Thursday, 25 July 2024


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – The The Mendocino National Forest has amended sections of its Forest Management Plan to address changes in direction resulting from the designation of an additional 115,203 acres as Wilderness and portions of two waterways as Wild and Scenic through Congressional legislation.

HR233, the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George Bush in October 2006.

On the Mendocino National Forest, the Act added to the existing Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel and Snow Mountain Wildernesses, and designated two new Wildernesses, Sanhedrin and Yuki. These areas were already in the national forest and no new lands were incorporated.

The Act also designated a portion of the Black Butte River as "Scenic," and portions of the Black Butte River and Cold Creek as "Wild." These designations compel certain changes in the application of Forest Plan management direction. The Act has, in effect, amended the Forest Plan.

Amended sections of the Forest Plan are available on-line at or hard copies may be obtained by contacting Forest Planner Mike VanDame at telephone 530-934-1141; e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or by mail by sending a request to VanDame at Mendocino National Forest, 825 North Humboldt Avenue, Willows, CA 95988.




** A word of warning, although the last name is the Danish spelling, the writer is mostly Norwegian!

The Sons of Norway has a monthly dinner so I thought it would be interesting to show off some of the dishes of dem dehr scandihoovians.

Scandinavian countries include Norway, Sweden, Denmark and, to a lesser part Finland, Iceland, and the indigenous Sami people who inhabit the far northern regions (sometimes called “Laplanders”).

Now, to give you a little background, my family gathers every Christmas and celebrates with large amounts of Norwegian food, Krumkake (a rolled cookie, similar to a long thin ice cream cone), Fattigman (a deep fried cookie), Kjottkaker (the Norwegian version of Swedish meatballs) and lefsa.

Go back with me 20 years: When my new (Italian) wife saw the table covered in food her first comment was, “Don’t Norwegians have any food that isn’t white?” But when my aunt comforted her with the comment that she had brought lasagna in her honor, her spirits lifted a little.

Then my aunt listed the ingredients: lasagna noodles, ground beef, cottage cheese and a store-brand spaghetti sauce. My aunt said to season it she had used some (plain black) pepper, and so she hoped it wasn’t too spicy! My wife was very gracious to my aunt, but boy, did I get an earful later! No Italian sausage! No ricotta or mozzarella cheese! No peppers (that’s with an “s”, meaning bell peppers), no fresh tomato sauce with fresh herbs! What kind of culinary wasteland had she entered?).

Just a quick note ... there is no word for “spicy” in Norwegian.

Now let’s return to the Sons of Norway dinners. There’s lefsa (where there’s Norwegians there’s always lefsa) which is basically a potato crepe that is typically spread with butter and then sprinkled with sugar (plain, white, sugar) then rolled up and eaten with the hands. There are many different types of Smorbrod, an open faced sandwich (literally “open sandwich”), covered in gravlax (literally “salmon from the grave” since originally it was buried; gravlax is a salt-, sugar- and dill-cured salmon, a basic recipe follows) and usually topped with a mild mustard and dill. Other smorbrod will be topped with shrimp, smoked salmon, Jarlsberg cheese (Jarlsberg is a Norwegian cheese similar to Swiss but with a pronounced “nutty” flavor).


One salmon filet

5 tablespoons salt

5 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 bunch dill


Some people choose to scale their salmon first, but I don’t bother. Cut the tail off of the salmon so that you roughly have a long rectangle. Then cut it in half so you have two squares. Put both squares on a long sheet of plastic wrap, skin side down. Mix the salt, sugar, and pepper and sprinkle all over both pieces of fish, flesh side only, and pat the spice mixture lightly so it sticks to the fish. Lay the dill on top of one of the squares of fish and flip the other square of salmon on top of the dill. You should now have an odd looking dill sandwich with the salmon as the bread.

Wrap the whole package tightly in the plastic wrap and then using another length of plastic wrap do it again at a ninety degree angle, the tighter the better. Place this bundle into a dish with high sides (there may be some leakage so you need the sides there). I like to use the kind of pan that you make brownies in. Now place another dish of some sort on top of the salmon. I like to use a bread loaf pan for this one.

Place some weights in the pan to help compress the salmon down; a few cans of soup work well here. Place this teetering tower into the refrigerator out of the way. In twenty four hours flip the salmon over and replace the pan and weights and put back into the fridge again. In another twenty four hours your salmon is now officially gravlax, but it still needs a little more time to fully develop the flavor that you want to achieve. A couple more days of pressing and flipping won’t hurt. I typically like to do three days total for the best flavor and texture.

However long you decide to do it, when you take it out of the torture chamber that it’s been sitting in remove the now spent dill and rinse the filets in cold water, washing off as much of the left over spice mixture as you can.

Slice the gravlax at a 45-degree angle as thinly as possible, but don’t cut through the skin. Traditionally gravlax is served on rye bread with a little mustard and a sprig of dill.


Once I’ve cut all of the gravlax from the skin I particularly like to fry the skin until crisp and eat it like bacon. Again, there’s no need to scale the skin before frying, they just dissolve during the cooking process. OK, I don’t exactly know what happens to the scales, just trust me, they disappear.


It is possible to increase the amounts of this recipe and use two whole salmon filets, but the whole compression torture chamber just ends up dominating the refrigerator.

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.


Habitat for Humanity President Richard Birk (left) and Executive Director Lisa Willardson accept the $2,000 grant check from a State Farm representative. Courtesy photo.


LAKE COUNTY – In pursuit of its goal to provide more housing to county residents who need it, Habitat to Humanity of Lake County has received another grant.

The organization recently received a $2,000 grant from State Farm Insurance, Habitat for Humanity reported Friday.

The State Farm funds will go directly to purchasing building materials for new, single-family homes.

“The condition of available housing and commercial services greatly affects the quality of life for residents and the stability of a community,” State Farm officials noted.

Habitat reported that the funds already are being put to use on its next housing project, the Clearlake Housing Project III. The money was utilized in pouring the foundation for the 11th house Habitat has built locally.



The groundbreaking for Habitat's 11th house. Courtesy photo.


Homeowners only pay the cost to build the home – around $70,000 – with no interest charged, according to a Friday Habitat for Humanity statement.

State Farm's grant brings the total donated to Habitat from State Farm's Strong Neighborhood Community Development Grant Program to $17,000.

The local habitat chapter reported that, little by little, through such funding, the quality of housing is being improved in Lake County.

For information on State Farm and its charitable giving program, visit or speak with a local representative in Lakeport (263-7142) or Clearlake (994-7122).

For more information on how to be involved with Habitat for Humanity, please visit or call 994-1100.


CLEARLAKE – City officials and community members came together Tuesday to hear the latest news on a controversial subdivision that proposes to build several hundred new homes along Cache Creek.

The hour-and-40-minute meeting, held Tuesday evening at Clearlake City Hall, was an opportunity for the City Council and Planning Commission to ask questions and make “nonbinding” comments on the Provinsalia early in the process, said City Administrator Dale Neiman.

“It's important that we know what you want related to the project,” he told council members and commissioners.

Over the next four to six months, Neiman said city staff will spend a “substantial” amount of time working on preparing the proposed final environmental impact report for a formal hearing. The document, released last week and reportedly the project's third environmental report draft, is more than 200 pages long.

If the Planning Commission and the council decides the environmental report is adequate, Neiman said that would lead to a list of other tasks, from general plan amendments to adoption of a specific area plan and a development agreement.

Dick Price of the Modesto-based Price Group is representing Cache Creek Inc., the company that is proposing Provinsalia. He made a presentation to the group to explain the project's current scope and answer questions.

“We've been at this for a while,” said Price.

Today, Provinsalia is slated to be built across 292 acres near Cache Creek off of Dam Road, said Price.

Originally, the project had been much larger, Price said, and included property outside of the city limits that stretched down to the dam. However, due to a variety of factors – accessibility, steep terrain and regulatory issues – they found the land unsuitable.

So the investors “jettisoned out of the project all the property not within the city of Clearlake,” said Price, and sold the land in order to make money for the project, which so far has been very expensive.

“I've spent almost $5 million here in case you're not aware of it,” he said.

The land sale pared the property down to a 720-unit subdivision with a nine-hole golf course and 70 acres of open space. Other adjustments to the plan have reduced the units further, said Price, so the final number of units is 660.

“We're still looking at a very large project here,” said Price.

As part of the project Price and the company proposes to build a new road, Provinsalia Avenue, which will enter the subdivision off of Dam Road, which will serve as an emergency exit.

There are still many issues to be worked out, including impacts on services. Price said the subdivision's water will be supplied by Konocti County Water District, which will have to increase the size of its pump station at the developer's expense.

The plan also proposes to take untreated water from Cache Creek to water the golf course, which will require permits from Yolo County officials as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, said Price.

During his presentation, Price also fielded questions about chemical use on the golf course – which will be handled by an integrated waste management program – to concerns about the plan's proposed homeowners association.

Regarding the latter, questions arose because council members and commissioners were concerned that, if the association were to eventually disband, it could impact the subdivision's basic maintenance issues. Neiman said the city can form maintenance districts, which can't be disbanded, to ensure that doesn't happen.

Price also said that the company will ensure that the subdivision reaches full buildout.

“This is all driven by a need to make a profit,” he said. “We can't get our money back 'til we sell those lots and somebody builds those houses.”

Funding, traffic among main issues

Another area of significant concern is the proposed use of a Mello-Roos Community Facilities District, a bond measure that would finance public improvements and services and be repaid by a special tax assessed on residents of the district.

Price confirmed that using a Mello-Roos district is still in the plans to fund the subdivision's infrastructure.

That concerned Council member Judy Thein, who didn't want the city left in the lurch if the project doesn't follow through on its promises. “So what is our safeguard there?”

“We would build in safeguards,” said Neiman said.

He added that Mello-Roos financing is tax-exempt and offers a lower interest rate, but can only apply to public improvements.

Victoria Brandon of Lake County's Sierra Club chapter also voiced concern that the financing proposal could expose the city and its taxpayers to a major risk, which Neiman said the city wouldn't let happen.

Neiman said the responsibility to pay back the bonds would fall on the homeowners in the subdivision.

“But if the properties aren't constructed who's going to repay that money?” Brandon asked.

Neiman said that issue will be considered and a solution found to prevent the city being left holding the bag.

Mayor Curt Giambruno pointed out that the Mello-Roos proposal isn't mentioned in the environmental impact report, and noted the proposal would need the city's approval. Price added that, if the homes didn't sell, the land would be sold off to pay back the financing.

Kelseyville resident Angela Siegel, a teacher at Carle High School who has monitored the project closely over the last several years, said if the project doesn't repay the funds there will be implications for the city. “It's your entire credit rating for anything else you might want to do.”

She then questioned Price on the background for Cache Creek Inc. Her research found that the company was registered in Delaware and based in Houston, Texas, but hasn't filed its corporation in Delaware for the last three years. Price said he didn't have information on those issues.

Another major issue that arose during the meeting were the project's plan to remove 1,400 oak trees, many of them smaller, said Price. The property has about 26,000 oak trees total, he added. The removed trees would be replanted elsewhere.

Glenn Goodman questioned how the city would provide increased services for the subdivision. The main service that would have to be provided, said Neiman, is policing, which the city has an obligation to provide. Sewer, water and schools would be supported by developer fees.

Herb Gura, president of the Konocti Unified School District Board of Trustees, didn't believe the report had addressed community concerns. “The final EIR (environmental impact report) basically says we don't think we have to do anything more.”

He added, “The city should not consider it a foregone conclusion that this project will move ahead.”

One matter that arose repeatedly related to potential traffic impacts on Lake Street, along which are located some area schools. A traffic study indicated that there are currently 3,000 trips a day down Lake Street, said Neiman.

Supervisor Jeff Smith who – along with Supervisor Ed Robey – was on hand to comment on the plan, said the county has jurisdiction over Lake Street, and increased traffic is a concern there for both he and Robey.

Giambruno said the traffic issue has been with the project from the start. “I'm not sure that it's been solved.”

Price said a traffic study completed for Provinsalia makes “endless” suggestions to address those concerns. Solutions, he added, will be expensive. “If you read that I think you'll find we're way ahead of you on this.”

Siegel asked the council and commission to go back to the general plan and look at the section on “resources protection” zoning, the designation currently assigned to the land. She said the language is clear, that it was not intended to subdivide parcels and sell them piecemeal, but was intended for a total project.

Adopting a specific plan area for the property will allow for less environmental protection than the current zoning, said Siegel. “This particular specific plan violates the intent and spirit of the original zoning to protect this unique parcel.”

Planning Commissioner Al Bernal said he believes the project would be very beneficial for Clearlake, and that the golf course could add to Clearlake's appeal as a destination.

Neiman said staff will begin working on reports to bring back to the council and commission regarding the project's environmental impact report and its adequacy.

“Basically it's on my shoulders to get the work done,” said Neiman.

Copies of the report are available at Clearlake City Hall, where members of the public can see a hard copy. For a $3 fee, a CD with the full report can be purchased.

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


CLEARLAKE – The Clear Lake Campus of Yuba College will celebrate Earth Day 2008 on Tuesday, April 22.

The US government Web site says, “Earth Day is a time to celebrate gains we have made and create new visions to accelerate environmental progress. Earth Day is a time to unite around new actions. Earth Day and every day is a time to act to protect our planet.”

The Earth Day event at the Clear Lake Campus will be held during the college hour from 11:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m.

At noon there will be a special earth blessing guided by Pomo elders. Community groups, students and classes will have booths, entertainment and resources to educate and inform the community on environmental, ecological and educational issues related to Earth Day.

Live music will be performed during the event by professor Dr. Harry Lyons, instructors Doug and Sissa Harris, instructor Barbara Christwitz, Michael Heintz, student Becky Martin and friends.

The award winning Culinary Program will sell lunch and have information available on the “green restaurant” and their recent steps toward a green culinary program.

Activities involving baking with solar ovens, transportation with electric cars and flower planting will also take place.

Some of the groups presenting information in booths are Lake County Sierra Club, Lake County Adubon, Lake County Land Trust, Akeena Solar, David’s Construction, Clearlake Co-op, Discovery Museum, and Shannon Gunier’s business class.

Any other group interested in displaying information should contact Pamela Bordisso at 995-7914. The community is invited to attend this on campus event.


CLEARLAKE – One of the largest street-repair projects in Clearlake's history is getting under way. {sidebar id=65}

A $3.1 million project to reconstruct parts of Lakeshore, Old Highway 53 and a portion of Burns Valley Road is set to begin April 21, city officials said this week.

“I've issued the notice to proceed and they're out marking the streets now,” City Administrator Dale Neiman said Thursday.

The project, which Neiman said is the largest contract the city has ever awarded, will be funded by state transportation funds and Proposition 1B bond money.

Thanks to early preparation, City Engineer Bob Galusha helped land the money, said Neiman. In fact, Clearlake was the first agency in the state to receive funds from the bond.

The project, the contract for which was awarded earlier this year, was bid during the winter, which is the best time to get a good contract rate, because contractors are lining up work for the season, said Neiman. The slowing economy and less construction projects also helped get a better price, he added.

The result, was that the project – originally estimated to cost $2.9 million – came in at less than $1.4 million. Asphalt prices in the bid were in the range of $70 per ton, as opposed to $140 per ton, which was the price for asphalt in the 2005 midtown overlay project, Neiman said.

The city had hoped to be able to use the leftover $1.5 million on other roads in the city, said Neiman, including Pomo, Arrowhead, Park and Lakeshore Drive starting at City Hall and going west and east for as long as the funds would last.

However, Caltrans said that plan wouldn't work because, according to its funding regulations, the area included in the project had to be contiguous, said Neiman.

So, rather than go back to the state with new plans and risk losing the money, Neiman said they'll adapt.

The plans call for starting work at the senior center on Burns Valley and moving toward, and continuing along, Old Highway 53, said Neiman. Sections of Olympic Drive not completed in the past will be done. The project also will move from Lakeshore Drive at Highway 53 and move as far down as possible.

“We think we might make it almost to City Hall,” said Neiman.

City officials reported that the project will necessitate some road closures, but alternate routes will be offered. Flaggers will help direct traffic, and there will be advance signs and handout fliers with work and traffic information that will detail dates, times and durations of planned closures.

The project's contractor is Central Valley Paving and Asphalt of Roseville.

When the work is done, said Neiman, the streets in the project area will be “brand new.”

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



LAKEPORT The circumstances surrounding the last hours of Paul Womachka's life and his subsequent death are shrouded in a certain mystery. The weapon used to kill him hasn't been found, no motive has been offered for the father of three's murder, and no confessions have been made.

However, on Tuesday a judge ruled that the man who is believed to have been the last person to see him alive will stand trial for his murder.

Morgan Jack, 31, is accused of murdering 39-year-old Hey, Taxi! driver Paul Joseph Womachka in the early morning hours of June 27, 2007.

Following a preliminary hearing that stretched across most of Tuesday, Judge Arthur Mann ruled that there was sufficient evidence to hold Jack to answer for the charges that he murdered Womachka, with a special allegation of using a knife.

Jack, who was arrested and charged in February, has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Mann ordered Jack return to court on May 5, at which time he'll be arraigned, said defense attorney Stephen Carter. “Fundamentally, what we'll be doing is setting the future dates and the trial date at that time.”

Prosecutor Richard Hinchcliff called four witnesses during the course of the day, all of them Lake County Sheriff's Office investigators and support staff.

Lake County Sheriff's Office Investigator Nicole Costanza gave the bulk of the day's testimony.

She detailed the case from its beginning – when Womachka was reported missing by his ex-wife and business partner in the taxi business, Erica, on June 27, 2007 – to the discovery of his body two days later.

Initially Costanza and Lt. Corey Paulich of the Lake County Sheriff's Office's investigations division began interviewing people – including Jack – to find clues to Womachka's whereabouts.

They also received an anonymous tip that they should search the area behind the rancheria's gymnasium off of Soda Bay Road, which they did on foot, through the use of a helicopter and with a cadaver dog.

On June 29, 2007, Womachka's body was found submerged in his taxi minivan in an area of the Big Valley Rancheria's marina by Tribal Chair Valentino Jack, who was out on the water in a row boat, checking the area after he had been notified that the fence along the water had been damaged, said Costanza.

Evidence at the scene indicated Womachka's minivan went into the water after crossing a field and going through a chain link fence.

Based on witness interviews and surveillance video, detectives allegedly identified Jack at Robinson Rancheria Casino the night of June 26, 2007, where he was seen drinking at the bar. It was there that Womachka picked him up at approximately 12:17 a.m. – which was reportedly picked up on videotape – and drove him to his mother's home at Big Valley in the course of about 17 minutes.

Jack told detectives he went to his mother's home at Big Valley rather than going back to the home at Robinson Rancheria that he shared with his girlfriend, because he was concerned his girlfriend would be angry because he had been drinking.

Costanza said the taxi was seen entering the rancheria on a casino surveillance video at 12:34 a.m. A few hours later, another video showed Jack making his way to the casino.

A neighbor reported hearing Jack at his mother's home that night, yelling and making noise, Costanza said.

Cause of death still a mystery

The exact cause of Womachka's death still isn't precisely known, said Costanza.

Womachka, Costanza explained, sustained four "sharp force injuries" in the left upper chest and left shoulder, and one on either size of the neck.

Both the injuries to Womachka's neck cut his jugular vein and could have been fatal, a ruling Costanza attributed to medical examiner Dr. Kelly Arthur of the Sonoma County Coroner's Office, who performed the autopsy. The injury to the left side of Womachka's neck was termed by Arthur as an "incision" rather than a stab wound.

Because Womachka's body had been submerged for a lengthy period of time, Arthur couldn't conclude if he had drowned or bled to death, said Costanza.

When his body was recovered, said Costanza, Womachka was still wearing his seatbelt, his hands on or near the steering wheel, and his foot on the gas. The minivan was in drive gear, its doors were locked and several of the windows were open.

Costanza said Department of Justice criminologists matched DNA evidence taken from a toothbrush belonging to Womachka to the DNA found in a speck of blood found on a pair of shoes allegedly belonging to Jack. The likelihood that the DNA could have belonged to someone else was one in 160 quadrillion.

The weapon used to kill Womachka wasn't found. In searching the van Costanza said a knife blade – which Hinchcliff said was about 3 inches long – was found wedged between the plastic center console and the front passenger seat. However, it had no fingerprints or DNA. A search of the area where the van was found conducted by the Northshore Dive Team also yielded no finds.

During cross-examination of Costanza, Carter questioned what he felt was thin circumstantial and physical evidence.

He raised concerns with the surveillance videos, which had a number of issues concerning inaccurate time stamps.

Carter also questioned how Jack could have only come away with a small speck of blood on his shoes after allegedly committing a stabbing. Asking Costanza if they found blood stains in the van, she replied, “Lots.”

Paulich, the day's last witness to take the stand, said Jack had admitted to drinking a significant amount of alcohol the night of June 27, 2007.

In a four-hour interview on June 29, 2007, Paulich questioned Jack extensively. He tried to encourage a confession by telling Jack that he believed whatever happened had been an accident. He also had asked Jack if what had taken place had been mutual combat.

Jack repeatedly told him he didn't remember anything, although at one point he said that “maybe something bad did happen.”

However, Jack made no confession. “He told us he didn't hurt anybody ever,” Paulich said.

Attorneys argue the quality of evidence

At the end of the testimony, Hinchcliff argued that there was sufficient evidence to move forward with trying Jack for Womachka's murder.


“There is substantial circumstantial evidence that places the defendant with Mr. Womachka at or near the time of death,” said Hinchcliff. “He's obviously the last known person to be seen with Mr. Womacka.”

Hinchcliff said he had “extremely strong evidence” that Jack either committed the murder or was involved in its commission.

Carter, however, argued that the prosecution hadn't done enough to show that Jack was guilty.

He pointed to the speck of blood on Jack's right shoe, which was so small that the DNA testing consumed it, which means no further tests can be performed.

“That is the evidence that ties my client to this killing,” he said. “That's just about the only physical evidence we have at all, this blood speck that has been consumed.”

Neither were detectives successful in finding any of the clothing Jack had worn. Clothes found at the home of Jack's mother didn't have blood or DNA evidence, and couldn't even be tied to Jack.

“The type of evidence that would suggest Mr. Jack was involved in this wrongdoing simply isn't here,” said Carter.

Hinchcliff replied that the evidence including statements from Jack and witnesses that placed him at the scene and the blood evidence was enough to move forward.

Responding to Carter's contention that the cause of Womachka's death and who was responsible hadn't been clarified, Hinchcliff said, “It's not clear whether he drowned or died of loss of blood. What is clear is that the way he died was approximately caused by being stabbed.”

Following Mann's ruling, Carter said that preliminary hearings require a much lower standard of proof – a reasonable suspicion versus proof beyond a reasonable doubt required for a trial conviction.

Both Hinchcliff and Carter noted outside of court that the hearing had moved quickly.

However, at trial that's likely to change. Carter said the trial could become much more involved, with DNA and blood specialist and other experts called to testify.

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




LUCERNE – A Lucerne couple turned themselves in at the Lake County Jail on Friday after warrants were issued for their arrests this week in connection with a case of missing funds at the Lucerne Senior Center.

Rowland Mosser, the senior center's former executive director, and his wife, Jayne, were booked into the Lake County Jail shortly before 10 a.m. on Friday, according to jail booking records.

The District Attorney's Office is charging Rowland Mosser, 63, with four felony counts – embezzlement, grand theft by an employee, grand theft and keeping a false record of government funds. Mosser reportedly is working as a business consultant.

Jayne Mosser, whose occupation was listed in booking records as an In-Home Supportive Services worker, is facing a single felony count of committing grand theft. She had worked with her husband at the center.

Their attorneys had arranged for them to turn themselves after the Lake County District Attorney's Office filed charges against them on Tuesday, as Lake County News has reported.

By early afternoon Friday both of the Mossers has posted bail – which was set at $10,000 each – and been released from jail.

Center officials have estimated that more than $200,000 in center funds were unaccounted for after Mosser left the center of August of 2005, although District Attorney Jon Hopkins did not give an amount in connection with the case.

The District Attorney's Office complaint alleges the Mossers committed the acts between Jan. 1 and Aug. 12, 2005. Mosser served as executive director from July 2002 to August 2005.

Mosser also had had failed to pay the center's taxes, which caused the center serious problems with the Internal Revenue Services, and resulted in penalties and interest, as Lake County News has reported.

Rowland Mosser is due to appear in court on June 13, according to the Superior Court, while Jayne Mosser is scheduled to appear June 13.

The news of the arrests was still rippling through Lucerne on Friday.

Lee Tyree, who took over as Lucerne Senior Center's executive director in January, said people at the center were happy that the case is moving forward.

Tyree said she has not heard about possible restitution if the Mossers are convicted.

However, the county has helped the center put itself back on track, said Tyree. The Lake County Redevelopment Agency also paid to have the center reroofed – at a cost of about $30,000. Tyree said the new roof is now on the building.

People are coming back to the center and the attitude is much more upbeat, said Tyree.

“Everybody's got their whole heart in this place,” she said.

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


WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill to make the tax code simpler and fairer for American families and increase accountability of how federal dollars are spent.

The Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification Act (HR 5719) strengthens protections against identity theft and tax fraud, expands tax help for low-income taxpayers and stops taxpayer harassment by ending the private collection of federal taxes.

This bill also closes a loophole that allows government contractors to set up sham companies in foreign jurisdictions to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes.

The bill passed the House on a vote of 238 to 179, according to Congressional voting records.

Congressman Mike Thompson voted for the bill, which he also had a hand in helping to draft in his capacity as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“For too long, changes to the tax code have done little to benefit low- and middle-class families,” said Thompson. “But we took a step toward changing that.”

Data clearly suggests that the current tax code puts taxpayers at a disadvantage, Thompson's office reported.

For example, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that private debt collectors hired by the IRS placed over one million calls, many to innocent people, trying to reach only 35,000 taxpayers. And the IRS program that oversees debt collection has lost almost $50 million, in part because of the huge bounty paid to private debt collectors. This legislation would stop the IRS’s use of private debt collectors.

Many taxpayers are also not getting their fair share, Thompson's office reported. About 25 percent of households eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in 1999 did not claim it, and according to the GAO, working Americans may have lost out on approximately $8 billion in unclaimed earned income credits in 2004. HR 5719 would strengthen IRS outreach to make sure people know they are entitled to tax refunds under the EITC. It also would permit the IRS to refer these taxpayers to tax clinics

The legislation also addresses the rise of identity theft by requiring the IRS to notify taxpayers if there’s been an unauthorized use of their identity and it cracks down on misleading Web sites that try to get personal information by imitating the IRS.

It takes steps to close egregious corporate loopholes and stop federal contractors from using foreign subsidiaries to evade Social Security and other employment taxes. Currently, companies can avoid paying their fair share of Social Security and Medicare taxes by creating shell companies in the Cayman Islands. The Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification closes this loophole, which costs American taxpayers almost $100 million a year.

“The average American’s tax payment covers about half a second of spending in Iraq,” said Thompson. “It’s ridiculous that we’re then giving contractors in Iraq a chance to take even more American tax dollars. It’s time we close these loopholes and use our tax dollars where they’re needed – here in the U.S.”


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Starting May 1, fees will be slightly increased at 14 recreation sites on the Mendocino National Forest.

"The fees will help us with the rising costs of operating and maintaining some highly used sites and allow us to repair or replace facilities that have become worn out," said Mendocino National Forest Supervisor Tom Contreras.

Last year the Forest completed the analysis for a proposed five-year program of work for the 64 developed recreation sites on the forest.

The resulting Recreation Facility Analysis guides the forest in eliminating the backlog of deferred maintenance at recreation sites through a variety of management changes at the developed recreation sites.

These changes include increasing fees at 13 campgrounds and one lookout on the forest. Later this year the forest will begin charging a nominal fee at 16 sites which had not previously been managed as fee sites.

The fee changes were reviewed and recommended by the California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee, a federal advisory body for the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in California, and approved by the Regional Forester. Fee increases will be implemented on May 1.

Most of the fees collected now stay on forest for use at these sites under the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Eighty percent of the campground fees will go to the operation and maintenance of those campgrounds. Fifteen percent of the fees will go to the collection and enforcement of the fees at those campgrounds.

The remaining 5 percent goes into a fund that the Forest Service can apply for in grants to improve the resources in or adjacent to those campgrounds, such as trails around a lake, interpretive signing, or dealing with soil erosion at recreation sites.

Fees increases will occur beginning May 1 at the following locations:

  • Upper Lake Ranger District: Middle Creek Campground, $8.

  • Covelo Ranger District: Eel River Campground, $8; and Hammerhorn Campground, $8.

  • Grindstone Ranger District (total fee): Main Letts Campground, $12; Mill Valley Campground, $10; Plaskett Campground, $10; Saddle Camp Campground, $12; Spillway Campground, $12; Stirrup Campground, $12; Sycamore Grove Campground, $16; Camp Discovery Group Campground, $175; Gray Pine Group Campground, $75; and Masterson Group Campground, $75.

Later this summer, the Mendocino National Forest also will add other recreation sites to the fee system. These include sites at the following locations:

  • Upper Lake Ranger District: Deer Valley Campground, $6; Penny Pines Campground, $6; and Pillsbury Pines Boat Launch, $6.

  • Covelo Ranger District: Howard Lake Campground, $6; Howard Meadows Campground, $6; and Little Doe Campground, $6.

  • Grindstone Ranger District (total fee): Davis Flat Campground, $5; Dixie Glade Horse Campground, $5; Fouts Campground, $5; Little Stony Campground, $5; Mill Creek Campground, $5; North Fork Campground, $5; South Fork Campground, $5; Lake Red Bluff Boat Launch, $6; and Sacramento River Boat Launch, $6.

For further information on forest recreation sites please contact Forest Recreation Officer Tricia Christofferson at 530-934-3316.


UPPER LAKE – Authorities reported Friday that a vineyard worker was found dead earlier this week, with the man's death believed to have resulted from an accident.

The body of Silvino Eufracio-Navarro, 48, was found submerged in an irrigation pond at Clover Valley Vineyards Wednesday morning, according to Chief Deputy James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Bauman reported that sheriff's deputies and rescue personnel responded to Clover Valley Vineyards at 10 a.m. Wednesday to investigate an accidental death.

Arriving at the scene, first responders were led to an irrigation pond where they found Eufracio-Navarro's body, according to Bauman.

The vineyard foreman who was at the scene told officials that Eufracio-Navarro had last been heard from the previous night at around midnight when he was checking the operation of the irrigation pump station at one of the vineyard ponds, Bauman reported.

Eufracio-Navarro had called the foreman to report the irrigation pump was in good working order and he had planned to return home, said Bauman. When morning came and Eufracio-Navarro’s wife had not heard from her husband, she called the foreman and the two of them went to the Clover Valley site, where they found Eufracio-Navarro submerged in the pond below the pump station.

Bauman reported that the diesel-driven pump Eufracio-Navarro was working on the previous night was located on a wooden pier extending over the irrigation pond.

Evidence at the scene revealed that while he was working on or around the pump station, his clothing apparently became caught in the driveshaft and he was abruptly pulled through the mechanics of the system, Bauman noted. Eufracio-Navarro sustained multiple injuries as a result and ultimately fell into the pond, presumably already unconscious.

Officials performed an autopsy on Eufracio-Navarro on Thursday, said Bauman.

The official cause of death is still pending, however Bauman reported that it is believed that Eufracio-Navarro died very suddenly due to multiple traumatic injuries as a result of this tragic industrial accident.


LAKEPORT – A man found guilty last week of first-degree murder for killing his roommate was found on Tuesday to have been sane at the time of the murder, and as a result is likely facing life in prison.

On April 10 a jury convicted James Wade Roberts, 46, of the October 2006 murder of 63-year-old Ruth Donaldson at the Mullen Avenue home they shared in Clearlake, as Lake County News has reported.

Because Roberts had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the charges, the trial requested an additional sanity phase.

That sanity hearing started around 9 a.m. Tuesday, with testimony and closing arguments finished by noon, said District Attorney Jon Hopkins.

The jury was instructed that they could could consider all the evidence from the first phase of the trial, said Hopkins. After an hour of deliberation they came out with their verdict, which was handed down at about 2 p.m.

The jury found that Roberts was sane at the time of the murder, Hopkins reported.

Defense attorney Stephen Carter said that, after the jury's verdict last week that Roberts was guilty of first-degree murder, their finding that he was sane wasn't shocking.

Carter said there was competing evidence on the issue of sanity, and added that his client didn't cooperate with two of the three doctors appointed to examine him.

That definitely affected the evidence,” said Carter, and hurt Roberts in the case.

Hopkins said Robert is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. May 9 in front of Judge Richard Martin in Department Two of Lake County Superior Court.

Roberts has five previous strikes, according to Carter.

“Under the law he'll get life in prison,” Carter said Tuesday. “Because of his prior strikes, under any possible verdict, he would have gotten life.”

Hopkins estimated that Roberts is likely facing 86 years to life.

Carter said he's confident an appeal will be filed in the case, although that's something that he likely won't talk to Roberts about until closer to the sentencing date. In cases this serious appeals are standard procedure, he added.

He said he expects to file a notice of appeal, which in and of itself isn't an appeal, but is the first step in the process. An appellate attorney would then be appointed to take the case through the process, Carter said.

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


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