Thursday, 18 July 2024

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James Walter Nightingale, 30, of Kelseyville, Calif., is being held on charges including hit-and-run after allegedly leaving the scene of a fatal crash on Friday, September 24, 2010, that took the life of local restaurateur Zino Mezoui. Lake County Jail photo.





KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – A suspect in a fatal hit-and-run that took the life of a popular local restaurateur was arrested late Wednesday afternoon.


James Walter Nightingale, 30, of Kelseyville, turned himself in to authorities and was arrested at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Dallas Richey.


The CHP had been searching for Nightingale since last Friday, when he is alleged to have hit and killed Zino Mezoui, 57, owner of Zino's Ristorante in Kelseyville.


On Sept. 24 Mezoui, out for a long-awaited ride on his motorcycle, was traveling southbound along Highway 29 when Nightingale, driving a Chevrolet Suburban, allegedly failed to yield while pulling out onto the highway from Siegler Canyon Road, according to the CHP report.


Mezoui and his motorcycle collided with the driver's side door of the Suburban, the CHP reported.


Witnesses said Nightingale flipped a U-turn and then headed back up Siegler Canyon Road, according to Richey.


Mezoui was flown by REACH air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival, the CHP reported.


Richey said the blue 1993 Chevrolet Suburban Nightingale was alleged to have driven during the collision was found the same day as the crash. It was located on a property off of Siegler Canyon Road, not far from the fatal crash scene. Broken glass and tire marks were found on the road nearby.


What followed were several days of intense investigative work, in which the CHP, other local law enforcement agencies and the public worked together, said Richey.


Richey credited that teamwork for resulting in an arrest. “Everybody really played a part in this.”


Close to half of the Clear Lake office's 23 officers were assigned to the case at any one time, from responding to the scene to helping secure it late into the night, according to Richey.


He said the community responded with an enormous amount of tips, which gave investigators new places to look.


“Zino was well loved,” Richey said.


The CHP didn't leave any stone unturned. “A countless number of doors got knocked on,” he added.


Richey said that on Wednesday the CHP put out a “be on the lookout” for Nightingale in Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties. Richey then began preparing an all points bulletin to release to the media that contained Nightingale's name.


In what Richey believes may have been a coincidence in timing, about 10 to 15 minutes later after the be on the lookout went out he received a phone call from an attorney who Nightingale had been in touch with, who said that Nightingale “knew that we were looking for him and that he wanted to turn himself in.”


Richey said he and the attorney agreed to have Nightingale meet an officer at a location in Clearlake. Nightingale was then taken to the CHP's Clear Lake office in Kelseyville; from there, Officer Kevin Domby transported Nightingale to the Lake County Jail.


Nightingale was booked into the Lake County Jail on felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and hit-and-run resulting in death, along with a misdemeanor warrant from an outside agency, his booking record showed.

 

Bail was set at $50,000 for Nightingale, who was listed as a general contractor on his booking sheet. Richey said a bail hearing on the matter was held Wednesday night.


Once Nightingale was in custody, Richey said the CHP called to let Mezoui's wife, Jan, know they had made an arrest.


“She was the first person we called,” Richey said.


Nightingale, who remained in jail overnight, is scheduled to be in court on Friday, according to jail documents.


Mezoui's family has scheduled a memorial service for him at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at his beloved restaurant, located at 6330 Soda Bay Road.


For full details see Oct. 9 memorial planned for Mezoui.

     

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. – Local law enforcement and education officials issued warnings Wednesday regarding a suspicious vehicle whose owner allegedly was contacting school-age children in the Middletown area.


The Lake County Sheriff's Office issued an alert seeking the driver of a black 2000 Volvo with a Minnesota license plate, No. 933AHB, which was last seen in the Middletown area.


Middletown Unified also reportedly issued an automated call to parents warning of the incident.


Officials said the driver is wanted for questioning regarding an allegation that he tried to get three young girls into his car at Middletown High School on Wednesday by asking them for directions.


The man wanted for questioning was described as a white male adult, approximately 25 years of age, with curly blonde hair. No further descriptive information was available by the end of business Wednesday.


While the man is only wanted for questioning, officials said community members should not attempt to contact the man if they see him.


If anyone knows the immediate location of this person or vehicle, or has seen the man or his car and can provide a current location, call the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch center at 707-263-2690.


Information as to the whereabouts of this person or vehicle also can be directed to Det. Mike Curran at 707-262-4232.


This is the second time this month suspicious activity has been reported near a school in the Middletown area.


The sheriff's office previously issued a report seeking the public's assistance in identifying a full-sized white “cargo type” van with no side windows or business markings but with expanded steel caging in the back windows.


The van been seen by students in the area of the bus stop on the corner of Stonegate and Greenridge Roads in Hidden Valley Lake on two separate occasions during the first two weeks of September, as Lake County News has reported.


The sole male occupant of the van has reportedly been seen parked near the stop with the window down and on one occasion, the driver reportedly looked at some children as they left the bus stop and then followed them for a short distance up Stonegate Road before turning around and leaving.


The driver in that case was described as a white male adult with “medium” skin tone, a shaved head, and possibly having blue eyes, officials reported.


Coyote Valley Elementary issued a subsequent notice to parents that the sheriff's office had followed up on another white van that wasn't the suspect vehicle, but which belonged to a local man.


“It is important that we not make quick judgments or unjustified accusations with neighbors and community members that may coincidentally own a white van,” the notice said.


The school also urged parents to take the opportunity to talk to their children about safety around strangers, “but please remind them not to make unfounded accusations or spread rumors that may provoke unwarranted panic.”


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The Office of Chief Trial Counsel of the State Bar of California recently announced the disbarment of four California attorneys as a result of investigations conducted by its Loan Modification Task Force.


Since its inception in April 2009, the task force has obtained the resignation of 12 attorneys involved in loan modification misconduct.


The efforts of the Task Force have also resulted in six pending loan modification trials, 1,800 active investigations and the processing of more than 4,000 complaints by consumers.


Attorneys who have been disbarred as a result of the task force’s actions have been charged with wide range of misconduct, including the collection of illegal fees; failure to refund fees; nonperformance of work they were hired to perform (loan modifications and foreclosure defense); the formation of partnerships with non-attorneys and assisting non-attorneys in the unauthorized practice of law; filing of frivolous and phony lawsuits to reduce mortgage debt; abandoning clients; failing to return files/documents to clients; making misrepresentations to the court; and, practicing law in states where they are not licensed.


Potential clients are led to believe that all loans can and will be modified by lenders. Consumers should be aware that not all loans can or will be modified by lenders and that many of these operations make no attempt at modifying the loans.


In October 2009 a new law, SB 94, was signed in to law, prohibiting persons from charging advance fees to borrowers in connection with the modification of the terms of the borrower’s loan and requiring those who wish to charge a fee for loan modification services (after performing them) to provide a specific notice to borrowers regarding other options available to the borrower.


Since April 2009 the Loan Modification Task Force has received more than 1,250 complaints and is investigating almost 250 lawyers for questionable practices.


Close to 20,000 attorney files have been removed from the offices of attorneys whose loan modification practices have been shut down or abandoned.


Local law enforcement, the California Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have partnered with the task force to investigate and stop businesses and law firms that prey on individuals in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure.


“Our office has given a very high priority to allegations of attorney misconduct in connection with loan modification service, and I have been very impressed by the successful work of the Loan Modification Task Force – to date, 12 lawyers have surrendered their licenses, and four stipulated disbarments have been approved by the State Bar Court,” said Chief Trial Counsel Jim Towery of the State Bar recently commented. “I intend to maintain the office’s aggressive stance with respect to attorneys that have engaged in loan modification misconduct.”


For more information about reporting attorney misconduct go to www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation.aspx.


For local assistance with evaluating the options if you are headed toward a foreclosure, contact the California Human Development Corporation at 3315 Airway Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, telephone 707-372-4588 or 707-521-4789 or, for Lake County seniors only, the Senior Law Project at 707-263-4703. Both CHDC and the Sr. Law Project are HUD-approved agencies for loan modification assistance.


Mary Heare Amodio is president of the Lake County Bar Association and practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, conservatorship, guardianship, consumer bankruptcy, in addition to business and real estate transactions. She can be reached at 707-263-5759 or at

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LAKEPORT, Calif. – This Saturday, Oct. 2, downtown Lakeport promises to be chock full of all things German – beer, bratwurst, pretzels, Lederhosen and racing dachshunds – as part of its second annual Oktoberfest celebration.


The event, sponsored by the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, will take place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.


The chamber encourages everyone to wear authentic Bavarian attire, such as dirndls, felt jackets, Bundhosen and Lederhosen.


A full day of entertainment, vendors, family-style contests and fun is being provided by members of the chamber.


One of the day's main events will be the action-packed, first-ever Lake County Dachshund Derby, sponsored by Mediacom.


Chamber Chief Executive Officer Melissa Fulton said that, as far as they know, no one has ever hosted such a race for the spirited little canines here in Lake County.


The races begin at 3:45 p.m. in Museum Park. As of late Wednesday there were 27 dachshunds entered, she said.


Fulton said the response has been overwhelming.


“It's amazing, they're calling, they're faxing,” she said of dachshund owners, who are letting their wiener dogs rest up for the big race.


The final day to enter your dachshund is 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30 at the chamber office, 875 Lakeport Blvd., Lakeport.


Applications are available online at www.lakecochamber.com or www.oktoberfest-lakeport.com.


Other fun events plans for Saturday include a beer stein contest at the Kitchen Gallery, located at Third and Main Streets. The public is invited to enter their favorite beer steins, with prizes offered for those whose steins are chosen as favorites by Oktoberfest visitors.


Plan to enter a pretzel making contest and maybe the pretzel eating contest. Many other contests are being planned throughout the day by Oktoberfest Master of Ceremonies Tony Barthel of the Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast.


Entertainment takes place all day on the Oktoberfest stage at Third and Main, provided by sponsors Bottle Rock Power, Calpine Corp. and Westgate Petroleum.


Barthel said visitors in Lakeport will be able to tune in to Oktoberfest on their radios at 88.7 FM.


The Kelseyville Jazz Band, strolling accordion players and the 2010 Commemorative Oktoberfest Beer Steins are sponsored by Gossett Alarms and North Shore Business Association, with additional sponsorship for the beer and wine garden by Lake Event Design. Close to a dozen microbrews will be on hand for the beer garden.


The steins will be available all day at Oktoberfest when purchased with either a glass of beer or microbrew. They also are available for $20 and unlimited microbrew tastings between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.


Barthel said the event is getting a much bigger response than expected, and they're in need of volunteers to help with setup in the morning and breakdown in the evening.


To volunteer or for more information about the event or any of the contests, contact the Lake County Chamber at 707-263-5092, or visit www.oktoberfest-lakeport.com/ or www.facebook.com/#!/oktoberfest.lakeport?ref=ts.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The weather still feels like summer, but the colors are those of fall.


Local photographer Ron Keas captured this unique Lake County landscape with fall colors becoming evident.


Keas captured the shot in Lucerne on Tuesday.


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LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The California Highway Patrol said Monday that it's continuing to investigate a fatal hit-and-run that occurred last Friday and killed a popular local restaurateur.


The Friday morning incident claimed the life of 57-year-old Zino Eddine Mezoui, owner of Zino's Ristorante in Kelseyville, a man known for his passion for food and friends.


“We're still following some leads,” said CHP officer Joe Wind.


Mezoui, who had just taken his green 1995 Honda Gold Wing motorcycle out for a long-awaited ride, was traveling southbound on Highway 29 at approximately 10:17 a.m. when a blue 1993 Chevrolet Suburban entered the highway from Seigler Canyon Road directly in his path, according to the CHP report.


The motorcycle collided with the Suburban's driver side door, the CHP said. Witnesses reported that Mezoui and his motorcycle came to rest in the middle of the roadway after the crash.


The Suburban's male driver then fled the scene, the CHP reported. The driver turned around and was last seen heading westbound back up Seigler Canyon Road.


The CHP reported that its officers located the suspect vehicle on Friday but are continuing to investigate who the Suburban's driver was.


Mezoui was flown by REACH air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where the CHP said he was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.


Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said an autopsy is planned on Tuesday morning.


CHP Officer Ryan Erickson is leading the incident investigation.


Anyone with information should call the CHP's Clear Lake Office, 707-279-0103.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LOWER LAKE – A Tuesday afternoon crash sent two local men to an area hospital with injuries.


The crash occurred at 4:43 p.m. on Highway 29 north of Spruce Grove Road North, according to a report from California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.


Timothy Pilger, 33, of Clearlake was driving his 2000 Ford F-350 northbound on Highway 29 north of Spruce Grove Road North, with Vincent Jaking, 27, of Middletown traveling northbound in his 2006 Honda Civic behind Pilger, according to the report.


Driving southbound in his 1997 Mazda pickup was Christopher Hedge, 20, of Pope Valley. When Hedge was north of Spruce Grove Road North he allegedly allowed his vehicle to veer to the left and enter the northbound lane of traffic directly in front of Pilger, according to involved parties and witnesses.


Pilger saw the Mazda entering his lane of traffic and veered to the right in an attempt to avoid a collision, Tanguay said.


The left side of Hedge's pickup struck the left side of Pilger's pickup. The Mazda pickup then continued southbound in the northbound lane and struck head-on the Honda Civic that was being driven by Jaking, Tanguay said.


Both Hedge and Jaking were transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by REACH helicopter, according to Tanguay, who said the collision is still under investigation by Officer Mark Crutcher.


Tanguay said neither alcohol nor drugs are suspected as contributing factors in the collision.


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LAKEPORT, Calif. – The preliminary hearing for a local man accused of embezzling funds from the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center got under way on Tuesday morning.


Rowland James Mosser, 66, who was the center's director from July 2002 to August 2005, was in Judge Andrew Blum's Department 3 courtroom Tuesday for the proceedings.


Mosser is charged with two felony counts of embezzlement and two felony grand theft counts for allegedly taking funds from the center between Jan. 1, 2005, and Aug. 12, 2005.


Deputy District Attorney Gary Luck said in a previous interview that he doesn't have a firm amount for the money allegedly taken from the center during that period of time.


Luck took the case to preliminary hearing early in 2009 but later asked for the charges to be dismissed while a forensic examination of the center's financial records was conducted, as Lake County News has reported. He refiled the case in September 2009.


He estimated the hearing should take two and a half days.


Luck told the court Tuesday that the chief investigator on the case, Ron Larsen, a retired Clearlake Police Department captain who in recent years has worked as a part-time investigator for the District Attorney's Office, is ill and was unable to appear for the hearing. Luck asked to be able to submit a copy of the preliminary hearing transcript from early 2009, which included Larsen's testimony.


Jacob Zamora, Mosser's defense attorney, agreed to allow the transcript in, but only for the preliminary hearing, not for any trial that might result. Blum received the transcript later in the day and planned to start going through it.


During brief opening statements, Luck alleged that Mosser and his wife, Jayne – was was previously charged with a county of felony grand theft that later was dropped – received a financial windfall of about $160,000 in mid-2003.


He said the evidence would show that the Mossers had spent all of the money by 2005, when their bank account was closed with penalty fees.


At the end of 2004 and throughout the rest of Rowland Mosser's tenure at the senior center in 2005, Luck alleged that the tracking of donations coming into the center disappeared.


He alleged that payment of vendors also ceased at the end of 2004, with financial judgments from vendors being lodged against the center at that time. Taxes being withheld from employees' paychecks weren't paid to the state and federal government, Luck said.


Zamora briefly countered, “There was simply no money to steal.”


Over the rest of the morning and into the afternoon, Luck called six witnesses who had worked at the center in various volunteer capacities.


Donna Christopher, who lives just a few doors down from the center, recalled regularly attending events at the center with her family, and making donations of time, money and items, such as durable medical equipment.


Bill Ellis, 92, a longtime board member and the center's former treasurer, recalled how in 2005 the center's checks began bouncing, and how he paid for several energy bills, each totaling more than $2,000.


Jim Swatts of Clearlake Oaks, the center's former board chair, testified to being appointed to the position in July of 2005. Beforehand, he had no affiliation with the center other than attending events and breakfasts there.


After his appointment, he said he found out about the center's financial situation, which wasn't good.


Swatts said Mosser asked him in August 2005 if he could give the senior center board a financial report in closed session. Swatts said he told Mosser no, that he needed to give the report in open session.


“I said it would be given in an open meeting, he said he would not do it,” Swatts said.


Swatts said he then asked the board for a closed session to have a personnel discussion. “I wanted to know when the last time Mr. Mosser was graded on performance,” Swatts said.


Mosser later entered that closed session, went ahead and handed out the financial report against Swatts' direction and also gave the board a piece of paper that said he was resigning in two weeks. After Mosser left the room, the board voted to accept the resignation, Swatts testified.


Immediately afterward, Swatts gave Mosser a letter approved by the board putting him on administrative leave for two weeks. Swatts then collected Mosser's keys and Mosser left.


Swatts recounted having to knock the hinges off a small combination safe in Mosser's office, in which Swatts and several other center board members and volunteers found an envelope marked “bingo” with $500 inside, and other envelope containing less than $98.


Swatts said the Internal Revenue Service informed him that the center owed the government back tax money. During one conversation they told Swatts that they planned to shut the center down within 24 hours if some action wasn't taken.


Swatts and then-Lakeport Senior Center Executive Director Marilyn Johnson worked together to try to get the center on track, he said. J.J. Jackson later was hired as the Lucerne senior center's executive director.


Lillian Sherry, 83, the center's former treasurer and thrift shop volunteer, took over as treasurer for Ellis in April 2005 after Ellis had heart surgery. Like Swatts, she recounted opening the safe in Mosser's former office, with her account matching his regarding what was found in the safe.


Luck also called to the stand Lauralei Smith, who testified about volunteering at the center and taking cash at events, which she turned over to Mosser.


Former senior center board member Eva Mooney, who had been involved in running the center's rose garden and thrift shop, recalled having to reduce her commitments to the center in order to care for her 100-year-old mother in the spring of 2005, with her mother dying that summer.


Mooney said she didn't recall being present at the meeting where Mosser resigned. Her term had ended in July 2005.


“I was just glad it ended,” she said, explaining that she was increasingly getting upset having to deal with the center.


After Mosser left, she said people at the center were cold and rude. “I think they were just not caring.”


Mooney recalled never seeing any money from a duck race event in 2005, and said the family of a woman who died donated a large number of items to the center for the thrift shop, but the items never appeared in the shop. She say Jayne Mosser told her they could get more for the items on eBay


When she handed money from the thrift shop over to Mosser, Mooney recalled that he usually just put it in his pocket, not verifying the amount.


While a board member at the center, Mooney didn't recall Mosser reporting that tax levies or judgments had been placed against the center.


The preliminary hearing is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

BLUE LAKES, Calif. – A Lakeport woman was the victim of a Friday morning three-vehicle collision near Blue Lakes.


Kimberlee Annette Westbay, 52, died in the crash, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


The collision occurred just after 10:30 a.m. Friday on Highway 20 at Scotts Valley Road near Blue Lakes, officials reported.


Anton Timothy Kloiber, 34, of Piercy was driving a black 2008 Chevy Tahoe westbound on Highway 20 when he is alleged to have allowed his vehicle to travel into the oncoming lane in front of Westbay's black 1990 Nissan pickup, according to the CHP report.


The two vehicles collided, with Westbay's Nissan spinning off the roadway, the CHP said.


The CHP said Kloiber's Tahoe continued westbound, hitting the left rear of a red Ford F-150 pickup driven by 48-year-old Dale Box of Upper Lake.


Westbay was pronounced dead at the scene, the CHP said, with Kloiber complaining of minor pain and Box sustaining no injuries, the CHP said.


The CHP arrested Kloiber shortly after 11:30 a.m. on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to the report.


He was booked into the Lake County Jail just after 7:30 p.m. Friday on felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing bodily injury. Bail was set at $150,000.


Kloiber later posted bail and was released. He had been scheduled to be in court on Monday.


Bauman said an autopsy was performed Monday morning on Westbay, with the cause of the crash pending further investigation by the CHP. Officer Greg Buchholz is the case's investigative officer.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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This car was damaged and its driver injured when it hit the back of a semi on Wednesday, September 29, 2010, near Upper Lake, Calif. Photo by Gary McAuley.

 


UPPER LAKE, Calif. – A Wednesday morning crash near Upper Lake resulted in minor injuries.


The crash occurred shortly before 8 a.m. on Highway 29 just south of Highway 20, according to the California Highway Patrol.


The CHP said the roadway was blocked as a result of the crash, which involved a female driver rear-ending a semi-truck, according to reports from the scene. The woman's head hit the windshield, giving her a minor head injury.


More specifics weren't immediately available from the CHP on Wednesday.

 

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The scene of a crash on Highway 29 south of Highway 20 near Upper Lake, Calif., on Wednesday, September 29, 2010. Photo by Gary McAuley.
 

Wartime demands for personnel, and record retention rates due in part to a dismal job market, have left the services with an older, more experienced force – and a surprise $1-billion-a-year pop in retirement costs.


The Department of Defense’s Board of Actuaries in late July overhauled the assumptions used to calculate what the services must budget for annually to cover future retirement obligations to the current force.


It acted on analyses from the DoD Office of the Actuary which, for the first time, weighed the effects on retirement costs of Post-9/11 developments including nine years of sustained operations, a deep economic recession and growth in military entitlements of retirees and survivors.


The result is an $800 million jump in accrual retirement costs the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have to pay starting 2012 because more service members are staying until retirement.


Some of that cost too is a projected 40 percent increase in disability retirements, the result of a crackdown on the low-balling of disability awards by service through stricter compliance with rating practices of the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Another $200 million in added yearly retirement costs is attributed to retirees living longer. Death rates are falling – and sharply.


“The improvement that military retirees are seeing in their own mortality is just phenomenal,” said Peter Rossi, one of DoD actuaries that worked on revising projected retirement costs.


Retiree deaths are “decreasing at such a rapid rate – faster than the American public, faster than anyone else – we are seeing a 2-plus percent a year change for active, reserve. It’s everybody.”


Deaths for non-disabled retirees in 2008-09 were 8 percent lower than found for non-disabled retirees in 2004-2005. For retired reservists, data showed a 4 percent drop.


No cause has been identified, Rossi added. “Maybe military folks are just in better shape.”


The changes in actuarial assumptions reportedly surprised Under Secretary of Defense Robert Hale, the DoD comptroller, who already was under considerable pressure to curb the services’ soaring personnel costs.


“The comptroller was not pleased,” said one official. “He now had to go out and find [$1 billion] when Defense Secretary [Robert] Gates is telling him he needs to save money. That was a contentious issue for a while.”


The retention rate of careerist is so high that in the 2012 budget to be delivered to Congress next February, the services will assume that 19 percent of all new entrants serve for 20 years, long enough to qualify for retirement. That’s a “huge” change from the 17 percent previously assumed, said Rossi.


Specifically, the probability of newly commissioned officers reaching retirement will climb to 49 percent from 47. For new enlistees, the assumed retirement rate will be raised to 17 percent from 15.


It forces the services overall to set aside $20 billion in their 2012 budgets to cover active duty retirement costs, an unplanned for 5 percent jump. Another $2.8 billion will have to be set aside for Guard and Reserve retirement but that’s unchanged. Rossi said the Office of the Actuary has not reconsidered assumptions for Guard and Reserve retirement but it soon will.


Another way to look at the effect of the new assumptions on retirement costs is by individual member costs. For fiscal 2011 the services will set aside $32.70 for future retired pay for every $100 paid in basic pay. That proportion will climb to $34.30 for every $100 in basis pay in fiscal 2012. So if a service member draws $50,000 in basic pay, his or her service will have to pony up $17,150 that year for future retired pay, or $800 more than was needed a year earlier.


For many years, the military ignored future retirement obligations, budgeting only to cover payments due each year to current retirees and survivors. That pay-as-you-go method created a huge unfunded liability. Critics also said the services had no incentive to control retirement costs.


In 1984 Congress ordered DoD to switch to “accrual accounting” for retirement accounts. The Treasury Department was given responsibility for the unfunded liability and established a military retirement trust fund. The services began to pay into that fund whatever amount was needed to cover retirement costs for the current active, Guard and Reserve forces.


So retirement obligations today are paid from two pots. Treasury pays roughly $50 billion a year to cover annuities of current retirees and survivors. The services pay more than $20 billion a year in accrual payments.


Once again, no COLA


The board of actuaries assumed at its July meeting that military retirees, social security recipients, federal civilian retirees, disabled veterans and survivors will have to wait until at least January 2012 before they see their next cost-of-living adjustment or COLA.


That prediction looks even more solid now, to the regret of retirees.


No COLA was paid last year because there was no inflation. The cost of goods and services, in fact, fell by 2.1 percent from the third quarter of 2008 through the third quarter of 2009, the periods used to track CPI.


To trigger a COLA for next January, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) for July through September this year would have to climb by more than 2.1 percent above the third-quarter base period of 2008. For that to happen, prices would have to surge 2 percent in September alone. There are no signs that is happening.


No COLA last year eased the unfunded liability of the military retirement system by $22.3 billion. But it gave no relief to service budgets because Treasury’s pays COLAs of current retirees. Rossi said that over time retirees can expect COLAs to deliver an annual average boost of 3 percent.


To comment, send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120-1111.


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COVELO, Calif. – A local man was among several people taken into custody Saturday during a fight in downtown Covelo during which he assaulted some Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies.


Moses Reeves, 24, of Nice was arrested for resisting arrest, assault on a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer and public intoxication, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.


At 11 p.m. Saturday Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were working the Round Valley area, Smallcomb said. Indian Days was being held over the weekend, with a large group of visitors in the valley for the festivities.


Smallcomb said deputies were dispatched to the area of the Buckhorn Bar where several physical fights had been taking place. These fights included Lake County patrons fighting local Round Valley residents.


When the deputies arrived at the Buckhorn Bar, they observed a physical fight taking place involving Reeves, Smallcomb said.


The deputies observed Reeves was bleeding from the mouth and approached him due to his injuries, Smallcomb said.


Reeves refocused his attention on the deputies and allegedly began assaulting them. Smallcomb said Reeves and the two deputies went onto the ground, at which time numerous other patrons started surrounding all three subjects.


The deputies were able to restrain Reeves and with the assistance of the bar owner and some other patrons were able to remove Reeves from the angry crowd. During this incident Smallcomb said Reeves, who sustained a bloody lip earlier at the bar, spit into the eyes of one of the deputies.


A request for further law enforcement was summoned and several officers including the California Highway Patrol, Willits Police Department,Cal Fire, Round Valley and Cahto tribal officers responded to downtown Covelo, he said.


When the additional officers arrived, they arrested 45-year-old Covelo resident Laurence Britton for resisting arrest, along with approximately six other individuals for miscellaneous charges including public intoxication and outstanding warrants, Smallcomb said.


Other subjects arrested William Short, 37, of Willits, and Wesley Card, 30, of Covelo, both for public intoxication, he said.


Smallcomb said all of the suspects were transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail.


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