Sunday, 21 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Following a cool morning and early afternoon on Monday, Lake County residents got a sample of the changing weather to come with brief rain, some thunder and even a little lightning in areas of the county.

The National Weather Service issued a statewide winter storm advisory on Monday that was set to last through Tuesday at 11 a.m., warning of stormy conditions across Northern California.

The agency reported that an upper level, low pressure system was developing over California, with the system expected to produce significant snow above the 8,500 foot mark in certain areas of the state, particularly the Sierras. Campers and hikers in those areas were advised to move to lower elevations.

In Lake County specifically, the National Weather Service issued a special weather statement which expected a partly sunny Tuesday, with a high near 71 degrees and a north northeast wind between 8 and 11 miles per hour, developing into partly cloudy conditions with a low of 56 degrees.

A 20-percent chance of showers is reported for Wednesday, with partly sunny conditions and a high near 69 degrees, with a light and variable wind before a mostly cloudy evening with a high of 52 degrees, the National Weather Service reported.

Thursday should be mostly sunny with cloudy conditions at night, with a high of 70 degrees down to a low of 53 degrees.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday are expected to be clear and sunny with high temperatures at 72, 78 and 80 degrees, respectively. Next Monday, Columbus Day, should be sunny with a 72-degree high, the National Weather Service reported.

For current weather news visit the weather section on the Lake County News homepage.



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Dachshunds race in Lake County's first dachshund derby during Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 2, 2010, in Lakeport, Calif. Photo by Tera DeVroede.



LAKEPORT, Calif. – Downtown Lakeport celebrated German customs, food and culture with the annual Oktoberfest held Saturday.

The Lake County Chamber of Commerce hosted the event.

Several blocks of Main Street were closed, with visitors checking out vendor booths that were positioned in the middle of the street.

Master of ceremonies Tony Barthel directed the action from the Oktoberfest stage at Third and Main streets, where there were performances during the day from the Sweet Adelines, Clear Lake Clickers, Twice As Good and the Kelseyville Jazz Band.

It proved a busy day for activities in the city, with the Sponsoring Survivorship walk to raise funds for fighting cancer starting off the day.




Lannette Huffman and Keegan Huffman were costume contest winners at Lakeport's Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, October 2, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.



Also taking place Saturday was the annual Konocti Challenge bike race around Lake County, which started and ended in Lakeport. After the event, numerous cyclists still in their riding togs came down to visit Oktoberfest.

There were plenty of pretzels, bratwursts and steins filled with beer to be found throughout town during the day.

Besides the food and fun, Oktoberfest proved to be a wiener dog wonderland, with dozens of dachshunds and their proud owners parading through downtown.

They were there for the dachshund derby – heralded as the county's first – held in front of the Old Courthouse Museum.

Chamber Chief Executive Officer Melissa Fulton said a total of 29 dachshunds had been signed up for the races, which drew a crowd that clustered tightly around the small race course.

The first race was a bit bumpy – after the starting signal was given, the dogs didn't seem clear on the concept and stood around at one end of the race course, until their owners began running with them toward the finish line.




Participants in the dog costume contest parade through the ring near the Old Courthouse Museum in downtown Lakeport, Calif., on Saturday, October 2, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.



As the races progressed, everyone got the hang of it, with the dogs getting help from humans waiting at the finish line to coax them there. Some of the dogs who had participated in the pre-race costume contest ran in full costume – one, notably, dressed as a hot dog.

The humans also got their opportunity for dress up, with many people decked out in Lederhosen and dirndls.

Lannette Huffman won the dirndl costume contest for women, with Keegan Huffman winning the Lederhosen contest.

The event wound up with an evening performance by the LC Diamonds, who played at a street dance that ended at 9 p.m.

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 .



The Kelseyville High School Jazz Band played during the afternoon portion of Oktoberfest in Lakeport, Calif., on Saturday, October 2, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.




A collection of German beer steins were on display at The Kitchen Gallery, where visitors could vote for their favorite stein. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The arrival of fall has brought with it more lovely Lake County sunsets.

Clearlake photographer Joanna McKinley captured this sunset on Thursday, Sept. 30, showcasing what she said was the lake's “wonderful” wildlife.

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Officials are looking for 8-year-old Elisa Cardenaz of Fresno, Calif., who was abducted from her home on Monday, October 4, 2010. Courtesy photo.


The California Highway Patrol issued a statewide Amber Alert late Monday for a child abduction case.

Eight-year-old girl Elisa Cardenaz was abducted from her Fresno home just before 8:30 p.m. Monday, the CHP reported.

The suspect, who was not named, is possibly a 25-year-old Caucasian or light-skinned Hispanic male, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, with brown hair, according to the report. The man was last seen wearing a white tank top and blue jeans.

He may be driving a brown and red 1980s or 1990s model single cab Ford pickup with a white horizontal pin strip on the side and an unknown license plate number.

When she disappeared the child was wearing a light purple sweater with Winnie the Pooh on the front and light-colored blue jeans, officials reported. She is described as 4 feet tall and 60 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

To report possible sightings, the public is asked to call 911.

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It is often desirable to draft flexibility into one’s estate planning documents to allow a flexible response to changed circumstances; that would otherwise make one’s existing plan inadequate.

In this respect, the role played by the power of attorney is under-appreciated. A carefully drafted durable power of attorney (DPA) allows the agent to act on your behalf, when you cannot act, in order to make gifts, create trusts, and fund, amend, or revoke existing trusts.

Now, let’s consider examples where such flexibility is needed and how a well-drafted durable power of attorney can be the solution.

The following are examples of some common situations where future event/circumstances may challenge your estate plan: (1) gifting assets to family as relates to Medi-Cal; (2) transferring assets into a trust in order to avoid probate; (3) amending an existing trust in order to keep it current with relevant changes in the law (including tax law); (4) creating a trust; and (5) authorizing a loan to be made to a family member.

One’s DPA can be flexibly drafted to respond to each of the above situations: (1) A power of attorney may accelerate eligibility for needs based benefits (e.g., Medi-Cal) and/or protect such assets from later estate recovery by authorizing gifts of real and personal property to family members; (2) a power of attorney may be used to avoid probate by transferring assets into one’s living trust; (3) a power of attorney may allow one’s agent to amend your revocable living trust so as to make it legally sufficient to m­eet changes in the law; (4) a power of attorney can be used to create a new trust (such as a living trust, a special needs trust, or an irrevocable asset protection trust); and (5) a power of attorney can be used to authorize a loan from your estate to a third party (such as a business associate or a family member).

One’s power of attorney is typically one legal instrument amongst other instruments in one’s estate planning binder.

Other legal documents, especially one’s living trust, need to examined and harmonized with the DPA.

For example, the living trust would need to recognize, as relevant, the authority stated in the power of attorney to gift trust assets, amend the trust and make loans.

Also, the DPA may not give more authority to one’s agent than is allowed by law. For example, DPA cannot be used to execute a last will and testament. The power of attorney works well with a Living Trust, but not at all with a will.

Lastly, conferring power on an agent is not without the risk that such power may be abused. To minimize such risk, it is prudent to have checks and balances in place.

Such precautions can include strict limitations on when such power can be exercised and who must also agree to the exercise of such power before action is taken.

These precautions may be variously placed in the power of attorney and in other affected legal documents (such as one’s living trust).

With precautions in place, the benefits of flexibility usually outweigh the risks.

Editor’s Note: Attorney Dennis A. Fordham is a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law. Fordham concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning and various aspects of elder law, including Medi-Cal benefits. Mr. Fordham was qualified as a Certified Specialist in 2009 by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, and is licensed to practice law in California and New York. He earned his BA at Columbia University, his JD at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his LLM in Taxation at New York University. His office is located on the 2nd Floor at 55 First Street, Lakeport, California and he can be reached by calling 707-263-3235 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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THE GEYSERS, Calif. – A moderate-sized earthquake was reported near The Geysers on Monday afternoon.

The quake, measured at 3.0 in magnitude, was reported at 12:34 p.m., according to the US Geological Survey.

It was reported as being a “poorly constrained” shallow earthquake, listed at a depth of zero miles, the survey reported.

The US Geological Survey's data showed that the quake was centered two miles north of The Geysers geothermal steamfield, 15 miles southwest of Clearlake and 25 miles north of Santa Rosa.

It was immediately followed by two smaller quakes, measuring 1.3 and 1.0 in magnitude, respectively, in close proximity, the US Geological Survey reported.

The only shake reports received on the quake came from Eureka, 247 miles away, and Mammoth Lakes, 365 miles distant, according to survey records.

The last time the US Geological Survey reported a quake measuring 3.0 or above near The Geysers was on Aug. 15, as Lake County News has 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 and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The drawn out budget battle is crippling California’s child care system with dire consequences for many programs and families.

As often happens, the most vulnerable segments of our population often are hit the hardest, and this year is no exception.

To help recoup a nearly $20 billion shortfall in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed $1.2 billion in cuts to child care funds, which would eliminate most subsidized child care for low-income families.

He also proposed to eliminate California’s welfare program, CalWORKs, which serves 1.4 million people, 1.1 million of whom are children.

In Lake County, subsidy programs serve 380 families and 712 children.

The local impacts of this situation are significant.

Without a state budget, child care programs funded through the California Department of Education also do not receive payments without a signed budget.

Currently, 12 CDE-funded programs are located throughout Lake County, including nine operated through Lake County Office of Education.

These programs have not received funding since June 2010. They have been operating on reserves and loans for three months, and there is no end in sight.

LCOE lost the only two full-day preschool programs they offered and are now only offering three-hour programs at all sites, which impacted 48 working families.

Since 1997, The Learning House has operated three state-funded centers in Clearlake – The Hillcrest House, The Toddler House and The Learning House Preschool.

Families depend on these programs to continue working, for emotional relief and guidance on parenting, but without some relief this respected small business may have to close its doors.

Many of their parents would have to quit their jobs, because the cost of child care alone would exceed the entire average monthly income of these families.

Without a signed budget, all stage two and three subsidized child care payments also are held.

In August, approximately $85,000 in payments to Lake County child care providers were held due to the impasse.

According to Nicole McKay, Child Care Subsidy Manager for North Coast Opportunities, “This year has been especially tough on families and providers. Several licensed child care facilities face the possibility of closing their doors due to lack of funding. It is important that parents and providers advocate for the continued funding of these programs as subsidized child care enables parents to work and move toward self-sufficiency.”

Family child care homes collectively provide care to approximately 1,200 Lake County children.

Liberty Perry, family child care provider in Clearlake, is working hard to hold on and maintain the high quality care and education she is providing.

Perry, winner of the 2010 Family Child Care Provider of the Year Award, said that 40 percent of the children in her care rely on subsidies.

She is now facing a 92-percent reduction in her personal income because of the budget delay.

According to Catherine Albiston, professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law, and her colleagues, cutting child care will have dramatic impacts on an already faltering economy:

  • Without subsidies, low-income single parents will not be able to work, because the cost of non-subsidized child care will exceed their income.

  • Child care providers will lose jobs as centers close. In Lake County, the child care industry employees nearly 500 people. Without a signed budget, a large majority of them will face unemployment or severe reduction in income, dramatically impacting Lake County’s economy.

  • Tax revenues will shrink and social services costs will grow. Parents need child care to work, and when Californian’s lose their jobs, tax revenues shrink. The Labor Center calculates that California will lose $3.1 billion in economic output and $157 million in state and local tax revenue due to the reduction in child care jobs alone.

Ample research demonstrates the importance of high-quality early childhood education during a child’s first five years of life.

Children who attend high-quality early childhood programs are more likely to graduate from high school and far less likely to be on welfare, become criminals or teen parents, or experience debilitating health and socioeconomic problems.

Studies focused specifically on California have shown that if high-quality early childhood programming were more widely accessible, juvenile crime would fall 19 percent and the high school dropout rate would decrease by 14 percent.

Nobel Prize winning economist James Heckman concluded that, “the most cost-effective strategy for strengthening the future American workforce is to invest greater human and financial resources in the social and cognitive environments of children who are disadvantaged, beginning as early as possible.”

Lake County needs quality child care providers to keep our families working, our economy growing and our children thriving.

For more information on child care in Lake County, contact the Lake County Child Care Planning Council at 707-994-4795 or visit the group's Web site at

Shelly Mascari is the director of the Lake County Child Care Planning Council.

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Safety and prevention will be highlighted when Fire Prevention Week is marked from Oct. 3 to 9.

Each year, nearly 3,000 people die in home fires in the U.S. Nearly three-quarters of all U.S. homes have at least one working smoke alarm, but there are still a significant number of homes without smoke alarms or without working smoke alarms.

This group accounts for more than one-third of reported home fires and nearly half of all the reported home fire deaths.

According to Cal Fire, these are preventable deaths.

As startling as the figures are, they give powerful meaning to this year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week 2010, “Smoke Alarms: A sound you can live with.”

Cal Fire is stressing the importance of having smoke alarms and encourage everyone to take the necessary steps required to update and maintain their home smoke alarm protection.

Smoke alarms are one of the best and least expensive safety devices you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family and your home.

Cal Fire knows that in the event of a home fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms could save your own life and those of your loved ones by providing time to escape.

“Far too many homes have no smoke alarms, not enough smoke alarms, alarms that are too old or alarms that are not working,” said Cal Fire Director Del Walters. “We want residents to understand that working smoke alarms can increase your family’s chances of surviving a home fire by 50 percent. They are needed in every home, on every level, including the basement, outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. If a smoke alarm is 10 years old or older, it needs to be replaced.”

Cal Fire offered a few important fire safety and prevention tips:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home (including the basement), outside each sleeping area and inside each bedroom. Never remove or disable smoke alarms.

  • Check your smoke alarm batteries every month.

  • Change smoke alarm batteries twice a year when changing clocks for daylight savings.

  • Plan and practice your family home emergency escape plan together several times a year.

  • Make sure everyone knows when and how to call emergency telephone numbers.

  • Cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries.

  • Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths.

  • Obtain and learn how to use a fire extinguisher.

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Consider installing residential fire sprinklers in your home.

For more fire safety tips visit the CAL FIRE web site at

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A third scoping meeting is planned for a proposed wind generation project that would be located on Walker Ridge.

The meeting on the AltaGas Renewable Energy Pacific Inc. proposal will be held from noon to 3 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 8, in the Bureau of Land Management's Sacramento office, 2800 Cottage Way.

Two previous scoping meetings were held on the project, one on Sept. 9 in Lakeport and the second on Sept. 10 in Colusa.

The project would be located on several thousand acres leased from BLM in the Walker Ridge area, in Lake and Colusa counties.

The Canadian company's plans include generating up to 70 megawatts with 29 Siemens wind turbines, company officials reported at the Sept. 9 meeting.

The company's plan of development for the project is available on its Web site at and on the BLM Web site at

The public comment period on what issues should be addressed in the environmental impact statement that will be prepared on the proposed win park closes on Oct. 13.

Public comments on the plan should be sent to Bethney LeFebvre, BLM Ukiah Field Office, 2550 N. State St., Ukiah, CA 95482; telephone 707-468-4000; fax 707-468-4027; e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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An artist's concept of GJ 436b peeking out from behind its parent star, an M-dwarf much cooler than the sun. Courtesy of NASA.

Giant planet GJ 436b in the constellation Leo is missing something.

Would you believe swamp gas?

To the surprise of astronomers who have been studying the Neptune-sized planet using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, GJ 436b has very little methane (CH4).

“Methane should be abundant on a planet of this temperature and size, but we found 7,000 times less methane than what the models predict,” said Kevin Stevenson of the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Stevenson was lead author of a paper reporting the result in the April 22, 2010, issue of Nature.

The methane deficit is surprising because in our own solar system all gas giants are methane-rich.

Hydrogen and carbon are abundant in the atmospheres of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. These atoms naturally get together to form the simplest hydrocarbon, CH4.

The example of our local gas giants shaped expectations when Stevenson and colleagues pointed Spitzer in the direction of GJ 436b, only 33 light-years away.

Finding methane was a foregone conclusion. But when the researchers analyzed the planet's spectrum, they found little of it. Instead, the atmosphere was rich in carbon monoxide.




A stick-figure diagram of methane. Courtesy of NASA.



“Actually, it blew our minds,” said principal investigator and co-author Joseph Harrington, also of UCF.

Where did all the methane go? One possibility: it's being broken apart.

“UV radiation from the planet's star could be converting the methane into polymers like ethylene,” said Harrington. “If you put plastic wrap out in the sun, the UV radiation breaks down the carbon bonds in the plastic, causing it to deteriorate as the long carbon chains break. We propose a similar process on GJ 436b, but there hydrogen atoms split off from methane and let the remnants stick together to make ethylene (C2H4).”

Also, they speculate, strong vertical winds in the planet's atmosphere might be sweeping up material from deep hot layers where carbon monoxide is abundant. CO thus replaces CH4.

Or it could be something else entirely.

“This planet's atmosphere could have some sort of alien chemistry going on,” said Harrington. “We just don't know yet.”

Giant planets aren't the only worlds with methane. CH4 is fairly common on Earth, too. Methane forms in the stomachs of cows and goats. It also bubbles up from the bottom of swamps, a byproduct of organic matter decaying in deep mud. On gas giants, methane is just common chemistry, but on our planet, it is a sign of life.

For this reason, researchers have long planned to look for methane in the atmospheres of distant Earth-sized planets. NASA's Kepler mission is expected to discover many such worlds. Methane floating alongside oxygen could be compelling evidence of biological activity.

But what if planetary atmospheres don't always follow the rules of our own Solar System? GJ 436b certainty doesn't. Investigators might have to go back to the drawing board and re-figure their chemistry.

“GJ 436b is telling us something important,” said Harrington: “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Dr. Tony Phillips and Dauna Coulter work for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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ROUND VALLEY, Calif. – Mendocino County Sheriff's officials, assisted by state and federal agencies, made several more arrests in the third day of eradicating illegal marijuana grows and sales in Round Valley on Thursday.

On Tuesday 17 people were arrested, and another 20 were arrested on Wednesday, officials reported. Among the Wednesday arrestees was 20-year-old Ethan Smith of Kelseyville, charged with cultivation and sales.

The approximate totals for the three-day operation into the illegal profiteering of the cultivation and sales of marijuana included 42 physical arrests, nine criminal citations, 19,158 marijuana plants were seized, 19 firearms were confiscated and $44,641 in cash was seized as evidence, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office along with both the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) and County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) assisted state and federal law enforcement agencies in the service of five search warrants and several “open field marijuana eradication locations,” Smallcomb said.

Arrested on cultivation and sales charges were Elizabeth Hollon, 22, of Eckton, Mass.; Benjamine Meyeers, 25, of Berlin, Germany; Matt Dymond, 32, of Willits; Noel Benson, 34, of New York; Jamey Breinberg, 42, of Covelo; and H. Multani, 31, of Covelo.

Smallcomb said officers and deputies served a search warrant at Mile Marker No. 17 on Mina Road where they eradicated 228 marijuana plants and seized approximately 50 pounds of processed marijuana. Hollon and Meyeers were arrested at that location.

A search warrant was then served at 33670 Mendocino Pass Road. There officials found and eradicated 80 marijuana plants, confiscated 2 pounds of processed marijuana and one rifle, and arrested Dymond and Benson, Smallcomb said.

Officers also served a search warrant at 36650 Mendocino Pass Road where they found 57 marijuana plants were eradicated, approximately 20 pounds of processed marijuana was seized, and three rifles and one handgun were confiscated, according to Smallcomb. Breinberg and Multani were arrested at that location

A search warrant was served at 51110 Highway 162, where Smallcomb said a total of 387 marijuana plants were eradicated, and Smallcomb said a total of three guns were confiscated.

The final search warrant of the day was served at 24700 Fairbanks Road, where Smallcomb said approximately 80 marijuana plants were eradicated.

Some of these investigations will continue in regards to property ownerships, financial gain and possible criminal culpability, Smallcomb said.

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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
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08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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08.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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