Thursday, 18 July 2024

News

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The home on Harbor Drive burned Sunday evening. Photo by Dwain Goforth.

 



KELSEYVILLE – A home was hit by fire Sunday in the Clear Lake Riviera.


The home, located on Harbor Drive, reportedly burned early Sunday evening, before 6 p.m., according to witnesses.


Kelseyville Fire and Cal Fire were among those responding to the fire, which was reported to have completely engulfed the two-story dwelling at one point.


Wind blew the smoke around the Riviera, which reportedly led to concern that other fires might be in the area.


No further information on the fire or the cause were available late Sunday.


Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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LAKEPORT – A man with a history of gang involvement was sentenced on Monday to more than seven years in prison for his part in a gang-related assault in 2006.


Judge Arthur Mann sentenced Donald Kirk Horne, 32, of Nice to seven years, four months in state prison for participating in a gang-related assault, evading a police officer and driving under the influence, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff, who prosecuted the case. Defense attorney Doug Rhoades represented Horne.


On June 3, 2006, Horne and several other members of a documented local Sureno gang, the Street Villians – also known as STV – approached a 28-year-old male near the Prestige Tattoo shop in Lakeport, according to investigation reports and witness accounts. Horne and the other gang members reportedly stated they were “Street Villians,” and all of them attacked the victim by punching and kicking him.


Hinchcliff said when the victim's 19-year-old girlfriend attempted to stop the attack by pulling Horne away from the victim, Horne punched her numerous times in the face and head.


According to the victims, Horne and other gang members had approached both victims in the Bruno's parking lot six months earlier, flashed gang signs, claimed to be Street Villians, and challenged the victim to fight.


An independent witness who was standing about 20 feet from the assault corroborated the victim's statements, Hinchcliff said.


The assault was investigated by Norm Taylor, a gang expert with the Lakeport Police Department. Taylor confirmed that Horne was a documented gang member with a prior history of gang-related criminal activity.


Horne also was charged with felony evading a peace officer and driving under the influence of alcohol.


According to investigation reports, on May 30 CHP Officer Kory Reynolds observed Horne speeding on Highway 29 near Kelseyville. When Reynolds attempted to pull Horne over, Horne tried to evade him by driving approximately 80 miles per hour on Highland Springs Road.


During the pursuit, Horne failed to negotiate a turn and rolled the vehicle over, leaving his passenger hanging upside down in the vehicle, according to Hinchcliff's report. Horne then attempted to convince officers that someone else was driving. It was determined Horne was driving under the influence of alcohol he had consumed after a softball game.


On June 16 Horne pleaded guilty to felony evading, misdemeanor DUI, and a felony charge of actively participating in a criminal street gang and promoting, furthering and assisting in felony conduct by gang members, said Hinchcliff.


In addition, Horne admitted having suffered a prior "strike" conviction in October 2000 for participating in a criminal street gang and assault on another person causing serious bodily injury. The prior strike conviction serves to double the sentence imposed for a new felony.


That 2000 conviction was for an assault on July 4 of the previous year, when Horne and the Street Villains jumped a group of young men they thought were Nortenos in Lakeport. The young men turned out to be visitors, according to a previous report from Lt. Brad Rasmussen. One of the men was significantly injured.


At sentencing on Monday, Horne asked the court to sentence him to less than the upper term in prison. Hinchcliff, in turn, asked the court to sentence Horne to the upper term because of his extensive criminal history, extensive background in gang-related activity and for the protection of the public.


Judge Mann sentenced Horne to the upper term, doubled for the prior “strike” conviction, for a total term of seven years, four months in prison.


Because of the prior strike conviction, Horne will be required to serve at least 80 percent of that time, rather than the usual 50 percent after good time and work time credits, said Hinchcliff.


Horne, Hinchcliff said, will be sent to San Quentin for processing and assignment to a prison for the remainder of his sentence.


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KELSEYVILLE – A motorcycle crash on Soda Bay Road Sunday night claimed the life of one person and injured another.


The crash occurred shortly after 10 p.m. in front of Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Two riders were involved, however it was not clear in the preliminary report if they were riding together on one bike or were riding separately.


CHP, Lake County Sheriff's deputies and fire responded to the scene. Shortly after 10:30 p.m. officials determined one of the riders had died.


The surviving rider was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by REACH air ambulance, which used Riviera Elementary School as a landing zone, officials reported.


CHP sent an officer to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital to oversee a blood draw on the surviving rider.


The names of the injured rider and the crash victim were not available Sunday night.


Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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LUCERNE – A late-night motorcycle collision left one subject with major injuries.


The crash occurred at about 11:41 p.m. at Fourth and Country Club in Lucerne, according to a California Highway Patrol report.


A speeding motorcycle crashed into a pickup, leaving the rider – who was reportedly not wearing a helmet – with major head, shoulder and leg injuries, officials reported.


The rider was reported by CHP to have been found unconscious, but later was in a semi-conscious state.


A blood draw was ordered for the motorcycle rider, whose name was not available before publication.


A REACH helicopter was called to transport the rider to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The helicopter maneuvered down into town to pick up the rider, and flew out to Santa Rosa before 12:30 a.m.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Red Cross volunteers Al Phillips of Petaluma and Ken Reynoldson of Gualala prepare to deploy to a pre-staging area in San Antonio, Texas, in advance of Hurricane Gustav. The trained volunteers will join hundreds of others who are getting ready to help those in needs after the hurricane hits. Photo by Ellen Maremont Silver/American Red Cross, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.

 



SANTA ROSA – American Red Cross chapters in the greater Bay Area have activated disaster response teams and Emergency Response Vehicles to assist with preparations for Tropical Storm Gustav.


The storm is poised to enter the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane this weekend, and early next week could affect Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.


Approximately 40 volunteers and three Emergency Response Vehicles are being deployed from the greater Bay Area through the weekend.


Volunteers from Sonoma-Mendocino Chapters, the Bay Area, Palo Alto area and Santa Clara Valley are en route to Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, where the Red Cross is staging personnel and hundreds of mobile feeding trucks along with supplies before landfall to assist with any necessary relief efforts in the threatened areas. The Red Cross is preparing to assist residents in the storm’s path with shelters, food and emotional support.


The volunteers will be serving by providing evacuated residents with a safe place to stay, food and counseling services both before and after the storm makes landfall.


Alan Phillips of Petaluma and Kenneth Reynoldson of Gualala were the first two local, trained Red Cross volunteers to deploy to San Antonio, in the southern part of the state. That’s the staging area for the Red Cross, where hundreds of volunteers from around the country will prepare in advance of the potential disaster.


Phillips and Reynoldson don’t know yet where their work will take them, since it depends on where the storm does the most damage and who needs Red Cross assistance. Both will be working on the job for three weeks, the standard length for Red Cross disaster deployments. The two men have both served on numerous national Red Cross assignments.


The volunteers know they will be facing what the Red Cross terms a “hardship assignment.” That can take many forms; in this case, they can expect high heat and humidity, power outages, sleeping in shelters and food shortages that may make their work more difficult.


Should evacuations occur, Red Cross volunteers will be working with residents in affected areas to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Web site at www.redcross.org.


Bay Area and North Coast residents who are concerned about family members and friends in the affected area can search for information by entering the telephone number and address of their loved ones on the Web site.


The Web site also is equipped to receive donations from those who want to offer monetary support to the Red Cross, which provides its disaster assistance free of charge.


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LOWER LAKE – A vehicle crash early Monday morning resulted in at least one person being seriously injured.


The California Highway Patrol reported that the crash occurred on Spruce Grove Road a mile and a half east of Highway 29 at Lower Lake at about 12:18 a.m.


A single vehicle collided with a tree and overturned in the middle of the road, CHP reported.


Three people were involved, with one of them hurt badly, according to the CHP.


Cal Fire was requested and REACH was called to transport the crash victim to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The subject transported to the hospital was reported to be Brian Inglewood.


No further information on injuries or the identities of the other victims involved was available early Monday morning before publication.


Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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As you begin to read this you must understand that I am a “world famous” (I use the term loosely, hence the quotes) sushi aficionado. When the head instructor of an American sushi training school read my book he admitted that even he learned some new facts, so when people started asking me if I’ve ever eaten at Watercolors Restaurant on Sushi Sunday I thought, “They’d be doomed.” After all, I can look at the ball of rice from a piece of Japanese-made sushi and tell you at what school the person who made it was trained.


Once in a popular Santa Rosa sushi bar I wrote on my bill, “Worst sushi I have ever had! And I’ve eaten sushi in South Korea!” I’ve even got into an argument with one sushi bar owner when I told him his spider roll was made out of substitute ingredients and contained no actual crab in it at all. So when it comes to sushi, I’m a pedantic eater.


My daughter wanted sushi and she’s a spoiled little girl, so she was going to get sushi. Since I was able to sample some excellent things from Watercolors Restaurant during the “A Taste of Lakeport” event last week I thought it was a good time to check them out.


When we arrived at Watercolors Restaurant at the Ferndale Resort my first thought as I walked in was how elegant it looked. The room seats about 35 to 40 people, and has a fine, clean-looking interior, white tablecloths, beautiful stemware and candles on every table. Not to mention the view from the dining room overlooks the lake. I was impressed so far. My second thought was, “I’m too ugly to ever work here; every man and woman on staff is gorgeous. As of right now, I’m the least attractive person in the room!” My waitress Holly, for example, looked like she must be a waitress by day and jet-setting supermodel by night.


We were seated at a very comfortable table, and the host graciously welcomed us and asked if we were familiar with their Sushi Sunday menu. He said their regular menu was scaled down so they could provide the sushi menu ... get it? Scaled down, scales, fish, sushi ...? The host wasn’t trying to be clever, he hadn’t even thought of it that way, but it struck me as funny.


Another thing about the staff is that they were Johnny-on-the-spot when I wanted something; water is refilled before the glass is even empty, you raise one eyebrow at a staff member and they are right at your side to assist you (really, I did that). When Holly mistakenly mentioned to my wife the risotto that wasn’t even available at the time, the kitchen offered to make it for her anyway. Keep in mind that we’re here anonymously, they don’t know I’m going to review this seating; this is how they treat everyone! So now I started thinking, OK, maybe they aren’t actually “doomed.”


My daughter and I ordered the rainbow roll, Philadelphia roll, spider roll, ahi tuna roll, and one order each of the available nigiri, hamachi (yellowtail), unagi (freshwater eel), ahi (tuna), sake (salmon) and smoked salmon. Yes, when I eat sushi it’s a marathon, not a sprint. My wife had ... I don’t know, something pasta, not the risotto. She didn’t get into the sushi spirit with us. Italians ... their obsession with cooking their seafood, don’tcha know.


Let me say this, unagi is one of the types of sushi that gets people to wrinkle their noses: “Eel!?” Eel isn’t loved in America as it is in the rest of the world, but it ends up being a favorite for most people after they actually try it. Grilled and served still warm with a thick teriyaki-type sauce (called tsume). If you want to try unagi, then definitely try Watercolors’ unagi. It was perfect ... yes, perfect! It is the exact taste, temperature, amount of sauce and size that it should be. It was so good that when my daughter was eating it she was making noises that no father wants to ever hear his daughter making, if you get my meaning.


The rolls were all made with good creativity. The ends of the rolls were decorated with kaiware (daikon radish sprouts), and there was a clever addition of a basil sauce on some of the plates and a chile aioli on others. These are not traditional Japanese sauces, but they worked very well.


The ahi roll was served with an impressive, nay, decadent amount of tobiko (flying fish eggs). The spider roll is much smaller than you would expect if you have had them in big cities but it is much easier to eat than those cartoon-like giant rolls you would get in other sushi bars (besides my daughter has never been able to eat a spider roll due to their mythic size so this ended up to be a good thing). And all of the sushi was served with the typical side of wasabi (horseradish) and gari (pickled ginger), nicely presented on the plate.


One thing I noticed which was surprising is that the rainbow roll actually contains – get this – REAL CRAB! Not those rubbery imitation “krab” sticks that most sushi bars use. Called “surimi” in the industry, they contain no actual crab in them. Why am I telling you this? You don’t need to have this information since Watercolors uses REAL CRAB!


The nigiri tasted good and most people will absolutely love it; the percentage of fish to rice is the perfect combination and my nose wasn’t scorched out with wasabi. But I’ll admit if I were to show it to an itamae (expert sushi chef), we’d both giggle before making some joke about the knife skills of troglodytes.


In sushi tsu (expert) circles, a piece of nigiri is like a resume; not only does the shape of the rice ball tell you things about the chef’s training but the way the fish is sliced also tells you about the chef’s background. Looking at a selection of sushi from a classically trained sushi chef, a tsu can tell you where he was trained and even what part of the country he is from. It’s like ordering barbecue in the United States; each region is unique in certain ways.


So I’ll happily admit I was being somewhat trivial about the knife work on the nigiri, and my wife even commented that there are probably only a handful of people in the entire state that can tell a person’s history from looking at a slice of cold, dead fish. On the one hand it’s not expertly sliced, but on the other hand it didn’t take anything away from the taste of the meal. It’s just this food snob’s only detraction from an otherwise excellent meal. A person doesn’t get to know as much about sushi as I do and not have some fun with it, so don’t take my troglodyte joke too seriously.


I’ll give you a little dining tip to use at Watercolors (I hope they approve). They have little bread dishes on the table for the complementary bread, and don’t let that plate get away from you. Although they will bring you a small dish to pour your soy sauce in, don’t use it. The dish they bring you is like a sake cup, too deep to use effectively but the little bread plate is perfect. Just drip about four drops of soy sauce on the plate and use as needed; when you need more pour a few more drops on the plate.


This is actually the sign of a more experienced sushi eater. People who fill bowls with tablespoons of soy sauce and dunk their sushi like a cop dunking his donut in a cup of coffee are thought of as dilettantes to sushi tsu. If you want to look like a savvy sushi eater use only a few drops of soy sauce at a time (soy sauce in sushi tsu speak is called miruzaki).


When we were finished eating my daughter looked like a python that had just swallowed a goat; you knew she wasn’t going to be moving for a long time. She sat there saying, “It was soooo good but I can’t move now.”


Prices are exactly what you would expect for sushi and they didn’t cause me to flinch at all. We will definitely return. I won’t lie to you and say it’s world class sushi but it is dangskrabinjabit good sushi (as a person that doesn’t swear I thought that was a good expletive). This brings up a predicament for me, do I continue eating sushi there over and over again or do I return to review their daily menu? Once again, it’s a tough life.


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.


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LAKE COUNTY – The number of driving-related deaths on the state's highways dropped to the lowest level in California history in 2007, officials reported Thursday.


Also showing a slowdown are the number of local deaths on roadways, according to the California Highway Patrol.


With Labor Day weekend about to begin, officials with the CHP, Caltrans, Office of Traffic Safety, Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Department of Motor Vehicles gathered in the state capital on Thursday to commemorate the “Holiday Death Count” also known as the Maximum Enforcement Period.


The Holiday Death Count is a grim reminder of the deaths that occur each year on state roadways.


This year, however, the annual observance brings with it a hopeful message – people are dying on California roadways at a lower rate than has ever been previously recorded.


That finding is based on the CHP's Mileage Death Rate, which looks at the number of people killed per 100 million miles driven on state roadways.


For 2007, the Mileage Death Rate was 1.18 deaths per 100 million miles driven, down from 1.27 deaths per 100 million miles driven in 2006, CHP reported.


There were 3,967 people killed in collisions on California roadways in 2007, CHP reported, compared to 4,197 in 2006 and 4,304 in 2005.


In Lake County, CHP reported there were 17 fatalities in 2007, down from 20 in 2006. In 2005, there had been 13 deaths. The county's population was listed at 64,059 as of Jan. 1, a 0.5-percent increase over 2007.


Business, Transportation and Housing Agency Secretary Dale E. Bonner said the numbers were the result of a successful partnership between the state’s traffic safety professionals at all levels of government, the news media and the general public. “It proves we can change behavior for the better if we all work together,” he said.


The Mileage Death Rate for 2007 is about one-tenth of what it was in 1933, when California's population was nearly six million. Figures released in May by California's Department of Finance put the state's population at just over 38 million as of Jan. 1, 2008.


Had the numbers kept pace with the state's population growth, there would be a many as 160 traffic deaths each Labor Day weekend, said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.


The three major causes of fatal crashes in California are speeding, not wearing a seat belt and driving under the influence, CHP reported. Those factors have been the focus of aggressive enforcement and education by traffic safety organizations during the past several years.


Office of Traffic Safety Director Christopher J. Murphy said it wasn't a coincidence that the Mileage Death Rate dropped at the same time that the state had a reduction in alcohol-related crashes.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reported on Thursday that its 2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities showed that 32 states – among them California – had decreases in the number of deaths on roadways attributed to driving under the influence, as compared to 2006.


In the 1940s, the state Legislature gave the CHP a mandate to compile traffic collision data. That became the Holiday Death Count.


As part of the effort to address the alarming numbers of driving-related deaths during holidays, in 1948 the CHP's first commissioner, Clifford Peterson, created the Maximum Enforcement Period to increase safety on the roadways.


Since the count began, the numbers of fatal crashes have shown a general decline, despite the state's large population increase and increasing number of miles driven, CHP reported.


“We believe this is due not only to safety improvements in the vehicles, but also the added public awareness combined with the increased enforcement,” said CHP Deputy Commissioner Skip Carter. “As a result, thousands of lives have been saved over the past 60 years.”


Officials said the area of motorcycle fatalities still has room for “considerable improvement,” as the number of registered riders and crashes have bucked the downward trend and are climbing.


“With more riders on the road, we continue to emphasize safe driving practices for new and veteran motorcycle riders,” stated Department of Motor Vehicles Deputy Director of Licensing Operations, Mimi Khan. “We are reaching out to folks and urging them to take it slow as they learn to ride.”


Likewise, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as part of its Motorcycle Safety Program, reminds motorists to keep watch for motorcycles, which are smaller and can therefore be harder to see.


This weekend, CHP will hold one of its six annual Maximum Enforcement Periods in an effort to keep fatality numbers down.


Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and lasting through midnight on Monday, up to 80 percent of CHP officers will be on the roads to monitor driving activity and look for speeders, people driving under the influence and those not wearing their seat belts.


Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) also will be in force this weekend, with extra patrols on interstate highways including I-5 and I-80.


CHP reported that it also plans to increase its educational outreach and enforcement efforts to ensure that all motorists safely share the road.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Dustin Scott of Scotts Valley 4-H earned $400.00 for his grand champion turkey; he's pictured here maneuvering his turkey toward the auction ring. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

 

 

 

 



LAKEPORT – Future Farmers of America and 4-H members from around Lake County wrapped up a year of livestock projects at the annual Junior Livestock Auction.


The event was held Saturday afternoon at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lakeport. It's part of the annual Lake County Fair, which runs through this weekend.


Auction officials reported there were approximately 282 lots in this year's auction, the proceeds of which many young people put toward education and other goals.


Full results and auction tallies will be published as soon as they are prepared.


The Lake County Fair wraps up Sunday evening.


E-mail Harold LaBonte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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Kylie Hill of Big Valley and her two white grand champion chickens, which sold for $500. Later in the auction Kylie auctioned her reserve grand champion steer, which weighed in at 1,225 pounds. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

 

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A large crowd gathered for the annual auction Saturday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 


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Two youngsters enjoy a ride on on Friday, August 29. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

 



LAKEPORT – The Lake County Fair was in full swing on Friday, as county residents and visitors stopped in to enjoy the event's numerous offerings.


The fair runs through Sunday night.


On Saturday, the gates open at 11 a.m.


A fair highlight on Saturday will be the annual Junior Livestock Auction, which begins at 1 p.m.


The auction is expected to offer around 230 lots of prize winning livestock, poultry, and rabbits for potential buyers from throughout Northern California. A registered buyer's luncheon immediately precedes the sale at 10:30 a.m.


In recent years, the sale has been split into two sales rings which operate at the same time, making for a total sale length of around three and a half hours and providing buyers with plenty of time to visit the rest of the Lake County Fair.


An average of around 230 lots have been offered for a number of years, and the 2007 total auction proceeds were slightly more than $275,000.


"It's a real indication that the community supports youth programs like 4-H and the Future Farmers of America," said Fair Chief Executive Officer Richard Persons, adding that the programs teach kids about agriculture, which is Lake County's largest economic sector, and about teamwork, sportsmanship, honor and responsibility.


Persons said they hope to set a new record this year, in excess of $300,000. “Many of these kids save the money for college or other educational efforts, and eventually return to Lake County to become farmers and ranchers, so in the long run the whole community benefits,” he said.


On Saturday evening, an X-Style Motorcycle High Jump Show will take place at the grandstands. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.


On Sunday the fair will hold Seniors Day, with seniors 60 and over admitted all day at the discounted price of $4. Gates open at 11 a.m. Sunday. Seniors are advised to visit early in the day before the evening crowds become hard to negotiate.


The grandstand show on Sunday evening, beginning at 7:30 p.m., will be the WGAS Motorsports Tuff Truck and ATV Races.

 

Regular admission prices for the 2008 Lake County Fair are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 11. Children under 6 years old are admitted free every day.

 

 

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The colorful fair midway entertained visitors on Friday, August 29. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

 

 

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A sidewalk magician entertains visitors with some sleight of hand on Friday, August 29. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

 

 

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Visitors crowded into the fair on the evening of Friday, August 29. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

 

 

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The fair midway on Friday, August 29, from the top of the slide. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

 

 

 

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LAKE COUNTY – Lake County officials reported Thursday that another mosquito sample found locally has tested positive for West Nile Virus, and they're asking county residents to be especially vigilant in taking precautions to deal with mosquitoes over the holiday weekend.


The Lake County Vector Control District and Lake County Health Services reported that they received confirmation that the third mosquito sample collected in Lake County, this time near Upper Lake on Aug. 18, showed the presence of West Nile Virus.


The two previous positive mosquito samples were from Lakeport, as Lake County News reported earlier this month.


So far this year, 1,101 West Nile-infected mosquito samples have been reported statewide, with nearly 300 of those found in Los Angeles County, according to the state's West Nile Virus Web site.


There have been 103 human cases in 13 counties – more than half in Los Angeles and Orange counties combined, the state reported. No human cases have been reported in Lake County.


In addition, 1,456 dead birds, 109 sentinel chickens, 10 squirrels and five horses have been infected with the disease across California. Lake County has had no reports of any of those animals being infected.


West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes to a variety of animals and to humans. Mosquito and vector control agencies usually detect the virus in mosquitoes, birds and sometimes tree squirrels before human cases appear, according to the Thursday report.


The best way to stay healthy during West Nile virus season is to prevent exposure to mosquito bites, local officials said Thursday. West Nile virus is present throughout most of California, so if you plan to be outside, use a mosquito repellent.


Lake County Health Officer Dr. Karen Tait said that, when properly used, mosquito repellents that have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are safe and effective. She added that people should not rely on products that have not been scientifically tested.


Dr. Jamesina Scott, district manager and research director for the Lake County Vector Control District, said the agency is working hard to reduce the risk of mosquito bites and West Nile virus to Lake County residents and visitors.


However, there's one area they need help – and that's with finding backyard water sources like neglected swimming pools or ornamental ponds that can be mosquito breeding grounds, Scott said.


“Mosquitoes are easy to control in these habitats if we know where they are. Just one neglected swimming pool can produce thousands of mosquitoes per day, and cause problems for an entire neighborhood,” she explained.


The message local health officials emphasize to residents is the need to drain standing water sources around homes that may breed mosquitoes. People also need to protect themselves with long sleeves or an effective repellent during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.


Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not show symptoms and will recover uneventfully, officials reported. Up to 20 percent of people will develop fever, headache and other nonspecific symptoms that may last several weeks. Approximately one in 150 people will develop severe illness known as neuroinvasive disease. People over age 50 and diabetics appear to be at most risk for the more severe forms of disease.


While there is no human West Nile Virus vaccine, very good equine vaccines are available and officials strongly recommended having horses vaccinated because the disease is potentially fatal for the animals. When West Nile Virus first hit the state several years ago, hundreds of horses died or were euthanized in the disease's initial peak years in California.


Residents can request service, get mosquitofish, or report neglected swimming pools to Lake County Vector Control District at 263-4770 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


To report a dead bird or squirrel, call 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or visit the California Department of Public Health’s West Nile virus website at www.westnile.ca.gov.


For additional information on West Nile virus, visit www.westnile.ca.gov, www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factsheet.htm or www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/RepellentUpdates.htm.


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