Friday, 19 July 2024

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KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – The Kelseyville Unified School District will host a special Aug. 10 meeting to take public input on ways to save money and configure the district's school sites.


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


Kelseyville Unified Superintendent Dave McQueen said the meeting's focus is to come up with a plan for the 2011-12 fiscal year, with site configurations one of the considerations. He said public input will be a key component.


It's expected to be the first of several open discussions hosted by the board during the coming year, according to McQueen.


Because of declining enrollment, Kelseyville is looking at all of its facilities and how it can save money through possibly consolidating sites, McQueen said.


With a great deal of community concern arising over impacts to the district – McQueen said parents already have been worried about school closures, which aren't proposed currently – he said the goal is to have the process be as open and public as possible.


For the soon-to-begin 2010-11 fiscal year, “We're going to be OK,” said McQueen.


The district had to lay off 10 teachers last spring, but they've restored five positions, he said. “I venture to say we'll probably put back a couple more, so that's good news.”


Still, they have to start looking for ways to cut $900,000 out of the district budget for the 2011-12, he explained.


“It only makes sense to look at what we have and try to save some money,” he said.


McQueen estimated that the school district has seven different facilities – from the high school and middle schools to the elementary and continuation sites. No closures are proposed, and even after a study of the district's finances site closures may not be in order, he said.


The district's main challenge rests on declining enrollment, which is estimated to continue, McQueen said.


“That's the trend that is happening,” he noted.


This past school year's peak enrollment was 1,757, McQueen said, with 1,698 students set to start school this fall.


“People are moving,” a trend McQueen witnessed accelerating when the economy hit recession. He said another wave of foreclosures is anticipated, which will exacerbate the problem.


By 2014, McQueen said the district projects enrollment will bottom out at 1,611 students.


They've looked at options including cutting days from the school calendar, which McQueen said hasn't panned out as a viable solution.


“We're not doing it. You have to negotiate it” with the teachers' union, he said.


District Chief Financial Officer Tiffany Kemp will go through enrollment and financial data at the Aug. 10 meeting, he said.


For more information, call Kelseyville Unified School District Office at 707-279-1511 or visit the district online www.kusd.lake.k12.ca.us/.


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

The governor on Wednesday ordered that new measures be taken to report on sex offenders who violate parole.


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger directed the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to provide public notices whenever a paroled sex offender removes his or her GPS unit and absconds from parole.


“Paroled sex offenders that take action to remove their GPS pose a threat to public safety, and the department must take every necessary step to eliminate that threat, including making sure the public is aware of these individuals,” said Schwarzenegger.


“My greatest priority is to protect the safety of all Californians, and a better informed public will help make our communities safer from sex offenders trying to run from parole supervision,” he added.


CDCR currently notifies local law enforcement immediately when a parolee removes their GPS and absconds from parole through the parole Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS), a Web-based system that provides local law enforcement with photos and information about parolees, the governor's office reported.


“CDCR’s top priority is public safety,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “We will immediately begin the development of a system that notifies the media and the public when a sex offender attempts to abscond from parole supervision.”


The need for a broader notification of the public came to light from recent incidents involving sex offenders removing their GPS units, according to Schwarzenegger's office.


In just such a case, a parolee from Lake County recently was arrested out of county after removing his GPS device.


Curtis Dewayne Dodge, a convicted sex offender with an extensive violent criminal background, was arrested in Redding in June, as Lake County News has reported.


Dodge had been on the run for months after he had removed his GPS monitoring anklet, which officials reported was a condition of his parole.


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

COW MOUNTAIN, Calif. – A fire sparked in the Cow Mountain area of Mendocino County continued to burn on Monday, but state fire officials reported that its main spread had been stopped.


Cal Fire personnel began responding to the vegetation fire on North Cow Mountain at around 4 p.m. Sunday, according to a report from Cal Fire spokesperson Julie Cooley.


Cooley said the main fire spread had beens stopped as of 11 a.m. Monday, with crews continuing to work to contain a five-acre spot fire.


By the end of the day, the fire had burned 293 acres and was 45-percent contained, Cal Fire said. What caused the fire still is under investigation.


The firefighting effort was made more difficult and slow by the steep terrain and heavy brush on North Cow Mountain, Cooley said. On Sunday evening several air tankers and air attacks worked the fire because of the remote terrain.


On Monday Cooley said resources committed to the fire from Cal Fire, the Bureau of Land Management, and Ukiah Valley, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and Hopland fire departments included 370 personnel, 10 engines, 16 fire crews, 6 dozers, two air tankers and three helicopters.


No injuries to firefighters or civilians have been reported, Cooley said.


Full containment of the fire is expected by 6 p.m. Tuesday, with full control by 8 a.m. Friday, according to Cooley's report.


Cal Fire is asking that anyone with information regarding the fire's cause call 707-459-7414.


Elsewhere around the state, Cal Fire continued to respond to wildland blazes, some of which were sparked late last month by lightning, as Lake County News has reported.


The West Fire in Kern County, southeast of Tehachapi, was fully contained after burning 1,658 acres, Cal Fire reported. Also fully contained was the Scissors Fire in San Diego County, which burned 110 acres, and the McDonald Fire, which burned 9,408 acres in the BLM's Northern California District in Lassen County.


Still burning in federal and local jurisdictions around the state were the Dutch Fire in the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County, which was 20 percent contained after burning 522 acres; Los Angele's County's Crown Fire, at 13,918 acres and 97-percent containment; the Bar Fire in Plumas County, 900 acres, 30-percent containment, with full containment expected Thursday; and the Bull Fire in the Sequoia National Forest in Kern County, 16,442 acres, 95-percent containment, full containment anticipated on Aug. 10.


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

COW MOUNTAIN, Calif. – State fire officials reported that a fire burning on North Cow Mountain since the weekend has been contained.


The Cow Fire, sparked Sunday afternoon, was fully contained on Wednesday, according to Cal Fire report.


In all, the fire burned 293 acres in steep terrain inside Mendocino County, eight miles east of Ukiah, according to Cal Fire.


Also contained Wednesday were the 371-acre Dutch Fire in Siskiyou County and Monterey County's Green fire, which burned 35 acres, Cal Fire said Wednesday.


Still burning in California are the Bar Fire, 992 acres, in the Plumas National Forest and the 16,442-acre Bull Fire in the Sequoia National Forest, according to InciWeb, which follows National Forest fires.


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

COW MOUNTAIN, Calif. – Firefighters on Tuesday were nearing containment on a wildland fire on North Cow Mountain.


The Cow Fire, sparked Sunday afternoon in Mendocino County, had burned 293 acres and was 95-percent contained Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire.


Full containment on the fire, located in remote terrain, is expected on Wednesday, Cal Fire reported.


State and federal officials are continuing firefighting efforts elsewhere around the state.


On Tuesday two new fires were reported – in Monterey County, the 35-acre Green Fire was at 50-percent containment, while in Shasta County another fire, the Buzzard, had burned 20 acres but was completely contained by day's end.

 

The Dutch Fire in the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County was at 60-percent containment Tuesday after burning 371 acres, the Bar Fire in the Plumas National Forest had burned 900 acres and was 40-percent contained and the Bull Fire in the Sequoia National Forest in Kern County was 96-percent contained with 16,442 acres burned, Cal Fire 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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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The 1990 Chevy Prizm belonging to Robert Myers Jr. of Lakeport, Calif., following a head-on collision on Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Sunday, August 1, 2010. Photo by Miguel Lanigan.
 

 

 



CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. – A Sunday afternoon head-on collision on Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks sent two people to the hospital with minor injuries and temporarily closed down the highway.


Mary Smothers, 57, of Willits and an unnamed passenger who were riding in a 1997 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck were transported to St. Helena Hospital Clearlake following the crash, which occurred at about 3:40 p.m. Sunday, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Joe Wind.


The crash occurred on Highway 20 west of Island Drive, Wind said.


Robert Myers Jr., 50, of Lakeport, was traveling eastbound in a 1990 Chevy Prizm when Wind said Myers allowed his vehicle to cross over the double yellow lines in a corner.


Myers' car hit Smothers' pickup head-on, with the vehicles coming to rest and blocking the roadway, Wind said.


The CHP and Northshore Fire Protection District personnel responded to the scene, where Wind said the roadway was closed because first responders had to wait for tow trucks to move the vehicles.


Northshore Fire transported Smothers and her passenger to the hospital, where Wind said they were treated for minor injuries.


Both drivers were licensed, everyone was wearing their seat belt, and drugs and alcohol were not involved, according to Wind.


CHP Officer Josh Dye is investigating the crash, Wind 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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

 

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Mary Smothers of Willits, Calif., and a passenger were riding in this 1997 Toyota Tacoma when they were hit head-on by another vehicle on Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Sunday, August 1, 2010. Smothers and her passenger sustained minor injuries and were taken to St. Helena Hospital Clearlake. Photo by Miguel Lanigan.
 

LAKEPORT, Calif. – For those that like to keep up with the latest gadgets, old electronics can pile up in the attic faster than expected.


What happens to all those old cellular phones and movie players that get tossed in the garbage? They can end up adding to the already overwhelming waste in landfills.


The nonprofit Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire invites the community to bring all old electronic equipment to their new e-waste drive in the parking lot of Bruno’s Shop Smart, 355 Lakeport Blvd., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 7, and the first Saturday of every month thereafter.


E-waste is defined as electronic equipment that has reached the end of its useful life like computers, televisions and cellular phones.


Hazardous materials are used in producing electronic equipment such as computers and their monitors, which can contain lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. The monitor can contain up to 5 pounds of lead alone.


Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire is licensed as an electronic waste collector by the state of California and only works with state-licensed recyclers that dismantle and recycle materials in the United States. All material is recycled according to the industry standards.


“I had five computers in my attic. They’ll take it all apart and recycle what needs to be recycled,”

said Valerie LaBonte, an e-waste drive coordinator and Goodwill Industries employment specialist.


Goodwill Industries reported that it has kept more than 1.5 million pounds of e-waste out of local landfills thus far. The computers are not resold to maintain the integrity of personal information and they receive certification that all computer hard-drives are shredded.


Other donations that are in good condition also are accepted. Donations are sold in Goodwill Industries stores and the funds raised go toward programs like workforce development, said LaBonte, who helps with job training for people with disabilities or other barriers to employment.


The nearest Goodwill store is in Ukiah at 1005 N. State St. A long-term goal for Goodwill Industries is opening a Lake County store, which will depend on donations alone, said LaBonte.


Donations are accepted year-round at any Goodwill stores or attended donation centers.


Locations are listed in the telephone directory at www.gire.org or can be located by calling 707-523-0550.


For general questions contact Jeff Lambdin at 707-462-9660 or Mary Turner at 707-523-0550, Extension 216.


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

SACRAMENTO – The scandal over a Southern California community's exorbitant pay for public officials is resulting in new reporting requirements.


On Tuesday State Controller John Chiang announced new reporting requirements for all California cities and counties, directing them to clearly identify elected officials and public employees’ compensation.


The information will be posted on the Controller’s Web site, www.sco.ca.gov, starting in November, Chiang said.


“The absence of transparency is a breeding ground for waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Chiang. “A single Web site with accessible information will make sure that excessive pay is no longer able to escape public scrutiny and accountability.”


The new reporting requirements come after the city of Bell reportedly spent $1.6 million annually on just three city employees, and nearly $100,000 for each part-time city council member.


At the request of the city of Bell’s interim city administrative officer, the controller ordered an audit of Bell’s finances last week.


Under current law, local governments are required to transmit summary information about their revenues and expenditures to the State Controller’s Office. Payroll information is included in the total amount listed for each category of program, such as public protection, health and welfare, and governing body.


The data is compiled and used to produce annual reports for the Legislature, Chiang reported.


The controller’s new rules require cities and counties to provide the salaries for each classification of elected official, such as mayor and supervisor, and public employee, such as city manager and county administrator.


City and counties generally are required to provide the information to the controller by mid-October of each year, according to Chiang.


The controller’s Web site will be updated annually to reflect the most recent data received, Chiang said. Local governments who fail to report timely could face a penalty of up to $5,000.


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

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California Highway Patrol Officer Earl Scott was shot and killed during a traffic stop in February 2006 in Modesto, Calif. After four and a half years the man who shot and killed Scott was sentenced to life in prison on Monday, August 2, 2010. Photo courtesy of the California Highway Patrol.
 

 

 

 

MODESTO, Calif. – A Stockton man has pleaded guilty to the 2006 murder of a California Highway Patrol officer.


Columbus Allen, 34, entered the guilty plea to the shooting death of CHP Officer Earl Scott on Monday, according to Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager.


Fladager said Allen pleaded guilty to murder with use of a gun and admitted the special circumstances of murder of a peace officer in the performance of his duties, and murder to avoid arrest.


Allen also admitted that the murder was intentional and perpetrated by means of discharging a firearm from a vehicle at another person outside the vehicle with intent to inflict death, and he additionally pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and admitted having served a prior prison term, according to Fladager.


On Feb. 17, 2006, Scott pulled Allen over for a traffic violation on Highway 99 just outside of Modesto. It was during the traffic stop that Allen fatally shot Scott.


CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow remembered Scott as an exceptional officer and a consummate professional who worked tirelessly to make the highways of California safer. He thanked the law enforcement agencies who brought the case together.


Farrow said justice finally had been served.


“While a guilty plea can never erase the pain, sorrow and devastating loss felt by Earl’s family and friends, including his CHP family, may the finality of a plea and a life sentence in this case at least bring some measure of relief that this part of the process is over,” Farrow said.


The case had faced four years of delays but it had been scheduled to begin last week in Sacramento County where it had been moved as a result of a change of venue, Fladager reported.


The Fifth District Court of Appeals imposed a stay in the proceedings on July 26 in order to consider a writ filed by the defense to challenge the Sacramento judge who was assigned the trial. Fladager said if Allen had been convicted of the charges, a penalty phase would have followed the trial during which the jury would have been asked whether to recommend imposition of the death penalty.


Allen’s lawyers approached Fladager's office early last week indicating that Allen would be willing to plead guilty to all charges – and waive the right to appeal – for a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in lieu of prosecutors continuing to seek the death penalty.


After consulting with family members and friends of Scott and learning of their support for the resolution, Fladager's office agreed to accept the plea offer by the defense.


“While there may never be such a thing as ‘closure’ for the friends and family of Officer Scott, there will at least be finality to the criminal case,” Fladager said. “There will be no decades-long appeal process for them to endure and constantly worry about the possibility of reversal.”


After the defendant entered a guilty plea, Scott's family and friends had the opportunity to give victim impact statements. Among those addressing the court were Officer Robert Hart of the Modesto Police Department and CHP Officer Brandon Moore.


Judge Scott Steffen sentenced Columbus Allen to life in prison without the possibility of parole in addition to three years for the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and having served a prior prison term, Fladager reported.


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

LAKEPORT, Calif. – The county has received new funding to help establish a park on Mt. Konocti.


Lake County Public Services Director Kim Clymire reported that the Office of Grants and Local Services has completed its application review process for the very competitive Habitat Conservation Grant Fund Program.


He said the application submitted by Lake County staff for improvements to the more than 1,500 acres recently acquired on Mt. Konocti has been selected for funding in the amount of $80,000.


The funds will be used to purchase and install benches, signs, trash and recycling receptacles, tables, and restrooms, Clymire said. Funding should become available in the fall of this year and improvements will be made over the winter and spring months.


Mt. Konocti County Park is tentatively scheduled to officially open to hikers only in October of 2010 as a day use park only after initial, pre-opening, work is completed, Public Services reported.


A committee is working on the master management plan to determine what other types of uses will be allowed and may include, licensed dogs on leash under the owners control, non-motorized mountain bikes and horse back riding. Clymire said those types of uses will continue to be studied, with public input, and the master management plan should be adopted by the spring of 2011 for implementation at that time.


In addition, being brought back by popular demand, a beacon will be reinstalled in the next month or two, on the Buckingham Peak communication tower, that will operate from dusk to dawn, Clymire reported.


The beacon will not be designed for aeronautical purposes, and therefore will be exempt from Federal Aviation Administration rules, but is instead being installed for nostalgia reasons, he said.


The old beacon was on the tower for years for aeronautical purposes and also used by the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol Division to determine when water skiing was to stop for the day.


Clymire thanked everyone who has been so supportive of what he called a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to acquire a major portion of the mountain for current and future generations' use and enjoyment as open space park property.


For more information about the park project contact the Public Services Department at 707-262-1618.


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

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Holly Borgen sent this photograph of the fire shot from the Grimesey Ranch near Wilkenson.





CLEARLAKE – Firefighters remained on the scene of a small wildland fire in Clearlake throughout Monday night and were expected to be on scene Tuesday to continue mopping up.


The fire, dispatched at around 6:30 p.m., was located in brush with grassy oak woodland on two flanks and a moderate rate of spread, according to reports from the scene. Initially there were concerns that the fire had the potential to double in size.


Lake County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Willie Sapeta said the fire's final size ranged between four and seven acres.


Full containment was reached around 8 p.m., about an hour and a half after the fire was dispatched, he said.


“We haven't totally walked the fire but there's line all around it,” he said in an interview around 9:30 p.m.


Sapeta said Lake County Fire and Cal Fire had joint command of the fire, which initially had been dispatched as being located at 12th Avenue and Boyles.


When they arrived at the scene firefighters discovered it was on Wilkinson Avenue, where incident command eventually was located, he said.


No structures were lost, Sapeta said.


He credited Cal Fire aircraft with being “phenomenal” in their response.


“We had two tankers here within minutes,” he said.


Sapeta said there were 12 to 13 engines, four aircraft, two helicopters and five crews between his district and Cal Fire.


He said Cal Fire is handling the investigation, noting the fire is “suspicious in nature.”


“We're going to be here all night,” Sapeta said, explaining that firefighters also would be on scene Tuesday to continue mopping up the area, which was marked by heavy brush and chemise.


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

 

 

 

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Clearlake, Calif., resident Remy McCosker photographed a Cal Fire air tanker dropping retardant on a fire off of Wilkinson Avenue on Monday, August 2, 2010. McCosker said the fire was located about a quarter mile from her home.
 

 

 

 

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A Cal Fire air tanker dropping retardant, captured by Holly Borgen.
 

 

 

 

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The fire burned several acres and put up a large smoke column. Photo by Tera DeVroede.
 

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A picture of the Cow Mountain fire on Sunday, August 1, 2010, taken by Engineer Cody Snodgrass.


 

 



COW MOUNTAIN – By nightfall Sunday fire officials reported that a blaze that began earlier in the day had reached about 200 acres with efforts to suppress it expected to continue Monday morning.


The fire in the Mendocino County portion of the Cow Mountain area was first reported shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday, as Lake County News has reported.


Cal Fire, which was handling the fire from its Howard Forest station, dispatched firefighters, equipment, helicopters and air tankers to the fire, according to radio reports. Precise information on resources was not available Sunday evening.


Smoke from the fire was visible for miles along Highway 20. The smoke traveled down the Northshore and hung heavy over the Blue Lakes end of Scotts Valley Road, with the evening sun turning bright orange because of the smoky haze.


Four to five air tankers continued to circle the fire close to 8 p.m. Sunday, with the smoke hanging above the mountains behind Blue Lakes.


About a half hour later the air resources were released, with two tankers ordered to start work Monday morning, based on radio reports.


No information on containment was available from Cal Fire Sunday night.


Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins said Cal Fire was the lead agency on the incident, which he said didn't make it into Lake County. The large plume of smoke had many people concerned about its location and size.


He said Lake County firefighters had been prepared to respond if needed.


“We had units out there standing by in case we needed to get into the Scotts Valley area and help them out,” 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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

 

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A Cal Fire plane circles over the Cow Mountain incident on Sunday, August 1, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.
 

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