Monday, 22 July 2024


NORTH COAST – On Wednesday morning, if a tsunami warning comes across your radio or television, don't panic – it's part of a planned test.

The National Weather Service, the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) and the Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino Offices of Emergency Services are planning the test, which will take place between 10:15 a.m. And 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Although the test is specially targeting Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties, Lake County residents also may encounter the warnings.

Those who hear or see the warnings don't need to take any action. Don't call 911 or local authorities, and don't evacuate homes and businesses.

The National Weather Service reported that the system test will include interruptions of television and radio stations and activation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) weather radios with the public alert feature. Not all cable television stations may be able to participate.

The test will check the Emergency Alert System to ensure it works properly during a real tsunami emergency.

If you are watching television between 10:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Wednesday morning, expect to see a crawler indicating that a tsunami warning has been issued, and hear a voice indicating that it is only a test. If you don't hear the TV audio for any reason, please remember that this is only a test.

If you are listening to the radio, you will hear alerting tones followed by a voice announcing that the test is occurring. If you have a NOAA weather radio with the public alert feature, the radio will automatically turn on and you will hear the same message as broadcast on radios.

In some areas of Humboldt County people may hear the sounding of a tsunami siren, and some schools and communities in Humboldt County may be practicing their evacuation plans during the test.

A survey of this test can be taken online at at or by calling 707-443-6484.


LAKE COUNTY – The winter-like storm that moved into Lake County Friday is expected to continue affecting the county throughout the day on Sunday and overnight temperatures are forecast to dip below freezing overnight, according to the National Weather Services in Sacramento.

Because this is a cold weather system, thunderstorms and hail are possible on Sunday, the National Weather Service predicts.

Gusty winds will continue throughout the day and daytime high temperatures will only reach the mid-40s, which have been closer to our overnight temperatures for the previous week.

This past week, Northern California has experienced above-average temperatures. That was until Friday, the same day as spring officially began.

The storm is forecast to move out of Lake County by Sunday afternoon with clear skies overnight, leading to a drop in temperature.

Many plants may be vulnerable overnight as the temperature drops below freezing and into the 20s, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Services stated that on Monday temperatures are predicted to return to normal with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s and remain that way throughout most of the week, with clear and sunny skies.

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


The Lake County Winery Association's new executive director, Monica Rosenthal. Courtesy photo.



MIDDLETOWN – Lake County Winery Association’s (LCWA) Board of Directors has named Monica Rosenthal as its executive director.

The association made the announcement Friday.

Rosenthal, the former planning commissioner for District 1, has extensive experience in the wine industry.

Her responsibilities as executive director will include oversight and implementation of Association initiatives including marketing of Lake County, its wines and wineries, and industry communications.

“The time is right for the Lake County Winery Association to step up and take a leadership role in promoting its wine and wineries,” says Kaj Ahlmann, LCWA chairman and owner of Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards & Winery, Lower Lake.

“Recently we created a strategic mission statement, a roadmap for making Lake County and its wine industry top-of-mind with consumers and the trade,” Ahlmann said. “Monica brings to the LCWA a depth of knowledge and contacts that will help us to realize our goals both locally and nationally.”

Prior to joining the LCWA, Rosenthal served on the Lake County Planning Commission for two years. From 2005 to 2007 she served on the board of the Lake County Winegrape Commission.

Her wine industry experience is varied and extensive. She managed the Beaulieu Vineyard Wine Club for three years. During her nine years at Buena Vista Winery, she served as events coordinator, tasting room manager, public relations assistant and director of market support. Rosenthal handled private events for Carmenet Winery for about five years.

In 1997, Rosenthal and her husband David planted a few acres of vineyard; today they farm approximately 20 acres of Viognier, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon with a few vines of Petite Sirah and Syrah.

The Lake County Winery Association was the brainchild of a handful of wineries that came together two years ago with the idea of creating a marketing group that complemented the Lake County Winegrape Commission by promoting the interests of Lake County wineries.

Matt Hughes, owner of Zoom Wines, served as the association’s first chairman, and took the LCWA from concept to reality.

Notable achievements under his leadership included the creation of an industry website (, inviting influentials such as Bay Area concierges to Lake County to experience the depth and breadth of Lake County and its wines, and bringing the Lake County Wine Adventure under the umbrella of the Association.

During this time Susan Mesick was hired as a marketing and communications consultant to help get the newly form group up and running. Today the LCWA has 25 members and 13 associate members.

Lake County wineries or businesses interested in joining the Association may contact Monica Rosenthal at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


LAKE COUNTY – A moving tribute to the fallen men and women of the Vietnam War will visit Lake County this summer, thanks for the effort of an intrepid group of veterans seeking to share their experiences and find healing for many of their comrades. {sidebar id=135}

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 951, based here in Lake County, will bring “The Moving Wall” to Lake County for four days in June – June 11 through 15. It will be open to the public 24 hours a day during its visit, with computers available to help search for names on the wall.

The wall is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. Several of the replicas, created by Vietnam Combat Veterans Ltd., have toured the United States since 1984, according to the group's Web site, Two currently are making their way around the country from the spring through the fall.

John Devitt, one of the group's founder, was inspired to create the traveling memorial after attending the 1982 dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the group reported. The Moving Wall is a tribute to the 2.7 million men and women who served in Vietnam.

The wall – which is approximately 252.83 feet long, 4 feet high on the ends and 6 feet high at the center – will be housed at the Lake County Fairgrounds, said Dean Gotham, VVA Chapter 951's president, who came up with the idea to bring the wall to Lake County.

The effort started in September 2006, when Gotham and another chapter member, George Dorner, began the application process.

It was just over two years later – in October 2008 – that Gotham got the call “telling us it was our turn.”

The wall's visit to Lake County will coincide with Flag Day and Armed Forces Day on June 14, Gotham said. As of the first of this year, the wall has visited 1,155 communities across the country. It was first displayed in Tyler, Texas, in October of 1984.

The moving wall has been to other areas of the North Coast before, including Ukiah in 1985, Yountville in 2006, and Napa and Santa Rosa in 2008, according to wall records.

The wall bears the names of 52,253 individuals, including eight women who served as nurses, and 1,300 men who were either prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, according to the wall's founders. The names are listed chronologically, according to date of death.

The names of eight Lake County men are included on the memorial (see sidebar, “Lake County's Vietnam casualties,” for their information).

Gotham and fellow chapter members who are working on the wall's visit to Lake County are all expecting an emotional experience.

“It's very, very personal,” said Gotham, explaining that everyone in the chapter knows someone whose name is inscribed on the memorial.

Gotham, who served in the Marines in Vietnam, said he first saw a small plastic replica of the original wall in the 1980s at Santa Rosa Junior College. He happened across it by accident while working on a nearby landscaping project.

It was an early morning with drizzling rain. Gotham saw the candles and approached it. “It knew what it was when I walked up to it,” he said, describing the goosebumps and tears that resulted.

Gotham knows two men whose names are on the wall – a high school buddy killed while serving as a Marine and another man who he knew who was killed in an artillery barrage.

Lakeport resident Dan Davi, who served four tours on active duty in the Navy as a second-class bosun mate, grew up in San Francisco.

When it comes to numbers of casualties, California took the hardest hit of all the states in the union, said Davi.

Davi, who graduated from high school in 1966, stimates between 10 and 15 percent of his high school class is listed on the wall.

“It will be a very humble occasion for me to go and get etchings of their names and settle my heart, so to speak,” he said. “It's going to be quite emotional for all of us.”

Retired Navy Capt. Herman “Woody” Hughes of Lakeport said he's seen the original Washington, DC memorial twice as well as the traveling wall in Branson, Mo.

Hughes, who retired after 26 years in the military, including just under a year in Vietnam, doesn't think of himself as emotionally demonstrative, but he said the initial impact of seeing the wall can be pretty strong.

When he first saw the memorial in Washington, DC, “It was almost as if I couldn't breathe,” he said.

That wall is located in a depression. As he and he wife were going down the walkway, he said he turned to her and said, “I don't know if I can do this or not.”

He did go on, he said, and found the name of a friend who had died in the war.

Gotham said all of the veterans are very excited to bring the memorial to Lake County, to share it with their community. Likewise, reactions so far from community members have been very positive, he said.

At the same time, some veterans are also a little scared, Gotham added, “because we know we're going to be facing some demons, quite frankly.”

He called bringing the wall to Lake County “an extreme example of an act of love.”

Said Davi, “We all get kind of teary-eyed just talking about it.”

Gotham said having the wall here will give the county “the opportunity to reveal itself.”

“It will be a major event,” added Hughes.

Lots of work ahead

VVA has kicked into high gear, with biweekly meetings to take on the enormous organizational challenges ahead.

Davi has assumed project manager duties, and is tracking everything from the opening ceremony preparations to hospitality, security, lighting, landscaping and fundraising.

“It's moving along really well,” Davi said.

When the wall arrives on June 9, the VVA and community volunteers will carry out the five-hour setup process. The wall should be set up and ready by the following day, Gotham said.

The structure itself is aluminum, with the names silk screened onto it, he said. The result is that it looks dramatically like the black granite of the original.

Fundraising duties are being handled primarily by Gotham, who has begun making the rounds of local community groups to seek funding assistance to bring the wall here. Just to bring it cost $5,000.

But the group, which first began meeting in December of 2004 and was chartered the following month, in January of 2005, is tenacious when it comes to doing community projects.

“We're still the new kids on the block,” said Gotham.

However, they've raised thousands to help veterans and other area residents in need, and have spent several years conducting the “Seniors Not Forgotten” project to bring seniors in local care facilities some cheer during the Christmas holidays.

They're seeking not just monetary donations but volunteer help from anyone who is interested.

Expecting an outpouring of emotion

For many of the young men and women who returned home after serving in the military in Vietnam, their homecoming was as emotionally harrowing as their time on the battlefield.

The United States was a country divided over its participation in the war in Southeast Asia, and when soldiers, Marines and sailors came home, what many of them encountered has left many bruised, devastated and even embittered lives.

Many of those vets will tell you how they were treated maliciously – “to say nothing of disrespectfully,” said Hughes.

He said when he came home he found a curious reaction from people about what was happening in Vietnam – lack of interest.

“For something that we had laid our lives down for, we came back to find that America had no interest in it. That was difficult,” he said.

His experience was less harrowing than some vets, who came home to find active protests targeting them. It was something they weren't prepared to face, and it's a factor that he believes influences the situations of many Vietnam veterans today.

He recounts speaking with Vietnam vets who still are in various states of trauma. One man hasn't left his home in 15 years. Another came to a Vietnam Veterans of America chapter meeting but never returned. Hughes said the man looked closed in on himself.

Such men came home not to ticker tape parades – which had greeted their fathers' returns from World War II – but protests, abuse and ignorance, he explained.

While movies have been made about “the greatest generation,” which has become the subject of deep reverence, Vietnam is consistently held up as a bad example – “the war that should never have been,” Hughes said. Movies about that war, he said, basically are antiwar films.

It's for that reason that VVA's motto is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another,” said Hughes.

Vietnam veterans also have worked hard to make sure today's young veterans and members of the military are treated with more compassion and respect, Hughes said.

Turning millions of young men and women into villains caused great emotional stress, he said. Several of his veteran friends continue to regularly attend counseling today which isn't just because of the war.

“We're not asking for anything, nothing special, just don't treat us like baby killers,” said Hughes.

Added Gotham, “For everyone who served in Vietnam, there was someone here at home who disagreed.”

Davi estimates that many Vietnam veterans – as high as 15 percent – haven't dealt with the emotional fallout from their service in the war.

Even when you try to get on with your life, 40 years later you realize how it affects you, he said.

Davi said many Vietnam vets have gone through numerous marriages, suffered drug and alcohol abuse, then they channeled that energy into being workaholics. Eventually, though, the weight of their experiences hits them.

Hughes agrees with that assessment. “There are a number of Vietnam veterans who are hiding from facing the issue of their experience over there.”

Gotham, Davi and Hughes all believe many vets will visit the wall during “off” hours – especially at night and times when others aren't likely to be there. That's one of the reasons for making it available to the public at all hours of the day and night during its stay, said Gotham.

Hughes, who is chaplain for VVA and the United Veterans Council, will be on hand to help. He expects some people will have a hard time when they first see it, not just veterans but those who knew someone on the wall.

Some of the emotion that may result, said Hughes, won't necessarily be sadness and grief. Some of it may also be anger from veterans recalling their treatment on coming home.

Hughes, whose time in Vietnam included three months on riverboats running river security just below the demilitarized zone in South Vietnam, said he hopes he'll be able to help some of those who come to see the wall by offering support and a willingness to listen, to help people work through the emotions that will arise.

He's been offering help since he put his arm around a young sailor whose friend was badly hurt when a Howitzer shell landed on their bunker in Vietnam's Quang Tri province.

“He was so devastated by seeing what happened to his buddy, and afraid, and nothing's wrong with that,” said Hughes, recalling the event decades later.

Is the wall's visit an opportunity for closure?

“Closure? What the hell is that?” Gotham asked. “This is a part of our lives forever.”

A better word, and a more appropriate result, he suggests, would be “forgiveness.”

Many survivors feel guilty for making it home when their friends didn't, he said.

“The only resolution out of that is forgiveness, and that's pretty hard for guys to do,” said Gotham.

As viewpoints about Vietnam have changed, many people have started to recognize Vietnam veterans as heroes in their own right. But that's not necessarily what men like Gotham seek.

“The heroes that we look at are the guys on the wall,” he added. “They're our heroes.”

If you would like to help with donations to the wall or volunteer help or other services, call Gotham at 350-1159.

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




While researching the Red Hills AVA, I went to talk to Stephanie Cruz-Green at Focused On Wine in Kelseyville. After all, she knows more about wine than I could ever hope to know, so what better a resource could I make use of?

I asked her what she knew or thought about American viticultural areas (AVAs), and she took a stance that completely caught me off guard. She started to talk about the actual growers and how so little credit is given to them. She went on to say that if the farmer doesn’t know how to prune a grapevine properly then he can screw up those vines for three years before they can recover (I don’t think she actually used the term “screw up”; that might be me paraphrasing her). Then as the grapes grow they have to be treated in a certain way.

For instance if the grapes themselves don’t get enough direct sunlight hitting them they will have a vegetal taste to them, and if they get too much direct sunlight they will get sunburned. The grapes need to be positioned perfectly to be their best. The people doing the actual tending of the vines need to have this knowledge to contribute to the wine becoming its best. I left Stephanie with the feeling that I wasn’t being handed the usual facts that are constantly regurgitated to fluff up a column, but that I was being provided with an entirely new way of looking at an AVA and wine making.

Some people argue about just how important an AVA designation may be. While an AVA does attest that the grapes come from an area that is unique in character and consistency, the quality of the grapes is dependent on the grower to make them reach their full potential.

Using grapes from a particular AVA or appellation doesn’t guarantee a great wine. Without the techniques and expertise employed by a knowledgeable grower, grapes grown in a superior terroir could still end up being less than they have the potential to be. Then these grapes have to be given to a winemaker who can recognize their potential and take them to the next level.

So while having an AVA designation is a great way to get notice for a unique location, it’s still necessary to enhance that location with a great farmer and then honor that farmer with a great winemaker who can tie everything together. Stephanie had really jarred my mind; the thought that wine making is a chain which may begin with a great AVA but then needs a knowledgeable farmer to choose a grape varietal best for that area, then plant in the best place, care for the vines in the best way, and this is all before a single grape is ever produced.

Established in 1981 near Middletown is the Guenoc Valley AVA. The AVA consists of 21,349 acres, most of which are in Lake County but a portion overlaps into Napa County. Langtry Estate & Vineyards are the only grape growers in the AVA. Guenoc was the first AVA designation that contained only one winery, but other appellations have since become officially recognized AVA’s that only contain one grower; Benmore Valley, also in Lake County is an example. Langtry owns about 1,000 acres of the valley with 340 planted with four varietals. The altitude of the valley is 980 and nearby Middletown is 1106.

The soil in the AVA is alluvial, meaning it was put there by running water eons ago. If you’ve ever seen sand in the street after a rain you understand the basic idea of the process. The valley contains a large amount of serpentine. It’s a beautiful shiny blue/green rock but very difficult to grow in. You can actually see tons of the serpentine next to the road and embedded in the hillside as you drive up to the Langtry tasting room.

To get an idea of what it is like to grow in the serpentine soil of the valley, imagine a bathtub full of dinner plates (placed randomly, not stacked) then filled with soil and a vine planted in it. You can see that the roots would have a difficult time working their way around the buried dinner plates and down to the bottom of the tub, because once a root gets around one dinner plate it encounters another one below it and must work its way around that one, only to find another plate, and so forth.

This is the situation grape vines of the Guenoc AVA face. Not only that but the serpentine leeches out magnesium that, in excess, can be toxic to vegetation, so the grower must constantly be watching the vines looking for signs of stress so he can treat the soil and lower the concentration of magnesium before it kills the vines. Stephanie’s comments on the importance of the grower couldn’t have been timelier.

Although the AVA is only six miles from Middletown the weather is noticeably different. Middletown gets more rain and more moderate temperatures throughout the year. The vines are irrigated since the root system is so shallow, but luckily the valley has a good water supply with seven jurisdictional dams and about 25 ponds and lakes. The valley also gets less fog than Middletown.

There is considerable wildlife in the area and the deer fences constantly have to be repaired and reinforced whenever the local bears try to give their opinions on where gates should be. The bears regularly pull down the deer fencing and the winery repairs the damage with extra large wooden posts. Guests to the property are warned that if they choose to go jogging they should be vigilant for cougars, and I don’t mean Kim Cattral. Birds of prey are seen all over the area.

The Langtry Estate & Vineyards, recently also known as Guenoc, gets its name from the English stage actress Lillie Langtry, who bought a part of the valley in 1888. She produced some excellent wines from her vineyards, and at one time claimed her Claret to be the best in the country. The property lines have changed greatly in the years since it was in her possession, though some of the vines she tended are still producing fruit. The current vineyard also shares its property with an Angus cattle ranch. The estate has also started a large composting project to deal with the typical organic debris that a vineyard produces, which is just one of the sustainable farming practices it employs.

Nobody can give me a positive history on the origin of the name Guenoc, but in my research I believe I have come close to what might be the true story. There is a lake in the valley currently called McCreary Lake named after a past resident of the property. This lake was originally known by the three small villages that lived around it by the name Wen’nok. These tribes became known to the local whites as the “Guenoks,” most likely a mispronunciation of the name Wen’nok. However, that general area was the home to both Southern Pomos and Lake Miwoks, and I couldn’t find anybody from either of the tribes who recognized the word “Wen’nok.” But I give my sincere thanks to everyone who did try to find a translation for me.

Historical records claim the lake to be full of catfish, suckers, minnows, and “pike of two kinds, large and small,” but I was once again thwarted at being able to fish the lake as the roads were impassable at the time. It looks like I’ll have to start my own vineyard in order to have my private fishing pond.

Hopefully I have given enough evidence to finally lay to rest the question of where the name “Guenoc” came from; otherwise it may just come down to cleaning out Lillie Langtry’s basement to find and old toboggan with the word painted on it.

Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community.


LAKE COUNTY – Scams seem to be never-ending, and a new crop of them are popping up, aiming to take advantage of people who are vulnerable in the current economic situation.

The following are several new scams reported to Lake County News by local residents in officials.

The bottom line on all of them – don't respond and never give out your personal information to such solicitations.

Foreclosure scams run amok

With thousands of homes being lost across the state to foreclosure, many people are looking for help to save their homes, and the result is many predatory practices are springing up.

The state Department of Consumer Affairs, at its Take Charge California Web site has a page set up just to address various scams (

At the top of the current scam list is the foreclosure topic.

The Department of Consumer Affairs urges that anyone seeking foreclosure relief should take special precautions with anyone who is not their mortgage lender.

Some of their tips:

  • Don't transfer title or sell your house to the foreclosure rescuer. Fraudulent foreclosure consultants often promise that if the homeowners transfer title, they may stay in the home as renters and buy it back later. The foreclosure consultants claim that transfer is necessary so that someone with a better credit rating can obtain a new loan to prevent foreclosure. But beware – this is a common scheme “rescuers” use to evict homeowners and steal all or most of their home’s equity.

  • Don't pay money to people who promise to work with your lender to modify your loan. It is unlawful for foreclosure consultants to collect money before they give you a written contract describing the services they promise to provide and they actually perform all the services described in the contract, such as negotiating new monthly payments or a new mortgage loan.

  • Don't pay your mortgage payments to someone other than your lender, even if he/she promises to pass the payment on to the lender. Fraudulent foreclosure consultants often keep the money for themselves. Don't sign any documents without reading them first. Many homeowners think that they are signing documents for a new loan to pay off the mortgage they are behind on. Later, they discover that they actually transferred ownership to the “rescuer.”

  • Don't ignore letters from your lender. Consider contacting your lender yourself, as many lenders are willing to work with homeowners who are behind on their payments.

  • Do contact a housing counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who may be able to help you for free. For a referral to a housing counselor near you, contact HUD at 1-800-569-4287 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or

If you transferred your property or paid someone to “rescue you from foreclosure you may be a victim of a crime. If that's your experience, please register a complaint with the Attorney General’s Public Inquiry Unit at or by calling (800) 952-5225 (TTY (800) 735-2922).

Scam preys on support for military

An e-mail scam now circulating via e-mail purports to come from a soldier – names change on the e-mails, but have included Sgt. Deborah Taylor and Sgt. Sarah Curtis Hulburt – who claims to be a member of the US Army USARPAC Medical Team, which supposedly deployed to Iraq at the beginning of the war.

In the e-mail's narrative, the writer promises to share “highly classified information” gained at the forefront of the war. The e-mail includes a link to a BBC story from April of 2003 regarding a stash of nearly $200 million in US and foreign money found in Baghdad.

The writer claims to have happened upon a large amount of money and asks for the receiver to respond to an e-mail if they're interested in assisting her “to both our benefit.”

If you receive an e-mail from an unknown individual asking for information, don't respond.

Beware the sweepstakes letter

The rule is, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

So if you receive a letter in the mail from the “Sweepstakes Audit Bureau” based in Dallas, Texas, that says a $12 million prize has gone unclaimed and asks for a $5 research and data fee – to be paid by check, cash or money order – it's best to put it in the shredder.

The letter doesn't clearly say the sender has won anything, and the back of the letter reportedly says the fee only qualifies the person who sends it in to receive a listing of unclaimed prizes.

Locally, there's been at least one case of an elderly resident receiving the letter and bringing it to the attention of law enforcement.

Mystery shopping scam

A local resident reported receiving a letter from “Shoppers Viewpoint Inc.” which includes a cashier's check for $5,000.

It's another scam, because the check is reportedly counterfeit.

Instances of such letters have been reported not just locally but across the country. A report from Aiken, South Carolina, noted that legitimate companies don't send out cashier's checks or require you to send money.

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KELSEYVILLE – On Sunday the 12th annual Stars of Lake County Awards added many deserving individuals and groups to its long list of honorees.

The awards were handed out at Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa in Kelseyville Sunday evening.

Awards in 24 categories were given this year. Organizers had the challenging task of taking 127 nominations and narrowing them to those final two dozen awards.

Once again this year, Congressman Mike Thompson was on hand to assist with handing out the awards.

Here are this year's winners.

Marla Ruzicka Humanitarian Award: Faith Hornby, Lakeport

Hornby, 12, is a caring seventh grader who began her efforts to help others when she was only about 7 years old, saving her change to donate to local animal rescue efforts.

She was then introduced to a group of cancer survivors, and she began helping them as well, holding a raffle for Cancer Awareness Month, raising money to assist cancer patients, creating artwork to cheer patients up and helping Operation Tango Mike by packing care packages for troops overseas.

Senior of the Year: Treva Ryan, Nice

She's cooked for Meals on Wheels and been one of the most devoted volunteers at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center.

Treva Ryan has more energy and determination than a lot of people a third of her age. Ryan has been a volunteer at the center for 12 years. She's also a volunteer at the First Lutheran Church.

Ryan was credited with her efforts to feed the community's hungry.

Volunteer of the Year: Bill and Carolyn Tobin, Middletown

The Tobins have worked tirelessly to relieve the hunger issue for local residents.

They have been dedicated supporters of the Catholic Charities' rural food project. In 2002, the project was helping 23 families; by this year, that number had grown nearly tenfold, to more than 200.

The Tobins are also involved in the “Spirit of the Season” Christmas food drive in Middletown.

Student of the Year, female: Alma Martinez, Clearlake

Most teens probably can't imagine the challenges that Alma Martinez has faced in her young life. She was raised by a single mother who was injured on the job, which forced the young woman to have to take on the role of breadwinner for her family.

She has worked two jobs after school for three years to support her family, all the while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average and applying for college.

Martinez helps encourage her peers to make the right decisions and also has volunteered to assemble food baskets for those in need.

Student of the Year, Special Recognition Award: Upper Lake High School Academic Decathlon Team

The awards committee created a special award this year to honor the team, which has won the local Academic Decathlon competition 10 out of the last 11 years and gone on to state competition. Last week, the team placed sixth at the state competition, held in Sacramento.

“The learning curve is very steep and the terrain unfamiliar,” Lake County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck said in describing the brain-bending competition.

Team members include Kyle Coleman, Courtney Havrilla, Belarmino Garcia Jr., Sarah Barnes, Marisa Feliciano-Garcia, Stephanie Tregea, Thonyoon Chao, Hannah Johnson, Chae Carter, Ben Mullin, Megan Morgan and Brenda Mendoza. Head coach is Anna Sabalone; assistant coach is Steve Harness.

Student of the Year, male: Anthony Tavares, Lower Lake

Anthony Tavares is pursuing a career in automotive repair, and he's getting there under his own steam. He was described as a “self-supporting” student who works long hours at a local grocery story.

A model citizen, Tavares maintains a 3.0 grade point average in addition to those long hours to support himself. He's won scholarships and is planning to pursue his education at an out-of-state technical school.

Youth Advocate, Volunteer: Shel Bush, Clearlake

Bush was lauded for her efforts on behalf of children, all of whom she treats as if they were her own.

She fought to get the Clearlake skate park renamed for Andy Johnson and urges youngsters to choose activities like music or BMX bike riding over drugs.

One student wrote to the committee noting how that her willingness to listen and offer compassion helped him choose a better path than drinking away his troubles.

Youth Advocate, Professional: Anna Santana, Clearlake

Raised in Lake County and a mom herself, Santana has been a tireless advocate for the community's children.

She's a soccer coach at Upper Lake High School, works with students at Pomo Elementary and also has worked to make a dental van available to care for the dental health needs of needy children.

Agriculture Award: Lake County Community Co-Op, Clearlake

The Lake County Community Co-Op began in December 2007 when JoAnn Saccato asked the community a question: Is there a need for a local food cooperative?

The answer was a resounding yes, and since then the group has built its number to more than 300, making fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally available on a weekly basis.

The group will open its community garden this summer.

Organization, Nonprofit: People Services Inc., Lakeport

Now in its 35th year, People Services was created by a group of parents who wanted to help local adults who have disabilities.

Since then, the group has created job opportunities for the disabled – particularly those with developmental disabilities – in order to help them enjoy the greatest independence possible.

Organization, Volunteer: Operation Tango Mike, Kelseyville

Ginny Craven started Operation Tango Mike in March of 2003 after a local group of National Guard members were deployed overseas.

But since then the effort has grown much larger, extending to dozens of troops. The group also has grown from Craven and a handful of volunteers to people from all over Lake County, who donate money, materials and their time during packing parties.

Each month Operation Tango Mike – which stands for “Thanks much” in military lingo – send between 80 and 100 care packages to troops overseas.

“What the care packages do and what they mean is incredible,” said Jennifer Strong, who introduced the award.

Support from home is crucial to morale for troops overseas, Strong said. One soldier wrote to the group, “Because of you, I had a better day.”

Environmental Award: Leona Butts, Clearlake Oaks

Leona Butts and her husband, D.A., moved to Lake County in 1995. Since then, she's been active in local groups such as the Clear Lake State Park Interpretive Association – she even put together the group's manual – as well as the local Redbud Audubon Society. An avid bird watcher, she's generously shared her knowledge of wildlife with community members.

Then, in January of 2008, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed closing dozens of state parks, including Clear Lake State Park and Anderson Marsh.

Schwarzenegger didn't bargain for people like Butts, who helped lead the local fight to keep the parks open. She offered both the driving force behind the push to keep the parks open as well as possessing the organizational skill to carry out a campaign that included collecting more than 5,000 signatures locally, which were sent to Schwarzenegger's office.

Today, Lake County's state parks remain open.

New Business of the Year: Harbor Village Artists, Lucerne

The little artists colony next door to Harbor Park in Lucerne got its start last year with the help of the county's redevelopment agency.

Four little alpine-style cottages house four art-based businesses – The Gourd Gallery, Konocti Art Gallery/Studio, Lakeside Art and Pomo Fine Arts Gallery.

The shops have given a much-needed boost to the lakeside community, besides showcasing the unique talents of local artists, including the traditional Pomo basketmaking of Luwana Quitiquit.

Small Business of the Year: Solo Flight School, Lakeport

The business, located at Lampson Field, is credited with helping to rejuvenate the local airport by attracting flying students from around the country and the world.

They've also done several “dream days” in an effort to make wishes come true for local seniors.

The school has made aviation accessible to all, as as such they've become far-reaching ambassadors for Lake County.

Large Business of the Year: Umpqua Bank, Lakeport and Kelseyville

Umpqua Bank's local branches are heavily involved in the community. Over the last year they've donated more than $20,000 to local causes, in addition to the hundreds of hours employees donate to helping groups including Operation Tango Mike.

The bank takes a whimsical approach to community involvement, offering umbrella giveaways on rainy days and the occasional dessert surprise.

Fortune magazine recently named the company the 13th best in the country to work for, and it's been in the United State's top 100 companies to work for during the past three years.

Best Idea of the Year: Ageless Dream Day-Orchard Park Assisted Living, Clearlake

Orchard Park Assisted Living in Clearlake began asking its residents about their long-held dreams, and the result was a series of “dream days.”

Over the past year residents have done everything from spending a day with Clearlake Police to taking a flying lesson to going skydiving.

Local Hero: Walt Foster, Clearlake

Lifelong Lake County resident Walt Foster, who works for Sears, was delivering an appliance to a man's home in Clearlake, but the man wouldn't let him into the house. Foster convinced the man to let him in to deliver the appliance, but found the man was not in good health.

The man hadn't had a drink of water in a few days, so Foster got him some water to drink, but the man wouldn't let him call for help.

“I didn't think anyone should live like that,” Foster is reported to have said afterward.

Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain was reported to have said of Foster that if he hadn't acted the man might not have lived.

Arts Award, Amateur: Patsy Mitchell, Kelseyville

Mitchell devotes four days a week to running the gift shop and tasting room at Tulip Hill Winery in Nice.

She also tirelessly promotes the arts and local events.

Mitchell is credited with assisting with functions at the Soper-Reese Community Theatre in Lakeport as well as other community happenings.

Arts Award, Profession: Gail Salituri, Kelseyville

Gail Salituri is a talented artist who, over the past year, has devoted countless hours to promoting the Barbara LaForge Memorial Fund, which Salituri founded to remember her friend, who was murdered in October 2002.

Salituri is raising money for the fund, which in turn benefits Lake Family Resource Center's domestic violence shelter fundraising effort.

Since she began the fund, Salituri has raised thousands of dollars through raffles and silent auctions of art pieces including her own original oils.

She is the owner of Inspirations Gallery on S. Main Street in Lakeport.

Spirit of Lake County Award: Dwayne Furman, Lakeport

Dwayne Furman has been serving the community in various ways for 40 years.

Every Sunday he ministers to inmates at the Lake County Jail. Furman also offers ministry to Lake County Juvenile Hall and Konocti Conservation Camp inmates.

In addition, he's run the Livestock Pavilion at the Lake County Fair and been a longtime member of the local chapter of the California Cattlemen's Association.

Woman of the Year: Georgina Lehne, Middletown

Lehne is executive director of the Lake County Community Action Agency, where she has increased programs offered to the community from six to 19.

She oversees the Hot Spot youth center in Clearlake as well as food cupboards and New Beginnings, a drug rehabilitation program.

She's also working on fundraising and grants to build a safe house for the county's homeless children.

Man of the Year: Willie Sapeta, Clearlake

Sapeta, a battalion chief/paramedic for Lake County Fire Protection District, has been with the agency for 28 years.

He's one of the good guys – a man who is on the scene during critical moments in the community.

Besides his duties at Lake County Fire, Sapeta also works with the Lake County Sheriff's Office Office of Emergency Services office on emergency preparedness issues.

In addition, Sapeta also is a force behind the infant and child safety seat program.

Lifetime Achievement Award, Woman: Eva Johnson, Kelseyville

Alzheimer's disease touched Eva Johnson's life when it struck her husband.

She would go on to found local Alzheimer's respite and day care programs, which helped give many families a little space for themselves amidst the commitment to care for family members with the devastating disease.

Johnson also is credited for being a tireless advocate for caregivers.

Lifetime Achievement Award, Man: Father Phillip Ryan

Father Phillip Ryan helped found the Lake County Passion Play, which will mark its 29th year this May.

The play, which depicts the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, has a cast of hundreds of people and attracts thousands of people each year.

Ryan himself tends to the Passion Play grounds and stages, and cares for the animals that live on the grounds. He also built a costume house and a new barn.

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T. Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.




people can be so cold...
Carole King, circa 1971

The music business can be so funky and strange. Kind of a microcosm of the world at large.

I guess it's not so strange that in the dark corridors of the history of humankind the spike-heeled boot of the rich and powerful is often poised at the tender jugular of the underpaid, underprivileged, overduped and much-maligned underclass. Even in the music biz. Especially in the music biz. The bloodthirsty boot takes a crooked path to the top.

A CyberSouMan mouthful, to be sure on this Sunday morning, but breaking it down for your ultimate understanding is my intent.

Friday night I journeyed again to the city of my birth, San Francisco. I drove down to catch the nucleus of the phenomenal Los Angeles South Central Septet that used to be called War. They are appearing as the Original Lowriders as a result of the courts stripping them of the right to use the name War.

The group had its genesis in the decade of the '70s, when British invader Eric Burdon, formerly of Animals fame, swooped into L.A. and observed the funky, Latin-tinged chops of the band who, at the time was backing former NFL great Deacon Jones. They were then calling themselves Deacon Jones & The Nite Shift.

Partnering with Jerry Goldstein's and Steve Gold's Far Out Productions, the group morphed into Eric Burdon & War. The hits started coming: “Spill The Wine,” “Love Is All Around,” “Black Man's Burdon.”

The band went on tour with Eric Burdon. Indeed, Eric Burdon & War was the house band at the last jam that Jimi Hendrix played in public at Ronnie Scott's club in London. A day later, Hendrix left this life. Shortly thereafter, a burnt out Eric Burden abandoned the tour with the group. War was on its own.

The hits kept coming: “Cisco Kid,” “The World Is a Ghetto,” “Slipping Into Darkness,” “Why Can't We Be Friends,” “Lowrider” and the inimitable summer love groove, “All Day Music.” There were of course, many more.

Sometime during Jerry Goldstein's tenure with War, he secretly had the band's name trademarked. So he gets to decide who can use it. The original seven members of the group War were Howard Scott, Harold Brown, B. B. Dickerson, Charles Miller, Lonnie Jordan, Papa Dee Allen and Lee Oskar.

By the time Jerry Goldstein's fuzzy legal maneuvering became law, the face of the band had changed. Charles Miller and Papa Dee Allen were deceased. The courts forbade Scott, Brown, Dickerson and Oskar from using the name – or “even formerly known as.”

Howard Scott told me years ago that Goldstein made his case so tight the fellows couldn't even appear as “Raw,” which is War spelled backwards!

In a strange musicos-make-strange-bedfellows backdoor move, Goldstein allows keyboardist Lonnie Jordan to use the name with six other guys who perform as War. That, my CyberSoulChildren, is why my fellows The Original Lowrider band, despite being four of the original seven members of War, cannot appear as War.

At the height of his court-induced “powers” Mr. Goldstein has pulled the plug on a gig of The Original Lowrider Band when the promoters invariably used “formerly known as War” in a radio spot.

A little more on Goldstein. He's been in the business a long time and has made considerable dollars doing so. No question there. For many of the past 25 years, in conjunction with suppressing the creative talents of the entity formerly known as War, Goldstein had been the manager of another funk master, Sly Stone.

What possible creative positive function could Goldstein have performed with Sly in all those years? Let's see. Did Sly release any new music under Goldstein's watch? Not much. Concert appearances? Even less. Let's see, I wonder if Jerry Goldstein had a hand in the selling of Sly Stone' s publishing to Michael Jackson? Apparently. Who benefited from that?

Sly didn't really do much of anything lately until he joined his youngest sibling Vet “Little Sister” Stone in 2007 for a tour of Europe. On the subject of brother Sly's then-manager Goldstein, Vet is quoted in her soon-to-be published memoir as saying, “How on earth can an artist have a manager for 25 years who generates no work?”

Brings to mind another real life soul music funk opera: the great Sam Cooke.

Cooke had a record label before Motown founder Berry Gordy. The future looked incredibly bright for Cooke when he was shot to death in December of 1964 under dubious circumstances.

His last will and testament disappeared overnight. When the smoking gun cleared, all of Sam Cooke's publishing magically belonged to his bookkeeper Allan Klein. To this day ABCKO Records receives all Sam Cooke's royalties. His family gets nothing.

If you follow the history of the fight for recording artists rights and royalties, there have been many pioneers who have made it better for artists in the business. Little Richard, Ruth Brown, Peggy Lee, Prince and others have overturned many plantation/sharecropper master-slave policies of major record labels, management, contractual and otherwise.

Much more needs to be done. All that glitters is not gold in the record business – even if you have a gold record. Depends on how you connect your dots and who's watching your back.

Oh, back to The Original Low riders at Yoshi's. They turned it out. Hadn't played San Francisco since 1996. It seems nobody knew who they really were. That seems to be changing now. It was a packed house. Saturday night is sold out.

The original group War was on the ballot for nominees to the 2009 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They didn't make it this time. Perhaps they will in the near future. Perhaps a little healing and reconciliation will replace the greed of Big Business. You know, just rewards for the artist. A little easing back on the beat down tactics of the greed machine would not only be nice but is desirable as well.

For a cool Web site visit

Keep prayin', keep thinkin' those kind thoughts!

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at


WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday the House of Representatives passed legislation that would impose a stiff penalty on bonuses given by companies such as AIG that received government rescue funds.

Congressman Mike Thompson (D-Napa Valley) joined a bipartisan group of members voting for H.R. 1586, which passed the House by a vote of 328-93.

“It’s a slap in the face to tax paying Americans when failing companies spend taxpayer dollars on outrageous bonuses,” said Thompson. “By closing this loophole, we are fulfilling the promise made to taxpayers that their money wouldn’t be spent on executive bonuses.”

The legislation passed Thursday by the House will tax bonuses from companies that received $5 billion or more in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.

The bill would impose a 90-percent tax on bonuses paid after Dec. 31, 2008. The tax would also apply to bonuses paid by entities affiliated with these companies.

Thompson's office reported that the bill would not affect anyone receiving a bonus with adjusted gross income below $250,000 or employees of companies that have received $5 billion or less in TARP funds. This tax would not apply to any bonus that is returned to the company in the same taxable year that the bonus is paid.

“As much as I dislike using the tax code for this purpose, the bonus debacle was an exception I’m willing to make,” said Congressman Thompson.

The bill the House passed Thursday is very similar to legislation written by Congressman Thompson earlier this week. On Tuesday, Congressman Thompson introduced H.R. 1572, the “Taxpayer Protection Act,” which would subject any entity that received assistance under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 to a bonus tax rate of 90 percent.

Senate leaders have indicated that they will introduce and pass legislation to address this issue soon.

The action by the House of Representatives followed a Thursday latter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

In that letter, Geithner outlined steps the Treasury Department has taken to recoup the payments made to AIG employees as well as future payments.

Geithner asked AIG's chief executive officer, Edward Liddy, about the retention bonuses paid to employees within the financial products division, “the very division most culpable for the rapid deterioration of AIG.” The contract, he said, were found to be legally binding by AIG's lawyers, and the Treasury Department's attorneys found that it would be “legally difficult” to prevent them.

Geithner said he demanded Liddy scrap or cut hundreds of millions of dollars in additional payments due this year and beyond, which he said Liddy committed to do on terms that are consistent with the executive compensation provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the administration's executive compensation guidelines and the interests of the American taxpayers.

The Treasury Department is working with the Department of Justice “to determine what avenues are available by which we can recoup the retention awards that have been paid,” wrote Geithner.

A contractual commitment will be imposed on AIG to pay the Treasury Department from the operations of the company the amount of the retention awards just paid. “In addition, we will deduct from the $30 billion in assistance an amount equal to the amount of those payments,” he said.

The company also will be subject to strict executive compensation provisions enacted by Congress in the ARRA, Geithner said.

“But in working to resolve the AIG bonus problem, we should not lose focus on the larger issue it raises,” Geithner wrote.

“This situation dramatically underscores the need to adopt, as a critical part of financial regulatory reform, an expanded 'resolution authority' for the government to better deal with situations like this,” he wrote.

“Such a resolution authority should include a comprehensive and broad set of regulatory tools that would enable the government to deal with financial institutions, like AIG, whose failure would pose substantial risks to our financial system, but to do it in a way that will protect the interests of taxpayers and innocent counterparties,” Geithner wrote. “Without this expanded authority, the government has been forced to take extreme measures to prevent the catastrophic collapse of AIG and allow the time necessary for its orderly wind down.”

Geithner said the public ire that has fallen on Liddy is unjustified, since he took over last year at the request of the US government to help rehabilitate the company and repay taxpayer funds, and in doing so inherited a difficult situation.

He said he looks forward to working with Congress “to modernize our financial regulatory system in way that protects the American taxpayer, meets the challenges of a dynamic global market and reduces the chance that we will face a financial crisis of this magnitude in the future.”


Law enforcement and fire personnel cleaned up the crash scene for about an hour on Saturday, March 21, 2009, near Kelseyville. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



KELSEYVILLE – A head-on collision that occurred Saturday morning near Kelseyville resulted in major injuries, with three people being transported to the hospital.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the crash occurred just before 11 a.m. on Highway 29 just south of Live Oak Drive.

The two vehicles collided in the middle of a long, sweeping curve south of Live Oak. The vehicles involved were a Ford Crown Victoria and an Isuzu Trooper.

Both vehicles came to rest on the righthand side of the northbound lane, with the SUV on its roof and the Crown Victoria incurring major front end damage.

CHP, sheriff's deputies and fire personnel responded to the scene.

Three medic units transported three subjects to Sutter Lakeside Hospital. Major injuries were reported, but names and specifics of those involved were not available at the scene.


Traffic in both directions was backed up nearly three-quarters of a mile. CHP kept at least one lane passable while crews worked to clear debris and load vehicles for transport.

CHP reported that the roadway was clear just before noon.

Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.

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The small SUV was badly damaged after having been on its roof following the crash. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



SACRAMENTO – California's unemployment rate continued to edge upward in February, according to a new report.

California’s unemployment rate increased to 10.5 percent last month, the Employment Development Department reported Friday. The agency reported that nonfarm payroll jobs declined by 116,000 during February.

The U.S. unemployment rate also increased in February to 8.1 percent.

Preliminary February unemployment numbers for Lake County are 15.9 percent, down slightly from 16 percent in January, as Lake County News has reported. Lake's February unemployment numbers gave the county a rank of No. 42 among the state's 58 counties, an improvement over its No. 47 ranking in January.

In January, the state’s unemployment rate was 10.1 percent, and in February 2008, the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent. The unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of 5,500 California households.

In February Marin had the state's lowest unemployment rate, at 6.8 percent. The highest unemployment in a county was found in Colusa, at 26.6 percent.

Lake's neighboring counties showed the following February unemployment numbers and statewide rankings: Napa, 8.5 percent, No. 8; Sonoma, 9.1 percent, No. 10; Yolo, 12 percent, No. 27; Mendocino, 11 percent, No. 22; Glenn, 16.4 percent, No. 46.

The survey of 42,000 California businesses measures jobs in the economy. The year-over-year change (February 2008 to February 2009) shows a decrease of 605,900 jobs (down 4.0 percent).

The federal survey of households, done with a smaller sample than the survey of employers, shows a decrease in the number of employed people. It estimates the number of Californians holding jobs in February was 16,621,000, a decrease of 47,000 from January, and down 495,000 from the employment total in February of last year.

The number of people unemployed in California was 1,950,000 – up by 80,000 over the month, and up by 824,000 compared with February of last year.

Survey shows areas of job growth, loss

EDD’s report on payroll employment (wage and salary jobs) in the nonfarm industries of California totaled 14,534,800 in February, a net loss of 116,000 jobs since the January survey. This followed a loss of 76,600 jobs (as revised) in January.

One category, information, added jobs over the month, gaining 7,900 jobs. Ten categories (natural resources and mining; construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; professional and business services; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government) reported job declines this month, down 123,900 jobs.

Construction posted the largest decline over the month, down by 30,900 jobs.

In a year-over-year comparison (February 2008 to February 2009), nonfarm payroll employment in California decreased by 605,900 jobs (down 4.0 percent).

Two industry divisions (natural resources and mining and educational and health services) posted job gains over the year, adding 31,000 jobs. Educational and health services showed the strongest gain on both a numerical and percentage basis, adding 30,900 jobs (a 1.8 percent increase).

Nine categories (construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government) posted job declines over the year, down 636,900 jobs.

Trade, transportation and utilities employment showed the largest decline on a numerical basis, down by 159,900 jobs (a decline of 5.5 percent). Construction posted the largest decline on a percentage basis, down by 18.5 percent (a decrease of 155,100 jobs).

In related data, the EDD reported that there were 768,762 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the February survey week. This compares with 717,525 last month and 480,504 last year. At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 76,303 in February 2009, compared with 75,514 in January and 49,321 in February of last year.

EDD reportedt is now opening its call center phone lines from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays

beginning March 21 in continued response to increased demand for unemployment insurance benefit assistance.

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COBB – A big rig crash shut down a portion of Highway 175 on Cobb for several hours Thursday evening.

The crash was reported at 4:41 p.m. at Highway 175 and Socrates Mine Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

A big rig was said to have hit a utility pole and lost its load of rocks and asphalt, which blocked both lanes of the roadway and knocked down phone and power lines, the CHP reported.

The report said the driver suffered minor injuries.

Caltrans, CHP and Cal Fire were among the responders attempting to get the roadway reopened. Caltrans brought a scraper to clear the lanes as well as closure signs. Pacific Gas and Electric also arrived at the scene to move wires out of the roadway.

The CHP issued a statement shortly before 6 p.m. reporting that the roadway would reopen a half hour later.

The roadway did open briefly before 7 p.m. but closed once more shortly before 7:30 p.m., according to the CHP.

The CHP reported that the roadway finally reopened just before 9 p.m.

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