Wednesday, 22 May 2024


MOFFETT Field, Calif. – NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., has entered into a five-year Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreement with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) to use NASA technology and capabilities to help support the management and mitigation of wildfire disasters.

“The two entities have had an ad-hoc partnership for the last 25 years and this agreement formalizes our working relationship and allows the two agencies to explore new and exciting technology developments and capabilities that support the needs of the people of California,” said Vince Ambrosia, NASA Ames principal investigator and senior scientist of the collaborative effort.

“Cal Fire is proud to formalize its partnership with NASA,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of Cal Fire. “Under this agreement we will cooperatively explore the use and future transfer of advanced fire sensing technology. This in turn, will benefit the public we serve by helping CAL FIRE increase situational awareness and response efficiency.”

NASA has developed an innovative visible, infrared and thermal sensor called the NASA Autonomous Modular Scanner (AMS).

The scanner has operated on both NASA’s Ikhana Predator B Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and the manned NASA B200 King Air both operated by the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards, Calif.

The scanner provides real-time wildfire imaging data over large-scale disaster events in the western United States and particularly in California.

The innovations include performing all processing on-board the aircraft autonomously and relaying the information through a satellite communications system to disaster managers located anywhere in the world.

The system performed flawlessly during several major wildfire events in southern California in 2007 and during the lightning fires in Northern California in 2008.

Those missions were flown aboard the NASA Ikhana UAV. More recently, the team has focused on integration and operation of the sensor aboard the manned B200 King Air aircraft.

“The B200 has more rapid response capability than the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The exciting element is that we have the ability to use different platforms as the mission requirements change,” Ambrosia said.

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LAKEPORT, Calif. – On Monday the Lake County District Attorney's Office dropped murder charges against a Clearlake man in connection with a fatal September 2009 shooting.

Michael Gil Truscott, 31, was arrested in October 2009 for the shooting death of 30-year-old Anthony Cruz on Sept. 4, 2009, as Lake County News has reported.

But on Monday the case was dismissed, according to Stephen Carter, Truscott's defense attorney from the Carter & Carter Law Offices in Lower Lake.

“That means that the District Attorney's Office has realized that they cannot prove their case based on the witnesses and investigation they have to date,” Carter said.

Carter added, “Without going into detail, it is safe to say the prosecution had some huge witness credibility issues to overcome.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff said that the case is not going to be closed, and that the investigation is continuing.

“Since charges were originally filed, we conducted an extensive amount of investigation that has resulted in other information that we were previously unaware of,” he said.

Because of that information, Hinchcliff said the District Attorney's Office didn't believe it could convince 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Truscott committed the charged offenses.

“We've come to the point where if we take this to trial now, we believe there's a strong likelihood that we're going to lose this case,” he said.

If that were to happen, jeopardy attaches, and Truscott couldn't be recharged in the future, Hinchcliff said.

Hinchcliff said that, because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, he couldn't discuss other possible suspects.

Cruz was at the window of his Spruce Avenue home in Clearlake when he was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to police reports.

Clearlake Police Department investigators alleged that Cruz was confronting someone in his yard who was allegedly stealing marijuana from him when he was fatally shot.

Carter said marijuana trimmings were recovered at the scene, but a firearm was never located.

Truscott was arrested and charged based in part on a confrontation he allegedly had with Cruz in public several weeks before the shooting, Carter said. It was alleged that Cruz beat Truscott severely during that fight.

When Truscott was located and arrested a month and a half after the shooting he was in a state prison in Tracy on a parole violation.

Truscott was placed on a parole hold as a result of prior convictions against him and booked into the Lake County Jail on Nov. 23, 2009, where he has remained since on $1 million bail.

Carmen Walsh, a 40-year-old Clearlake resident, was arrested as an accessory after the fact in the homicide. Deputy District Attorney John DeChaine said the case against Walsh was dismissed on Nov. 6, 2009, due to lack of evidence.

DeChaine also wouldn't comment further on the case, noting, “The investigation had not stopped since the night Mr. Cruz was killed.”

The dismissal came about a month before the case's jury trial – which had been expected to last eight weeks – was set to begin, Carter said.

Carter said he was pleased with the result. “My view has always been that the state of the evidence was such that this case was going to end in either a dismissal or an acquittal at jury trial,” and it was a good decision to save potential jurors the time and expense of a lengthy trial.

On Monday morning Truscott remained in custody at the Hill Road Correctional Facility in Lakeport. A remaining violation of probation charge also was handled Monday and Truscott was released from custody by day's end.

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This van narrowly missed going into Clear Lake near Lucerne, Calif., after its tire blew as it was being driven along Highway 20. Photo by Gary McAuley.


LUCERNE, Calif. – The driver and a passenger in a van that ended up on rocks near the lakeshore Tuesday evening escaped injury.

The crash occurred on Highway 20 just east of Lucerne shortly after 5 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

The driver was heading eastbound when the right front tire on the white van blew, according to reports from the scene.

When the van left the pavement and hit the shoulder, the soft earth pulled it from the roadway and onto the rocks on the shoreline, about 8 feet below.

The CHP, Lake County Sheriff's Office and Northshore Fire Protection District responded to the scene.

At the scene the driver and lone passenger denied injury and remained on scene viewing the recovery of the vehicle by the tow company.

The crash caused the roadway to be shut down for a brief time.

Gary McAuley contributed to this report.

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From left, Candy May Henderson and Theresa Anne Blakesley were arrested on Sunday, December 12, 2010, after the women fought with Lake County Sheriff's deputies who responded to a noise disturbance in Glenhaven, Calif. Lake County Jail photos.


GLENHAVEN, Calif. – A report of a disturbance early Sunday morning at the Glenhaven Beach Resort resulted in the arrest of two Glenhaven women.

Candy May Henderson, 45, and 25-year-old Theresa Anne Blakesley were taken into custody after they both fought with deputies, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Bauman said deputies responded to the trailer park at about 6:20 a.m. Dec. 12 when the park manager reported multiple complaints from other tenants of yelling and banging coming from Henderson's home.

On the deputies' arrival, one deputy was confronted by Henderson in the doorway of her trailer. Bauman said Henderson was highly agitated, reportedly yelling and cussing at the deputy with her hands clenched into fists, and pointing a large hunting knife at the deputy.

The deputy backed away from the woman and, at gunpoint, ordered her several times to drop the knife, Bauman said.

Henderson eventually dropped the knife but as the deputy started ordering her to her knees to be handcuffed, she suddenly stood up and charged the deputy, Bauman reported.

Bauman said Henderson was pushed to the ground and as another deputy arrived to help control her, she fought with both deputies, punching and kicking them until one deployed his Taser and she was taken into custody.

As Henderson was being taken to a patrol car, the other deputy checked the trailer for other occupants and found Blakesley pacing around inside, Bauman said.

Blakesley initially refused to exit the trailer and kept reaching into her purse for some reason. Bauman said she eventually was talked out of the trailer but then began fighting violently with the deputy as he tried to detain her.

Bauman said both deputies struggled with Blakesley as she fought to escape but after another Taser deployment, she too was taken into custody.

Both women were booked at the Lake County Jail, Bauman said.

Henderson was charged with felony brandishing of a weapon and misdemeanor charges of battery on a peace officer and resisting arrest, Bauman reported, while Blakesley was charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest.

Neither the suspects or the deputies involved in the incident were injured and there was no apparent explanation for the initial disturbance or the behavior of the two women when they were contacted by deputies, Bauman said.

Both women remained in custody Monday night, according to Lake County Jail records.

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A Geminid fireball explodes over the Mojave Desert in 2009. Credit: Wally Pacholka / / TWAN.



The Geminid meteor shower, which peaks this year on Dec. 13 and 14, is the most intense meteor shower of the year. It lasts for days, is rich in fireballs, and can be seen from almost any point on Earth.

It's also NASA astronomer Bill Cooke's favorite meteor shower—but not for any of the reasons listed above.

“The Geminids are my favorite,” he explains, “because they defy explanation.”

Most meteor showers come from comets, which spew ample meteoroids for a night of “shooting stars.” The Geminids are different. The parent is not a comet but a weird rocky object named 3200 Phaethon that sheds very little dusty debris – not nearly enough to explain the Geminids.

“Of all the debris streams Earth passes through every year, the Geminids' is by far the most massive,” says Cooke. “When we add up the amount of dust in the Geminid stream, it outweighs other streams by factors of 5 to 500.”

This makes the Geminids the 900-lb gorilla of meteor showers. Yet 3200 Phaethon is more of a 98-lb weakling.

In 1983, 3200 Phaethon was discovered by NASA's IRAS satellite and promptly classified as an asteroid.

What else could it be? It did not have a tail; its orbit intersected the main asteroid belt; and its colors strongly resembled that of other asteroids. Indeed, 3200 Phaethon resembles main belt asteroid Pallas so much, it might be a 5-kilometer chip off that 544 km block.

“If 3200 Phaethon broke apart from asteroid Pallas, as some researchers believe, then Geminid meteoroids might be debris from the breakup,” speculated Cooke. “But that doesn't agree with other things we know.”

Researchers have looked carefully at the orbits of Geminid meteoroids and concluded that they were ejected from 3200 Phaethon when Phaethon was close to the sun – not when it was out in the asteroid belt breaking up with Pallas.

The eccentric orbit of 3200 Phaethon brings it well inside the orbit of Mercury every 1.4 years. The rocky body thus receives a regular blast of solar heating that might boil jets of dust into the Geminid stream.

Could this be the answer?

To test the hypothesis, researchers turned to NASA's twin STEREO spacecraft, which are designed to study solar activity.




An artist's concept of an impact event on Pallas. Credit: B. E. Schmidt and S. C. Radcliffe of UCLA.



Coronagraphs onboard STEREO can detect sungrazing asteroids and comets, and in June 2009 they detected 3200 Phaethon only 15 solar diameters from the sun's surface.

What happened next surprised UCLA planetary scientists David Jewitt and Jing Li, who analyzed the data. “3200 Phaethon unexpectedly brightened by a factor of two,” they wrote. “The most likely explanation is that Phaethon ejected dust, perhaps in response to a break-down of surface rocks (through thermal fracture and decomposition cracking of hydrated minerals) in the intense heat of the Sun.”

Jewett and Li's “rock comet” hypothesis is compelling, but they point out a problem: The amount of dust 3200 Phaethon ejected during its 2009 sun-encounter added a mere 0.01 percent to the mass of the Geminid debris stream – not nearly enough to keep the stream replenished over time. Perhaps the rock comet was more active in the past …?

“We just don't know,” said Cooke. “Every new thing we learn about the Geminids seems to deepen the mystery.”

This month Earth will pass through the Geminid debris stream, producing as many as 120 meteors per hour over dark-sky sites. The best time to look is probably between local midnight and sunrise on Tuesday, Dec. 14, when the Moon is low and the constellation Gemini is high overhead, spitting bright Geminids across a sparkling starry sky.

Bundle up, go outside, and savor the mystery.

Dr. Tony Phillips works for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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The path of 3200 Phaethon through STEREO's HI-1A coronagraph camera. False-color green and blue streamers come from the sun. Courtesy of NASA.

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast) on Tuesday introduced legislation that seeks to ensure local law enforcement agencies, especially in rural areas, remain fully funded and don’t become a victim of budget cuts.

The Local Safety and Protection Account, a special account that funds a number of local public safety services – including the Rural Sheriffs Program – that are crucial to local law enforcement and help county district attorneys prosecute cases, is scheduled to end on June 30, 2010.

Chesbro’s AB 9 X1 and AB 66 would ensure this important funding continues so that our communities can remain safe.

“This funding is vitally important to local law enforcement programs, especially in rural California,” said Chesbro, who represents a vast district in far Northern California comprised of rural communities. “It represents the majority of state funding to local public safety. Sheriffs in the First Assembly District tell me that losing this funding will devastate law enforcement services in their counties.”

The funding means about $500,000 per year to sheriff’s departments eligible to participate in the Rural Sheriffs Program.

Six to 10 patrol positions will be eliminated from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department alone without extending the funding for Local Safety and Protection Account, said incoming Sheriff Mike Downey.

“Without this funding it will decimate our patrol force,” Downey said. “There will be a direct impact on the number of deputies we can put on the street. Our law enforcement to outlying areas will cease to exist.”

“This bill is the most significant piece of legislation that I’ve seen in the past four years,” added Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman. “Assemblymember Chesbro understands the seriousness of the situation and has stepped up to be a friend of law enforcement.”

Principal coauthors of this legislation are Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani and Senators Michael J. Rubio and Lois Wolk.

Coauthors are Assemblymembers Bill Monning, V. Manuel Pérez, Steven Bradford, Jose Solario, Norma Torres, Bob Wieckowski and Mariko Yamada and Sen. Noreen Evans.

The legislation is supported by the California State Sheriffs Association, California Police Chiefs Association, California Peace Officers Association, Chief Probation Officers Of California, California Narcotic Officers Association, California District Attorneys Association, California Coalition Of Law Enforcement Associations, California Fraternal Order Of Police and Peace Officers Research Association Of California.


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The long-awaited study on gays in the military serving openly not only takes the pulse of the force on the issue – concluding change can occur with little risk to readiness – but also details how it will work in practice.

The report came out earlier this month, just ahead of the Senate vote that determined “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” will remain in place, at least for the time being.

Will service members with same-sex partners qualify for the higher “with dependents” housing allowance rate? No.

Will same-sex partners qualify for military health coverage? No.

What if a gay couple is legally married in a state allowing such unions?

Still no, because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage, for federal program purposes, as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” and defines “spouse” to mean “a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

Because this law bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, it also that blocks spousal benefits for gay partners across hundreds of federal programs including many military benefits. There are, however, active court challenges.

Will service members with same-sex partners be eligible for on-base family housing? Legally, that could be allowed. It is already is for gay civilian employees working for some federal agencies. But the study advises against opening military base housing to such arrangements.

Will gay members be able to designate partners as beneficiaries of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and federal Thrift Savings Plans? Yes.

Will same-sex partners be eligible for base shopping, family support programs, legal assistance, space-available travel and relocation assistance when members move to new assignments?

Some of these benefits could be allowed. It will depend on how the Department of Defense and the services define “dependent” and “family member” for benefit eligibility. For now, if gays are allowed to serve openly, the report recommends that regulations not be revised to benefit same-sex partners, at least “for the time being.”

“Other federal agencies are managing this by establishing a domestic partner status for same-sex partners, through an affidavit or other evidence of the relationship,” the report says. “Within the military community, where benefits are much more prominent and visible…administering such a system distracts from the military’s core mission and runs counter to the Secretary of Defense’s basic direction that implementation of a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell be done in a way that minimizes disruption to the force.”

Will members who identify themselves as gay have to use separate bathroom and shower facilities? Absolutely not, though the report acknowledges privacy concerns will become a bigger leadership challenge.


Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Army Europe, and DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson, led the nine-month examination of the impact of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the law that for 17 years has barred homosexuals from serving openly in U.S. armed forces.

In their 350-page, two-part report, Ham and Johnson conclude it can be repealed without endangering readiness, but it will require strong leadership and careful preparation.

Ham, Johnson and a 66-person team reviewed all regulations and policies likely to need revision including those on fraternization and misconduct discharges. They held 95 face-to-face forums at 51 bases. They conducted a survey to which 115,000 members and 44,000 spouses responded on how they, their units and families would react to this change.

Marines and Army soldiers – the ground forces doing most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan – reacted most negatively, with 48 percent of ground combat Marines expecting unit performance to be harmed.

But the overall response from the military community was more positive. Seventy percent of members predicted that allowing gays to serve openly would have a positive, mixed or no effect on units.

The House passed its version of the 2011 defense authorization bill with language to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Senate’s defense bill had similar language but Republicans opposed repeal in the lame duck session and will gain seats for the new Congress in January.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, testified for repeal in February saying gay Americans shouldn’t have to lie to serve their country.

That “personal opinion” then, Mullen said in an interview earlier this month, “is now my professional view – that this is a policy change that we can make. And we can do it in a relatively low-risk fashion, given the time and given the ability to mitigate whatever risk is out there through strong leadership.”

TFL TARGETED: Military retirees age 65 and older who rely on TRICARE for Life (TFL) as a golden insurance supplement to Medicare would face higher out-of-pocket costs, along with other older Americans, if Congress adopts the final plan of National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The plan was released Dec. 1.

Gone are some controversial provisions, such as a three-year pay freeze on the military, that had been part of a draft plan released in early November by commission co-chairmen Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.

But to encourage the elderly to use health care more efficiently, TFL and other Medigap plans would be barred from covering the first $500 of costs not paid by Medicare, and would cover only half of the next $5000. Thus elderly could pay up to $3000 more ($500 + $2500) annually to save $4 billion for Medicare and TRICARE through 2015.

Not found in this report are specific calls to raise TRICARE fees for working age military retirees or specific “reforms” to military retirement. But the panel wants a task force created to “re-evaluate” federal retirement plans which now are “out of line” with private sector pensions. The goal is $70 billion in federal retirement savings over 10 years.

A separate “process” should be set up to control federal health care spending including by TRICARE beneficiaries, the commission says.

To comment, send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120-1111.

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Despite improvements over the past 10 years that have lifted more than 350 million rural people out of extreme poverty, global poverty remains a massive and predominantly rural phenomenon – with 70 percent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor people living in rural areas – according to a report released by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

IFAD’s Rural Poverty Report 2011 says that, during the past decade, the overall rate of extreme poverty in rural areas of developing countries – people living on less than US$1.25 a day – has dropped from 48 per cent to 34 per cent. Dramatic gains in East Asia, particularly China, account for much of the decline.

The report points to an alarming increase in the numbers of extremely poor people in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, although the percentage living on less than the equivalent of US$1.25 a day – at 62 per cent – has actually dropped slightly since IFAD last issued a Rural Poverty Report in 2001.

It also notes the persistence of rural poverty on the South Asian subcontinent, which is home to half of the world’s 1 billion extremely poor rural people.

Increasingly volatile food prices, the uncertainties and effects of climate change, and a range of natural resource constraints will complicate further efforts to reduce rural poverty, the report says.

But the report also emphasizes that profound changes in agricultural markets are giving rise to new and promising opportunities for the developing world’s smallholder farmers to significantly boost their productivity, which will be necessary to ensure enough food for an increasingly urbanized global population estimated to reach at least 9 billion by 2050.

Accordingly, “there remains an urgent need … to invest more and better in agriculture and rural areas” based on “a new approach to smallholder agriculture that is both market-oriented and sustainable,” the report says.

“The report makes clear that it is time to look at poor smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs in a completely new way – not as charity cases but as people whose innovation, dynamism and hard work will bring prosperity to their communities and greater food security to the world in the decades ahead,” said Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD’s President.

“We need to focus on creating an enabling environment for rural women and men to overcome the risks and challenges they face as they work to make their farms and other businesses successful,” he said.

Significant gains in many areas

In addition to the overall decline of extreme poverty in rural areas of developing countries, the Rural Poverty Report 2011 points to other significant gains, most notably:

  • A drop in the overall poverty rate of US$2 a day in rural areas, from 79 per cent to 61 per cent over the past decade.

  • Remarkable progress in rural areas of East Asia – primarily China – where the number of extreme poor fell by about two-thirds over the past decade, from 365 million to 117 million, as did the rate of extreme poverty, which fell from 44 to 15 percent.

  • Improvements in other regions, with the extreme rural poverty rate falling by more than half in Latin America and by nearly half in the Middle East and North Africa. in both regions, the percentage of rural people who live in extreme poverty dropped significantly, as well.

Notwithstanding these gains, the report makes clear that rural poverty continues to be a massive phenomenon throughout much of the developing world, and that it is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly a third of the world’s extremely poor rural people, whose numbers swelled from 268 million to 306 million over the past decade. While Sub-Saharan Africa’s rate of extreme poverty in rural areas declined from 65 to 62 per cent, it remains by far the highest of any region.

  • Rural poverty rates have dropped only slightly in the last decade in South Asia, which now has the largest number of poor rural people – about 500 million – of any region or sub-region. Four-fifths of all extremely poor people in South Asia live in rural areas.

The report cites the consequences of climate change – which will make agricultural production more difficult in many places – as complicating the challenges of addressing rural poverty in these regions and globally.

It also points to the key role of women farmers, who produce most of the food that is consumed locally in rural areas, and the need to address their inadequate access to land tenure, credit, equipment and market opportunities.

In addition, the report says “low levels of investment in agriculture, weak rural infrastructure, inadequate production and financial services, and a deteriorating natural resource base” – particularly land and water and growing competition for their use – are creating an environment which makes it too risky and unprofitable for most of the developing world’s smallholder farmers to participate in agricultural markets.

Opportunities for accelerating progress

Yet the report also indicates that momentous ongoing changes in agricultural markets, as well as emerging opportunities in the rural non-farm economy, offer new hope that major progress can be made in combating rural poverty. These include the rapid growth of urban centres and the accompanying rise in demand for higher value food, as well as the fact that agricultural markets are growing and becoming better organized in order to meet that demand.

“The world that rural people live in is changing very fast, and that is bringing a range of new opportunities,” said IFAD’s Ed Heinemann, who led the team that wrote the report. “In order to enable them to address the problems they face and make the most of the opportunities, governments and the donors who work with them have got to do much more to support rural areas, to invest in rural areas, to improve their infrastructure and governance, and to make rural areas better places to live and to do business.”

Essential to any rural poverty reduction strategy, said Heinemann, is understanding how to help poor rural people avoid and manage the risks they face – from longstanding risks related to ill-health and natural disasters to new and emerging challenges related to natural resource degradation, the effects of climate change, growing insecurity of access to land, and greater volatility of food prices.

“The food price shocks a few years ago were a wake up call that, with global population growth and the movement of more people into cities, higher and more uncertain food prices could become a fact of life,” said Nwanze. “But this also means that smallholder agriculture – if it is productive, commercially oriented and well linked to modern markets – can offer the developing world’s rural people a route out of poverty as they become part of the solution to global food security challenges.”

The Rural Poverty Report 2011 was made possible with funding from the Governments of Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, and the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands.

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John-Wesley Davis returns an interception to the Salesian 29-yard line in the fourth quarter of the North Coast Section Division 4 title finals in Saturday, December 11, 2010, in Martinez, Calif. Photo by Ed Oswalt.




MARTINEZ, Calif. – The Middletown Mustangs held an imposing 21-7 lead with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter of the North Coast Section (NCS) Division IV final in Martinez Saturday night, but couldn’t hold on and ultimately lost to the Salesian Pride 28-21 in overtime.


It was the second year in a row the Mustangs lost their final game in overtime.


“Another heartbreaker,” Mustangs Head Coach Bill Foltmer said about the loss, “and it seems like we’re the ones that have been coming up on the short end of the stick here.”


For the first three quarters, the NCS final was dominated by defensive play on both sides – a very different scenario from Middletown’s season opener, when these two teams last played each other.


“When you look back at that game, both of our defenses were terrible,” Pride head coach Chad Nightingale said about their previous encounter. “One thing that’s really happened (since then) is both of our defenses have gotten a heck of a lot better.”


That was certainly true of the Mustangs, when they used their resolute defensive skills to stop an impressive 13-play, 65-yard Salesian opening drive at their own 14-yard line.





Jake Davis takes to the air on a one-yard touchdown leap, bringing Middletown even at 7-7 in the second quarter of the North Coast Section Division 4 title finals in Saturday, December 11, 2010, in Martinez, Calif. Photo by Ed Oswalt.




But the Pride is a well-rounded team with a potent offense that includes a mix of solid running coupled with precision passing from quarterback Ikaika Woolsey, and they weren’t denied on their second possession when running back Aaron Prier took it in from four yards out to give Salesian a 7-0 lead.


“Well, you could see how athletic that team was,” Foltmer said about the Pride. “They’re running every formation at you, and they’re motioning this and that.”


After Jereomy Hoefer carried the ensuing Salesian kickoff 63 yards downfield to the Pride 30-yard line, the Mustangs rallied behind the lengthy runback to score their first touchdown of the game, capped by a one-yard Jake Davis airborne dive above the goal-line pile.


With staunch defense on both ends, the score stood tied at 7-7 until the third quarter.


That’s when the Mustangs took the lead on a run-only drive from their two powerful backs, Davis and David Pike, and Davis scored his second touchdown of the night, this time from two yards out.


Middletown held the 14-7 lead going into the fourth quarter, until John-Wesley Davis picked off an errant Woolsey pass and ran it back to the Salesian 30-yard line.





Middletown quarterback Kyle Brown evades Salesian's Joey Marchini in the third quarter of the North Coast Section Division 4 title finals in Saturday, December 11, 2010, in Martinez, Calif. Brown completed 6 passes in 12 attempts. Photo by Ed Oswalt.




The Mustangs need just two plays – a 29-yard run from Hoefer and a 1-yard push from Jake Davis for his third touchdown of the game – to take advantage of the Salesian turnover.


With just eight minutes left in the game and having scored the last two touchdowns, Middletown seemed firmly in control and on their way to winning the title championship.


“We had momentum, we were up by 14 points,” Foltmer said about the lead.


But the feeling was short-lived, and the momentum quickly shifted.


Salesian’s Marcial Malic took the subsequent Danny Cardenas kickoff 53 yards downfield to the Mustang 39-yard line, and after a 15-yard personal foul against Middletown’s Luke Parker was added, the Pride started the drive needing only 24 yards to score.


And score they did, just three plays later, on a four-yard carry from Prier.


“More than anything else, our kids didn’t quit,” Nightingale said about his team. “I didn’t need a Vince Lombardi speech when we were down 21-7. They were successful because they believed they could be successful.”




Salesian's scrambling senior quarterback Ikaika Woolsey completed 14 of 20 passes and ran for 68 yards in the North Coast Section Division 4 title finals in Saturday, December 11, 2010, in Martinez, Calif. Photo by Ed Oswalt.




After stopping the Mustangs with a three-and-out, Salesian needed just nine more plays on their next drive to tie the score at 21-all with a one-yard quarterback keep from Woolsey and just 1:51 left on the clock.


“Once the momentum goes away from you, there’s not anything you can do,” Foltmer said about the forth quarter Salesian rally. “And you could see it in our kids.”


The 21-21 tie score held until regulation play ended, when the NCS uses what is commonly referred to as a “Kansas tiebreaker” for overtime games, where both teams receive the ball on the opponent’s 10-yard line and have just four plays to score a touchdown followed by a point after attempt.


The Pride won the coin toss, elected to start on offense, scored in the air on their first play – a 10-yard bullet from Woolsey to Davion Mize – and added the extra point.


“Now the Middletown kids,” Nightingale said about scoring first in overtime, “you know their stomachs are a little bit tighter because they’ve got to make sure they score to equal.”


Trailing 28-21, the Mustang’s overtime got off to a rocky start with a five-yard false start penalty, and they were unable to make up the yardage needed to convert the touchdown.





Jereomy Hoefer's 28 yard run to the one-yard line led to Jake Davis's third touchdown of the game and gave Middletown a 21-7 lead with 8:17 remaining during the North Coast Section Division 4 title finals in Saturday, December 11, 2010, in Martinez, Calif. Photo by Ed Oswalt.




“What everyone always says is ‘defense wins championships’,” Jake Davis said about the overtime loss. “They stopped us for that last touchdown and we didn’t stop them, so their defense won the championship.”


“Hats off to Bill Foltmer and his staff – a great Middletown team, and a great group of seniors led by Jake Davis,” Nightingale said about the Mustangs.


“I don’t think anybody thought anything other than the fact that Middletown would be the toughest game we would play all year long.” Nightingale continued. “That’s a great team, that’s a great staff and we didn’t expect anything different.”


“It was a heartbreaker, wasn’t it?” Foltmer said about the overtime loss. “It’s like it’s there, and you’re reaching for that and then – boom – it’s just sucked away.”





David Pike led Middletown with 75 yards rushing in the North Coast Section Division 4 title finals in Saturday, December 11, 2010, in Martinez, Calif. Photo by Ed Oswalt.





Foltmer continued: “For me, I couldn’t be prouder of these kids. I think the mark of a coach is, ‘Did your kids play hard for you?’ And these kids played their hearts out for me, so there’s really no negatives for me to say about anything in this game.”


“I feel bad for the kids, I feel bad for the community,” Foltmer lamented. “All the people that drove an hour and 45 minutes here – the place was packed with Middletown fans, they threw a little breakfast for us before we got on the bus, people were lined on the street when we left town – I mean, I couldn’t ask for more support from our community.”


“I feel like, God, we just let this opportunity slip away from us,” he said.


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Salesian's Joey Marchini dives to the one yard line on a 23-yard pass play with with 2:24 left, setting up the Pride's tying touchdown during the North Coast Section Division 4 title finals in Saturday, December 11, 2010, in Martinez, Calif. Photo by Ed Oswalt.





Ultimately, it was the Salesian Pride of Richmond celebrating the North Coast Section Division 4 title after a 28-21 overtime win over Middletown on Saturday, December 11, 2010, in Martinez, Calif. Photo by Ed Oswalt.




LUCERNE, Calif. – A vehicle collision knocked down a power pole in Lucerne Saturday night, resulting in a closed highway.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the vehicle hit the power pole at 14th Avenue and Highway 20 just before 9 p.m.

The CHP assisted Caltrans in closing Highway 20 at 13th and 15th avenues in order to keep motorists far from the downed lines. They routed vehicles around the area.

Fire line tape also was put up across the sidewalks to keep people from getting too close.

The downed pole was lying partially in the yard of a nearby residence.

Shortly before 11:30 p.m. a crew began working on the pole. The roadway remained closed into early Sunday morning.

A radio report indicated that Lake County Environmental Health was to be called to the scene.

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 , on Facebook at and on YouTube at .

Soil work takes place at Westside Community Park in Lakeport, Calif. Courtesy photo.


LAKEPORT, Calif. – Construction and other activities were highlights of the past year at Westside Community Park.

Receipt of a major grant, the inaugural Grillin’ on the Green, and completion of earthmoving and stockpiling donated grindings from the Highway 29 repaving project were among the major accomplishments.

The Westside Community Park Committee is the recipient of a grant from the Pacific Forest & Watershed Lands Stewardship Council.

This infrastructure grant for $200,000 over two years is funding the final grading, installation of an irrigation system, provision of electricity, planting of grass and construction of two sets of backstops and dugouts.

When completed this five-acre portion of the park will contain a baseball field, a Little League field and three soccer fields.

As a donation to the park, Ruzicka Associates of Lakeport developed a grading plan and then surveyed and staked the site for the final earthwork. Funded by grant money, the final grade was completed.




Grading work was completed on a portion of the park in 2010. Courtesy photo.



Following a soils analysis, amendments were purchased and added to enrich the soil. Longtime park supporter RB Peters of Lakeport donated time and equipment and, utilizing additional equipment donated by the Wooldridge Ranch, worked the amendments into the soil and landplaned the field to its final form.

Wyatt Irrigation in Ukiah created an irrigation plan and the committee purchased the needed materials to install that system. The company donated the sprinkler heads for the system.

The rains began before installation could occur. The materials are being stored and installation will be the first activity to take place in the spring.

The last activity to occur on site this season was the placing of erosion control measures for the winter.

Under California law, these measures must be in place by Oct. 15 and remain until at least April 15.

In August the committee held its first onsite fundraising event. Grillin’ on the Green was a barbecue cookoff featuring service clubs and individuals. The People’s Choice Competition was won by the Irwin family from Kelseyville.

The goal of the Committee in hosting an event at the park was to get people out there for a fun day.

Many in attendance said it was their first visit. Music by the LC Diamonds and activities for children added to the fun.

With the assistance of many sponsors, especially the Keeling-Barnes Family Foundation and the Priest Family Trust, the event cleared more than $16,000.

The committee plans to make this an annual event. The second Grillin’ on the Green is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011.

Granite Construction Company agreed to donate more than 20,000 tons of asphalt grindings generated from the repaving of Highway 29. These grindings are being stored on site and will be processed and used as road base under roads, driveways, parking lots and trails.

Others in the community came forward to assist with moving the grindings on site. RB Peters offered the use of a dozer. Larry Wise of Scotts Valley volunteered as the equipment operator of this seven-day project. Westgate Petroleum of Lakeport donated 450 gallons of diesel fuel.

The value of this donated material is $350,000. This was accomplished at no cost to the committee as a result of those making donations.

Planning for the 2011 construction season is currently under way. The committee’s goal for next year is to have five acres of athletic fields planted and a baseball field and a Little League field completed.

Rollins recently announced that interested individuals will soon be able to track progress and obtain information about the park online.

A Web site is under development by Bit Sculptors of Lakeport. Owner Eric Schlange has offered to create the site as a donation to the park. The address will be

The Westside Community Park is located at 1401 Westside Community Park Road, Lakeport. Westside Community Park Road is accessed from Parallel Drive between the Kathy Fowler Auto Dealerships and Mendocino College.

Dennis Rollins is chair of the Westside Community Park Committee.


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An inmate crew from the Lake County Jail works at Westside Community Park in Lakeport. Courtesy photo.




Irrigation materials are offloaded at the park. Courtesy photo.

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