Saturday, 13 July 2024


Silent auction items and bid sheets line the tasting room bar during the Lake County Wine Auction on Saturday, September 18, 2010, at Ceago Vinegarden in Nice, Calif. Proceeds from the silent auction totaled $6,179, an average of more than $100 for each of the 57 items. Photo by Esther Oertel.





NICE, Calif. – The shimmer of the late afternoon sun on Clear Lake was a fitting backdrop for the arrival of hundreds of guests to the 11th annual Lake County Wine Auction on Saturday.

Ceago Vinegarden, surrounded by gardens and perched on the shores of the lake in Nice, was the venue for this year’s event.

All available tickets – 350 of them – were sold out a month in advance, a first for the Wine Auction, and the rambling Mediterranean-inspired courtyards and various tasting rooms of the winery provided ample space for the sellout crowd.

The Lake County Wine Alliance has sponsored the auction since its inception in 2000 for the purpose of raising money for nonprofit organizations throughout Lake County.




This year

SACRAMENTO – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is marking National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 19 through 25, by educating the public about properly securing their most precious loved ones.

“One of the most important jobs you have as a caretaker is keeping a child safe when riding in a vehicle,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Whether it’s a car seat, booster seat or seat belt, make sure you properly secure your children and yourself every time you get behind the wheel.”

According to 2008 statistics – the most recent year of finalized data – of the 28 children younger than age six who were killed in vehicle collisions in California, 21 were not properly restrained.

California law requires that children be properly secured in the back seat in a child restraint system until they are at least 6 years old or 60 pounds.

Additionally, children under age 16 must be properly secured in either a child restraint system or seat belt.

CHP officers issue thousands of citations annually for child safety seat violations throughout California.

According to the Office of Traffic Safety, on the first offense, a child passenger violation will cost $445 with penalty assessments.

A second or subsequent offense carries a cost of $1,025. If the parent is not in the vehicle, the driver gets the ticket.

“A child safety seat provides the best possible protection for children in the event of a crash,” said Farrow. “But it’s important to make sure that the seat children are riding in is properly installed and the one best suited for them based on age and size.”

During National Child Passenger Safety Week, many CHP area offices will offer free car seat inspections and have scheduled events on Saturday, Sept. 25.

Trained car seat technicians will demonstrate how to properly fit children in the seats and install the seats into cars.

Parents and caregivers can call their local area CHP office to find free clinics near them.

You can visit the CHP Web site at and click on “Divisions and Offices,” to find contact information.

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CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The new Veterans Affairs clinic under construction in Clearlake is on schedule to open in October, the county's veterans service officer and health department head said Thursday.

Jim Brown said a grand opening for the new clinic is scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 13. Local dignitaries and Congressman Mike Thompson will be on hand for the event.

The 10,000-square-foot clinic is located at 15145 Lakeshore Drive, with Vila Construction Co. of Richmond doing the construction work, as Lake County News has reported.

The groundbreaking for the project – which had at least 10 years of lobbying behind it – took place last April.

The VA has been handling oversight of the construction and keeping the county informed, with Brown saying he's getting updates on the progress.

At the same time, Veterans Service Office staff have been busy enrolling veterans who want to receive the health care services offered there, he said.

Brown said it's estimated that there eventually will be about 3,500 vets enrolled for the clinic's services. Altogether, the county has a veterans population of about 8,000.

Some of those veterans who currently want to transfer health services from Ukiah and Santa Rosa may be held off until newer enrollees are brought in, he said.

The Veterans Service Office also will have space at the clinic, according to Brown.

“We do expect to have some presence in the clinic, probably about two days of the week,” he said.

The Veterans Service Office staff will be “doing everything,” said Brown, from talking about health care issues and enrollments to giving information about home loans.

While veterans will be able to get a wide array of general health care services at the clinic, Brown said major procedures will still require travel to Santa Rosa or San Francisco.

Currently, veterans can catch a bus from Clearlake City Hall down to the Bay Area every weekday morning at 5 a.m. for major treatments, but the clinic may now serve as a staging place for those trips, he said.

“That's something that we've just started talking about,” Brown added.

Brown said those trips and the associated logistics will be overseen by the VA.

For veterans wanting to enroll for health services, it's not too late. Call the Lake County Veterans Service Office at 707-263-2384.

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, Calif. – State and national unemployment rates increased slightly in August, while Lake County's rate dropped, according to the state's latest labor statistics report.

The Employment Development Department reported that Lake County's unemployment rate dropped from an unadjusted rate of 17.3 percent in July to 16.8 percent in August. The county registered 14.8 percent unemployment in August 2009.

Lake ranked 53 out of the state's 58 counties for its August unemployment rate, the report showed.

Statewide, unemployment edged up to 12.4 percent in August from 12.3 percent in July, with nonfarm payroll jobs decreasing by 33,500 during the month, based on data derived from two separate surveys that the Employment Development Department released. The August 2009 unemployment rate was 12 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate also increased in August to 9.6 percent, up from 9.5 percent in July, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That national rate for August actually is slightly lower than in August 2009, when nationwide unemployment reached 9.7 percent.

A federal survey of 5,500 households, done with a smaller sample than the survey of employers, showed an increase in the number of employed people during the month. It estimated the number of Californians holding jobs in August was 15,968,000, a decrease of 49,000 from July, and down 71,000 from the employment total in August of last year.

The number of people unemployed in California was 2,261,000, up by 11,000 over the month, and up by 81,000 compared with August of last year, the state reported.

“The latest job numbers show that Californians are continuing to suffer from slow job growth, and things will only improve when there is strong hiring in the private sector,” said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “That is the No. 1 reason I went on my trade mission – to drum up support for California’s products and services and create jobs.”

Schwarzenegger said it must be made easier for businesses to invest and hire to help turn the economy around.

The Employment Development Department reported that there were 620,844 people receiving regular

unemployment insurance benefits during the August survey week, compared with 666,502 in July and 790,099 in August 2009. At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 65,261 in August, compared with 73,817 in July and 69,488 in August of last year.

This past August, Imperial County registered the highest unemployment rate, at 30.4 percent, with Marin having the lowest rate, with 8.4 percent, according to the report.

Lake County's labor force was composed of 26,360 people in August, of which 4,430 were unemployed. That's compared to 26,120 workers and 4,520 unemployed the previous month, based on state labor statistics.

Lake's neighboring counties posted the following rates and state rankings: Glenn, 17 percent, No. 55; Yolo, 11.6 percent, No. 22; Mendocino, 10.8 percent, No. 14; Sonoma, 10.5 percent, No. 11; and Napa, 9.4 percent, No. 4.

Within Lake County, Upper Lake had the lowest unemployment in August, with 8.7 percent, while Clearlake Oaks registered a 24.9 percent rate.

The following unemployment rates were reported for other areas of the county, from highest to lowest: Nice, 24.4 percent; city of Clearlake, 24 percent; Lucerne, 17.7 percent; Kelseyville, 17.1 percent; Middletown, 17 percent; city of Lakeport, 16.2 percent; Cobb, 15 percent; Lower Lake, 14.1 percent; Hidden Valley Lake, 13.9 percent; and north Lakeport, 13.3 percent.

State data shows lost jobs over the month

The Employment Development Department's report on payroll employment – wage and salary jobs – in the nonfarm industries of California showed that jobs totaled 13,827,900 in August, a net loss of 33,500 jobs since the July survey. This followed revised data that showed a loss of 22,900 jobs in July.

The report showed that two categories – mining and logging; and professional and business services – added jobs from July to August, gaining 500 jobs. Professional and business services posted the largest increase over the month, adding 300 jobs.

At the same time, the state reported that nine categories – construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government – reported job declines this month, down 34,000 jobs.

Of that group, government posted the largest jobs decline over the month, down by 9,200 jobs, which the state said included the loss of 7,700 temporary federal Census jobs.

In a year-over-year comparison – August 2009 to August 2010 – nonfarm payroll employment in California decreased by 113,100 jobs (down 0.8 percent), the Employment Development Department said.

Three industry divisions – mining and logging; professional and business services; and educational and health services – posted job gains over the year, adding 61,500 jobs. At the same time, the state said professional and business services recorded the largest increase over the year on a numerical basis, up 38,700 jobs, a 1.9 percent increase.

Mining and logging recorded the largest increase over the year on a percentage basis, up 2.4 percent, or an increase of 600 jobs, the state reported.

State data showed six categories – construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government – posted job declines over the year, down 174,600 jobs.

Based on the report, government employment showed the largest decline over the year on a numerical basis, down by 47,700 jobs, a decline of 1.9 percent, while construction showed the largest decline over the year on a percentage basis, down by 7.6 percent or 44,700 jobs.

One sector, information, reported no change over the month, the state report showed.

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, Calif. – The Lake County Social Services Department is beginning an online customer service survey to gauge how it's serving the community.

The agency, headquartered in Lower Lake, is the county department with the largest budget – $45 million – most of which comes from the state, as Lake County News has reported.

It oversees numerous offerings, from In-Home Supportive Services to Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, CalWORKS, Medi-Cal, food stamps and a variety of other relief-based programs.

Director Carol Huchingson reported Thursday that they were launching the online customer satisfaction survey.

“Based on our commitment to excellent customer service, we are encouraging persons served by our department to complete a survey anytime, online at,” she said.

From that Web page, users can click on the link for English or Spanish versions of the survey.

“The feedback you give us will help us enhance our service delivery,” Huchingson said.

For those without access to computers, hard copy customer satisfaction survey forms also are available in the agency's Lower Lake lobbies, she said.

The survey asks about ease of application for services, if the person received information about other services and if that information was explained, were they able to ask questions or voice issues, were questions answered and issues resolved, who they dealt with and overall satisfaction.

Social Services can be reached via telephone at 707-995-4200.

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

LAKEPORT, Calif. – The annual Konocti Challenge bicycle ride will be held Saturday, Oct. 2, featuring courses of various lengths and challenge levels around the scenic shores of Clear Lake.


Set in beautiful Lake County, the Konocti Challenge features three challenging event courses as well as a leisurely 19-mile Family Fun Ride for kids of all ages.

Riders can opt for the 30-mile course that winds through the resort and vineyard sections of north Lakeport; for the more adventuresome riders, the event also offers a 65-mile course (100km) and an endurance-testing 100-mile course, both of which follow the north and east rim of Clear Lake and wind into the foothills of the south and west, offering breathtaking views of the lake and vineyards, which are in full bloom in October.


All three rides begin and end at the Lakeport Yacht Club, at the water’s edge, in Lakeport.

The 65-mile and 100-mile rides get underway between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., and the 30-mile riders leave between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Registration fees range from $10 to $60 depending on the course selected. Registration includes a tasty well-earned barbecue at the end of the course.

The event proceeds benefit local and international Rotary programs.

More information about the event and online registration may be found at or by contacting Jennifer Strong, 707-262-1880.

Challenge registrations also are accepted the Friday before the event at the Lakeport Yacht Club in Library Park, Lakeport from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.


For visitor information, contact the Lake County Visitor Information Center at 800-525-3743 or

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – At a time when public services are being increasingly relied upon, Lake County's transit authority is facing challenges due to dwindling financial resources coupled with the need to update its fleet.

Lake Transit Authority is a joint powers authority formed in 1996 between the county and the two cities to provide transit services – from buses that traverse the county to dial-a-ride services.

Mark Wall is general manager of Lake Transit. Since 2007, the agency has contracted for transportation services with Bremerton, Wash.-based Paratransit Services, a community-based nonprofit organization which also provides services in Washington and Oregon. In California, besides Lake County, Paratransit Services has operations in Tehama and Glenn counties.

Paratransit Services and Teamsters Local 624, which has represented local transit workers since 2007, reached an agreement on a new three-year employment contract which was ratified by the employees last Sunday, as Lake County News has reported.

That alleviated concerns about a strike, which had arisen over the summer after negotiations appeared to have deadlocked.

With services continuing uninterrupted, that's one less concern for the transit authority, which is facing budget challenges and aging equipment, said Wall.

Such challenges for transit agencies are a statewide concern. The California Transit Association has regularly reported on raids the state has carried out against transit funding over the last several years.

Late in 2009, the association fought the Schwarzenegger administration all the way to the California Supreme Court, which refused to review the Third District Court of Appeals ruling that the funding diversions violated statutory and constitutional amendments.

State transit assistance – which previously was $500,000 annually – was cut and then restored last year. However, the funding source isn't guaranteed, Wall said.

While the state gave the transit agency $350,000 retroactively to cover this year and last, Wall said it's expected that the funding source will go away completely in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

In addition, the local transportation fund – derived from a quarter cent of state sales tax in Lake County – is down by around $100,000 this year, he said.

Both funding sources are used for operating the transit system. To try and keep funding even, Wall said the transit authority has pursued federal grants and increased fares last year. To increase federal funding, they've redesignated routes to have more of an inner city schedule, but that means less flexibility.

The transit authority has been able to avoid cutting services, which many other areas of the state have seen happen, such as Pinole, which has cuts of 50 percent over two years, he explained.

“We're very, very fortunate,” Wall said.

With half of the fleet – or about six to seven buses – beyond the normal life expectancy, the district had to use that $350,000 from the state, along with stimulus and Proposition 1B funds to buy new vehicles, Wall said.

Ridership also has gone down after seeing big increases in recent years.

Wall said the first three quarters of 2010 saw 228,467 passengers, down from 239,504 the previous year, a loss of about 11,000 passengers, or 5 percent.

He attributed the decline to people not having the money to ride as much as they did previously.

That decline in ridership equates to about $34,000 less fair revenue than anticipated, or a 10-percent decrease, he said.

The Area Planning Council estimated the Local Transportation Fund would have approximately $1,150,175 for the 2009-10 budget year, said Wall. That was just adjusted downward to $965,846.

“We have no reserve left,” he said.

The 2009-10 grand jury report found Lake Transit was facing a $384,457 deficit going into the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Wall said that deficit has been alleviated, at least for now.

With state transit assistance funding restored, “We're whole this year but we don't know what it looks like next year.”

He added, “The rest of us are realizing that we have to make things work.”

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

Local officials gathered for a check-passing ceremony at Lakeport Fire Protection District in Lakeport, Calif., on Wednesday, September 16, 2010. From left to right, Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke, Arlin Pischke and Wally Cox, all members of Lakeport Kiwanis; Lakeport Fire Chief Ken Wells, receiving the check from Cox; Siri Nelson, chief administrative officer of Sutter Lakeside Hospital; Lakeport Police Lt. Brad Rasmussen, also a Lakeport Kiwanis member; and Steve Grant from Zoll, the company that manufactures the AutoPulse cardiac pump. Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Thanks to the generosity of community members and groups, Lakeport Fire Protection District officials will be able to pay off a life-saving piece of equipment.

On Wednesday Chief Ken Wells received a check from the Lakeport Kiwanis Club to go toward the purchase of an “AutoPulse” cardiac support pump, which already has helped save local lives.

The device, according to Wells, offers a more powerful and effective manner of doing chest compressions as part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with more blood pushed through the body.

The check presented to fire officials Wednesday came from proceeds of an Aug. 28 fundraiser breakfast, which raised about $3,100, along with numerous donations from groups and individuals.

“The community just stepped up and helped out with this,” Wells said. “We're still getting donations.”

Among the major donors were Lakeport Kiwanis, Early Lake Lions and Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Sharon and Jim Hubman, Denise Hinchcliff, City Center Realty and John Whitehead, said Wells.

The family of Glenn Wilds, a former Lakeport firefighter and commissioner who died Sept. 3, also asked that donations be made to the fire department for the machine, Wells said, adding they received a $200 donation in Wilds' memory.

At the Aug. 28 breakfast, the Lakeport Volunteer Firefighters Association and the Lake County Channel Cats both pitched in to help, said Wells.

The Channel Cats were instrumental in selling tickets ahead of time and did a great job as servers at the event, he said, adding they also were pretty cute.

The end result was the department was able to purchase the AutoPulse outright, he said, along with some replacement LifeBands, which are placed around the chest and used for chest compressions. A new machine costs $15,000, but the agency was able to buy a reconditioned one for less.

The volunteer firefighters association has started an AutoPulse account, said Wells. “We're going to keep that account going so eventually we would purchase another one.”

He added, “I would like to see one on every ambulance.”

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 .

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, has awarded over $3.1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) “stimulus” contracts to five small and one large business for projects that support the district’s mission.

The projects include construction and upgrading of major recreation and community-use areas, endangered-species preservation, water recycling and vital fish-hatchery operations.

The money was awarded to six California companies, five of which are small businesses, according to Lt. Col. Torrey DiCiro, San Francisco District commander.

The district made the following ARRA awards:

  • Coyote Valley Dam Comfort Stations Repair/Replacement, Lake Mendocino at Ukiah: $113,298 to Belmont-based MIE Inc., a small business.

  • Elevator Hoistway Control-Structure Seepage Repair, Warm Springs Dam, Lake Sonoma at Geyserville: $18,644 to Livermore, Calif.-based CSRW, Inc., a small business.

  • Warm Springs Dam Control Structure Repair, Warm Springs Dam, Lake Sonoma at Geyserville: $4,080 to Livermore-based CSRW Inc., a small business.

  • GIS Data Development of Salinas and Arroyo Rivers, Monterey County: $149,493 to Concord, Calif.-based Towill Inc.

  • San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Project, Contra Costa County: $2,406,145 to Yuba City, Calif.-based North Star Construction and Engineering Inc., a small business.

  • San Francisco Bay Multipurpose Building Electrical Generation Project, Sausalito: $408,688 to Riverside-based Hal Hays Construction Inc., a small business.

With the addition of these six ARRA contracts awards, the San Francisco District has awarded over $56 million in 93 “stimulus” contract awards since May 2009. Small businesses comprise 72 of the 93 awards.

Established in 1866, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, employees approximately 350 people, who are responsible for 40,000 square miles extending 600 miles from the Oregon border to San Luis Obispo County. The district’s programs and projects support approximately 1,000 permanent, higher-wage jobs that contribute to more than $100 million to the regional economy.

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WASHINGTON, DC – Hundreds of American Indian and Alaskan Native communities will receive almost $127 million to enhance law enforcement, bolster justice systems, prevent youth substance abuse, serve sexual assault and elder victims, and support other efforts to combat crime, the US Department of Justice reported Wednesday.

The grants are the first under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), a new effort combining 10 different Department of Justice grant programs into a single solicitation.

Tribes in the North Coast region receiving grants include the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians in Mendocino County, which received a COPS- Tribal Resource Grant Program for $332,949 and $675,000 from a tribal governments program.

Also in Mendocino County, the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Covelo were granted $319,285 to develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems.

In Sonoma County, the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians were granted funds for tribal justice systems in the amount of $329,107.

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli announced the CTAS awards at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Perrelli noted that Attorney General Eric Holder and other Department of Justice leadership held tribal listening sessions last year.

The department developed CTAS in response to views shared at these sessions, Tribal consultation events and other feedback from tribal leaders.

"Today, we take another major step toward true nation-to-nation collaboration," said Perrelli. "CTAS is not only a more streamlined grant-making process, it is part of the department's broader strategy of increased engagement with tribal communities across a broad range of areas."

CTAS includes most of the tribal programs from the department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The programs were listed as 10 purpose areas.

In previous years, tribes seeking funding for more than one of these purposes would need to submit multiple grant applications. With CTAS, tribes were able to submit a single application while selecting multiple purpose areas, ranging from juvenile justice to violence against women.

"This approach not only saves time and resources, but it also allows tribes and the Department to gain a better understanding of overall public safety needs," Perrelli added. "Through CTAS and other initiatives, we have sought to take action to respond to tribal leaders and help end the inexcusably high crime rates in tribal communities."

Additionally, COPS Office Director Bernard Melekian, addressed the National Native American Law Enforcement Association's 18th Annual National Training Conference Wednesday in Las Vegas. Director Melekian simultaneously announced the CTAS awards to the approximately 400 tribal law enforcement representatives in attendance.

All federally recognized tribes were eligible for CTAS. OJP, COPS, and OVW worked together in making the award decisions.

Tribal leaders have been invited to a tribal consultation session on Oct. 5 in Spokane to discuss ways to improve the department's grant-making process in future years.

Other California tribes receiving grants included:

  • Barona Band of Mission Indians: COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $98,443.

  • Bishop Indian Tribal Council: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems,$350,000; and COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $55,625.

  • Hoopa Valley Tribe, develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $324,800; prevent and reduce alcohol and substance abuse-related crimes, $349,846; COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $136,747.

  • La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians: COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $366,951; develop new demonstration projects on violence prevention and rehabilitation, $499,999; tribal sexual assault services program, $300,000.

  • Los Coyotes Band of Indians: tribal governments program, $200,000.

  • Pala Band of Mission Indians: prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $274,926.

  • Pauma Band of Mission Indians: COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $338,050.

  • Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000.

  • Pit River Tribe: prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $398,384; tribal governments program, $450,000.

  • Shingle Springs Rancheria: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000; prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $300,000; and tribal governments program, $398,149.

  • Smith River Rancheria: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000; COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $75,300.

  • Southern Indian Health Council Inc.: tribal governments program, $558,804.

  • Yurok Tribe: prevent and reduce alcohol and substance abuse-related crimes, $500,000; COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $497,866; enhance accountability for delinquent behavior, $300,000; provide community outreach and victim assistance services to address elder abuse, $100,000; tribal sexual assault services program, $300,000.

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Upcoming Calendar

07.16.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
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