Sunday, 14 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY – After Saturday's unsettled weather, the National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a hazardous weather outlook for Sunday due to the continued chance of thunderstorms and dry lightning strikes.

The National Weather Service (NWS) first issued a red flag warning at 3:11 a.m. Saturday for increased fire danger in Lake County and much of Northern California along the Coastal Range of mountains through Saturday evening.

The low pressure system that moved over Northern California, drawing up tropical moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Linda beginning Saturday, created conditions for the formation of thunderstorms and dry lightning strikes, especially over Mendocino National Forest, according to the NWS.

Lightning strikes and light rain were recorded in Lake County before 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning, with the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Cruz Mountains receiving the brunt of early morning lightning strikes, according to the lightning tracker system in San Luis Obispo.

Isolated rain showers were reported throughout the county Saturday.

Because of the threat of fire starts from this weather system, the NWS first issued a red flag warning for Lake County and much of the Coastal Mountain Range, from Central Oregon down to Monterey on Saturday, and issued a hazardous weather outlook on Saturday evening which will be in effect through Monday morning due the chance of thunderstorms, bringing with it dry lightning strikes.

Sunday is expected to be mostly sunny and cooler, with highs only reaching the mid to low 70s, as a stronger weather system moves in, increasing the chance of showers to 30 percent overnight into Monday.

The greatest chances for precipitation are before 11 a.m. Monday, although the NWS predicted that a slight chance of rain will persist throughout the day.

Cooler, fall-like temperatures will remain throughout the week, with a gradual warming trend towards week's end, with highs on Tuesday in the 70s, and Wednesday through Friday warming into the 80s, the NWS said.

Overnight lows are expected to remain in the 60s throughout the week, forecasters said.

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 .

HOPLAND – The Mendocino County Sheriffs' Office is investigating a homicide in connection with a marijuana growing operation.

A report from sheriff's Lt. Tim Marsh said deputies responded to a remote area east of Hopland near the Lake/Mendocino county line at 2 a.m. Friday on the report of an alleged assault and battery.

When deputies arrived they located the assault victim lying on the ground in a marijuana garden, according to Marsh's report.

The victim was later pronounced dead by the fire department at the scene, he said.

Marsh said the preliminary investigation indicates that the victim was engaged in a argument with other persons over marijuana cultivation and water usage prior to his death.

The victim's name wasn't released Friday pending the notification of next of kin.

Marsh said the investigation is in the initial stages and continuing.

LAKE MENDOCINO – Lake Mendocino's fifth drowning of the year took place this week.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday divers recovered the body of a young man who had been reported missing two and a half hours earlier by the lake's south boat ramp, according to a Thursday report from Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday deputies responded to a call regarding a possible missing person, Smallcomb said.

Arriving at the scene, they learned that several persons were recreational swimming in the area just south of Lake Mendocino south boat ramp when one of their friends was seen struggling in the water, and then disappeared from sight. Smallcomb said the friends made several immediate attempts to locate the missing swimmer with negative results.

The Sheriff's Office Volunteer Search and Rescue Dive Team was called to the scene, Smallcomb said. Several members of the dive team's black water unit arrived within and hour and began to search.

At approximately 6 p.m. divers located the missing male in about 15 feet of water in the area where he was last seen swimming with friends, according to Smallcomb's report.

Foul play isn't believed to be involved, and drugs and alcohol do not seem to have contributed to the drowning, Smallcomb said.

Next of kin contact was pending on Thursday, said Smallcomb. Also on Thursday, an autopsy was scheduled.



A few weeks ago, I compared Cabernet Sauvignon to the celebrity George Clooney, because both are very popular and highly versatile. When people describe Sauvignon Blanc in broad terms they usually use words like “crisp,” “clean,” “bright” and “elegant.” With those descriptors in mind then the only celebrity that comes to my mind is Nicole Kidman.

The Sauvignon Blanc grape is indigenous to southern France, where its name translates to be “Wild White,” but New Zealand has adopted it as its own and its Marlborough region is considered one of the prime Sauvignon Blanc producing regions of the world. Sauvignon Blanc wines grown in Australia, Chile, South Africa and, of course, the U.S. are also very popular.

Nicole Kidman was actually born in Hawaii as an American citizen, but also holds dual citizenship with Australia. If she was a New Zealander by heritage rather than an Aussie this article would have been so much easier to write, but, well, you have to work with what you got.

Although Nicole Kidman has been performing her whole life and starred in several productions as a teenager, she really hit the big time in 1990 with “Days of Thunder.” Sauvignon Blanc skyrocketed into popularity in the U.S. at the same time, as wine drinkers of the 1980s became tired of heavy, oaky Chardonnays and wanted something lighter and brighter.

Flavors of Sauvignon Blanc typically include notes of apricot, asparagus, bell pepper, citrus, figs, floral, geranium, gooseberry, grass, green olives, guava, herbs, honey, honeysuckle, jalapeño or green chiles, gooseberry, green peas, lemongrass, lime, mango, melon, minerals, passion fruit, pear, pineapple, tropical fruit, or weedy. Gooseberry is a predominant flavor in many New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs and a good way of differentiating them from American or French wines.

While most Americans aren’t very familiar with the flavor, gooseberries do grow wild across the U.S. Cat urine is a flavor that usually occurs if the grapes are underdeveloped or don’t get enough sunlight, and Nicole Kidman does have a cat. OK, I reached a little far for that comparison, I’ll admit.

The aging process can add additional flavors of baked apple, bay leaf, butter, cream, flint, gasoline, licorice, nutmeg, oak, peach, rosemary, sesame seed, smoke, toast, vanilla, white pepper and wood.

Finishes can be described as creamy, crisp, rich, sharp or silky, and colors can range from almost clear, to straw yellow, to light peach or light green.

Nicole Kidman is very heath conscious and eats lots of fruit, stays out of the sun and does yoga. Many Lake County Sauvignon Blancs have heavy notes of grapefruit, honeydew melons and lemongrass flavors; I’m guessing those are the smells you would get the moment you walk into Nicole Kidman’s kitchen.

Nicole Kidman once said, “I love working with people who are inspired and obsessive,” and it shows in the variety of films she has done. She has been in everything from horror, comedy, drama and even musicals, which shows her versatility as a performer.

The Sauvignon Blanc grape is the same way. It can produce a wine that can vary greatly depending on whether the juice has a lot of contact with the grape skins, if it is aged in stainless steel or oak, etc. An inspired and obsessive winemaker can create amazing differences in the final wine. There are Sauvignon Blancs out there that can be described as belonging to horror, comedy, dramas and musical genres. Like Nicole Kidman, the Sauvignon Blanc grape is very versatile.

Another aspect of Sauvignon Blanc’s versatility even earned it a distinct name. Fume Blanc is made from the same grape as the Sauvignon Blanc and is an American term invented by Charles Mondavi in 1968.

People didn’t like the sweet and strong characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc so he made a drier version and called it Fume Blanc (fume meaning smoke) in honor of the smoky look that the vineyard gets in the morning fog, and to associate it more with the drier Pouilly Fume’ wines of France.

Although Fume Blanc is not a legal definition it could be safe to say that a Fume Blanc is a dry Sauvignon Blanc. Nicole Kidman, just after marrying musician Keith Urban, was looking for a home in Tennessee and was heard to say that she liked it because she “could just be Mrs. Urban there.” A different aspect of her life gave her a new name too.

Sauvignon Blanc is best served young since it gets no benefit from aging for any period of time. No Nicole Kidman comments here, just move along.

So as you can see, the clean fresh taste yet flexibility of Sauvignon Blanc is very similar to the vibe you get from Nicole Kidman, except Sauvignon Blanc doesn’t have to explain the Tom Cruise attraction.

Lake County Sauvignon Blanc producers

Brassfield Estate Winery

Ceago Del Lago

Demeter Vineyards and Winery (limited amounts available at the Lake County Wine Studio)

Dharma Wines (Monte Lago Vineyards)

Langtry Estate and Vineyards

High Valley Vineyards

Moore Family Winery

Noggle Vineyards and Winery

Robledo Family Winery

Shannon Ridge Vineyards and Winery

Shed Horn Cellars

Six Sigma Ranch and Vineyards

Steele Wines (Shooting Star)

Villa La Brenta

Wildhurst Vineyards

Zoom Wines

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, .

WILLOWS – The annual commemorations of a Northern California tribe's forced removal from its land will begin on Saturday and stretch through next week.

The removal of Indians from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation in 1863 is one of the many forced relocations following the establishment of reservations in northern California in the 1850s.

On Saturday, the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico will sponsor a potluck gathering at 4:30 p.m. at Wildwood Park in Bidwell Park to commemorate the 146th anniversary of the Nome Cult Trail, which was the forced relocation of Indians from Chico across what is now the Mendocino National Forest to Round Valley in 1863.

The next week, Saturday, Sept. 19, in the afternoon, the Round Valley Indian Tribes will sponsor a gathering at the Round Valley Reservation in Covelo to mark the completion of the 14th annual retracing of the original 100-mile trek.

The theme for the walk and gatherings is “Honor Their Memory … A Path Not Forgotten.”

From Sept. 13 through 19, walkers will retrace the original trail, camping out each night along the way.

Descendants of Indians who took part in the original relocation and other supporters will walk from Chico to Covelo starting Sunday, Sept. 13, descending down into Round Valley on Sept. 19.

The walkers will begin at Bidwell River Road at 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 13. They will walk west on State Highway 32 and camp at the Buckhorn Campground at Black Butte Lake the first night.

For the remainder of the week they will walk across the Mendocino National Forest, following the Nome Cult Trail.

Their planned schedule is:

  • Monday, Sept. 14, Orland to Newville Cemetery, camp at Grindstone, Buckhorn Campground or Paskenta;

  • Tuesday, Sept. 15, Newville Cemetery to camp at Black Bear Campground;

  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, Black Bear Campground to camp at Log Springs;

  • Thursday, Sept. 17, Log Springs to camp at Wells Cabin;

  • Friday, September 18, Wells Cabin to camp at Eel River Ranger Station Saturday, September 19, walk into Round Valley.

Several different tribes were moved to the Nome Cult Reservation after it was established in Round Valley in 1856.

In September 1863, 461 Indians were marched under guard from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation nearly 100 miles across the Sacramento Valley and rugged North Coast Ranges.

Only 277 Indians completed the journey. Some were killed, a few escaped and others were left behind, too sick to go on.

Although the path itself has disappeared, this route is now called the Nome Cult Trail. The most grueling part of the trail passed through what is now the Mendocino National Forest.

The Forest Service has placed interpretive signs along the route to mark places where the Indians and their military escorts camped.

A free brochure and trail map produced by the Forest Service is available from Mendocino National Forest offices for those interested in the route.

The Mendocino National Forest asks that people traveling on Forest roads along the trail route be aware of the event and careful of the walkers to ensure their safety.

For further information on the Sept. 12 Chico event, please contact Sandra Knight, Chico Mechoopda Tribe, at 530-899-8922, Extension 213.

For further information on the walk and the Sept. 19 Covelo event, please contact Albert Azbill, Round Valley Indian Tribes at 707-983-6126, Extension 11.

A REACH helicopter takes off from Upper Lake County Park at around 5:30 p.m. following a crash a short time earlier on Wednesday, September 9, 2009. Photo by Mike Smith.


NORTHSHORE – The Northshore's stretch of Highway 20 saw two serious crashes on Wednesday afternoon.

The crashes occurred near Nice and Upper Lake, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The first crash occurred around 1:45 p.m. near Ceago Vinegarden, outside of Nice and west of Lucerne.

Two vehicles were involved – an older model silver Ford Ranger and a green Ford Taurus. Reports from the scene explained that the pickup had put on its brakes quickly and the Taurus hit the back of it.

The highway's westbound lane was closed for about 45 minutes as Northshore Fire personnel and CHP responded to the scene.

Major injuries resulted, with a helicopter landing nearby to transport the injured. But CHP and Northshore officials were unavailable to give further detail late Wednesday, in part because they were shortly on their way to another crash scene.

The second crash occurred shortly before 4:45 p.m. near Upper Lake. Reports indicated a vehicle pulled out in front of a Dodge pickup towing a travel trailer.

A helicopter was once again summoned to transported injured from the crash.

Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins had to have players leave the soccer field at the nearby county park so the helicopter could land.

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 .

LAKEPORT – A Friday night collision outside of Lakeport resulted in a fatality.

The crash occurred at around 9:44 p.m. on Highway 29 just south of the Hopland Grade portion of Highway 175, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The CHP's Ukiah Dispatch Center confirmed early Saturday that the crash resulted in a death.

A vehicle was reported to have run through the intersection's stoplight and collided with another car, according to the CHP. One of the vehicles was reported to have caught fire after the crash.

Lakeport Fire shut down the roadway at 9:45 p.m., with CHP reported that the road wasn't fully reopened until midnight. In the meantime, traffic had to be rerouted around the crash site.

The crash victims were reported to have been taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by helicopter. It wasn't clear where a child who was in one of the vehicles was taken for treatment.

One of the crash victims was reported to have suffered major head injuries, a punctured lung and a broken femur.

Officials reported that the collision resulted in slippery conditions on the roadway, which had to be washed down.

The identities of the victims was not available Friday night.

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 .

CACHE CREEK WILDERNESS AREA – A fire that has burned this week in wilderness areas in Lake and Colusa counties is expected to be fully contained on Friday.

The Oasis Fire, which broke out on Monday, has burned 1,400 acres on Bureau of Land Management land in the Cache Creek Wilderness Area and in the Northshore Fire Protection District. It's located south of Highway 20 and six miles west of Highway 16.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Cal Fire report suppression costs to date have totaled $2.4 million.

Late Thursday the fire was reported to be 80-percent contained. Cal Fire officials said containment efforts, along with and mop up and patrol of the fire, are continuing.

Air tankers and helicopters, as well as bulldozers, have played a major role in the fire suppression effort this week, as road access to the fire area was limited, according to reports from the scene.

On Thursday evening, reports indicated that the remaining aircraft that were being used to fight the fire would be released on Friday morning.

Resources from Cal Fire, Northshore Fire, Williams Fire Department, BLM and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation totaled 1,114 firefighters – of which 1,059 were with Cal Fire – and 40 engines, 43 fire crews, eight helicopters, 15 bulldozers and 14 water tenders.

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 .


CACHE CREEK WILDERNESS – By day's end on Wednesday a fire on Bureau of Management Land in the Cache Creek Wilderness Area had burned an estimated 1,400 acres.

The Oasis Fire moved into its second full day on Wednesday, with approximately 1,114 firefighters – 1,059 of them with Cal Fire – on the ground trying to knock the fire out.

The fire, which broke out Monday evening, is located south of Highway 20 and six miles west of Highway 16.

It's located both in Lake and Colusa counties, burning on federal land and in the Northshore Fire Protection District, according to Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown.

The Oasis Fire reached 55-percent containment Wednesday, with 75-percent containment reported Thursday morning. Cal Fire said it's expected to be fully contained on Friday.

The cause is still under investigation, officials reported.

Three injuries have been reported so far, according to Cal Fire.

Since it began the fire, which is burning in oak and brush on steep terrain, has jumped fire lines and even Cache Creek itself. On Wednesday afternoon, it jumped a retardant line.

Firefighters had to deal with hot, dry conditions on Wednesday, according to Nancy Carniglia of Cal Fire.

Road access to the area where the fire is burning is limited, so bulldozers, air tankers and helicopters have played an important in the fight.

Cal Fire reported that 15 bulldozers are being used to get access for ground crews, while several air tankers and eight helicopters continued water and retardant drops.

On Wednesday air tankers were being brought in from around Northern California, including McClellan Air Force Base near Sacramento, according to reports from the fire scene.

Resources on scene Tuesday included 40 engines, 43 fire crews and 14 water tenders.

Brown, who is working with Cal Fire as an agency representative and medical unit leader, said Northshore Fire resources include one engine from Lucerne and a water tender from Clearlake Oaks, as well as a medic rig that is staffing the fire's base and another medic rig that is transporting injuries out of the Oaks station.

In addition to Northshore Fire and Cal Fire, cooperating agencies include Williams Fire Department, BLM, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Highway Patrol.

Costs to fight the fire have been estimated at $1.7 million so far, 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 .

CACHE CREEK WILDERNESS AREA – A wildland fire in the Cache Creek Wilderness Area continued to burn on Friday, reaching approximately 1,575 acres in size with suppression costs totaling an estimated $3 million.

Cal Fire had estimated the Oasis Fire would be contained on Friday, but the fire – located in wilderness areas in Lake and Colusa counties south of Highway 20 and six miles west of Highway 16 – wasn't yet fully contained by day's end.

The fire broke out on Monday evening, and is burning on Bureau of Land Management Land as well as the jurisdiction of the Northshore Fire Protection District, whose staff has been on scene all week, as Lake County News has reported.

The new containment date given by Cal Fire is Sunday, Sept. 13.

Four firefighters have been injured in the week-long firefighter effort, Cal Fire reported.

The cause still remains under investigation.

On Friday, a total of 940 firefighters – 920 from Cal Fire – were on scene, along with 32 engines, 39 fire crews, six helicopters, five bulldozers and three water tenders, Cal Fire reported.

Cal Fire, Northshore Fire, Williams Fire Department, BLM, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Highway Patrol have been involved in the effort.

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 .

LAKE COUNTY – Due to a strong high pressure system over Northern California, the National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a hazardous weather outlook warning for Lake County and much of Northern California for Friday.

Clouds overnight Wednesday helped to mitigate overnight lows. Daytime temperatures rose higher on Thursday, and will continue throughout the day Friday, the National Weather Service in Sacramento (NWS) predicted.

The NWS has issued both a hazardous weather outlook and a special weather statement for Lake County Friday, with high temperatures close to the century mark.

A strong ridge of high pressure, which is resulting in higher-than-average temperatures, will reach a crescendo today with highs in the upper-90s to near 100 degrees, according to the NWS.

Temperatures in the Central Valley and Sierra Foothills may break records for this date later Friday, the NWS predicted.

Relief from the daytime temperatures should come as the high pressure system moves out on Saturday and temperatures return closer to average, the NWS stated, with highs in the mid-80s.

By Sunday, decreasing daytime temperatures will continue, with The Weather Channel forecasting a chance of rain.

Overnight temperatures will only drop down to the 60s Friday and tomorrow, with lows reaching near 50 by Sunday morning according to the NWS.

High daytime temperatures on Sunday will be much lower, only reaching in to the mid-70s according to the NWS.

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 .

CACHE CREEK WILDERNESS AREA – Officials say a wildland fire in the Cache Creek Wilderness Area burned more acreage on Wednesday morning.

The Oasis Fire, which started Monday evening south of Highway 20 and six miles west of Highway 16, was reported to have burned 1,350 acres by midday Wednesday, according to Cal Fire. The cause is under investigation.

The fire currently is at 40-percent containment, with Cal Fire officials estimating full containment on Friday.

On Wednesday morning, six air tankers and five helicopters were making drops on the fire, said Nancy Carniglia with Cal Fire.

That air contingent was small compared to the nearly 1,100 firefighters on the ground, Carniglia said.

Moderate wind conditions weren't causing issues for firefighters on Wednesday, but Carniglia said weather conditions were expected to be hot and dry – with temperatures in the high 90s and low humidity.

Because there are no established roads in the fire area, bulldozers have played a big part in fighting the fire. In addition to building new fire lines, Cal Fire reported the dozers are reopening old dozer lines and improving them to allow vehicles access.

On scene Wednesday were 50 engines, 41 fire crews, five helicopters, 15 dozers and 13 water tenders, according to Cal Fire.

The costs for suppression to date are approximately $461,965, Cal Fire 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 .

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