Sunday, 21 July 2024


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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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. – Following concerns last month that a transit worker strike could occur locally, contract negotiations between the company that operates Lake County's transit services and its union-represented employees came to a successful conclusion this week.

Paratransit Services of Bremerton, Wash., which holds the contract for Lake Transit Authority, and Teamsters Local 624, based in Santa Rosa, reached a tentative agreement for a three-year contract for 35 transit employees on Sept. 1, as Lake County News has reported.

This past Sunday in Lower Lake, that tentative agreement went before a vote of a committee representing the workers, said Ralph Miranda, a union spokesman and negotiator on the contract.

“The offer was unanimously accepted and recommended by the committee,” he said.

Randy Grove, Paratransit Services' director of operations and human resources, confirmed the settlement.

“We are pleased that an agreement could be reached,” Grove said.

Miranda said the contract terms include a 1.5-percent wage increase retroactive to July 1, up from the 1 percent wage increase Paratransit Services had previous proposed.

He said they also will continue with the current health plan offered by Paratransit Services, with an agreement that the company and employees would split the costs of any increases the insurance company implements.

The two sides agreed to reopen negotiations on medical benefits and wages on June 30 of the next two years, he said.

In turn, the union agreed in the contract to Paratransit Services' request to freeze longevity increases, which Miranda previously said include step increases between five and 10 years of service.

“We agreed to freeze the step increases, which was one of the big item that was delaying it,” he said.

Miranda said federal mediator David Weinberg, who has worked with the two sides over the last several weeks, was very helpful in getting a resolution.

“The atmosphere at the bargaining table, I've got to say, really turned cooperative,” said Miranda, noting that everyone wanted to get an agreement.

Though the union had set deadlines for strikes last month, Miranda said they hadn't wanted to interrupt services for the thousands of local residents who depend on local transit.

Paratransit Services officials also had emphasized that they didn't want to see service interruptions.

“Paratransit Services values its employees,” said Grove. “In turn, the employees value their commitment and responsibility to provide safe and efficient transportation services to the residents of Lake County.”

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

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – AIDSWALK Lake County invites the community to come out this weekend and help with the work of raising awareness about AIDS and its prevention.

The third annual event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Austin Park in Clearlake.

Come and walk along with Hospice Services of Lake County, Yuba College Rotaracts, Head Start and many others.

Walk alone for a small donation or with a team of four for only $25.

Although the walk is only three-quarters of a mile, organizers say the walk invokes a warm, community spirit.

Local health and wellness caregivers will have booths, including the Sutter Mobile Health team which will offer free health screenings. Also on hand will be a diverse community of caring, civic groups, including the Stonewall Democratic Club, Lake County PRIDE, Save The Lake, The Sierra Club, CLO/Glenhaven Business Association, the Clearlake Oaks Community Methodist Church, Clearlake United Methodist Church and many more.

Enjoy the arts and crafts and the delicious gourmet food by “Kim Young & Crew,” and join the silent auction of art and things, including a weekend getaway and raffle prizes, all of which will be awarded the same day.


“Without A Net,” a band composed of local educators, will provide the music.

AIDSWALK Lake County is produced by Community Care HIV/AIDS Program and The Drop In Center and the special Lake County communities.


For more information about AIDSWALK Lake County call 707-995-1606.

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Upcoming Calendar

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
08.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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