Wednesday, 22 May 2024

News

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – The California Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate a Thursday evening crash near Kelseyville that involved seven vehicles and has officials still searching for a possible hit-and-run suspect.


The crash occurred near the intersection of Highways 29 and 281 at Kit's Corner just after 6 p.m. Thursday, as Lake County News has reported.


CHP Officer Joe Wind said fellow officers who responded to the collision described the scene as chaotic, with numerous drivers, passenger and seven vehicles.


“The collision is still under investigation,” Wind said Friday. “We don't really know who's at fault at this point in time.”


He said they're still trying to piece together the scene and how the collision was triggered.


“It was essentially a pileup,” he said.


There were some injuries, but Wind said they were minor.


The crash was initially reported as a vehicle into a telephone pole, but Wind said the investigation so far hasn't revealed whether that was how the crash started, or if a vehicle ended up against he pole after the crash. He said PG&E and other utility companies weren't called to make any repairs to the pole.


Officers are looking for a possible suspect vehicle that some witnesses saw leaving the crash scene, said Wind.


“Preliminary reports indicate we have a white Dodge Durango that was possibly involved that left the scene going southbound,” he said.


The Durango, for which he didn't have a year, was said to have minor damage to its front left fender.


Lake County News received information from another party that the Durango triggered the crash by hitting a PT Cruiser first.


Wind said the CHP made one arrest, with one of the drivers involved, Ruth Mary Vanlokeren of Middletown, arrested by CHP Officer Jeremy Jensen on suspicion of driving under the influence.


Vanlokeren later posted $5,000 bail and was released.


Wind said Jensen is leading the investigation.


Anyone with information on the suspect vehicle is asked to call the CHP at 707-279-0103.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .

BOONVILLE, Calif. – Mendocino County officials are seeking to find an elderly Boonville man reported missing Thursday.


Just after 10 p.m. Thursday the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call regarding the disappearance fo Eugene Marshall Bright, 76, according to a report from Lt. Tim Marsh.


Marsh said Bright's neighbor, Sylvia Carsey, made the report.


Carsey told officials that she looks after Bright, who she last saw on the property around his residence at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday.


At around 9 p.m. Carsey went to check on Bright and found he was gone, along with his small, gray-haired poodle. Marsh said Bright's ID was left behind.


Marsh said officials have received reports of Bright seen walking down Highway 128 in the Yorkville area.


He said Highway 128 between Philo and the south county line has been extensively driven in attempts to locate Bright, but thus far no one has been able to find him.


Bright is described as 6 feet tall and 157 pounds. He was last seen wearing a light orange-colored jacket, blue jeans and a felt brimmed like hat with a small feather on the outside band of the hat.


Anyone with information on Bright's whereabouts is asked to call the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at 707-463-4086.


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Northshore Fire Protection District firefighters work on a vehicle that caught fire early on Thursday, December 23, 2010, at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice, Calif. Photo by Gary McAuley.



NICE, Calif. – An early morning fire on Thursday destroyed a vehicle.


The fire occurred at around 3 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice.


Reports from the scene indicated that casino personnel had attempted to put the fire out but were unable to do so.


Firefighters with Northshore Fire Protection District responded to extinguish the blaze.


The driver had reportedly arrived earlier this week from Missouri, reports from the scene indicated.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .

 

 

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The vehicle, reportedly owned by a person from Missouri, caught fire around 3 a.m. Thursday, December 23, 2010, at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice, Calif. Photo by Gary McAuley.
 

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – Clearlake Police took a local man into custody Friday after he attempted to burglarize the local Walmart store.


Dale Daniel McKay, 20, of Clearlake was arrested for burglary and resisting arrest, according to a report from Sgt. Tim Hobbs.


At 7:30 a.m. Friday Clearlake Police officers were dispatched to Walmart on a report of burglary that had just occurred, Hobbs said.


Hobbs said the suspect, later identified as McKay, had allegedly fled the store with two PlayStation 3s and was last seen going into the field to the south of McDonald’s.


During a search of the area McKay came out of the field and was spotted by Officer Travis Lenz in the loading dock area behind Ray's Food Place, Hobbs said.


A foot pursuit ensued and McKay ran from Lenz around to the front of the store. As McKay attempted to run inside the store he was tackled by a citizen who had observed Lenz chasing him through the parking lot, Hobbs said.


McKay was arrested for burglary and resisting arrest and later booked into the Lake County Jail, with bail set at $10,000, according to Hobbs. McKay later posted bail and was released.


Hobbs said the stolen property also was located.


The Clearlake Police Department also wanted to recognize the efforts of the citizen who assisted in the arrest of McKay, said Hobbs.


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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The holiday shopping season, now nearing its end, has produced some hope and good news for businesses around the nation, as well as those right here at home.


Since the recession officially started in December 2007, consumer spending has been sluggish compared to that seen during the several years previous.


That trend has continued over the last few years, as people have struggled with job loss, foreclosure and the overall uncertainty of the country's economic situation.


But analysts around the country are pointing to some interesting facts to emerge from this holiday season. Holiday spending can be a good indication of other economic factors.


Here in Lake County, holiday crowds and the bustle of seasonal shopping is encouraging local businesses.


“Overall, people are feeling very good about their holiday shopping,” said Lake County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Fulton.


Fulton, who did a quick survey of several Lakeport businesses Thursday, said one store she spoke with felt it was keeping pace with last year, which wasn't a strong year for commerce.


“The others all said they were very pleased with the way things are going and the way shoppers have come out, so that's a good thing,” Fulton said.


Based on feedback from chamber members, Fulton said the recession seemed to start later locally. That's a sentiment voiced by some county government officials earlier this year, who also noted the county is likely to come out of the grips of the recession later.


Despite some optimistic signs for businesses, Lake County's economic challenges still appear to be full-fledged. November's unemployment rate rose to 18.7 percent, up from 17.1 percent over October.


Last month, The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index showed an increase that brought it to its highest level in five months. The survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households.


“Consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy and job market, while only slightly better than last month, suggests the economy is still expanding, albeit slowly,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center.


Likewise, last month the Consumer Electronics Association said it found consumer confidence to be the highest since October 2009.


“Consumers are beginning to feel less pessimistic about employment as their overall economic outlook improves,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA chief economist and director of research. “While the labor market remains depressed, consumer sentiment is rising.”


Reston, Va.-based comScore – which tracks the digital world, including e-commerce – reported Wednesday that $28.36 billion had been spent online in the first 49 days of the holiday shopping season, accounting for a 12-percent increase versus the corresponding days last year.


In addition, the week ending Dec. 19 showed $5.5 billion in spending, 14 percent up from the same week last year, while the final shopping weekend before Christmas hit $900 million in retail e-commerce spending, representing a strong 17-percent growth rate compared to the same time in 2009, comScore reported.


The news about consumer spending comes as foreclosure numbers nationwide appear to be falling, according to the latest RealtyTrac report.


The company's November 2010 report, released earlier this month, showed a 21-percent decrease in foreclosure actions nationwide from October, and a 14-percent decrease since November 2009.


Both the 21 percent month-over-month decrease and 14 percent year-over-year decrease in foreclosure activity were the highest drops recorded since RealtyTrac began publishing the U.S. Foreclosure Report in January 2005.


In the midst of the changing economic factors, around Lake County this year, several charitable efforts – such as wish trees at various businesses and organizations, and food drives – reported overwhelming and quick response from the community to help those in need.


Fulton said that while the local economic optimism isn't yet overwhelming, there is a feeling that people are becoming more comfortable about spending money.


She's also hearing feedback about a strong economic fourth quarter for businesses.


“So let's hope that it keeps up,” she said.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The holidays are a time of celebration with family, friends and co-workers.


Often, those holiday festivities involve travel, whether it’s to a relative’s house, home from the office Christmas party, or even just a quick trip to the store for a last-minute purchase.


Regardless of what brings you out on the roadways this year, know that you’re in good company with the California Highway Patrol (CHP).


On Friday, Dec. 24, at 6 p.m., the CHP begins its Christmas Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) which continues through Sunday, Dec. 26, at 11:59 p.m.


During this holiday weekend, CHP offices throughout the state plan for increased visible presence by deploying special enforcement teams, in addition to those who are already scheduled to work.


“The holiday season is all about having good times with family and friends, and about sharing and giving,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “We want to make sure everyone enjoy their festivities, and therefore, our goal is to ensure you and your loved ones arrive at your destination safely.”


Drivers are reminded to always wear seat belts, put children in appropriate safety seats, drive at a safe speed for various conditions, and never drink and drive during this holiday season.


“Officers will be on the road to ensure motorists celebrate the holidays in a safe, responsible manner,” added Commissioner Farrow. “If your celebration involves alcohol, please designate a non-drinking driver.”


Last year during the CHP’s Christmas holiday enforcement effort, 22 people were killed in collisions statewide; among the vehicle occupants killed within CHP’s jurisdiction, more than half were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. CHP officers also accounted for 1,104 arrests made statewide for driving under the influence (DUI) during the 2009 Christmas MEP.


The CHP will conduct a similar holiday enforcement effort during the New Year’s weekend which begins Friday, Dec. 31, at 6 p.m., and continues through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) has announced that 25 schools in Northern and Central California have been selected to receive up to $10,000 each in Bright Ideas grants.


The money will be used to help reduce energy usage, save money and help students learn the importance of environmental stewardship.


A total of $152,500 was given out to the 25 schools.


The Lake County Office of Education in Lakeport, in partnership with University of California, San Francisco, was awarded $5,000.


Other schools around the North Coast region receiving the awards were the Napa Valley Language Academy, $5,000; Vintage High School in Napa, $10,000; the REACH School, Sebastopol, $10,000; and Pacific Union Elementary School, Arcata, $5,000.


As part of the larger PG&E Solar Schools program, the Bright Ideas Grants program promotes the understanding of renewable energy.


Last spring, 18 additional schools were selected to receive Bright Ideas grants, bringing the total awarded in 2010 to $327,500.


The grants were awarded to credentialed teachers, administrators and facilities managers within five major categories: Educational solar projects, youth energy and environmental programs, renewable energy or science related field trips, green your school projects and professional development/service learning projects/ workforce development programs.


“Bright Ideas grants fund innovative educational programs that teach California students the importance of renewable energy,” said Greg Pruett, senior vice president of corporate affairs at PG&E. “This program would not be possible without the dedication of teachers throughout California who are developing future sustainable energy innovators and scientists.”


The PG&E Solar Schools Program includes installation of photovoltaic systems in public schools, a solar-based curriculum training package, workshops for teachers and Bright Ideas grants.


Since its inception in 2004, PG&E shareholders have contributed more than $8 million to the PG&E Solar Schools program. With more than 125 schools participating throughout PG&E’s service area, the program has trained more than 3,000 teachers, benefiting nearly 200,000 students.


PG&E partners with leaders in education and the solar industry to deliver the training and infrastructure associated with this program. The National Energy Education Development Project manages curriculum training and administration of the grants, and the Foundation for Environmental Education coordinates installation of the donated photovoltaic systems.


PG&E’s award-winning Solar Schools Program is nationally recognized for teaching the value of renewable energy. It has been awarded the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s (IREC) Annual Innovation award, named “Education Innovator of the Year” by the San Francisco Business Times and received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, California’s highest and most prestigious environmental honor.


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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Some parts of Northern California could have a white Christmas this year thanks to a Pacific storm system predicted to hit over the holiday weekend, and travelers are urged to be prepared for weather changes.


The National Weather Service expects a dry Christmas Eve, with the storm expected to approach the California coast Friday night and into early Saturday morning.


The agency said there is a possibility of light rain showers – plus snow in higher elevations – Christmas morning, with precipitation expected across the northern part of the state Saturday afternoon and evening.


Rain and mountain snow are forecast to become heavier Saturday night and Sunday morning, at the time the storm's main front system is pushing across California, the National Weather Service said.


Sunday could see continued showers throughout the day, as well as more snow in the mountains, the agency reported.


Forecasters predict that there will be an inch or more of rain falling on the Sacramento Valley floor over the weekend, with between 1 to 2 feet of snow above 7,000 feet by Monday morning.


The National Weather Service expects the storm to produce moderate snow levels ranging between 3,000 to 4,000 in the mountains in Shasta County to 4,000 to 5,000 feet over the Northern Sierra.


In Lake County, a special weather statement from the National Weather Service predicts a 100-percent chance rain on Saturday, with temperatures topping out at 42 during the day with a nighttime low of 36 degrees, and southeast winds between 15 and 21 miles per hour in the day, dropping to between 11 and 13 miles per hour at night.


For Sunday, Lake County has a 70-percent chance of rain, according to the forecast, with showers likely in the morning, to be followed by a cloudy day with a daytime high near 39 degrees and a nighttime low of 35 degrees. The chance of showers Sunday night drops to 30 percent.


Early next week, the agency also reports a slight chance of showers for Lake County.


For travelers, the National Weather Service cautions that travel throughout the holiday weekend is expected to be impacted.


Northern California's major mountain passes are expected to be impacted with chain controls, which could mean delays from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon, forecasters said. In some cases, heavy snow and strong winds could lead to white-out conditions.


For those who will be on the roads, be prepared for changing weather conditions, carry chains and emergency supplies, and check the latest weather reports before heading out.


While snow and rain won't stop sleighs with flying reindeer, for those traveling over the holidays, current road conditions can be checked by visiting Caltrans online at www.dot.ca.gov/ or calling 800-427-7623.


For the latest in weather conditions, visit the National Weather Service's Sacramento office online at www.wrh.noaa.gov/sto/ or check out the weather forecast link on the Lake County News home page.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .

LAKEPORT, Calif. – At the end of a daylong meeting Wednesday , the Lake County Planning Commission certified the final environmental impact report for the proposed expansion of Bottle Rock Power LLC's geothermal project on Cobb Mountain.


In a hearing with hours of testimony that was sometimes confusing, off topic and contentious, the commission found that the final EIR – which neighbors of the project faulted for myriad shortcomings and mistakes – was sufficient for the project.


The project is located within the Binkley and Francisco Leaseholds at 6743, 6825, 7358, 7385 and 7500 High Valley Road, Cobb.


The plant, operated during the 1980s by the California Department of Water Resources, was closed for many years until it was reopened in 2007 under the ownership of US Renewables Group and Carlyle/Riverstone Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund I, as Lake County News has reported.


The commission, with District 2 Commissioner Bob Malley absent, heard five and a half hours' worth of testimony – both from neighbors and Bottle Rock Power officials – before rendering the decision on the final EIR. It then heard another hour of comments on the project's use permit, which is proposed for expansion.


Community Development Director Rick Coel explained that Bottle Rock Power is seeking to add up to 22 wells over the life of the project, although it's more likely to add between six and nine.


That expansion also would includes the rezone of 60 acres to allow for two new 3.5-acre geothermal well pads, an access road and 1.3 miles of new pipeline to connect to the existing pipeline. The company also said it will build a new bridge as part of the expansion.


But as 5 p.m. arrived, the exhausting discussion led both the commission and residents affected by the plant to agree to come back to continue the consideration beginning at 10:15 a.m. Jan. 13.


That meeting will delve more into Bottle Rock Power LLC's request for a new use permit and proposed modifications to its current use permit, as well as its traffic and road maintenance plan.


While community members made clear their reservations over the project, local leaders communicated their support for the project to the commission.


On Thursday a memo to the commission from County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox urged them to approve it, noting, “It is imperative to the well-being of all residents of Lake County that our County government take decisive actions to facilitate the creation of new jobs and encourage private sector investments that will result in both short-term and long-term economic benefits.”


Cox said the geothermal industry has been one of the county's “few consistently successful economic engines” over the past three decades, and has become a major contributor to the county's tax base. Based on his work with the industry, he said he's become a strong proponent.


Quoting the EIR, Cox said the plant's cost for full buildout would be $80 million to $90 million. It would take between 320 and 360 new homes, each valued at around $250,000, to add as much value to the county's tax rolls, and those homes – unlike the plant – would result in increased public service and infrastructure demand.


Commissioner Cliff Swetnam reported to his fellow commissions that earlier in the day before the meeting started he had received a call from Lake County Farm Bureau Executive Director Chuck March and an e-mail from Lake County Chamber Executive Director Melissa Fulton, both urging the final EIR's approval based on their belief in its positive economic impacts.


Company, neighbors discuss project


Coel and consultants from AECOM, the company in charge of preparing the EIR, gave a presentation on the document, touching on mitigations for the 34 identified significant impacts – such as traffic, geology and biological resources – as well as 21comment letters they received.


Bottle Rock Power General Manager Brian Harms and his staff explained their project and the effort to get it to this point. “It's been a very intense effort involving many different areas of regulatory jurisdiction and technical capabilities,” Harms said.


There's more work to do, he said, and they need to secure financing, which hangs on the permitting to expand onto the Binkley lease.


He said the plant has a 55-megawatt capacity, but currently only is producing 11 megawatts.


During the public hearing, neighbors asked for more time to be able to go through the 432-page EIR, which several of them said they had only had for about a week. Coel pointed out that the document had been available since Dec. 9.


Randy Fung, one of the group of neighbors who he said has been working on addressing Bottle Rock Power's operations over the last two years, told the commission, “The issues on this project are very complex,” and they were touching just the tip of the iceberg.


Fung added that concerned neighbors have taken part in seven town hall meetings, and he questioned the discussion on the project coming up so close to the holidays.


Another landowner near the project, Kelly Fletcher, complained of rotten egg smells coming from the plant, and said his home is sitting unoccupied and for sale because he's concerned about the health impacts on his children.


He also stated that traffic on High Valley Road related to the plant is dangerous and not well regulated.


Cheri Holden, chair of the Sierra Club Lake Group, commended community members who live near the plant for their diligence in monitoring the project. “They have been activists in protecting their community and their families.”


Holden also commended Bottle Rock Power for working on some of the historical mistakes made under past managers, and being willing to keep the dialogue open with neighbors.


She said the Sierra Club's general position on the matter is to applaud alternative energy, but projects must be weighed on risk and value.


“The Sierra Club still does have a question about that real opportunity for 55 megawatts,” she said, suggesting continued diligence and monitoring were needed at all levels.


Coel told the commission that the county has a geothermal coordinator and is recruiting for an additional resource planner to monitor geothermal projects.


If Bottle Rock Power's project was approved, the company would be entering into a mitigation and monitoring agreement with Coel's department, which would mean the company would have to pay the costs for staff to conduct monitoring.


“It's a big construction project, so we're going to need to be up there,” he said.


Coel said he understood why residents weren't happy in the past. “We weren't happy either,” he said, but the issues have been cleaned up.


Property owner Hamilton Hess raised concerns over rare plant species in the area's serpentine soil, and referenced a letter from the California Native Plant Society to the county.


The proposed mitigations in the EIR include a pre-construction survey and modifications of the project footprint to avoid disturbing the plants.


Ron Fidge, who has lived in Cobb's High Valley since 1972 and said he overlooks the project, spent about an hour and a half before the commission criticizing the document and airing other complaints about the operation.


He also spent considerable time arguing with staff interpretations of impacts and code language, and threatened litigation over a road easement that Deputy County Counsel Bob Bridges said the commission had no authority to enforce anyway.


Commission Chair Clelia Baur tried to keep Fidge on the EIR certification discussion, telling him at one point, “You have a lot on your mind” and adding that he was hard to follow.


Fidge responded by telling them that the plant had made his home “a hell hole.”


He then told the commission that they had better be prepared to extend the hearing another day.


At that point, Commissioner Cliff Swetnam leaned forward in his chair and told Fidge, “You need to quit threatening this commission,” which elicited an apology from Fidge.


Swetnam said they were there to make a decision, not engage in civil law disputes. To make their decision, they needed factual information, he added.


Fidge said he has a federal lawsuit against the county over not enforcing his rights through a gate on the land. “We get violated every time we turn around.”


A frustrated Coel told the commission that his department has put an incredible amount of staff time into monitoring the site and investigating false complaints.


“I am telling you as the community development director, someone who has worked in this department for 20 years, things are under control up there,” and that the plant is in compliance with its use permit, Coel said.


He said there are definite issues he wants the commission's guidance on regarding the current use permit and traffic control to make sure the whole system operates better.


Commission makes decision


Commissioner Gil Schoux, in whose district the plant is located, held up the 56 pages of mitigations on the project. He said he was confident in staff's work on the project and would vote in favor of certifying the EIR.


Swetnam said there were a lot of people emotionally connected to the project's issues. But he said the commission needed facts. “We've had very little hard evidence today.”


He said the commission can't speculate on what will happen in the plant's future, and they'll probably never know if the plant can reach 55 megawatts. Still, he said, “We need the power,” and if they can mitigate the problems, it doesn't matter if the plant only ever reaches 30 megawatt production.


He added, “I can't mitigate speculation, I can't mitigate conjecture,” noting that the energy produced and the jobs both are benefits for the county.


Baur said she understood that people were hoping that the plant wouldn't reopen after being closed for so many years, but she agreed that the project was important for the county.


Schoux moved to certify the final EIR, with Swetnam seconding. The commission approved the motion 4-0.


Following a break and just under another hour of input, the commission decided to continue the use permit discussion until Jan. 13.


The documents on the Bottle Rock Power expansion project, including the full EIR, can be found on the county's Web site at www.co.lake.ca.us/Government/Directory/Community_Development/Bottle_Rock_Power_Expansion_Project.htm .


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .

SACRAMENTO – Holiday parties are a fun, enjoyable part of the season for many, but they also can bring increased danger and tragedy to the roadways.


More parties mean more driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and more car crashes.


Not only is this a danger to motorists, but it also increases the risk to highway workers, according to Caltrans.


Caltrans is responsible for cleaning up debris after traffic collisions, directing traffic, quickly repairing highway damage, and getting traffic flowing again so additional crashes don't occur. This puts Caltrans workers at risk of being hit by a drunk or otherwise impaired driver as they are directing traffic or cleaning up after a collision.


That is what happened recently when Caltrans highway maintenance worker Gary Smith was called from home to provide traffic control on Highway 99 in Chico when an earlier DUI crash killed two adults and one child.


A suspected drunk driver then drove through the safety barriers, striking and killing Smith, a nearly 33-year veteran of Caltrans.


“It is everyone's responsibility to slow down when traveling through a highway work zone or when there is a roadside emergency,” said Caltrans Director Cindy McKim. “By slowing down and driving responsibly, you can help ensure that highway workers will safely return home to their families this holiday season.”


Caltrans, the California Office of Traffic Safety and the California Highway Patrol remind all drivers to plan ahead to have a designated sober driver after drinking, and to be alert for other drivers who may be impaired.


Anyone who suspects someone driving under the influence should immediately notify law enforcement by dialing 911.


Also, if you see a Caltrans or CHP vehicle flashing their warning lights, slow down, watch for highway workers and be prepared for sudden stops or lane closures.


Be sure to follow the “Move Over” law and try to switch to a safer lane when approaching highway crews or CHP officers on the side of the road.


Help protect those who make our highways safer everyday.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – A Thursday evening crash resulted in minor injuries, with authorities looking for a vehicle that reportedly left the scene.


The collision occurred near Kit's Corner, the intersection of Highways 29 and 281, shortly after 6 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.


A vehicle was reported to have crashed into a telephone pole, the CHP said.


Reports from the scene indicated there were two, four or seven vehicles involved. It was not clear Thursday night just how many were in the crash based on the information available.


A vehicle – reported to be a white van driven by a woman – left the scene and headed toward Lower Lake, and was being sought by officials. A be on the lookout was issued for the vehicle.


Work at the scene was continuing after 8 p.m., the CHP reported.


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CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The Clearlake Police Department is seeking information about two armed suspects who allegedly broke into a home, and beat and robbed a man at gunpoint early Wednesday morning.


Sgt. Tim Celli reported that officers were dispatched to the 3700 block of Howard Avenue at around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday on the report of a home invasion robbery.


The alleged victim, 23-year-old Juan Flores, told police he was at home sleeping when two black men kicked in his door, held him at gunpoint and battered him, Celli said.


Flores reported that one of the men was wearing a ski mask. Celli said that Flores stated that while he was being held at gunpoint, the second man ransacked his home.


After the suspects left Flores' home, he ran to a neighbor's home and police were called, Celli said.


Celli said Flores has not yet been able to identify what property was stolen in the robbery, but items believed to belong to Flores were located in the street outside of the residence and collected for evidence.


Flores was treated for his injuries at St. Helena Hospital Clearlake and later released, Celli said.


Celli said the investigation is ongoing.


He asked anyone with information about the case to call Clearlake Police Officer Paulsen, 707-994-8251.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews , on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf and on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/LakeCoNews .

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