Friday, 19 April 2024

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – With the summer harvest season over, Lake County's unemployment rate rose slightly in September, while state and national unemployment rates stayed the same as in August.


Lake County's unemployment rate rose from 16.8 percent in August to 17 percent in September, ranking it 53 among California's 58 counties, according to the Employment Development Department's Friday report.


In September 2009, the county's unemployment rate was 14.5 percent, based on state records.


California’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 12.4 percent in September, and nonfarm payroll jobs decreased by 63,600 during the month, according to data the state released based on from two separate surveys. In August, the state’s nonfarm payroll jobs were revised upwards 44,200 for a total gain of 10,700 jobs, with the unemployment rate at 12.4 percent.


The statewide unemployment rate was 12.1 percent in September 2009.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nation's unemployment rate also remained unchanged in September at 9.6 percent, down from the 9.8 percent rate reported the previous September.


The state said there were 595,996 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the September survey week, compared with 620,844 last month and 744,924 last year.


New claims for unemployment insurance were 75,316 last month, compared with 65,261 in August and 69,160 in September of last year, the Employment Development Department reported.


Marin continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state, with 8.4 percent, while Imperial's 30.4-percent rate ranked it last among the state's counties, according to the report.


In September, Lake County's workforce included 26,030 people, with 4,430 of them out of work. The August workforce was slightly larger, at 26,370, with the same number of people – 4,430 – unemployed.


For September, Lake's neighboring counties posted the following rates and state rankings: Glenn, 14.7 percent, No. 37; Yolo, 11.6 percent, No. 22; Mendocino, 10.7 percent, No. 14; Sonoma, 10.2 percent, No. 9; and Napa, 9.3 percent, No. 4.


Specifically within Lake County, Upper Lake had the lowest unemployment in September, with 8.8 percent, while Clearlake Oaks had 25.2 percent unemployment.


The following unemployment rates were reported for other areas of the county, from highest to lowest: Nice, 24.6 percent; city of Clearlake, 24.3 percent; Lucerne, 18 percent; Kelseyville, 17.3 percent; Middletown, 17.2 percent; city of Lakeport, 16.4 percent; Cobb, 15.2 percent; Lower Lake, 14.3 percent; Hidden Valley Lake, 14.1 percent; and north Lakeport, 13.5 percent.


State job numbers show drop in September


A survey of 42,000 California businesses, which is used to measure jobs, showed a decrease of 43,700 jobs – or a 0.3-percent drop – from September 2009 to September 2010.


Employment Development Department data showed that nonfarm jobs in California totaled 13,808,500 in September, a decrease of 63,600 over the month, according to a survey of businesses that is larger and less variable statistically. This followed a gain of 10,700 jobs in August.


A federal survey of households, done with a smaller sample than the survey of employers, showed an increase in the number of employed people during the month. It estimated the number of Californians holding jobs in September was 15,975,000, an increase of 7,000 from August, but down 11,000 from the employment total in September of last year.


The number of people unemployed in California was 2,270,000 – up by 10,000 over the month, and up by 69,000 compared with September of last year, the state reported.


The Employment Development Department report showed wage and salary jobs in the state's nonfarm industries totaled 13,808,500 in September, a net loss of 63,600 jobs since the August survey.


Four categories – trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; professional and business services; and leisure and hospitality – added jobs over the month, gaining 20,700 jobs, the state reported. Leisure and hospitality posted the largest increase over the month, adding 7,400 jobs.


The report showed that seven categories – mining and logging; construction; manufacturing; information; educational and health services; other services; and government – reported job declines this month, down 84,300 jobs. Government posted the largest decline over the month, down by 37,300 jobs.


Four industry divisions – mining and logging; professional and business services; educational and health services; and leisure and hospitality – posted job gains over the year, adding 82,800 jobs. Professional and business services recorded the largest increase over the year on both a numerical and percentage basis, up 58,500 jobs, a 2.9-percent increase, the state said.


Seven categories – construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; other services; and government – posted job declines over the year, down 126,500 jobs, according to the report.


The state said construction employment showed the largest decline over the year on both a numerical and percentage basis, down by 50,700 jobs, a decline of 8.8 percent.


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 .

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Military Funeral Honors Team members at the Veterans Day 2009 commemoration. Photo by Ginny Craven.


 


LAKEPORT, Calif. – Veterans Day will be celebrated at a new location this year.


Lake County veterans, their families and all supporters are invited to Konocti Vista Casino in Lakeport to celebrate those who have served our country.


This year’s keynote speaker will be Lake County District 5 Supervisor Rob Brown.


Annual past participants have included the Clear Lake High School Band, 4-H members, Sea Scouts, Lake County veteran organizations and the Military Funeral Honors Team.


The Veterans Day ceremony will include presentations of the County’s annual “Friend of the Veteran” and United Veterans Council’s “Veteran of the Year” awards.


Through the generosity of Konocti Vista Casino, a complimentary lunch will be provided to those in attendance.


Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration and honoring of our veterans.


Please join the festivities at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11, at Konocti Vista Casino, 2755 Mission Rancheria Road in Lakeport.


For more information call 707-279-2299.


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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Congressman Mike Thompson and St. Helena Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Terry Newmyer were among the dignitaries who spoke at the celebration of a planned emergency room renovation at St. Helena Hospital Clearlake on Friday, October 15, 2010, in Clearlake, Calif. Courtesy photo.




CLEARLAKE, Calif. – Congressman Mike Thompson was the featured speaker at an Oct. 15 gathering of community leaders and hospital representatives celebrating the planned $12.1 million renovation and expansion of St. Helena Hospital Clearlake’s emergency department.


The project is scheduled to begin with a ceremonial “wall breaking” on Nov. 10 at 8 a.m.


Jennifer Swenson, the hospital's vice president of operations, and St. Helena Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Terry Newmyer also spoke at the Oct. 15 event.


Thompson praised the hospital for its commitment to improving the accessibility and quality of health care to area residents.


“This important project will help enhance the health and vitality of our community,” Thompson said, noting that the renovation will also help the local economy by adding jobs and boosting support for local businesses.


In addition to Thompson, community leaders attending the event included Clearlake Mayor Judy Thein; Supervisor Jeff Smith; Sheriff Rodney Mitchell; Lake County Fire Protection Battalion Chief Willie Sapeta; Jim Dowdy, Kelseyville Fire Department.; St. Helena Hospital Clearlake Governing Board members Arthur Bikangaga, MD, Mark Cooper, DDS, Fred Poucher, Jr., and Marc Shapiro, MD; and hospital executive medical staff members Paula Dhanda, MD, and Michael Shepherd, MD.


“Today is about building for the future,” Swenson told the gathering. “We are transforming care from the inside out by establishing a program that allows our physicians to remain inside the hospital to attend to the needs of our patients; implants the high quality standards that St. Helena Hospital in the Napa Valley has known for years; and provides an environment that supports clinical innovation, education and partnerships for our staff. We are also replacing old equipment with new, state-of-the-art equipment.”


The renovation will add five state-of-the-art patient monitoring rooms, bringing the total number of private rooms to 12. Two of the new rooms will be for trauma patients.


The project also will improve the configuration of the emergency department, providing a private ambulance entrance, a welcoming entrance for walk-in patients and visitors, and a pleasant, comfortable environment in the larger remodeled waiting area.


The triage area will be redesigned so that patients can go directly from the emergency department lobby to a private bed, if necessary.


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

LUCERNE, Calif. – The driver of a Jeep Wrangler suffered major injuries when the vehicle went into a ditch on Friday.


The crash occurred just before 2:30 p.m. on westbound Highway 20 near Lucerne, according to the California Highway Patrol.


A witness advised that the vehicle began to speed up and served prior to the collision, based on the CHP report.


Officials reported that the subject had to be extricated from a single-vehicle crash and flown by REACH, with the original destination being UC Davis Medical Center.


CHP Officer Joe Wind said the driver was believed to have suffered possible head trauma.


However, the inclement weather required the helicopter be turned back at Lake Berryessa, with it rerouted to Sutter Lakeside Hospital, according to radio reports.


Earlier in the afternoon, just after 1 p.m., another solo-vehicle crash occurred at Highway 20 and Highway 53, with a vehicle rolling over into a nearby field, according to the CHP.


Wind said it's believed that the driver took the corner too fast.


The CHP reported that the driver suffered minor injuries, including cuts to their arms, and sought their own medical aid.


With area roadways being wet due to rain, Wind urged that drivers be cautious.


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 .

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A Cal Fire hand crew works Scotts Creek, felling badly burned trees at a fire on Hill Road in Lakeport, Calif., on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. Photo by Gary McAuley.
 

 

 

 


LAKEPORT, Calif. – A mower is believed to have caused a fire near Lakeport Wednesday afternoon.


The fire occurred at 3385 Hill Road, and was reported at about 1:50 p.m., according to Lakeport Fire Protection District Chief Ken Wells.


He said the fire started because of a mower that was towed behind a quadrunner. Wells said firefighters weren't yet sure if the mower hit a rock or if the quadrunner's hot exhaust ignited dry grass.


The fire ignited a small meadow, and then the blaze jumped Scotts Creek and got into some heavy brush and old down trees, according to Wells.


“It made it difficult to get to both sides, obviously,” Wells said.


Two Cal Fire hand crews were called in to help go after the fire in the brush while a Cal Fire helicopter also dropped water on the blaze, Wells said. The fire was fanned on by 7 mile per hour winds, with Wells also recording 32-percent humidity.

 

 

 

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Capt. Rick Bergem of Lakeport Fire Protection District extinguishes a tree with foam, as water alone is not effective. Photo by Gary McAuley.

 

 


A structure also was in danger at one point, with the fire burning up to it, but Wells said firefighters were able to stop the blaze before it burned the building.


He said a total of three to four acres burned.


Altogether, Wells said more than 40 firefighters were on scene, along with two engines and a water tender from Lakeport, and an engine each from Northshore Fire, Kelseyville Fire and Cal Fire.


Firefighters were being released from the scene after 8 p.m., according to radio reports.


There was a small fire north of that site on Hill Road on Tuesday night, Wells 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 and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .


 

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A Cal Fire hand crew works Scotts Creek, felling badly burned trees at a fire on Hill Road in Lakeport, Calif., on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. Photo by Gary McAuley.
 

THIS QUAKE HAS BEEN UPGRADED FROM 3.4 TO 3.5 IN MAGNITUDE.


THE GEYSERS – The Geysers and Cobb area experienced a 3.5-magnitude earthquake Tuesday morning.


The temblor hit at 10:51 a.m. four miles north of The Geysers and 10 miles southwest of Clearlake, the US Geological Survey reported.


The survey said the quake was poorly constrained and occurred at the earth's surface.


Cobb resident Roger Kinney, a frequent contributor regarding earthquake reports in the area, said he was standing outside when the quake occurred, and that he saw his home shudder as a result of it.


The US Geological Survey received three shake reports – one from Kelseyville, one from Middletown and one from San Jose.


A 3.0-magnitude earthquake was reported at The Geysers on Oct. 4, as Lake County News has reported.


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 and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

What legal recourse do the surviving heirs of a missing person have to administer that person’s estate?


In California, when a person has been missing for a continuous period of five years or more, the surviving spouse, registered domestic partner, certain family members, and creditors can file a petition in the missing person’s last known county of residence to obtain a determination that the missing person is “presumed dead.”


What then is involved with successfully file such a “missing person” petition?


Section 12404 of the California Probate Code requires the petitioner to state the following: The last known residence the last known address of the missing person; the time and circumstances when the missing person was last seen or heard from; that the missing person has not been seen or heard from for a continuous period of five years by the persons likely to have seen or heard from the missing person and that the missing person’s whereabouts are unknown to those persons and the petition; and a description of the search or the inquiry concerning the whereabouts of the missing person.


Whether the court grants the petition depends most heavily on whether or not the court is satisfied that it has sufficient evidence from your search or inquiry to determine that the person is presumed dead.


Evidence that the missing person is presumed dead can include affidavits and depositions of persons likely to have seen or heard from or know the whereabouts of the missing person, based on section 12406(a) of the Probate Code.


If necessary, the court may require the search or inquiry to be made in any further manner that it considers advisable.


That could include publishing a request for information as to the missing person’s whereabouts in any newspaper or periodical, notifying appropriate law enforcement and public agencies of the disappearance, and hiring an investigator.


Such costs are paid from the missing person’s estate, if funds are available, and otherwise may have to be paid by the petitioner, according to section 12406(b) of the Probate Code.


If the court determines that the person is presumed dead, section 12407 of the Probate Code requires the court must both appoint a personal representative of the deceased missing person’s estate and determine the date of the missing person’s death.


At this point forward, the administration of the deceased missing person’s probate estate is administered in the same manner as any other deceased person’s estate.


Assets held in the presumed deceased person’s trust would be separately administered by the successor trustee.


Lastly, if after the distribution of the estate, the presumed deceased person reappears alive then he or she has five years from the time of such distributions to recover property from the persons who received such property.


The missing person’s right of recovery is limited by what is fair under the circumstances and also by the legal fees, costs and expenses incurred associated with the administration of the presumed deceased person’s estate prior to his or her reappearance.


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


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. – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's line item veto of funding for child care services for low-income families has raised concerns that some of those families will go back onto public assistance.


However, Lake County's representative in the state Assembly said the Legislature is looking at a way to turn back the action, taken at the completion of the 2011-11 budget process.


The CalWORKS Stage 3 Child Care Program was the victim of the cut. Schwarzenegger had previously proposed cuts to CalWORKS, but legislators had pushed back.


His office has offered no direct statement on the cuts, which were characterized in the preamble to the new budget document this way: “In order to create a prudent reserve for economic uncertainties, the Governor has exercised his line-item veto authority to reduce General Fund spending by an additional $963 million, raising the reserve level from $375 million to $1.3 billion. These vetoes reflect the Governor’s continued determination to build a reserve and reduce spending to the greatest extent possible, given constitutional, statutory, and court-ordered spending requirements.”


North Coast Assemblyman Wes Chesbro told Lake County News on Tuesday that the CalWORKS funding veto “was not only cruel and vindictive, it was bad for the taxpayers,” and raises the likelihood that the families may have to go back on public assistance.


“It's devastating for the families because these are individuals who have worked their way off of taxpayer supported programs and are supporting themselves and their families,” Chesbro said, adding that Schwarzenegger “pulled the rug out” from under families that have accomplished some measure of independence.


Teri Sedrick, co-director of Rural Communities Child Care, a program of North Coast Opportunities, said the veto “came out of the blue,” and is having devastating effects for some local families.


The state Legislature has been excellent at preserving child care, but Sedrick said Schwarzenegger's action “decimated” the program.


The California Department of Education reported that the program was developed 12 years ago to help working-poor families that are former recipients of aid or are transitioning off of aid by providing child care services so the parents could go to work.


The veto, the Department of Education said, “undermines the efforts of working families, primarily single parents with one or two children, to become and remain self-sufficient.”


The agency said Schwarzenegger's Oct. 8 evening veto terminates needed child care services for more than 55,000 children currently in Stage 3, along with the approximately 1,500 children who will be exhausting their eligibility in Stage 2 on a monthly basis, and will no longer be able to transition into Stage 3 child care services.


In Lake County, Schwarzenegger's action will eliminate child care services for 149 children – from birth to age 13 – and jeopardizes employment for 73 working families and 100 child care providers, Sedrick said. While that may sound like a small number of families, Sedrick said it really isn't.


The Stage 3 program is for families that have been off cash aid for 24 months and are working, said Sedrick.


When a family of two starts to make $1,820 a month, they start paying a family fee which is fed back into the program to support more children, she said.


The program's budget this year put $475,458 directly into the hands of local child care providers, who provide subsidized child care services to the families, Sedrick said.


Based on a 2009 Cornell University study on the economics of child care, Sedrick said every dollar invested in child care provides an economic impact of $3.50 to the economy in goods services and tax revenue, for a local estimated economic impact of approximately $1,664,106.


Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has announced that he will seek to reverse Schwarzenegger's veto of the funding and restore the $256 million in child care funds, which was applauded by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell.


“The governor used his blue pencil to attack California's working poor families,” said O'Connell. “Clearly, these are working parents with children, who are trying to do the right thing to support their families, just the people we should be supporting during these tough economic times.”


But, in the meantime, the state is taking immediate action, Sedrick said.


“We've been told by the state Department of Education that the program ends and all families are to be off the program by Nov. 11 so we've already sent out termination notices,” she said.


Sedrick also cut hours for her 20 employees in Lake and Mendocino counties effective Nov. 1, reducing them as low as possible so they could still get health benefits.


She will reevaluate the situation in 90 days, hoping by then that legislators will have put the fix in place. But if there isn't a fix, Sedrick will have to look at layoffs beginning Feb. 1, 2011.


Sedrick said the impacted families who are currently working, paying taxes and contributing to Lake County's struggling economy will be forced to make difficult decisions between caring for their children or maintaining their employment.


“I don't know what they're going to do,” said Sedrick, adding that the program has never faced such an attack before.


Sedrick said 100 Lake County child care providers, including licensed family child care homes and child care centers, will lose payment for services, placing their businesses at risk of closure.


She said local child care providers are already struggling with high vacancy rates due to the unemployment in Lake County.


Parents search for options


Within days of the veto, the notices began going out to local families.


Maria Shepherd of Hidden Valley Lake, who has a 5-year-old daughter who has benefited from the assistance since she was 9 months old, said the program has helped her considerably as she's raised her children on her own.


Shepherd works four days a week at the Middletown Rancheria tribal office, where she has been employed for four years, and makes too much money to qualify for certain programs, but the subsidized daycare helps her make ends meet and stay employed.


“You really don't want to take away from someone that's trying to help themselves,” she said.


She said she only received three weeks' notice that the services were being cut.


“I have been trying all my options and, actually, I'm just a little stressed,” Shepherd said, adding, “I just really don't know what to do.”


Nakia Brusha, a single mother who lives in Hidden Valley Lake with her three children, said “I work my tail off,” to make ends meet, with no medical benefits and no child support. She signed up for the child care program about a year and a half ago.


Brusha, who works for the Buckingham water district and makes a “decent wage for the area,” said she's extremely grateful to have her job, but the competition is “unreal” in looking for a second job.


That means she would have to commute in order to find more work to make ends meet. “How can I be there for my children if I have to work all the time?”


She added, “I'm not asking for a handout, at all,” explaining that she has worked her entire life.


“This is devastating. It's really devastating. I don't know what we're going to do,” she said.


The cuts also are counterproductive for people who are trying to be independent. Brusha said they may find themselves pushed back into the welfare system. “It's going to knock people backwards.”


Valerie Stark of Lakeport has three children in the program, which she's relied on for three years. The cuts took her by surprise.


She said she's trying to work out something with her daycare provider. At the same time, Stark – who just lost her job, and is separated from her husband – is trying to conduct a job search. She's been approved for unemployment, which makes her overqualified for child care and many social service programs.


Laura Metcalf of Lakeport has three children, all of whom qualify for the program. Metcalf holds certified nursing assistant and phlebotomist certifications, works full-time in the health care field and is taking classes three nights a week to become a registered nurse.


“I'm just a little frustrated,” the single mother said of the cuts.


She has used the subsidized child care program for three years after having worked herself off of welfare.


“I don't want to be on welfare,” she said. “I feel like I've come so far and now they're taking this from me and knocking me back down.”


Metcalf said she doesn't know if she can work and afford child care. “I don't know what I'm going to do. I really don't.”


Care providers worry about children, families


While parents are wondering how to make ends meet and care for their children, local child care providers are looking on with concerns for the impacted families as well.


Terrie Sullivan, whose Precious Moments Preschool in Lakeport has 40 children in three classes, said she anticipates losing two of those children because of the cut in funding.


Sullivan, a child care provider for 33 years, said she's watching parents struggle with choices that will have long-term effects on their children, who are the innocent victims of the governor's action.


Like the parents, Sullivan said providers received very short notice of the changes.


One mother Sullivan knows is facing having to take her 4-year-old and place her in kindergarten early, which Sullivan said may be the mother's only choice, yet could lead to learning problems for the child.


When the 4-year-old child came to her and said, “I can't come here anymore,” Sullivan said, “I had to go in the bathroom and cry.”


She added that she is “extremely, extremely distraught about it” and is waking up at night.


Sullivan said she is willing to offer discounts to parents, but they can't even afford the care services then. She can fill the empty slots, “but I can't help these children,” she added.


“I think there's something wrong with our system when they pay you to bleed the system more,” said Sullivan, who also decried state prisoners having access to the Internet.


She said the tax dollars are well spent if parents are being encouraged to work and make a better life for their children, rather that being forced onto welfare. “We all know children learn by example.”


Kim Beall has run Sunshine Family ChildCare in Lakeport since 1994, offering both daycare and preschool to local children.


Like Sullivan, Beall worries about the parents and children she's worked with for so long. Of the roughly 17 children she serves, she will lose six because of the cuts. Three of those children she said she has had in her care since they were babies.


“The impact is substantial considering that it's mainly affecting those people who are trying to do something to improve their lives,” she said.


Beall says she's watching parents who are trying to go to school and improve their lives have to choose to choose to quit their jobs at a time when jobs are a gift.


With many people out of work now, the need for child care has been reduced, so it's also tough on providers, but Beall said it's tougher on the affected families.


“It's making it impossible for them to move forward,” she said. “These are families where that was their main goal.”


Beall said the cuts, to her, signify that lawmakers – in this case, Schwarzenegger – are far removed from the people whose lives they're affecting.


Some of the state's lawmakers are seeking a way to help those families who need it.


Chesbro said one of the interim solutions the Legislature is proposing to restore the family would include asking the California First Five Commission to provide tobacco tax money to help support the program.


The state Assembly also has accumulated savings from internal budget cuts, and a portion of that money could be used to help, he said.


“That's not a long-term solution, that would just get us through the end of the year,” Chesbro explained.


He said there is hope among legislators that they can do a veto override on Schwarzenegger's action. There's also prospect that whoever is elected governor in November will see the program makes financial sense, he added.


While the Legislature works out those issues, Sedrick and her staff are urging affected families to call state officials to voice their concerns.


Shepherd, Brusha, Stark and Metcalf said they're doing just that, working on e-mails and letters and talking to other parents and their family members to seek support.


“Hopefully we can do something,” Shepherd 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 and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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A 2010 Orionid meteor, seen over Western Ontario, Canada. A waxing gibbous moon shines brightly at the left side of the image. Courtesy of Meteor Physics Group, University of Western Ontario.



 



The most famous of all comets, Comet Halley is noted for producing spectacular displays when it passes near Earth on its 76-year trip around the sun.


However, you don't have to wait until 2061 to see a piece of the comet – you can do it this very week.


Halley's Comet leaves bits of itself behind – in the form of small conglomerates of dust and ice called meteoroids – as it moves in its orbit, which the Earth approaches in early May and mid-October.


When it does, it collides with these bits of ice and dust, producing a meteor shower as the particles ablate – or burn up – many miles above our heads.


The May shower is called the Eta Aquarids, as the meteors appear to come from the constellation Aquarius. The October shower has meteors that appear to come from the well-known constellation of Orion the Hunter, hence the name: Orionids.


Orionids move very fast, at a speed of 147,300 miles per hour. At such an enormous speed, the meteors don't last long, burning up very high in the atmosphere.


Last year, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration's allsky cameras at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and in Chickamauga, Ga., recorded 43 definite Orionid meteors.


Most of these appeared at an altitude of 68 miles and completely burned up by the time they were 60 miles above the ground, seen in the graph below.

 

 

 

 

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The peak isn't until Thursday, Oct. 21, but the shower is going on now. The NASA camera systems saw their first Orionid on Oct. 15. Unfortunately, the light from the nearly full moon will wash out the fainter meteors, so expect to see fewer than the 30-per-hour rate you might see under completely dark skies.


The good news is that watching Orionids is easy.


Go out into a clear, dark sky after 11 p.m. at night – your local time – and lie on a sleeping bag or lawn chair. Look straight up. After a few minutes, your eyes will become dark-adapted, you'll start to see meteors.


Any of these that appear to come from Orion will be an Orionid, and therefore represent a piece of Halley's Comet doing its death dive into our atmosphere.


Most folks would consider seeing one or two of these a fair exchange for an hour or so of time.


To see a video of an Orionid meteor streaking over western Ontario on Oct. 17, click here: www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/orionids2010.html.


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



SOUTH LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Caltrans said Thursday that striping and other improvements along two south county highways will take place this fall.


The highways in questions, Highway 29 and Highway 175, are the locations of two rubberized chip seal projects that have many south county residents up in arms due to safety and quality concerns.


The projects, totaling $2.1 million, are located along 12 miles of Highway 29 from the Lake/Napa County lines to the Coyote Creek Bridge and 8.5 miles on Highway 175 from Cobb to Middletown.


Caltrans and local officials – along with representatives of the contractor, International Surfacing Systems of West Sacramento – held a public meeting Oct. 12 to address those concerns, a gathering which Supervisor Jim Comstock organized, as Lake County News has reported.


On Thursday Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie issued a report that explained that the paint for final striping on the roads has been tested and certified, which should allow all of the striping – including crosswalks – to be completed by the end of this month, weather permitting.


Comstock said reflectors were put down on the chip sealed highway portions on Wednesday, and the piano key-style crosswalks throughout downtown Middletown were being painted Thursday.


A white substance had been visible pooling on the sides of Highway 29 last Sunday during a rain shower. Frisbie said it was temporary paint markings – put down to show where permanent markings belonged – that washed off, although Comstock said he saw the substance in areas where no temporary markings had been placed.


Comstock said during the recent rain he saw a lot of water on the newly resurfaced roadways. “That's not going to increase traction when you have standing water.”


Concerns brought by local residents at the Oct. 12 meeting included the rough, 1/2-inch aggregate chip seal being put down over recently paved areas at the Hidden Valley Lake entrance and the entrance to Twin Pine Casino.


Frisbie said loose aggregate that collected in the highway's centerline rumble strip has been removed with vacuum sweepers. Work to smooth areas on Highway 29 near Twin Pine Casino and Butts Canyon Road are scheduled to be completed by mid-November, he added.


Caltrans District 1 Director Charlie Fielder told community members at the Oct. 12 meeting that the project areas would be repaved late next spring or early summer. His deputy director, Mark Suchanek, said the road work would resemble the new paving on Highway 29 outside of Lakeport.


Frisbie's Thursday report held to that time frame from the updated paving.


Caltrans also plans to have an open house next spring prior to the new road construction in order to present the projects to the community, Frisbie said.


Instead of an open house, “We'd rather have a pavement truck,” said Comstock.


Comstock said he's still getting feedback about the Oct. 12 meeting.


“People are pleased we had the meeting,” he said. “They're less than pleased with Caltrans.”


However, be believes Fielder is sincere in trying to address the community's concerns.


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 .

Military recruiting commands report “some all-time highs” in the quality of recruits who enlisted in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.


Acknowledging that the dismal job market is a factor, and that the Post-9/11 GI Bill is becoming a great tool to draw volunteers, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps announced Oct. 12 they had met or exceeded their recruit targets at levels not seen since the Cold War ended.


But recruit command leaders also struck a cautionary tone on challenges ahead as the economy improves, as budgets tighten, and as the proportion of youth who can serve continues to slide as youth obesity rises.


Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, unveiled the outstanding recruiting results for fiscal 2010 at a Pentagon press conference, with service recruiting chiefs at his side.


He did so against a backdrop of a force under enormous strain and some disturbing recruiting patterns, described by his boss, Defense Secretary Roberts Gates, in a very candid lecture two weeks ago at Duke University.


Gates noted that “no major war in our history has been fought with a smaller percentage” of citizens in uniform, just 2.4 million active and reserve members out of a country of more than 300 million, or less than one percent.


So few have been fighting for so long, Gates said, that it brings “dilemmas and consequences.” One is the enormous stress from long, multiple deployments, especially for junior and mid-level officers and sergeants in ground combat and support specialties.


They are “the most battle-tested, innovative and impressive generation of military leaders this country has produced in a very long time,” he said. But the strain on them and on their families is causing more anxiety and distress for their children, more domestic strife, higher divorce rates “and, most tragically, a rising number of suicides.”


While noting that all services are meeting recruiting and retention goals, Gates said that four decades of an all-volunteer force “has reinforced” demographic and cultural shifts affecting “who is most likely to serve and from where.”


Citing studies recruiting officials don’t usually discuss publicly, Gates said the biggest factor affecting propensity to serve is “growing up near those who have or are serving. In this country, that propensity to serve is most pronounced in the South and the Mountain West, and in rural areas and small towns nationwide…[T]he percentage of the force from the Northeast, the West Coast and major cities continues to decline.”


Military basing and recruiting patterns have reinforced this “growing concentration” or imbalance among certain regions and families, Gate said.


“With limited resources, the services focus their recruiting efforts on candidates where they are most likely to have success – with those who have friends, classmates and parents who have already served. In addition, global basing changes in recent years have moved a significant percentage of the Army to posts in just five states: Texas, Washington, Georgia, Kentucky, and here in North Carolina…Many military facilities in the northeast and on the west coast have been shut down, leaving a void of relationships and understanding of the armed forces in their wake.”


He noted that Alabama, with a population of less than five million, has 10 Army Reserve Officer Training Candidate programs versus only four ROTC programs in the Los Angeles metro area of 12 million and three in the Chicago area with a population of nine million.


Personnel chief Stanley was asked Tuesday whether he and service recruiting commanders have begun to address the recruiting effort’s imbalance across geographic regions described by Gates.


“We continue to focus in all areas of our nation, but we know that we have pockets, we have things, that we can do better,” Stanley said.


Location of reserve officer training, he said, “is not as diverse as it should be or could be, not as representative of different colleges [and] universities, so we are focusing on that.”


The aim, Stanley added, is for “a force that represents our nation. We are doing that very well in some areas, but we know we need to improve.”


The military tracks recruit quality by test scores and by high school graduation rates. Ninety-nine percent of recruits last year had diplomas. That surpassed DoD’s benchmark of 90 percent of recruits with diplomas.


The recruit benchmark on test scores is at least 60 percent scoring above the 50th percentile for youth nationwide. All services exceeded that goal. The Air Force led with 90 percent of new recruits scoring at or above average versus 83 percent for Navy, 72 for Marines and 64 percent for Army.


“Our economy has something to do with this but not everything,” said Stanley. The most common motivation, he said, is still youth desire to serve.


The recruiting service commanders all agreed the new GI Bill, which doubles the value of veterans’ education benefits and drops a $1200 contribution requirement, has helped pull in more quality for recruiters.


Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller, head of Navy recruiting, called it “one of the most positive things that I’ve seen for in my time in service…It really has helped us attract higher quality recruits.”


His counterpart, Maj. Gen. Donald M. Campbell, said the Post-9/11 GI Bill “has made a big difference” in Army recruiting.


“In fact, I’m using it to send my daughter to school,” said Campbell. “And I use my Army story when I talk to young men and women…It’s another great reason to serve their country.”


The new GI Bill “is certainly compelling” to prospective recruits, agreed Brig. Gen. Balan Ayyar, Air Force Recruiting Service commander. But the effect it is having on retaining careerists, given the option to transfer benefits to a spouse or to children, “is really just remarkable,” he said.


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.


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

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A federal grant has been awarded to a local clinic to help improve services in Lake and Mendocino counties.


On Oct. 8, Mendocino Community Health Clinic (MCHC) received notice of its $4.9 million award through the Affordable Care Act Capital Development Grant.


The Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), who administers the grant, requires that grant funds be used to support the costs of alteration/renovation or construction of a facility that is consistent with the health center program’s mission – to provide comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary health care services to medically underserved communities and vulnerable populations.


“You’ve heard the old adage, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?’ Well, community health centers were founded on this premise,” said MCHC Public Relations Director Jendi Coursey.


Federally Qualified Health Centers like MCHC provide primary care, and they help patients manage chronic diseases so they don’t require more expensive hospital care, Coursey said.


“They’re the best bang for your health care buck,” Coursey added.


In Ukiah, MCHC has provided care at Hillside Health Center on Laws Avenue for 16 years, creatively making the best use of available space. With these grant funds, MCHC will be able to provide patients with more appropriate and comfortable spaces, better privacy and streamlined services.


Temporary modular buildings will be replaced with permanent structures. Cramped waiting rooms will be expanded. Technology infrastructure will be more robust.


Plans include investments at all three health centers: Hillside in Ukiah, Little Lake in Willits and Lakeside in Lakeport.


“We are thrilled to receive federal dollars that will allow us to meet the needs of more patients as health care reform is enacted,” said MCHC Chief Executive Officer Linnea Hunter.


As a result of the grant, MCHC will provide 16 new local construction jobs. Completion of the renovations in 2012 will coincide with the organization’s 20th anniversary.


“Thanks to this grant funding, MCHC will be ready to care for the community for another 20 years,” Hunter said.


During the next two years, health care reform will make health insurance available to more individuals than ever before.


While this is wonderful news for the uninsured, it poses a challenge for health care providers as they prepare for additional patients, Hunter said. “Our buildings and infrastructure need to be updated to meet current and future patient needs.”


“Community clinics are perfectly positioned to become people’s medical home. We provide an integrated approach to health care with medical, dental and behavioral health services for all ages,” said MCHC Medical Director Dr. Michael Carnevale.


He added, “This grant will allow us to invest in technology and building expansions so we can continue to care for everyone in need.”


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

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