Wednesday, 24 July 2024


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – The 15th annual 100-mile Nome Cult Trail walk traces the forced relocation of Indians from Chico across what is now the Mendocino National Forest to Round Valley in 1863.

The walk will take place from Sunday, Sept. 12, through Saturday, Sept. 18.

Descendants of American Indians who took part in the original relocation and other supporters will walk from Chico to Covelo to commemorate the 147th anniversary of the trail, camping each night along the way.

Participants will descend into Round Valley the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 18, to participate in a gathering sponsored by the Round Valley Indian Tribes at the Round Valley Reservation in Covelo.

The theme for the walk and gatherings is “Honor Their Memory … A Path Not Forgotten.”

The Mendocino National Forest asks that people traveling on forest roads along the trail route be aware of the event and careful of the walkers to ensure their safety.

This year, the walkers will begin at Bidwell River Road at 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 12. They will walk west on State Highway 32 and camp at the Buckhorn Campground at Black Butte Lake the first night. For the remainder of the week, they will walk across the Mendocino National Forest, following the Nome Cult Trail.

Their planned schedule is:

  • Monday, Sept. 13, Orland to Newville Cemetery, camp at Grindstone, Buckhorn Campground or Paskenta;

  • Tuesday, Sept. 14, Newville Cemetery to camp at Black Bear Campground;

  • Wednesday, Sept. 15, Black Bear Campground to camp at Log Springs;

  • Thursday, Sept. 16, Log Springs to camp at Wells Cabin;

  • Friday, Sept. 17, Wells Cabin to camp at Eel River Ranger Station;

  • Saturday, Sept. 18, walk into Round Valley.

The removal of Indians from Chico to the Round Valley Reservation in 1863 is one of the many forced relocations following the establishment of reservations in northern California in the 1850s.

At least eight different tribes were moved to the reservation after it was initially established as the Nome Cult Farm in 1856. It became a full-fledged reservation in 1958 and eventually was named Round Valley Reservation.

In September 1863, 461 Indians were marched under guard from Chico to the Round Valley Reservation nearly 100 miles across the Sacramento Valley and rugged North Coast Ranges.

Only 277 Indians completed the journey. Some were killed, a few escaped, and others were left behind, too sick to go on.

The route is now called the Nome Cult Trail.

The original path has largely disappeared as a result of road construction and maintenance. The most grueling part of the trail passed through what is now the Mendocino National Forest.

The Forest Service has placed interpretive signs along the route to mark places where the Indians and their military escorts camped.

A free brochure and trail map produced by the Forest Service is available from Mendocino National Forest offices for those interested in the route.

For further information on the event, please contact Sandra Knight, Chico Mechoopda Tribe at 530-899-8922, Extension 213, or Alberta Azbill, Round Valley Indian Tribes at 707-983-6126, Extension 11.

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UPPER LAKE, Calif. – The California Highway Patrol has released additional details on a fatal hit and run incident on Highway 20 on Thursday that claimed the life of an elderly Ukiah man.

Manuel Herrera, 30, of Nice, was arrested in the case Thursday and charged with felony hit and run resulting in death and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license, according to jail records, which indicated Herrera posted $10,000 bail and was released.

The name of the 73-year-old man who Herrera is alleged to have hit Thursday morning has not yet been released pending notification of family, the CHP said Friday.

A report from CHP Officer Nick Powell explained that the crash victim, who was in a wheelchair, had left Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino shortly before 2:30 a.m. Thursday. The man was traveling northbound along Highway 20's westbound shoulder.

At approximately 3:05 a.m., Herrera left his residence in Nice driving a 1992 Honda Civic, Powell's report noted.

Herrera was reportedly traveling westbound on Highway 20 at a high rate of speed because he was running late to work, Powell reported.

At 3:10 a.m. the elderly man had reached the intersection of Highway 20 and Upper Lake-Lucerne Road (east), with Powell reporting that Herrera was approaching the location at between 70 and 80 miles per hour.

For reasons which Powell said are still under investigation, Herrera allowed his vehicle to drift onto the highway's north shoulder, and the vehicle's right front section hit the man in the wheelchair.

The impact's force sent the man in the wheelchair airborne, with him coming to rest on his stomach in some grass just north of the highway's paved shoulder, parallel to the roadway. Powell said debris from the collision was strewn along the shoulder leading up to the location of the man's body.

Later in the morning Thursday a Caltrans crew observed the debris and during cleanup operations located the man's body, Powell said.

He said evidence at the scene led investigators to release information about the type of vehicle involved to the media.

Powell said that, based on an anonymous tip, law enforcement located Herrera later Thursday.

Alcohol is not suspected as a cause for the collision, Powell 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 .


UPPER LAKE, Calif. – A man who authorities believe struck and killed an elderly man in a wheelchair with his vehicle early Thursday morning has been arrested for felony hit and run.

Manuel Herrera, 30, was arrested in Nice Thursday afternoon, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Joe Wind.

Herrera's arrest followed an investigation that began when the crash victim's body was found around 9 a.m. Thursday along Highway 20 near Reclamation Road, not far from the Bloody Island historical marker, Wind said.

“Caltrans was out there this morning to do some road maintenance and Caltrans workers found him in the bushes,” he said.

The debris from the man's destroyed wheelchair was found adjacent to the shoulder. Wind said the man's body wasn't visible from the roadway, but had been thrown into the brush by the impact.

He said investigators are narrowing down the time frame for the crash, which they believe happened in the dark early morning hours Thursday.

An online CHP report from around 2:30 a.m. Thursday described a subject in a wheelchair who was traveling westbound from Robinson Rancheria. The person was said to be close to the highway's white fog line and couldn't be seen until close up.

Wind said they believe the crash victim was “well on the shoulder” of the westbound highway lane when he was hit.

“I don't know at this point in time what caused the suspect to drive onto the shoulder,” Wind said, adding that Herrera is alleged to have not stopped or rendered any kind of aid.

Wind said the investigation had been handled quietly during the day.

The CHP was reported to have taken aerial photos of the crash location, and Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said that agency had investigators on scene.

Late in the morning, the CHP had put out a call for the community to be on the lookout for Herrera's vehicle, which they originally described as a 1993 to 1995 Honda Civic that had been repainted silver over a blue paint job and had damage to its right front section.

Investigators found the vehicle, which turned out to be a 1992 Honda Accord, in the Nice area and subsequently went to a residence, spoke with Herrera and arrested him, Wind said.

The CHP reported that Herrera was located at 3364 E. Highway 20, the location of the Cloverleaf Apartments in Nice. Sheriff's deputies and CHP deputies were on scene at the apartment complex late in the day Thursday.

Wind said the coroner has not yet been able to do a positive identification of the victim.

The roadway near where the collision occurred was finally cleared of law enforcement units shortly before 7:30 p.m., the CHP reported.

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 .

Ann Burow is the oldest granger in the United States and her Grange in Bennett Valley, Calif., is the oldest continuously operating Grange in the country. Here she looks over news clippings with California State Grange President Bob McFarland. Courtesy photo.

BENNETT VALLEY, Calif. – Quietly sitting on a bench in the 138-year-old foyer, Ann Burow turned the tattered pages of a scrapbook filled with clippings and photos breathing life into the rich history of the Bennett Valley Grange.

She smiled and proudly claimed her 85 years as a member of this oldest continuously operating Grange in the nation, founded May 27, 1873.

And it just so happens that at her splendid age of 105, Burow is the oldest Grange member in the nation.

“We have history here,” she said simply.

Ann Burow was born in Oakland, Calif., on Oct. 23, 1905. To say she came from a large family is an understatement. She had 14 brothers and sisters.

She described herself as a “city girl who came to the country.” A friend introduced her to a dairyman named George. They were married in 1924 and she moved to live with George and 70 cows on his farm in the Bennett Valley.

“I didn’t know anything about farm life,” she confessed. “But I went out there on an unpaved country road.”

She paused, recalling fondly a time long ago. “It was like a storybook unfolded. A little farm house with no electricity and a hardwood stove.”

The farm was run by George and his brother. “The two men took care of the farm. I used to watch them. It was an education in itself. None of the milk ever touched anything piped. They carried the milk in big cans.”

On the farm, they raised two daughters, Luella and Gwen. “The oldest girl was her father’s girl,” she said. “She would drive the tractor with him and ride it through the fields to school.”

On Valentine’s Day 1925, Ann joined the Bennett Valley Grange. Within a year, the members elected her as the secretary and she served in that position for 65 years before retiring in December 1990.

The Grange is a grass roots organization that began in 1867, in the aftermath of the destructive and divisive Civil War.

Rising from the fields and farmlands, survivors gathered on common ground to heal and support each other, work together, and honor traditional values.

The Grange grew rapidly, building halls across the rural landscape of America.

Cities and townships have grown up around rural halls and the Grange has evolved into a community service organization with 10,000 members and 206 chapters across California. Grange halls are often the center of their community, providing opportunities, culture and education, entertainment, emergency shelter, and a meeting place where new friends are made and old friends are cherished.

Everyone is welcome to apply for membership in the Grange. Each member contributes at their own pace and level of participation. Each Grange decides how to best serve the community.

Member Donald Turpley recorded an excellent history of the Bennett Valley Grange and it is available in its entirety on the California Sate Grange Web site at

Quoting from Turpley’s research, “On April 26, 1873, 16 residents of the valley met informally at the old Strawberry School to discuss the possibility of organizing a Grange.”

A month later, 25 founding members met at the home of George Whitaker to formally organize the Grange. Men paid $3 each for dues and women paid 50 cents each. Elmira Whitaker prepared a bountiful harvest feast from food grown on her ranch.

Praising the organization of the new Grange in a letter to the Sonoma Democrat, George Whitaker wrote, “Bennett Valley Grange has taken the lead in Sonoma County in the good cause and may the work go on until every tiller of the soil will sing to the tune of we are coming, some 80,000 strong, to save our sons and daughters from the clutches of the monopolies and rings.”

In the months that followed, Granges quickly formed in the surrounding communities of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Two Rock, Bloomfield, Bodega, Green Valley and Glen Ellen. During the month of April 1873, 571 new Granges were formed across the country, bringing the total to over 4,000 nationwide. The National Grange was not even six years old.

The new members of the Bennett Valley Grange wasted little time building a hall. The new hall was dedicated on Dec. 4, 1873, a date selected to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the founding of the National Grange. The lumber used to build the hall was brought by wagon from Occidental and cost $292.82.

Fast forward. On a lovely summer day, June 6, 2010, folks from all corners of Sonoma County and beyond gathered to celebrate the 138th consecutive annual picnic and barbecue at the Bennett Valley Grange.

For more than a century, the community comes together on this day to celebrate this grand old hall and the good work of the Grange.

Much like the bountiful feast served at the founders’ meeting, the food was plentiful and good. Guests were served half of a big barbecued chicken (these birds looked more like pterodactyls), delicious fresh salads and two desserts.

Picnic tables were set up outside the hall to accommodate the hundreds of people that showed up. There was a live band and dancing. Inside the hall, dozens of wonderful gift baskets and other prizes were set on tables for a silent auction. The local 4-H had rabbits, pigs, goats and chickens on display.

"For the first time we partnered with another nonprofit organization,” explained Bennett Valley Grange Secretary Bill Allen. “We decided to split the cost, profits and work with the emergency preparedness committee of the Bennett Valley Homeowners Association. This partnership proved successful by increasing attendance and increasing the participation of the community in preparation for the event. "

In 1925, when Ann Burow joined the Grange, there was no electricity. The main hall had a big heater and was lit by three huge oil lamps down the center. Most folks arrived in horse drawn buggies.

“We had an old Dodge with no glass windows,” she said. “You had to put the curtains up when it rained.”

“It was nothin’ to have 30 to 40 people here at a meeting,” Burow said. “The ritual was most important. We had two beautiful ritual teams. I was the drill master. We wore evening gowns. That is how we dressed – not in bikinis!

She added, “I was so proud of that team. We went all over the county. In those days lots of people joined the Grange. At one time we had 300 members. We were a friendly group. Everything centered here. We had lively programs and our lecturer was very good.”

Burow knew George and Elizabeth Shelmeyer. For decades, George served as California’s most venerable State Master.

“I knew Elizabeth when she was a little girl,” Burow recalled. “She became a school teacher and married George when he became the Master. They lived in Bennett Valley on Grange Road. They lived a very happy life. They were a nice couple.

“Today, the kids have so much more than we had. They can get anything. They just Google it,” she said, amused.

Her advice to young people is that they stay in school and get a good education.

Burow's favorite memory of the Bennett Valley Grange was the 100th anniversary in 1972, a weeklong gala celebration culminating in a formal dance at the hall.

“It’s a picture in my mind that never leaves,” she said. “Nowadays, people are casual. This world has changed. The whole world has never been the same since the war and it will never be the same again.”

At the June picnic, Burow beamed. “To sit up here and see the crowd … it’s wonderful.”

"Sister Ann Burow is an amazing person who just happens to be 105 years old,” said Bennett Valley Grange Master Patty Allen. “She remembers and has taught us many things about Bennett Valley Grange. She is very accepting and appreciative of new members and new ideas while always happy to share memories of the past if asked. I'm proud to call her a friend.”

“What I’ve told you is true. We love this old hall,” said Burow. “The very first time I came here I said, Oh, I love this place. And as years rolled by the love is still there, really.”

Ann Burow and the Bennett Valley Grange “have history here.” They are inseparable. Together, they represent the very best that is the Grange.

For more information on Granges in California, phone the State Grange office at 916-454-5805 or visit

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Traffic was directed around a downed power line in Kelseyville, Calif., on Friday, September 10, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – Safety concerns due to a fallen wire caused a road closure on Friday morning in Kelseyville.

The wire fell down across Main Street in Kelseyville at the intersection with State Street shortly before 11 a.m.

At the same time, smoke was billowing from a nearby building, with a man using a fire extinguisher around the back of the structure.

Several community members stood in the street to warn drivers to detour around the area, as the wires were reported to be live.

Kelseyville Fire Protection District and Pacific Gas & Electric responded to the scene.

PG&E did not have additional details about the incident late Friday.

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 .

UPPER LAKE, Calif. – An Upper Lake man under federal indictment for marijuana-related charges was released from federal custody following a Wednesday detention hearing in San Francisco.

Thomas Lee Carter, 59, was released on a $200,000 appearance bond, according to US Attorney's Office spokesman Jack Gillund.

Gillund said Carter's release was secured by property at 1622 Hunter Point Road in Upper Lake.

Carter was arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Sept. 1 on allegations of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and violation of previous release terms, as Lake County News has reported.

He had been arrested on another count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and two counts of distributing or possessing with intent to distribute marijuana in August 2009 along with several co-defendants. Carter also was released last year on a $200,000 bond secured by the same Hunter Point Road property.

The government is alleging he is part of distributing marijuana in Lake County, as well as San Diego and Los Angeles.

According to a redacted complaint filed by the US Attorney's Office, DEA Special Agent Brandon Burkhart stated that two sources had come forward in June to accuse Carter of growing marijuana, which would have violated the terms of his release.

Burkhart was involved in the August 2009 arrests and, previous to that, had provided evidence against Upper Lake marijuana grower Eddy Lepp, now serving a federal prison term.

Both of the informants were said to be former employees of Carter, who also runs a construction company. One had left after a disagreement, the other after being treated unfairly, according to Burkhart's statement.

One of the informants claimed to have seen Carter grading an area in Upper Lake in June with no grading permit issued, with the informant stating that he believed Carter was clearing the land to grow marijuana. Burkhart's affidavit also included the allegations by informants that Carter was affiliated with illicit grows

In August a deputy sheriff and a county probation officer took part in an overflight of Upper Lake around Carter's various properties, and they recorded coordinates for several marijuana grow locations and observed marijuana plants growing on parcels near Carter's residence, the documents stated.

Burkhart reviewed the GPS coordinates and found they fell within the lines of Carter's properties. He also compared the photographs taken of the area to GPS locations and identified a garden with 85 to 100 plants. He later took part in an overflight himself and saw what he believed were the same marijuana plants.

He stated that he believed Carter was planning to distribute the plants and he requested Carter be arrested and that searches take place of five locations.

Federal public defenders Barry Portman and Geoffrey Hansen filed documents that challenged Burkhart's assertions, stating that Carter denied knowing marijuana was being grown on the property

They also pointed out that one of the informants was a convicted felon, which they said led to questions about his prior conviction status. The other informant has two prior convictions and currently grows marijuana, they stated.

During the Sept. 1 raid, 70 marijuana plants were found at 1545 Hunter Point Road, owned by Carter but leased to another individual and located three miles from his residence, where no plants were found, according to the defense motion.

At another Carter-owned property leased to a couple 29 plants were found, the attorneys stated. Carter, who denied knowing of that grow, was not charged for those plants.

Carter's attorneys also asserted that Carter had complied with his pretrial directives and has been regularly drug tested, with no dirty tests submitted. A pretrial services officer who visits Carter regularly “has found no evidence that Mr. Carter uses, possesses or sells marijuana,” the filing stated.

In a followup filing on Tuesday, the defense attorneys demanded to be able to cross-examine the informants as part of a hearing on whether or not to release Carter, who they said had a Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him.

Despite the government's arguments to keep Carter in custody, the hour-and-a-half-long hearing Wednesday morning resulted in his release. His wife, Jamie Ceridono, is ordered to sign onto the bond on Sept. 14, according to court documents.

Carter and co-defendants Brett Bassignani, Scott and Diana Feil, Steven Swanson and Mark Garcia are scheduled to return in January for continued proceedings in the case arising from the August 2009 arrests.

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 .




CLEARLAKE OAKS – Cool weather and improving lake conditions drew some visitors to Clearlake Oaks this week.

Miguel Lanigan captured an egret and a blue heron in Beryl Bay on Friday.

The cool weather sank the algae in the area, he said, with the feathered visitors showing up afterward.

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CLEARLAKE PARK – A man who initially was believed to have drowned in an incident last weekend appears instead to have died of a heart attack.

Roger Alvin Machado, 73, was pronounced dead at St. Helena Hospital Clearlake Sunday night after doctors were unable to revive him, according to a report from Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Bauman said sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the scene at around 7:40 p.m. Sunday on the report of a possible drowning.

When deputies arrived, rescue personnel from Lake County Fire and Clearlake Police were already on scene, performing life saving protocols on Machado, Bauman said.

Lake County Fire continued their efforts to save Machado while transporting him to the Saint Helena Clearlake Hospital, Bauman said. However, despite having “very faint” signs of life on arrival there, emergency room staff were unable to resuscitate him and he was pronounced deceased.

Machado’s friend of 10 years, Joanne Simpson, and her daughter, Kathy Shrever, told deputies Machado and Shrever had gone down to the lake for a swim with Machado’s dog after having dinner, Bauman said.

Shrever said she watched Machado dive into the lake but he never surfaced, according to Bauman's report. After several minutes, Shrever saw Machado’s water shoes surface so she began screaming for help.

Bauman said several unidentified neighbors reportedly responded to the water and were eventually able to find Machado and pull him to shore.

An autopsy was performed on Machado Thursday morning at the Jones and Lewis Mortuary in Lower Lake and a preliminary cause of death indicates that he did not actually drown, but rather died of heart failure, according to Bauman. A final cause of death is pending the results of a toxicology screening.

Sheriff Rod Mitchell and his staff extended their condolences to Machado's loved ones and commended the citizens who acted swiftly and bravely in trying to save Machado’s life.


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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A Friday evening power equipment failure led to a wide-ranging power outage and a sewage spill.

Cal Fire and Northshore Fire Protection District firefighters responded to a report of a blown transformer on Sulphur Bank Drive and Highway 20 just after 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, according to radio reports.

A small fire was triggered but quickly put out, and Pacific Gas and Electric was called in, officials reported from the scene.

PG&E spokesman Brandi Ehlers said the equipment failure led to a power outage that ran from 8:41 p.m. to 11:55 p.m. Friday.

She said approximately 4,009 customers in Clearlake, Clearlake Oaks, Clearlake Park and Lower Lake lost power.

Businesses in the area either closed early or tried to use candlelight, according to a report Lake County News received from a community member.

The outage also led to an issue for the Southeast Regional Wastewater Collection System in Clearlake, according to Special Districts Administrator Mark Dellinger.

Dellinger said the loss of power caused a backup on Lakeshore Drive in which two manholes discharged.

He said 70 gallons of sewage was discharged, and all of it was contained and removed.

No sewage flowed into Clear Lake, Dellinger said.

“We were directed by Lake County Environmental Health to disinfect and post the area affected by both manholes,” he said.

Dellinger said the health department later directed that the signs be removed, which took place on Tuesday.

Special Districts sent the spill notification to the state, as required, on Saturday, 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 .

SOUTH LAKE COUNTY – A head-on collision resulted in major injuries Friday night.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the two-vehicle crash occurred on Highway 29 near the Napa County line just after 7:30 p.m.

One vehicle was off the side of the road, with traffic backing up, the CHP said. Animal Care and Control was summoned to help with a domestic pig.

The CHP requested one of its Santa Rosa units respond to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital to pick up a blood sample.

The roadway was reopened just before 9:30 p.m., the CHP said.

Additional details, including the names of those involved, was not available Friday night.

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 .

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – The Kelseyville Unified School District Board of Trustees will host its next special meeting to discuss district configuration plans for the 2011-12 school year on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Kelseyville High School Student Center, 5480 Main St.

District officials said they're faced with declining enrollments that are expected to continue until 2013-14, coupled with a continuing drop in revenue.

In order to assess how to best use the district's resources and its eight school sites, they're holding a series of community meetings to gather public input and begin the process of putting together proposals for the board to make a final decision in November.

The first meeting was held Aug. 10, as Lake County News reported.

Other special board meetings planned on configuration are set for Oct. 5 and Nov. 9, also at the high school student center.

For more information, call the Kelseyville Unified School District Office at 707-279-1511 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The wind picked up, the clouds moved in and the temperature dropped on Tuesday afternoon as a high pressure system began moving into Lake County, bringing with it a chance of rain Wednesday and into the evening with much cooler-than-normal temperatures expected.

Daytime high temperatures yesterday reached the mid-80s around Lake County, but the National Weather Service in Sacramento has dialed down the forecast with the arrival Tuesday of an unseasonably strong low-pressure system.

Average temperatures for this time of year should reach in to the upper-80s, but Wednesday's forecast high is predicted to only top out in the upper 60s, with a 20-percent chance of rain into the evening before 11 p.m., with mostly cloudy skies.

A red flag warning was issued for Wednesday in the Sierra Nevada mountains and Nevada due to high winds with this low pressure system.

Thursday should be slightly warmer as the low pressure system moves out, with daytime highs in the mid-70s, with temperatures climbing back in to the 80s by the weekend.

For up-to-the-minute weather information, please visit the Lake County News homepage.

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 and on Facebook at .

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07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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