Saturday, 25 May 2024

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COBB – The search for two suspects allegedly involved in an attempted armed robbery at a Cobb Mountain home on Wednesday afternoon yielded no arrests but resulted in the lockdown of a local school.


The case originally involved the report of a man who was said to have entered a neighbor's home on Meadow Drive shortly before 1 p.m., as Lake County News has reported.


Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said the suspect had allegedly attempted to rob the home owner, who had a friend call authorities to report the incident.


Bauman said nothing was taken from the victim’s home and he was not injured.


While deputies were still responding to the scene they received another report that a second man had been seen on foot in the area and was possibly involved in the robbery attempt, Bauman said.


He said both the alleged suspects had been reported leaving the area on foot in opposite directions.


The man with the gun was described by officials as a dark skinned male in his 30s with short, corn-rowed hair and a goatee, as tall as 5 feet, 9 inches and weighing 180 to 200 pounds, and wearing a black jacket, black boots, and tan carpenter type pants.


Bauman said the man was in possession of what may have been a .25-caliber handgun that he reportedly kept in his right jacket pocket as he left the scene.


The second man said to have been involved had a less detailed description; Bauman said he was only described as having a dark complexion, wearing a baseball cap and carrying a back pack.


The first suspect was reportedly seen on Highway 175 near Cobb Mountain Elementary School, which is less than a mile from the Meadow Drive location, according to a map of the area. Bauman said the man was spotted taking one of the trails into the woods behind the school.


Bauman told Lake County News earlier Wednesday afternoon that the man was spotted near the school shortly after 1 p.m., just as the children were about to be loaded onto school buses.


But he said the sheriff's office was able to notify the school in time to keep the children there at the locked facility while deputies arrived, secured the school and set up a search perimeter for the suspect.


Middletown Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Korby Olson said the district sent out phone messages to parents to let them know the situation. The school also released children directly to their parents while the lockdown was in place.


Danielle Huck, who was expecting to pick up her son from school at 1:10 p.m., said her daughter had just gotten home from school in Middletown and heard the situation unfolding on a police scanner. Huck then attempted to call the school, with only the message machine picking up.


A short time later she got the phone call from the school telling her of the lockdown, and about 10 minutes after that another call informed her that the children were being put on buses home.


By about 2:20 pm, the school was able safely release all students to their families, Bauman said.


Meanwhile, during the search that ran into the late afternoon – lasting about two hours – the sheriff's office sent multiple units, along with Major Crimes Unit detectives and a K-9 team, to search for the suspects, said Bauman.


The California Highway Patrol also helped patrol the area; Roger Kinney, a Cobb resident and Lake County News contributor, said both sheriff's and CHP cars were slowly driving around the area.


Kinney had reported winter weather conditions around Cobb throughout the day Wednesday, including snow, rain and hail.


Those weather conditions led to the cancellation of a CHP helicopter that Bauman said had been requested to assist with the search.


Despite the extensive search of the area, Bauman said neither of the two suspects were located Wednesday.


However, a backpack similar to the one seen with the second man was later found near the Hardester’s Store and recovered by authorities, Bauman said.


Bauman said the investigation is continuing.


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 .

 

Posted at 2:16 p.m.


COBB – The report of an armed suspect in the Cobb area touched of a Wednesday afternoon search and resulted in a school lockdown as officials sought to keep area children safe.


At 12:55 p.m. the Lake County Sheriff's Office received a report from a person who stated that an armed man had entered a neighbor's home on Meadow Drive and that the neighbor had asked them to call authorities, according to Capt. James Bauman.


Bauman said he didn't yet have much information on the suspect or the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding that numerous sheriff's units and a canine team were involved in the search for the suspect.


“It's very much unfolding still,” Bauman said shortly before 2 p.m.


Cobb Mountain Elementary School was placed on lockdown, said Dr. Korby Olson, Middletown Unified School District's superintendent, who spoke with Lake County News at around 1:40 p.m.


“The suspect was spotted on the campus,” said Olson.


At around 1:11 p.m. – just as the school's children were about to be loaded on buses to head home for the day, the suspect was spotted heading up the trails behind the school, Bauman said.


The school is located less than a mile from Meadow Drive, based on an Internet map search.


Bauman said the sheriff's office was able to catch school officials in time to notify them, and the lockdown resulted.


Olson said the district was planning to send out a phone message to parents, who can pick up their children directly.


“Right now we're just being safe,” Olson said.


At around 2 p.m. parents reportedly received calls notifying them that their children were being placed on buses home.


Lake County News will continue to follow the story and provide updates as they become available.


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 .

LAKEPORT – Two men who were tried in connection with a Clearlake man's September 2009 murder received their sentences on Monday, with one facing a lengthy prison term and the other having a strike taken from his record that will see him spending six and a half years in prison.


Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, and Melvin Dale Norton, 38, went before Judge Arthur Mann for sentencing on Monday, with a juror from the mens' trial speaking out on Norton's behalf.


Due to a heavy court calendar, the sentencing – originally scheduled for the morning – was pushed back to mid-afternoon.


The men were put on trial earlier this year for the murder of 25-year-old Shelby Uehling on Sept. 22, 2009.


On March 11, Edmonds was convicted of second-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon – a knife – and assault with a deadly weapon, an asp or police-type extendable baton, as Lake County News has reported.


That same day, Norton was acquitted of murder and lesser included offenses of manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter, but convicted of assault and accessory charges.


Uehling was founded beaten, with his throat cut, alongside Old Highway 53 shortly after 1 a.m. last Sept. 22. Both Uehling and Edmonds had had romantic interest in the same woman, Patricia Campbell, who also was a friend of Norton's.


Norton and Edmonds said they went up separately to confront Uehling, whose car was seen near Norton's home, because Campbell had claimed Uehling was stalking her. Norton said he found Uehling in his car and they got into a shoving match before Edmonds arrived and began a fierce physical fight with the former Montanan.


Lake County Probation had proposed a sentence of 24 years to life, according to Edmonds' defense attorney, Doug Rhoades. However, Judge Mann sentenced Edmonds to 15 years to life, running the terms for all of the convictions except the murder charge concurrently rather than consecutively, as Lake County Probation had suggested.


Rhoades said Edmonds must serve 15 years in prison before he'll be eligible for parole. At that point he will be 50 years old.


An appeal of both the judgment and sentence was filed Monday, which Rhoades said is normal procedure in such cases. He won't handle the case, which will be taken by an appellate attorney.


Rhoades said Edmonds will remain in local custody a short time before he's transported to San Quentin for admission to the state prison system before week's end.


Following Edmonds' sentencing, Norton's sentencing took place.


Norton's defense attorney, Stephen Carter, had filed a Romero motion seeking to have both of Norton's previous felony strikes stricken from consideration.


It was during the trial that a second strike had been discovered in Norton's background, which raised the possibility that he could have faced more time in prison than Edmonds – as much as 50 years to life.


Although Carter's motion asked for two strikes to be removed, in court he only argued for one, while Deputy District Attorney Art Grothe asked the court to deny the motion.


Mann granted the motion, with Norton receiving nine years, four months in prison. With credits for time served and the requirement that he serve 80 percent of the remaining time, Norton is facing about six and a half years in prison, Carter said.


“I was very pleased that Judge Mann used his discretion to strike one of the strikes, because I think the resulting sentence was extremely fair, given the entire state of the case,” Carter said.


The judge had more leeway in his sentencing of Norton, Grothe said; in the case of Edmonds, the sentencing for his convictions “is 15 to life, period.”


Carter said a major theme in his case on Norton's behalf had been the difference in culpability between Norton and Edmonds.


Removing the strike took the case back to where it was before the second strike was discovered in Norton's record, which Carter said was a “gratifying” result in a case complicated by a joint trial with co-defendants who he said weren't “similarly situated” in their involvement.


Juror speaks to the court on defendant's behalf


What may have appeared to be a rather normal sentencing for the felony cases had an extraordinary aspect to it.


“We had four jurors show up for the sentencing, and I've never had that happen before,” said Grothe, and Carter agreed.


Chief among those interested jurors was Tasha Klewe, juror No. 7 from the trial, who wanted to address the court about the sentencing options for Norton.


Klewe waited all day long to address the court. “I didn't want to miss whatever was going to happen,” she told Lake County News in a Monday afternoon interview.


She had written a letter to the court, which was attached to Carter's Romero motion, and which she read aloud to the court, which Carter and Grothe previously had agreed that she could do.


Klewe said that after the verdict was reached and she was released from jury service, she began to read up on the case and on Edmonds, and found out information about him related to previous cases.


Those cases included the December 2005 incident at his Clearlake Park where he allegedly shot two men in the back as they ran from his home following an attempted home invasion robbery, as well as a case later where he allegedly attempted to force his girlfriend to commit suicide with him.


Edmonds was not prosecuted for either case, although a young San Francisco man, Renato Hughes, was charged with Clearlake Park shootings of his friends. He was later acquitted of murder but convicted of burglary and assault.


Klewe also contacted Carter and spoke with him, and told him she wanted to write a letter to the court on Norton's behalf.


Klewe said she didn't think Norton was a saint, and that he should have to serve some time in prison. However, she said she wanted him to have hope, and believed he had a heart.


During the trial, she had been approached while on a break by a local business owner who told Klewe that Norton had hit her in a hit-and-run, but that he later came back and apologized. Klewe had disclosed that to the court immediately afterward, but Mann and the attorneys had no issue with its impact on her as a juror.


Since the end of the trial, Klewe has visited Norton in jail three times, the first with Norton's sister. Klewe said she needed closure because her concerns were “eating me alive.”


When she and Norton's sister arrived for her first visit with him, she said he greeted her with a big smile, which relieved her, because she didn't know what his reaction would be.


She said Norton has taken responsibility for his actions, and told her, “You are not the reason I am here.”


Klewe said that, in light of the other previous allegations against Edmonds, she was angered that the information wasn't available to jurors, although when questioned Monday by Grothe, she stated that she understood that the law required that such information couldn't be considered in their deliberations.


“Had I known Shannon Edmonds’ background, I would have taken differently Melvin Norton’s statement that he had hidden the bloody clothes because he was 'scared,'” Klewe's letter stated. “Those words have an entirely new meaning when you consider that Mr. Norton knew that Mr. Edmonds had ‘gotten away with’ the homicide of these two other men and the attempted homicide of his former girlfriend.”


She appealed to the judge to grant the Romero motion, noting, “There was no one in the jury room that stated that they believed that Mr. Norton had even struck Shelby Uehling one time. I would further submit that Mr. Norton’s association with Mr. Edmonds should not lend to his imprisonment for a longer period of time that the perpetrator himself.”


Klewe continued, “None of my statements is intended to diminish the horrible circumstances under which Shelby Uehling died. From what I’ve gathered from the posting of family and friends of Mr. Uehling, he was a kind young man grieving the loss of his brother and mother. He did not deserve to die, and I believe that his murderer, Shannon Edmonds, deserves the most severe sentence allowed for this crime.”


Klewe said Tim Tillman, Uehling's uncle and an acquaintance of hers, gave a victim impact statement during both hearings, stating that he hoped the two defendants could find forgiveness for themselves. He told Norton specifically that God prefers mercy over sacrifice.


Members of Norton's family and extended family also were there, and one man spoke, Klewe said.


Based on her discussions with Norton, Klewe said he's talked to her about what he plans to do when he gets out of prison. She said she wants him to be a successful person and to have hope.


“I wish the very best for him,” Klewe said.


Grothe said Klewe's letter to the court and her request “was all done in an appropriate and sincere fashion.”


He said the jury on the case had conducted itself very well, had been easy to work with and was “a nice, solid group of people” who devoted two months of their lives to the case.


The case, Grothe noted, moved quickly. In all, it was just over seven months from Uehling's death to the sentencing. He said that was mostly because both Norton and Edmonds didn't waive the time requirements for a speedy trial.


Klewe said she wondered during the trial why she had been chosen to be a juror, but noted that her faith in God leads her to believe “that everything happens for a reason,” and that there has to be good that comes from every situation because there is so much bad that happens in the world.


In the end, she concluded that her purpose, once the trial – with its awful images and testimony – was done, was that she would be a source of strength and support for Norton.


“I had a purpose because I had something to work towards,” 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 and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

CLEARLAKE OAKS – Two local men were injured Tuesday morning when their vehicles collided head-on along Highway 20.


Injured in the crash were Dennis Callison, 50, of Clearlake Oaks, and Howard Kelsey, 54, of Lucerne, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.


At approximately 8:44 a.m., Callison was driving his 1995 Ford westbound on Highway 20, west of Henderson Drive. Tanguay said it was raining at the time, and when Callison entered a sharp curve in the roadway, the back tires of the Ford broke traction on the wet roadway.


The Ford started to slide out of control, traveling to the left and crossing into the eastbound lane of traffic directly in front of a 2004 Jeep driven by Kelsey. Tanguay said the two vehicles hit head-on.


The force of the impact pushed the Jeep off of the roadway and it began to roll over onto its top, coming to rest on its roof approximately 2 feet into the lake, Tanguay said. Kelsey was able to free himself from the Jeep and went up the embankment to check on Callison.


The Northshore Fire Protection District transported both men to the hospital, Tanguay said.


CHP Officer Brendan Bach is investigating the collision.


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Buddy Guy during an amazing performance at Cache Creek Casino & Resort in Brooks, Calif., on Saturday, April 24, 2010. Photo by Jamie Overton/Cache Creek Casino & Resort.

 

 

 

 

As far as I know, Buddy Guy is the last Chess King standing. I refer of course to the glory days of the Blues wax kingdom that Phil and Leonard Chess built.

 

The brothers recorded scores of predominately Blues artists at their “Kingdom” until they sold it the GRT Corporation in 1969. Many of us are familiar with the peers that Buddy Guy cut his guitar teeth with; Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton and Sonny Boy Williamson.

 

During a pause in the music at his concert at Cache Creek Casino and Resort on Saturday night, Mr. Guy seemed to start down the historical Blues memory lane, by starting to state the obvious, that he listened to Howlin’ Wolf and the afore mentioned group of Blues Masters as he learned his craft.

 

I wanted him to regale us with stories of not only the Masters, but some of the journeymen Bluesmakers, the few hit wonders that vanished into the footnotes of human obscurity, the annals of which most of humanity is destined.

 

My want was not to be realized. Mr. Guy instead diverted his dialogue into who he continues to listen to and gave skilled instrumental snippets of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom Boom,” Eric Clapton’s “Strange Brew,” Keith Richard of the Rolling Stone’s “Miss You” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile.” For kingly measure he threw in a little of B.B. King’s Rock Me Baby.

 

Incredibly, Mr. Guy channeled each snippet seamlessly and effortlessly. He captured John Lee Hooker right down to the bone, including Hooker’s unique vocal delivery as well as Keith Richard’s rhythmic, head banging, behind the beat aural protocol.

 

Guy demonstrated Eric Clapton’s clean, spatial delivery and tone, then contrasted it against Hendrix’s massive inner and outer space frontal lobe assault attack.

 

I believe it was the best guitar technique demonstration I’ve ever seen. Of course at the outset he did say, “I’m gonna play so funky tonight, you’ll be able to smell it!”

 

Buddy’s set list included gems like “Nobody Understands Me But My Guitar” (two from the Muddy Waters songbook), “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “She’s Nineteen Years Old,” (Willie Dixon’s) “I Just Wanna Make Love To You,” (two title tracks from his own CDs) “Feels Like Rain” and “Skin Deep.”

 

He brought the house to its feet with Skin Deep’s poignant lyrics about how we all bleed the same.

 

During one intense dueling exchange between Buddy and his second guitarist Ric Hall, Buddy broke a string. No worries. Within seconds Buddy’s guitar tech supplied him with another axe and the duel continued unabated until the crowd’s collective jaws were draggin’ the floor.

 

Buddy also demonstrated his ability to play guitar with his teeth, a technique he may have been doing before Hendrix, as well as with a drumstick. He left the stage with his guitar and soloed around the room much to the crowd’s delight both Albert King and O.V. Wright’s versions of “Drowning On Dry Land.” It was all smoke, no mirrors.

 

Buddy Guy was born on July 30, 1936, in Lettworth, Louisiana. At this stage in his soon to be 74 year old life, he is still at the top of his game.

 

If you’ve never experienced the live Buddy Guy experience, I strongly urge you to do so. There are not many first generation links left to the Chicago Blues via the Mississippi Delta.

 

Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts!

 

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. 

 

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Sean Adams performs at the first Skate Jam in Lakeport, Calif., on Saturday, April 24, 2010. Photo by Tera DeVroede.

 

 

LAKEPORT – The community rallied to show its support for the sport of skateboarding at the very first Skate Jam skate competition that took place at Library Park on Saturday, April 24.


People of all ages gathered to enjoy a gorgeous day, cheer on their skater friends and family, and spend their money at the vendor booths, with proceeds going toward building a skate park on Lakeport’s side of the lake.

 

For a high quality video of the event, see Patrick Armstrong's work at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcdqVxBv9cw .


Westside Community Park has a designated area for a skate park, but that’s about it. It will cost a lot of money to build a quality cement skate park for skaters on this side of the lake to enjoy.


Event organizers Bill Bibler, owner of Paradigm Concrete Artisans, and Adam Bulik, owner of Freedom Skate Shop, both came together in an effort to provide youth with a fun, safe and local area to skate.


There was a large turnout for the event which, aside from fierce competition, had entertainment including live music.


The idea for the event began with a group of mothers who were trying to gain support for a skate park in Lakeport – but they needed a lot of help.


Bibler learned of this group one day when he walked into Freedom Skate Shop, owned by his friend Bulik, to talk about a skate park in Lakeport as well. They tried to meet with the group of moms but the meeting fell through.


It was Bulik who suggested that they needed a skate jam, and that was the beginning, Bibler said.


After two months of planning, the Skate Jam hit Library Park’s sidewalks. Bibler estimated the event attracted more than 700 skateboarders and their supporters.


Many skaters around Lakeport can’t get to the skate park in Clearlake, let alone the next county over in Ukiah. So, they have ended up shredding the concrete around local businesses and public streets.


Bibler he's watched the local skaters get hassled by the police, and added that if local businesses and authorities are tired of dealing with the kids on the streets, then they should help to raise money for somewhere the kids can go.


“Let’s get some money raised as fast as possible and build a skate park, please,” he said.


There is already a designated plot of land for a skate park within the Westside Community Park project, but the grant money that has gone toward the park hasn't been used for that purpose yet. Bibler thinks it will cost roughly $300,000 for a quality skate park to be built there.


It's hoped that the event, and those to follow, will put a big dent in that number so that Lakeport can soon have a skate park to call its own.


Many businesses made donations such as Molly Brennan’s, Kelseyville Wine Co. and Main Street Pizza, as Lake County News has reported.


Big fund generators were the raffles. The big prizes were a Temper-Pedic bed, donated by Pam Scully of Lakeport Furniture, the YZ 110 Yamaha pit bike partially, donated by Hillside Honda, and a hand-carved water feature donated by Paradigm Concrete Artisans.


To donate funds to help construct a skate park in Westside Community Park, visit Freedom Skate Shop, Lakeport Furniture or Mendo Lake Credit Union to make a deposit into the skate park fund account.


E-mail Tera deVroede 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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Greg

THE US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY HAS CHANGED THE RATINGS ON THESE TWO QUAKES.

 

THE GEYSERS – It was a one-two punch for The Geysers and Cobb areas late Tuesday afternoon, when two 3.1-magnitude earthquakes were reported within five seconds of each other.

 

However, the US Geological Survey later changed its report to show that the first quake was a 1.5 in magnitude and the second was 3.5 in magnitude.

 

The US Geological reported that the first quake occurred at 4:07 p.m. and was centered one mile from The Geysers, four miles west southwest of Cobb and six miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, at a depth of 1.2 miles.


The second quake, which was measured at a depth of one-tenth of a mile, had an epicenter located one mile north northeast of The Geysers, five miles west southwest of Cobb and six miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.


The first quake resulted in one shake report from San Jose being submitted to the US Geological Survey, while five shake reports from areas including Clearlake Oaks, Sacramento, Mountain View, San Francisco and San Jose came in as a result of the second quake.


A 3.3-magnitude quake was reported near The Geysers Sunday evening, 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 .

CLEARLAKE – The District 2 supervisorial candidates will participate in a debate in Clearlake at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 27.


Challenger Joyce Overton and incumbent Jeff Smith will take part in the hour-long event in the council chambers at Clearlake City Hall, 14050 Olympic Drive.


The Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and Lake County News are sponsoring the debate, which will be broadcast live on TV8.


The public is invited to submit questions to Lake County News via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to the Clear Lake Chamber via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Questions also will be be taken via note cards at the debate.


The format used for the debate will put the same questions to both candidates, so as much as possible questions should be broadly applicable.


Questions about the debate may be directed to debate moderator Elizabeth Larson, 707-274-9904, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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ST. HELENA – The Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) announced that burn permits are required effective Saturday, May 1.


Burn permits are required for any type of open burning in State Responsibility Areas (SRA) of Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Solano, Yolo and Colusa counties.


State Responsibility Areas are generally the unincorporated, rural, grass, brush and timber covered portions of California.


“It will only take a few weeks of sunshine and spring winds to turn the green grass brown so please take care while burning,” said Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit Chief Ernie Loveless.


Cal Fire officials emphasize that the agency's permit requirements are in addition to any air quality control district and local fire agency permits. It is the responsibility of anyone planning to have a controlled burn to make sure they meet all permit requirements.


Lake County has a countywide ban on open burning which goes into effect on May 1. Some exemptions for agricultural burning may be granted. Contact Lake County Air Quality for information on the burn ban in Lake County, telephone 707-263-7000.


In Napa, southwestern Solano, and southern Sonoma counties permissive burn season ends April 30 for crop replacement, forest management, orchard pruning and attrition, and range management.


Anyone conducting open burning must keep the fire within permit requirements at all times. Failure to maintain control of the fire will result in the permit becoming void and the possibility of the permittee having to pay for fire suppression costs, fines, and civil damages.


Basic requirements include continual monitoring by a responsible adult, at least 10 foot clearance to bare mineral soil around the pile, and adequate control resources (tools, water, etc.).


Open burning should not be conducted when winds exceed 10 miles per hour.


With the approach of fire season, Chief Loveless urges residents to make sure that their property has defensible space against wildland fire.


Changes in state law have increased the required clearance around structures from 30 feet to 100 feet.


For more information on burn permits or wildland fire safety, residents may contact their local Cal Fire facility for more information, or go to the Cal Fire Web site at www.fire.ca.gov.


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LAKE COUNTY – The California Highway Patrol's Clear Lake Office has announced that it will conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday, May 1.


“The desired result is to save lives and make everyone’s family summer excursion, for both our community residents and those visiting our beautiful county, a safe and pleasurable memory,” said Lt. Mark Loveless, CHP area commander.


The sobriety checkpoint will be staffed by officers who are trained in the detection of alcohol and/or drug impaired drivers.


Drug recognition experts, certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will be on site to provide on the spot assessments of drivers suspected of drug use.


The officers also will be equipped with state-of-the-art handheld breath devices which provide an accurate measure of blood alcohol concentrations of suspected drunk drivers.


“Traffic volume permitting, all vehicles will be checked and drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or unlicensed, can expect to be arrested,” said Loveless.


“Our goal is to ensure the safe passage of each and every motorist by targeting roads where there is a high frequency of drunk driving,” he added. “DUI enforcement patrols, as well as sobriety checkpoints, are effective tools for achieving this goal and are designed to augment existing patrol operations. By publicizing our efforts, we believe that we can deter motorists from drinking and driving.”


Caltrans employees will be on site providing traffic control in order to ensure the safety of officers and motorists alike.


Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


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The Venoco gas well blow out just south of County Road 44 near County Road TT in Glenn County, Calif., on Friday, April 23, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Glenn County Sheriff's Office.
 

 

 

THIS STORY HAS BEEN CORRECTED; ONLY THE SECOND WELL WAS OPERATED BY VENOCO.


GLENN COUNTY – Authorities in Glenn County responded late last week to two natural gas blowouts in the county's unincorporated area.


Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones said his agency responded to two gas well-related emergencies last Friday, one on County Road 44 near Road TT close to Orland and the second on Road 99 near Road 7, just east of Interstate 5 north of Orland.


Jones said both gas well blowouts required evacuations but no injuries were reported.


The first event in the Orland area was resolved in a matter of hours with a well worker going in and turning off a valve, said Jones.


The second well blowout, however, was more problematic, Jones explained. “Methane gas could have been a real threat,” he told Lake County News in a Monday e-mail message.


When a sergeant and two deputies responded to the second blowout on Roads 44 and TT Friday, they found gas and dirt shooting upward, Jone said.


Fire and support agencies were detailed, an Office of Emergency Services command post and a hot zone were established, a large area was cordoned off, and one family evacuated and housed in the nearby city of Willows overnight, he explained.


Jones said he and two of his lieutenants also responded to the scene, along with Glenn County Environmental Health.


That second well stopped its eruption in the early morning hours of Saturday, Jones said.


Both well blowouts required a large personnel response, with the two emergencies placed on separate radio networks, and additional dispatchers and supervisors were called in to duty. Jones said the response taxed the small agency's resources.


Regarding the second well, “So far, twenty-one loads of concrete have been poured down the well to seal it off,” Jones said Monday.


Venoco Inc., with corporate offices are in Colorado, owns the second well, Jones said.


The company's Web site reported that Venoco acquired its interests in the Willows natural gas field in Glenn County in 1996 from Mobil, “operates substantially all of the field production” and has an average working interest of 65 percent.


Between the Willows and Grimes fields – the latter in Colusa County – the company reported that it has approximately 92 producing natural gas wells.


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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