Friday, 19 July 2024


KELSEYVILLE – The town of Kelseyville is preparing to host the annual Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival taking place next Saturday, June 27.

Main Street's city center area will be roped off to accommodate the dozens of booths set up by both amateur and professional wine makers, artists and craftspeople, and food vendors.

The annual festival is sponsored by the Kelseyville Business Association and Clear Lake Performing Arts (CLPA). All proceeds go to support CLPA's fine music activities, including in-school music programs for elementary students, scholarships, concerts and sole underwriting of the outstanding Lake County Symphony.

A large panel of professionals will judge the wide variety of wines submitted by skilled home winemakers.

They include well-known wine broker and author Craig Renaud; Stephen Dilley of Tulip Hill Winery; Rodney Duncan, Steele Wines; Charlie Hassom, Snows Lake Vineyard and Winery; Valerie Ramirez, Wildhurst; Eric Stine, Langtry Estates; Stephanie Cruz-Green of Focus on Wine; Jack Vos of Twin Pine Casino; and Jeanette Bartley, a local wine industry representative.

Along with the many Lake County home winemakers, amateurs are coming from most of the nearby counties including Mendocino, Napa, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Alameda, Sonoma and Marin. Many of them are award winners from past festivals.

They will be joined by a dozen of Lake County's premium commercial wineries, pouring samples of their wines, with many offering winery discounts for attendees.

For the first time, home brewers, too, will sample their beers and ales and submit them for judging by a panel of experts consisting of Stephen Brennan, owner of Lakeport's Molly Brennan's Restaurant and Brewpub, and Joel Johnson, master brewer for St. Helena Brewing Co.

Kelseyville's restaurants and other food purveyors will offer food, and music will be provided by the popular David Neft Duo.

A major silent auction featuring dozens of valuable prizes supplied by Lake County businesses and individuals – including use of a Maui condo and numerous gifts of fine wine, among them samples from the vineyards of Congressman Mike Thompson – also will be offered, along with raffle drawings.

The festival will be open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., but participants – including not only home wine and beer makers, but also arts and crafts people and commercial wineries – should have their booth setups completed by 11 am. Space assignments are made by event coordinator Jim Perry and will be available at the main CLPA booth by 9 a.m.

Along with the judge's ribbons, home wine and beer makers also will be eligible for the "Peoples Choice" awards, determined by ballots submitted by attendees. Awards are also given for best decorated booths and best wine labels.

Tickets are $20 at the gate, or $15 for advance purchase from Catfish Books in Lakeport; Wild About Books in Clearlake; Shannon Ridge Winery's and High Valley Winery's tasting rooms on Highway 20 in Clearlake Oaks; Steele Wines, on Highway 29 in Finley; Wildhurst Winery in Kelseyville; and Moontide Health Foods on Calistoga Road in Middletown.

Amateurs submitting wines for judging can make arrangements by calling Ed Bublitz at 707-277-8172. A 750-milliliter bottle of each varietal to be judged must be delivered to the kiosk in front of the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in downtown Kelseyville before 10 a.m. the day of the event.

LAKE COUNTY – The Lake County Department of Health Services, Division of Environmental Health and Division of Public Health is continuing its health advisory issued on June 12 for the presence of blue-green algae along the shores of Clear Lake near Austin Park, Clearlake Highlands and the inner harbor area of the city of Clearlake, the agency reported Friday.

As a precaution, health officials recommend that individuals of all ages and pets avoid swimming in or ingesting lake water in these affected areas. Avoid contact with areas in and around algae mats. Families should exercise caution in keeping children and pets away from the water in these areas.

In response to public complaints of foul odors and floating scum on the lake surface, Environmental Health reported that it has performed bacteriological water testing in the affected areas and has determined the observations are not related to a sewage discharge.

A sampling and analysis done by Lake County Vector Control District indicates the presence of lyngbya, a relatively uncommon form of blue-green algae bloom in Clear Lake, according to Environmental Health.

Some types of blue-green algae can release toxins and allergens in the water. Lyngbya, the identified species, is known to cause skin irritation resulting in dermatitis.

County Health Officer Dr. Karen Tait advised the public to keep away from areas with visible algae mats and to avoid direct contact with affected water, including drinking the water and recreational activities such as swimming, wading and water skiing.

According to the Lake County Water Resources Division of Public Works, this type of algae forms mats on the lake bottom that, during photosynthesis, release sulfur-containing gases. These gases release strong odors similar in smell to sewer gases and also create buoyancy that causes the mats to rise to the surface.

Once at the surface, winds then move the algal mats to the shoreline, thickening the mats and creating nuisance odors. The mats form blue-green, black, and/or gray clumps that rise to the surface, and as the mats decay, they bleach to a grayish-white color.

Although not one of the commonly occurring algal bloom species on Clear Lake, lyngbya previously was identified on Clear Lake most recently in 2001, in 1997, and also during the mid-1980s.

Clear Lake is a nutrient-rich lake with four predominant types of blue-green algae identified to cause blooms.

The lyngbya species is yellow-brown filamentous algae with a self-protective mucus, which makes it resistant to control methods.

In an effort to mitigate the nuisance caused by these blooms, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is using air boats to help reduce the presence of algae mats in the affected areas. Local fire districts, staff from the City of Clearlake, and local volunteers also are working together to help break up the mats.

Shoreline property owners within the affected areas are encouraged to use portable re-circulating pumps to spray lake water to break up unsightly slicks and reduce nuisance odors.

Environmental Health has posted health advisory signs, which will remain in effect, on public beaches and access points near the affected areas, which will remain in effect. Environmental Health and Vector Control will continue to test and monitor the affected areas.

For more information, contact Lake County Environmental Health at 707-263-1164 during regular business hours.

LOWER LAKE – A small earthquake centered near Lower Lake startled some residents in that area and on the other side of the lake.

The quake, measuring 2.9 in magnitude on the Richter Scale, occurred at 9:47 p.m. Thursday at a depth of 1.4 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was centered two miles west northwest of Lower Lake and three miles south of Clearlake, the US Geological Survey reported.

The quake was preceded by a 2.4-magnitude quake 17 minutes earlier, the epicenter of which was in the exact place. The US Geological Survey reported the earlier quake was recorded at a depth of 2.1 miles.

While quakes measuring 3.0 in magnitude and below don't usually garner special notice, the larger of the two quakes got a lot of attention in the south county area. There, quakes aren't as common as they are in Cobb and The Geysers, where the geothermal steamfields have been connected to the increased seismic activity.

Lower Lake residents reported both to the US Geological Survey and Lake County News that they felt the quake.

It was even felt in Clearlake Oaks. Ross Christensen, Lake County News' food columnist, and his family reported feeling the quake, which they described as an abrupt, big jolt that didn't feel like a normal earthquake.

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

T. Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.




Well, I've got a girl and Ruby is her name (Ruby, Ruby, Ruby baby)

She don't love me but I love her just the same (Ruby, Ruby, Ruby baby)

From “Ruby Baby”

Words & Music Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller, Circa 1956

Saturday night on 88.1 FM the DJ (that would be me, your CyberSoulMan) played the above referenced song. It was first recorded by legendary vocal group, The Drifters, in 1956. I missed that version until much later in life. I don’t think I started rockin’ until 1957. Therein lay my first memories of Bandstand.

I didn’t get hip to it until Dion recorded it in 1963. By then I’d somehow evolved into the mohair sweater, Jade East and Italian shoes mode of junior high school. It was in English class that this song became particularly meaningful in my young life.

The teacher's name was Mrs. Salmon. She was a seemingly moneyed dame who dressed sharply but wore too much makeup for my fresh eyes. She also had too many wrinkles for the amount she wore. Add to that her penchant for gruffness and no sense of humor and English class became a total bore, even for those of us who enjoyed wordplay. The way she diagrammed sentences and conjugated verbs made learning miserable. Did I mention that her first name was Ruby?

My fellows and I sang that song with much comic relief. It was if the song made up for the misery she inflicted on us. This is a 50-year-old memory so bear with me.

The times were way different. The elusive Civil Rights Movement was blowin’ in the wind. The Kennedys were the poster family of this new age. The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday night. Ruby Salmon on Monday morning. Couldn’t trust that day.

She gave us what seemed like a sweet assignment. Place yourself in Sherwood Forest and write about it in the first person. I peeled it off and turned it in on time. Mrs. Salmon corrected the papers and read a couple in front of the class.

It shouldn’t have made a difference that I may have been the only African-American student in the class. But I think it did. When Mrs. Salmon read the worst example of the assignment, she chose mine as the template. I was, like uh, so hurt. I remember thinking as she read, she’s doing this on purpose! Indeed, the way she read my paper was full of expressive subtle nuances that made my writing sound like that of a dunce. She was the ventriloquist and I was the dummy. To this day I can’t prove it, but it sure felt like a set up.

In my girl Ruby’s defense, I suspect she did me a favor. Kind of let me in on the secret obstacles in life that I might face. Perhaps she was testing my mettle to see if I had what it took to succeed in the blackface of adversity. Then again, maybe she really thought my writing that day was terrible. The tenor of the times only alluded to the fact that there were more Richard Wrights and Langston Hugheses on the horizon. She didn’t have to believe in the dream.

And I guess, CyberSoulChildren, that is the gist of it, the belief in self with a little help from on high. And a little music to get us through the rough spots.

Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts


Upcoming cool events:

Twice As Good featuring Paul and Rich Steward, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 22, Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Telephone, 707-275-2233, or online, .


Open mike night, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 25. Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Telephone, 707-275-2233, or online, .

Bill Noteman & The Rockets play the Lakeport Summer Concerts at Library Park, 200 Park St., 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 26.

The Neville Brothers, Jeffrey Osborne, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Eric Bibb, Elvin Bishop, Denise Lasalle and more at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival from Friday, June 26, through Sunday, June 28, at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Montere. Telephone, 831-394-2652 or online .

Smokey Robinson in concert, 7:15 p.m. Saturday, July 31. Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, 8727 Soda Bay Road, Kelseyville. Telephone, 800-660-LAKE, or online at .

The Four Tops in Concert, 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31. Cache Creek Casino Resort, 14455 Highway 16, Brooks. Telephone, 888-77-CACHE, or online at .

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at .

SACRAMENTO – State officials announced Friday that they're adding marijuana smoke to the list of items known to cause cancer.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) of the California Environmental Protection Agency said they're adding marijuana smoke to the Proposition 65 list. The listing was effective as of Friday.

Marijuana smoke was considered by the Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) of the OEHHA Science Advisory Board at a public meeting held on May 29.

The CIC determined that marijuana smoke was clearly shown, through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles, to cause cancer.

Consequently, marijuana smoke is being added to the Proposition 65 list, pursuant to Title 27, California Code of Regulations, section 25305(a)(1) (formerly Title 22, California Code of Regulations, section 12305(a)(1)).

Items on the 18-page list include tobacco products, lead, hexavalent chromium, benzene and sulfuric acid, along with numerous other chemicals.

Also listed: Aspirin.

A fire in a field on Spruce Grove Road Extension was quickly contained by firefighters on Wednesday, June 17, 2009. Photo by Rick Hamilton.


HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – Fire officials were able to quickly contain a fire that broke out near Hidden Valley Lake on Wednesday afternoon.

The fire, located in a field on Spruce Grove Road Extension, was dispatched just before 5 p.m., said Cal Fire Captain Frank Engelbert.

Engelbert said it turned out to be a small spot fire.

Two Cal Fire engines and a water tender responded and quickly put it out, he said.

Engelbert didn't know the fire's cause.

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

LAKE COUNTY – California's unemployment numbers continued to edge upward in May, while Lake County's appeared to show another slight improvement.

The state Employment Development Department's (EDD) latest report put California's May unemployment at 11.5 percent, up from 11.1 percent in April. The state's May 2008 unemployment rate was 6.8 percent.

“When the world loses one-third of its wealth in 18 months, it is to be expected that historic levels of job losses will follow,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in response to the numbers. “Not surprisingly, we and our fellow states have seen unemployment numbers rise sharply during this difficult time.”

He said a full recovery will not happen overnight “There is no greater priority right now than to stimulate the economy, create jobs and get California back on the road to prosperity.”

In Lake County, unemployment was reported to be 15.5 percent in May, down from 16.1 percent the previous month.

Neighboring counties posted the following May unemployment numbers: Napa, 8.3 percent; Sonoma, 9.5 percent; Mendocino, 10.2 percent; Yolo, 10.5 percent; Glenn, 14.6 percent; Colusa, 17.8 percent.

Nationwide, unemployment increased in May, rising to 9.4 percent from 8.9 percent in April, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The US unemployment rate for May 2008 was 5.5 percent.

EDD reported that nonfarm payroll jobs declined by 68,900 during May, totaling 14,343,400 jobs. The year-over-year change – from May 2008 to May 2009 – shows a decrease of 739,500 jobs, a 4.9-percent decline.

Unemployment statistics are gathered through two surveys – one of 42,000 California businesses and a smaller federal survey that looks at 5,500 California households, the department reported.

The federal household survey estimated that the number of Californians holding jobs in May was 16,387,000, a decrease of 177,000 from April, and down 710,000 from the employment total in May of last year, EDD reported.

In addition, the number of people unemployed in California was 2,138,000 – up by 73,000 over the month, and up by 885,000 compared with May of last year.

In job categories, educational and health services added jobs over the month, gaining 2,100 jobs.

Ten job categories posted declines, amounting to 71,000 jobs, in May – natural resources and mining; construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government) reported job declines this month.

The largest decline was in government, which lost 14,200 jobs in May.

Educational and health services posted job gains over the year, adding 23,300 jobs, a 1.4-percent increase, EDD reported.

Categories losing job declines over the year – for a total of 762,800 lost jobs – included natural resources and mining; construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government.

Of those categories, trade, transportation and utilities declined the most on a numerical basis. EDD said the category dropped 191,100 jobs, declining 6.6 percent.

On a percentage basis, the largest decline was in construction, which dropped 149,200 jobs for a total of 18.6 percent.

The EDD reported that 839,960 people received regular unemployment insurance benefits during the May survey week, down from 853,607 in April but up from the 467,563 recorded in May 2008.

At the same time, EDD said new claims for unemployment insurance were 67,579 in May 2009, compared with 72,718 in April and 47,003 in May of last year.

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

LAKE COUNTY – After weeks of below-normal temperatures, Lake County recorded highs in the mid-90s Thursday, with expected daytime temps to begin a gradual descent again through the weekend.

On Friday, high temperatures should top off in the mid- to upper-80s, with the weekend forecast to again reach only into the upper 70s and low 80s, according to both the National Weather Service in Sacramento (NWS) and The Weather Channel (TWC).

Both agree that skies will be sunny with no chance of afternoon clouds or thunderstorms through next week as temperatures return closer to normal, reaching back into the 90s.

The high pressure system that has been over Lake County the last few days will move on, as a weak low pressure pushes in from the north, bringing cooler temperatures and gusty winds.

Area meteorologists have reported June's daytime temperatures have averaged a 25-year low in Northern California, and the return to cooler temperatures is expected throughout the weekend and into next week.

Low temperatures will remain in the low- to mid-50s through next week.

For up-to-the-minute weather forecasts, follow the link on the home page in the upper righthand corner.

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

UKIAH – Authorities are continuing the search at Lake Mendocino for a man reported missing on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Hispanic man from Redwood Valley, whose name has not been released, is presumed drowned, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's officials reported that they and the Army Corps of Engineers received a report of a possible missing person at Lake Mendocino just after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Deputies and Corps of Engineers rangers contacted Paul Hansen, who reported the missing man, at the lake.

Hansen told officials that he and the victim had been camping along the western shore line near the old winery area.

They had a small motor boat which drifted off the shoreline and Hansen believed the victim attempted to swim out to the boat – about 40 yards east of the campsite – to bring it back to shore and drowned in the process, the sheriff's office reported.

Deputies and corps rangers began a search of the shore line with the corp boat, while Cal Star helicopter conducted an aerial search of the area. The searches yielded no sign of the man.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue divers also started an underwater search.

Officials noted the investigation is continuing.

LAKE COUNTY – A man convicted of killing an elderly victim 32 years ago will remain in state prison for at least another five years after officials denied him parole earlier this week.

The Board of Parole Hearings denied parole to convicted murderer Jeffery Scott Sargent at a Thursday hearing, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff, who attended the hearing to argue against Sargent's release.

Sargent, 59, was convicted of the first-degree murder of 88-year-old Gedney Robinson and sentenced to seven years to life on May 15, 1978, by Superior Court Judge John Golden. Then-District Attorney Robert L. Crone Jr. prosecuted the case.

Hinchcliff said this week's lifer hearing, held at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, was Sargent's 12th since he was convicted. Sargent's minimum eligible parole date was October 28, 1984.

On Sept. 22, 1977, Fresno Police received a report that a 1974 Ford belonging to Mr. Robinson was going to be used in a robbery, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigative reports.

When deputies responded to the victim’s small cabin on Second Avenue in Lucerne, they found the front door broken and Robinson dead inside. He had just returned home the same day from a rock collecting trip to Nevada.

The reports noted that Robinson was stabbed seven times – five times in the heart and two times in the back.

Sargent took a ring off the victim’s finger, $40 from his wallet, and his vehicle, according to the investigation.

He denied any involvement in the crime when he was arrested, but the investigation revealed that Sargent was a career criminal who had just been paroled from prison and had gone to Lake County two days before the murder to see his wife, who was living near Robinson. Sargent also had used heroin at the time of the murder.

Investigators found in Sargent's possession some of the property stolen from Robinson's home, and the investigation revealed that he had lied about his involvement.

Following a mistrial, Sargent pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in exchange for a special circumstance allegation being dropped.

At the three-hour hearing Thursday, Hinchcliff asked the Board of Prison Hearings to deny Sargent’s parole on the ground that he still presented an unreasonable risk of danger to the public if released, and failed to exhibit any remorse or accept responsibility for his conduct.

Robinson’s niece, his only still living relative, also attended the hearing to ask the parole commissioners to deny parole.

The Board of Prison Hearings denied parole. Sargent’s next parole hearing will be in five years, Hinchcliff said.

A REACH helicopter landed at Lucerne Harbor Park on the evening of Thursday, June 18, 2009, to transport a man injured from a fall from a tree. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



LUCERNE – A man was injured Thursday evening when he fell from a tree.

Northshore Fire officials reported responding to a residence on First Avenue where the man had fallen from a height of about 20 feet while trimming a tree. The accident occurred shortly after 8 p.m.

The man's identity and the extent of his injuries weren't released.

Responding to the accident, REACH air ambulance landed at Lucerne Harbor Park shortly after 8:30 p.m., where it waited to transport the man to an area hospital.

While the west end of the park was used as a staging area for the helicopter and Northshore Fire ambulances, firefighters diverted traffic away from the area.

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

LAKE COUNTY – A Monday decision by a legislative committee could help keep 220 state parks proposed for closure – including Anderson March – open to the public.

The Budget Conference Committee voted on Monday afternoon to eliminate $70 million in state general fund support for the state park system for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, according to a report from the California State Parks Foundation.

That action by itself isn't good news for parks. However, while the committee voted to get rid of state general fund support, it took another action, voting to adopt the State Park Access Pass as part of creating a dedicated funding source for parks.

The plan calls for establishing a $15 surcharge on vehicle license fees of noncommercial vehicles. That, in turn, would provide free day-use access to state parks, officials reported.

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last month issued his list of parks to close – out of an estimated 279 statewide – he suggested the measure in an effort to save $143 million in general fund support.

On the closures list is Anderson Marsh State Historic Park, as Lake County News has reported. Clear Lake State Park was spared because much of its support comes from boat and gas tax.

The closures are proposed despite the more than $4.3 billion – or $57.63 per visitor – that a study released earlier this month found that state parks bring to the state's economy. Based on visitor spending estimates, the nearly 150,000 visitors that Lake County's parks draw should spend more than $7 million locally.

“Adopting the State Park Access Pass keeps the doors open to state parks for Californians and for the California economy," said California State Parks Foundation Elizabeth Goldstein. “At a time when the state desperately needs to generate revenues for many other critical state services, it makes sense to keep state parks open and available for the public. The committee recognized that closing state parks won't save money, it will cost the state dearly.”

The State Park Access Pass plan arose out of a proposal that the foundation and former Assemblyman John Laird made last year for the fiscal year 2008-09 budget.

What the committee accepted on Monday differed from the previous proposal because of the $15 fee – rather than the original $10 – in order to save $143 million in general fund savings annually. In exchange for the fee, those entering state parks with a California license plate would receive free day-use entrance. The original proposal estimated the $10 fee would raise $282 million for parks.

Goldstein said the foundation is hopeful that the access pass will receive strong support from the entire Legislature.

The Budget Conference Committee's actions are expected to be compiled into a budget bill that both houses of the Legislature will consider for a vote, but when the vote will take place hasn't been announced.

To pass the budget, it must receive approval from two-thirds of the Legislature's two houses plus get the governor's signature.

California lawmakers reportedly missed the Monday deadline in order to get a state budget in place by July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

For more on the foundation's Save Our State Parks (SOS) campaign visit .

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

Upcoming Calendar

07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

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