Saturday, 20 July 2024

News

LAKE COUNTY – One of the best ways to gain a better understanding about health needs and available resources in a community is to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment.


A group of local stakeholders has come together to conduct a countywide needs assessment in Lake County, and is working with a consultant firm, Barbara Aved Associates.


The goal is to create a report by fall 2010 that identifies key health needs and barriers to receiving services, and is useful for prioritizing and planning programs and services that improve the quality of life in Lake County.


A wide variety of data will be collected during the assessment process. These include commonly used measures of population health status, such as the incidence of certain diseases and death rates, and social and economic variables that have been shown to affect a person’s health, including income,

education, employment, and even literacy, language and culture.


To ensure the community has an opportunity to participate, surveys, interviews and focus groups will be held throughout the county over the next couple of months.


The Healthy Lake County Questionnaire is a general survey that is available for Lake County residents to provide their opinions about health needs and recommendations.


Printed in English and Spanish on light blue paper, the survey has been placed in a variety of places in the county (for example, libraries, coffee shops, campuses) and will also be distributed at health fairs, casinos, churches, etc.


People can also take the survey online by going to www.surveymonkey.com/s/HealthyLakeCountyQuestionnaire .


Both the online and paper surveys will be available from April 9 until May 26.


Co-workers, clients, customers, neighbors and friends, and other residents are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to guide policymakers in improving health in Lake County by voicing their opinions in the Healthy Lake County Questionnaire.


For further information, please call 707-263-1090.


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

MENDOCINO COUNTY – A Lakeport man has pleaded guilty to several felonies in connection to a series of bank robberies he is alleged to have committed around the North Coast last spring.


On Monday, as his trial was scheduled to get under way, Rick William Robison, 56, pleaded guilty to seven charges, according to a report from the office of Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott.


In Judge Rick Henderson's court Robison pleaded guilty to robbing Ukiah's Bank of America on March 24, 2009; a March 31, 2009, robbery at the Willits Chase Bank; an attempted robbery at Safeway in Willits on April 11, 2009; a robbery at the Hopland branch of the Savings Bank of Mendocino on May 20; and three burglaries in connection with the robberies of those banks.


The Mendocino County District Attorney's Office said that Robison also admitted all of the special allegations against him, including that he had suffered a prior strike for a bank robbery in Marin County in 2000; that he was charged with a "serious felony" with the prior "serious felony" conviction; and he had been to prison and not remained free from prison custody for a period of five years, based on going to prison for the Marin bank robbery as well as a felony reckless evading.


He's due in Mendocino County's Department A for judgment and sentencing on June 4.


The case against him was based on an extensive multi-agency investigation by the Ukiah Police Department, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and Willits Police Department, officials reported.


In all but the Hopland robbery, the amount taken was under $2,000. Hopland, where Robison was apprehended, briefly netted him close to $6,000, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.


Robison was cooperative with law enforcement, providing statements to each agency. Detectives from both Sonoma and Napa counties came and questioned him about similar robberies in their jurisdictions.


Currently, Robison has a $100,000 warrant out of Napa County for a robbery from the Safeway there. After sentencing, he, most likely, will be taken to Napa to answer to those charges.


In carrying out the bank robberies Robison had a variety of things that he would use in order to disguise himself, according to the investigation.


Sometimes he had makeup and a cowboy's hat. Other times he would wear sunglasses and a baseball cap. Robison often wore boots that contained women's shoes that were cut in half, in order to make himself appear taller. He referred to these as "elevators."


When law enforcement was in pursuit, after the Savings Bank robbery, he was changing his clothes while he fled from the crime.


Though Robison never was armed, he would always use a demand note that stated he was. On one occasion, he referred to a friend that had a gun trained on the clerk. There was no such friend, but he allegedly caused fear in each of the teller's that he robbed.


Robison's plea constitutes three strikes, though it does not subject him to the state's Three Strike sentencing law, district attorney's officials reported. Those 25-to-life provisions would be available should Robison be convicted of any subsequent felony in the future.


Depending on some arguments to be made at sentencing, Robison's exposure in state prison is approximately 21 years, four months. He is not eligible for probation because he admitted his prior strike, the Marin robbery. His prison time will be served with only 15 percent credits, meaning that he will serve 85 percent of any sentence.


Prosecutor Steve Jackson handled the case, and public defender Linda Thompson represented Robison.


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

CLEARLAKE – The third annual “Clean Up Clearlake” event it set to take place this year on Sunday, April 25.


Inspired by Cathy Thorburn-Wilson and the Keep California Beautiful Campaign, members of the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center, the city of Clearlake, and members of the community are getting together for the one day event to pick up trash, sweep sidewalks, pull small weeds, paint and wash down street signs.


Business owners in Clearlake are asked to take care of their businesses before the event.


On Sunday, April 25, our crew of volunteers will cover properties along Lakeshore and Olympic that still needs some work.


This is the third year that this program has been organized.


The groups supporting the event thank all who have helped in the past and encourage the community to volunteer.


For more information on how you can become more involved in your community, call the Clear Lake Chamber at 707-994-3600.


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

LAKE COUNTY – Candidates in this year's race for the office of district attorney will appear in the second televised debate of the election season this Thursday, April 15.


Don Anderson, Jon Hopkins and Doug Rhoades will take part in the debate beginning at 7 p.m. at the Calpine Visitor Center, 15500 Central Park Road, Middletown.


The debate is expected to last an hour and a half.


The candidates previously debated in Lakeport on March 30. That debate is being rebroadcast on TV8 and also is available for viewing here: www.velocityvideoonline.com/video-040110-001.html .


The debates are sponsored by Lake County News, the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and Calpine.


McKenzie Paine of Velocity Video Online, www.velocityvideoonline.com, will record the Thursday debate for broadcast on TV8.


The public is invited to submit questions to Lake County News via e-mail, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; fax, 707-274-8650; mail, P.O. Box 305, Lakeport, CA 95453-0305; or via Lake County News' Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf.


Questions also may be submitted to the Lake County Chamber via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; fax, 707-263-5194; mail, P.O. Box 295, Lakeport, CA 95453; or drop them off at the chamber office, 875 Lakeport Blvd., Lakeport. The chamber can be reached by telephone at 707-263-5092.


The format used for the debates will put the same questions to all candidates, so as much as possible questions should be broadly applicable.


A small number of questions will be taken via note cards at the debates themselves.


Questions about the debates may be directed to debate moderator Elizabeth Larson, 707-274-9904, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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

LAKEPORT – At 6:15 a.m. Sunday, Clear Lake officially surpassed the “full” mark and continued to rise throughout the day as the low pressure system with heavy rains and strong winds moved across Lake County.


On Sunday morning, the US Geological Survey gauge for Clear Lake showed the lake's level at 7.57 feet Rumsey, the special measure used for Clear Lake.


A full lake is 7.56 feet Rumsey, according to Lake County's Water Resources Division.


Three months ago in January, the level of Clear Lake was less than 1.0 Rumsey, as previously reported, which means that Clear Lake, encompassing nearly 42,000 acres with 100 mile of shoreline, increased almost eight feet in depth since that time.


According to Lake County Water Resources, the Rumsey level is the natural level of Clear Lake which has been maintained by the Grigsby Riffle, a rock sill located at the confluence of Cache and Seigler Creeks near Lower Lake.


The natural low water level of Clear Lake was established as "Zero Rumsey" and all subsequent lake measurements are based on this elevation, which is equivalent to 1318.256 feet above sea level, according to the Lake County Water Resources Web site.


By 5 p.m. Sunday, Clear Lake had risen to 7.70 feet Rumsey according to the USGS gauge, although the rains had ended for the afternoon but more rain is forecast for overnight. It edged slightly higher before midnight.


The National Weather Service in Sacramento predicted more rain overnight with an 80 percent chance of rain Monday, and winds kicking back up throughout the day.


But the winds and rain will taper off in the evening, as the storm system moves out of Lake County, according to the National Weather Service's forecast.


Skies should clear somewhat, with the National Weather Service predicting high temperatures near 60 on Tuesday, with temperatures in the mid- to upper 30s at lake-level.


Partly cloudy skies with a small chance of rain will remain throughout the week, according to the National Weather Service, with highs below 60 and overnight temperatures remaining above the freezing mark at lower elevations.


For up-to-the-minute weather information, please visit the home page.


E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – Members of a family whose vehicle was hit as they were traveling to the airport last Friday are continuing to recover after sustaining serious injuries and losing one of their relatives to the crash.


The two-car, head-on collision outside of Nice last Friday took the life of Sandra K. Thomas, 65, of Noblesville, Ind., injured her husband, James, 64, as well as their daughter, Sarah Noguera, 33, of Ukiah, and Noguera's two young children and her husband, Adonis Noguera, 37, as Lake County News has reported.


Matt Thomas, James and Sandra Thomas' son and Sarah Noguera's brother, has flown out to California to take care of his family, which he said is doing OK and is on the mend. His sister, father and young nephew have all undergone surgeries to address their injuries.


Sarah Noguera was driving her parents to the Sacramento airport following a visit, according to family friends. The Thomases were scheduled to fly home to Indiana on Saturday.


Along the way, just outside of the town of Nice, Noguera's 2001 Ford Escape was hit by a Dodge Caravan driven by Maria Prado, 47, of Clearlake, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Prado's minivan had gone off the highway and up an embankment before veering back across the roadway and hitting Noguera's vehicle. The CHP is continuing to investigate the crash's cause, but a preliminary report indicated that alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors.


James Thomas and Sarah Noguera both were flown by REACH Air Ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.


On Monday, hospital spokesperson Katy Hillenmeyer said James Thomas was in critical condition and Sarah Noguera was in serious condition.


Adonis Noguera and the Nogueras' 5-year-old daughter were treated at Sutter Lakeside Hospital for moderate injuries, while the couple's 4-year-old son was flown by Cal Star air ambulance to Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland for treatment of major injuries.


Friends and neighbors of the couple are mourning the death of Sandra Thomas, who they remembered as a kind, generous woman, a retired elementary school teacher who survived breast cancer and enjoyed traveling with her husband.


Velda Boenitz, who got the news of the crash over the weekend, called it “unreal.”


Randy Gerber has been a neighbor of the Thomases for many years, and attends the same church. He said the couple lived on a seven-acre property in Noblesville, with is about a half-hour drive north of Indianapolis.


Gerber said Sarah Noguera had relocated to Ukiah about a year ago. She's the general manager of Ukiah's Hampton Inn, while her husband is an accomplished ceramics artist.


Gerber said the Thomases were in California for a visit with their daughter. They had been looking forward to enjoying their retirement and traveling more.


Sandra Thomas was a retired second grade teacher who was learning about falconry from her husband, Gerber said.


“They'd do anything for you,” he said. “Everybody loves them.”


Gerber got the news about Sandra Thomas' death the morning after the crash. Right now, he said, friends and neighbors are pitching in to help the family however they can.


“She'll definitely be missed,” he said of his neighbor and friend.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

MENDOCINO COUNTY – Two Mendocino animal control officers responding to a report of vicious pit bull dogs chasing people last week were themselves victims of an attack by the animals, one of which was killed.


Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported that last Friday at 11 a.m. Mendocino County Sheriff's Dispatch Center received a 911 telephone call regarding vicious pit dogs chasing people in the area of Laughlin Way and North State Street in Redwood Valley.


Senior Animal Control Officer George Hodgson and Torsten Werner, a reserve officer with the agency, responded to the location and encountered two blue nose pit bulls behind the Blacklocks Building in Redwood Valley.


Smallcomb said the two dogs immediately attacked Hodgson and Werner. Werner was injured when he was bitten on the hands and in the groin area.


Hodgson had to use his service weapon and strike one of the pit bulls to prevent any further injury to either officers or the people in the area, Smallcomb said. The second dog was captured and taken to the Mendocino County Animal Shelter.


Werner was transported to Ukiah Valley Medical Center for dog bite injuries. He was treated at the hospital and eventually released, Smallcomb said.


Numerous neighbors in the area were frightened by the animals and were in fear of their safety, Smallcomb said. Several witnesses advised that if the officers had not responded they would have had to shoot the dogs.


Smallcomb said it was the first time in nine years that Hodgson had to use his authorized duty weapon to incapacitate a vicious dog.


He said Hodgson has been employed as a animal control officer for Mendocino County for the past nine years. He recently was brought in to conduct an investigation into a Lake County Animal Care and Control officer's horse neglect case, as Lake County News has reported.


Werner is a reserve animal control officer for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. Smallcomb said Werner has volunteered over 250 hours.


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

LAKE COUNTY – With just five days left for households to mail back their 2010 Census forms, the U.S. Census Bureau wants to remind people that it's not too late to return their completed questionnaires and be counted.


Personal visits to nonresponding households begin May 1.


Households have until April 16 to mail back their form, as the Census Bureau must begin preparing to train temporary census workers to gather census responses in person from households that did not mail back their forms.


In Lake County, some areas – notably Clearlake – have not received US Census forms yet. To find out where to pick up a 2010 Census form, click here: Census 2010: Local questionnaire assistance centers open .


As of Sunday, April 11, the national mail back participation rate was 65 percent. California was slightly behind the national average with 63 percent.


The Northern California counties with the highest participation rates were San Mateo, Santa Clara and Shasta counties, which each were at 68 percent. Lagging behind were Mono County, with 25 percent, and Alpine County, with 20 percent.


Lake County remained at 53 percent on Sunday, just one percentage point below its 2000 mail back participation rate, according to US Census data.


The Census Bureau’s Northern California region stretches from Santa Cruz County, to the south, and the Oregon border, to the north.


For the first time, the Census Bureau has mailed replacement forms to areas with historically lower mail-response rates. Research shows that the replacement forms will help increase mail response in those areas, which will save a significant amount of money.


The Census Bureau saves about $85 million in operational costs for every percentage point increase in the nation's mail-participation rate. It costs the government just the price of a postage stamp when a household mails back the form. However, it costs the Census Bureau $57 to follow up with a non-responsive household.


If you did not receive a Census form or have misplaced it, visit http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ to find a “Be Counted” or questionnaire assistance center site in your neighborhood, where forms are available.


Both the questionnaire assistance centers and the “Be Counted” sites are operational until April 19 and can be found in public areas, such as libraries and community centers donated by businesses and organizations.


Or, call the Telephone Questionnaire Assistance Center hotlines for assistance seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time. The phone numbers are: English: 1-866-872-6868, Spanish: 1-866-928-2010, Chinese: 1-866-935-2010, Korean: 1-866-955-2010, Russian: 1-866-965-2010, Vietnamese: 1-866-945-2010, TDD (hearing impaired): 1-866-783-2010.


All US Census responses are confidential. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' individually identifiable answers with anyone, including tribal housing authorities, other federal agencies and law enforcement entities.


The Census Bureau also has created tools to help communities track their census participation.


The Take 10 Challenge Map shows the latest participation rates, giving users the option to download and embed a local rate tracker “widget” on their own Web site.


The participation rates are posted at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time each weekday. Anyone can visit the 2010 Census Web site at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/take10map/ to track their state, county or neighborhood's progress.


The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.


Census data are used to apportion congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide.


The 2010 Census form is one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete.


Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.


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

An Oakland lumber company has reached an agreement to purchase the Oakland branch of Piedmont Lumber.


Economy Lumber Co., founded in 1935, has purchased the Oakland Piedmont store and lumberyard, which is about the size of a city block and has seven employees, said John Bacon Jr., Economy Lumber's president.


Bacon said he approached Piedmont about buying the store. “This is the one that was available.”


He said the deal became effective March 22 following about three weeks of negotiations.


“We're very excited about it,” Bacon said. “It will work great for us.”


The store was purchased for cash and other considerations, but Economy Lumber officials would not disclose a purchase price.


Piedmont Lumber has several Bay Area stores as well as a store in Lakeport, located at 2465 S. Main St.


“The official word is that Piedmont continues to explore all of its options,” Piedmont spokesman James Simmons told Lake County News on Monday.


Over the past month and a half Piedmont has been hit by several challenges, including judicial foreclosures on its properties – including the Lakeport store – a federal lawsuit over benefits for union-represented employees, a fire that destroyed its Walnut Creek store on March 13 and the closure of its Calpella truss plant on March 31, as Lake County News has reported.


The inventory at the Calpella facility was moved to the Lakeport store, which Simmons said previously will remain in operation.


The Walnut Creek store also had been considered for purchase. Bacon said he went out to look at that property on March 12, the day before it burned. “That ended the conversations.”


Bacon said the Oakland store is a great, well-run operation, and will bring the total number of Economy Lumber stores to four, including the company's seven-acre facility on Interstate 880.


He said the entire staff will be retained, and the only thing that will change is the store's name.


Bacon said it was a pleasure dealing with Piedmont owner Bill Myer and Ed Smith, the company's chief financial officer.


“They've done what they said they were going to do,” Bacon said. “It was an easy transition.”


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Tom Lincoln served as master of ceremonies for the 13th annual Stars of Lake County Awards, held Saturday, April 10, 2010, at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice, Calif. Photo by Tera DeVroede.

NICE – Those who truly care do memorable things to better Lake County and many were honored at the Stars of Lake County 13th annual Community Awards Celebration Saturday evening.

This year, in the wake of last November's closure of Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa – the home to the awards since the program's inception – the awards ceremony was held at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice.

The reception began at 5 p.m., with well-known local musician David Neft providing lively keyboard music for the audience, which stood beneath an ocean of golden star balloons attached to the assigned chair of each nominee.

The casino’s bingo room was transformed into a ceremonial space, including a dance floor in the front center next to the stage. New at this year’s celebration was a dance after the awards were presented.

Master of Ceremonies Tom Lincoln opened the evening, asking those who have served the country in the military to stand and be honored with a round of applause.

Lincoln then gave the audience a bit of background about himself – that he, too, served in the Army and he moved to Lake County in 1975 from San Francisco.

“I never had a second thought of moving elsewhere. We, the people of Lake County, are the luckiest in the world in that we get to enjoy this god-given beauty,” he said.

Lincoln read a quote by former Connecticut State Legislator Pauline R. Kezer: “When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless, But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

Following dinner, the awards presentation began. Congressman Mike Thompson was on stage to hand-deliver the sparkling trophies, which Lake County Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Melissa Fulton said were made by the same company that makes the Oscar awards.

Each Star was played a song as they walked off stage with their award. DJ Tony Barthel, who donated his time to the event, arranged the music to match each person and their accomplishments.

The 2010 Stars of Lake County Awards winners are as follows.

MAN OF THE YEAR: Thomas Hewlett, DDS, Clearlake

WOMAN OF THE YEAR: Cheri Johnson, Hidden Valley Lake

LARGE BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: Lakeport Grocery Outlet

SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: A&B Collision, Clearlake

YOUTH ADVOCATE/VOLUNTEER: Darren Brookshire, Hidden Valley Lake

YOUTH ADVOCATE/PROFESSIONAL: Jill Hoeffer, Lakeport

STUDENT OF THE YEAR, MALE: Benjamin Mullin, Lucerne

STUDENT OF THE YEAR, FEMALE: Cylinda Neidenbach, Kelseyville

AGRICULTURE AWARD: Renker Farms, Lakeport

ARTS AWARD/AMATEUR: Bert Hutt, Lakeport

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: Denise Johnson, Kelseyville

MARLA RUZICKA HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR: Debra Rodrique, Middletown

SENIOR OF THE YEAR: Jean Welch, Lakeport

BEST IDEA OF THE YEAR: Woody’s Café (at Kelseyville Lumber), Kelseyville

ORGANIZATION, VOLUNTEER: AARP volunteer tax preparers

ORGANIZATION, NONPROFIT: Mt. Konocti Facilitation, Lakeport

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT: Mildred Pickersgill, Lakeport

NEW BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: LuLu’s Ice Cream & Desserts, Kelseyville

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD: Roberta Lyons, Lower Lake

SPIRIT OF LAKE COUNTY: Harry Graves, Clearlake

The event was sponsored by Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino, the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and the Lake County Record-Bee.

Awards sponsors included Cliff and Nancy Ruzicka, Westamerica Bank, Barry Parkinson, McDonald’s Lakeport, Polestar Computers, Umpqua Bank, Gossett Alarm Corp., Strong Financial Network, Lake County Land Trust, Kelseyville Lumber, Foods Etc., Bruno’s Shop Smart, Kathy Fowler Dealerships, Congressman Mike Thompson, Shannon Ridge Vineyards & Winery, John Tomkins, North Lake Medical Pharmacy, Lakeview Supermarket and Deli, Lake County Record-Bee and St. Helena Hospital Clearlake.

E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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For the first time this year, a dance floor was set up so attendees could stay and enjoy themselves after the ceremonies. Photo by Tera DeVroede.
 

LAKE COUNTY – An Indiana woman who was traveling with her family to the Sacramento airport to fly home was the victim of a fatal two-car collision outside of Nice on Friday.


The California Highway Patrol reported Saturday that the investigation is continuing into the cause of the crash, which claimed the life of the 65-year-old woman from Noblesville, Ind., and injured six of her family members when they were hit head-on by another vehicle driven by a local woman.


The CHP did not release the crash victim's name, however, a neighbor from Indiana confirmed to Lake County News that the person in question was Sandra K. Thomas.


She and her husband, James G. Thomas, 64, were returning home to Noblesville, located north of Indianapolis, according to family and friends.


The Thomases were riding with their daughter, 33-year-old Sarah Noguera of Ukiah, and her husband, Adonis Noguera, 37, in the Nogueras' 2001 Ford Escape.


The CHP said Sarah Noguera was driving, James Thomas was sitting in the front passenger seat, with the Nogueras' 5-year-old daughter riding in the right rear passenger seat, Sandra Thomas sitting in the center of the rear passenger seat, the Nogueras' 4-year-old son in the left rear passenger seat and Adonis Noguera seated in the vehicle's cargo compartment.


The CHP said Sarah Noguera was traveling at an undetermined speed eastbound on Highway 20, west of Bartlett Springs Road at the Tulip Hill Winery, when the collision occurred at 2:35 p.m. Friday. Conditions at the time of the crash were clear and dry.


Driving westbound in a 2005 Dodge Caravan was Maria Felix Prado, 47, of Clearlake, according to the CHP.


The CHP said Prado, who also was driving at a speed investigators haven't determined, went off the roadway's north edge and up an embankment before veering back to the left and traveling back onto the roadway, where it entered the eastbound lane.


Prado's minivan hit the Nogueras' vehicle head-on, causing major damage to the vehicles, both of which came to rest off the highway's south edge, the CHP reported.


The front of Prado's minivan was caved in following the crash, but the CHP said she was able to get out of her vehicle unaided.


Adonis Noguera was able to get out of the Escape, the CHP said; he also was able to take his two young children out of the wreckage.


Sandra Thomas, who the CHP said was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, was declared dead at the scene by deputy coroner Sgt. Gary Basor of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


Northshore Fire paramedics had to extricate Sarah Noguera and James Thomas, both of whom where driven by ambulance to nearby Ceago Vinegarden, where REACH Air Ambulance picked them up for transport. Both were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with major injuries, the CHP reported.


Cal-Star Air Ambulance transported the Nogueras' 4-year-old son to Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland for treatment of major injuries, according to the report. Adonis Noguera and his 5-year-old daughter were taken by Northshore Fire ambulance to Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport with moderate injuries.


The CHP said Prado was treated and released at the scene, and a CHP officer later transported her to St. Helena Hospital Clearlake as a precaution for minor injuries.


CHP Officer Jake Bushey is leading the investigation into the incident.


Alcohol and drugs aren't considered contributing factors to the crash, the CHP said.


Both vehicles had extensive damage and were retained by the CHP pending comprehensive inspections.


The roadway remained closed between the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff and Foothill Drive in Lucerne for two hours and 40 minutes, reopening to one-way traffic at 5:30 p.m. with both lanes reopened at 6 p.m., the CHP said.


During that time, emergency personnel tended to the injured, investigators reviewed the scene and tow companies removed the vehicles.


In addition to the CHP, Lake County Sheriff's Office and Northshore Fire, Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Game also were involved in handling the scene.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .


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