Thursday, 25 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Stimulus funds are being put to work locally to help people at risk of becoming homeless.

Over the past six months, Catholic Charities Lake County Programs has administered a $1.95 million financial assistance program funded by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The purpose of this program, called Housing Help Lake County (HHLC), is to help qualified local residents at risk of homelessness, the agency reported.

While local residents are aware of federal stimulus funds utilized to repair area highways, the HHLC program provides an economic boost to the county through direct payments to local landlords and by keeping local residents from becoming homeless, according to Catholic Charities. HHLC also has employed six local residents.

Currently, 48 local families are receiving assistance from this program, and 80 more recently requested assistance. Two community information meetings were held recently in Clearlake and Lakeport to explain the HHLC program. A third meeting is being scheduled for August in Lucerne.

HHLC assists renters at risk of homelessness, or those who have lost rental housing, due to the current economic crisis.

The majority of the funds are for short- or medium-term rental or utility assistance to either prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless or help those who are experiencing homelessness to be quickly re-housed and stabilized.

Qualified residents must prove payments due in arrears, show need of assistance and prove legal residency in Lake County. Expenses such as moving costs, utilities, and rent are made to third party vendors.

To date, $124,000 has been distributed to date.

There is no mortgage assistance, Catholic Charities reported.

Not all who apply will qualify for HHLC assistance. Residents are being screened by Lake County Community Action Agency, Lake Family Resource Center, Community Care Management Corp. and Catholic Charities.

The award of this stimulus package grant was based on collaboration with and the support of Lake County.

Federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 were granted directly to Catholic Charities for use in Lake County.

For program requirements, go to or call 707-987-8139.

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KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – The Kelseyville Unified School District will host a special Aug. 10 meeting to take public input on ways to save money and configure the district's school sites.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Kelseyville High School Student Center, 5480 Main St.

Kelseyville Unified Superintendent Dave McQueen said the meeting's focus is to come up with a plan for the 2011-12 fiscal year, with site configurations one of the considerations. He said public input will be a key component.

It's expected to be the first of several open discussions hosted by the board during the coming year, according to McQueen.

Because of declining enrollment, Kelseyville is looking at all of its facilities and how it can save money through possibly consolidating sites, McQueen said.

With a great deal of community concern arising over impacts to the district – McQueen said parents already have been worried about school closures, which aren't proposed currently – he said the goal is to have the process be as open and public as possible.

For the soon-to-begin 2010-11 fiscal year, “We're going to be OK,” said McQueen.

The district had to lay off 10 teachers last spring, but they've restored five positions, he said. “I venture to say we'll probably put back a couple more, so that's good news.”

Still, they have to start looking for ways to cut $900,000 out of the district budget for the 2011-12, he explained.

“It only makes sense to look at what we have and try to save some money,” he said.

McQueen estimated that the school district has seven different facilities – from the high school and middle schools to the elementary and continuation sites. No closures are proposed, and even after a study of the district's finances site closures may not be in order, he said.

The district's main challenge rests on declining enrollment, which is estimated to continue, McQueen said.

“That's the trend that is happening,” he noted.

This past school year's peak enrollment was 1,757, McQueen said, with 1,698 students set to start school this fall.

“People are moving,” a trend McQueen witnessed accelerating when the economy hit recession. He said another wave of foreclosures is anticipated, which will exacerbate the problem.

By 2014, McQueen said the district projects enrollment will bottom out at 1,611 students.

They've looked at options including cutting days from the school calendar, which McQueen said hasn't panned out as a viable solution.

“We're not doing it. You have to negotiate it” with the teachers' union, he said.

District Chief Financial Officer Tiffany Kemp will go through enrollment and financial data at the Aug. 10 meeting, he said.

For more information, call Kelseyville Unified School District Office at 707-279-1511 or visit the district online

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 and on Facebook at .

The governor on Wednesday ordered that new measures be taken to report on sex offenders who violate parole.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger directed the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to provide public notices whenever a paroled sex offender removes his or her GPS unit and absconds from parole.

“Paroled sex offenders that take action to remove their GPS pose a threat to public safety, and the department must take every necessary step to eliminate that threat, including making sure the public is aware of these individuals,” said Schwarzenegger.

“My greatest priority is to protect the safety of all Californians, and a better informed public will help make our communities safer from sex offenders trying to run from parole supervision,” he added.

CDCR currently notifies local law enforcement immediately when a parolee removes their GPS and absconds from parole through the parole Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS), a Web-based system that provides local law enforcement with photos and information about parolees, the governor's office reported.

“CDCR’s top priority is public safety,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. “We will immediately begin the development of a system that notifies the media and the public when a sex offender attempts to abscond from parole supervision.”

The need for a broader notification of the public came to light from recent incidents involving sex offenders removing their GPS units, according to Schwarzenegger's office.

In just such a case, a parolee from Lake County recently was arrested out of county after removing his GPS device.

Curtis Dewayne Dodge, a convicted sex offender with an extensive violent criminal background, was arrested in Redding in June, as Lake County News has reported.

Dodge had been on the run for months after he had removed his GPS monitoring anklet, which officials reported was a condition of his parole.

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LAKEPORT, Calif. – The 14th-annual food and wine event, A Taste of Lakeport, will once again pair Lake County wines with food from local purveyors at various locations along seven blocks of Main Street in downtown Lakeport on Friday, Aug. 20.

The event, which will take place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., encourages a leisurely stroll along Main Street with stops at shops for wine tasting, while enjoying live entertainment and the company of friends, neighbors and visitors.


Eventgoers can sip premium Lake County wines from more than 20 participating wineries and sample tasty bites of local food.

To keep the fun going, live music will play throughout the evening featuring three bands – the LC Diamonds, Austin & Owens and The Blind Monkeys.


Tickets for the event are $25 in advance and may be purchased at several locations in Lakeport including Shari’s Secret Garden, Hillside Honda, The Kitchen Gallery and the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Middletown Florist in Middletown, Perlz in Kelseyville and the Lake County Wine Studio in Upper Lake.

Tickets also may be purchased the day of the event for $30.

Ticket purchase includes a wine glass and a map showing all participating wineries and restaurants.

The map may be stamped at each location and guests who visit each stop throughout the course of the evening qualify to enter a drawing for prizes.


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COW MOUNTAIN, Calif. – State fire officials reported that a fire burning on North Cow Mountain since the weekend has been contained.

The Cow Fire, sparked Sunday afternoon, was fully contained on Wednesday, according to Cal Fire report.

In all, the fire burned 293 acres in steep terrain inside Mendocino County, eight miles east of Ukiah, according to Cal Fire.

Also contained Wednesday were the 371-acre Dutch Fire in Siskiyou County and Monterey County's Green fire, which burned 35 acres, Cal Fire said Wednesday.

Still burning in California are the Bar Fire, 992 acres, in the Plumas National Forest and the 16,442-acre Bull Fire in the Sequoia National Forest, according to InciWeb, which follows National Forest fires.

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 and on Facebook at .

COW MOUNTAIN, Calif. – Firefighters on Tuesday were nearing containment on a wildland fire on North Cow Mountain.

The Cow Fire, sparked Sunday afternoon in Mendocino County, had burned 293 acres and was 95-percent contained Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire.

Full containment on the fire, located in remote terrain, is expected on Wednesday, Cal Fire reported.

State and federal officials are continuing firefighting efforts elsewhere around the state.

On Tuesday two new fires were reported – in Monterey County, the 35-acre Green Fire was at 50-percent containment, while in Shasta County another fire, the Buzzard, had burned 20 acres but was completely contained by day's end.


The Dutch Fire in the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County was at 60-percent containment Tuesday after burning 371 acres, the Bar Fire in the Plumas National Forest had burned 900 acres and was 40-percent contained and the Bull Fire in the Sequoia National Forest in Kern County was 96-percent contained with 16,442 acres burned, Cal Fire 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 and on Facebook at .

SACRAMENTO – As the summer heat continues, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has a warning for the motoring public: Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

“Vehicles heat up quickly, even with a window rolled down a couple of inches,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Even on a seemingly cool summer day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels within minutes.”

This year in the United States, according to statistics from the Department of Geosciences at San Francisco State University, there have been more than two dozen incidents involving children left alone in vehicles resulting in at least 26 fatalities.

One of those deaths occurred in California in April involving a 7-month-old Antioch girl.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says heat stroke, a form of hyperthermia, is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle deaths for children under the age of 14.

“It only takes a few minutes for tragedy to occur,” added Farrow. “If you see a child left unattended in a hot vehicle, call 911 immediately.”

California law prohibits anyone from leaving a child 6 years of age or younger unattended in a motor vehicle without the supervision of someone who is at least 12 years old.

A violation of the “Unattended Child in a Motor Vehicle Act,” also known as “Kaitlyn’s Law,” will result in a fine but, more importantly, it could result in the permanent injury or death of a child.

“Kaitlyn’s Law” went into effect in California on Jan. 1, 2002.

The law is in memory of Kaitlyn Marie Russell, a 6-month-old baby, who died from hyperthermia after being left unattended in a parked vehicle 10 years ago.

In an effort to raise awareness for “Kaitlyn’s Law,” while remembering the children who have lost their lives as a result of being left unattended in a motor vehicle, “4 R Kids Sake,” a nationwide nonprofit organization designates August as “Purple Ribbon Month.”

In support of the campaign, a purple ribbon will fly from the antenna of all marked CHP patrol vehicles throughout the month of August.

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LAKEPORT, Calif. – For those that like to keep up with the latest gadgets, old electronics can pile up in the attic faster than expected.

What happens to all those old cellular phones and movie players that get tossed in the garbage? They can end up adding to the already overwhelming waste in landfills.

The nonprofit Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire invites the community to bring all old electronic equipment to their new e-waste drive in the parking lot of Bruno’s Shop Smart, 355 Lakeport Blvd., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 7, and the first Saturday of every month thereafter.

E-waste is defined as electronic equipment that has reached the end of its useful life like computers, televisions and cellular phones.

Hazardous materials are used in producing electronic equipment such as computers and their monitors, which can contain lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium. The monitor can contain up to 5 pounds of lead alone.

Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire is licensed as an electronic waste collector by the state of California and only works with state-licensed recyclers that dismantle and recycle materials in the United States. All material is recycled according to the industry standards.

“I had five computers in my attic. They’ll take it all apart and recycle what needs to be recycled,”

said Valerie LaBonte, an e-waste drive coordinator and Goodwill Industries employment specialist.

Goodwill Industries reported that it has kept more than 1.5 million pounds of e-waste out of local landfills thus far. The computers are not resold to maintain the integrity of personal information and they receive certification that all computer hard-drives are shredded.

Other donations that are in good condition also are accepted. Donations are sold in Goodwill Industries stores and the funds raised go toward programs like workforce development, said LaBonte, who helps with job training for people with disabilities or other barriers to employment.

The nearest Goodwill store is in Ukiah at 1005 N. State St. A long-term goal for Goodwill Industries is opening a Lake County store, which will depend on donations alone, said LaBonte.

Donations are accepted year-round at any Goodwill stores or attended donation centers.

Locations are listed in the telephone directory at or can be located by calling 707-523-0550.

For general questions contact Jeff Lambdin at 707-462-9660 or Mary Turner at 707-523-0550, Extension 216.

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 and on Facebook at .

SACRAMENTO – The scandal over a Southern California community's exorbitant pay for public officials is resulting in new reporting requirements.

On Tuesday State Controller John Chiang announced new reporting requirements for all California cities and counties, directing them to clearly identify elected officials and public employees’ compensation.

The information will be posted on the Controller’s Web site,, starting in November, Chiang said.

“The absence of transparency is a breeding ground for waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Chiang. “A single Web site with accessible information will make sure that excessive pay is no longer able to escape public scrutiny and accountability.”

The new reporting requirements come after the city of Bell reportedly spent $1.6 million annually on just three city employees, and nearly $100,000 for each part-time city council member.

At the request of the city of Bell’s interim city administrative officer, the controller ordered an audit of Bell’s finances last week.

Under current law, local governments are required to transmit summary information about their revenues and expenditures to the State Controller’s Office. Payroll information is included in the total amount listed for each category of program, such as public protection, health and welfare, and governing body.

The data is compiled and used to produce annual reports for the Legislature, Chiang reported.

The controller’s new rules require cities and counties to provide the salaries for each classification of elected official, such as mayor and supervisor, and public employee, such as city manager and county administrator.

City and counties generally are required to provide the information to the controller by mid-October of each year, according to Chiang.

The controller’s Web site will be updated annually to reflect the most recent data received, Chiang said. Local governments who fail to report timely could face a penalty of up to $5,000.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY – State and county officials found firearms – including one that had been stolen – while eradicating marijuana gardens near Laytonville on Tuesday.

Teams consisting of the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies and the County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) responded to a call of marijuana being grown on a private ranch in the Laytonville area, according to a report from Lt. Rusty Noe of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Noe said the teams walked into the remote site and discovered three marijuana gardens. While walking into the gardens deputies spotted two Hispanic males who fled from the area.

A camp was located with evidence the Hispanic males were living in the gardens while tending them, Noe said.

At the site Noe said the teams recovered three loaded firearms – an SKS assault-type rifle, a shotgun and a .44-caliber Ruger revolver, which later was found to have been stolen from Del Norte County.

He said 1,005 marijuana plants – all well into the growth stage – were seized with no arrests being made.

To date the Mendocino County COMMET team has seized 420,392 plants from 104 sites. Noe said the plants were estimated to be 56,610 pounds wet weight.

There have been 55 arrests and 59 firearms seized, he said, and 582 pounds of processed marijuana has been seized.

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LAKEPORT, Calif. – The county has received new funding to help establish a park on Mt. Konocti.

Lake County Public Services Director Kim Clymire reported that the Office of Grants and Local Services has completed its application review process for the very competitive Habitat Conservation Grant Fund Program.

He said the application submitted by Lake County staff for improvements to the more than 1,500 acres recently acquired on Mt. Konocti has been selected for funding in the amount of $80,000.

The funds will be used to purchase and install benches, signs, trash and recycling receptacles, tables, and restrooms, Clymire said. Funding should become available in the fall of this year and improvements will be made over the winter and spring months.

Mt. Konocti County Park is tentatively scheduled to officially open to hikers only in October of 2010 as a day use park only after initial, pre-opening, work is completed, Public Services reported.

A committee is working on the master management plan to determine what other types of uses will be allowed and may include, licensed dogs on leash under the owners control, non-motorized mountain bikes and horse back riding. Clymire said those types of uses will continue to be studied, with public input, and the master management plan should be adopted by the spring of 2011 for implementation at that time.

In addition, being brought back by popular demand, a beacon will be reinstalled in the next month or two, on the Buckingham Peak communication tower, that will operate from dusk to dawn, Clymire reported.

The beacon will not be designed for aeronautical purposes, and therefore will be exempt from Federal Aviation Administration rules, but is instead being installed for nostalgia reasons, he said.

The old beacon was on the tower for years for aeronautical purposes and also used by the Sheriff’s Marine Patrol Division to determine when water skiing was to stop for the day.

Clymire thanked everyone who has been so supportive of what he called a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to acquire a major portion of the mountain for current and future generations' use and enjoyment as open space park property.

For more information about the park project contact the Public Services Department at 707-262-1618.

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Holly Borgen sent this photograph of the fire shot from the Grimesey Ranch near Wilkenson.

CLEARLAKE – Firefighters remained on the scene of a small wildland fire in Clearlake throughout Monday night and were expected to be on scene Tuesday to continue mopping up.

The fire, dispatched at around 6:30 p.m., was located in brush with grassy oak woodland on two flanks and a moderate rate of spread, according to reports from the scene. Initially there were concerns that the fire had the potential to double in size.

Lake County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Willie Sapeta said the fire's final size ranged between four and seven acres.

Full containment was reached around 8 p.m., about an hour and a half after the fire was dispatched, he said.

“We haven't totally walked the fire but there's line all around it,” he said in an interview around 9:30 p.m.

Sapeta said Lake County Fire and Cal Fire had joint command of the fire, which initially had been dispatched as being located at 12th Avenue and Boyles.

When they arrived at the scene firefighters discovered it was on Wilkinson Avenue, where incident command eventually was located, he said.

No structures were lost, Sapeta said.

He credited Cal Fire aircraft with being “phenomenal” in their response.

“We had two tankers here within minutes,” he said.

Sapeta said there were 12 to 13 engines, four aircraft, two helicopters and five crews between his district and Cal Fire.

He said Cal Fire is handling the investigation, noting the fire is “suspicious in nature.”

“We're going to be here all night,” Sapeta said, explaining that firefighters also would be on scene Tuesday to continue mopping up the area, which was marked by heavy brush and chemise.

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 and on Facebook at .




Clearlake, Calif., resident Remy McCosker photographed a Cal Fire air tanker dropping retardant on a fire off of Wilkinson Avenue on Monday, August 2, 2010. McCosker said the fire was located about a quarter mile from her home.




A Cal Fire air tanker dropping retardant, captured by Holly Borgen.




The fire burned several acres and put up a large smoke column. Photo by Tera DeVroede.

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