Wednesday, 22 May 2024


LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – This month a hearing will be held on the feasibility of a retrospective competency hearing for a man who has been on death row for nearly three decades for the murder of his wife.

Gerald Stanley, 65, has been on San Quentin's death row since February 1984, sent there for the August 1980 murder of his wife, Cynthia Rogers, in Nice, as Lake County News has reported.

He previously had been convicted of killing his first wife, Kathleen Rhiley, in 1975. Another wife, Diana Lynn Ramel, went missing on Feb. 14, 1980. He has claimed she died of a drug overdose but has offered to give up information about the location of her body in exchange for an execution date.

In March 2008, federal court Judge Frank C. Damrell ruled that a new hearing was needed to determine whether or not Stanley had been mentally competent during his trial's death penalty phase, due to a finding that a female juror who had been a domestic violence victim hadn't disclosed that fact to the court.

Stanley told Lake County News in a March 2009 phone interview that he and his attorneys had been aware of the woman's experience but had wanted to keep her on the jury anyway.

Nevertheless, the matter of Stanley's competency is moving forward to a hearing later this month in Butte County Superior Court, where Stanley's trial was moved in 1983 due to media coverage.

His death penalty also is on stay while the proceedings take place, according to Lake County District Jon Hopkins.

Hopkins said at a Tuesday hearing in Butte County – in which Hopkins appeared by phone and Stanley by video conference – Stanley made a Marsden motion. A Marsden motion is when a defendant tries to discharge their lawyer on allegations of incompetence or inadequate representation.

Stanley has tried before to fire his court-appointed attorney in Butte County, Dennis Hoptowit, to no avail, and he got the same outcome Tuesday when that motion was denied by Judge Gerald Hermansen, Hopkins said.

Hopkins said Stanley then made a Faretta motion to represent himself. But before that matter was ruled on Stanley, Hopkins, Hoptowit and the judge began talking and Stanley postponed his motion in favor of going forward with the hearing on the feasibility of a new competency hearing.

That will take place starting at 9 a.m. Dec. 13, Hopkins said.

He said Stanley agreed that the hearing didn't have to take place at San Quentin, but can be held in Oroville.

“I've got two witnesses that are going to testify that it is feasible to hold a retrospective competency trial and Stanley will appear by video conference,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins' two witnesses are a psychiatrist and a psychologist. He said neither has worked with Stanley previously.

“The issue of his competency in 1983 at the time of his competency trial is assisted a great deal by having a transcript of the entire trial and the proceedings around the trial,” said Hopkins, noting the Butte County Superior Court was able to locate the original transcript.

It's possible that Hermansen could make a decision Dec. 13 or hold over the hearing, Hopkins said.

If a retrospective hearing is ordered, Hopkins said Stanley has been talking about wanting a court trial – which will be quicker – and having it moved back to Lake County, which Hopkins said the penal code would allow.

But with Hopkins' term as district attorney set to end this month, it's unclear about the future of the case.

Stanley's issues have been the source of countless hearings, which have been handled by Hopkins since his time as chief deputy district attorney under Gary Luck. Hopkins said he has worked with about four deputy attorneys general who were assigned to the case.

Hopkins said he hopes to be successful at the feasibility hearing, which would clear the way for a retrospective competency trial.

“Who will do that I don't know,” he said.

District Attorney-elect Don Anderson, who is working to close down his private practice before beginning his transition later this month, said Wednesday he isn't up on where the case is currently, and that he and Hopkins haven't yet discussed the case.

As for keeping Hopkins on in a part-time capacity to handle the Stanley case, Anderson said, “It's definitely an option.”

However, he added, that he wants to keep as much work as possible in house at the District Attorney's Office in order to save money.

Hopkins said if the feasibility hearing is successful, it will be up to Anderson to decide whether or not to go forward on the competency trial. If he doesn't, then the death penalty is off the table.

In a fall debate, Anderson made mention of his support for the death penalty.

If Hopkins loses the competency hearing, the death penalty would be set aside, but that would allow for the retrying of the death penalty phase of Stanley's trial.

Anderson “hasn't asked me for my recommendation,” said Hopkins.

However, Hopkins – who has tried five death penalty cases in his career, including the Charles Craft and Jeffrey Duvardo cases in Lake County – said he has been in touch with Rogers' family and others involved in the case.

“My belief is we should go forward, have him found to have been competent back then and have the death penalty reinstated and sent back to the federal court for them to approve it,” he said.

Hopkins alleged that Stanley killed three of his four wives, and possibly another woman, and called him an “extremely manipulative and very dangerous” man who deserves the death penalty.

Anderson, formerly a Lake County Sheriff's deputy, noted that he was on duty the day that Stanley shot Rogers at her father's resort. Stanley, a hunting guide, shot her through the heart at long distance with a high-powered rifle.

The search for Stanley became one of the county's largest manhunts, as Lake County News has reported.

Anderson recalled taking part in the search.

He said of the Stanley case, “It's just kind of strange that after all of these years, it's still coming up.”


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Members of community organizations receiving funds from the 2010 Lake County Wine Auction gathered at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville, Calif., on Tuesday, November 30, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – This time of year often is called the season of giving, when people share gifts, appreciation and – in the case of the Lake County Wine Alliance – big checks.

Another year of hard work, organization and the group's signature event – the 11th annual Lake County Wine Auction took place this last September at Ceago Vinegarden in Nice – bore generous fruit once more, as the group was able to distribute approximately $60,100 to 17 nonprofit organizations, agencies and high schools at a Tuesday evening get-together at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville.

The Tuesday distribution brings the all-volunteer Lake County Wine Alliance's total contributions to the community from Wine Auction proceeds to approximately $831,765.

More than 50 representatives of the beneficiary organizations joined with major sponsors, Wine Alliance board members and Wine Auction committee members to celebrate receiving the funds on Tuesday.

“We have an enormous group of volunteers who are giving money away to an enormous group of volunteers,” said Rob Roumiguiere, the Wine Alliance treasurer.

The money will help augment budgets that have been severely impacted by the recent economic downturn, Wine Alliance representatives reported.

The Wine Auction's annual proceeds come from several sources – ticket sales, donations from sponsorships, live and silent auction income, additional funds raised at the event through admittance to a special tasting of reserve wines and sales of a fine art poster by artist John R. Clarke commemorating the event, the group said.

The charter of the Wine Alliance directs its efforts to foster the arts, benefit health services, and support the community, while promoting Lake County as a premier grape growing and fine wine region.

Event organizations said each of the three funding categories – the arts, health and community – was allocated a designated amount of funds to be shared amongst the recipients.

The allocations are as follows.

Arts ($20,000): Each of the five high schools in Lake County – Clear Lake, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, Middletown and Upper Lake – received $4,000 for their fine and performing arts programs.

Health ($20,100): Each of the organizations in this category received $6,700 – Hilltop Recovery Services, the emergency department at St. Helena Hospital Clearlake and the Lake County Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program.

Community ($20,000): The Lake County Channel Cats were given $1,500; Operation Tango Mike received $3,500; the Lake County Community Action Agency/Safe House and the Friends of the Lake County Library each received $5,000. Each of the five senior centers with Meals on Wheels programs – Highlands Senior Center, Lakeport Senior Activity Center, Live Oak Seniors, Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, and Middletown Senior Center – received $1,000.

Members of the Wine Alliance board of directors – Margaret Walker-Stimmel, president; Marie Beery, vice president; Pamela Shine-Duncan, secretary; Roumiguiere; and Kaj Ahlmann, Judy Luchsinger, Wilda Shock, and Janet Thompson – work year-round on the effort.

However, Roumiguiere said there are many more people critical to the annual event – including major sponsors, who help cover the costs of the Wine Auction in order to boost the proceeds given to community groups.

Major sponsors this year included Mendo Lake Credit Union, Beauty, Health & Wellness, Beckstoffer Vineyards, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., St. Helena Hospital Clearlake, Six Sigma Ranch & Winery, Bella Vista Farming Co., Bob Bartley Pump Inc., Ceago Vinegarden, Lake County Winegrape Commission, Shannon Ridge Vineyards & Winery, Specialty Care & Surgery Center, Tulip Hill Winery, Umpqua Bank, American AgCredit, C-Line Express, Kelseyville Pharmacy, Konocti Vista Casino, St. Helena Hospital Development, Sutter Lakeside Hospital and WestAmerica Bank.

Groups wanting to be among the 2011 recipients can start the application process now, Roumiguiere said.

Applications for funding are available online at or from Judy Luchsinger, chair of the beneficiaries committee, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Applications must be returned via email or postmarked by March 1, 2011.

The 12th annual Lake County Wine Auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, at Ceago Vinegarden.

Roumiguiere – who noted that the 2010 Wine Auction was “just a phenomenal, phenomenal time” – said the group has even bigger and better plans for the 2011 event.

The Lake County Wine Alliance may be contacted by phone, 866-279-WINE, or by mail to P.O. Box 530, Kelseyville 95451.


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KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – A Monday afternoon head-on collision resulted in injuries to several people.

The two-vehicle crash occurred on Highway 29 and Main Street in Kelseyville at around 3:19 p.m., according to reports from the California Highway Patrol.

Initial reports from the scene indicated as many as five people were injured in the wreck, which blocked the merging lane of traffic.

Kelseyville Fire Protection District – with mutual aid from Lakeport Fire Protection District – responded along with CHP and the Lake County Sheriff's Office, according to the CHP report.

In all, three people were transported to the hospital, with one of them taken via air ambulance out of the county, officials at the scene indicated.

The roadway was reported to be clear about an hour after the crash.

Family members reported that county resident Andy Layton and his two children were involved in the crash, but they had no updates on his condition.

Further details about the cause of the crash and the others involved in it were not available Monday evening.


Gary McAuley contributed to this report.

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CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The city of Clearlake will soon have a new banking establishment.

Mendo Lake Credit Union is planning to open another full-service Lake County branch – similar to the one in Lakeport – in Clearlake in early April, according to Richard Cooper, the credit union's president and chief executive officer.

Cooper said the branch will be located in the Burns Valley Mall, in the storefront once occupied by a Rent-A-Center.

“We considered a lot of other places but we kept coming back to Burns Valley Mall,” Cooper said, noting the location is in close proximity to the senior center and apartment complexes.

The location also puts the new branch near a newly opened Dollar Store and Grocery Outlet, tenants that the credit union is excited about, Cooper said, noting the stores have gotten “substantially better than planned business” in the location.

When those businesses signed leases in the mall, Cooper said that was the final icing on the cake for the credit union, which has been looking at opening a Clearlake branch since 2008, the year he started there.

“We have really studied this one hard,” Cooper said.

Clearlake Building Inspector Scott Spivey said that on Sept. 10 he received the credit union's application and set of plans, which called for 90-percent interior remodeling and about 10-percent for the building's exterior. He said he was waiting for a new set of revised plans to review.

Cooper said they are planning to hire several new employees early next year.

“This has been a long time in coming,” Cooper said.

He credited credit union board member Cameron Reeves, also the retired county counsel for Lake County, with being a huge advocate for opening a Clearlake branch.

Cooper said the credit union has gotten a lot of encouragement from city officials and the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Noting that part of the credit union's 51-year-old charter calls for it to serve people of more modest incomes, he said a location in Clearlake is “such a great match for us.”

In addition to being nearer to its 1,000 south county members, Cooper said the credit union hopes to encourage more people who don't use traditional financial service providers to use the institution's services.

No matter what a person's previous issues were with banks, they can come in and get a free basic checking account, he said, rather than depending on check cashing services. They'll also be offered direct access to low-cost consumer credit.

Many of Mendo Lake Credit Union's local members came to them through car loans with local car dealers, he said.

Cooper said the credit union is the No. 1 auto lender in both Lake and Mendocino counties, with $48 million in new and used auto loans. This year alone, they put out close to $30 million in new car loans, he said.

The credit union offers loans for older vehicles, offering loans for cars that go back before the current Kelly Blue Book, which is what most banks adhere to when making loans, he said. They'll loan on a car manufactured as early as 1985, with mileage restrictions.

“We've seen a huge decline in our new car volume,” Cooper said, explaining that they're seeing more cars from the late 1990s and the earlier part of this decade. “People are shopping for what they can afford.”

After a few tough years that began in 2008 – the credit union saw a lot of its low income customers get hit early in the recession – Cooper said they're seeing interesting economic changes among their members, which could be evidence of the signs of economic recovery.

For one, the average car loan balance in 2008 was $20,000, now it's $15,000. For another, they're seeing less loan delinquency.

The credit union also is getting back into the mortgage business after a hiatus from making loans during the recession. In July 2009 Mendo Lake Credit Union received $2 million in federal stimulus funds, which it planned to use to get back into making home loans, as Lake County News has reported.

Cooper said the institution current has $19 million in home and manufactured home loans in Lake and Mendocino counties. Their offerings include loans for mobile homes in parks, which are hard to find.

During the foreclosure crisis, the credit union had only one foreclosure, said Cooper. “We've done a lot to work with people.”

Cooper said Mendo Lake Credit Union is very “consumer focused” while some of the major money center banks are business focused. He thinks the credit union and Clearlake will be a good match as a result.

“We just really see lots of strong potential for Clearlake,” Cooper said.

The credit union can be found online at or on Facebook at .


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LAKEPORT, Calif. – At its upcoming meeting the Lakeport Planning Commission is set to take up a request from the Lakeport Police Department to revoke a local bar's permit for live entertainment.


The commission meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, in the council chambers at Lakeport City Hall, 225 Park St.


At the meeting commissioners will host a public hearing on the request to revoke Full Throttle Tavern's zoning permit, which allows the establishment to offer live entertainment.


Sean Lyon, one of the bar's owners and its manager, said he was “dumbfounded” when he received a letter from the city in the middle of last month, announcing the revocation request from the police.


He called dealing with the city a “frustrating process.”


“We bent over backwards trying to accommodate the neighbors, the police department,” he said.


City Planning Services Manager Andrew Britton said the revocation discussion is based on the complaints regarding the venue.


“A lot of the complaints our police department has been dealing with, and they formally brought it to our attention and requested our department take action, and that means taking it before the planning commission for potential revocation,” said Britton.


Interim Police Chief Brad Rasmussen told Lake County News that he and police department staff have met with Lyon several times since the summer, when the agency started offering suggestions on how to address the complaint issues.


Rasmussen said the bar's owners appear to be trying to make efforts to resolve the issues, “but we continue to get the complaints.”


He and Sgt. Kevin Odom will attend the Dec. 8 planning commission meeting, where he said they will present their case about revoking the zoning permit.


The tavern, located at 650 S. Main St., was formerly known as The Fireside Lounge, an establishment open for more than 30 years. Lyon and his partners purchased the business from Vivian Kroppmann and reopened it as the Full Throttle Tavern in April.


Lyon, who has worked in other areas of business, said he was intrigued by the idea of owning a bar, since such businesses seem to survive all financial climates.


He said he wanted to take a unique approach to the business, and has hosted theme parties, as well as live music, which is a big draw since the bar has what he said is the city's largest dance floor.


The business also has conducted fundraisers for people in need, and tries to be a contributing member of the business community, he said.


Lyon said he's received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers.


But the same hasn't been true of city officials, which have found numerous issues with the establishment.


Because of the bar's close proximity to a residential area, when Full Throttle was getting set to open, Britton said, “We were concerned about the proposal initially and there were conditions of approval that were tied to the zoning permit.”


The permit conditions include live entertainment not being audible beyond the premises, limiting use of the rear smoking deck/patio to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. when there is live entertainment and prominently displaying a sign for maximum occupancy of 49 people.


Even with the conditions, “We're still seeing the problems,” said Britton.


Odom said in a report to the commission report that it's the police department's opinion that there are two primary causes for the noise complaints: the building's age and the fact that it wasn't built to accommodate amplified sound, which creates an issue for the nearby residential area; and the bar management's alleged failure to resolve the insulation issue or to police the exterior of the building where people gather.


He said bar patrons loitering outside has led to littering, wandering in and out of traffic and physical confrontations.


Lyon said he has tried to address the city's concerns, meeting with Lakeport Police and implementing suggestions such as outside lighting and soundproofing – both the walls and a recent soundproof floor installation – and shutting off a back smoking area.


He said he plans to install new windows and a new door, and wants to enclose the back smoking deck in order to provide smokers a place that won't disturb the neighbors. However, he said he had waited for some time for a city planning official to tell him what was needed to complete that project.


Lyon said he has walked the nearby neighborhood and found no serious complaints. However, over the summer one neighbor from across the street began to raise issues, making numerous police reports and calling the bar every 15 minutes on some busy nights.


Lakeport Police logs showed a Nov. 6 report from a bartender who said she received a threatening call from a subject calling her names and telling them to turn down the music. Lyon said it was the same neighbor lodging most of the complaints.


Police issue complaint concerns in report


Since Full Throttle opened, Lakeport Police has had dozens of calls to the business, with reports of everything from late night noise levels to fights, sex in public and an employee being intentionally run over with a vehicle, according to Odom's report.


The situation involving Lyon's bartender occurred late in October, Lyon said. The Upper Lake man alleged to have hit the bartender with his car was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.


The bar has had a few fight incidents, with only one occurring inside, Lyon said. The patrons responsible were told not to come back.


Odom's report, dated Nov. 16, stated that since the bar reopened earlier this year, the police department has received no fewer than 34 noise complaints between the hours of 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. The city also has been contacted by about five residents over the ongoing issues.


In addition, Odom said there have been more than a dozen alcohol-related arrests associated with the location.


During that time, Lakeport Police has generated at least 60 incidents at the bar, compared to 35 at TJ's Bar and Grill, 29 at the Clearlake Club, 12 at the Buckhorn Club and five at Molly Brennans for the same period.


Lyon, however, counters that unfounded complaints and incidents haven't been separated out from those statistics, and he believes other local bars have more serious issues with fights than his.


Odom reported that in an incident late in the evening on Tuesday, Nov. 9, officers were dispatched to a noise complaint and discovered a DJ was at the venue. Odom said the zoning permit only allows for live entertainment Thursday through Sunday.


“It is evident that the Full Throttle Tavern management is not abiding by their zoning/entertainment permit,” Odom stated.


Lyon acknowledged that his bartender allowed the DJ on a night when it wasn't supposed to be allowed. However, he added, “I feel that I run a very responsible bar,” where patrons aren't overserved and they attempt to create a fun, safe environment.


All bars have issues, he said. “This is totally unjustified,” adding, “There's a lot more attention than there should be put on my establishment.”


Rasmussen said the goal is to assist the business at being successful. “At the same time, our primary responsibility is toward public safety,” Rasmussen added.


If Full Throttle can't come into compliance with the city's rules, Rasmussen said the police department will have no choice but to take further action. “That's kind of where we're coming from.”


The last time Lakeport Police had to take administrative action against a local business was about two years ago, when they took action regarding Lakeside Lanes' liquor license, Rasmussen said.


Lyon said live music is an important part of his business, and losing the permit would be a serious issue.


“It's going to impact my business severely,” and could force him to lay off one of his four employees, he said.


He asked that community members who support his business show up to the commission's Dec. 8 meeting.


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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Millions of dollars have been granted to a program that seeks to increase the energy efficiency of homes, and Lake County residents will be eligible to pursue the funds.

A $16.5 million grant designed to help homeowners improve energy efficiency and save money was officially awarded to CRHMFA Homebuyers Fund (CHF) on Sept. 30 by the California Energy Commission (CEC).

The group announced that it had received the award late in November.

CHP spokesperson Carolyn Holmes said CHF is a joint powers authority formed in 1993 with 30 member counties, some of which are Regional Council of Rural Counties members.

In addition to Lake, member counties include Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Imperial, Inyo, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, San Benito, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne and Yuba.

CHP reported that the award will allow it to build an energy efficiency retrofit program that will provide loans and grants to single family residence owners, enabling them to fund energy efficiency improvements to their homes and save them money.

In the process, Holmes said the goal is to create jobs. Over the 30-county area the program is estimated to create 490 jobs in construction, energy efficiency measure installation and verification trades, CHF reported.

CHF estimated that the program will provide more than 1,100 loans and grants to current homeowners and 1,200 additional grants to people purchasing or refinancing a home in conjunction with work done as part of a rehab loan or other energy efficiency mortgage.

The $16.5 million was funded through the California Energy Commission's State Energy Program as part of the federal stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). CHF is contributing an additional $2 million of its own funds to the grant award, bringing the total available to fund energy efficient retrofit projects to $18.5 million.

“There was a couple of different sources of funding that came down through the state,” said Holmes.

There were federal awards made to other efforts with similar goals, including the PACE program, CaliforniaFIRST and some municipal programs, which Holmes said included assessing tax liens on property in exchange for loans. Holmes said those loans “were put in question for a variety of reasons.”

She said mortgage lenders Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Housing Administration had issues with those tax liens because they followed the properties, not the owners. “That was the main concern and why those awards were canceled.”

The CHF program can assess a lien on the equipment, not the property itself, she said.

“The funding for our program was a separate pool of funding called SEP funds,” said Holmes, explaining that SEP stands for State Energy Program, which comes out of ARRA.

Holmes said interested homeowners should contact CHF, who will put them in touch with a contractor. The projects will be prescreened to determine of the project will end up saving the homeowner.

CHF is starting out with Beutler Corp. as its primary contractor. Holmes said the company assisted with designing the program.

However, the program is aiming to expand to local contractors, Holmes said. Interested contractors can contact CHF, go through a contractor training for energy audits and then take part.

“This program is very focused on what we considered a whole house retrofit,” said Holmes.

It goes well beyond just appliances and weather stripping, and looks at the entirety of the dwelling, including its structure, she said.

A qualified home energy performance rater will audit the home's energy features using specialized equipment that looks at the home's heating and cooling equipment, sealing, duct leakage and insulation, she said.

Holmes said average projects are expected to cost between $8,000 and $10,000.

The program's energy efficiency work will have three levels, Holmes said.

Tiers one and two are things the homeowner and a contractor can do, everything from replacing shower heads to new duct work, Holmes said. Tier three will include full house retrofits.

She said the goal is to find projects that will be affordable and stay as close in cost as possible – if not be less – than the amount of savings the homeowner realizes through the retrofit project. Projects will be picked based on potential savings.

Homeowners with what Holmes called a “pretty wide range of income” are eligible to apply. For Lake County, the minimum income for the person whose name is on the home loan is $28,920 minimum and $77,120 maximum.

Homeowners also can receive grants of up to 15 percent of the project cost, with a maximum of $1,250. CHF also provides grants to help cover energy audits.

The loans are 15-year, 3-percent fixed rates. As an example, for a $10,000 project, minus the $1,250 grant, the remaining $8,750 would cost $60.43 per month to repay over 15 years. Holmes said the goal is that the homeowner would recoup that amount or more in energy savings.

Holmes said CHF has a number of other programs available in Lake County, including two down payment assistance programs, neither of which are limited to first-time homebuyers, as well as grants and loan assistance.

In addition, they are about to launch a mortgage credit certificate program, which will offer a tax credit for first-time homebuyers.

Since its founding, CHF has issued more than $1.8 billion in taxable bonds, $820 million in tax-exempt bonds, provided more than $6 million in grants, and helped nearly 37,000 families and individuals to purchase homes.

For more information, visit .

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CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. – Authorities are searching for three men alleged to have committed a home invasion and armed robbery in order to steal marijuana and other valuables Monday night.

The incident occurred at a residence on Plaza Street in Clearlake Oaks, where deputies responded at about 6:40 p.m. Monday, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The three suspects, described only as three black male adults, had already fled the home in a light blue, late model extended cab pickup truck by the time the 911 call was made, Bauman said.

Bauman said the alleged victim, 25-year-old Dustin Warner, told deputies that he and his girlfriend, 24-year-old Jerni Hubman, and their young child were in the home preparing dinner when one of the suspects knocked on the front door. Warner answered and saw that it was an acquaintance of his, known only as “T.T.”

Warner told deputies that he started to let the man in as there was no apparent problem but when he went to shut the door, another man walked in.

“T.T.” then pulled out a chrome semi-automatic pistol, grabbed Warner by the shirt and forced him to the floor. Bauman said a third suspect apparently entered the home while Warner was on the floor and one of the suspects ordered Hubman and the child into a bedroom.

Warner was forced into his bedroom with the gun held to his head and then directed the men to his unlocked safe in a bathroom, Bauman said. The three suspects allegedly took two to three ounces of marijuana from the safe and proceeded to go through the rest of the house looking for other property.

Bauman said the men are alleged to have taken a 42-inch flat screen television, a laptop computer and a Nintendo Wii system before fleeing in the pickup.

The first suspect to enter the home, “T.T.,” was described as a black male adult, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, thin build with dreadlock-style hair and both arms “sleeved” with tattoos, Bauman said. “T.T.” is believed to be from the Rancho Cordova or Sacramento area.

Bauman said the other two suspects were described only as “clean cut” black male adults with no facial hair.

There were no apparent injuries resulting from the robbery and the case is pending further investigation, according to Bauman.

Anyone with information on the identities of the suspects, the blue pickup truck or the incident is encouraged to call the Lake County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit at 707-262-4200.

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MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – A motorcyclist who was injured in a Sunday crash was arrested for driving under the influence.

Allen Lenart, 47, of Santa Rosa was arrested by the California Highway Patrol following a crash Sunday evening, according to CHP Officer Mark Crutcher.

Lenart was traveling northbound on Highway 29 at the Coyote Grade on a Harley Davidson motorcycle at around 5:30 p.m. Sunday when he failed to negotiate a righthand curve, Crutcher said.

Crutcher said Lenart went off the road and hit a guard rail.

Lenart was ejected from the motorcycle and he went down a dirt embankment, where he sustained a broken right ankle and a broken right arm, according to Crutcher.

An off-duty Hidden Valley Lake security guard came upon the scene, Crutcher said, finding the bike in the roadway and then looking for, and finding, Lenart.

At the scene Lenart was placed under arrest for DUI, Crutcher said. REACH then flew Lenart out to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment.

A review of Lake County Jail records indicate the CHP made two other DUI arrests during its maximum enforcement period, which ran from 6 p.m. Nov. 24 until just before midnight Nov. 28.

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Kyla Durham, who grew up in Upper Lake, Calif., will take place in the 2011 Yukon Quest dog sled race in Alaska. She's pictured with a DogPaddle sled. Photo courtesy of

UPPER LAKE, Calif. – A young woman who grew up in Lake County will take part in a famed sled dog race early next year.

Kyla Durham, who grew up on Clover Creek Family Farm in Upper Lake, will compete in the 2011 Yukon Quest, a race which may be even more arduous than the Iditarod.

The race will take place Feb. 5-18.

Durham will race a team of dogs over more than 1,000 miles and four mountain ranges from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory to Fairbanks, Alaska.

At her childhood home in Upper Lake she began working with dogs by providing a foster home for puppies rescued from the Lake County Animal Shelter.

Once given a clean bill of health, the puppies would go to adoption clinics in Santa Rosa and Marin. More than 120 rescued puppies benefited from her care and attention.

Lake County’s 4-H Guide Dog project was Durham's first experience raising a working dog. Myrtle, the guide dog puppy, went every where with Durham for 18 months until being called back for formal training.

As a high school student in Lake County, Durham was honored by the Lake County Arts Council for her acceptance into the California State Summer School of the Arts based on her artistic talent as a potter.

Durham is now responsible for the care and training of more than 100 dogs at the Wild and Free Alaska kennel. In the winter they train in Eureka, Alaska about four hours north of Fairbanks.

“Dog Gone Addiction,” a documentary about three women running the Yukon Quest, shows some of what Durham will experience on the trail in subzero temperatures behind a team of dogs.

Come see this movie starting at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Ancient Lake Gardens, 8993 Soda Bay Road in Kelseyville, three miles from Kits Corner on the left, and get a taste of Durham's and the dogs’ coming adventure.

In addition, there will be some footage showing Durham training dogs in Eureka, as well as a short Skype interview with her if possible.

This event is free although donations to help Durham and the dogs will be gratefully accepted.

To learn more about Durham and the dogs visit . To learn about the Yukon Quest, visit .

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Call 707-275-9315 for more information about the movie showing.


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KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – A total of five people were injured in a head-on collision near Kelseyville Monday afternoon.

The crash occurred at approximately 3:17 p.m. on Highway 29 at the Main Street exit, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Dallas Richey.

Tammy Dias, 44, of Clearlake was driving her green 2005 Mazda Tribute northbound on Highway 29, approaching the Main Street exit in Kelseyville at approximately 55 miles per hour, Richey said.

Andrew Layton, 39, of Upper Lake, who was traveling in an orange 2007 Chevy HHR, turned southbound onto Highway from Main Street in Kelseyville. Richey said Layton turned into the northbound lane of Highway and collided head-on with the Mazda.

Richey said both drivers were transported by REACH air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of major injuries.

Layton's two minor children sustained minor to moderate injuries and were transported by ambulance to Sutter Lakeside Hospital. The CHP said a 19-year-old female passenger from the Mazda sustained minor injuries but was not transported.

CHP Officer Mark Crutcher is investigating the crash.

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MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – A Thanksgiving day wreck sent two people to area hospitals.

The crash occurred at approximately 6:40 p.m. Nov. 25, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Joe Wind.

Carolyn Meridith, 59, of Santa Rosa was making a left turn from Hartmann Road onto southbound Highway 29 in her 1999 Ford Contour, said Wind.

Meridith is alleged to have pulled out in front of a 2001 Chrysler Sebring driven northbound on Highway 29 by Jeanne E. Guiles, 70, of Fort Bragg, Wind said.

Wind said Guiles was transported to St. Helena Hospital Clearlake because she was complaining of pain.

REACH air ambulance transported Meridith to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Wind said Meridith had moderate injuries.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at , on Facebook at and on YouTube at .

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