electrical Generation Project, Sausalito: $408,688 to Riverside-based Hal Hays Construction Inc., a small business.


With the addition of these six ARRA contracts awards, the San Francisco District has awarded over $56 million in 93 “stimulus” contract awards since May 2009. Small businesses comprise 72 of the 93 awards.


Established in 1866, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, employees approximately 350 people, who are responsible for 40,000 square miles extending 600 miles from the Oregon border to San Luis Obispo County. The district’s programs and projects support approximately 1,000 permanent, higher-wage jobs that contribute to more than $100 million to the regional economy.


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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