Wednesday, 01 February 2023

News

GLENHAVEN – The California Highway Patrol reported Tuesday night that a big rig had gone off of Highway 20 and into the lake.


The accident took place at 9:07 p.m. on eastbound Highway 20 just west of Bruner, according to the CHP.


Emergency personnel, tow trucks and Caltrans were called to the scene.


No further information was available Tuesday night from the CHP.


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LAKE COUNTY – Injuries resulted from two crashes on Monday, one in the afternoon and a second in the evening.


The first, at 4:38 p.m., occurred on Sulphur Bank Drive at North Drive in Clearlake Oaks, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Two vehicles collided head on, the CHP reported. At least one person had major injuries, while three others escaped uninjured. No information was available from the CHP on the names of the people involved.


One individual was reportedly being arrested for driving under the influence or drugs.


A second collision involving a solo vehicle occurred on Highway 29 just south of Twin Lakes near Lower Lake at 9:28 p.m., according to the CHP.


The CHP reported that a man drove a white SUV into the embankment, where the vehicle ended up against some trees just off the roadway.


An ambulance responded to the scene, where the male driver was reported to be covered in blood, according to the CHP.


No further information on that crash was available Monday evening.


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LAKE COUNTY – With jury selection set to begin later this month for Renato Hughes' trial, his attorney is asking a judge to remove the district attorney from the case, a move the prosecution calls a delay tactic.


San Francisco attorney Stuart Hanlon told Lake County News this week that he has filed a motion to have District Attorney Jon Hopkins and his department recused from the case.


Hanlon's 23-year-old client is accused of the homicides of friends Rashad Williams and Christian Foster.


Hopkins alleges that the three men broke into the Clearlake Park home of Shannon Edmonds and Lori Tyler in the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 2005, and assaulted the family while attempting to steal marijuana Edmonds claims to have a medical recommendation to use.


Hughes didn't shoot the men – Edmonds shot them as they ran from his home, according to case records.


However, Hopkins alleges Hughes is responsible for their deaths under a provocative act law, which holds a person responsible for the death of accomplices in a crime that is likely to result in a lethal response.


In this latest action, Hanlon is asking that Judge William McKinstry – the retired Alameda County judge who will preside over the trial – remove Hopkins.


The basis of Hanlon's request is his allegation that the district attorney is refusing to file charges against Edmonds for trying to force Tyler, his common law wife since 2001, to take a pill overdose as part of a suicide attempt on Aug. 3.


Tyler told police that Edmonds divided up about 300 pills of various types – including Methadone and Seroquel – and forced her to take about half of them. She said he threatened that if she didn't take them “something else was going to happen.” Edmonds also made her write out a suicide note.


“It really reads like an attempted murder,” said Hanlon.


The two survived because Edmonds later drove himself and Tyler to Redbud Community Hospital's Emergency Room.


In an interview with police Tyler said that Edmonds has been increasingly angry and isolated. “He's pushed everybody so far away from us since the home invasion,” she said.


Tyler also told police that Edmonds has threatened her before, and once had used a gun to shoot out a door, which scared her older son so badly he stopped coming to see them.


She further stated to police that she wanted Edmonds prosecuted for the incident.


Edmonds told police the suicide attempt was Tyler's idea, although friends of the couple interviewed by police said Edmonds – not Tyler – had been talking about suicide.


On Aug. 20 Edmonds made a second suicide attempt, again with pills, according to court records.


A police report said Hopkins asked to review the police report prior to an arrest being made.


Hanlon said Hopkins isn't filing a case against Edmonds because he's trying to protect him, since he's a major witness in the Hughes trial.


“He has a lot of discretion but it can't be abused,” said Hanlon.


If he can get Hopkins removed from the case Hanlon said he plans to subpoena him as a witness on why Edmonds wasn't prosecuted.


Hanlon's motion also hints that he may seek a delay in the trial, saying he won't know until the hearing if he will have “sufficient time to gather evidence and investigate this matter so that I can proceed adequately prepared and competent to trial in October of this year.”


Hopkins dismissed Hanlon's motion as just another maneuver to stall the trial.


He said his office is investigating the case and no decision has yet been made, but he contradicted Hanlon's claims that he was dismissing the case.


“He's a little premature in arriving at his conclusion,” said Hopkins.


Hopkins didn't want to reveal his plans for arguing against Hanlon until court, and said he is in the process of filing a brief in response.


He said the Attorney General's Office also will file a brief in opposition to Hanlon's motion to have the District Attorney's Office removed.


“There's no legal basis for the motion at all,” said Hopkins.


The motion will be heard at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in Department 3 at the Lake County Courthouse in Lakeport.


Earlier this year Hanlon appealed to both the state First Appellate Court and the state Supreme Court to throw out Judge Arthur Mann's March 2 decision to take the trial out of Lake County. The appellate court upheld Mann's decision, and the Supreme Court would not hear the case.


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


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CLEARLAKE – A Clearlake man who failed to register as a sex offender has been sentenced to state prison.


On Oct. 5, Judge Stephen Hedstrom sentenced Albert Wilbur Charboneau, age 63, to four years in state prison for failing to register as a sex offender, according to Deputy District Attorney John DeChaine, who prosecuted the case.


Charboneau is required to register pursuant to penal code section 290 because he was convicted of committing a lewd or lascivious act on a child under the age of 14, a felony, in violation of Penal Code section 288(a) in 1987, DeChaine said.


Charboneau was prosecuted for moving from his Clearlake address to a new residence in Lucerne without notifying law enforcement of his move, said DeChaine. Sex registrants are required to notify law enforcement within five working days of any change in address. The investigation revealed that Charboneau had been out of compliance for months.


On Aug. 24 Charboneau pleaded guilty to one felony count of failing to register as a sex offender, DeChaine said. The court sentenced Charboneau to three years in prison for failing to register.


However, Charboneau was required to admit that he previously served a prison sentence for a furnishing or transporting a controlled substance in violation of section 11379 of the Health and Safety Code, said DeChaine. The admission of the prior prison sentence served to increase his prison commitment from three years, the maximum sentence for failing to register, to a total of four years in prison.


Prior to being sentenced, Charboneau was held in custody with bail set in the amount of $30,000, said DeChaine.


DeChaine said Deputy Mike Curran of the Lake County Sheriff's Office, who also is a member of the Region II Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force, investigated the case.


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A woman veered into an ornamental rock area at the casino Monday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED.

 

NICE – A woman driving into Robinson Rancheria Bingo and Casino was not injured after she drove her minivan into an ornamental rock area.


The accident occurred at 1:39 p.m. according to the California Highway Patrol incident logs.


The CHP reported that the woman was 66-year-old Virginia Steiner of Nice.

 

She was driving westbound when she turned into the casino but missed the roadway and went into the rocks, high-centering the vehicle.

 

CHP Officer Adam Garcia said Steiner was not injured, but she was subsequently was arrested for DUI. 


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LAKE COUNTY – Authorities say they have confirmed that a body found along Clear Lake's shoreline Thursday was that of a missing Windsor man.


A report from Chief Deputy Coroner Russell Perdock said that an autopsy conducted Friday confirmed that the man was 22-year-old Matthew Zanoni.


Zanoni went missing in the lake on Saturday while a passenger on a pontoon boat in the area of Shag Rock, located near Buckingham Point and east of Lakeport, as Lake County News previously reported.


His sister, Jennifer Zanoni, said he had come to Lake County that afternoon to attend BoardStock.


Perdock reported that the autopsy revealed no signs of trauma, injury or foul play.


The cause of Zanoni's death, said Perdock, was drowning.


Zanoni's body was discovered by a group of searchers that included his father, Mike Zanoni, Supervisor Rob Brown and Skip Simkins of Lake Countys' Lakebed Management division, as Lake County News reported Thursday.


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


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This is the second installment of a series on the unsolved October 2002 murder of Barbara LaForge.


LAKEPORT – It was about 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2002, when a customer going to Barbara LaForge's Wild Wood Frame Shop on Main Street to pick up an order found the business locked. Inside one of the shop's front windows a small dog could be seen, her leash trailing from her collar. {sidebar id=14}


The man went next door to a pizza restaurant run by Michael Stafford. Together, the two men began calling Gail Salituri – the artist whose gallery shared space with LaForge's frame shop – to find out where LaForge was.


The front door of the business was locked, but Stafford found the back door of the shop standing open, according to a previous police report. He looked inside and saw LaForge slumped down on the floor against a table, facing the back of the gallery.


A terrified Stafford called Salituri, screaming that he had found LaForge. Salituri told him to call 911, which she did also. The 911 operator tried to keep Salituri calm, telling her not to leave her home to go to the gallery but to stay put.


Retired Lakeport Police Chief Tom Engstrom said in an interview with Lake County News that when he arrived at the gallery between 11 a.m. and noon his police officers were on scene along with paramedics who were trying to resuscitate LaForge.


His first responsibility, he said, was to try to save LaForge's life.


Yet he wasn't sure she could be saved.


“I am convinced that Barbara was dead when I got there and the paramedics were working on her,” he said.


But he knew LaForge, as did most of his department. She had framed their department photograph; she wasn't just a stranger.


“There's a friend lying on the floor and nobody wants to make that call to say, 'Hey guys, quit working on her,'” Engstrom said. “We wanted to do everything we could to save her life. And so I was the one that gave them consent, they wanted to transport her and I said, 'By all means, do it,' even though I felt that she was probably dead the whole time that we were there, but they continued to try to work on her all the way out to the hospital and she was eventually pronounced dead there.”


Doctors at Sutter Lakeside gave LaForge atropine and epinephrine, drugs used to try to restart the heart from cardiac arrest, according to LaForge's probate documents. They also used a defibrillator to shock her heart, and performed pericardiocentesis, a technique that inserts a needle into the sac surrounding the heart to remove excess fluid.


None of the measures worked.


LaForge was declared dead at 1 p.m. in the Sutter Lakeside Emergency Room, according to her death certificate. The document states the cause of her death as "pending an investigation."


At 1:18 p.m., a Sutter Lakeside employee contacted the Lake County Sheriff's Office to report a death, according to sheriff's logs. A coroner's report was taken.


As of the fifth anniversary of her death, the results of her autopsy remain sealed, part of the documents protected in the police investigation.


Engstrom, however, stated publicly after the autopsy that LaForge had been shot four times, with at least one of the bullets striking her in the heart.


THE INVESTIGATION BEGINS


Engstrom said as soon as the emergency personnel took LaForge to the hospital that afternoon, police sealed the gallery.


From an investigative standpoint, Engstrom said the presence of so many people in the gallery had essentially “contaminated” the crime scene even before the investigation began.


In an effort to try to separate evidence from any disturbance, Engstrom said an officer was assigned to write down the names of everyone who came in – including Engstrom's. Police also had tried to keep activity confined in one space.


Later that night, crime scene investigators with the state Department of Justice arrived. Engstrom said they worked through the night, scouring the gallery for evidence.


In the weeks before the murder, police had investigated a series of commercial burglaries in downtown Lakeport. But Engstrom said he didn't believe the murder was connected, largely because there were no signs of forced entry and nothing in the gallery was stolen.


Engstrom said a task force of Lakeport Police detectives, then-Chief Deputy District Attorney Jon Hopkins and District Attorney's Office investigators met on a daily basis in the weeks immediately following the murder. The group included many investigators with homicide experience.


All told, about 12 people were working on the case at one point, said Engstrom, interviewing more than 200 individuals and sending investigators to Southern California to follow up on leads.


Leading the investigation from the Lakeport Police side was Dale Stoebe, a trained investigator who did not have any actual homicide experience, said Engstrom. That was because the last two murders in Lakeport were murder-suicides which quickly resolved themselves.


Brad Rasmussen, then a sergeant who has since been promoted to lieutenant, has been with the case since the beginning. Engstrom called Rasmussen an "excellent investigator" in whom he had a lot of confidence.


Later, Det. Norm Taylor, also with the department since the murder, was rotated into the lead investigator position in 2004, according to Kevin Burke, who succeeded Engstrom as police chief.


HITTING DEAD ENDS


The evidence gathered from the gallery was taken by crime scene investigators and sent to a Department of Justice crime lab in Santa Rosa, where ballistics and fingerprint testing was conducted, according to original police statements.


But nearly a year later DNA evidence that should have been sent for testing at a Sacramento crime lab was still sitting in Santa Rosa. The evidence was finally sent to Sacramento, with results arriving back at about the time of the first anniversary of the murder.


Yet, to the frustration of police, the tests yielded no conclusive evidence.


"I was so comfortable with getting the state crime lab people up here, I just couldn't believe we didn't get anything out of that," said Engstrom.


He said he expected some piece of evidence – including fingerprints – to be found. "It just didn't happen."


Another piece of evidence believed to be crucial, a shoe print that didn't match those of rescue or police personnel in the gallery that day, didn't match any prints from the "persons of interest" in the case, said Engstrom.


Still, police didn't stop trying, said Engstrom. "We looked into every lead that came along," including those that seemed far-fetched. They ruled out no possibilities, and continued actively investigating the murder.


One of the items never recovered, said Engstrom, was the .22-caliber murder weapon.


Engstrom said dive teams searched certain areas of Clear Lake where they thought the gun might have been thrown. Search dogs scoured areas on the Hopland Grade; that search, Engstrom said, yielded a toy gun.


Engstrom said they also called on the help of psychics, some of whom donated their services.


One of the psychics was a dog psychic, said Engstrom, since the only witness outside of LaForge and her killer was LaForge's beloved whippet, Carmen.


The dog psychic had police send her a picture of Carmen, said Engstrom. "She claimed that she did not know anything about this case and she came up with some very interesting things that were very close to what we were getting from other people."


He added, "At that point in time I was willing to try anything."


They also used regular psychics, one of whom came and walked through the gallery with police, Engstrom explained.


"They confirmed a lot of our suspicions,” he said. “They were coming up with some of the same things that we had thought about, but you can't convict anybody on that. We were hoping that maybe, you know, it might point us in the right direction."


They also had veteran homicide investigator Carl Stein review the case, said Engstrom.


Retired from the sheriff's office and working part-time for Clearlake Police, Stein had more homicide experience than any investigator in the county, said Engstrom. At the time when he reviewed the case, Stein had more than 40 years of law enforcement experience.


"He thought that our guys had done a very good job," said Engstrom. "He had a couple of ideas they might want to follow up on."


Engstrom also secured a $50,000 reward from the governor's office – which remains in effect indefinitely – for information leading to a conviction in LaForge's murder.


Some leads initially resulted from the reward offer, said Engstrom, but none of the information brought forward proved conclusive.


As time went on the task force investigators met less frequently, going from daily to weekly meetings, then less frequently than that.


"We never got that one piece of evidence or that one piece of testimony that we could have gotten charges filed against somebody with," said Engstrom.


"We had a lot of circumstantial stuff and a lot of speculation, but never that concrete piece of evidence that we needed to get a complaint filed and to proceed with a trial or an arrest," he added.


MOVING ON


Engstrom had vowed publicly that he would not retire until the case was solved and prosecuted.


Yet, in early 2005 his plans changed suddenly, not as a result of the case, which he had fully intended to see to its conclusion, he said, but as a result of an issue with an employee.


"I had just had enough. I was tired," he said. "I had a disciplinary action that I took before I retired that broke my heart. In a small department, you're like family, you know each other's spouses and children. I did what had to be done but I never wanted to do it again."


In May 2005, Engstrom stepped down after 11 years as Lakeport's police chief, and 25 years as a small town police chief around California. That length of service is believed to be one of the longest in the state.


Engstrom said he has had no official part in the investigation since his retirement, but he likes and respects Kevin Burke, the new chief hired in February 2006. He said he has felt that it's important to stay out of Burke's way and let him lead his department.


"They've got good people working there," he said.


He said in his 37 total years of law enforcement experience, this is the only unsolved murder he's had. Not solving the case, he said, is the one true regret he has in his career.


"I think about it every day, every time I go down Main Street, which is at least five times a week," he said. "When I pass that shop I think about it."


In part three: Barbara LaForge's story.


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


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Funny man Marc Yaffee in action on the stage. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



KELSEYVILLE – I have no doubt that just about everyone reading this has held at least one job that for whatever reason caused him or her to exclaim, “This job is a joke!”


Those of us who have made this claim did so out of frustration and anger and most found good reason to re-think our path to future prosperity. For one Lake County resident, a joke was just the beginning. In fact for him it was the beginning, the middle and may last right up to the end.


Driving-instructor-turned-comedian Marc Yaffee of Kelseyville is one person who chose to reevaluate his path to prosperity decades later than most. After spending several years with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Yaffee and his wife began a driver education/traffic school as well as a driving instruction school.


Both businesses did well and he was able to support his family, a wife and two daughters, horses and several purebred dogs. The Yaffees could afford to buy a home and were able to enjoy their share of the American dream, Lake County style.


Then for some strange reason, just three years before reaching the age of 40, Yaffee entered into the very competitive field of live, stand up comedy.


He didn’t jump in headfirst. He tested the waters at comedy competitions throughout the Bay Area and east to Sacramento. It went slowly at first, as he needed to develop an act.


Where does a driving instructor get the idea he may be funny at all?


“I remember my fifth grade teacher, she let us put on a little show ... I think we were about 10 or 11 years old, we lived in Van Nuys, California,” recalled Yaffee. “I never forgot the feelings inside when I made a bunch of grownups laugh, I think it’s still in me today.”


Where the DMV and driving schools didn’t take him comedy has: 100,000 miles a year in the sky and easily 30,000 in rental cars alone, reported Yaffee. He replaced his personal transportation – not the family car – every 18 months.


Bahrain, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the island of Guam are just a handful of the “out-of-town gigs” he hits each year since he went full-time as a stand up comedian two years ago. Toss in 130 nights in the USA and the frequent flier miles pile up quickly.


Is he doing well? “Well, enough to go full time,” said the former state employee with a Cheshire cat like grin.


But he quickly added that without the support and encouragement of his wife Lindsey for the past 18.8 years, his dream of headlining a big room in Las Vegas, which may not be that far off, would never had a chance.


Yaffee, a self-described comedian and court jester, just recently returned from the semifinals of the world renowned San Francisco Comedy Competition. He's awaiting the results of several of the other comics’ performances before he knows his eventual standing in the semifinals.


Initially, 300 amateur and touring comedians audition tapes were accepted out of thousands of entries. The field has been reduced through several levels of live performances held in various venues.


Yaffee waits for no single audience and promotes himself and a few of his fellow comics in various manners. The Trail of Laughs POW WOW Comedy Jam, a group of four, multi-ethnic comics tours upwards of 30 major Native American casinos each of the past two years.


His television credits include Comics Unleashed, Ci TVs Latino Festival, specials on Gala Vision’s Que Locos and coming in 2008 a special on PBS titled, “Crossing the Line,” a look at multi-ethnic comics working in America.


Yaffee wraps up his view of live comedy in America in these words: “In a world gone crazy, as it may be, the beauty of stand up comedy is that we can confront and comment on the most controversial topics, we can share with the audience our concerns in such a manner that at the end of the night only those to blame should feel insulted.”


Marc Yaffee’s Web site can be found at www.trailoflaughs.com.


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


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GLENHAVEN – A crash on Highway 20 near Glenhaven late Friday resulted in major injuries.


The California Highway Patrol incident logs reported that the accident took place around 9:28 p.m. on westbound Highway 20 at Cora Drive.


The CHP did not stipulate how many vehicles were involved.


However, they did report that emergency personnel transported one person by helicopter to Santa Rosa.


A blood test was conducted and no alcohol was found in the person's system, the CHP reported.


No other information was available Saturday night.


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


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UKIAH – A three-car crash on Saturday along Highway 20 at Potter Valley Road left three people, including a Kelseyville woman, with moderate injuries.


A report from the California Highway Patrol explained that the accident took place at 4:40 p.m. Oct. 6.


Maria Macias, 60, of Kelseyville was driving a 1993 Toyota van southbound on the east side of Potter Valley Road at the intersection with Highway 20, with 3-year-old Michael Graham in the car, according to the CHP.


For an unknown reason Macias' van didn't stop at the stop sign, but instead drove into the westbound lanes of Highway 20, where the CHP said it collided with a BMW driven by Kathren Babcock, 21, of Ukiah.


The collision pushed Babcock's vehicle into Highway 20's eastbound lanes, the CHP reported, where it collided with a 1999 Infiniti driven by Andrea Barcello, 41, of Ukiah. Barcello then hit a mailbox.


Macias was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, according to the CHP. Also transported to Santa Rosa was Babcock's passenger, 50-year-old Darren Linnett of Ukiah.


The rest of the passengers were taken by ambulance to Ukiah Valley Medical Center, the CHP reported.


Babcock suffered moderate injuries and her other passenger, 34-year-old Ukiah resident James Jones, had minor injuries. Barcello also had minor injuries, according to the CHP report. The 3-year-old who had ridden in Macias' van was not injured.


CHP said both lanes of Highway 20 were closed for approximately 30 minutes for Calstar and REACH helicopters to transport the crash victims to Santa Rosa.


All of the people involved in the collisions were wearing their safety belts.


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


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The October star chart. Courtesy of John Zimmerman.

 

 

 

LAKE COUNTY – October is the beginning of fall. And there are popular songs that remind us of some of October’s celestial events.


First there is “Moondance” by Van Morrison (‘… it’s a marvelous night for a Moondance, with the stars up above in your eyes, a fantabulous night to make romance neath the cover of October skies’).


And while October skies might be a bit chilly for romance outdoors at night, there are certainly some bright stars overhead (see the star chart at the end of this article).


Our old friend, the Summer Triangle of 3 bright stars is slowly sinking into the west. But taking its place is the constellation of Pegasus, the great winged horse. The huge square that makes up the body of Pegasus can be seen dominating the southeastern part of the sky.


Attached to Pegasus is the constellation Andromeda, a beautiful princess in Greek mythology. In Andromeda there is a galaxy similar to our own – the Great Andromeda Galaxy. Through a telescope it is very big and bright – the light we see from Andromeda started its journey 2.5 million years ago. When we look at this galaxy, we are, in effect, looking back in time 2.5 million years!

 

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Andromeda Galaxy by Philip Perkins.

 


Speaking of beautiful princesses, check out the constellation Cassiopeia on our star chart. This bright, “W”-shaped group of stars overhead is hard to miss.


In Greek mythology, Cassiopeia became the queen of Ethiopia. She was very vain, and a picture of her shows her seated brushing her hair. The ‘W’ represents the chair she is seated on.


And let’s not forget the moon, as suggested in our “Moondance” song. The moon will be at its fullest on Oct. 25.


If you think the moon looks larger when it is low on the horizon, it isn’t. That’s just an optical illusion – it’s the same size no matter where it is in the night sky.


To wrap up our musically inspired October skies, how about that old hit “Venus” by Frankie Avalon?


If you get up an hour or so before sunrise and look to the east, that very bright star is the planet Venus. Venus is the second planet from the sun. It has an atmosphere of almost pure carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide traps all of the sun’s heat inside the planet’s atmosphere, and the result is a surface temperature that is higher than that of Mercury, the closest planet to the sun.

 

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Venus by NASA.

 


If you believe in global warming, Venus may provide a glimpse of the earth’s future if the trend is not stopped.


For more information about astronomy and local astronomy-related events, visit the Taylor Observatory Web site at www.taylorobservatory.org.

 

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


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CLEAR LAKE – The search for a young Windsor man appears to have come to an end, with the Thursday discovery of a body along the lake's shoreline not far from where he disappeared.


The Lake County Sheriff's Office confirmed shortly before 5 p.m. that a body with physical characteristics matching those of 22-year-old Matthew Zanoni was discovered at 12:25 p.m.


Rescue divers have searched for Zanoni since Saturday evening, when he disappeared over the railing of a pontoon boat moored about 150 yards offshore from Buckingham near Shag Rock, east of Lakeport.


In a twist that deepens the tragedy, Zanoni's father, Mike Zanoni, was with the party that located the body.


A report from Lt. Cecil Brown of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said that on Thursday Supervisor Rob Brown and Lake County Lakebed Manager Skip Simkins joined the effort to locate Matthew Zanoni's body.


While Marine Patrol deputies searched another area of the shoreline, Brown and Simkins took a boat to a location where Simkins believed that human remains would be likely to surface, based on a description of the search area provided by the Marine Patrol, according to Lt. Brown's report.


On the way, they met Mike Zanoni, Matthew Zanoni's father, in another vessel, Lt. Brown reported.


Together, they went on to the location Simkins wanted to search, where they found the body along the shoreline.


“My dad found my brother,” said Jennifer Zanoni, Matthew Zanoni's sister.


After the body's discovery, Mike Zanoni went to be with his family while Brown and Simkins called the Marine Patrol and helped them recover the body, according to the sheriff's office report.


Lt. Cecil Brown said the sheriff's office can't yet confirm the body is Matt Zanoni's. That, he said, must wait for the results of a coroner's investigation, which will positively identify the man and the cause of his death.


However, Brown added, “Based on the location of the recovery and the physical characteristics of the deceased man, we believe it is likely that it is the body of Matthew Zanoni that was found today.”


He said an autopsy is scheduled for Friday.


Zanoni and the group of people on the boat were visiting the county to attend BoardStock, according to Jennifer Zanoni.


The Lake County Sheriff's Office had issued a Wednesday statement in which it was reported that passengers on the boat said Matthew Zanoni had been drinking alcohol before he went into the water.


However, Jennifer Zanoni said she didn't believe alcohol was an issue, since the information she received in speaking with passengers on the boat was that her brother had only had a few beers.


Jennifer Zanoni, 28, has been highly critical of the local efforts to find her younger brother, which she didn't not feel were aggressive enough. She said she has spoken with an attorney and is trying to have the case turned over to the Sonoma County Coroner's Office.


“I absolutely do not want them involved in the conclusion of this,” she said of the Lake County Sheriff's Office. “I don't want them touching him.”


Sheriff Rod Mitchell said he was grateful to Rob Brown and Skip Simkins for joining in the search, which helped end the family's agonizing wait.


Officials had estimated earlier in the week that it might take weeks more for a body to surface. A drowning victim in that same area in 2004 wasn't discovered until several months later.


Zanoni, who said she called Rob Brown to ask for his help, said she was very grateful to him for his work in the search.


She said finding her brother had eased her family's suffering somewhat. “My dad is confident he's OK now.”


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


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