Thursday, 25 July 2024


SONOMA COUNTY – A Sonoma County family died and several others were injured when a local teenager allegedly ran a red light late Saturday, setting off a four-car collision.

The crash occurred at 9:21 p.m. Saturday on eastbound Highway 37 at Reclamation Road in Sonoma County, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Cakebread.

The CHP would not release the names of the fatalities or the driver of the car that hit them to Lake County News, although Bay Area media reported receiving the names from the agency.

The family that died included 45-year-old John Maloney and his wife Susan, 42, of Sonoma and their children Aiden, 8, and Grace, 5.

The man who hit them was identified as Steven Culbertson, 19, of Lakeport.

Conflicting reports were being given about the status of Culbertson, who Cakebread said was transported by helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

While some media were reporting Culbertson died Sunday, on Sunday evening Santa Rosa Memorial spokesperson Katy Hillenmeyer said Culbertson was in critical condition. Lake County News could not reach Culbertson's family late Sunday.

Culbertson allegedly was driving a silver Mini Cooper at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour when he ran a red light and hit a Honda CR-V driven by Thomas Graham, 61, of Petaluma, the CHP reported.

The Mini Cooper then hit the Nissan Quest mini van driven by the Maloney family, the CHP said. The Quest then hit a Mitsubishi Galant driven by Carrie Rodriguez, 52, of Novato.

All of the members of the Maloney family were pronounced dead at the scene, Cakebread said.

Rodriguez and her passengers – Liberty Rosario, 42, of Fairfield and Adelaida Nicholas, 53, of Novato – were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries, according to the CHP. Graham and his passenger, James Parker of Stockton, were uninjured.

The CHP said the eastbound lane of Highway 37 was shut down just after 10 p.m. Saturday. At 11:25 p.m. the both directions of Highway 101 to Highway 27 were closed, as were Atherton Avenue to Highway 37 and the stretch of Highway 37 between Highway 131 and Lakeville.

The roadways remained closed until 7:30 a.m. Sunday as the investigation took place. Lakeville Road was shut completely, with travelers urged to take an alternate route. The vehicles involved in the crash were cleared from the scene at around 7 a.m., according to the CHP.

The CHP reported that several vehicles had gone through the closure at high speeds early in the morning.

Caltrans and the Sonoma County Coroner were called to the scene, according to the CHP report. A Caltrans boom truck was requested to assist the CHP with taking aerial photos of the crash scene.

Cakebread said the CHP's Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) – which is called out to investigate collisions where two or more deaths are involved – was working on the crash Sunday.

The social networking site Facebook provided information about some of those involved in the crash.

Culbertson's Facebook page said he was a 2008 graduate of Clear Lake High School, with aspirations of being a professional driver and mechanic. It also featured pictures of him driving on race course.

John Maloney's page featured pictures of him, his wife and his young children. While his profile was open to the public, his wife's was not.

He was a 1986 graduate of the University of Georgia, where he received a bachelor's degree in journalist before going on to receive a master's degree in humanities from Dominican University in San Rafael.

Maloney worked at SolarCraft, a solar services company with offices in Novato and Sonoma. SolarCraft's Web site listed Maloney as the company's vice president of sales and marketing, and noted that he had three children.

He noted in an August message to a friend on Facebook that his older daughter, Molly, was heading off to the University of Wisconsin this fall.

Friends left messages on the Facebook page over the weekend in remembrance of the family.

“John and Susan, Aiden and Grace. We all love you and miss you terribly. No words can convey the sorrow we feel at your loss. RIP 11/28/1009,” wrote Ben Delaney.

“Dearest Maloney Family - My heart breaks at the loss your friends and family are feeling right now ... My best wishes go out to them, and perhaps some peace can come from them knowing that you are and always will be together. Much ♥,” Shannon Greene wrote hours after the fatal crash.

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 .

In 1981 MTV debuted on the air with the prophetic song “Video Killed The Radio Star,” and we entered the era of pretty, perfect-bodied babes ruling the airwaves. Yeah, I’m talkin’ about you, Adam Lambert! But we have to face it, if a young Bob Dylan had auditioned for American Idol last season, it would most likely end with the following ...

Randy: “Dawg! It was pitchy, off key at points … nawh.”

Paula: “You’re unique. You are special and unique.”

Simon: “Absolutely horrendous! Do you realize that you’re singing out of your nose?”

Kara: “Can I please talk?”

What’s the point I’m trying to make? It’s this: Shallots are the Bob Dylan of onions. They are special and unique, but they have been replaced by the pretty, perfect-bodied babes. (Growling and shaking my fists: “Lambert!”)

I love shallots and have been growing them in my garden for years. It’s a shame that the food television shows don’t know more about them. I think the networks also put too much into the practice of having excessively pretty people hosting their shows than people who actually know a lot about food, but that’s what our society has become.

One of the biggest problems in food television is that much of it is written by people who don’t know the actual produce and products they use. They’re often written and produced by big city people who are getting their information from the Internet, and one of the things I teach in almost every class I do is that the Internet can be your worst enemy.

Take shallots for instance: I was watching a pretty girl’s cooking program and she said that she liked to use shallots in the recipe since they are milder flavored than onions. I start screaming at the TV, “That’s not a shallot, you dingbat, that’s a potato onion, a false shallot! They’re harsh tasting and taste nothing like a shallot, so you obviously have never tasted a real shallot in your life!”

I’m not embarrassed to admit this, I really do yell at my TV in times like this. I had to stop watching Emeril the day my daughter said, “Daddy why do you watch him, you just end up yelling at the TV?”

The pretty TV chef goes on to talk about shallots’ superior flavor, and I realize that she’s just spouting information that one of her little interns or flying monkeys picked up off the Internet and shoved into the teleprompter. The pretty TV chef was only there because she is a pretty face and interacts well with a camera, not because she’s someone who actually knows what she was cooking with.

It is very common to find imposters being used as shallots. False shallots, potato onions and even using young red onions as shallots is pretty usual. Even the “shallots” you find at the local grocery stores are actually potato onions. Imposters are almost always larger than true shallots since true shallots are typically only a tablespoon to a quarter cup in size. Traditional gardening habits use the largest bulbs in the kitchen and then replant the smallest for next year. I do the exact opposite, and due to this “selective breeding” my shallots are larger than most, some of my shallots being a half of a cup in volume. Imposters are also easier to work with, having thin, easy to remove skins, while the skin on true shallots is like armor plating.

While false shallots must be used within a couple of months, true shallots, if stored in a cool dry place, can be stored up to a year.

In my opinion shallot imposters have become popular because they grow faster and larger than true shallot varieties. False shallots can take as little as three months from planting to harvest.

I planted my shallots a month ago and they are just now starting to sprout. Green tops looking like chives will start to grow and can be used sparingly like chives. The bulbs will start to look like a head of garlic, but then each bulb will separate from the mother and grow green tops.

The bunch of bulbs will start to spread out and look like they are pushing themselves out of the ground. Each bulb will grow larger. Then up to eight months from now the tops will die off and turn brown and that will let me know they are ready for harvest.

This long growing time is one of the reasons that, while imposters sell for dollars per pound, true shallots sell for dollars per ounce. It is often said of true shallots that their flavor is milder than onions but that isn’t really true.

The true shallot's flavor is strong and complex but it dissipates faster than onions and you don’t have that lingering onion taste in your mouth for hours. Its aroma contains hints of garlic, lemon, chives and earth. The texture of cooked true shallots is much softer than that of cooked onions. It is also best to avoid browning shallots since this turns them bitter.

If I were the head of a cooking school of my own, or were Emperor of the planet, I would require all chefs to spend two weeks per year working on a farm. Most of the truly great chefs either own a farm or have a close relationship with a farmer.

When I worked on an oyster farm there was a program that had restaurant workers spend a week working on the farm. Later there were fewer complaints from those restaurants because they knew their product better and didn’t jump to conclusions. Cooks who really know and understand their ingredients are the best of the best.

The shallot’s history is muddled at best. Their first mention is around 300 BCE when Theophrastus, “the father of botany,” wrote of the “askolonion.” Where this word originates is unknown, but we know both the words shallot and scallion originate from it.

Centuries later, Pliny the Elder concluded that they were named after the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel. Although the city of Ashkelon did exist in Theophrastus’ time, no evidence supports this correlation.

Some sources say shallots originated in China 2,000 years ago and still others claim Southeast Asia. Whatever its origin, they became very popular in French, Flemish, Mediterranean and Thai cuisines. The Crusaders brought the shallot to Europe in the 12th century from the Middle East.

I think the problem is that I’m being pedantic (I usually am), while the rest of the world is falling into the marketing ploy to merge all multiplier onions under the heading of shallots. Even the Web site named after the shallot has only has one picture of a true (grey) shallot on it. They market a variety of shallot grown from seeds even though shallots don’t make seeds.

There is an unwitting movement to have the word shallot include Allium oschaninii and Allium cepa var. aggegatum, which are the most common imposter shallots. I say unwittingly because it’s not a vast right wing conspiracy as much as it’s just that people have read the information online and repeated it not knowing that the information is incorrect.

Just like the word “forte” is correctly pronounced “fort,” but through years of people mispronouncing it as “for-TAY” the dictionary itself has now changed to reflect the incorrect pronunciation. You can actually compare an older dictionary to a newer one and see the change. Shallots are going through the same process. The Bob Dylan shallots are being overshadowed by the Adam Lambert shallots.

Shallots are high in flavanoids, a type of antioxidant that protects the body against cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Shallots are low in carbohydrates, cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. They are also high in folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.

True shallots are available to grow in your garden but using false shallots in your cooking is acceptable as long as you understand that the flavor and texture will be different. I use the shallots from the grocery store any time I’m out of my own shallots.

In an amusing twist the recipe I’ve included goes fantastic with steaks. It’s a Bercy style sauce but not a true Bercy sauce. So I do get a giggle while making a false Bercy sauce with my false shallots. I know, I’m being pedantic again.

Just for the record, I love Adam Lambert’s music and wanted him to win American Idol. It was just funnier using him in this context than someone more obvious. And you have to admit, he sure is pretty.

Bercy sauce for steaks

2 to 3 shallots, finely diced

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups beef stock

2 tablespoons demi-glace (optional)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons chopped parsley



After cooking your steak, set it aside to let it rest. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan the steak was cooked in and add shallots. Sauté until tender, just a couple of minutes, then add white wine. Scrape the fond from the steak off the bottom of the pan and simmer over medium heat until mixture is reduced to just a couple of tablespoons. Add stock, demi-glace and lemon juice.

Bring back to a simmer over medium heat and reduce again to one cup. Remove from heat, and finish the sauce by whisking in the remaining butter and the parsley. Salt and pepper to taste, but be sure to taste first since reducing the stock may have increased the saltiness.

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, .

Marriage combines marital status and financial responsibilities. The latter affects the inheritance rights of a married spouse, or ex spouse, to inherit as a beneficiary under the decedent’s will; as a beneficiary under the decedent’s trust; as a designated beneficiary of the decedent’s non-probate assets (e.g., retirement plan, annuity, joint tenancy, annuity or life insurance); or as the decedent’s intestate heir (e.g., probate without a will).

Now, let’s explore the contours of this terrain.

“Surviving spouse” is a statutorily defined term relevant to the inheritance rights of married and formerly married persons of a deceased person to whom they were once married. “Surviving spouse” includes any married person whose marriage was neithe

r dissolved nor annulled, no matter how short.

It even includes a married person living separately at the time of death, even if a divorce was pending; provided, however, that marital property rights were not legally terminated, that is, no court ordered separation judgment was issued. That last proviso, as we shall see, however, appears only to pertain to inheritance by intestacy (where someone dies without a will).

With respect to probates (e.g., wills and intestacy), a person who is not a surviving spouse, because of dissolution or annulment, no longer inherits under their ex-spouse’s will, which was signed during marriage, unless the will expressly provides otherwise. The same applies to intestate probates.

But, in contradiction to the definition of “surviving spouse,” a decree of legal separation which does not terminate the status of husband and wife, however, is not a dissolution, and so will not prevent inheritance under a will, although it will prevent inheritance by intestacy.

A similar, but different, set of rules applies to inheriting as a designated beneficiary of non-probate assets such as trusts, IRAs, pay-on-death accounts and joint tenancy assets, but not life insurance. That is, any dissolution or annulment precludes inheritance on death transfers which were authorized during the marriage.

Again, a decree of legal separation which does not terminate the status of husband and wife is not a dissolution and so will not preclude inheritance of any non probate assets by a person who otherwise satisfies the definition of “surviving spouse”.

Furthermore, certain special exceptions may apply to allow a person who is not a “surviving spouse” to still inherit as a designated beneficiary of a non-probate “transfer at death” authorized during marriage. That is, if the transfer was not subject to revocation at death; could not be changed due to court order (e.g., during a pending divorce proceeding); or there is clear and convincing evidence that the deceased transferor intended to preserve the non-probate transfer, then a surviving ex-spouse may still inherit .

Next, regarding employer provided ERISA retirement plans (e.g., 401(k)s), which are non-probate assets, relevant federal law determines a surviving ex-spouse’s right of inheritance and preempts any conflicting state law to the contrary.

Lastly, the foregoing discussion shows why married persons need to act prospectively in keeping their testamentary wishes current, and should do so sooner rather than later.

Obviously, when married persons are already involved in court dissolution proceedings, however, it may become difficult (and sometimes impossible) to effectuate changes due to statutory prohibitions against changing designated beneficiaries on non probate assets, and/or due to court orders preventing such changes.

While not discussed above, what changes married persons can make to their wills, trusts, and non-probate assets (e.g., joint tenancies, retirement plans, life insurance) prior to, during and after their dissolution of marriage proceedings (terminating their marriage), is itself an important subject – one worthy of a future article in this column.

Dennis A. Fordham, attorney (LL.M. tax studies), is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. His office is at 55 1st St., Lakeport, California. Dennis can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 707-263-3235.

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THE GEYSERS – The Geysers area experienced a moderate on Saturday evening.

The quake, first reported to be 3.0 in magnitude but later downgraded to 2.9, occurred at a depth of 1.4 miles at 9:08 p.m. Saturday, according to the US Geological Survey.

The agency reported that the earthquake's epicenter was located two miles northwest of The Geysers, six miles west of Cobb and eight miles west northwest of Anderson Springs.

Five shake reports were submitted to the US Geological Survey – three from Cloverdale, one from Kelseyville and one from The Dalles, Oregon – approximately 759 miles away.

The Geysers area experienced a 3.7-magnitude earthquake on Nov. 24, as Lake County News has reported.

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MIDDLETOWN – Late Saturday federal officials were in Middletown to investigate a mid-air collision that claimed the lives of two pilots.

The crash occurred at around 11 a.m. Saturday at Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Laura Brown.

Brown said the crash involved a Schleicher ASW 27 glider and a Piper PA 25 tow plane.

“They were on approach to the same runway,” but coming from different directions when the glider and plane collided, said Brown.

Brown did not know if the aircraft hit head-on, a determination that she said is part of the investigation.

The glider pilot was killed, as was the plane's pilot, said Brown. There were no other passengers aboard the plane.

The identities of the pilots were not released late Saturday.

Jim Indrebo, who owns Crazy Creek Air Adventures, confirmed to Lake County News late Saturday that the crash had occurred.

“I can't say much about it,” he said, adding that he may be able to make a statement following the completion of the investigation.

Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were at the scene of the gliderport, located on Grange Road near Middletown, Saturday evening, Indrebo said.

Brown said the NTSB and FAA will issue a preliminary report on the crash within a few weeks.

The FAA investigates every aviation collision case, Brown said. However, it will be up to the NTSB to decide the incident's probable cause and decide if more investigation – leading to a final report in a few months' time – is warranted, she explained.

The NTSB could not be contacted late Saturday.

However, the agency's Web site explained that it deploys a safety board “go team” – led by a senior investigator – to respond to major incidents.

The NTSB reported that its go team can number from three to more than a dozen specialists ready to be deployed around the clock from the safety board's Washington, DC office.

On an annual basis, the NTSB investigates about 2,000 aviation collisions, according to its Web site.

Among the crashes it investigates annually, Brown said the FAA doesn't see many involving gliders, estimating they account for only “a handful a year.”

Schleichers are one-seat, high-performance gliders, designed with competitions pilots in mind, according to the company Web site. The gliders have a 49-foot wingspan.

Piper PA 25s, which have reportedly become widely popular among glider enthusiasts for use as tow planes, were manufactured for crop dusting from the 1950s through early 1980s. They are ones-seat planes, with a 36-foot wingspan, according to the Virtual Aircraft Museum.

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NORTH COAST – The state's proposed water package is getting mixed reviews from North Coast legislators.

The $11.1 billion legislative package takes on a laundry list of critical state water issues, from sustainability of the Bay Delta to water storage, drought relief and regional water supply, and reportedly includes establishing a statewide target to reduce urban per capita water use by 10 percent by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020.

The part of the legislation that may affect Lake County the most relates to the Bay Delta. Clear Lake drains into Cache Creek which, in turn drains into the delta, which is a critical source of water for urban an agricultural interests in the south.

On Oct. 11 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called a special legislative session to address the state's water crisis, saying that it was damaging the state's economy – particularly in the agricultural and building sectors.

The state's water system now serves 38 million residents, more than twice the 16 million for which it originally was built, Schwarzenegger's office reported.

Package elements include SB 7x 1, which establishes oversight agencies for delta governance and planning; SB 7x 7, which sets 20 percent water conservation by 2020; SB 7x 6, pertaining to groundwater elevation management; SB 7 x8, which provides for investments in delta levee repair and ecosystem restoration, storage facilities, water recycling and watershed protection, and authorizes the use of $546 million from Proposition 84; and the water bond, SB 7x 2, which places the overall $11.1 million package on the November 2010 statewide general election ballot.

Out of the session resulted a water package scheduled to go before voters in November 2010. Earlier this month Schwarzenegger called it “an historic achievement.”

But that sentiment isn't shared by North Coast Assemblyman Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata), who voted against the package.

On Wednesday Chesbro issued a statement in which he called the legislation “a wolf in sheep's clothing.”

Chesbro said he strongly supports removing the Klamath dams, but added, “Funding removal of the Klamath dams while at the same time threatening the flows in the Trinity River is a fool’s bargain. We need to find a way to fund dam removal that doesn’t put the Trinity and our other North Coast rivers at risk.”

He explained that $3 billion is included in the bond, SB 7x 2, to fund water storage projects to the south.

Chesbro said those projects will increase pressure for diversion of more Northern California river water, and he asserted that the Trinity River is at greatest risk, because of existing dams and pipelines to the Sacramento River. That, in turn, increases the pressure on the Klamath fisheries.

“This would be a general obligation bond, which means they want to take our water and then make us help pay for it,” said Chesbro.

He said this would be the first time California has issued a general obligation bond for water development projects, Previously, such projects were paid for with revenue bonds, which means those who benefit from the water pay for it.

It's the big water users in the south who would reap the most benefits, said Chesbro.

In addition, he said more than $2 billion in pork was added to the package to get the votes of Southern California legislators. In turn, $100 million proposed for Northern California coastal salmonid restoration projects was cut in half, he said.

Chesbro said groups such as the Regional Council of Rural Counties and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations oppose the bond and the whole water package. He said Northern California tribes have expressed strong skepticism of the legislation.

“This is the wrong time for California to take on billions more in debt. We are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” he said.

Chesbro cited a Legislative Analyst’s Office prediction that the state is facing several years of multibillion-dollar deficits, and issued warning that the state’s bond debt service will consume an “unprecedented” 10 percent of the general fund – or about $600 million a year – if the measure passes.

Like Chesbro, North Coast Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) criticized the water bond, which she voted against, although she voted for other pieces of legislation in the bill.

In a statement issued late last week, Wiggins said she voted against SB 7x 2 – which places the $11.1 million bond on the ballot Nov. 2, 2010 – for several reasons, among them her concern that the projects the bill might fund projects including a peripheral canal, and dams and dam expansions.

“I have been strongly supportive of efforts to remove the dams on the Klamath River, which have wreaked havoc on salmon fisheries and other ecosystems downstream,” Wiggins said. “While this bond would include $250 million to help take down those dams, I don't believe the financing should come at the expense of new dams that would harm communities in other parts of the state.”

Wiggins also called the bond “fiscally irresponsible,” coming at a time when the state is facing more budget deficits and, as a result, more cuts in the coming year. “That money should be spent directly on education, health care and other essential services, not debt payments,” she said.

She offered support for the rest of the package, which she said was brought about by an “unprecedented coalition” of groups – business, environmental, industry and utilities. Wiggins said all of the package's elements are based on years of scientific studies and recommendations from the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Commission and the Delta Vision Committee.

The Governor's Office offered the following breakdown of the $11.1 billion water package's expenditures:

– Drought relief: $455 million for drought relief projects, disadvantaged communities, small community wastewater treatment improvements and safe drinking water revolving fund.

– Regional water supply: $1.4 billion for integrated regional water management projects up and down the state and for local and regional conveyance projects.

– Delta sustainability: $2.25 billion for projects that support delta sustainability options – levees, water quality, infrastructure and to help restore the ecosystem of the Delta.

– Water storage: $3 billion for public benefits associated with water storage projects that improve state water system operations, are cost effective, and provide net improvement in ecosystem and water quality conditions.

– Watershed conservation: $1.7 billion for ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects in 21 watersheds including coastal protection, wildlife refuge enhancement, fuel treatment and forest restoration, fish passage improvement and dam removal.

– Groundwater cleanup and protection: $1 billion for groundwater protection and cleanup.

– Water recycling and water conservation: $1.25 billion for water recycling and advanced treatment technology projects as well as water conservation and water use efficiency projects.

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COVELO – Officials on Sunday were searching for the suspect in a shooting that took place earlier that day near Covelo.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported that a 911 telephone call came into the sheriff's dispatch center just after 9 a.m. Sunday reporting that a shooting had occurred in the Chicken Ridge subdivision east of Covelo.

Sheriffs deputies were dispatched to the location where they met up with Covelo Fire Personnel and learned the victim had been shot during a possible home invasion robbery over marijuana, according to the report from Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

Smallcomb said the victim received serious injuries from the gunshots and was subsequently airlifted to an out of town hospital for major gunshot wounds.

He said deputies learned that at least three suspects had fled the location in a vehicle. The deputies had communication officers radio broadcast a "be on the lookout bulletin" to neighboring law enforcement entities regarding the description of the suspect vehicle.

Just after 10 a.m. Willits Police officers observed the described suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, at which point one of the suspects fled on foot, Smallcomb said.

The two other suspects were being detained and questioned by law enforcement at the time of Smallcomb's report, which was issued Sunday afternoon.

Sheriff's deputies, Willits Police officers and California Highway Patrol officers were continuing the search for the third suspect who fled the car stop on Sunday, Smallcomb said.

He said Mendocino County Sheriff's detectives were conducting an investigation and following up on leads in regards to the incident.

Anyone with information as to the suspects responsible in this case are encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's investigative tip line at 707-467-9159.

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Daniel Rogers shakes hands with Suzie Defrancisci as Ron Quick looks on during a welcome home reception for Rogers in Upper Lake on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.


UPPER LAKE – With only a few hours' notice, citizens gathered on Main Street in Upper Lake on Friday afternoon to welcome home a local soldier.

Daniel Rogers of Upper Lake arrived home from Afghanistan to waving flags, a cheering crowd and handmade signs thanking him for his service.

The family vehicle turned onto Main Street where Rogers saw a crowd waiting to personally embrace him and thank him for his service and sacrifice.

Rogers was visibly moved by the reception, taking time to shake hands and share hugs with everyone.




Happy to be home, Daniel Rogers scoops up his mom, Becky, on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.



The young soldier has recently endured difficult times. His unit was hit hard during the Battle of Kamdesh, where eight soldiers lost their lives in one day.

The base where Rogers was assigned was destroyed and he and his fellow soldiers lost all of the belongings they were not wearing or carrying.

Rogers has expressed his gratitude for the support he and his comrades have received. He has communicated directly, using calling privileges to let the participants of Operation Tango Mike and his Lake County supporters know he had received the extra care packages sent to replenish their supplies.




Vic and Becky Rogers welcome home their son, Daniel, from Afghanistan on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.



He also has sent messages via his parents, being gracious and very appreciative of the concern and encouragement he has received.

Rogers will enjoy his 15 day mid-deployment leave with his family. He will return to Afghanistan to complete his tour of duty, but will take with him memories of a warm welcome on a November day.

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A group of well wishers, including these youngsters, welcomed Daniel Rogers home from Afghanistan for a visit on on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.




Daniel Rogers received many welcome home hugs when he arrived in Upper Lake for a mid-deployment leave on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.


Eleven Roses Ranch's mules returned this year to give wagon rides to visitors at the Dickens' Christmas Market in Lakeport on Saturday, November 28, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



LAKEPORT – Visitors and residents alike came out on Saturday to enjoy the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned Christmas in downtown Lakeport.

The seventh annual Dickens' Christmas Market, cosponsored by the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and the Lakeport Main Street Association, lined several blocks of Main Street in the heart of town on Saturday.

The day saw clear skies overhead accompanied by a brisk wind. Melissa Fulton, the chamber's chief executive officer – outfitted in period costume – said the morning had started out perfectly still before the winds came up. The winds posed some challenges for vendors in tents.

Fulton said the day s good saw good attendance at the event.




Bert Hutt, in authentic Victorian attire, looks on during the festivities at the Dickens' Christmas Market in Lakeport on Saturday, November 28, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



There was music, numerous vendors with interesting offerings, fun for children, a mule-drawn wagon that carried visitors along as it wound its way through town, and plenty of canine visitors, some wearing wreaths and Santa hats.

In addition, there was caroling and even a costume contest. Many folks strolled through the fair in authentic period costumes.

Bert Hutt, artistic director of the Soper-Reese Community Theatre, once again this year donned his best Victorian garb. With his top hat, cane and overcoat, Hutt looked like he just stepped out of the pages of “Great Expectations” or “A Christmas Carol.”

The annual event kicks off the Christmas season at the north end of the lake. As part of the celebration, the day ended with a lighted parade and lighting of the Christmas tree in the courthouse square.

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Parents and children lined up to visit Santa's Workshop, stationed near the Lake County Museum. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Vendors offered a variety of wares, including authentic handspun goods. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Businesses opened their doors throughout the day and put out their best decorations. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



Colorful displays enticed visitors to do their holiday shopping early. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

NORTHSHORE – Friday's wet weather brought with it two serious crashes along the county's Northshore.

Three air ambulances were called to fly out three crash victims, according to Northshore Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Pat Brown.

The first collision, a head-on between two off highway vehicles, occurred just before 3:30 p.m. in the Deer Valley area along Elk Mountain Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Elk Mountain Road was closed until nearly 6:30 p.m. as Northshore Fire medics worked on the crash victims. Brown said two REACH air ambulances flew out both subjects.

The CHP reported that the crash victims suffered major injuries.

The second crash, involving a single vehicle, occurred just before 4 p.m. on Highway 20 at Hillside Lane near Clearlake Oaks, the CHP reported.

The vehicle went into a wall, and shortly afterward the CHP reported one of the two subjects in the car was reported to be out of vehicle and on the ground.

“Everybody's going too fast,” said Brown.

The roadway was closed for nearly a half-hour as the two crash victims were assisted by Northshore Fire, according to the CHP.

Brown said a female was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital via CalStar air ambulance.

The CHP later reported that the woman was transported to a hospital in Quincy because Santa Rosa Memorial's trauma rooms were full. Her injuries were reported at minor later in the evening, according to the CHP.

CHP reported another crash happened along westbound Highway 20 east of Upper Lake, when a single vehicle fishtailed and went off the roadway. Minor injuries were reported in that incident.

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LAKE COUNTY – County health officials reported Wednesday that vaccine to counter the H1N1 flu is slowly making its way into the county, but large vaccination clinics aren't likely to happen locally any time soon.

Lake County Health Services said that 9,000 doses have arrived in Lake County so far, and another 9,000 individual doses are expected in multiple shipments over the next two months.

So far, the H1N1 influenza has been the cause of one local man's death, as Lake County News has reported.

Lake County Health Officer Dr. Karen Tait said vaccinations for community members will continue to take place through a combination of local clinics, pharmacies and doctor’s offices as well as vaccination clinics targeting the highest risk groups, health officials reported.

“While we are happy to see this vaccine, it is not arriving in sufficient quantities at a given time to allow us to schedule mass vaccination clinics, which we had hoped to be doing before the end of the calendar year,” said Tait.

Instead, Tait recommended continuing the current strategy of working with local health providers to administer the vaccinations.

“By partnering with local health providers, we can continuously push this vaccine out to the public and can concentrate on first reaching those at highest risk for medical complications,” she said. “We are also able to vaccinate those who may expose patients, young babies, and others who are vulnerable to


The priority groups recommended for vaccination earliest include pregnant women, household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel, all people from 6 months through 24 years of age, and individuals aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.

One of the most challenging messages to get across is that persons 65 and over – usually one of the main targets for seasonal influenza vaccination – should plan on waiting until after these five target groups have been vaccinated, Tait reported.

The exception, according to Tait, would be for persons over 65 years old who fit into one of the defined groups, such as those who care for young infants. The risk for H1N1 infection in persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups.

Lake County Health Services reported that it is using its limited vaccine supplies to vaccinate people who fall into the target groups, including those who may otherwise have limited access to health services.

The Public Health division does not yet have sufficient vaccine to accommodate “all comers,” but will accept referrals of eligible individuals whose own doctors are unable to provide the vaccine, Tait reported.

In this case, the referral to Public Health should be made by the doctor’s office or clinic. Dr. Tait pointed out that everyone needs to have a “medical home” with a local health care provider, so this is an opportunity to get established with a local doctor.

Although influenza illness continues to be widespread throughout the county and the state, there are indications that it may be starting to taper off, Tait said. The trend will be clearer over the coming


“Even if flu activity does subside, we could experience additional waves of H1N1 over the coming months as well as the appearance of seasonal influenza strains later in the year,” Tait said. “However, I do feel optimistic that we are coping well with this pandemic and that we may have seen the worst. Of course, time will tell.”

The public should still continue to practice good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette (covering coughs and sneezes), and regular cleaning of frequently touched environmental surfaces, health officials said.

Vaccination against H1N1 influenza is recommended, as additional vaccine becomes available, regardless of when it arrives. Checking periodically with health providers for vaccine is recommended, yet patience is also needed as long as vaccine production lags behind demand, according to the health department.

For more information about H1N1, visit , , .

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