Thursday, 18 July 2024


LAKEPORT, Calif. – The California Highway Patrol will host a child safety seat checkup event for the community on Saturday, Aug. 14.

It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the McDonald's parking lot, 1400 Todd Road, in Lakeport.

A certified child passenger safety technicians will be at the event to perform child safety seat evaluations for all children in the vehicle under the age of 6 years old, as well as to explain to event participants the importance of ensuring all children are properly secured in a motor vehicle.

This will be a free service to the motorist.

Children riding in vehicles are required by law to be properly restrained in a child safety seat until the age of 6, or they weigh 60 pounds.

Not only is it the law, but it’s also much safer, the CHP reported. An unrestrained child in a car is at significant risk of injury or death in the event of even a minor traffic collision.

Protect your children by using age-appropriate passenger restraint devices – safety seats or seat belts for older children.

Your child’s life depends on that car seat, that’s why it is important to make sure it is properly installed, according to the CHP.

The California Office of Traffic Safety reported that California’s child safety seat usage rate reached a record high of 94 percent in 2008 but dropped to 91 percent in 2009.

The CHP implemented their Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Program in April 1999. Thousands of employees have been trained in CPS, including CHP cadets.

The funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A Carmichael man prosecuted for a fatal 2006 sailboat crash has filed a federal lawsuit against Lake County and several of its law enforcement officials, claiming that his civil rights were violated and seeking $1 million in damages.

Bismarck Dinius, 42, and his attorney Laurence Masson of Berkeley, along with the Northern California Innocence Project filed the case on Tuesday, according to Masson.

It names a number of county officials, including District Attorney Jon Hopkins and Sheriff Rod Mitchell; Capt. James Bauman, Sgt. James Samples, Sgt. Dennis Ostini and Deputy Lloyd Wells; retirees Sgt. Wes Frey and Sgt. Dean Pick; former sheriff's Capt. Russell Perdock; and Lt. Charles Slabaugh of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office, who assisted with the initial investigation. Additionally, the case alleges the involvement of 25 unnamed individuals.

The 14-page document said the action arises principally “from the unconstitutional, corrupt efforts” of county elected and law enforcement officials to prosecute Dinius for a homicide he did not commit.

Dinius alleges violation of his federal civil rights, and makes claims for slander and malicious prosecution.

Masson said Dinius is seeking $1 million, including punitive damages, and attorneys fees and costs, the latter having totaled over $300,000, according to a previous Dinius interview with Lake County News.

We haven't been served yet with the legal action so I can't really comment on anything at this point,” County Counsel Anita Grant said Wednesday afternoon.

Hopkins, who had been out of the office Tuesday and Wednesday, said he also hadn't seen the document and couldn't offer comment on it.

Sheriff Rod Mitchell called the situation “very unfortunate.”

“I'm confident that the department handled this matter appropriately,” he said.

Questioned about the timing of the case, Linda Starr, legal director for the Northern California Innocent Project at Santa Clara University, said it had nothing to do with the sheriff's race that is under way and about to go into its fall stretch.

“That there is a contested sheriff's race is purely coincidental,” she said. “The suit was filed when it was adequately investigated, researched and drafted.”

Case alleges corruption

On Clear Lake on the night of April 29, 2006, Dinius was sitting at the tiller of the Beats Workin' II, a sailboat owned by then-Willows resident Mark Weber, when it was hit from behind by a powerboat driven by Perdock.

Witnesses during the 2009 trial estimated Perdock was traveling between 40 and 60 miles per hour.

Weber's girlfriend, 51-year-old Lynn Thornton, was mortally injured and died several days later.

Perdock was not charged, but a year after the crash Dinius was charged with felony boating under the influence causing great bodily injury and manslaughter, and misdemeanor counts of boating under the influence and boating with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08.

Dinius, Weber and Perdock all were sued by Thornton's estate, with that civil case settling in 2007. The terms of the settlement required that Perdock's and Dinius' insurance each paid $300,000 to the estate, and Weber's paid $100,000, as Lake County News has reported.

Shortly before the trial began in July 2009, Hopkins dropped the manslaughter charge and issued on open letter, which Dinius' lawsuit alleges slandered him by calling him “a drunken sailor.” Dinius' suit said Hopkins' conduct was “malicious and oppressive,” and warrants award of punitive damages.

The case filing comes nearly a year after a Lake County jury acquitted Dinius of the felony and misdemeanor boating under the influence charges.

At the same time, the jury deadlocked on the misdemeanor count of boating with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08, which the court later dropped.

In January Dinius filed a claim with the county seeking unspecified damages to cover attorney fees, emotional distress, and loss of both his reputation and his job.

That claim was rejected the following month, clearing the way for the federal civil rights case, Victor Haltom, Dinius' criminal defense attorney, told Lake County News in a previous interview.

In the Tuesday filing Dinius accuses the named officials of concealing exculpatory evidence and fabricating evidence to make him appear guilty of Thornton's death.

“Defendants' corrupt investigation, prosecution, and attempted conviction of Dinius exhausted his financial resources, left him jobless, degraded his reputation, and emotionally scarred him,” the suit states. “Corrupt personal motives, rather than the pursuit of justice or legitimate activity within the scope of their employment, busied defendants' conduct.”

As part of his case Dinius argues that county officials ordered former sheriff's Sgt. James Beland not to administer a breathalyzer test to Perdock at the crash scene, and that Beland's statements to fellow employees that he was upset about that order led to “harassing internal affairs investigations” and his termination in December 2008.

The filing alleges that the sheriff's office under Mitchell's leadership “had a custom, usage, pattern, practice, or unwritten code of conduct of protecting favored employees, such as defendant Perdock, aligned with Mitchell and punishing employees, such as Sergeant Beland, who resisted the favoritism when it crossed the line.”

On the stand during the 2009 trial, Beland claimed his termination was a direct result of the case. He said that he had asked Ostini at the scene if he should do the breathalyzer and that Ostini had said no, Perdock was going for a blood test.

Beland maintained on the stand that it was “a discussion on how to handle the situation, but it was also an order,” as Lake County News reported in its trial coverage.

What's ahead for the county

Grant said the county belongs to the California State Association of Counties' Excess Insurance Authority.

She said the county's liability claims are handled by a third party administrator through that organization, in this case the George Hills Co., which had turned down Dinius' administrative claim against the county in February.

“When we're served then counsel will be assigned,” said Grant, noting that pursuant to the terms of the liability insurance, an outside attorney will defend the county in the suit.

Hopkins, who came in third in the June 8 primary and so will not be on the November ballot for the district attorney's job, will nonetheless be defended by the county after he's gone from its employment, Grant said.

“He's named for actions he took while in our employment so it should be covered,” she said, adding that the same should apply to Frey and Pick, the two retirees the suit named.

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Local Search and Rescue and K-Corps members responded with more than 100 other rescuers to help locate an elderly woman who was reported missing on the coast this weekend.

Mendocino County Sheriff's officials reported Tuesday that 76-year-old Naomi Alice Kerwin of Albion was found alive at 7 p.m. Monday in the Albion Ridge Road.

Kerwin had been reported missing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Lt. Dennis Bushnell of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Kerwin, who suffers from Alzheimer's, had last been seen on Saturday walking her terrier Rosie in the Albion Ridge Road area, Bushnell reported.

Bushnell said Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies began an immediate search of the area before Mendocino County Search and Rescue and the Albion Fire Department were called out. The search was fully under way at 10 p.m. Saturday with 12 personnel.

On Sunday morning, officials requested more personnel, air units and K-9 teams, with approximately 60 personnel involved, Bushnell said. Additional agencies involved in the search were Cal Fire, the California Highway Patrol, Sonoma County Search and Rescue and Marin County Search and Rescue.

Also included in the search were members of Lake County Search and Rescue and K-Corps, according to Sgt. Gary Basor, the Lake County Sheriff's Office's Search and Rescue coordination.

He said the sheriff's office received a mutual aid request Saturday shortly before 10 p.m.

“We responded with 17 members of our Search and Rescue team,” which included K-Corps, Basor said.

When Kerwin was found Monday night, she was 200 feet off the road down a hill in dense brush, Bushnell said.

Basor said the location where Kerwin was located was about a quarter of a mile from the point where she was last seen.

“She was dehydrated and somewhat lethargic, probably wasn't going to last the night based on what my team has said,” Basor said.

The Lake County technical rope rescue team – composed both of Search and Rescue members and teenage K-Corps members – assisted with packaging Kerwin and pulling her up out of the canyon, according to Basor.

During the search Bushnell said there were 160 searchers from various agencies on scene, with resources including people on foot and ATVs, as well as mounted and air units.

He said Kerwin was OK and had returned home.

This was the first call out for the local Search and Rescue in a while, said Basor.

“Search and Rescue-wise, it's been relatively quiet,” he said.

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A Cal fire tanker drops retardant on a fire in the hills above Lucerne, Calif., on the evening of Thursday, August 12, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


LUCERNE, Calif. – On Thursday evening state and local firefighters battled a vegetation fire in the hills above Lucerne.

The fire was dispatched shortly after 5 p.m., about 10 minutes after the power in the town had gone off for about a minute. Reports from the scene indicated power lines were down.

Cal Fire, Northshore Fire and the US Forest Service were among the agencies responding.

One structure was reported threatened by the fire, which firefighters had to access off of Robinson Road, which turns off of Foothill Drive.

Cal Fire sent four fixed wing aircraft to monitor the fire. A Cal Fire helicopter made about 20 water drops, traveling back and forth from the lake with a bucket designed for the task.

In addition, Cal Fire air tankers made six retardant drops.

Just after 7 p.m. Cal Fire estimated the blaze to be about 10 acres in size.




A Cal Fire helicopter fills its bucket with water from Clear Lake to fight a fire in the hills above Lucerne, Calif., on Thursday, August 12, 2010. Photo by Trent Kirk.



Resources on scene included two US Forest Service engines, five Cal Fire engines, one helicopter, two crews, two dozers and a battalion chief, according to Cal Fire. Information on the number of Northshore Fire resources was not immediately available.

Pacific Gas & Electric had been notified of the power line issues and had arrived at the scene shortly before 7 p.m., according to radio reports.

At about 7:20 p.m. Cal Water was notified that firefighters were drawing down water from the town's hydrants.

The fire's cause is still under investigation, Cal Fire said.

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A Cal Fire tanker begins a retardant drop on the fire above Lucerne, Calif., on Thursday, August 12, 2010. Photo by Trent Kirk.





The flames were visible in this photograph taken by Amanda Guyette on Thursday, August 12, 2010.





LUCERNE, Calif. – Unusual cloud formations and eye-popping colors made for an amazing sunset Tuesday evening.

Lucerne resident and professional photographer Ron Keas captured the progression of the sunset in a series of shots.

He said the sunset contained “probably the most unusual cloud formation I've seen in my five years of photographing sunsets here.”

“What a show,” he added.

See more of Keas' work at his Web site,

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TALMAGE – On Sunday Mendocino County Sheriff's officials arrested a Talmage man who is suspected of setting several fires.

Vernon James, 40, was taken into custody and charged with arson, according to a report from Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

At 11 p.m. Sunday a deputy was dispatched to 2501 Old River Road in Talmage in regards to a vegetation fire. Smallcomb said the deputy contacted Ukiah Valley Fire Chief Dan Grebil who was on scene.

An investigation into the fire scene revealed that the cause was believed to be suspicious in nature, Smallcomb said.

The deputy contacted James, who was standing on his porch viewing the emergency service activities. Smallcomb said the deputy had been earlier advised that James has been suspected of being involved in numerous suspicious fires, ranging from Redwood Valley – where James used to reside – to Talmage, where numerous suspicious vegetation fires have been investigated by Ukiah Valley Fire Personnel.

Smallcomb said the deputy was able to obtain a statement from James, who admitted to being responsible for the current vegetation fire. James also admitted to starting three different vegetation fires on this date by using his lighter in the dry grass.

The most recent fires were adjacent to the Caravan Mobile Home Park located on Old River Road, Smallcomb said.

James was placed under arrest and transported to the Mendocino County Jail, according to Smallcomb.

Ukiah Valley Fire Personnel along with Cal Fire and Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies continue to conduct further investigation into suspicious fires in the area which James may be responsible for, Smallcomb said.

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KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – In a Tuesday night meeting the Kelseyville Unified School District Board of Trustees began a discussion with the community about the need to cut funds for the 2011-12 school year, with school site configuration one way of achieving that end.

About 30 people attended the 45-minute meeting at Kelseyville High School, with district staff presenting an overview of Kelseyville Unified's financial challenges.

Board President Rick Winer said the meeting's purpose was to discuss site configuration, but he said the board's members – which included John DeChaine, Peter Quartarolo, Gary Olson and Chris Irwin – had open minds about how to approach the situation.

“We want to investigate and collect all the data that we can” before making a decision, Winer said.

District Superintendent Dave McQueen said the discussion about how to deal with the district's declining enrollment had been going on for several years.

He said they were looking at how to configure the district's school sites to maximize dollars and use the facilities in the best way possible.

Students had been moved around in the district before, said McQueen.

While the district has looked at similar issues previously, McQueen said this was a more open process. “We want community input,” he said. “We want to look at every viable option.”

He said they needed to look at the situation as a community, and do what's best for both the community as a whole and the school district. McQueen assured the audience that nothing had yet been decided.

A series of configuration meetings are scheduled through November, McQueen said. The first meeting was Tuesday; others are set for 7 p.m. Sept. 14, Oct. 12 and Nov. 9 in the student center at Kelseyville High School.

A district configuration committee composed of employee staff, teachers, administration and parent teacher organization representatives also will hold several meetings to gather data, but those aren't public meetings, they said.

McQueen said they hoped to supply three to four different options to the board for its consideration.

Tiffany Kemp, the district's chief financial officer, said the district was looking to have a decision made by the Nov. 16 board meeting about where to make the cuts.

“We have two major factors that we're up against as a district,” which are not unique to Kelseyville, Kemp said.

Those two factors are declining enrollment and revenue cuts, Kemp said. As enrollment continues to decline, the district loses more revenue.

Kemp said the district has been in a declining enrollment trend since 2003, with the trend expected to continue until the 2013-14 school year.

She showed a chart that illustrated the district dropping from a high of 1,952 students in the 2001-02 school year to an estimated 1,611 students in 2013-14.

At that point the kindergarten through third grade enrollment is predicted to rise, but it is expected to be outdone by student number decreases at the high school, Kemp explained.

Over the last two years the state has been reducing revenue for schools, Kemp said. “We don't see any signs that that's going to improve.”

If the state doesn't fund cost of living increases totaling 2.1 percent in 2011-12 and 2.4 percent in 2012-13 the district can expect revenue reductions of $200,000 in 2011-12 and $360,000 in 2012-13, Kemp said.

In the midst of all of these challenges, Kemp said the state requires Kelseyville Unified to maintain a reserve totaling 3-percent of its expenditures. For 2010-11, the district's expenditures total about $13 million.

Kemp said the district is in deficit spending. Kelseyville Unified has total expenditures of just over $14 million anticipated for the coming school year, with revenues at slightly over $13 million. The district currently has about $1 million in reserves.

The district has eight sites, Kemp said. They include Kelseyville Elementary, 469 students; Kelseyville High, 504 students; Ed Donaldson Continuation High School, 12 students; Riviera Elementary, 289 students; Intermountain High School, eight students; the new Riviera High School, with no student amount listed; Mountain Vista Middle School, 399 students; and Kelseyville Community Day School, 16 students.

The goal, said Kemp, is to get the most out of the sites.

“We want this to be a positive experience,” said Kemp.

The district plans to evaluate the impact on the community and minimize negative impacts on students and staff, she said.

During a brief public comment period, community members asked about the potential for positive impact from federal legislation and previous task forces that have met, and questioned current teacher benefit levels.

Shelly Bell asked if the board had enough time to make a decision by the November deadline. McQueen said yes, with district staff already having begun work to study the situation.

Bell asked if the bottom line was financial. McQueen said it was a big consideration, adding the board has a huge stake in what the community thinks and how whatever actions are taken will affect them.

No possibility was off the table? Bell asked. McQueen said she was correct.

Bell asked if most savings are still in personnel. Kemp said yes.

McQueen welcomed community members to send questions, comments and suggestions to the district at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In addition the community can call 707-279-1511.

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SANTA ROSA, Calif. – A Rohnert Park man pleaded guilty to 61 felony burglary counts this week and as a result will face more than 60 years in prison when he's sentenced next month.

Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua reported that on Monday James Gregory Stone pleaded guilty to the 61 charges, including 29 counts of residential burglary. Stone also pleaded to possession of an assault weapon and a bomb device.

The pleas came in on the day Stone's trial was to start, Passalacqua said.

“It is clear that the majority of the items recovered were taken from more than 50 burglaries of Rohnert Park homes and that Stone’s crime spree had gone on for over a decade,” said Assistant District Attorney Diana Gomez. “It is very fortunate that he was finally caught.”

Most of the charges relate to residential burglaries that occurred while the homes’ occupants were asleep, the District Attorney's Office reported.

Almost all of the homes were within a two block radius of Stone’s Rohnert Park home. During a search warrant of Stone’s residence, a cache of stolen property was discovered, including personal identifications, bicycles, golf clubs, firearms and power tools, according to the report.

Detectives from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office were able to determine that the stolen property came from residential burglaries of the defendant’s neighbors over the past decade, beginning as far back 1998, officials said.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 30. Passalacqua's office said Stone faces a maximum term of 64 years and eight months in prison.

No plea bargain was made and no promises were given as to any sentence he may receive, Passalacqua said.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Li was the prosecutor assigned to the case. Sonoma County Sheriff’’s Detective Sal Borruso was the lead detective.

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Lake County Sheriff's deputies and officers with the California Department of Justice's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting found these weapons located in the marijuana grow near Middletown, Calif., on Tuesday, August 10, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – Local and state officials found another illegal marijuana grow this week totaling thousands of plants, with the additional discovery of weapons.

Sgt. Brian Martin of the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported that sheriff's deputies along with law

enforcement officials from the California Department of Justice's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) team continued their investigation into illegal cultivation of marijuana operations in Lake County.

In the area of Socrates Mine Road and Ford Flat Road between Middletown and Cobb, they discovered an illegal marijuana garden containing over 10,000 marijuana plants, Martin said.

The location of this marijuana garden was eight-tenths of a mile away from another marijuana garden in which an armed suspect was shot and killed by a deputy six days earlier, according to Martin.

That suspect, Martin said, was identified by family members on Tuesday as Juan Sanchez Corona, 51, of Michoacán, Mexico.

Also discovered in the garden that was located on Tuesday were several firearms, which Martin said were located in concealed locations in and around the garden.

Officials discovered that all of the firearms were loaded, and there was extra ammunition located at

the site for all of the weapons. Martin said the weapons included three shotguns, one of which had a

pistol grip, an assault rifle with a scope, and another rifle.

The investigation also revealed a night vision scope that has the ability to project an infrared beam. This type of device allows the user to broadcast light that is invisible to the naked eye, but allows anyone equipped with a night vision device to see just as clearly as if a spotlight were being used, Martin said.

Martin said they found at the campsite ammunition for two other caliber firearms which weren't located. The ammunition in question is the type most commonly used for handguns.

Officials discovered three unoccupied tents in and around the garden. Martin said they also found recent footprints, and determined that the marijuana plants had been watered within hours of their arrival.

The garden was located on a remote portion of a large parcel of private property. Martin said the

owner of the property is not suspected of being involved.

Law enforcement officials are investigating the possibility that the persons responsible for this marijuana garden are connected to the marijuana garden located on Aug. 4, Martin said.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reminds all people that access remote lands to be mindful and vigilant of these illegal marijuana operations.

If you come across such an operation, you are urged to immediately back out of the area and notify the sheriff’s office.

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On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, California Highway Patrol officers and a tow company remained at the scene of a big rig crash on Highway 29 outside of Lakeport, Calif. Photo by John Jensen.



LAKEPORT, Calif. – A wreck involving a big rig and a smaller vehicle resulted in minor injuries and closed down a portion of Highway 29 on Tuesday.

The crash, which took place just north of the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff, was reported just before 3:30 p.m.

A small vehicle and a semi collided, with the big rig over on its side, according to witnesses.

The California Highway Patrol reported that there were four crash victims who were out and walking but had sustained injuries.

Caltrans personnel were called to the scene to assist with setting up cones around the blocked southbound lane, the CHP said.

The truck was reported to be leaking diesel fuel, according to the CHP.

A full report on the individuals involved in the crash and the extent of their injuries wasn't available from the CHP Tuesday evening. Minor injuries were reported.

It took several hours to investigate the scene and remove the vehicles.

At around 6:30 p.m. several CHP officers were still examining the scene. The big rig had been set upright but still hadn't been removed from the highway median at that point.

About an hour and a half later the truck had been towed off the highway.

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From left, Realtor Bob Willroy hands the keys to Hoberg's Resort in Cobb, Calif., to Daniel Kottke, a member of Cobb Mountain Partners LLC. They're accompanied by Dan Nelson, the resort's manager. The documents for the resort's sale were recorded by the Lake County Recorder's Office on July 23, 2010. Photo by Sandy Hoberg Fox.


COBB MOUNTAIN, Calif. – One of the county's most famed resort properties has passed into new ownership, with the new owners looking at opportunities to restore it to its former glory.

The sale of Hoberg's Resort, located at 15205 Highway 175 on Cobb Mountain, closed late last month, with the transfer documents recorded by the Lake County Recorder's Office on July 23.

Cobb Mountain Partners LLC, a Delaware corporation with offices in Palo Alto and San Jose, purchased the property from the Maharishi Global Administration Through Natural Law, documents showed. In all, six parcels totaling just over 50 acres were part of the sale.

Real estate listings said the property included a 40,000-square-foot lodge with another 100 buildings and a large swimming pool.

Dan Nelson – who is managing the property for Cobb Mountain Partners LLC, which incorporated July 12 – told Lake County News that the sale was supposed to have closed about nine months ago.

Negotiations had been under way for a while, he said, but finally concluded this summer.

He said he could not disclose terms of the sale, but county documents stated that the seller carried $1.75 million, and the transfer fees for title totaled $2,200. Recorder staff said the fee is determined at a rate of $1.10 per $1,000 of sale cost, for an estimated total price of $2 million.

The property had variously been listed for just over $2.9 million and $3.5 million.

Attempts to contact representatives for Maharishi Global Administration Through Natural Law so far have been unsuccessful.

The past magic of the resort – which marks its 125th anniversary this year – “just really awed the investors and the partners,” Nelson said.

“They just had to have it,” he said.

The new Web site for the resort, http://Hoberg', has stirred a lot of community interest – Nelson said they've already received a couple hundred phone calls at their corporate offices – but he said that the resort hasn't yet undergone any renovations, and that the pictures and plans on the Web site don't represent its actual condition. It's merely a conceptualization launched nine months ago.

“We're not saying it's going to look exactly like that because we don't know for sure at this point in time but it was one of the conceptual ideas,” Nelson said.

The group of investors includes members of the entertainment business. Nelson, who is acting as manager for the group and isn't himself an investor, also works in the entertainment industry and is chief executive officer of Action 3D Entertainment.

He said the investors are considering a wide variety of uses for the property – from housing a movie set to hosting a film festival, as well as creating a resort similar to Hoberg's in its heyday. However, Nelson added there are no specific plans yet.

Whatever the plans turn out to be, Nelson said it will bring a lot of people to Cobb Mountain and Lake County.

“It's an amazing place,” he said of the resort, noting that you can feel the vibe of what it was like 50 years ago.

Nelson said there has been a lot of speculation about who the investors are. While he didn't offer any information, he did provide a picture of the handing over of the resort's keys to Daniel Kottke, one of the group.

Kottke, 56, an inventor and computer engineer, was Apple's first official employee, and he – along with Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – assembled and tested the first Apple 1 computer, according to his biography.

A storied history

Members of the Hoberg family couldn't be reached for comment, but a 2007 book by Donna Hoberg, “Resorts of Lake County,” showed Hoberg's in its early and mid-20th century glory.

The resort had a swimming pool, hotel, airport and an outdoor dance pavilion known as the “Pine Bowl” that drew big band notables such as Tommy Dorsey, Xavier Cugat, Walt Tolleson, Harry James and Freddy Martin, the band of the latter including a young performer named Merv Griffin.

Founded in 1885 by Gustav and Mathilda Hoberg, Hoberg's Resort would attract notables from around the country. Renowned botanist Luther Burbank stayed there, as did Earl Warren in 1946 when he was governor of California, the book recounted.

Hoberg's also reportedly had a sister resort, Hoberg's Desert Resort in Borrego Springs, Calif., which burned in 1958 but later was rebuilt, according to a history of the Southern California resort.

However, financial difficulties eventually ended the Cobb resort's operation, according to Donna Hoberg's book.

For two years after George Hoberg's death in 1970, the family operated it as a boarding school, the book explained.

In January 1974 the family sold it to Maharishi International University, according to county documents.

In the years since the land was recorded under the ownership of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's World Plan Executive Council and, eventually, the Maharishi Global Administration, county records showed. The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement.

During the time it was owned by the maharishi's organizations, County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox said it wasn't operated as a public resort, but was used only for the organizations' members.

Nelson said it appears that the resort property wasn't used actively over the past 10 years, with not much work being done on the facilities.

“It's a monumental task to take on the repair and renovation of the place,” he said.

The resort's new owners already are starting to do cleanup and small repairs, Nelson said.

“It will require a tremendous amount of cost and a tremendous amount of work and commitment from everybody to get everything back to where it needs to be, where we can have guests back at the facility,” Nelson said. “It will require an army of people to really bring this place back.”

Resort reopening a promising possibility for the county

Cox, who himself has never been inside Hoberg's facility, is hopeful for what may be ahead for the resort.

“I think it could have a tremendous positive impact on the local economy and the county's revenues,” he said.

Resorts have had an important part in Lake County's history. Beginning in the 19th century they began drawing visitors to the county to enjoy hot springs and mountain air.

The establishments bring in transient occupancy tax – or TOT – for the county, with those funds in turn used for marketing and economic development efforts.

The visitors who come to the resorts also impact other businesses – restaurants, grocery stores and a variety of other merchants, economic studies have shown.

When Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa closed last November, it meant substantial impacts for county businesses and TOT, as well as many lost jobs, as Lake County News has reported.

The country's economic recession also impacted tourism, and a number of county resorts currently are on the market.

Those on the multiple listing service include Cobb facilities Edie's Resort, $875,000, and Pine Grove Resort, $1,295,000; the 10-acre lakeside Ferndale Resort in Kelseyville, listed for $1,495,000; Saratoga Springs in Upper Lake, a 260-acre retreat offered for $2.2 million; and Willow Point in Lakeport, located on the water, with 61 park spaces, priced at $4.95 million.

The notable resort that's missing from the listings is Konocti Harbor, which was to be sold as the result of a federal court case that was settled in 2007.

The US Department of Labor sued the resort's owner, Lakeside Haven, the convalescent trust fund for Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Journeymen, for having diverted millions of dollars in pension funds to operate the resort, as Lake County News has reported.

The federal court ordered WhiteStar Advisors of Boca Raton, Fla., to act as the independent fiduciary and oversee the resort's sale. WhiteStar Advisors Managing Director James Bishop has not returned phone calls from Lake County News seeking an update on the resort, which also is not listed for sale on the WhiteStar Web site.

Despite the impact of losing Konocti Harbor's TOT, a review of the first quarter TOT for Lake County shows, according to Cox, “We're not doing that bad.”

Cox couldn't go into specifics about what the resorts pay in TOT – that's confidential – but he added that TOT revenues so far this year were “better than what I thought.”

He said Hoberg's is a unique facility that could have a big impact on the county's economy.

“I welcome the opportunity to work with the new owners and help them make it a great success,” he said.

Nelson said more plans for the resort will be forthcoming soon, with updates to be posted on the Web site.

He said community members are invited to send resumes and information about their skills to the group at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The owners will be hiring “quite a large number” of Lake County residents to help with the resort's transformation over the coming year, he said.

Nelson called the local enthusiasm “wonderful.”

“We're very excited and looking forward to working with the local Lake County citizens,” he said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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