Saturday, 13 July 2024


MIDDLETOWN – An eighth grade science teacher has been named Lake County's 2010-11 Teacher of the Year.

Jennifer Kelly, who teaches at Middletown Middle School, will represent Lake County in the upcoming California Teacher of the Year competition, according to Lake County Deputy Superintendent of Schools Chris Thomas.

Kelly holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from University of the Pacific and UC Davis, and holds a teaching credential in life science, and a supplementary authorization in chemistry and multiple subjects.

This is her 11th year with Middletown Unified School District. During her years at Middletown Middle School she has taught science, public speaking, leadership, animal science and AVID.

Prior to coming to Lake County, Kelly was an instructor of chemistry at Carlmont High in Belmont and then a substitute teacher in Marin County. It was during her subsequent five-year stint as a seventh and eighth grade science teacher at White Hill Middle School where she realized the enthusiasm and energy of middle school aged students was her niche.

“Teaching is both a career and a passion,” Kelly said. “Students inspire me to inspire them.”

Dan Morgan, principal at Middletown Middle School, offered high praise for Kelly.

“In her 11 years at Middletown Middle School, Mrs. Kelly has impacted a generation of students,” Morgan said. “She relates to them as a caring instructor, and as a fixture in the community. She shares her passion for life and learning in ways that can’t be quantified and measured. Jennifer Kelly is an outstanding educator deserving of recognition for her contributions to the profession and her influence on the students she teaches.”

Each year the school districts in the county select one exemplary teacher as their district teacher of the year, Thomas reported. A blue ribbon committee of community leaders then interviews these candidates.

The criteria for selection of the county teacher of the year is based upon the state and national requirements, which include professional development activities, commitment to the improvement of the educational system, personal attributes, creativity and ability to communicate ideas effectively, and professional skills in delivering curriculum and instruction to students, according to Thomas.

This year’s committee members were Byron Bell, Arlene Carter, Madelene Lyon, and Barbara Molini. Thomas chaired the committee.

The outstanding district teachers of the year for 2010-11 are Brian Claiche, Konocti Unified School District; Lloyd Coatney, Upper Lake Union High School District; Shelly Lawson, Lakeport Unified School District; and Tavis Perkins, Kelseyville Unified School District; and Linda Sheffert, Upper Lake Union Elementary District.

Kelly, along with the district teachers of the year, will be honored for their exceptional achievement at a dinner this fall.

For more information on the upcoming award dinner, please contact Janice Bailey at the Lake County Office of Education, 707-262-4102.

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LAKE COUNTY – Although it looked like rain at any moment during the day on Wednesday, Thursday's chances for rain will increase and continues through Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

Thick, heavy clouds rolled across most of Lake County throughout the day on Wednesday. That, combined with temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s, made for a warm and muggy afternoon.

Although very little rain actually fell by 7 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Western Weather Group for Lake County rainfall increased throughout the evening last night in most areas of the county.

The chance for rain will continue to climb throughout the day Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento, with a 20-percent chance of rain and daytime highs in the upper-60s to low-70s.

Both the National Weather Service and Western Weather Group are forecasting more rains overnight Thursday, and Western Weather Group reported that some areas in Lake County will receive up to one third of an inch of rain.

Isolated showers will start the day on Friday, according to both, with afternoon clearing anticipated to usher in the weekend, with daytime highs near 70.

According to the Western Weather Group, this wet Pacific system will move out of Northern California on Friday. Temperatures are expected to finally reach normal on Saturday with daytime highs well into the 80s, and some areas of the county nearing 90 on Sunday.

Throughout the remainder of the week and into the weekend, overnight lows will remain well above the frost point – finally – with mid-40s to -60s predicted.

Remember – although daytime high temperatures are steadily climbing, water temperatures in Clear Lake and surrounding water bodies remain cool due to the unseasonably cold spring weather.


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

E-mail Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .


MIDDLETOWN – An elderly Rodeo woman died of injuries she sustained in a Memorial Day weekend crash.

Helen R. Valentine, 85, died at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital after being injured in the crash, which occurred just after 8:30 a.m. Saturday, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.

Valentine was riding with Angelo Accurso, 85, of Hidden Valley Lake in his 2001 Toyota Corolla, heading westbound on Hartmann Road. Accurso was stopped at the stop sign at Highway 29 waiting to turn left, Tanguay said.

Vidal Montanez, 51, of Clearlake, was driving his 1998 Ford Windstar northbound on Highway 29 approaching Hartmann Road at approximately 55 miles per hour when Tanguay said Accurso pulled out into the intersection directly in front of the Ford Windstar, which struck the left side of the Toyota Corolla.

Valentine was transported via Cal Star helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries, Tanguay said. Accurso was transported by REACH to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for a broken right hip and other injuries. Montanez was not injured.

Tanguay said the collision is still under investigation by CHP Officer Efrain Cortez.

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Pictured, from left to right, are Larry Durnil, president of Corvettes of Lake County; Gloria Flaherty, executive director of the Lake Family Resource Center; artist and fundraiser Gail Salituri and Kathy Fowler, Lake Family Resource Center board member. Courtesy photo.



LAKEPORT – In an afternoon ceremony this past Sunday in Lakeport's Library Park, a community group made a sizable donation to benefit the county's domestic violence shelter.

Corvettes of Lake County President Larry Durnil presented a check for $3,000 to Gloria Flaherty, executive director of the Lake Family Resource Center, during the club's “2010 Run to the Lake.”

The funds will benefit the center's Freedom House shelter, which opened late last year.

“Lake Family Resource Center is deeply appreciative of the generous donation made by the Corvette club and facilitated by Gail Salituri,” said Flaherty. “The funds are very much needed and will allow specific projects at Freedom House domestic violence shelter to move forward.”

In January, the club's members unanimously chose the Barbara LaForge Memorial Fund – which benefits Freedom House – as its charity to support this year, as Lake County News has reported.

The fund was created by Corvette club member Gail Salituri, a local artist and owner of Inspirations Gallery and Frame Shop located at 165 N. Main St., Lakeport.

Salituri started the fund in memory of her friend and fellow businesswoman, Barbara LaForge, who was murdered in her downtown frame shop in October 2002. LaForge's murder remains unsolved.

Many local businesses have donated raffle prizes for the fundraiser, with Salituri also creating several new paintings to raffle for the cause.

During the Sunday presentation Durnil thanked each and every business for their support and contributions.

The 2010 Run to the Lake is a yearly event for the Corvette club. Parade, wine and poker run, with a dinner for members and guests on Saturday, along with the “Park and Show” on Sunday at Library Park.

Under the gazebo, just prior to the car awards ceremony, the club presented a poster-sized check to Lake Family Resource Center. Flaherty was surprised by the amount.


Prior to the Corvette club donation the LaForge Memorial donations had grown to $4,770, just slightly under its $5,000 goal, said Salituri. However, the large donation raised the total funds for Freedom House to $7,770.

“I have said this before, the members are not just about having fun with their cars, they are very aware of the community needs and never lose sight of those who are less fortunate I am so proud of all of our members,” Salituri said.

The Corvettes of Lake County has approximately 40 members and is a member of the Western States Corvette Council. For more information on the Corvettes of Lake County please check out their Web site,

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CLEARLAKE – Community members are urged to apply for a vacancy on the board that oversees the county's public access television channel.

The Lake County PEG Board is responsible for oversight of the Public, Educational, Governmental (PEG) cable channel, TV8.

The board currently has a vacancy, and individuals who wish to be considered for the appointment must submit an application and letter of interest.

Applications are available at Clearlake City Hall, 14050 Olympic Drive.

The applications and letters of interest must be submitted to City Clerk Melissa Swanson at city hall no later than 5 p.m. Monday, June 7.

The PEG Board will consider filling the vacancy at its next regular meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, in the council chambers at Clearlake City Hall.

For more information contact Swanson at 707-994-8251, Extension 106.

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CLEARLAKE OAKS – A Clearlake Oaks man who served his community and died unexpectedly this past weekend will be remembered at services this coming weekend.

Franklin Toney, 44, died last Sunday, as Lake County News has reported.

Known for being a down-to-earth and generous man, his family and friends are putting together a memorable send off for Toney, who leaves behind many family members, friends, girlfriend Janet Folmar and her son, and his own young son, Parker, 7.

Toney's younger brother, Duane, said the family currently is working on setting up a trust fund for young Parker, who lost his mother last year. The family is requesting donations to the fund in lieu of flowers.

Duane Toney and close friend, Keith Leffler, were finalizing details on Tuesday for the memorial services. They wanted to make sure it was both memorable and fitting.

“Frank was my best friend,” his brother said.

A viewing will take place this Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Jones & Lewis Funeral Home, 16140 Main St., Lower Lake, Duane Toney said.

On Sunday, June 6, a memorial service is planned. Duane Toney said a procession of firefighters, law enforcement, Caltrans staff, family and community members will form beginning at noon at Northshore Fire Protection District's Clearlake Oaks station, 12655 E. Highway 20, where Frank Toney became a volunteer firefighter at age 16.

A brief ceremony will take place in which Frank Toney's firefighting gear and the equipment he has used over the last several years as a Caltrans employee will be placed in an antique fire engine by Leffler and another longtime friend, Jerome McKenzie, now a Sacramento Metro Fire Department firefighter who started at the Clearlake Oaks station in 1981 with Toney. The procession will leave at 12:30 p.m., Duane Toney said.

The procession is set to include two California Highway Patrol cars as escorts – one at the front of the group, one at the back, Duane Toney said. The Iron Pigs, a fraternal motorcycle group composed of fire and law enforcement personnel, will follow the CHP's lead car and be followed by the antique truck bearing Frank Toney's gear, a Caltrans truck, and vehicles with Toney's parents and family.

Duane Toney said fire engines from around Lake County – each with two firefighters apiece – will take part in the procession, including a ladder truck each from Lakeport Fire and Lake County Fire, and engines from Northshore fire's Lucerne, Nice and Upper Lakes stations, as well as engines coming from Kelseyville, Middletown, and Lake County Fire's Clearlake and Lower Lake stations.

Frank Toney formerly worked with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – now called Cal Fire – and his brother said an engine and a dozer transport unit from Cal Fire's Clearlake Oaks station will take part in the procession, along with two to three Lake County Sheriff's Office patrol units committed by Sheriff Rod Mitchell and a Department of Fish and Game unit.

The procession will make its way to Lower Lake High School, 9430 Lake St., where Frank Toney graduated from high school in 1983. Duane Toney said they're expecting a crowd of more than 300 people, and the memorial services will be held in the school's new gym.

Leffler will be the master of ceremonies at the service, which Duane Toney said is expected to last about an hour and a half and will include an open microphone for sharing memories.

Following the service, the procession will head back to Clearlake Oaks, to the Moose Lodge, at the corner of Highway 20 and Highway 53, for a reception. Duane Toney said his brother had been a member of the lodge for 23 years.

When Frank Toney had a party he would tell people to bring their favorite dish, his brother remembered.

Those wanting to bring food for the reception are asked to contact Frank Toney's sister-in-law, Leticia Toney, at 707-350-7601, to make arrangements.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

YUBA CITY – California Department of Justice narcotics agents and local law enforcement officers have arrested 59 gang members in a series of sweeps around Sacramento Valley counties that began earlier this year.

Those arrested included one gang member who bootstrapped his way from foot soldier to local commander by committing or ordering murders, according to a report from Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s office.

In January, agents from the DOJ's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and a task force of local law enforcement officials initiated Operation Crimson Tide by targeting gangs in and around Yuba and Sutter counties.

On Thursday alone, agents arrested 33 gang members and seized 24 firearms in five Northern California counties as part of “Operation Crimson Tide,” the DOJ reported.

The Thursday sweeps involved more than 300 law enforcement agents in Sacramento, Sutter, Yuba, Colusa and Stanislaus counties and involved more than 30 search warrants, according to the DOJ.

“Tragically, those arrested today chose to join dangerous gangs that deal in meth and murder,” Brown said Thursday. “By removing them from society, we are disrupting their criminal activities and making the people of Northern California safer.”

After extensive investigative work, DOJ said its agents and task force members uncovered a well-organized methamphetamine distribution network, involving large amounts of methamphetamine smuggled into the United States from Mexico.

Officials said the investigation also helped solve four homicides of Sureños gang members and resulted in the earlier arrests of 26 Norteños gang members and several associates.

Last month, agents arrested Robert Juan Salazar, 24, for the March 2004 murder of a Sureños gang leader as he sat in his car with his six-year-old nephew.

In the view of law enforcement, that began Salazar's climb up the organizational ladder of the local Norteños gang, which included ordering murders of rival gang members in April and December 2004 and July 2005. Salazar is being held without bail in Sutter County Jail on murder charges.

Over the course of the operation, the DOJ reported that its agents and task force members were able to prevent one murder, two stabbings and two shootings, as well as arrest two wanted fugitive gang members and two gang members on murder charges.

Prior to Thursday's enforcement action, Operation Crimson Tide led to the seizure of more than 17 pounds of methamphetamine, two handguns and two sawed-off shotguns. An additional 24 weapons and more than 11 pounds of illegal drugs were seized.

All 59 arrestees – including the 33 arrested Thursdasy – will be prosecuted by the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office in one comprehensive gang prosecution case, the DOJ reported.

All 30 search warrants were issued by the Sacramento County Superior Court, according to the DOJ. The cold-case homicide cases are being prosecuted by the Sutter County District Attorney's Office.

Charges include distribution and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, firearms violations and murder.

The California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and the Yuba/Sutter Narcotic and Gang Enforcement Team led Thursday's operation.

Participating agencies included the Butte County Sheriff's Department, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Highway Patrol, Colusa County Sheriff's Department, Marysville Police Department, Modesto Police Department, Nevada County Sheriff's Department, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Sacramento Police Department, Sutter County Probation Department, Sutter County Sheriff's Department, Yuba City Police Department, Yuba County Probation Department and Yuba County Sheriff's Department.

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CLEARLAKE – A facelift project for a Clearlake building is back on after having been canceled last week.

The volunteer redevelopment project on the vacant city-owned building at the corner of Lakeshore and Olympic is going to take place this Saturday, June 5, after having been previously scheduled and then canceled as a result of city negotiations with a renter, as Lake County News has reported.

Participants are asked to gather at 8 a.m. Saturday at the site.

This week, the event organizer, Clearlake businesswoman Jeri Spittler, received a letter from City Administrator Dale Neiman informing her that she could paint the building on the former Austin Resort property if she wished.

Spittler said the project is intended to transform the structurally sound but neglected structure from an eyesore into an income-producing asset.

However, Neiman said the building doesn't comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and there are serious code deficiencies in the building that would be “cost prohibitive” to fix.

Paint, caulk, tape and other materials have all been donated by local businesses, and some tools will be available for the building's facelift, Spittler said.

Workers are asked to wear sturdy work clothes, shoes and gloves, and to bring their own tools (rakes, shovels, hammers, scrapers, paint brushes) if they have them.

To comply with city insurance requirements, volunteers must sign up with City Clerk Melissa Swanson, 707-994-8201, Extension 106, and City Public Works Director Doug Herren must manage the work.

Free cold water and a barbecue lunch will be provided to all participants.

Event fliers are available at Girlfriends, 14510 Lakeshore, and other locations throughout Clearlake, and may be downloaded at

For more information call Tony at 707-295-6534 or Jeri at 707-295-6533.

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LOWER LAKE – A Clearlake man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance following a Wednesday morning crash that sent him and three other people to hospitals around the region.

Stephen Phipps, 46, was placed under arrest at the scene of the crash, on Highway 53 near Anderson Ranch Parkway, according to the California Highway Patrol. Phipps was later transported by REACH to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for internal injuries.

At 7:40 a.m. Phipps was driving a 2002 Ford Ranger pickup northbound on Highway 53 with passenger Jody Westphall, 53, of Clearlake, CHP Officer Steve Tanguay reported.

Tanguay said that as Phipps was approaching Anderson Ranch Parkway, witnesses reported he allowed his vehicle to veer to the left and cross over the left center turn lane, entering the southbound lane of traffic.

Luisa Enriquez, 43, of Clearlake, was driving a 2000 Oldsmobile van southbound on Highway 53 when the Ford Ranger crossed the center lane directly in front of her, Tanguay said.

Local resident Frank Bingel and his teenage daughter were traveling in their vehicle behind Enriquez – Bingel estimated they were about 10 car lengths back. “We were right behind the van but not that close, luckily,” he said.

Bingel and his daughter witnessed Phipps' pickup veer across the lanes and hit Enriquez's van. He said it happened so quickly that Enriquez didn't have a chance to respond.

He estimated Enriquez and Phipps were traveling at around 45 to 50 miles per hour when they hit head-on in the area near the Lake Transit building on Highway 53.

“It was pretty bad,” said Bingel, who noted that his daughter – who was driving their vehicle – was able to stop the car in time to avoid being involved in the crash.

Tanguay said the vehicles came to rest blocking one of the southbound lanes of traffic.

Enriquez was transported by REACH to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for broken bones in her legs. Tanguay said that a 12-year-old boy riding as a passenger with her was transported by REACH to Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland for broken bones in his leg, arm and face.

Westphall also was transported by REACH to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for internal injuries, Tanguay said.

The roadway remained closed for a portion of the investigation, Tanguay said. All of the involved parties were wearing their seat belts and the air bags deployed in both vehicles.

CHP Officer Greg Buchholz is investigating the collision, Tanguay said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY – One of the three candidates in this year's race to become Lake County's next district attorney says issues raised over his finances are a last-minute campaign tactic to knock him out of the running.

Don Anderson, 57, is answering criticisms from Kelseyville Lumber and Piedmont Lumber, because the companies say he and his girlfriend, Jennifer McGee, didn't pay them for home improvement supplies for a home remodel.

Anderson, who raised more contributions – over $10,000 – than his two opponents in the most recent campaign finance reporting period, claims the issues are arising now as a way to discredit him, and cast doubt on his ability to manage the multimillion dollar Lake County District Attorney's Office budget.

He's running this year against fellow challenger Doug Rhoades and incumbent Jon Hopkins.

Anderson – whose campaign approached Lake County News on Monday to offer information and clarifications about the situation – said he feels once people know the true story their concerns will be put to rest.

“This is the only dirt they can come up with,” he said, adding, “I was expecting much worse but I'll settle for this.”

Anderson and McGee live in a home on Adobe Creek Road in Kelseyville that Anderson said they remodeled a few years ago. Lake County Assessor's Office records show the home is in McGee's name alone, but Anderson said he's lived there in the eight years she's owned it. He said she bought it at about the time they got together.

Mark Borghesani, general manager of Kelseyville Lumber, said the company filed a suit against McGee in June 2008 for about $12,000 in goods and services they provided her.

Anderson said the money was for supplies including French doors which McGee had installed in the house. McGee paid all but $5,000 of the company's bill, said Anderson.

He alleged that the doors leaked, and that Kelseyville Lumber was asked to come out and fix them. McGee then had stucco put around the doors, which Anderson said they found still leaked after it rained.

“They still leak and they still won't come out and fix them,” Anderson alleged.

After being unsuccessful in collecting the funds, Borghesani said Kelseyville Lumber filed a lien on the property. When that didn't work, they started a foreclosure action on the house and filed suit in June 2008.

At that point, Anderson – acting as McGee's attorney – filed a countersuit against Kelseyville Lumber. Borghesani said the company was accused of false advertising and having faulty products.

Borghesani said he knows Anderson, and Anderson never tried calling him to set up a payment agreement. “The phone call we got was, 'We're gonna sue you.'”

He added, “It was just right to the lawsuit. That's the part of it that irritates me the most.”

Borghesani said his company spent almost $15,000 in attorney's fees to collect the $12,000 it was owed. “It makes me sick the amount of money and time we spent.”

Ultimately, Kelseyville Lumber won the case and the amount of money it was seeking, as well as attorney's fees, totaling $30,500. Anderson said McGee lost the case because the judge ruled she did not give Kelseyville Lumber enough notification before filing the cross complaint.

Also in 2008, Piedmont Lumber filed suit against Anderson, seeking payment for goods he purchased, according to the company's credit department at its corporate accounting office in Pittsburg.

While Anderson told Lake County News that he had “a disputed bill” from Piedmont, the company's credit department said there was no dispute.

The case was settled for $20,000, with Anderson signing a document on Dec. 4, 2008, in which he agreed to pay $10,000 that month and the remaining $10,000 due within 30 days, according to Piedmont Lumber.

The company said he made the first $10,000 payment but not the second, and that he called last week to say that he couldn't pay it.

As a result, Piedmont Lumber – which in March was hit with foreclosure actions and a lawsuit due to debt and its own struggles in the current economy – has called in its attorneys to seek enforcement of the settlement.

Foreclosure, bankruptcy actions filed

Adding to the situation, a foreclosure action was filed against McGee's home Jan. 20, according to assessor records. The home was scheduled to go up for sale on the courthouse steps on March 9.

Eight days after the foreclosure was filed, county records show that McGee filed papers to homestead the property – an action which can sometimes protect properties from foreclosure.

She followed that up with a Feb. 3 bankruptcy filing in the US Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of California, according to court documents.

Anderson acknowledged that he helped McGee file the paperwork, but since he's not a bankruptcy attorney they have hired another attorney, Myles Dresslove of Santa Rosa, to represent her.

McGee's bankruptcy documents show that more than $525,000 is owed on the home, with her total liabilities totaling more than $686,000. She reported her annual gross earnings as a clerk selling hair extensions at just under $17,000.

Anderson said he pays for part of the monthly housing expenses. “We just kinda work it out between us,” he said.

Among McGee's listed debts is the $30,500 owed to Kelseyville Lumber and $13,630.81 owed to Home Depot.

Borghesani said the bankruptcy filing will mean that what is owed to him will be wiped out.

County assessor records show that property taxes on the home totaling $5,600 remain outstanding; however, a cancellation of the notice of default on McGee's home was recorded on March 29. Anderson said by that time she had caught up on her payments.

Anderson said McGee's bankruptcy case is still pending. “It should be closed fairly soon.”

Borghesani said, for him, it comes down to right and wrong. He said both he and his father, Bob, still get fired up about the situation, especially since Anderson is running on a platform of restoring confidence, integrity and transparency to the District Attorney's Office.

“I have a ton of money out that I wasn't paid for, and they weaseled their way out of it because of the laws, so I got stuck,” Borghesani said, adding that it's especially frustrating to have this happen when times are as tough as they are.

Despite the controversy arising late in the race, Anderson said he thinks his chances of winning the election are pretty good, and that he's been getting a lot of positive feedback in his campaign.

“I've got good feelings” about it, he said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

An open nursery showing small marijuana plants. In all, Glenn County Sheriff's Office Marijuana Eradication Team members removed 13,632 marijuana plants from a grow operation near Elk Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, June 1, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Glenn County Sheriff's Office.







MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – An eradication effort in the Mendocino National Forest led to the seize of thousands of marijuana plants, officials reported Tuesday.

Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones said the Glenn County Sheriff's Office Marijuana Eradication Team (MET) removed 13,632 marijuana plants, in the nursery stage, from the Mendocino National Forest on Tuesday.

The plants were found in the Grindstone Canyon off of Forest Highway 7, west of Elk Creek, Jones said. The MET was assisted in the eradication by US Forest Service officials.

Jones said members of a drug trafficking organization had selected an extremely remote site, some 1,000 feet drop in elevation, below FH 7, near a good water source where they had started to clear cut areas, terrace the land and lay plastic irrigation pipe in preparation for planting.

One camp site was located, which appeared to have been hastily abandoned by at least two individuals, he said.

A large amount of trash and waste had all ready started to accumulate on the forest floor. Jones said that in an effort to conceal and camouflage the operations, all equipment in the camp and grow areas had been painted green. Three nursery grow areas also had been set up and camouflaged with green netting.

Jones said that it was be a large grow operation as seeds and growing materials were located indicating additional plants would be started.

If allowed to grow to maturity, the potential street value of the plants would have been in the millions of dollars, Jones said. However, since they don't know how many of these plants would be female, the estimated street value will be adjusted.

Due to the late rains, which will provide good watering sources on public lands, the illegal marijuana growing season potentially could be large, Jones suggested.

Anyone traveling in remote areas of our forests who views suspicious activity is asked to call their local law enforcement, he said.

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One of three nurseries covered by green netting found by Glenn County Sheriff's Office Marijuana Eradication Team members on Tuesday, June 1, 2010, near Elk Creek, Calif. Photo courtesy of the Glenn County Sheriff's Office.





A propane tank painted green, trash and plastic pipe discovered at the camp site near Elk Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, June 1, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Glenn County Sheriff's Office.

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