Wednesday, 24 July 2024


Left to right, back row: teachers Steve Hamann, Angie Siegel, Alan Siegel, Martha Bakerjian; front row, left to right, secretary Barbara Dye, Principal Bill MacDougall and Verna Rogers. Courtesy of Carle High.

CLEARLAKE For educator Bill MacDougall, successful education relies on smaller classrooms, and allowing teachers to get to know, understand and nurture their students.

MacDougall knows what he's talking about. For 13 years he's been principal of William C. Carle Continuation High School, which the state Department of Education last week named a model continuation high school for the third time.

“We've been on a good run,” he said.

MacDougall has been an educator for 28 years; for 20 of those years, he's worked in administration. He started his career in a one-room Humboldt County continuation high school.

His belief in nurturing his students has created family bonds. He said that on Thursday one of the students from that one-room schoolhouse walked into Carle to say hello.

Carle's successes in educating at-risk students isn't the result of luck or an accident. MacDougall put together a faculty of five teachers who he said are among the top professionals in the county. They include Steve Hamann, Martha Bakerjian, Verna Rogers, and Alan and Angie Siegel. Keeping the school office running smoothly is secretary Barbara Dye.

All of Carle's teachers have been mentor teachers, or have been selected as a Northern California Continuation Educator of the Year, said MacDougall.

Angie and Alan Siegel were both named county teachers of the year, with Alan Siegel winning State Teacher of the Year honors in 2005.

“This is an amazing group of educators,” MacDougall said.

MacDougall said his team of teachers is crucial to the success of Carle's students. He said he didn't want teachers of average skill.

“I wouldn't want my child to be taught by someone who was an average teacher,” said the father of five, four of them students he welcomed into his family.

MacDougall said the time for education change in the U.S. is now. Schools have gotten too big and impersonal, he said, with teachers expected to educate hundreds of students without being able to get to know them.

MacDougall said Carle, and other continuation schools like it, need to be replicated throughout education. These smaller schools, he said, can try new things and not be afraid to fail, and the result is that they've all come to the same conclusions about the need to focus on students.

At Carle, where there are 95 students this year, MacDougall said they've been able to prove that the formula for successfully reaching students includes smaller teacher-student ratios, with increased emphasis on creating relationships between teachers and students.

“We spend 80 percent of our staff time weekly talking about each and every student,” said MacDougall.

They don't focus on tardies and policies, he said, but on what actually works for the kids.

MacDougall said it's also important to look at parents and students as clients, and for teachers to be mindful of the “gift and responsibility” of time with students, which becomes even more crucial for kids whose parents are absent.

He said his staff is constantly amazed by their students.

These are kids, said MacDougall, who, in many cases, have had terrible hardships to overcome. Most come from backgrounds of poverty. Eighty-seven percent of their students receive free or reduced-price lunches, he said.

Students come on a voluntary basis. Many are referred by counselors at other schools, he said, or make the request themselves. They must, however, qualify to attend, which includes showing the proper maturity level and desire to succeed, which can be shown through attendance and a lack of discipline referrals.

Eighty-percent attendance is required at Carle, he said. The students also are required to do community service, he added.

MacDougall said there's only one rule at school: respect.

The result is students who want to connect, and actually like being at school.

During a recent session of Saturday school, at which only two students who needed to make up attendance time were expected to show up, MacDougall said 10 kids came, because they found out school was open and they enjoy the activities there.

That's because the school provides food, shelter and intellectual stimulus, said MacDougall. “Why wouldn't you want to come?”

MacDougall said it takes three things to be a successful adult: show up, put in extra effort and be nice (it doesn't hurt, he said).

“If I can get the kids to do those three things, I know they're going to be successful in their work,” he said.

Part of the school's family atmosphere, included Carle's own cat, Jack, who died last May. MacDougall said Jack wandered into the school several years ago, sick and hungry, and missing an eye and an ear.

With love and care, Jack blossomed. “He was a tremendous symbol of our school,” said MacDougall.

He said it was inspirational to him to see the kids interact with Jack, who brought out their compassion and acceptance.

MacDougall said 95 percent of Carle students go to college, trade school,s the military or directly into employment, a number he believes is high compared to other schools across the county.

The other 5 percent, he said, get constant phone calls and other communication from school staff in order to encourage them toward school or jobs. “We do not let up,” he said.

MacDougall said substance abuse is the No. 1 reason that the members of that 5 percent don't make it. Crank is the most devastating drug by far, he said, followed by alcohol, although the more troubled students abuse several substances.

Although many of Carle's students going to college, MacDougall said they found that many of those same students weren't going back for a second year.

The way to change that, he said, was to go beyond the educational basics and increase the rigor of Carle's curriculum, in order to give students a better foundation. MacDougall credits that decision with giving Carle some of the highest Academic Performance Index scores in the county.

The safe, encouraging atmosphere at Carle isn't just rewarding for the kids; for MacDougall, it's also been a place of growth and reward.

“I have never been in an environment where I have grown more as a human being and as a man,” he said. “You can't help but be a better human being after watching the kids.”

He added, “I'm very, very grateful to be here. It does something for your soul and your spirit, and that's not something that you usually see in schools.”

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


LAKE COUNTY – The U.S. Attorney General Office's said a drug trafficking investigation that took several years and covered the North Bay area – including Lake County – has resulted in eight indictments and several more arrests.

Eight Santa Rosa residents were indicted Feb. 6 as part of the investigation, Operation Emerald Web, which investigated methamphetamine and other drug trafficking, said U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan.

The charges against the defendants include conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and pseudoephedrine, distribution of methamphetamine, and maintaining a place for manufacturing, storing and distributing marijuana.

The indictment was unsealed Feb. 14 after the individuals were arrested by federal and state law enforcement officers.

Those indicted Feb. 6 were Domingo Tamayo Jr., 27; Javier Tamayo Jr., 31; Julio Palominos, 19; Jose Campos, 54; Richard Moreno, 28; Cristobol Tamayo, 18; Edward Souza, 49; and Carolina Palomares, 55.

Luke Macauley, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office, said the Lake County Sheriff's Office assisted with arrests in the case and are involved with the ongoing investigation.

“As for impact on drug trafficking in Lake County, I can say that it has disrupted drug trafficking in the area,” said Macauley. “We’ve had large amounts of seizures that illustrate that disruption.”

Sheriff Rod Mitchell confirmed Friday at LCSO and the Lake County Narcotic Task Force were involved in Emerald Web.

Methamphetamine trafficking such as that investigated in Operation Emerald Web has had a severe impact on Lake County.

Laura Solis, administrator of Lake County's Alcohol and Other Drug Services (AODS) department and her treatment coordinator, Mark Messerer, said that methamphetamine is the No. 1 drug of choice among people who come to seek treatment at AODS.

Meth is the No. 1 drug in every county in the state, except two, San Francisco and Marin counties, said Messerer.

Ryan said the arrests are the latest action in an ongoing, multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, one of the largest ever directed against narcotics trafficking in the North Bay.

In the past two years, the investigation resulted in numerous searches that yielded seizures including more than $600,000 in US currency; 35 pounds of methamphetamine; 4 pounds of pseudoephedrine; 3 pounds of cocaine; 5,000 Pounds of Marijuana; nearly 20,000 live marijuana plants; and at least 50 firearms, including at least 5 assault rifles.

The DEA estimates the street value of the seized drugs to be over $5 million.

The investigation, begun in late 2004, was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with substantial assistance from LCSO; the Sonoma County Narcotics Task Force; the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department; the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement; the Santa Rosa Police Department; the Petaluma Police Department; the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; and the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office.

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LAKE COUNTY – More snow is predicted this evening down to 1500 foot - along with a chance of thunderstorms, which could bring more rain and hail, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Sacramento.

Dawn broke on Thursday morning to reveal a light dusting of snow down to the 2000 foot level. Rain, hail and snow showered Lake County throughout the day - and will continue throughout the night according to the NWS.

Local weather stations report 1.8 inches of precipitation in Cobb, 0.16 in Lakeport.

Snow is expected to accumulate up to 2 inches overnight, with low expected around 32 degrees. On Friday, it will be mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers, with light snow accumulation to the 3,000 foot level, changing to rain showers.

Highs are expected to be in the low to mid 40s.

According to the NWS, winds will pick up on Friday evening, with Southwest gusts up to 30 mph.

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CHP Officer Barnes examines the suspect's car. Photo courtesy of CHP.

CLEARLAKE OAKS - The California Highway Patrol has arrested a Clearlake Oaks man who allegedly left the scene after hitting a bicyclist with his vehicle on Saturday.

Josh Dye, public affairs officer for the Clear Lake Area CHP office, reported that Jon Somdahl, 58, of Clearlake Oaks was arrested Monday for felony hit and run.

Somdahl was charged with hitting Joshua Lundquist at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Dye reported, as Lundquist rode his BMX bicycle on the right shoulder heading eastbound on Highway 20.

Lundquist was just east of Oak Grove Avenue in Clearlake Oaks when he allegedly was struck from behind by Somdahl's vehicle. Dye reported that it was raining when the collision is alleged to have taken place.

Somdahl then allegedly fled the scene, according to Dye's report.

Lundquist was transported to Sutter Lakeside Hospital where he was treated for his injuries, including head trauma.

CHP Officers Domby and Barnes analyzed the evidence at the scene and developed leads on the suspect vehicle, Dye said.

Their investigation led them to a suspect vehicle at a Clearlake Oaks residence, less than half a mile from where the Saturday collision occurred.

At the residence they located Somdahl, who was arrested and transported to the Lake County Jail, Dye reported.

Somdahl is being held on $10,000 bail, according to the jail's arrest records.

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


LAKE COUNTY – With the state's first case of equine West Nile Virus diagnosed on the North Coast this month, state officials are reminding horse owners that the best way to protect their animals is through vaccination.

California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) officials reported on Wednesday that the first case of equine WNV so far this year was confirmed in a Sonoma County horse on Feb. 8.

“Outbreaks of West Nile virus are expected to continue this year,” said California State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer. “Horse owners should contact their veterinarians as soon as possible to ensure current vaccination status, so that horses will have maximum protection against the disease.”

CDFA reports that horses contract the disease from carrier mosquitoes. Affected horses, the agency added, are not contagious to other horses or people. Not every horse exposed to the virus will die.

Signs of West Nile virus include stumbling, staggering, wobbling, weakness, muscle twitching and inability to stand.

Dr. Jeff Smith, a Middletown veterinarian who has dealt with several local WNV cases over the last few years, explained that WNV is a form of encephalitis that results in neurological symptoms, including brain swelling.

The horses he's treated, he said, have a “lazy gait,” and drag their feet or cross their legs, and play with their lips. If horses get the point where they can no longer stand, they have to be euthanized, he said.

Smith said because the disease has no treatment, it has to be waited out. He's used hyperimmune serums to treat his WNV patients, although that treatment hasn't yet been proved to cure the disease. Smith said he also works to reduce brain swelling in the animals.

Some animals, he said, spontaneously recover from WNV.

Equine WNV was first diagnosed in a horse in San Diego County in 2003, according to the state's WNV information site,

That was the only case for 2003. But by 2004, the disease had reached 32 of California's 58 counties, infecting 540 horses and causing 228 to die or be euthanized.

In 2005, 456 horses in 43 counties were diagnosed, and 200 of them died.

Steve Lyle, CDFA's director of communications, explained that as state officials watched the disease move westward over the last several years, they noticed that it had a pattern of explosive growth and a two-year peak cycle.

In California's case, the peak years appear to have been 2004 and 2005, he said.

That pattern held true in Lake County. CDFA statistics showed that Lake County had four cases of equine WNV in 2004, with one animal death. In 2005, 10 Lake County horses were diagnosed with WNV, and eight of them died or were euthanized.

The numbers of horses diagnosed have since dropped off. Last year, 58 horses in the state were known to have contracted the disease, with 24 deaths. In Lake County there were only two equine cases, but both were fatal, according to CDFA.

In the great majority of those cases the horses were either not vaccinated or vaccinated improperly, CDFA reported.

Smith said the animals he's treated for WNV hadn't been vaccinated. Most were older animals; like people, the immune system of horses weaken as they age, said Smith.

Lyle said scientists believe that animals exposed to the disease either develop immunity or get sick, and overall infections decline.

“What we're seeing is a natural cycle of decline that has been witnessed elsewhere,” said Lyle.

This recent diagnosis in Sonoma County, said Lyle, is a reminder that WNV is “still out there and populations are still vulnerable, just in smaller numbers that before.”

As a result, officials continue to encourage horse owners to vaccinate their animals, which Lyle said is the only way to protect animals from infection.

Vaccinations don't, however, guarantee horses won't be infected, Lyle added. But in cases where vaccinated horses did contract the disease, they are more likely to survive, he said.

University of California at Davis' vaccine regimens have changed several times in the last few years, said Smith. The current recommendation is that horses be vaccinated every four months or in the face of an outbreak, he said.

Animals that survive WNV usually recover fully, said Smith. “It's not the average horse that would be left debilitated by it.”

The West Nile Virus Information Line can be reached at 800-268-7378.

For updated statistics on West Nile Virus statewide, as well as information on how to report cases, visit

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


LAKE COUNTY – A wet and windy Sunday is predicted - but the rains that moved through the county last night should decrease to showers today, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Sacramento.

A breezy Sunday with gusts from the Southwest to 40 mph and showers are predicted during the day on Sunday, with high temperatures to be in the mid to upper 40s.

Snow level will remain around 3,000 feet during the day, with accumulations up to 3 inches over higher elevations according to the NWS. Snow level will drop to 2500 feet overnight, with lows in the mid 30s.

Rain is likely on Monday, with snow levels remaining around 3,000 feet. Highs are expected to be in the mid 40s, lows in the mid 30s.

Colder air is predicted to move into the county Tuesday and Wednesday lowering snow levels.

Contact Terre Logsdon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


LOWER LAKE – William C. Carle High School has been the subject of praise locally for years for its creative and heartfelt approach to educating at-risk students.

The school's efforts were recognized this week by the state, when State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell named the school one of 13 Model Continuation High Schools for 2007.

It's the third time the school has received the honor, which recognizes schools for outstanding programs designed to help at-risk students.

The school's previous wins came in 2002 and 1995.

"These 13 schools provide promising practices that other continuation high schools may emulate to help students with diverse needs complete their high school education," said O’Connell. "These schools were selected because of their exemplary programs that are designed to close the achievement gap, keep kids in school so they can graduate, and adequately prepare them for careers or college.”

Continuation high schools such as Carle serve students aged 16 years or older who are at risk of not graduating from high school.

The state reported that more than 69,000 California high school students attended 521 continuation high schools in 2005-06, the latest data available.

Ninety-five students were enrolled at Carle during the 2005-06 school year, according to CDE statistics; there are 3,200 students in the entire Konocti Unified School District.

Carle's dedicated faculty and staff, led by Principal William MacDougall, have been recognized locally for their efforts as well.

The school's Web site reports that Carle has received six-year accreditations from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1992, 1998 and 2004, as well as Exemplary Program Recognition Awards from the California Continuation Education Association for its Career Pathway Program in 1999 and its Treating the Influence classroom program in 2004.

Carle also offers its students the chance to participate in real-world business projects, such as Pegasus Promotional Products, which markets, designs and manufactures personalized products; and the video production business Pegasus Productions, which creates public service announcements and videotapes special events such as concerts at Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, according to the school's Web site.

Among its noted staff are husband and wife teaching team Alan and Angie Siegel both have received Lake County Teacher of the Year honors, in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Alan Siegel – who teaches history, civics and economics – went on to be named one of five California Teachers of the Year for 2005.

In 2006, the school staff won a Stars of Lake County Award in the “youth advocate, professional” category.

The school even had its own cat, Jack, who showed up on the school's doorstep several years ago, sick, injured and hungry. Science teacher Tom Essex's son, Scott, who happens to be a vet, fixed Jack up, and he became a fixture in the school's office, where he liked to lounge on Secretary Barbara Dye's desk.

“Jack found his way here all on his own, and it was just meant to be,” said Dye.

For the school, Jack became a symbol of what love and nurturing can do. The school's Web site said of Jack: “Jack-the-Cat reminds us of our students in many ways. He arrived in sad shape, but with a little time and nurturing, he has blossomed into a fine and happy cat.”

Jack died last May 15, but still remains on the school's site. “We haven't had the heart to take him off,” said Dye.

They've been offered plenty of new cats, but haven't taken one, she said. “We figure some day another cat will wander in if it's meant to be.”

Continuation education isn't a new idea. The California Department of Education’s (CDE) Continuation Education program has been an option for students since 1919.

The program emphasizes career technical education, uses exemplary instructional strategies, offers students guidance, counseling services, and more flexible school schedules to meet their needs.

The Model Continuation High School Recognition Program is a partnership of the CDE and the California Continuation Education Association that identifies and recognizes outstanding programs and creates a resource list of quality programs for school visitations. Fourteen schools applied for the recognition.

Applicants must be accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, demonstrate exemplary program effectiveness, school management, curriculum, instructional strategies, assessment and evaluation, education climate, and guidance and counseling, CDE reported.

Parents, students and community members were required to submit narrative statements supporting their respective schools, according to CDE. A review team visited the schools and recommended 13 for model school status.

The selected schools retain their title for three years and must submit an annual assurance of compliance with model school guidelines in order to maintain the designation.

Carle and the 12 other schools join 61 previously designated Model Continuation High Schools.

Visit Carle High School online at

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


The Praises of Zion Baptist Church Choir performs at the Sunday NAACP event. Photo by Thurman Watts.


CLEARLAKE The Lake County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People held a resoundingly successful Black History Month program and dinner on Sunday, Feb. 18.

The standing-room-only crowd that attended the festivities included many dignitaries from the arenas of politics, business and culture.

NAACP's local chapter was founded by Rick Mayo – now the chapter's first vice president – along with Clarence Wright Sr., A.C. Marks and past California State Conference Vice President Gilbert Gray.

A proclamation was made by the office of state Sen. Patricia Wiggins in recognition of Black History Month and the Lake County NAACP.

Judy Thein, Mayor of Clearlake, on behalf of the City Council and citizens of Clearlake spoke encouragingly to the crowd on the topic of city government being in complete accord with the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and dream.

The mayor also made a proclamation in honor of Dr. King, Black History Month and the NAACP, declaring them to be integral to the American experience.

Dr. Linda Robinson, pastor at Praises of Zion Baptist Church, rendered a powerful message that touched on the lingering effects of slavery on the psyche of of African-American people and the failure therein to educate subsequent generations adequately.

Peppering her oratory with quotes from African-American intellectuals like Nikki Giovanni, Carter G. Woodson, Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Robinson cautioned against the reality of academic lynching and complacency.

Supervisor Ed Robey provided the keynote address. His theme was on why he chooses to be a lifetime member of the NAACP.

Robey spoke of coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s, when 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered in Mississippi; the struggle of James Meredith to enter the University of Mississippi; Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice; and the fire hoses of Sheriff Bull Conners' repressive regime in Alabama.

His main thrust was that social change and justice are yet necessary to the fabric of life in America and the NAACP's nonviolent stance is a "very cool" way to achieve those goals.

Lake County thespian Voris Brumfield presented a dramatic and creative portrayal of Alberta Williams King, the mother of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Woven skillfully into her oration was a proclamation and commendation from the office of Congressman Mike Thompson in honor of the occasion. Brumfield used humor and candor in bringing Alberta Williams King back to vibrant life.

Another highlight of the evening was the presentation by Mayo of the Founder's Trailblazer's Award to Dorothy Myers.

Myers has been political chair of the Lake County NAACP for the past 20 years, in conjunction with being a Legal Redress Committee member for six years.

She has made huge contributions collectively with the body of the local chapter in many areas, including housing, education and employment issues within the community. It was largely through her efforts that the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County was resurrected.

Also recognized for 16 years of organizing Black History Month programs in Lake County was Mae Nahmias.

Lake County NAACP President Aqeela El-Amin Bakheit acknowledged Nahmias' work ethic as being equivalent to the efforts of 10 people – she even prepared the dishes for the evening's soul food buffet.

The gifted Nahmias eventually treated the audience to her vocal prowess at the urging of the president.

Mae Nahmias was recognized for her efforts to organize Black History Month programs. Photo by Thurman Watts.

Bakheit also presented plaque awards to the family of Dr. Alan and Kathy Sampson family; Aaron and Gloria Turner; and Al and Mae Nahmias for their generous and continued contributions to the local NAACP branch.

St. Elmo Mosby Jr., education chairman, recreated King's powerful "I Have A Dream" speech with chilling accuracy and emotion. The audience responded with two ovations.

Outstanding musical selections and contributions were made by the Praises of Zion Baptist Church Choir, the Beit Chavurah Group and keyboardist David Neft.

The evening's festivities and the diversity of the attendees indicated that Dr. King's dream is still vibrant in the community at large in Lake County.


LUCERNE – State and local officials are taking a close look at the finances of the Lucerne Senior Center, after center board members asked for help in accounting for funds they say came up missing nearly two years ago.

Jim Swatts, the center's executive board president, and J.J. Jackson, the center executive director, both agree that they have been unable to account for between $150,000 and $175,000 in funds from the center prior to taking over leadership of the center in the summer of 2005.

Sheriff Rod Mitchell confirmed this week that an investigation into the center's finances had recently been “revived,” thanks to interest from the Lake County Grand Jury.

Mitchell explained that the center investigation had been opened last year, but that his staff had been unable to continue because homicide and burglary cases had taken precedence, and investigating personnel changed.

The Grand Jury came to Mitchell and asked about what information he had in the investigation, and eventually opened up their own, Mitchell said.

“They're having someone with accounting experience look at it,” he explained.

“It's really the right way to approach a white collar crime-type investigation,” Mitchell added.

Mitchell said his staffers don't have the skills of forensic analysis specific to accounting investigations.

So he and the Grand Jury are collaborating on the investigation. “I'm lending money to help pay for the staffers,” he said.

Mitchell said he's grateful for the Grand Jury's efforts, because “it may provide the resolution that this case needs.”

The District Attorney's Office also is getting involved, said Mitchell. He and DA Jon Hopkins are networking to move the case forward, and Hopkins is lending extra investigators from his department to the effort.

Mitchell would not comment on whether or not the investigation was looking at any specific individuals.

Hopkins confirmed involvement in the case, and said he and Mitchell have discussed working together to finish the investigation.

As to the case's particulars, Hopkins said he could not comment. “I don't want it (the investigation) to run into any problems getting finished,” he said.

Documents in the care of Swatts showed numerous financial oddities, including many checks in large amounts – some has high as $6,000 – written from the center to the center, which then were cashed with no accounting of where the money went.

There are also dozens of checks to then-senior center employees which bounced, and resulted in those employees suing the center through the state Labor Division's Department of Industrial Relations. Swatts and Jackson said the state has ruled the center must pay $9,000 in back wages to four staffers, along with a $3,000 fine.

At times, the center's financial needs were so serious that center board members and private individuals wrote large checks to cover the center's bills. One individual wrote a $7,200 check to cover the center's Pacific Gas & Electric bill.

Documents showed that state Employment Development Department quarterly wage reports in 2004 weren't filed, medical premiums for employees weren't paid and the Lucerne center was borrowing thousands of dollars from the Lakeport Senior Center for purposes including keeping its Meals on Wheels program going.

Swatts and Jackson say there are many missing documents missing, which makes it impossible ever to conduct an official audit of the years before 2005.

They have slowly found more documents that showed the center's tenuous financial situation. Swatts said he and another senior center staff member have delivered two boxes of materials to Deputy Attorney General Jeff Ogata in the California Department of Justice.

Calls to Ogata's office were not returned. Gareth Lacey, spokesman for the California DOJ, said he could not confirm or deny if the agency's charitable trusts division received a complaint about the Lucerne Senior Center.

Neither Hopkins or Mitchell said they had yet had any contact with DOJ in the case.

Through a lot of hard work, senior center officials have managed to put the center on a better track. Jackson estimates that the center's overall debt is now at about $120,000.

The center and the county are working on an agreement in which the county would buy the center's thrift shop building for $150,000 and lease it back to the center for $1 a month. That, said Swatts, would help the center pay its debts and re-roof the main building.

Lake County News will continue to follow the case and publish updates as soon as they are available.

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


LAKEPORT – Supervisor Rob Brown says that Kenwood Investments, proposed purchaser of Konocti Harbor & Spa, has not delivered a final decision on whether it will continue in the transaction since the county board ruled out any possibility of developing a gambling casino at the site.

"I haven't heard anything," said Brown, regarding Kenwood's potential purchase of Konocti Harbor from UA Local Convalescent Fund.

"We're waiting with baited breath," added Brown, who said he had spoken with Kenwood representative Brad Welch in the week since Kenwood canceled a meeting with himself and other county officials.

Brown said Welch told him that Kenwood hasn't given up on the deal yet.

The meeting cancellation followed the Supervisors' 5-0 vote against allowing Kenwood to move forward with a casino project, which could be made possible by federal legislation converting the 38-acre Konocti Harbor property into an Indian reservation, or rancheria.

Whether the unanimous vote slamming the door on the Kenwood plan killed the deal, Brown is uncertain.

"They haven't pulled out," he said,"and I'm not implying that they will."

The resort remains at the heart of a federal lawsuit, scheduled to go to trial May 7.

In that lawsuit, the Department of Labor alleges that Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Journeymen – which controls the convalescent fund that owns Konocti Harbor – diverted $36 million in assets of five employee benefit plans to renovate and operate the resort.

Brown is planning a trip to Sacramento Monday to meet with lawmakers about the casino issue, including Assemblywoman Patty Berg, Sen. Pat Wiggins, and staff from the Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office, as well as staff from the offices of Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Senate leader Don Perata.

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


NICE – A woman hit by a car early Tuesday morning remains in the hospital with serious injuries.


The California Highway Patrol reported Tuesday that Martha Bertolino was struck by a vehicle at 4:22 a.m. on Highway 20, west of Sayre Avenue, near the Valero gas station.

After the accident Tuesday Bertolino was transported to Sutter Lakeside Hospital, and then airlifted by REACH helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

CHP said they were continuing to investigate why Bertolino was in the roadway at that time. As part of that investigation, they ordered a blood test on Bertolino before she was transported to Santa Rosa.

On Wednesday, Bertolino's sister-in-law, Jenny Reale, said Bertolino suffers from bipolar disorder, which – without warning – caused her to get up and run out of her house and into traffic.

Reale said Bertolino remains Santa Rosa Memorial's critical care unit, suffering from two broken legs, a broken arm, head injuries, a broken jaw and internal injuries.

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