Saturday, 13 July 2024


SACRAMENTO – State Senator Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) announced Monday that she has asked the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) to investigate the adequacy of health care and accommodation of residents’ disabilities at the California Veterans Home in Yountville.

“It is an embarrassment that our veterans, who served our country honorably, have been treated so poorly in their time of need,” declared Wiggins. “This audit will serve as a blueprint to correct deficiencies and bring back the high standards of care our veterans so richly deserve.

“Residents and staff have reported a wide range of issues, including disabled residents that have been left unattended lying in their feces, visually-impaired veterans who have been unable to ascertain their food choices in the mess hall or decipher home communications, and inadequacy of medical equipment resulting exacerbating injuries and perhaps death,” Wiggins said.

In her letter to the JLAC chair, Wiggins said that based on the volume and diversity of complaints that have come from residents of the home, as well as testimony by Dr. David Salopek, chairman of the Yountville Veterans Home Allied Council at an April 24, 2007 hearing of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, she “lacks confidence that the California Department of Veterans Affairs is meeting its mission, goals, or vision relating to the health care and quality of life at the Yountville Veterans Home.”

“Residents have also complained of violations of their residents’ rights, disrespect for residents and their quality of life issues,” Wiggins added. “Physicians have reported the assignment of an excessive number of patients, leading to doctor burn-out and potentially inadequate care. The last thing we’d want to see is a Walter Reed type of situation at Yountville.”

The Joint Legislative Audit Committee is charged with ascertaining facts, and making reports and recommendations to the Legislature concerning the state, its agencies, departments and political subdivisions of the state. Independently, and through the State Auditor, JLAC investigates, studies, analyzes and assesses the financial practices and the performance of existing governmental and/or publicly created entities in California – in order to assist those entities in fulfilling the purpose for which they were created by the Legislature.

The committee is comprised of seven members of the Senate (including Wiggins), and seven members of the Assembly.

In her letter, Wiggins asked JLAC to direct the office of the State Auditor to investigate and then report its findings and recommendations on the following:

  • The adequacy of the number of physicians and other medical personnel needed to provide adequate care to the Home’s population;

  • Complaints by residents and personnel;

  • The Home’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, with emphasis on accommodation of the mobility impaired and the visually impaired;

  • The need for a hospital and health care administrator dedicated exclusively to coordinating and managing all health care facilities and related personnel (note: Wiggins is carrying a bill, SB 565, to create the position);

  • The absence of a skilled nursing facility administrator at Yountville (the Department of Veterans Affairs established the position, but then redirected it away from Yountville);

  • Personnel shortages and the quality of health care;

  • Utilization and enforcement of the Code of Conduct by the Home’s administration.

“Providing high-quality long term care for America’s heroes, our state’s elderly and infirm veterans should be a top priority for California,” Wiggins said. “We are requesting that this audit be given priority status with the Auditor General to insure that our veterans quickly receive the care they have so rightfully earned. This audit will be a valuable tool to help us determine what actions, we as policymakers and the Department of Veterans Affairs, need to make.”

The Yountville Veterans Home is a 550-acre community of and for veterans. Some 1,200 veterans (both men and women) live at the home.

Founded in 1884, Yountville is the oldest and largest veteran’s home in the United States. It currently provides 713 residential accommodations, 48 residential care (assisted living) accommodations and three levels of in-patient health care: 169 beds for intermediate care, 230 beds for skilled nursing care, and 20 beds in general acute care. July 2007 marked the opening of the new Alzheimer’s/dementia unit, which will ultimately accommodate 75 residents.

On its Web site, the California Department of Veterans Affairs says its mission is “to provide the state's aged or disabled veterans with rehabilitative, residential, and medical care and services in a home-like environment at the California Veterans Homes.”

The site also indicates that the department’s vision is that “California veterans will live the highest quality of life with dignity and honor,” with the goal of providing “high quality advocacy and services for all California Veterans; provide the best long-term care and enhanced quality of life for all State Veterans Home residents; maintain effective communication with all staff and stake holders; and use resources wisely.”


Steve Lantz's beautifully restored and now Corvette-powered SeaBee



LAKEPORT – Seaplanes splashed in a bit early this year as part of an extended Taste of Lakeport event.

The planes visited downtown Lakeport over the weekend, besides taking to the sky and the lake.

If you missed it, don't worry – the main event is yet to come.

The 28th annual Western States Seaplanes Festival will take place from Friday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 23, also in downtown Lakeport.

Organizers have expanded this year's event to include a Friday night concert featuring local music legend, David Neft, and a festival of activities over the following days, including spectacular aerial displays.

Stay tuned to Lake County News for more on that event in the weeks ahead.

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




Walter Wester from Larkspur pilots his sleek Glassair float plane up the boat ramp next to the Skylark Motel. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



The most unique-looking plane of the day was the low-riding SeaWind piloted by Ron Boyles of San Rafael. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



Steve Lantz's SeaBee "The Tahoe Special" was admired by many. Captain Lantz flew in from Lake Tahoe and expects to return in September. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



Captain Ray Arceneaux flew his Cessna 185 in from the Gold Country. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



A future pilot takes the controls for the very first time. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



City workers mobilize to correct ramp problems due to lower-than-expected water levels. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put his signature on the state's budget on Friday, lauding the document which state lawmakers passed on Tuesday.

The governor also announced about $700 million in cuts to the budget, which he said was necessary to keep the budget balanced and build a “prudent reserve.”

North Coast Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) said the budget was fiscally responsible; includes no new taxes, fees or special programs; has a $3.4 billion reserve; pays debt early and lowers the operating deficit.

“This budget, while not a great one, is a decent one, and it was the best one we could accomplish in 2007,” she said.

Wiggins said the budget maintains a cost of living increase for Supplementary Security Income and State Supplementary Payment recipients.


The state budget shows that expenditures for the Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment Program are $3.7 billion for 2007-08, up $118.7 million from the revised 2006 budget. That's due in part to an estimated increase in the average monthly caseload by 1.3 million recipients, a 1.8-percent increase over the 2006-07 projected level.


Schwarzenegger's 42 pages of revisions and budget cuts will affect many programs. One of the hardest hit state departments is Health and Human Services, which will suffer hundreds of millions in fiscal decreases.

Among the reductions are $34.6 million for the county grants portion of the Children's Outreach initiative in Medi-Cal and the Healthy Families Program, and $54.9 million for the Integrated Services for Homeless Adults with Serious Mental Illness Program.

Regarding the program for homeless, mentally ill adults, Schwarzenegger suggests that the program “can be restructured to meet the needs of each county’s homeless population using other county funding sources,” including federal funds.

Said Wiggins, “It is unfortunate that the governor chose to veto funding for things like funding for Medi-Cal and housing for mentally ill homeless people, from a budget which includes a $45 million tax break for people who own yachts.”

One item preserved in the budget was the Williamson Act, which gives farmers and ranchers a tax break for keeping farmland in production, and reimburses counties for lost tax revenue.

Schwarzenegger's May budget revision had targeted the $39 million planned for supporting the program this year, but the California Farm Bureau and other agriculturalists around the state kept up the pressure. Assemblyman Mike Villines (R-Fresno), the Republican Assembly leader, helped hammer out an agreement with Schwarzenegger to leave the Williamson Act funding in tax.

The new budget also includes $1.6 billion for In-Home Supportive Services, an amount that is up $97.1 million from last year. The budget summary explains that the average monthly caseload in this program is estimated to increase to 389,100 recipients, a 5.1-percent increase over the 2006-07 projected level.

The documents also state that, effective July 1, state participation in IHSS provider wages and health benefits increased from $11.10 per hour to $12.10 per hour, based on the projected growth of General Fund revenues.

The state's Military Department will receive $1.8 million and 22 positions to meet the increased demand for military funeral honors ceremonies around the state.

The increased funds will provide an additional 300 funeral honors per month which would include California National Guard members folding the United States flag and presenting it to the next of kin during the funeral ceremony. The California National Guard is required by federal law to serve as the primary provider of those services to veterans and their families who request funeral services with military honors, according to the budget summary.

The newly signed budget also includes $11.4 million General Fund and 26.4 positions to assist in implementing a statewide Veterans Home Information System, according to the budget report. That system will be based on the federal veterans health care information, and will be used to improve health care tracking and the care provided to veterans.

Wiggins said she is looking forward to getting started on next year's budget as soon as possible. She said she supports Senate Leader Don Perata’s call for a bipartisan budget revision panel to develop a multiyear plan in order to get budgets back on time.

“I agree with Sen. Perata that the state’s budget is ‘fatally broken’ because it is controlled by conflicting ballot-box mandates, dedicated funding streams and other constraints that limit what lawmakers can do,” Wiggins said.

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


LOWER LAKE – Authorities have identified a woman who died in a Sunday night collision on Highway 29.

California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Dye reported Monday afternoon that Sally A. Waddell, 51, of Clearlake Oaks was the fatality in the collision, which took place at around 8:43 p.m. Sunday north of Diener Drive.

As Lake County News previously reported, Waddell was traveling northbound on Highway 29 in a Hyundai Accent when her vehicle crossed the double-yellow lines and collided head-on with 43-year-old Sonoma resident Tina Hendry in her 1998 Chevy 2500 pickup.

A third vehicle went into a ditch to avoid the accident, which was spotted by CHP Officer Mark Barnes, who was on his way to the Lake County Jail to deliver an arrestee, according to Dye.

Waddell died at the scene; Dye said Hendry and three passengers in her truck received minor injuries.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation, Dye said.

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


Clayton Duncan with a picture showing his great-grandmother, Lucy Moore. Photo by Raphael Montoliu.


LAKE COUNTY "At 6 years old, she weighed not much more than one of the cannon balls that tore through the people like a boulder though willows. Crouching beneath the water beside the bank she sipped air through a reed to maintain her life. Above her, an old world was ending, washed in blood.”

Those are the words Clayton Duncan uses to tell the story of his grand-grandmother, Lucy Moore, and her survival of the events of Bloody Island.

The year was 1850. Lucy hid in the bloodied water behind the tules with her mother at Badonnapati, Old Island – called Bloody Island after dragoons and a militia under the command of Captain Nathaniel Lyon massacred between 150 and 200 Pomo men, women, elders and children, bayoneting women and babies, stepping on and crushing infants, "braining" (a 19th century term) children by smashing their heads against tree trunks.

Given some limited public outcry, they were charged for these crimes but not convicted, and Lyon later was promoted.

The members of the militia, some of them prominent members of society, subsequently took ownership of the best Pomo lands around the lake and all over Lake County, said Duncan, for the unofficial design of this particular expedition was to "clear" the land of its indigenous inhabitants, as the official policy of California, supported by the federal government, was to exterminate all of the Indian population.

A few Pomo people survived Bloody Island. It took five days to gather the bodies for cremation, Duncan said. Orphaned children had to be hidden from settlers gathering slaves for the market in central California.

Despite this and many more hardships unleashed on native people by the US, Duncan said Lucy Moore became a mother, a grandmother and great-grandmother, lived to be 110 years old, and in her old age prayed every day to forgive America.

It is in her memory and to honor her, her prayer and all who died at Bloody Island that Duncan created the Lucy Moore Foundation in 2000, having for many years approached the tribal leadership to address some of the following issues, without success.

The foundation organizes the yearly May 15 Sunrise Ceremony at Bloody Island, to honor and remember the people who died there during the massacre.

The Lucy Moore Foundation's vision is to educate the public about the massacre, one of many in California, according to Duncan. The group also is working to locate, preserve and memorialize the site of the mass grave – where the victims of the massacre, whose only fault was to live on their own land and stand in the way of America's expansion – were thrown into a hole and cremated.

The foundation's mission is to pronounce Bloody Island and the surrounding 500 acre of marshlands an area of archaeological sensitivity, as a variety of significant prehistoric and historic periods archaeological sites exist within the borders of the 500 acres Bloody Island project boundaries.

As part of that mission, the foundation wants to buy Bloody Island and preserve the rich archaeological and anthropological resources known to exist in great abundance on and around the Island, its wetlands and its bay.

On the island will be created a Lucy Moore Foundation Museum and Cultural Center in the traditional shape of a round house, Duncan said.

In accordance with the prophetic dream of Sage Runningbear and the traditional use of the four directions, the foundation also is planning to build and develop:

  • To the east a research center/laboratory, focusing on nutrition, natural medicine and the environment;

  • To the north a counseling center for abused, neglected children of all races;

  • To the west a healing center offering Native and non-Native spiritual and healing practices and therapies such as the sweat lodge, round house and Native American church, herbal medicine, yoga, massage, meditation, acupuncture and other healing methods;

  • To the south an amphitheater and spaces for concerts, celebrations, pow wows and other events.

"If we can do this together, to know and learn from each other, to accept the truths of the old world and the new, perhaps our children will not see the colors of skin, the manners of our worship, our cultural heritages as characteristics that divide us,” said Duncan. “Perhaps they will see them as the attributes that unite us so we can all work together to fix, mend and heal the Earth, our mother.

“Doing this, we know in our hearts and from the wishes of our ancestors that it will bring back the balance, using Lucy Moore prayer of forgiveness,” Duncan said.

Anyone seeking more information about the Foundation, including foundation meeting dates, should contact Clayton Duncan, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 707-274-6788.

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


MENDOCINO COUNTY – A local man is in Mendocino County custody after reportedly holding a relative at gunpoint and then confronting deputies with the gun.

A report from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Sgt. Derek Scott Thursday reported that deputies had arrested Jeremy R. Jeffers, 19, of Lakeport, in Ukiah on Monday night.

At 8:30 p.m. Monday, Scott reported that deputies were dispatched to Jeffers Pool and Spa at 123 Lake Mendocino Drive for a welfare check on Jeffers, who was reported to possibly be in possession of a firearm.

Deputy Andrew Whiteaker arrived at the scene, where he observed Jeffers' right arm inside the bed of a truck and an unidentified male relative standing to the rear of the truck, Scott reported. When Whiteaker asked about the firearm the relative told him that Jeffers had it in his hand.

Scott's report said Whiteaker then pulled out his firearm and immediately ordered Jeffers to put the gun down. Jeffers reportedly told Whiteaker to shoot him as he was going to jail.

Whiteaker then took out a Taser and used it to try to subdue Jeffers, but failed, Scott's eport stated.

Shortly afterward Sgt. Scott arrived at the scene and helped take Jeffers to the ground, where he was arrested.

Once Jeffers was subdued, his relative told Whiteaker that Jeffers had held him at gunpoint for about an hour prior to the authorities arriving, according to Scott's report.

While Jeffers had allegedly held the other man at gunpoint, he allegedly made criminal threats to the relative, causing him to believe that he would be killed if he tried to leave the scene.

Authorities transported Jeffers to the Mendocino County Jail on charges of robbery, terrorist threats, false imprisonment, resisting an officer and carrying a loaded firearm in a public place.

Lt. Rusty Noe of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office told Lake County News that Jeffers was in possession of an unspecified type of handgun. Noe had no information about previous contacts between Jeffers and law enforcement.

A Mendocino County Jail official confirmed that Jeffers remains in jail on $125,000 bail.

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


LOWER LAKE – A head-on vehicle collision claimed a Clearlake Oaks woman's life Sunday night.

California Highway Patrol Office Josh Dye reported late Sunday that CHP Officer Mark Barnes came upon the crash, on Highway 29 north of Diener Drive, at 8:43 p.m.

Barnes, who was traveling northbound on Highway 29 while transporting an arrestee to the Lake County Jail, saw vehicles blocking the roadway and advised dispatch that he was at the scene of a traffic collision, Dye reported.

A 51-year-old woman from Clearlake Oaks was driving a Hyundai Accent northbound on Highway 29 when, for unknown reasons, her vehicle swerved across the double yellow lines and collided head-on with a 1998 Chevy 2500 driven by Tina Hendry, 43, of Sonoma who was traveling southbound, according to Dye.

A third, unidentified vehicle had been following the Chevy, and Dye said that vehicle narrowly avoided the collision when the driver evasively maneuvered the vehicle into a ditch.

The Clearlake Oaks woman died at he scene; Dye said her name has not been released pending notification of family.

Four other people were reportedly riding in the other vehicle involved, according to the CHP incident logs.

Along with the CHP, Lake County Sheriff's units responded to the scene to assist with traffic control and coroner's duties, Dye said.

Caltrans reportedly closed the road at Highway 29 and Diener and Highway 29 and Highway 281 while emergency personnel responded to the scene. Dye said the highway was closed for two hours while the scene investigation took place.

Two flatbed tow trucks responded to the scene to remove the vehicles involved for evidence, according to the CHP log.

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


LAKE COUNTY – Sonoma County Sheriff's Office investigators issued a report on Saturday night regarding a missing woman who was believed to be heading for the Kelseyville area.

According to a statement issued at 7 p.m., Sonoma County Sheriff's officials said they had taken a missing persons report on Lauren Rutz, 22.

A Sonoma State University student who occasionally resides in the Sebastopol area as well as Kelseyville, the sheriff's report stated that Rutz was traveling alone from San Francisco to the Kelseyville area when she disappeared.

She was last heard from Saturday at 2:45 a.m., the report noted, when she spoke to her mother via cell phone.

At the time of the call, cell phone records indicate Rutz may have been in the Windsor area, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported.

Rutz is a white female, 5' 4" tall and 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, authorities reported. She was driving a silver 1997 Toyota RAV4, California License Plate No. 4XXF221.

Law enforcement agencies continue to search Rutz's possible routes of travel from the air and on the ground, in and around Sonoma County, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's report. No foul play is suspected at this time.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sonoma County Sheriff's Department at (707) 565-2650.

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


LAKE COUNTY – All the hats are now officially in the ring for November's local elections.

Candidates have filed to run for seats on nearly two dozen boards and districts throughout Lake County.

The November ballot will feature only those districts where candidates outnumber vacancies, according to Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley's office.

Below is a list of candidates for the various education boards and special districts.


Kelseyville Unified School District Board (three vacancies):

– Don Boyd, appointed incumbent, educator.

– John R. DeChaine, criminal prosecutor for the Lake County District Attorney's Office, parent.

– Andy Dobusch, incumbent.


– Chris Irwin, sales manager.

– Philip Murphy pear and walnut grower.

– Gary Olson, real estate broker.

– Valerie A. Ramirez, incumbent.

– Mireya Gehring Turner, county supervisors' assistant.

Lakeport Unified School District Board (three vacancies):

– Craig Kinser, incumbent.

– Philip T. Kirby, school administrator.

– Robyn K. Stevenson, incumbent.

– Patricia Jonas Voulgaris, retail business owner.

– Bob Weiss, incumbent.

Lucerne Elementary School District Board (one vacancy):

– Kay Hancock, retired teacher.

– Bruce Higgins, incumbent.

Upper Lake Union Elementary School District (two vacancies):

– Walt Christensen, incumbent.

– Valerie Petz, appointed incumbent.

Upper Lake Union High School District Board (two vacancies):

– Colleen Alexander, incumbent, Nice.

– Annie Barnes, administrator, grant writer, Upper Lake.

– Dawn R. Binns, business owner, Upper Lake.

– Howard Chavez, deputy director of education, Lucerne.

– Gary L. Lewis, sales/marketing director, Upper Lake.

Lake County Board of Education, Trustee Area 1 (one vacancy):

– George H. Rider, incumbent, Lower Lake.

Lake County Board of Education, Trustee Area 2 (one vacancy):

– Mark A. Cooper, incumbent, Clearlake.

Lake County Board of Education, Trustee Area 4 (one vacancy):

– David Browning, appointed incumbent, Lakeport.

– Larry A. Juchert, retired business owner, Lakeport.

Mendocino-Lake Community College District, Trustee Area 1 (one vacancy):

– Paul B. Ubelhart, incumbent, Willits.

Mendocino-Lake Community College District, Trustee Area 3 (one vacancy):

– Joan M. Eriksen, incumbent, Ukiah.

– Larry MacLeitch, retired professor and trustee, Ukiah.

Mendocino-Lake Community College District, Trustee Area 4 (one vacancy):

– Wade Koeninger, incumbent, Hopland.

Mendocino-Lake Community College District, Trustee Area 7 (one vacancy):

– Jerry DeChaine, professor of chemistry, Kelseyville.

– Gary Taylor, incumbent, Kelseyville.


Anderson Springs Community Services District (two vacancies):

– Penelope D. Falduto, appointed incumbent.

– Beatrice A. Moulton, retired law professor.

– Daniel L. Wood, custodian.

Anderson Springs Community Services District (one vacancy for an unexpired term):

– John Engels, appointed incumbent.

Butler-Keys Community Services District (three vacancies):

– James Evans, incumbent.

– Frank Gillespie, incumbent.

– Jeanne Renli Schiele, incumbent.

Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District (three vacancies):

– Robert W. Barton, incumbent.

– Frances Bunce, appointed incumbent.

– Lyle W. LaFaver, incumbent.

Kelseyville Fire Protection District (two vacancies):

– Donald R. Carter, incumbent.

– William H. H. Wolfe, appointed incumbent.

Lake County Fire Protection District (three vacancies):

– William W. Llewellyn, incumbent, Lower Lake.

– Rozie Cheek, incumbent, Clearlake Park.

– Thomas W. Walker, incumbent, Clearlake.

South Lake County Fire Protection District (three vacancies):

– Rob Bostock, appointed incumbent, Cobb.

– Madelyn Martinelli, incumbent, Middletown.

– Danny L. McCabe, incumbent, Cobb.

Adams Springs Water District (two vacancies):

– Kathy DeMartini, appointed incumbent.

– Evan Robert Willig, incumbent.

Adams Springs Water District (one vacancy for an unexpired term):

– Gloria Poulsen, appointed incumbent.

Buckingham Park Water District (two vacancies):

– George Hawley, incumbent.

– James Horne, appointed incumbent.

– Michael B. Meese, appointed incumbent.

Callayomi County Water District (two vacancies):

– Linda Olhiser, retired controller.

Clearlake Oaks County Water District (three vacancies):

– Mike Anisman, retired law enforcement.

– June A. Greene, incumbent.

– Helen G. Locke, retired telecom manager.

– Glenn R. Rowe, incumbent.

– Frank Toney, highway maintenance worker.

– Bob White, incumbent.

Cobb Area County Water District (two vacancies):

– Renada Breeden, incumbent.

– Kees Winkelman, appointed incumbent.

Cobb Area County Water District (one vacancy for an unexpired term):

– Robert Paul Trautwein, appointed incumbent.

Konocti County Water District (two vacancies):

– Donnie Bachman, appointed incumbent.

– Darin M. McCosker, incumbent.

Scotts Valley Water Conservation District, Division 1 (one vacancy):

No candidates filed.

Scotts Valley Water Conservation District, Division 2 (one vacancy):

No candidates filed.

Upper Lake County Water District (three vacancies):

– Wilda C. Beavers, incumbent.

– Henry Ward Beecher, incumbent.

– Allen E. Merriman, incumbent.

Villa Blue Estates Water District (two vacancies):

– Mark Fetzer, satellite technician.

– Dennis John Knudsen, incumbent.

– Clara Summerfield, incumbent.

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


SONOMA COUNTY – The search for a missing Sonoma County student who was en route to Lake County has ended in tragedy.

Sonoma County Sheriff's Office investigators reported finding the body of Lauren Rutz, 22, on Sunday, the victim of an apparent vehicle accident.

As Lake County News reported Sunday, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office issued a report on seeking information on the whereabouts of Rutz, who was driving from San Francisco to Kelseyville Saturday when she went missing.

Rutz reportedly resided in both the Sebastopol area and Kelseyville,

Her mother had reported hearing from her at 2:45 a.m. Saturday during a cell phone conversation, as Lake County News previously reported. Cell phone records had indicated that Rutz was in the Windsor area at the time of the phone call.

On Sunday at approximately 1 p.m., the Sonoma County Sheriff's Helicopter was conducting a search along possible routes that Rutz could have used on her way from the San Francisco area to Kelseyville, according to a Sonoma County Sheriff's Office report.

The helicopter crew spotted vehicle debris and a vehicle off of Highway 101, south of Asti, according to the report. The vehicle was well off the roadway, in a ditch near a vineyard in dense vegetation.

The vehicle was not visible from the roadway to passing motorists or deputies who had driven through the area earlier as part of a ground search, the report stated, and turned out to be the Toyota RAV4 Rutz was driving.

Rutz, the vehicle's only occupant, was found dead in the vehicle and positively identified, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported.

The circumstances surrounding the vehicle accident are being investigated by the California Highway Patrol, the report added.

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


LAKE COUNTY If you lived 1,000 years or so ago, the morning of Aug. 28 would terrify you.

You would see the full moon being slowly eaten by some hideous, unseen creature a very bad omen indeed! Will the earth be next? What will happen to us?

Our scientific knowledge back then, or lack thereof, gave rise to many frightening explanations for what will be seen.

Today, we have a better understanding of what causes the celestial event that will occur on Tuesday morning. It's an eclipse of the moon, and in Lake County we'll have a marvelous view of it – providing you're able to stay up late, or get up early, depending on your schedule.

The eclipse will begin around 1:20 a.m. It will be at maximum at 3:30 a.m., and will end around 6 a.m.

A lunar eclipse happens when the earth is between the sun and the moon, and the Earth's shadow is cast on the moon.

The diagram below shows how this happens.


A diagram provided by


Lunar eclipses occur several times a year. They can only be seen from specific parts of the Earth – this month's eclipse won't be visible from Europe, for example.

The next eclipse we'll be able to see will happen on Feb. 21, 2008. After that one, we'll have to wait until December 2010.

So, this month's eclipse may not happen at a convenient time, but it's an event well worth setting your alarm for or staying up to watch.


John Zimmerman has been an amateur astronomer for 50 years. He is a member of the Taylor Observatory staff, where, among his many duties, he helps create planetarium shows.




An example of a lunar eclipse from earlier this year.

LAKE COUNTY – The State Senate on Tuesday ended a 52-day budget stalemate when it approved California's budget for fiscal year 2007-08.

The Senate voted 27-12 Tuesday afternoon to accept the $145 billion budget, which includes $103 billion in general fund spending, according to David Miller, spokesman for North Coast Sen. Patricia Wiggins.

In a statement after the vote, Wiggins noted that the Senate's version of the budget was very similar to that passed July 20 by the Assembly and to a budget the Senate almost approved three weeks ago. Wiggins said the Senate should have arrived at a final budget “much, much earlier.”

“But I am glad that we are putting this impasse behind us, because it will allow us to resume payments to child care facilities, to nursing homes, to health clinics and other providers who receive reimbursements through Medi-Cal, to those who offer care and services to the developmentally disabled, and to anyone else who has been negatively affected by the delay,” said Wiggins.

This budget fully funds education and law enforcement, allows the state to pay off $2.5 billion of its overall bind debt earlier than scheduled and keeps a record $3.4 billion in reserve – all without raising taxes, Wiggins reported.

“It is my hope that we can move quickly now on other major outstanding issues, especially health care reform, and that we can reach early agreement on the next round of budget talks in 2008,” said Wiggins.

There was one part of the budget package Wiggins didn't agree with, according to her office. Senate Republicans demanded the elimination of an existing requirement that all state-owned buildings be “green,” which Senate Democrats agreed to honor. Wiggins, however, voted against the change.

Assemblywoman Patty Berg's office offered no comment on the budget's passing. However, in July, when the Assembly passed a $103 billion budget version, Berg said it would protect children, the elderly and the poor.

As chair of the Assembly's Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, she worked to add $12 million to the state’s Adult Protective Services program in order to give every county in the state at least one watchdog to protect seniors from elder abuse.

The Assembly budget also preserved the Williamson Act, increased funding for the California Methamphetamine Initiative, prevented a wage freeze for In-Home Supportive Services workers, maintained Rural law enforcement grant program, kept intact the homeless program for mentally ill, fully funded K-12 education and created a $3.4 billion reserve.

However, just how close the two budgets are in their specifics wasn't clear Tuesday evening, although it's reported that they are very similar.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that lauded the Senate's responsible budget,” which he said protects the state's priorities and keeps its economy strong.

“It was a challenging process but in the end our legislative leaders came together to deliver a spending plan that does not raise taxes, creates the largest reserve in history, and reduces our operating deficit after the spending vetoes that I have promised,” Schwarzenegger said in the statement.


Schwarzenegger said the budget also limits spending growth to less than one percent, pays down $2.5 billion in debt, fully funds education and public safety, and allows the state to move forward with the infrastructure bond measures that voters approved last year.

“We now will move forward together on the issues we've been elected to address such as health care, a comprehensive water plan, and redistricting reform,” Schwarzenegger said.

The budget comes none too soon.

Late last month, State Controller John Chiang reported that the budget impasse forced him to withhold $1.1 billion in state payments to hospitals, nursing homes, child care centers, community colleges and other programs. Chiang estimated at that time that he would not be able to pay another $2.1 billion in state payments in August.

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


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