Wednesday, 24 July 2024


Lake Family Resource Center's administrative offices will be housed at this building at 5350 Main St. in Kelseyville, at the site of their new facility, which includes a domestic violence shelter. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

KELSEYVILLE – Now that it's the proud owner of a facility to house its administration offices and new domestic violence shelter, Lake Family Resource Center is getting settled into its new location.

The shelter and administration facility, which will include community classrooms and meeting rooms, is located at 5350 Main St. in Kelseyville.

“It's exciting to be actually on site,” said Executive Director Gloria Flaherty.

Following three years of fundraising and planning, escrow on the $1.1 million property closed in July, as Lake County News has reported.

Work is under way around the former motel property, which has several small cottage-type buildings that will temporarily house families seeking refuge from violent home environments. In all the facility will have 35 beds.

Flaherty said the domestic violence shelter isn't expected to be in place and ready for service until November.

Right now, however, the agency's administrative offices have relocated in the roughly 1,500-square-foot main building.

Next door is the Kelseyville Unified School District and Kelseyville High School, and the back of the administrative offices opens up into a large grassy area where birds can be heard loudly singing in the middle of town.

Flaherty said they're seeking assistance from service clubs to help landscape the grounds.

Contractors are busy at work around the grounds, preparing the shelter portion. Flaherty said Dave Meek is acting as general contractor on the project.

When it's done, the facility will have walk-in services and counseling for domestic violence victims on site in a separate building, said Flaherty. Another of the buildings will include community classrooms and storage.

While the facility is a nonconfidential shelter, with the idea being that the community will help monitor it, it will still be secured with cameras and a fenced parking area.

The shelter also will have a courtyard, a community area including laundry and kitchen facilities, and a children's playground at the back of the property, said Flaherty.

She said they're also seeking a grant to support placing pet kennels on the property. Flaherty explained that many people trying to escape a violent domestic environment are afraid to leave if they can't take their pets, because the animals also are in danger.

She added that the town of Kelseyville has been fantastic and supportive.

Just down the street, Lake Family Resource Center has rented a building to house its teen parenting, Healthy Families programs, and sexual assault and other programs.

Services also continue to be offered from it location on Lakeport Boulevard.

“We're pretty excited about it all,” said Flaherty.

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 .



The facility will include a domestic violence shelter, composed of numerous small cottages. The shelter facility, expected to be open in November 2009, is being renovated. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

KELSEYVILLE – Firefighters were able to quickly subdue a small grass fire in the Big Valley area Thursday morning.

The small grass fire was reported at around 11 a.m. at the corner of Big Valley and Renfro, said Capt. Jim Dowdy of the Kelseyville Fire Protection District.

It was located on the roadside and began burning into an open field, said Dowdy. No structures were threatened.

The first Kelseyville engine on scene was able to contain the fire, said Dowdy, with a Lakeport Fire Protection District engine coming for backup being canceled before arrival.

Dowdy said the fire was held to a quarter-acre in size, and contained within about 10 minutes.

The cause is still under investigation, he said.

Red flag conditions for high winds were expected in the area today, said Dowdy, adding, “We're not really seeing any right now.”

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 .

HIGH VALLEY – Firefighters and air tankers responded to a small wildland fire along High Valley Road late Saturday afternoon.

The fire was reported at 12340 High Valley Road and Alta Vista Drive at about 4:40 p.m., according to Cal Fire.

Cal Fire Capt. Joe Petersen said the fire burned a total of six acres.

One air attack, two air tankers, a helicopter, a bulldozer, two hand crews from Konocti Conservation Camp and five engines responded from Cal Fire, Petersen said. Local fire districts offered mutual aid response, he said.

Cal Fire reported power lines were down at the site.

JD Guidi, a spokesman with Pacific Gas & Electric, said an oak tree branch had knocked down the lines.

Guidi said a total of six PG&E customers were affected by the downed power lines. Power to all of those customers was expected to be restored by midnight.

The downed power lines are a possible fire cause, but Petersen said the investigation is still under way.

The fire was reportedly contained at approximately 5:17 p.m., said Petersen.

Three engines remained on scene throughout the evening, conducting mopup operations, he added.

Earlier in the day, shortly before 2 p.m., a small grass fire was reported along Highway 29 south of Witter Springs.

Petersen said that fire burned less than half an acre before it was contained a short time later.

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 .

COVELO – A Covelo man convicted of carjacking who later was arrested for other charges in Lake County was sentenced this week to nine years in state prison.

Reginald Lewis Azbill, 26, received the sentence in Mendocino County Superior Court, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.

Azbill had pleaded guilty to one felony count of carjacking on June 5, 2008, officials reported.

While waiting for his sentencing date, Azbill was granted a one-day pass by Judge David Nelson to attend a funeral, according to the report.

Officials said Azbill absconded and was finally arrested and convicted in Lake County for possession of a dangerous weapon, and sentenced to the Department of Corrections on a parole violation.

After serving a year in prison, Azbill was returned to Mendocino County on the carjacking case, the Mendocino District Attorney's Office reported.

While the Probation Department recommended three years in state prison, the district attorney argued for the aggravated term because Azbill’s record was extensive, and the victim of the carjacking was a minor who was traumatized by the incident.

Judge Clayton Brennan agreed and ruled that the longer term was appropriate.

Daniel McConnell prosecuted the case for the District Attorney’s Office. Christina Briles of the alternate public defender's office represented Azbill.

CLEARLAKE – The Clearlake Police Department issued a report Thursday morning that offered details about an officer-involved shooting the previous day.

The incident currently is under investigation by the Lake County District Attorney's Office, which was called in to head up the case, as Lake County News has reported.

Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain said Thursday that 26-year-old Sean Pryor was shot after confronting officers with weapons. Pryor is at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in stable condition.

Based on policy and standard procedure, the officer who shot Pryor is on paid administrative leave and his name will not be released, McClain said in his report.

McClain said that at 10 a.m. Wednesday officers responded to an address in the 16000 block of 33rd Avenue on a report of an adult male inside the residence destroying property who had threatened to kill the other occupants.

When officers arrived they could hear someone breaking items inside the residence, McClain said.

Officers attempted to talk with Pryor, who McClain said was very agitated, uncooperative and refused to come to the door.

McClain said his officers obtained a key to the residence from family members and entered the residence through the front door.

As the officers entered the house Pryor confronted them, allegedly holding a large knife or machete in one hand, according to McClain.

McClain said Pryor had poured a flammable liquid onto the linoleum floor entry way. The first officer through the door slipped on the wet floor and fell to the ground, and when the officer went down Pryor attempted to light the flammable liquid but the liquid failed to ignite.

Pryor continued to move toward the officers and as Pryor stood over the officer on the ground the officer fired his weapon, McClain.

The officers on scene called for an ambulance and administered first aid to Pryor who was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment.

The District Attorney’s Office is investigating this incident and any further comments regarding this investigation will come from their office, McClain said.

McClain urged anyone with information regarding this investigation to contact Lake County District Attorney Investigator John Flynn at 707-263-2722.






I was once a much healthier person. I was a marathon runner and a weight lifter. I ate very healthily and if you were to see pictures of me from that era I was quite thin and in great shape. Nowadays if you see me running you better look out, because shortly there will be a werewolf bounding up in hot pursuit.

I haven’t noticed any mysterious deaths that could be attributed to werewolves here in the county, but they might be subsisting off of deer and the kills are being blamed on cougars. We’re lucky here in America to only have werewolves; according to my Asian horror encyclopedia, Japan also has werecats and werebears.

Even though I’m not in the shape I once was, some of the credit for me being able to escape the werewolves is that I try to eat a lot of low fat or no fat foods. One example is that I have lots of jams and jellies in my refrigerator at home. Not only are they no fat, but they provide diversity for my daughter’s school lunches instead of just lunch meat and cheese on bread everyday. I have to keep her in shape to be able to outrun the werewolves, too.

Another reason that I like jam is that it is an almost magical food to me. It’s a mixture of fruit juices and sugar that, through some sort of magic spell, transforms into a solid. It’s the magic of the pectin in the fruit cells. Just how that happens I’ll describe a little later.

The pectin that causes jams and jellies to be a solid is a soluble dietary fiber that has been found to lower blood cholesterol. Pectin is also an intestinal “lubricant” and is frequently used to cure both constipation and diarrhea. Up until recently pectin was a main ingredient in over-the-counter intestinal medications.

But what is the difference between jams, jellies and preserves? Is it just local dialect, or are there differences in the recipes, production, and products? There are also many different types of jellies, jams, and preserves made with meat, of which duck confit is the most familiar. Today we’ll just focus on those made with fruit.

Jelly is a “clear” fruit juice that either sets naturally or with the addition of pectin or occasionally gelatin. Jam is a jelly with the addition of fruit pulp, which is normally pureed or mashed. Preserves are typically a jam or jelly with whole or chunks of fruit. “Conserves” hold no legal definition but the term is occasionally used in the place of “preserves” but can include multiple different fruits, nuts, and other additions. Marmalade is jelly with the addition of fruit peels. Most marmalades are made with citrus fruits of all varieties. Citrus peels are very high in pectin.

And to add to your international food education, in the UK the word “jelly” actually refers to a gelatin dessert or what we call jello. The French word “gelee” is the root for jelly. The Greek word for the tomato is “Lycopersicum” and translates to “wolf’s peach.” The root word for pectin means “congealed.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration actually considers jams and preserves the same, but differentiates them from jelly. The United States Department of Agriculture requires that 45 percent of a jelly or jam be fruit.


The United States makes about one billion pounds of fruit spreads per year and the average American eats over two pounds of it in that same year. Your average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the time they graduate high school.

Nobody knows the true origin of jellies but it is believed they originated in the Middle East. This makes sense because they had sugar cane to work with and would be able to preserve their fruit for long term use. European soldiers returning from the Crusades brought jellies and jams home with them. Oddly enough, the oldest book known to man, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” which also originates from the Middle East, has a primary character named Enkidu who is a “man-beast.” Could this just be a coincidence? Did the crusaders bring lycanthropes to Europe from Jerusalem? You will have to judge for yourself.

There are several methods used in the making of jams, but since I’m not actually skilled in doing it I won’t go into recipes or describe how to make it. I’d probably leave out a very small but vital step and you’d wind up with strawberries all over your ceiling. The basic process comes from heating fruit which releases the pectin from the cells. The pectin binds together, trapping the juice and any fruit pulp in the matrix. There are “freezer jams” and no-cook type processes, but they aren’t as common or generally as successful as the heating method.

I have known Sabine Hue De La Roche for many years, and she has become a jam and jelly maker here in the county that is becoming quite popular. I have six jars of her different preserves in my refrigerator right now because my family likes them so much, and you know I am very interested in supporting local businesses.

She has a red bell pepper jam that is fantastic on a bagel with cream cheese, among its many other uses. There is also yellow bell pepper jam that has a little kick, and an orange bell pepper jam that has a real heat to it. She also makes pear, pear/cranberry, pear/rhubarb, plum, cherry/plum, peach, blackberry, pumpkin and, my personal favorite, kiwi/banana flavor.

I use the Hue De La Roche Farms jellies and jams in some unorthodox manners also, but I’m sure you were expecting something like that from me. I use them on various meats for braising, basting, even marinating in them. If you should want to experiment with them just keep in mind that straight jelly can and will burn easily due to the sugar content.

Dinner on a recent evening was chicken breasts with a red bell pepper jam, sour cream and garlic sauce. It was very good, although the mashed plantains as the side dish wasn’t as popular. I’ve also marinated beef in the red pepper jam mixed with soy sauce to make beef jerky, which was simply delicious.

You can purchase her jellies and jams at the High Valley Wines and Steele Winery tasting rooms, Nylander’s Red and White in Clearlake Oaks, and Seely Produce stand in Upper Lake. She can also be found at farmers markets around the lake. On Tuesdays, Kelseyville Lumber in Kelseyville; on Thursdays, Coyote Valley (Middletown), behind Hardester’s; Fridays, Redbud Park, Clearlake; and Saturdays: Steel Winery, Farmers Finest.

If you’re from out of the area, Sabine does ship. You can contact her for her full product line and pricing by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or writing to The Hue De Laroque Farm, P.O. Box 821, Clearlake Oaks, CA 95423.


I don’t think I have to tell you, but if you eat too many fatty foods you can really do some shape shifting in your own way. So, eat more jam and keep the werewolf at bay.

Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community. Follow him on Twitter, .

Many California families depend on Medi-Cal to pay for long-term residential skilled nursing care, and also for "medically necessary" services; that includes, but is not limited to, hospitalization, nursing home care, prescription drugs, physician's visits, x-ray and laboratory tests, adult day health care, prosthetic and orthopedic devices, hearing aids, some dental care, hearing aids, home health care services, and some medical equipment.

Who is eligible for Medi-Cal? Becoming eligible is a two-step process: First, one must be linked to Medi-Cal; and, second, one must not exceed Medi-Cal’s strict resource limitations.

How is one linked? The following three classes of persons are linked to Medi-Cal: “seniors,” “persons receiving SSI benefits” and “disabled persons.” Seniors, persons 65 years or older, are automatically linked, as are persons receiving any monthly SSI payments, regardless of age. Lastly, “disabled persons” are persons found to be disabled under Social Security standards. Usually a Social Security Administration disability hearing is used to establish disability, but sometimes the Department of Social Services may use its own physicians.

How much may one own? One cannot own more than a very limited dollar amount of available, countable resources (assets). That threshold is presently $2,000 for an individual, and $3,000 for a family. Countable resources do not include exempt assets, such as a primary residence, personal property (unlimited value), business assets (a time-limited exemption), musical instruments, marriage rings, a vehicle (one per family), a burial plot, and retirement accounts (provided they are paying required minimum distributions if the participant is age 70 ½ or older).

In the case of a couple, where one spouse is receiving Medi-Cal for residential skilled nursing care, the stay-at-home well spouse (i.e., so-called “community spouse”) is entitled to retain further (otherwise countable) resources equal to the so-called “Community Spouse Resource Allowance” (CSRA) – currently around $110,000 (2009). The CSRA is most commonly used to shelter cash and investment accounts and helps to provide the stay-at-home (well) spouse with an income stream on which to continue to live at home.

How does one deal with excess assets? To qualify, many persons convert their excess available, countable – nonexempt assets into exempt assets, gift assets, spend-down other countable resources on necessities (although any purchase for fair value received counts for spend down); or they make the assets non-available (by placing it up for sale, e.g., listing real property with a broker).

This can become complicated when a person with dementia is involved. Often, court approval to gift assets between spouses is necessary. Furthermore, and very importantly, gifting of countable resources done within Medi-Cal’s so-called “look-back” period will create periods of ineligibility. The current look-back period is thirty-six months for gifts made directly between persons and sixty-months for gifts made from a trust.

Next is determining one’s share of cost – i.e., how much one must pay before Medi-Cal (a payor of last resort) pays. For persons living in residential skilled nursing facilities, all income, except a $35 a month allowance goes to pay share of cost. There is an exception when the stay-at-home spouse receives less than the so-called “Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance” (‘MMMNA’), currently around $2,700/month, in which case the shortfall may be deducted from the incapacitated spouse’s income (i.e., before paying share of cost) to bring the well spouse’s income up to MMMNA, so far as possible.

After the Medi-Cal recipient dies, the Estate Recovery Unit must be notified, and the State has 90 days to “bill” for what Medi-Cal paid-out. Interestingly, medical services received before age 55 years of age are not subject to recovery. That exception, however, does not apply to skilled nursing home services.

Lastly, Medi-Cal applications involve stringent scrutiny. All bank statements need to be submitted going back three months before application, as well as ‘back-up’ documents to entries such as ‘income’ deposits, or payments when spend-down is involved. Also, documents such as birth certificate, driver’s license and social security cards must be provided.

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.

LAKE COUNTY – As the state does battle in court over its decision to divert transit funding from agencies around California, Lake Transit Authority is receiving more than $1.1 million in federal stimulus funding which will help it bridge a critical funding gap.

Caltrans announced this week that Lake Transit was among several rural North Coast transit agencies receiving more than $3 million in funds from the American Recover and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Lake Transit Authority received the most of any North Coast transit group, with an award of $1,113,956 for replacement buses and to catch up on preventative maintenance.

In Del Norte County, Redwood Coast Transit was awarded $484,529, the city of Arcata received $220,000, the city of Eureka was awarded $150,000, Humboldt Transit Authority was awarded $519,516 and Mendocino Transit Authority received $606,000.

Caltrans reported that, statewide, $34 million was awarded to 77 rural agencies.

Lake Transit General Manager Mark Wall said they began monitoring the stimulus bill at the start of the year. He said they talked to Congressman Mike Thompson's office in order to try to influence the bill.

At the same time, they were trying to find a way to close the funding gap after the state diverted all transit funding.

“We lost 100 percent of our transit funds,” he said, which amounts to about $500,000, or 25 percent of the agency's operational budget.

Overall, the award equals nearly a third of the agency's 2009-10 budget, which includes $2,025,000 for operations and $1.5 million for capital, Wall said.

Actually applying for the stimulus funds was much like the process of applying for regular federal grant funding, which Lake Transit receives every year. “The process was similar but a little more complex this time,” Wall said, with more reporting, required monthly, on these funds.

The stimulus money included no operating funds, but it did provide preventive maintenance, some of which Lake Transit was having to take from its operational budget. Wall said that helped them make their budget this year.

A total of four applications were required to get all of the funding, Wall said.

Wall said they received $205,946 for three smaller, paratransit buses and $205,000 for preventive maintenance.

They also were able to apply for intercity funding because they operate routes outside of the county, he said.

Lake Transit received $360,000 to replace four of its larger buses, $24,000 for equipment such as radios and $120,000 for bus shelters.

“We did pretty well,” he said.

Wall said they're now in the process of having to “hurry up and spend it.”

He said Caltrans was swamped with those and other grant applications from around the state. Phil Frisbie of Caltrans' District 1 office in Eureka said those applications are being processed in the agency's Sacramento office.

Wall said Lake Transit is kind of in “survival mode,” so looking into purchasing hybrid buses is off into the future.

He said their priorities are to keep everything operating, replace the buses that need to be retired out and put in bus shelters.

If they hadn't received the federal grants, said Wall, “We would have had to cut a couple of bus routes,” and the lack of funding for vehicles could have led to reliability issues.

“So this is essential to us,” he said.

Battle over state funding continues

Despite the fact that voters approved statewide propositions such as 116 and 108, which allocated funds to transportation, the governor and the legislature diverted the funds away from agencies like Lake Transit, said Wall.

At the beginning of the year, Lake Transit was told it would receive $501,000 from the state transit system, an amount which had grown from $285,000 several years before due to the inflation in gas prices. The laws included an increase for agencies based on inflation.

“When gas prices go up suddenly, transit agencies naturally pay a lot more for fuel,” and the demand for ridership grows, Wall said.

Wall said Lake Transit's ridership grew significantly when gas prices peaked, and they've kept many of those riders even after prices dropped.

The California Transit Association sued the state over the fund raid and won. The Schwarzenegger administration appealed, but the Third Appellate Court upheld the ruling and declared the public transit funding raids illegal.

The case has since been submitted to the California Supreme Court, said California Transit Association spokesman Jeff Wagner.

Wagner said it's estimated that the state has taken nearly $4 billion since the association filed its suit in 2007.

He told Lake County News that the association has yet to be notified about whether the California Supreme Court will hear the case. The court typically observes a 60-day self-imposed deadline to decide on appeal petitions, and the deadline is fast approaching, since the state's appeal was filed on Aug. 11.

If the court does accept the case, a decision could occur around March 2010, but he said it's conceivable there could be a delay in action to buy the Legislature and administration another budget cycle to get their house in order.

Wagner said the association has been advised the the court can't compel the Legislature to repay the money that it has taken, although state officials have indicated that they would be liable for the funds. “We’re not certain how the court might ultimately rule on that aspect of things,” he said.

That leaves the association in a holding pattern for now, he said.

Wall said if the appellate court decision is upheld, Lake Transit is owned more than $1.4 million in back funds.

“We need that money,” he said.

“When we look ahead another year or so, we get out to 2011, and we may be cutting service, because this federal money will be gone,” he said.

Lake Transit is currently in the process of implementing some new changes, including adding service to its route three, from Clearlake to Calistoga and St. Helena. People wanting to travel back and forth to Napa County will find that they have more schedule options, including Saturday operations.

In addition, Lake Transit has taken their route one, from Clearlake to Lakeport, and made it into two routes. One of those routes, route eight, is a Lakeport loop that runs every two hours. The main route one won't see a real change, Wall added.

He said those changes should soon be included on Lake Transit's Web site, .

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 .

LAKE COUNTY – Every 39 minutes someone in the U.S. is injured in a home fire.

Home fires result in hundreds of people being burned and even killed in Californian each year. That’s why Cal Fire is teaming up with fire departments across the country for Fire Prevention Week 2009 to urge all residents to “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned.”

This year’s fire prevention week campaign runs Oct. 4 through the 10 and focuses on ways to keep

homes fire safe and prevent painful burns.

The statistics are staggering. Each year roughly 3,000 people die nationwide as a result of home fires and burns, and more than 200,000 individuals are seen in the nation’s emergency rooms for burn injuries.

“Firefighters wear protective equipment to keep them from getting burned,” said Cal Fire Chief Del Walters. “This week we want to equip the public with knowledge to keep them safe from fire and prevent devastating burn injuries.”

By following simple safety rules, you can “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned.”

– Keep hot foods and liquids away from tables and counter edges so they cannot be pulled down or knocked over.

– Have a 3-foot “kid-free” zone around the stove.

– Never hold a child in your arms while preparing hot food or drinking a hot beverage.

– Be careful when using things that get hot such as curling irons, ovens, irons, lamps and heaters.

– Never leave a child alone in a room with a lit candle, portable heater, lit fireplace or stove, or where a hot appliance might be in use.

For more fire safety tips visit the Cal Fire Web site at .

Lakeport attorney Doug Rhoades plans to run for district attorney in 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.





LAKE COUNTY – Another hat is being tossed into the ring for the office of district attorney.

Lakeport attorney Doug Rhoades has announced his candidacy for district attorney in the 2010 election.

Rhoades, 56, will join another Lakeport attorney, Don Anderson, 57, in challenging incumbent Jon Hopkins, who has indicated he'll seek reelection next year. Hopkins, 63, was elected after running unopposed in 2006.

A Lake County resident since 1962, Rhoades has extensive experience both in law enforcement and in legal practice.

Rhoades worked for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, serving as a correctional officer, deputy sheriff and sergeant, for more than 21 years.

After obtaining an administration of justice degree from Mendocino College, he attended Sonoma State University where he received a bachelor’s degree.

In 1996, Empire School of Law in Santa Rosa awarded a juris doctor degree. He began his law practice the following year.

Rhoades is active in the local community and many civic organizations.

He is past president of the Lake County Arts Council, the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and served on the Kelseyville Unified School District’s Board of Trustees.

“Many good things have happened in Lake County since I was a young boy here,” Rhoades said. “But I have seen what occurs when poor decisions are made. Prosecutorial decisions need to benefit our entire community, but many recent actions have been detrimental to Lake County’s reputation.

“That’s one reason I am seeking the office of District Attorney,” Rhoades said. “The other is a desire to continue to serve the public. I am fortunate to have received the support of many friends in the community who have asked me to run.”

Anderson welcomed Rhoades to the race. “I know Doug well,” he said.

“The more competition, the better,” and the more issues that will come out, Anderson added.

Hopkins responded to Rhoades' announcement and his criticism of the District Attorney's Office with strong statements of his own.

“This is not a political job, it is a professional job,” Hopkins said.

He said the district attorney is the last person who should make decisions based upon which way the political wind is blowing. “We make thousands of decisions a year, and they have to be based upon a professional opinion of what should be done to protect the public and accomplish justice.”


There are several key issues to the effective and fair administration of justice, according to Rhoades.

“The right to a jury trial is guaranteed to all criminal defendants. But that can mean no other settlement was possible. When the prosecuting agency refuses to discuss resolution of a case, the defendant is left with little choice but to put it before a jury,” Rhoades said.

“As district attorney, I would seek to resolve appropriate cases through serious negotiation of the charges and consequences,” he added.

Hopkins responded that his office never refuses to discuss resolution in a case, but it won't sentence bargain with accused felons, which is a longheld stance.

“We have seen a succession of defense lawyers advocate a run for district attorney on this platform that urges a policy of greater leniency on felony cases, and the people of Lake County consistently say no,” Hopkins said.

Rhoades said the District Attorney's Office's current administration wastes resources that should be devoted to the most serious crimes, such as drug trafficking and production, crimes against the elderly and all crimes of violence, domestic or otherwise.

“In our current economy, resources will be even more scarce,” Rhoades said. “We must focus on violent crimes and those that cause significant economic loss, rather than devote those resources to incidents that do not put the public at risk.”

Hopkins said Rhoades' claim of wasted resources is not true. He said he has two senior deputy district attorneys who devote most of their time to prosecuting drug trafficking and prosecution, as well as a team comprised of a prosecutor, investigator and victim advocate assigned to elder abuse cases, both financial and physical abuse.

In addition to receiving new grants for pursuing domestic violence and driving under the influence prosecutions, Hopkins also has a team dedicated to child molestation and abuse cases, which he said are priorities for his office. That led to the creation of the multidiscipline interview center (MDIC), completed last year, to serve child victims in a more secure, comforting environment.

Rhoades, who also handles court-appointed cases for indigent defendants, emphasized the inconvenience and cost to the public that a failure to resolve cases produces.

“Many people respond to a jury summons only to find a case has settled on the day of trial or been continued,” he said. “That wastes time for each juror, not to mention lost wages and travel costs. Those reporting for jury service should expect their time to be respected and reserved for serious cases that cannot be resolved in any other manner.”

Hopkins said there are many reasons for continuances and delays – some of which result from the actions of defense attorneys – and it wouldn't be helped by adopting a policy of sentence bargaining with felons.

“An investment of a juror's time in sitting on a criminal case is always a sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice that makes our system the best in the world, and it makes our communities safe,” he said.

Rhoades, Anderson and Hopkins will begin the bulk of the paperwork for the election process early next year, when petitions for signatures in lieu of filing fees will start in January, to be followed the next month by declaration of candidacy and nomination papers.

The primary will be held June 8. If no candidate wins a 50 percent plus one majority, the two top vote getters will take part in a runoff election in November 2010.

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 .

LOWER LAKE – After much anticipation and hard work by people around the county and country, the very first “People's Choice Wine Awards” will be held this Saturday, Oct. 3.

Hosted by the Lake County Winery Association at Six Sigma Ranch and Winery, the competition will determine the winners in the first ever, comprehensive judging of Lake County wines.

The competition will culminate in a tasting that will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Six Sigma Ranch and Winery, 13372 Spruce Grove Rd., Lower Lake.

Kaj Ahlmann, chairman of the Lake County Winery Association, said the competition is a great way to spread the word about Lake County's outstanding wines.

The contest is in two parts, the first of which took place in August when a panel of professional wine judges narrowed down the field of 168 wines down to 38 of the best that Lake County has to offer.

The prestigious panel of judges, made up of wine experts from around the country, included Steve Heimoff of The Wine Enthusiast Magazine; Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel Magazine; Traci Dutton of Culinary Institute of America; Doug Frost, master sommelier and master of wine; Chris Sawyer, “sommelier to the stars”; Tom DiNardo, sommelier and wine appraiser; Bob Foster, California Grapevine Newsletter; Alan Goldfarb,; Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee; and Martha Dunne,

The second part of the competition is where the “people’s choice” aspect is engaged, and that is what is taking place this Saturday.

The public is invited to come and judge for themselves the best of what Lake County's wines. Attendees of the inaugural event will have the opportunity to blind taste all 38 of the judges’ nominations.

In addition to the finalists there will be 20 other wines to sample which earned from the judges awards of distinction.

Food will also be available, provided by Teo’s Lakeside Bistro, Nice; Main Street Pizza, Lakeport; Bigg's 155 Diner, Lakeport; and Twin Pine Casino's Manzanita Restaurant, Middletown.

Tickets are $25. You must be 21 years of age or older to purchase.

For more information, call 707-994-4068 or 707-355-2762 or visit .

Ross A. Christensen is Lake County News' food and wine writer. Follow him on Twitter, .

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