Saturday, 15 June 2024

News

CLEARLAKE OAKS – When the Clearlake Oaks County Water District Board meets Thursday, the board will have both a new evening meeting time and a new board member.


At a special meeting last Thursday the board chose Mike Benjamin to succeed board member Patricia Shaver, who left the board last month, said Darin McCosker, the district's general manager.


Shaver did not give a specific reason for her resignation, but it came in the wake of a recall effort that Benjamin himself launched against both her and then-Vice President Mike Anisman.


Benjamin now joins Frank Toney and Harry Chase on the board. Board President Helen Locke and Anisman also gave their resignations; Anisman's became effective Sept. 5, and Locke stayed on long enough to help select Benjamin.


Her resignation took effect Sept. 12, the day after the special meeting, said McCosker.


McCosker said Anisman's and Locke's seats still need to be filled, which the district has 60 days to do.


“The board could potentially appoint both positions at the next regular meeting in October,” he said.


McCosker said the board will meet at its new time at 7 p.m. Thursday. Last month the board voted to change the meeting time from mid-afternoon on the third Wednesday of the month to evenings on the third Thursday to encourage more public participation.


Shaver's former position will be up for reelection at the end of next year, along with Chase's, said McCosker. As to the seats formerly held by Anisman and Locke, they expire in 2011.


According to government code, if a vacancy occurs within the first 130 days prior to the next general district election, the person appointed to fill the slot will hold it until that election. The person who is then elected to fill the vacancy will hold office for the unexpired balance of the term of office.


Other government code sections call for board seats to be staggered, which is why the law has the elections for board seats staying on a specific schedule.


At Thursday's meeting the board will elect is new president and vice president, review financial reports, receive a report from the Finance Committee/Budget Workshop, discuss a customer appeal and hold a closed session for an employee discipline issue.


The district's office is located at 12545 E. Highway 20. See the full agenda at www.clocwd.com.


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


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THE GEYSERS – A recent stream of quakes measuring 3.0 magnitude and above continued Tuesday, when another shaker was recorded in The Geysers.


The US Geological Survey reported that a 3.0-magnitude quake occurred at 5:59 a.m Tuesday.


It was centered two miles north of The Geysers, four miles west southwest of Cobb and seven miles west northwest of Anderson Springs at a depth of 2.4 miles, the US Geological Survey reported.


Last Saturday, the area was shaken by a 3.3-magnitude temblor followed by a 3.5-magnitude quake Sunday evening, as Lake County News has reported. That seismic activity followed a 3.6-magnitude shaker near Willits last Friday, and a 3.0-magnitude quake near Healdsburg on Sept. 9.


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NOTE; THIS QUAKE ORIGINALLY WAS REPORTED AS A 3.2 IN MAGNITUDE, BUT HAS SINCE BEEN UPGRADED TO 3.5 ON THE RICHTER SCALE BY THE US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.

 

THE GEYSERS – After being shaken by a 3.3-magnitude earthquake on Saturday, The Geysers felt another sizable quake Sunday evening.


The 3.5-magnitude earthquake occurred at 6:34 p.m. Sunday, the US Geological Survey reported.


It occurred at a depth of 1.1 miles. The US Geological Survey reported that it was centered two miles east southeast of The Geysers, four miles southwest of Cobb and four miles west northwest of Anderson Springs.


Several smaller quakes, including a 2.9, occurred before midnight Sunday, the US Geological Survey reported.


The Saturday 3.3-magnitude earthquake was centered two miles east of The Geysers at a depth of 1.9 miles, as Lake County News reported.


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CLEAR LAKE RIVIERA – Clear Lake Riviera Community Association property owners have selected a new board.


The association held an election over the summer which was disqualified due to errors on the ballot, as Lake County News has reported.


That led to the board calling another election, the results of which were finalized this week, according to the association.


Elected to the board were Donna Moeller, with 432 votes; Patricia Howell, 418; Walter Zuercher, 402; and Anthony Gniadek, 333.


Also receiving votes were James Irwin, 322; Darrell Watkins, 305; and Denise Frane, 271.


The four new board members also were the top vote getters in the disqualified election, according to ballot counts.


This most recent election also drew several hundred more votes.


The association reported that three mediators from Lake County Dispute Resolution Services volunteered their time to count the ballots. The impartial third parties offered their help in light of the contentious nature of the previous election.


The new board will be seated at the association's annual meeting, scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20.


The meeting will be held at the Clear Lake Riviera Community Association community hall, 9689 Soda Bay Road.


For more information contact the association office at 277-7281.


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


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LAKE COUNTY – How do local schools measure up? Newly released Academic Performance Index, or API, results show how the county's schools are making the grade when it comes to state performance standards.


The API is a weighted average of student test scores, explained Tim Gill, director of curriculum and instruction for the Lake County Office of Education. The testing system rates schools on a numeric index with a low of 200 and a high of 1,000; the statewide target is 800.


Gill said when students take the California standards test, they're given a score: 1,000 for advanced, 875 for proficient, 700 for basic, 500 for below basic and 200 for far below basic. If every student received the top score, the school's API would be 1,000.


The test's subjects are weighted differently, said Gill, with English language arts counting higher than math, which in turn is ranked higher than social studies and science.


“The state and federal accountability reports provide educators, parents, and our communities with important data about student progress in their schools,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, when he released the results earlier this month. “The results show that our schools are making real progress and that more students in California are meeting the challenge of higher expectations.”


According to O'Connell's office, 53 percent of schools in California made their API growth targets based on 2008 data, an increase of 8 percentage points from 2007. Locally, 11 schools met both their schoolwide and subgroup growth targets, according to test score data.


Thirty-six percent of all California schools are now at or above the target of 800, up 5 percentage points from the year before. In Lake County, two schools, Riviera Elementary and Cobb Mountain Elementary, are among the schools above that target number.


Overall, O'Connell pointed to some narrowing of the achievement gap between white and Asian students and their peers who are black, Hispanic or English learners. O'Connell said the API gives schools more credit for improvement made by the lowest-achieving students, "which encourages educators to focus on improving the achievement of students who struggle the most."


Black students statewide increased their API this year by 14 points and Hispanic students by 17 points; at the same time, white students increased by 10 points and English-learner students increased by 14 points.


California's high school exit exam is a part of the scoring for high schools, said Gill. Students who pass receive 1,000 points, those who don't receive 200 points. "So it's all or nothing."


In general, the county's high school exit exams scores also have been very good and fairly consistent in recent years, said Gill. The test's questions are written to middle school standards.


The most recent scores indicate that 75 percent of students countywide passed the test's language arts component. "That's a fairly high rate of passing," said Gill.


For the math component, test results show 73 percent of county students passed.


Students first take the test in 10th grade. The passing percentages go down considerably, Gill pointed out, as older students who didn't pass the test the first time are retested; those students are part of a group not proficient with standards.


Gill said California's target for all of its schools is an API of 800. For schools scoring below 600, each year they have a 5-percent minimum annual score improvement; schools with scores of 700 or above have a minimum improvement goal of five point. Those above 800 don't have a required annual goal.


Included in the scoring is a measurement for each of certain specific subgroups based on socio-economically disadvantaged students and those belonging to certain ethnic groups or English learners.


Gill said almost all of Lake County's schools have shown dramatic improvement when comparing recent scores to those from 2004-05.


"As a county over the last four or five years, we've seen incredible growth in our API, as has the state," he said. However, comparatively, local schools are about in the same place.


He said it's hard to know if the testing is actually improving the quality of education. The tests are based on content standards of which all teachers and districts are aware.


"What the testing system has done, it has encouraged our schools and districts to pay attention to that set of content standards," he said.


A potential down side of that, said Gill, is less flexibility in the subject matter the schools can teach.


Has the test improved education? "I don't feel like I can answer that question," said Gill.


Gill said some people feel that the test have caused schools to lose a lot, like physical education classes in elementary school and art.


Tomorrow: Local superintendents share their perspectives on the testing.




Local school test scores


Kelseyville Unified School District


Elementary schools


Kelseyville Elementary: 2008 score, 781; 2007 score, 790; growth target, 5; actual growth, -9; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.


Riviera Elementary: 2008 score, 819; 2007 score, 811; school scored above state target so there were no stated goals; actual growth, 8; did not meet subgroup growth target.


Middle schools


Mountain Vista Middle: 2008 score, 723; 2007 score, 701; growth target, 5; actual growth, 22; met statewide and subgroup growth targets.


High schools


Kelseyville High School: 2008 score, 701; 2007 score, 683; growth target, 6; actual growth, 18; met statewide and subgroup growth targets.



Konocti Unified School District


Elementary schools


Burns Valley Elementary: 2008 score, 711; 2007 score, 689; growth target, 6; actual growth, 22; met schoolwide growth target but not subgroup growth target.


East Lake Elementary: 2008 score, 720; 2007 score, 756 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); growth target, 5; actual growth, -36; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.


Lower Lake Elementary: 2008 score, 757; 2007 score, 727; growth target, 5; actual growth, 30; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.


Pomo Elementary: 2008 score, 719; 2007 score, 673; growth target, 6; actual growth, 46; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.


Middle schools


Oak Hill Middle: 2008 score, 652; 2007 score, 644; growth target, 8; actual growth, 8; met schoolwide growth target but not subgroup growth target.


High schools


Lower Lake High: 2008 score, 626; 2007 score, 646; growth target, 8; actual growth, -20; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.


Small schools


Richard H. Lewis Alternative: 2008 score, 745 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 643; growth target, 8; actual growth, 102; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.


Alternative Schools Accountability Model (ASAM) schools


Blue Heron: 2008 score, 449 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 465; growth target not applicable; actual growth, -16; schoolwide and subgroup growth targets do not apply.


William C. Carle High (Continuation): 2008 score, 687 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 682; growth target not applicable; actual growth, 5; schoolwide and subgroup growth targets do not apply.



Lakeport Unified School District


Elementary schools


Lakeport Elementary: 2008 score, 751: 2007 score, 787; growth target, 5; actual growth, -36; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.


Middle schools


Terrace: 2008 score, 766; 2007 score, 741; growth target, 5; actual growth, 25; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.


High schools


Clear Lake High: 2008 score, 747; 2007 score, 727; growth target, 5; actual growth, 20; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.


Small schools


Lakeport Alternative (Home School): 2008 score, 696 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 759; growth target, 5; actual growth, -63; met subgroup growth target but not schoolwide growth target.


ASAM schools


Natural High (Continuation): 2008 score, 545 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 score, 520; growth target not applicable; actual growth, 25; schoolwide and subgroup growth targets do not apply.



Lucerne Elementary School District


Lucerne Elementary: 2008 score, 727; 2007 score, 749; growth target, 5; actual growth, -22; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.



Middletown Unified School District


Elementary schools


Cobb Mountain Elementary: 2008 score, 855; 2007 score, 847; school scored above state target so there were no stated goals; actual growth, 8; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.


Coyote Valley Elementary: 2008 score, 792; 2007 score, 818; school scored above state target so there were no stated goals; actual growth, -26; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.


Minnie Cannon Elementary: 2008 score, 732; 2007 score, 721; growth target, 5; actual growth, 11; met schoolwide growth target but not subgroup growth target.


Middle schools


Middletown Middle: 2008 score, 795; 2007 score, 787; growth target, 5; actual growth, 8; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets;


High schools


Middletown High: 2008 score, 718; 2007 score, 719; growth target, 5; actual growth, -1; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.


Small schools


Lake County International Charter: 2008 score, 752 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); 2007 growth, 720; growth target, 5; actual growth, 32; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.



Upper Lake Union Elementary School District


Elementary schools


Upper Lake Elementary: 2008 score, 704; 2007 score, 701; growth target, 5; actual growth, 3; did not meet schoolwide or subgroup growth targets.


Middle schools


Upper Lake Middle: 2008 score, 681; 2007 score, 672; growth target, 6; actual growth, 9; met schoolwide growth target but not subgroup growth target.



Upper Lake Union High School District


Upper Lake High: 2008 score, 682; 2007 score, 671; growth target, 6; actual growth, 11; met schoolwide and subgroup growth targets.


ASAM schools


Upper Lake Community Day: 2008 score, 430 (API was calculated for a small school; the calculations are less reliable and should be carefully interpreted); the school did not have a valid 2007 Base API and will not have any growth or target information.


Schools that were not listed did not have any testing information reported.


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


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Image
September 2008's star chart. Courtesy of John Zimmerman.
 

 



LAKE COUNTY – During the month of September, the Summer Triangle, discussed in last month’s column, shines brightly overhead.


Three bright stars make up the triangle: Deneb, Vega and Altair. They are shown on our star chart. Many of the stars in the sky have Arabic names. We will discuss how the stars in the triangle got their names.


Deneb

Deneb is one of the most luminous stars in the sky. It is located in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan. Deneb comes from the Arabic word dhaneb, which means “tail.”


Our drawing of the three constellations that hold the three stars in the summer triangle shows Deneb to be the tail of the Cygnus Swan.

 

 

 

 

Image
The Summer Triangle, courtesy of Digitalis Education.

 


Vega

Vega is the fifth brightest star in the sky, and is in the constellation of Lyra the Harp. Vega comes from the Arabic word waqi which loosely translates into “falling.”Ancient cultures often saw Vega as part of an eagle or vulture, hence the reference to falling.


It should be noted that General Motors named the Vega automobile after this star in the 1970s.


Altair

Altair is the 12th brightest star in the sky. It is located in the constellation of Aquila the Eagle. Altair is Arabic for “The Bird,” reflecting the fact that ancient cultures saw this constellation as a bird.


Aside from these stars, the planet Jupiter continues to shine brightly above the southern horizon. And on Sept. 16, about 30 minutes after sunset, the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury can be seen low in the western horizon, along the star Spica.

 

 

 

Image
The planets on September 16, 2008. Image courtesy of Sky and Telescope.
 

 

 


To learn more about Lake County Skies in September, and to observe these objects through a telescope, visit Taylor Observatory (www.taylorobservatory.org) on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.


John Zimmerman has been an amateur astronomer for 50 years. He is a member of the Taylor Observatory staff, where, among his many duties, he helps create planetarium shows.


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LAKEPORT – A Mendocino County man is facing a potential sentence of 14 years in prison after he was convicted last week of a number of felonies related to a December 2007 kidnapping and robbery case in Clearlake.


Anthony Scott Cape, 42, was convicted by a jury on Sept. 9 of five felony offenses, including kidnapping, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and making a criminal threat, according to a report from the Lake County District Attorney's Office.


Witnesses revealed that the violent episode began on Dec. 4, 2007, when the 25-year-old male victim, a Mendocino County resident, arrived at a Clearlake residence in the middle of the night.


The victim, who had a history of dealing marijuana, had been invited to the residence to obtain marijuana to sell, according to testimony.


He entered the residence with two other individuals. While the victim used the restroom, Cape emerged from hiding, and beat the victim after knocking him into the empty bathtub by stomping on the victim's head with work boots and punching him in the face with closed fists.


Another person then joined Cape in the bathroom and assisted Cape by helping bind the victim's wrists and ankles with black plastic zip ties.


Cape and the other perpetrator left the victim momentarily in the bathroom, and when they returned, they caught the victim attempting to call 911 from his cell phone. They grabbed the phone and forced the victim to the garage where the victim's car had been moved. Cape and the other man opened the victim's trunk, removed the victim's belongings from inside, and then stuffed the victim in the trunk.


They were then joined by the other man who had gone to the residence with the victim. With the victim in the trunk, the three men drove through Clearlake.


Unknown to Cape and the others, the victim had a second cell phone which he tried to use to contact the police from inside the trunk. Being unfamiliar with the city of Clearlake, the victim was unable to tell the 911 dispatcher his precise location. He was only able to explain the brief circumstances of his abduction and the type of vehicle he was in.


Clearlake Police Department officers attempted unsuccessfully to locate the victim's vehicle while he was calling 911 from its trunk.


The vehicle turned off the main road and onto Ogulin Canyon Road. Believing that if he did not escape he would be killed, the victim used the emergency latch from inside the trunk to raise the lid. The victim was able to roll out of the moving vehicle and into a ditch where he ended up staying the night.


In the morning, the victim was able to cut the zip ties from his wrists and ankles and seek help.


Clearlake Police Detective Sgt. Tom Clements personally headed the investigation which resulted in the overwhelming evidence against Cape, including Cape's hand print evidence on the trunk of the abandoned vehicle.


Judge Richard Martin, who presided over the trial, is expected to sentence the defendant on Oct. 6.


Cape faces a potential sentence of 14 years in state prison, the District Attorney's Office reported. Because at least one of the convictions is classified as a violent felony strike, Cape will be required to spend at least 85 percent of his sentence in prison custody.


The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney John R. DeChaine. Thomas Quinn served as defense counsel.


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MIDDLETOWN – The search for an elderly Willits man had a happy ending over the weekend, when a local California Highway Patrol officer found the man tired but otherwise OK.


Charles McEntire, 82, was found walking along Highway 29 by CHP Officer Randy Forslund Saturday evening, following a daylong effort by local law enforcement to locate him.


CHP Officer Brian Engle found McEntire's gray Toyota pickup abandoned and facing the wrong way in traffic on Loconomi Road at Butts Canyon Road shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday, according to CHP Officer Adam Garcia.


Engle searched the immediate area but couldn't find him. Garcia said CHP dispatch also called McEntire's family, but they didn't know his whereabouts.


McEntire's wife told authorities that he had left that morning in an attempt to get a job at one of the local casinos, said Garcia. She also reported that Charles McEntire recently had suffered two strokes.


CHP Sgt. Mike Thomason initiated missing person procedures and alerted all allied agencies of the situation, said Garcia, and local law enforcement began a initiated a maximum effort to find the missing man.


The information about McEntire's case was passed on to CHP's swing shift, which continued the search, said Garcia.


Forslund and fellow CHP Officer Steve Curtis circulated pictures of McEntire to businesses in Middletown, Lower Lake, Clear Lake and Kelseyville. Garcia said they also checked with Redbud Community Hospital, Twin Pines Casino and homes in the area in an attempt to locate him.


At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, after a day of searching, Forslund found McEntire walking along Highway 29 at St. Helena Road in Middletown, said Garcia.


Garcia said McEntire was disoriented and tired, but otherwise in good shape.


Forslund transported McEntire to the hospital for medical clearance and McEntire's family was notified, Garcia said.


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


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NORTH COAST – A 3.3 earthquake shook The Geysers and residences on Cobb Saturday afternoon.


The quake occurred at 1:27 p.m. at a depth of 1.9 miles two miles east of The Geysers, four miles southwest of Cobb and four miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.


Cobb resident Roger Kinney reported that the quake could be felt for about five seconds.


It's been a busy week for seismic activity on the North Coast.


Just after 6 a.m. Friday a 3.6-magnitude earthquake was recorded at a depth of 1.6 miles four miles east of Willits, according to the US Geological Survey.


On Tuesday at 5:40 a.m., the US Geological Survey reported a 3.0-magnitude quake took place two miles northeast of Healdsburg.


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On Tuesday, Lake County News looked at the Academic Performance Index and what it does, along with a rundown of local test scores. In this installment, a sampling of local superintendents share reactions to the latest test results.


LAKE COUNTY – With the release earlier this month of the Academic Performance Index, or API, local educators are reviewing how their schools performed and, for the most part, there's satisfaction about how local students tested.


The API is a weighted average of student test scores with a numeric range of between 200 and 1,000, according to Tim Gill, director of curriculum and instruction for the Lake County Office of Education.


The test subjects include English language arts, math, social studies and science, and school scores also include results of the state's high school exit exam, said Gill.


The state's target for schools is a score of 800 and above. Two Lake County schools, Riviera Elementary and Cobb Mountain Elementary, are in that target area.


Schools with ratings of less than 800 have specific yearly goals, and 11 local schools met both schoolwide and subgroup growth targets in the most recent testing.


With the test results being released, educators are assessing their test scores and how their schools performed. Lake County News spoke with three local superintendents to get their reactions to the testing news.


Konocti Unified School District


Konocti Unified School District's new superintendent, Bill MacDougall, said he's pleased with the overall performance of district schools, most of which found improvement.


The district has several schools in the 700 range, which is what the district was looking for, said MacDougall.


All of the schools this year showed a great deal of improvement, he said, adding that he's proud of both students and staff for their efforts to make that happen.


Lakeport Unified School District


Lakeport Unified School District Superintendent Erin Hagberg said she's also pleased with her district's overall performance because they are maintaining scores in the mid-700s.


“I was especially impressed with the growth in scores at both Terrace Middle School and Clear Lake High School,” she said, which improved by 25 and 20 points, respectively.


“As a district, we are concerned about the achievement gap in our Hispanic and Native American student populations and in our socioeconomic disadvantaged students,” she said. “Our teachers and administrators continue to focus on meeting the needs of those particular groups of students.”


Hagberg said she thinks schools should be held accountable for student achievement and the public has a right to know that information.


“It is unfortunate, however, that such an emphasis is placed on only one form of assessment,” she said. “In a successful learning environment, student progress is measured continually by the classroom teacher and monitored by the entire staff. By using a variety of assessments on a regular basis, a teacher can determine a child’s academic strengths and weaknesses and then modify the instruction accordingly.”

Besides state expectations, there are the expectations assigned by federal standards, such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).


“Because the NCLB proficiency bar is raised significantly each year, it is a struggle to increase student achievement at such an unrealistic rate,” she said.


As a result, she said classroom teachers have to focus more and more instructional time on the core subjects that are tested in Standardized Testing and Reporting.


Because there is a limited amount of time in the school day, Hagberg said less time can be spent on enrichment activities such as art and music in order to meet the standards.


“Creating well-rounded learners has become a tremendous challenge for our teachers due to the NCLB requirements,” she said.


Middletown Unified School District


Schools in the Middletown Unified School District have shown consistent strength in testing over the years.


This year, district Superintendent Korby Olson said what was noticeable for him was a sizable drop in Coyote Valley's score, from 818 to 792.


Scoring for small schools can be volatile, Olson explained. With a kind of measure like the API, the larger the sample size, the less likely there is to be an impact on score due to the performance of any particular group during a year.


He said the school is exploring what was the possible cause of that drop.


Just as interesting is Middletown High's score, which went down one from 719 to 718, but showed 30- and 40-point jumps for socially disadvantaged and Hispanic student subgroups, respectively. “Something went right there,” he said.


The school has always done fairly well on its exit exam results, he said. “It looked to me like we still have pretty strong scores there.”


The highest-scoring school on the API in the district and the county is Cobb Mountain Elementary, where Olson was principal for 10 years. The school's score for 2008 is 855, up from 847 the previous year.


Olson calls the school “a pretty special place” which began placing strong emphasis on state standards beginning in the 1990s. That, coupled with a stable staff, has helped the school succeed.


“Cobb has had the highest API in Lake County since we started measuring,” he said.


The school's score dipped last year but this year regained ground to its level two years ago.


Olson said Cobb Elementary takes a unique approach to education. “Everything is built around the idea that it's OK to be smart.”


That includes having numerous academic competitions which challenge young brains. In turn, the children strive hard to achieve in that welcoming culture.


Olson said there is value to the API measure. However, he said the problem is there are not enough measures of academic achievement, and that the API is a “slice of time” that only looks at performance at a given period. For a standardized test, that's the only way it can be done, Olson said.


He said the state's standards are so high that children who test in the basic category here might be in the proficient range in other states. He said the API system is a much more friendly growth model then federal standards.


Like Hagberg, he has concerns about federal standards, which are going up so dramatically that even schools considered high performing will soon be in the program improvement category.


From now until 2013, every school must advance its scores in the federal government's Adequate Yearly Progress – AYP – measure, he said.


Olson said he doesn't disagree with the goal of constant improvement. However, he's concerned that if high performing schools get lumped into performance improvement, it will water down the importance of improving scores for those schools that really need the help.


To see the testing results for your school and district, visit www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ar/index.asp.


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


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A Clearlake Oaks man pulled over for speeding last week in Merced County was arrested after allegedly being found in possession of dozens of small marijuana plants and thousands of dollars in cash.


David Nilsen, 47, was pulled over at 2:40 p.m. Sept. 8 while driving northbound on Highway 99 at the north end of Merced County, said California Highway Patrol Officer Tom Killian of the Modesto CHP office.


Killian said a CHP officer caught Nilsen on radar driving his Cadillac CTS sedan 94 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone.


When the CHP officer pulled Nilsen over, he detected a strong marijuana odor, said Killian. “The smell he was smelling was not burnt marijuana, it was green marijuana.”


Nilsen also presented his identification along with an expired medical marijuana card, Killian said.


While searching the car, Killian said the investigating officer found some marijuana that Nilsen allegedly had been smoking.


However, the big find was in the car's trunk, where the officer found two trays of young marijuana plants, each about 6 inches tall, said Killian.


Also in the trunk the officer found approximately $17,667, which Killian said was in different cash denominations.


Killian said the investigation is still ongoing, with CHP attempting to locate the source of the plants and determine the extent of Nilsen's alleged involvement with the marijuana.


Nilsen was booked into the Merced County Jail on marijuana cultivation and transportation for sale charges, said Nilsen.


A Merced County Jail official said Nilsen was booked on Sept. 8 with bail set at $50,000, which he posted the following day in order to gain his release.


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On Saturday, Sept. 6, the Red Lava Tasting Room officially opened with a free wine tasting and hors d’ouvres menu. The hors d’ouvres were provided by Pine Dell Resort and Deli in Clearlake Park. Part of the proceeds from the sale of wines went to benefit the Lake Family Resource Center and there was a raffle for several prizes containing a variety of wines, art, and various other goodies, the proceeds of which also go to benefit the center.


You’ve probably figured out by now that if I get an invitation to attend a function that involves food and wine I consider it, but if it also benefits a local charity you can consider me there.


The Red Lava Tasting Room is located on Highway 29, right by Kit’s Corner. The tasting was well attended during the time I was there, and there was the requisite ribbon cutting with the ceremonious giant scissors ... It makes you wonder: is there enough of a market out there for giant scissors that they have a factory punching out hundreds of them per hour, or is there just one pair of giant scissors that gets moved from location to location opening every business in the land? I’m just curious.


I enjoyed talking to the staff and was well entertained. They are fairly knowledgeable, although some will admit to still be learning. Because of their willingness to admit this, I got the feeling that I was tasting wine with friends more than with a salesman. I’ve been in too many tasting rooms that are filled with pretension and snobbery, and I just roll my eyes when winery staff says things like “Our vineyards are only watered by the tears of angels as they weep for joy at the thought our wine.”


The wine industry has suffered too long with the stigma of the snooty French waiter pointing his nose into the air for wineries to put up with that kind of attitude, and unfortunately Lake County does have a couple of them. But not here in the Red Lava Tasting Room; you’ll be welcomed like an old friend.

 

The Red Lava Tasting Room serves wines from several wineries around Lake County that don’t have tasting rooms yet. I appreciated this cooperative spirit; everyone lends a hand to make the small tasting room a success, and all these small wineries get the exposure they need. The day of the grand opening they were serving 13 different wines from five different wineries, including their own. We tasted all of them and my wife jotted down notes as we tried each one.

 

The menu given to us as we started has a spot for tasting notes and mine is sitting here in front of me with some scribbled words, for instance next to Red Lava Vineyard the notes say “Porty aroma,” “Smokey,” and “Surprisingly full.” Robledo Family Vineyards has “a little nutty,” and “Dry, fruity.” Eden Crest says “A mild red for people who normally wouldn’t like red.” Shed Horn Cellars: “Full bodied, nice legs.” My wife will just edit out any joke I make here ... Sol Rouge Winery: ... The tasting room was serving two of their wines, but I’ve already reviewed them. I’ll have to admit Sol Rouge is becoming a favorite in our house, so tasting their wines at an event like this is just a chance to have some of theirs free since we already have several bottles at home.


The signage out in front of the tasting room is straightforward and plain, but it’s a brand new place and I’m sure it will get customized as they settle in. The psychological effect when viewing the sign is interesting: when seeing the place for the first time my wife was unimpressed with the sign or exterior and subconsciously lowered her expectations, but as we left she commented that the wines were all so much better than she was expecting. I guess first impressions can be changed. Tastings normally cost $5 per person, and for 13 wines that is quite fair. There is a wide enough variety of wines to ensure you will find something that you like.


The Red Lava tasting room also carries some amazing art works from local artists, both paintings and photography. And of course I have to mention the countertop that the tastings are served at – that is one amazing and beautiful chunk of wood! I personally will be returning to the Red Lava tasting room to purchase wines on a regular basis.


As I mentioned before, proceeds from the raffle and some of the wine sales will go to benefit the Lake Family Resource Center. The Lake Family Resource Center is a network for emergency services to help people in a multitude of circumstances including domestic violence, rape, child abuse, child development, parenting support, support groups, even tobacco control programs. They are always in need of donations, primarily in the form of money but also clothes, furniture, household goods, food, and volunteers. With the exception of money, their needs are not necessarily in that order.


If anyone is interested in answering the crisis hotline there is a class coming up in October to train those interested. They could use people with almost any expertise so if you have the time, they have the need; even if you are a professional Himalayan sherpa I’m sure they could use you.


They are a nonprofit community benefit organization so your donations are tax-deductible. The Lake Family Resource Center crisis line is 1-888-485-7733 and is staffed 24 hours a day. Their non-emergency number is 707-262-1611. They are headquartered at 896 Lakeport Blvd. in Lakeport and have an additional office at 14671 Olympic Dr. in Clearlake.


The Red Lava Tasting Room and the Lake County Resource Center – two great features for the Lake County community.


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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Upcoming Calendar

15Jun
06.15.2024 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Middletown Art Center exhibit opening
16Jun
06.16.2024
Father's Day
16Jun
06.16.2024 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
Middletown Days
16Jun
06.16.2024 9:00 am - 11:30 am
Moose Lodge Father’s Day breakfast
18Jun
06.18.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
19Jun
06.19.2024
Juneteenth
19Jun
06.19.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
22Jun
06.22.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
22Jun
06.22.2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love of the Land Dinner
25Jun
06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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