Friday, 19 July 2024


Sean Carney performs during Blue Monday at the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, Calif., on Monday, March 22, 2010. Photo by Bernard Butcher.




In a bit of CyberSoulMan sleight of hand and push button technology time manipulation, I was able to broadcast live the interview I did with great Sean Carney even as he cruised at 30,000 plus feet, California-bound for his Monday night Blue Monday gig at the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake. The interview was broadcast on my Monday morning Blues radio show at 8 a.m. on 88.1 FM.


In truth, the interview was taped the prior Friday for broadcast Monday morning. We just set it up to sound live for effect, before admitting toward the end of the segment that it was actually a few days old.


If you missed it or would like another crack at it and are up early enough on Wednesday morning, it will be rebroadcast at 6 a.m. on KPF Zed.


That’s what I said.


The celebrated Sean Carney Band did indeed bring their brand of Columbus, Ohio Blues to the Blue Wing Saloon for this week’s Blue Monday session.


After a minimum of tuning up, three fourths of the quartet disappeared. Guitarist Sean Carney stood at the mic, almost unnoticed by the dinner crowed until he strummed the first chord to Robert Johnson’s “Kind Hearted Woman Blues.”


Carney got our attention by changing the first line to, “I’ve got an evil hearted woman …” The set got better and better from there.


The West Coast Edition of the Sean Carney Band includes his stalwart Columbus, Ohio drummer Eric Blume, San Francisco-based Phil Berkowitz and Tom Bowers on harmonica and bass, respectively. Carney brought them up one by one.


On the second number Berkowitz stepped onstage for a duet with Carney which included the delectable hook thus stated, “I’ve got those Oreo cream sandwich chocolate covered cream filled cookie blues.” Umm, umm, slow groove established, the Blue Wing patrons dined on and started to get into it.


The band did another Robert Johnson song, “Ramblin’ On My Mind” and the slow belly rubbin’ groove continued. No dancers yet, I thought. It was just the lull before the storm.


Punctuatin’ Papa, Eric Blume was holding the keys to the dance kingdom. He clicked it up a notch during the next instrumental. Between Sean Carney's vocal exclamations of “yeah” and stinging, jazz-inflected guitar riffs it was starting to heat up.


On the next tune, the Willie Dixon penned, “Too Many Cooks,” the front door of the Blue Wing opened and the setting sun streamed in light, along with Dancin’ Karen and a cadre of dancers who did kind of a Soul Train line straight to the dance floor. Suddenly the dance floor was filled. Another magic moment at the Blue Wing.


And so it went. The Sean Carney Band smoked for two sets in between a short break.


The sure fire formula was the Blue Monday remedy. Start slowly, warm it up gradually and break out the up-tempo dance tunes so the dancers can keep in shape.


Excuse me, but we needed to break a sweat. Winter is officially over.


Carney did some no-look-behind-the-head fancy guitar work. Everyone in the band soloed admirably.


When the show finally ended, one encore past the designated stop time of 9 p.m., the whole joint was aglow.


The Sean Carney Band appears Wednesday night in San Francisco at Rassella’s. Then it’s on to Mexico and beyond.


Sooner or later they will be back at the Blue Wing. Yes, you yet have another chance.


For more information on the Sean Carney Band go to .


Keep prayin’, keep thinking those kind thoughts!


T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. 



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The Kelseyville Senior Center with a new coat of paint, thanks for the students, who painted over the graffiti on Sunday, March 21, 2010. Photo by Linda Kelly.




KELSEYVILLE – When parts of Kelseyville were tagged with graffiti last Saturday, some community-minded young people stepped forward to make things right.

Kelseyville Senior Center was among buildings in the town tagged with graffiti.

Students from a local church Kelseyville High School – shocked to see the damage to the senior center – volunteered to clean it up.

Holden Braider, Linda Ross, Ruth Balzer, Mackenzie Turner and Chelo Krag of the Unitarian Universalist Community of Lake County and Adryan Segura, Jordan Brown, Natalio Rojas, Garrett Huggins and Nick Rodriques of Kelseyville High School worked Sunday morning to repaint the side of the building.

Several people stopped by to thank the students for their hard work including many of the seniors who use the center.

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From left, student from Kelseyville High School who participated in the cleanup on Sunday, March 21, 2010, included Adryan Segura, Jordan Brown, Natalio Rojas, Garrett Huggins and Nick Rodriques. Photo by Linda Kelly.




Students from Unitarian Universalist Community of Lake County who pitched in to paint over graffiti on the Kelseyville Senior Center on Sunday, March 21, 2010, included, from left to right, Ruth Balzer, Linda Ross, Mackenzie Turner, Holden Braider and Chelo Krag. Photo by Linda Kelly.

Finalists for the title of Lake County Poet Laureate included, from left, Michelle Berger of Spring Valley, and Russell Gonzaga and Elaine Watt, both of Middletown. Gonzaga was chosen as poet laureate on Sunday, March 14, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.



LAKE COUNTY – Lake County’s current poet laureate, Mary McMillan, was happy to “pass the baton” on to her successor, Russell Gonzaga, at the “Select and Celebrate Program” held last Sunday, March 14.

The event, hosted by Lake County Arts Council and Main Street Gallery in Lakeport, was also broadcast live on the community radio station, KPFZ 88.1 FM.

Gonzaga, who lives at Harbin Hot Springs near Middletown, won the vote among two other candidates, Michelle Berger of Spring Valley and Elaine Watt, who also is from Harbin Hot Springs.

“Harbin Hot Springs has become a community of artists,” said Gonzaga after being handed a bouquet of flowers and being encouraged to give a speech. “I’m proud to be a part of a community of creative individuals.”

All three poets were contenders, and each had a very unique presence. Before presentations, McMillan did admit that it would be a difficult decision to make – especially after everyone read their poetry.

Gonzaga was first up at the podium after several past poets laureate treated the audience of about 30 people to some of their work. He began with a performance poem which showed his character and energy.

His pieces were mixed with large body motions, Islamic chants and hip-hop raps – he is an Islamic Dervish as well as a part-time teacher. He dedicated one poem to his students, another to his son.

Watts answered Gonzaga’s energy and emphasis with modesty and reverence. Her voice was clear but soft, and so the audience was very quiet to listen more closely.

Berger brought the audience back to life, addressing them directly – asking everyone how they were doing. She garnered a few laughs before she began. Then, she gave the audience a disclaimer – she liked to find new ways to formulate what she writes about.

One piece was a result of flipping over two Tarot cards and writing on the images of them both. Her meter and flow were nursery rhyme-like but the words and stories within her poetry were mostly comical.

After all three candidates performed, three previous poets laureate – McMillan, Carolyn Wing Greenlee and Sandra Wade – had to select one of them.




Past poet laureates, from left, Mary McMillan, Sandra Wade and Carolyn Wing Greenlee discuss selection of the new poet laureate at the

SANTA ROSA – On Tuesday a Santa Rosa man convicted of embezzling from his employer was sentenced to prison plus a hefty restitution bill.

Timothy Charles Webb Jr., 38, was sentenced to two years in prison for his theft of property from Agilent Technologies Inc. over the course of approximately five years, according to a statement from Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.

In addition, Webb agreed to pay $1.22 million in restitution to Agilent.

“Even though the ultimate sentence given by the court was not what we had hoped, it still is significant and allows Agilent to recoup the damage their ex-employee has caused,” said Assistant District Attorney Diana Gomez said.

After Webb entered pleas of no contest to burglary and grand theft on May 1, 2008, Webb returned a truckload of property belonging to Agilent Technologies and agreed his actions caused $1.22 million in losses to the company, according to the report.

At sentencing, Webb argued that he should receive a sentence of probation. The Sonoma County Probation Department recommended the maximum available sentence of three years and eight months in prison be imposed and the district attorney agreed with that assessment, arguing that a theft of such magnitude necessitated a lengthy prison sentence.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Arthur Wick ultimately sentenced Mr. Webb to the mid-term of two years in prison.

The charges in this case arose out of an investigation which began on February 24, 2007, when Webb was caught by an Agilent employee removing items from a company workspace.

When confronted by the employee, Webb fled on foot.

Agilent’s video surveillance security camera picked up images of Webb as he was fleeing the complex and, as a former Agilent employee, Webb was identified by several Agilent employees.

Following the burglary and identification of Webb, the Santa Rosa Police Department obtained a search warrant for Webb’s residence, where the officers discovered thousands of electronic items stockpiled and organized in Webb’s home.

Further investigation revealed that Webb was selling the items on eBay and that virtually all of the items, which filled almost every room of Webb’s residence, had been stolen from Agilent.

Late last year the Sonoma County District Attorney obtained another large restitution award in a different employee/employer embezzlement case.

In that case, $1,888,280.43 was ordered in the criminal case against Ryan Merman, who was sentenced to six years and eight months in prison on December 17, 2009, by Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elliott Daum for embezzling from his employer, Petaluma company STX Inc.

Santa Rosa Police Department Detective Matthew Tomlin was the investigating officer who spearheaded the investigation in the Webb matter and Deputy District Attorney Robin Hammond was the prosecutor assigned to the case.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program have designated March 21-27 as Tsunami Awareness Week.

This designation comes in the wake of last month’s tsunami in Chile and less than six months after a tsunami hit American Samoa, both events resulting in loss of life and property.

As part of tsunami awareness week, NOAA’s National Weather Service will host open houses at its tsunami warning centers in Alaska and Hawaii, and many coastal states will host community tsunami awareness activities.

California will launch a statewide tsunami awareness campaign including a new classroom lesson plan, two municipalities in Puerto Rico will complete requirements to become National Weather Service-designated TsunamiReady communities and Hawaii’s Lt. Governor, Duke Aiona, will host a tsunami awareness event at a school within a tsunami inundation zone on Oahu.

“NOAA continues to improve our ability to detect, forecast and warn for tsunamis,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “But warnings are only part of the equation. To survive a tsunami, coastal residents and visitors need to know how to recognize a tsunami threat and how to get to safety quickly.”

Lubchenco noted that the U.S. coast is vulnerable to near-and onshore earthquakes, similar to recent tragedies in American Samoa and Chile. Those earthquakes generated fast-moving tsunamis that struck within 20 minutes with little or no warning.

A powerful earthquake can be nature’s warning of a tsunami,” she said. “That’s when you need to grab your family and head to higher ground.”

In conjunction with Tsunami Awareness Week, on March 24 the National Weather Service and several state emergency management organizations will conduct exercises to test and practice tsunami response plans along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Pacific coasts, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alaska and Hawaii.

These exercises, called LANTEX10 and PACIFEX10, provide an opportunity for coastal emergency management organizations to test and update emergency response plans for tsunamis – a critical component to maintaining readiness for a tsunami emergency.

Coastal emergency management organizations will participate in the tests at varying levels, ranging from table top exercises to full-scale drills and beach-front evacuations.

“It’s important that families in coastal areas take steps to prepare for a potential tsunami or other emergency,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “These steps include developing a family communications plan, putting an emergency kit together, and following the instructions of state and local officials in the event of an emergency. I encourage everyone to become informed of the risks where they live in order to better protect their homes and families.”

In the state of Alaska and the Northern California counties of Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino, an Emergency Alert System communications test will be conducted in conjunction with the exercise.

Residents in these areas may hear community sirens, see an Emergency Alert System tsunami alert scroll across their television screens and hear a test message being broadcast over NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards.

The tests also provide coastal residents and businesses an opportunity to review and practice tsunami response plans.

The National Weather Service operates a tsunami warning system for the United States, U.S. territories and western Canada through two tsunami warning centers, in Palmer, Alaska, and Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

The centers, staffed 24/7, issue tsunami warning, advisory, watch and information messages as early as five to fifteen minutes after an earthquake. Upon receipt of tsunami messages, state and local emergency management agencies determine the appropriate response including whether or not to evacuate people from the warned area.

Following the deadly 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Congress provided NOAA with more than $90 million to expand the nation’s tsunami detection and warning capabilities, and an additional $135 million for research, integrated observing systems, hazard mitigation and for a global tsunami warning and education network. As a result of this investment, the nation and the world are better prepared for the next tsunami.

To date 74 coastal communities in the U.S. have earned the National Weather Service TsunamiReady designation, up from only 11 in 2004.

Thanks to this program, emergency managers in these communities are now better prepared to warn their citizens about tsunamis. NOAA also has completed a network of 39 buoy stations, up from only six experimental buoys in 2004.

Warning signs of a tsunami

  • A strong earthquake, or one that persists for 20 seconds or longer.

  • The ocean withdraws, exposing the sea floor.

  • A loud, roaring sound (like an airplane or a train) coming from the ocean.

  • Tsunami warnings broadcast over television and radio, by beach lifeguards, community sirens, text message alerts, National Weather Service tsunami warning center Web sites and on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards

What you should do if you see these signs

  • Remain call.

  • Move inland to higher ground.

  • Continue to monitor media sources for information.

  • Stay away from the beach until officials issue an “all clear" – remember that a tsunami may be a series of waves over a period of several hours.

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MARYSVILLE – The Yuba Community College District (YCCD) has complied in all material respects with the performance requirements set by Proposition 39 and Measure J through the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2009, according to a performance audit report conducted by the Certified Public Accounting Firm Matson and Isom.

Measure J contains strict financial safeguards, including a requirement that independent audits be

conducted annually to ensure that bond funds are spent only on the classroom and facility improvements as identified in the original ballot language.

Roxie Azparren, auditor for Matson and Isom, presented the annual YCCD Proposition 39 and Measure J General Obligation Bonds Performance Audit to the Measure J Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) at its quarterly meeting on Feb. 2, college officials reported last week.

The performance audit verified that Measure J bond revenues were expended only for the construction, acquisition, furnishing, and equipping of the district projects approved by the voters and that no funds were used for salaries of school administrators or other operating expenses of the district.

In addition, the audit found that the District properly accounted for the proceeds and expenditures of Proposition 39 and Measure J General Obligation Bonds. As such, the CBOC approved the audit report.

Eleanor Mackensen, chair of the Measure J CBOC, presented the 2008-09 Proposition 39 and Measure J General Obligation Bonds Performance Audit to the YCCD Board of Trustees at their regular meeting earlier this month.

The Board of Trustees unanimously accepted the report.

The auditing firm also found that the bond fund financial statements presented fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Measure J Bond Program as of June 30, 2009, and the changes in financial position and cash flows thereof for the year then ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United State of America.

No material weaknesses were found and auditing tests disclosed no instances of noncompliance.

“I would like to congratulate the entire Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, our program management firm AECOM, and the YCCD staff who work on the Measure J bond construction program on a daily basis for doing a magnificent job,” said Dr. Nicki Harrington, YCCD Chancellor.

“Their oversight, management and hands on hard work has paid off with yet another clean audit,” Harrington said. “This audit and financial statements serve as overwhelming proof that the district and the CBOC are serving as financial stewards for our local taxpayers, ensuring that the facilities master plan as embodied in Measure J comes to fruition for the benefit of our students and the communities we serve.”

Measure J was passed by voters in the eight counties served by YCCD in November 2006 to repair, renovate, and add facilities for community college services.

The Bond Construction Program, scheduled to complete in 2014, is at its half-way mark, with projects progressing on time and on budget.

Our Program Managing (PM) partner, AECOM, architectural and construction firms, and the over 100 local businesses and subcontractors employed by the Measure J program are doing an outstanding job, providing jobs for our community, and contributing positively to the local economy.

The Yuba Community College District spans eight counties and nearly 4,200 square miles of territory in rural, north-central California. It has colleges in Marysville and Woodland, an educational center in Clearlake, and will be adding outreach facilities in Sutter and Colusa Counties as part of the Measure J facilities bond.

For more information on the Measure J bond construction program, including the CBOC and the

aforementioned audit, please visit the Measure J Web site at .

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NORTH COAST – Lake County's congressman said Monday that the “historic” health care legislation he and 218 colleagues voted to pass on Sunday will have positive impacts for his North Coast district.

Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) said the legislation will benefit small businesses and individuals, is paid for and – according to the Congressional Budget Office – will reduce the deficit by $130 billion over 10 years, and $1.3 trillion over 20 years.

Approximately 212 members of Congress – including Republicans and 34 Democrats – reportedly voted against the legislation, and immediately began efforts to introduce bills to repeal it.

Thompson said the legislation will have many important benefits for people in the district.

He said it will immediately forbid insurance companies from dropping a person's coverage if they get sick, and give small businesses that provide coverage to their employees a tax credit of up to 35 percent of premiums.

Adults who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition will be able to buy affordable coverage, young people will be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday and seniors on Medicare who are forced to pay out of pocket for their medications will get a rebate, Thompson said.

The bill will have a much broader impact once it’s fully implemented in 2014, according to Thompson.

In California’s First District alone, it will reportedly improve coverage for 395,000 residents who already have health insurance by prohibiting annual and lifetime limits on care, making sure insurance companies can’t drop people from coverage if they get sick, ban coverage denials for pre-existing conditions, and reduce the cost of preventive care.

He said that, to rein in soaring insurance costs, the reforms also limit the amount insurance companies can spend on administrative expenses, profits, and other overhead.

The bill will also:

  • Give tax credits up to 163,000 families and 15,700 small businesses to help them afford coverage in the First District.

  • Extend coverage to 63,500 uninsured residents in the district.

  • Guarantee that 13,100 residents with pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage.

  • Protect 800 district families from bankruptcy by capping total health care expenditures.

  • Allow 69,000 young adults to obtain coverage on their parents’ insurance plans.

  • Provide millions of dollars in new funding for 74 of our community health centers.

  • Reduce the cost of uncompensated care for hospitals and other health care providers by $67 million annually in the First District.

The bill will also make significant improvements to seniors’ health care, Thompson said.

Seniors will have access to free preventive and wellness care, improved primary and coordinated care, and enhanced nursing home care. He said the bill also closes the “donut hole,” which forces 10,300 seniors in the district each year to cover the full cost of their medications.

It also increases new training programs to ensure that we have a greater number of primary care doctors, nurses and public health professionals, and incentivizes doctors to provide primary care in underserved areas, to increase access for rural areas, according to Thompson.

The bill is supported by California Medical Association, California Hospital Association and AARP.

What's your take on the health care legislation? Weigh in below in our comments section.

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ESPN Bassmaster Golden State Shootout champion Byron Velvick of Del Rio, Texas, shows off his trophy on the concluding day of the competition on Sunday, March 21, 2010. Photo by Eric Cox.




CLEAR LAKE – Another successful bass tournament wrapped up on Clear Lake on Sunday, as the final weigh-in was completed in the ESPN Bassmaster Golden State Shootout.

Fishing in the tournament began last Thursday, as Lake County News has reported.

The tournament winner was Byron Velvick of Del Rio, Texas, who reeled in 98 pounds, 6 ounces of bass during the competition.

Velvick walked away from the tournament with $100,000 in cash, according to the final standings.

ESPN reported that 93 anglers caught 1,128 fish with a total weight of more than 4,033 pounds in the four days of fishing. Cash winnings totaled $603,000.

Taking second was Bill Lowen of North Bend, Ohio, with 92 pounds, 9 ounces of fish and $25,000 in cash winnings, followed by Guy Eaker of Cherryville, North Carolina, with 90 pounds, 11 ounces and $20,000 in earnings.

Rounding out the top five were Randy Howell of Springville, Ala., in fourth place with 86 pounds, 2 ounces of bass and $15,000, and former Lake County resident Skeet Reese, now living in Auburn, who caught 85 pounds, 3 ounces of fish and won $15,000 to place fifth.




Anglers were on Clear Lake before sunrise on Thursday, March 18, 2010, the first day of the ESPN Bassmaster Golden State Shootout in Lake County, Calif. Photo by Eric Cox.


The competition was dominated by competitors from the South. Besides Reese, only 10th place finisher Jared Lintner of Arroyo Grande and Ishama Monroe of Hughson, who placed 75th, hailed from California and the West Coast.

Full results can be found at .

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Bass anglers prepare to take off on Friday, March 19, 2010. Photo by Eric Cox.




Bass boats have their lights on during the early morning takeoff on Friday, March 19, 2010. Photo by Eric Cox.




The bass boats tie up along Library Park in Lakeport, Calif., on Saturday, March 20, 2010. Photo by Eric Cox.




Onlookers check out the scene over the weekend during the ESPN Bassmaster Golden State Shootout. Photo by Bill Stone.




Former Lake County resident Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., shows off his fish during the weigh-in for the Bassmaster Golden State Shootout on Sunday, March 21, 2010. Reese placed fifth in the competition. Photo by Eric Cox.

Biggs 155 Diner

155 Park St.

Lakeport, CA. 95453

Phone: 707-262-0155

Fax: 707-262-0150

Phone and Fax orders are welcome

Open every day, call for lunch/dinner times

Question: How do you kill a restaurant reviewer without leaving pesky evidence behind? Answer: Cause his brain to implode.

You can do this in several ways. First, have a restaurant name that doesn't seem to match either the food or the facility. Second, have a decor that is elegant yet doesn't sound like it when described. Third, don't warn your patrons about the portions.

A good restaurant reviewer will be able to make the reader feel like they are sharing the experience and then be tempted to go and have their own personal experience.

I don't know if I have the eloquence to portray my experience because of the aforementioned conditions. My brain is throbbing in the attempt to write this.

I encountered all of these circumstances, not just one, when I went to Biggs 155 Diner. Let's go back to the beginning, before this clandestine attempt on my life.

I took a seafood class at Chic Le Chef in Hidden Valley Lake recently, not because I wanted to learn about seafood but because I wanted to learn about the chef teaching the class, Chef Jeff Andre. He is the owner and leads the kitchen at Biggs 155 Diner.

He has over 20 years experience in the cooking profession, from cooking in the Coast Guard to landlubber restaurants. He's also a true chef, being classically trained at the Culinary Institute of America. He is very focused on regional seafood which shows in his dishes.

Since I met Chef Jeff Andre at the seafood class, I knew I would have to slink into his restaurant quickly so as not tip him off that I was there. I entered and made a beeline to a corner booth so I wouldn't be seen. I then got a chance to look around the place.

The decor: The interior looks like a barn, but in a nice way. Imagine if you had Martha Stewart decorate your barn. The wood paneled walls are a nice olive green and one wall is corrugated tin or steel. Barn lights line the walls above the unrefined bench seating, and there are also plenty of chairs.

My mind is twisting and turning trying to adequately describe an "upscale, comfortable, elegant barn." The large windows on the front of the dining room allow just about everyone a beautiful view of Library Park and the lake.

The seating indoors will accommodate about 25 people, there is more seating upstairs on the deck for another 20 or so, and half a dozen more outside on the main sidewalk.

Lunch time is crunch time at Biggs 155 Diner, and the place was packed full of government employees, attorneys and other neck-tied, business-suited people. A local radio station is playing in the background at an appropriate volume level, where I can hear it and enjoy it while the couple next to me are having a comfortable conversation.

Diner food. I say the words and even you have just formed an impression in your head about what that is going to consist of. At Biggs 155 Diner it's not what you just thought of at all.

While the menu is dotted with some recognizable "diner fare" like burgers, hot dogs, fries and buffalo wings, it also includes a large variety of sophisticated food.

There are items like "Salmon on an Asian Vacation," "Marinated Veggie Stack Sandwich" and "Grilled NY Strip Steak." So now I'm confused about why it is called a diner and why it's not called “fine dining.” My brain is going to burst because of this conundrum.

The food. I was quite hungry so I ordered the crispy calamari and shrimp salad and the RBBLT – roast beef, bacon, lettuce and tomato. I figured that would be enough food to sate me. When the salad arrived I let out an audible "Uff Da!" at the sight of it (“Uff Da” is a Norwegian exclamation that is best translated as a verbal exclamation point).

The salad was a meal in itself – mixed greens, green onions, purple onions, a couple types of cabbage, with an Asian inspired soy-based dressing all topped with a generous amount of squid and shrimp.

My waitress, Alana, responded to my exclamation with, "Yeah, but at least you ordered some of the best things on the menu."

If you are squeamish about squid I will warn you that there are clusters of arms and tentacles included in the salad, not just "rings," but I think they are the best tasting part of a squid. (Quick nonsequitir: Squid have eight arms and two tentacles while octopus have eight arms and no tentacles.)

The seafood was flawless! I don't usually order shrimp because so often cooks seem to have a penchant for overcooking shrimp, especially fried shrimp. You end up with shrimp-flavored rubber balls. If you want to experience perfectly cooked shrimp then try Biggs' shrimp. It was juicy and tender, yes, actually juicy and tender shrimp with a crispy coating.

The RBBLT is a good-sized sandwich. I knew there was no way I was going to be able to even touch it after the mountainous salad so as it arrived I said, "I'll need that to-go."

I would have preferred the dish to be taken back to the kitchen and boxed up but Alana just brought a box to the table and left it for me to package, but that's just a minor point. The sandwich has a pleasant horseradish sting to it and just the right combination of beef and bacon.

Passing through Lakeport again a few days later, I swing by Biggs 155 Diner and get a shrimp po'boy to go. The shrimp po'boy is also better than I expected. Again the shrimp is perfectly cooked, and the soft yet rustic bread is the perfect texture and flavor for the sandwich. The lettuce is a high quality red tipped leaf lettuce, not cheap iceberg, and the tomato is ripe and flavorful. The French fries that accompany the sandwich have a crispy exterior but a creamy interior.

On a third visit I ordered the "blue plate special" consisting of a creamy potato/bacon soup followed by corned beef and cabbage. Once again I couldn't find anything wrong with anything. Alana was again charming.

The soup is balanced with just the right combination of potato and bacon, neither overpowers the other and you can taste both of them. The corned beef was firm but tender enough to be cut with a table knife. The cabbage was in a light broth with red potatoes and carrots that were fully cooked but al dente, just the way they should be.

The staff. Almost every time I've been to Biggs 155 Diner it has been busy, so busy to the point where the waitresses don't have time to chat. They have always been rushed but still very professional. They are always friendly even through the most crowded dining room.

I always like to add as much information about my meals as I can, even the mistakes that I find, so I don't look like I'm completely shilling the restaurant. Unfortunately (or rather, fortunately) in all of my visits I could find no real faults besides the aneurysm-inducing dichotomy of describing everything.

Prices are higher than what you would expect from "diner food," but are a bargain given the quality and quantity of food you receive. Biggs 155 has several reviews, and all of them rate it above average.

So despite the oxymoron's I've had to develop for this restaurant of "elegant barn" and "flawless diner food," Chef Jeff Andre is redefining what the word "diner" means even if it is going to kill me.

Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community. Follow him on Twitter, .

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Upcoming Calendar

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

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