Saturday, 20 July 2024

News

LAKE COUNTY – Here are some cool events to watch for in April.


April 2: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Blues Farm with Dave Broida will perform. 707-275-2244.


April 3: Girls Just Wanna Have Wine, Wildhurst Vineyards Tasting Room, Kelseyville. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $5, women only. Theme for the evening is “The Best Eyewear,” come with your fanciest glasses on. 707-279-4302.


April 3: Wine tasting and photography art show. Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake. 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dusinberre wines will be poured by winemaker Jeff Smith and the photography of Jim Warren will be on display.


April 3: Meet the Winemaker, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mike and Adawn Wood will be pouring Shed Horn Wines.


April 3: Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake. Begins at 6 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. 707-275-8030.


April 4: Wine tasting and photography art show. Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dusinberre wines will be poured by winemaker Jeff Smith and the photography of Jim Warren will be on display.


April 5: Wine and cheese open house at the Villa Andrea, Clearlake. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come visit the newest addition to Lake County’s wine industry. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 707-994-4000.


April 5: Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. Brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Colby Houston on guitar and vocals, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 707-275-2244.


April 5: All About Shrimp, Chic Le Chef, Hidden Valley Lake. 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Demonstration class. RSVP or for more information: 707-987-9664.


April 6: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Will Seigel & Friends will perform. 707-275-2244.


April 8: Spring Salad Bar Luncheon. Park Study Clubhouse, Clearlake. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Benefit for Park Study Club. Admission is $60. Info: 707-995-1807 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


April 10: Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake. Begins at 6 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. 707-275-8030.


April 12: Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. A special Easter brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Front Porch Blues with Ed Hance, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 707-275-2244.


April 13: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Blues Farm with Dave Broida will perform. 707-275-2244.


April 15: A Wine Adventure Dinner, The Saw Shop, Kelseyville. Begins at 6 p.m. A six-course meal featuring wine pairings with sommelier Stephanie Green, owner of Focused On Wine. A fun, informative evening. $60 per person, tax and tip are included. 707-278-0129.


April 17: Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake. Begins at 6 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. 707-275-8030.


April 19: Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. Brunch served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Michael Barrish on guitar and vocals, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 707-275-2244.


April 20: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Memphis Exchange with Randy McGowen will perform. 707-275-2244.


April 24: Concerts with conversations, Tallman Hotel, Upper Lake. Wendy DeWitt and her boogie woogie piano style. Appetizers, dessert, coffee will be served, in addition Joey Luiz will pour wines from Shannon Ridge Vineyards. $40 Tickets to this event can be obtained by calling the Tallman Hotel reception desk at 707-275-2244.


April 24: Fondue Fridays, Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake. Begins at 6 p.m. Cheese fondue available with wine. 707-275-8030.


April 25: Spring Wildflower Brunch, Clearlake State Park, Kelseyville, 9 a.m. to noon. RSVP requested, 800-525-3743. Fill-your-own omelet brunch and pastries is the opening part of the annual Blue Heron Festival. The festival continues throughout the weekend.


April 25: Oregon Chai Tea Contest, Chic Le Chef, Hidden Valley Lake. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Entries accepted through April 15, call store for details and entry forms. Finalists will prepare their various recipes containing Oregon Chai Tea and present for judging. 707-987-9664.


April 26: Sunday Brunch in the Garden, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. Brunch served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sarah Tichava on guitar and vocals, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 707-275-2244.


April 27: Monday Blues, The Blue Wing, Upper Lake. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bottle Rock Blues Band with Mike Wilhelm will perform. 707-275-2244.


Ongoing activities


The New Cool at Konocti Harbor featuring David Neft

Konocti Harbor hosts “The Piano Man” David Neft, playing the grand piano from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., every Friday and Saturday in the relaunched dining room. www.konoctiharbor.com


Langtry Estate and Vineyard Tours, Middletown

Langtry Estate and Vineyard is offering exciting and innovative tour programs. Guests ride in battery-operated Global Electric Motorcars. Tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday. The Tephra Vineyard Lunch Tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $40 per person includes lunch and wine tasting. 21000 Butts Canyon Road. Reservations required 24 hours in advance. Info: 707-987-2385.


Tuscan Village Friday Concert Series, Main Street, Lower Lake

Live music, food, wine tasting. Presented by 2Goombas and Terrill Cellars. 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Info: 707-994-3354.


Beer Master Dinner Series

Molly Brennan’s 175 N. Main St., Lakeport. Second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Different brewery featured each month, with beers paired with each course of a five-course meal including dessert. Advance reservations required. Info: 707-262-1600.


If you have a food or wine related event and would like to have it listed in the coming months, call Ross Christensen at 707-998-9550.


{mos_sb_discuss:2}



LAKE COUNTY – The Census Bureau will soon launch a massive address canvassing operation to verify and update more than 145 million addresses as it prepares to conduct the 2010 Census.

The first publicly visible activity of the 2010 Census is ahead of schedule, officials reported this week.

The address canvassing operation will be conducted out of 151 local census offices across the U.S., including Northern California offices in Oakland, Stockton, San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Rosa.

Address canvassing operations will run from April 6 through June 12 in Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco and Stockton.

Later, address canvassing operations will run April 20 through June 26 in Santa Rosa.

In most cases, census workers will knock on residents’ doors to verify addresses and inquire about additional living quarters on the premises.

Nationwide, more than 140,000 census workers will participate in the address canvassing operation; a critically important first step in assuring that every housing unit receives a census questionnaire in March 2010.

In Northern California, approximately 5,400 people will carry out the address canvassing operation.

The countdown to the 2010 Census is officially one year out on April 1.

“The 2010 Census will be the largest peacetime mobilization in our nation’s history,” said Ralph Lee, Seattle Regional Director at the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Seattle Regional Census Center is headquartered in Bothell, Wash., and coordinates census operations for the five-state territory of Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

The Northern California area includes Watsonville along the coast as well as Stockton in the Central Valley.

The US Constitution requires that everyone living in the United States be counted every 10 years.

“The goal of the census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place,” Lee said.

The census is used for reapportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the distribution of more than $300 billion in federal dollars every year to state and local governments.

Over the last several years, the Census Bureau has been actively working on updating its geographic databases and master address files.

From implementing the Local Update of Census Address (LUCA) program where more than 11,500 tribal, state and local governments participated in a review of the Census Bureau’s address list for their area, to increasing the precision of the GPS mapping, many advances have been made to compile the most comprehensive listing of addresses in the nation.

The operation will use new hand held computers equipped with GPS to increase geographic accuracy. The ability to capture GPS coordinates for most of the nation’s housing units will greatly reduce the number of geographic coding errors caused by using paper maps in previous counts.

This is the first census to include group quarters (such as dormitories, group homes, prisons and homeless shelters) in the address canvassing operation, which should improve both the accuracy and coverage of the final count.

There will be one final opportunity to add new home construction in early 2010 prior to the mailing of the census questionnaires.

Census workers can be identified by the official Census Bureau badge they carry. During the address canvassing operation, census workers may ask to verify a housing structure’s address and whether there are additional living quarters on the property.

Census workers will never ask for bank or social security information. All census information collected, including addresses, is confidential and protected by law. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with the FBI, the IRS, CIA, Welfare, Immigration, or any other government agency. No court of law or law enforcement agency can find out respondents’ answers.

All Census Bureau employees — including temporary employees — take an oath for life to keep census information confidential. Any violation of that oath is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.

{mos_sb_discuss:2}

CLEARLAKE – A man currently on leave from his duties as a Clearlake Police officer was arrested earlier this week on charges of driving under the influence and possession of a firearm.

 

Michael William Hansen, 24, of Oroville was arrested Monday following a traffic stop on Highway 20, according to a report from the California Highway Patrol's Williams office.

 

Just before midnight on Monday the Colusa County Sheriff's Office notified Williams CHP officers of a possible drunk driver on Highway 20 west of King Road near Williams, the CHP reported.

 

CHP officers responded from Williams and arrived on scene to find a Colusa County Sheriff's deputy had stopped Hansen, who had been traveling westbound, because his vehicle didn't have a rear license plate light.

 

The CHP report said that, after making the stop, the deputy contacted Hansen and observed signs of alleged alcohol intoxication.

 

CHP officers subsequently conducted field sobriety tests on Hansen and arrested him for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol.

 

The sheriff's deputy who pulled Hansen over searched the vehicle and found several firearms and a small amount of marijuana, according to the report. Hansen had a prescription from his doctor for the marijuana.

 

Hansen was transported to the Colusa County Jail, where he was booked on charges of driving under the influence and possession of a firearm, the CHP reported.

 

Jail records indicated that Hansen was released on his own recognizance following his booking, and was not required to post bail.

 

Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain said Hansen is a city employee, but “has no peace officer standing at this point.”

 

McClain, who said he was limited by what he could say because of personnel matters, said Hansen had been on leave for some time prior to the arrest on Monday.

 

Hansen, who has commuted to his Clearlake job from his home in Oroville, was involved in a fatal shooting last June, as Lake County News has reported.

 

He shot 63-year-old David Vestal to death after Vestal allegedly confronted Hansen and other police officers with a .410 shotgun. Police were responding to a report of a fight at York's Mobile Home Park.

 

A District Attorney's Office report issued in February concluded that Hansen's actions were justified.

 

In February, Vestal's daughter, Shavon, filed a $32 million lawsuit in federal court over the shooting. The suit names Hansen, McClain, the city of Clearlake and Clearlake Police.

 

Shavon Vestal's attorney, Don Anderson of Lakeport, said he hasn't yet received the district attorney's report on the shooting. The case alleges that David Vestal had no shotgun based on four independent witness statements, as well as statements from Shavon Vestal and her boyfriend.

 

Anderson said he understands a shotgun was recovered at the scene, “somewhere near” David Vestal's body.

 

He said he doesn't anticipate Hansen's arrest becoming an issue in the civil lawsuit, “but strange things happen so you never know.”

 

District Attorney Jon Hopkins confirmed officials found a shotgun at the scene.

 

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

 

{mos_sb_discuss:2}

LAKE COUNTY – Fresh off a well-attended telephone town hall in which thousands of First Congressional District constituents dialed in, Congressman Mike Thompson will visit Lake County this weekend for his annual ravioli feed fundraiser.


The Mike Thompson for Congress Committee will host the fundraiser from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Lewis Hall at the Lake County Fairgrounds, 401 Martin St., Lakeport.


In November, Thompson elected to his sixth term in Congress with 68 percent of the vote.


The annual fundraiser will once again take electronics for recycling, and this year for the first time will donate reconditioned computers to local nonprofits, according to Thompson's staff.


Some local residents have stated that they plan to attend the fundraiser in protest as part of a series of tea parties that are springing up across the nation, targeting members of Congress as a sign of discontent with government performance and proposed new taxes. A nationwide demonstration is being organized for April 15.


The appearance locally follows Thompson's live telephone town hall for his constituents, which took place Wednesday.


More than 9,100 people participated in the call, according to Thompson's office. Thompson called the turnout for the meeting “inspiring.”


Because of high call volume, Thompson will respond in writing to the 200 voice mails left after the call by constituents.


Thompson told listeners on the call, “We're facing some of the toughest challenges that I've ever seen in my lifetime.”


California's unemployment is 10.5 percent, with many areas of his district surpassing that number.


Thompson assured North Coast residents that Washington is working to turn things around with the stimulus legislation, which he said is meant to add 3.5 million jobs to the nation's economy.


The stimulus funds have started to come in, with more than $32 million slated for education in the district, with $30 million set aside for transportation on the North Coast.


“Turning things around is going to be a big lift,” he said.


Thompson took questions from 11 constituents during the hour-long call.


Roberta from Kelseyville was unhappy that AIG's co-insurers were made whole on their investments. “I just feel that Congress has taken care of the wealthiest people in the world.”


She also asked about prosecutions of people who violated the US Constitution during the Bush administration. “We're still waiting.”


Thompson said he understands her frustration, but didn't believe just the rich are being helped.


If the economy had been allowed go go “over the cliff,” the recession would have turned into a depression, he said. AIG's situation is particularly galling due to the millions paid in retention bonuses. “That wasn't the intention,” said Thompson, adding that the government has received back between $50 million and $80 million of the bonus money.


Thompson said he believes the country is starting to see a return on its investment, with housing sales up and other signs of recovery appearing.


During the call Thompson also was confronted by a caller, who identified himself as James from Eureka, who challenged the congressman's votes for Israel, and asked when he was going to put America first rather than Israel.


“I put our district first, I put our country first, and I vote the best that I can” to help the district, state and the world, Thompson responded.


Thompson also was asked about health care – he said he supports affordable, universal health care – and addressing climate change. On the latter subject, Thompson said the stimulus bill has a number of provisions to move the country toward renewable energy. He said if climate change continues, the planet could see increases of between 3 and 10 degrees in temperature, which would lead to the death of three out of every five species, rising oceans, massive floods and dangers to water supply.


Pam from Humboldt said education is suffering, with so many teachers getting pink slips. “It's just devastating,” she said. “What can Congress do to help us?”


Thompson said $8 billion in the federal stimulus bill is meant to help education in California, including the $32 million headed for the First Congressional District. The California Congressional Delegation wrote Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to release the money quickly.


Sheila of Redwood Valley asked Thompson – a member of the Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of fiscally responsible party members – what he thinks of President Barack Obama's budget.


Thompson said the budget has some things “that worry the heck out of me” but many thing he also supports.


“It's one of the first honest budgets I've seen in many years,” said Thompson, explaining that past budgets have excluded funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, instead tacking on the costs of those operations as emergency funding.


Obama promises that his budget will cut the deficit in half in four years, but Thompson said he's concerned about what happens after that.


John from Trinidad asked Thompson how he justified his vote for the TARP bailout, saying the congressman was in the same boat as the “drunken sailors” who got the country into its current mess.


“I didn't want to vote for that bill” Thompson said, adding that he didn't think anyone else wanted to, either.


At 6 p.m. on a Thursday last fall then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke came to Congress and said, “We have a problem,” Thompson recalled.


The men told Congress that the economy was getting ready to implode and the only way to stop it was to give Paulsen $700 billion, with no strings attached and no oversight, to begin the fix.


Congress came back the next week and started assessing the problem. The alternative to the action Congress ultimately took was to let the entire economy crash, which Thompson said would have been irresponsible.


He voted against the initial bill that would have given Paulsen the money with no oversight. The rewritten bill, for which Thompson voted, has increased FDIC insurance. Thompson said he also received letters of commitment from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and then-Sen. Obama that they would address the greater oversight issues.


Thompson said he met with experts from across the country in making his decision on the bill. “I don't think there was any other choice at the time, as terrible as it seems.”


He said that he's seeing positive signs in the current economy.


The state of California just sold $6.5 billion in government bonds, which is a pretty serious reversal from where the state was last fall, he said.


John from Davis asked how much of the president's budget will help small business, which has historically been shown to be a main creator of jobs.


Thompson said the Obama administration has proposals that would benefit small business, including making the research and development tax credit permanent, billions of funds to be distributed through the Small Business Administration, special funding for rural businesses and allowances that would give small business the ability to write off capital expenses in the same year as purchase.


“As tough as things may be right now, we're going to recover from this and we're going to do great things as we've always done,” Thompson said in concluding the call.


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


{mos_sb_discuss:3}








Image
An official leads Robert Davison from his Cobb home on February 12, 2009. Davison was arrested on a federal warrant for allegedly luring a 13-year-old girl to his home. Photo courtesy of Centerville Police Department, Centerville, Utah.
 



COBB – A local man is in custody in Utah, where he's facing federal prosecution for allegedly attempted to lure a 13-year-old Utah girl to travel to his home and have sex with him.

Robert Laverne Davison, 40, of Cobb was in federal court in Salt Lake City on Monday for his first appearance in the case before Judge Magistrate David Nuffer. At that time Davison pleaded not guilty.

A 12-week investigation conducted by the Centerville, Utah Police Department, the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations led to an indictment, issued Feb. 4, against Davison alleging the one count of coercion and enticement that took place between June 1 and Nov. 13, 2008.

If convicted, Davison faces a potential maximum penalty of life in federal prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, according to the US Attorney's Office in Utah.

The investigation began last November when the Centerville Police Department was contacted regarding a missing 13-year-old girl, the agency reported.

Law enforcement found the girl at a Salt Lake City bus station the same evening as she was reported missing. Officials reported the girl was waiting to board a Greyhound bus to California. The case alleges that Davison persuaded a third party to use a credit card to purchase the bus ticket in this state.

Officials found that the girl had been in contact with a man she knew only as “Bear” – alleged to be Davison – while playing an Internet game, “World of Warcraft.” The teen and Davison allegedly began chatting through instant messaging, and officials believed he convinced the girl to meet him in California.

The Centerville Police Department contacted the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to assist in the investigation, which the FBI also joined.

Task force agents performed forensic scans on computers at the girl’s home and her cell phone. The information on the computers led investigators to believe that Davison was engaging in sexually explicit conversations and intended to have the girl travel to California for sexually related purposes.

The investigation led to the Feb. 4 indictment and a subsequent arrest warrant issued for Davison.

On Feb. 12, the FBI went to Cobb, where they arrested Davison.

Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said sheriff's deputies assisted the FBI in the arrest and search warrant service.

During the search of Davison's house officials found two firearms, Bauman said.

Bauman said that Davison is a convicted felon and is not allowed to have firearms. He did not have information on Davison's previous conviction.

The FBI chose not to file charges against Davison for the firearms, but the sheriff's office plans to pursue it. “We have submitted a complaint to our local district attorney,” Bauman said.

Local officials have had two previous contacts with Davison, said Bauman, but neither involved him being charged with a crime. In a June of 2007 contact Davison reported being the victim of domestic violence.

Davison remained in custody in California for more than a month before being transported by the US Marshal's Office to his Utah court appearances, according to a March 17 letter to Kevin Barry, assistant US attorney for the Northern District of California, from Barry J. Portman, a federal public defender for the district.

In that letter, Portman also called attention to a large and inoperable hernia that Davison has “that could burst at any time, resulting in a life threatening situation.”

During the court appearance Monday, Judge Nuffer ruled that Davison will stay in the custody of the US Marshal's Service pending his trial due to concerns of flight risk, previous history and the discovery of the firearms. Nuffer also ordered that Davison been seen by Davis County, Utah medical staff.

U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett L. Tolman called the Davison case “another graphic reminder of the threats we continue to face in protecting our children from Internet predators.”

Davison is scheduled to go on trial June 1 before Judge Dale A. Kimball.

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

{mos_sb_discuss:2}

Image
Stoney Prior is believed to be in northern Nevada. Courtesy photo.
 

 

 

 

CLEARLAKE – A high-risk sex offender being sought by local officials appears to have fled to Nevada.

 

Stoney Martin Prior, 31, is being sought in Humboldt County, Nev., according to the county's sheriff's office, based in Winnemuca.

 

Authorities there received information that led them to believe that Prior may be in the McDermitt, Nev. Area – on the Nevada-Oregon border – after leaving California earlier this month.

 

Officials reported that a blue van that Prior may have left California in was located last week in McDermitt on the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation, home to the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.

 

Prior was released from state prison on March 12 and returned to the south Lake County area, as Lake County News has reported.

 

The day after his release, he allegedly removed a GPS ankle bracelet being used to track his movements. Clearlake Police said he was on Main Street in Lower Lake when the bracelet was cut off.

 

A Clearlake citizen reported seeing Prior in a gold 1980s sedan on 40th and highway 53 in Clearlake on March 17, according to a police log entry from that date.

 

The California Attorney General's Megan's Law Web site reported that Prior was incarcerated for “assault with intent to commit rape, sodomy or oral copulation.”

 

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was not able to furnish Lake County News with specifics about Prior's conviction or the terms of his release before the end of the day on Wednesday.

 

Prior is an American Indian, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He has his name, “Prior,” tattooed on both his left and right arms.

 

Law enforcement urges anyone who sees Prior not to approach him.

 

Instead call 911 or, if it's not an immediate emergency, Humboldt County, Nev., Undersheriff Curtiss C. Kull at 775-623-6419 or Clearlake Police at 994-8251.

 

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

 

{mos_sb_discuss:2}

COW MOUNTAIN – A motorcycle rider was injured in a Friday afternoon crash on Cow Mountain.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the man, whose name was not released, was in a collision that was reported at 3:18 p.m. on Main Road, a few miles from Mill Creek Road on Cow Mountain.

The lone rider had screamed “Help!” to a passerby and was said to be trying to get back up to the road, according to the CHP report.

He had landed near his bike off the road after the collision. His leg reportedly hit a tree after he slid off the roadway, the CHP reported. Initially neither he nor his bike could be seen from the roadway.

Cal Fire responded to the scene with resources that included a helicopter, the CHP said.

CHP reported that the rider was transported to Ukiah Valley Medical Center.

No further information was available late Friday.

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

{mos_sb_discuss:2}

SACRAMENTO – The State Senate voted Friday to approve two bipartisan bills that will provide additional federally funded unemployment insurance benefits to out-of-work Californians.


The action comes at a time when the state’s official unemployment rate currently stands at 10.5 percent.


Here in Lake County, an initial Employment Development Department report for February shows that the county's unemployment rate is 15.9 percent, as Lake County News as reported.


AB 23 X3, authored by Assemblyman Joe Coto (D-San Jose), will provide an additional 20 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to California workers who have already received benefits for the current maximum duration of 59 weeks.


The funding will come from federal stimulus dollars from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.


“This legislation enables California to gain up to $3 billion from the federal government in 2009 without creating an additional cost burden for our state,” said Senator Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa), who voted to pass AB 23 X3.


The bill, which was previously approved by the Assembly, cleared the Senate by a vote of 38-0, and now heads to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his signature.


The second bill, AB 29 X3 – co-authored Assemblyman Coto and Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-Carlsbad), establishes an “alternative base period” to determine if jobless individuals have earned sufficient wages to qualify for unemployment benefits.


The ARRA will provide California $839 million in federal funds to support the unemployment program if this bill is implemented.


California's existing base period excludes earnings in the last three to six months of employment. AB 29 X3 specifies that unemployed persons who fail to qualify for benefits under the existing base period would then have their eligibility determined under the alternative base period, in which earnings as recent as one to three months may be counted.


“AB 29 X3 is essential for the tens of thousands of seasonal workers who are currently unemployed in California,” Wiggins said.


AB 29 X3, which passed the Senate on a 31-7 vote, also includes efficiencies in the dispute resolution process between employers and workers by allowing for telephone participation during hearings of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.


The bill, which now heads to the Assembly for a final vote, also provides assurance that employers are notified when a former employee files for benefits.


“The most important thing we can do right now to help our economy and the day-to-day lives of Californians is to make sure those who are unemployed have the cash to pay their bills and feed their families,” said Senate President pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). “The Legislature and the Schwarzenegger administration moved quickly and worked as a team to make the needed changes to guarantee these much needed federal funds. I look forward to continuing to build on this positive momentum.”


Last Saturday, the Employment Development Department began opening its unemployment insurance call centers on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in order to meet the higher demand.


The agency's staff also will remain available to file unemployment insurance claims or assist customers in submitting questions online for response. Claims will be filed and issues resolved within five days.


Call center phone numbers are 800-300-5616 (English) or 800-326-8937 (Spanish).


{mos_sb_discus:3}

RIPON – A major supplier of organic brown eggs for Northern California Safeway and Costco stores has voluntarily recalled their eggs because of salmonella concerns.

 

The den Dulk Poultry Farms of Ripon, which distributes eggs to Costco and Safeway in Northern California, south to Fresno and into western Nevada, is voluntarily recalling their organic brown eggs because the eggs have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella, according to a federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) statement.

 

The eggs were sold at 71 Safeway and Pack n’ Save stores as O Organic Grade A large brown eggs throughout Northern California and Western Nevada and packaged in 12-count cartons.

 

Expiration date and plant code can be found on the end of the carton: April 1 062, 35 P1776.

 

At Costco, the eggs were sold as Kirkland Organic brown rggs and are packaged in 18-count cartons. Expiration dates and plant code read as follows: April 1 062, 35 P1776; April 8 069, 35 P1776.

 

The FDA reported that no known illnesses have been reported in connection with these eggs.

 

The recall was initiated after it was determined that the eggs in question tested positive for salmonella during an internal investigation by den Dulk Poultry Farms, according to the FDA.

 

Den Dulk Poultry Farms has informed the FDA of its actions and is fully cooperating with the agency.

 

Consumers who have purchased or are the recipients of these eggs are urged to return them to Costco or Safeway for a full refund.

 

Questions may be directed to den Dulk Poultry Farms, 209-599-4269 or the Safeway Consumer Service Center, at 1-877-Safeway (723-3929). Hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PDT).

 

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, the FDA states.

 

Healthy persons infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

 

For more information about salmonella, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web site at www.cdc.gov.

 

For information on purchasing eggs locally, visit Lake County Farmers' Finest at http://lakecountyfarmersfinest.org/direct.htm.

 

{mos_sb_discuss:2}

SACRAMENTO – To underscore the message that seat belts save lives, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers statewide plan a one-day campaign to focus their attention on people who do not buckle up when riding in a vehicle.


March 31 has been designated by the CHP as a “Vehicle Occupant Restraint Day.”


“The goal of this campaign is to stress that seat belts save lives,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.


“More than 30 percent of all vehicle passengers killed statewide in 2007 and 2008 were not buckled up at the time of the collision,” Farrow explained. “We hope people will learn from it and take the extra seconds to put on their seat belt or properly restrain their child. There's no do over for someone killed because they failed to buckle up.”


CHP officers on grant-funded overtime, provided by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), will take to the road specifically looking for violations of seat belt and child safety restraint laws.


According to OTS, seat belt usage by California motorists is at a record high 95.7 percent. One of the CHP’s primary goals is to raise that number even higher, an effort that will require the public’s

cooperation.


Officer Steve Tanguay of the Clear Lake CHP office said the county had a 94.5 percent occupant restraint compliance in 2008.


In 2008, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) issued 204,187 citations to drivers and passengers who failed to buckle up.


That figure does not include the 17,076 tickets issued for child safety seat violations. California law requires children younger than age 6 or weighing less than 60 pounds to be properly secured in the back seat. Free child safety seat inspections and installation is provided at CHP offices throughout the state.


Locally, Tanguay said CHP issued 683 occupant restraint citations in 2008.


“We all need to have reminders,” said Farrow. “By having the black-and-whites out on the road, we want to educate the public to remind them to wear their seat belts. We all get a little careless sometimes, but in this case, carelessness can be deadly.”


{mos_sb_discuss:2}

Image
Former local prosecutor David Moranda has been named a judge in Merced County. Courtesy photo.
 

 

 


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday announced the appointment of a former Lake County prosecutor to a judgeship in Merced County Superior Court.


David Moranda, 56, of Merced, has served as chief deputy district attorney and previously deputy district attorney for the Merced County District Attorney’s Office since 1993.


Prior to that, he served as a deputy district attorney for the Lake County District Attorney’s Office from 1987 to 1993, the Solano County District Attorney’s Office from 1985 to 1986 and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in 1981.


Moranda earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.


He fills the vacancy created by the conversion of a court commissioner position on Dec. 26, 2008.


Moranda is a Democrat.


{mos_sb_discuss:2}

LAKE COUNTY – The threat to schools across California due to deep budget cuts has prompted members of California's Congressional Delegation to send a letter to state leaders urging them to take every step possible to prevent teacher layoffs by getting federal stimulus money to school districts. {sidebar id=136}


Local educators hope that the money arrives in time to avert serious damage to educational programs.


The letter, dated March 17, addresses Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Secretary of Education Dr. Glen W. Thomas and State Superintendent of Schools Jack O'Connell.


“We write to express our concern about a reported misunderstanding regarding who should decide how local educational agencies spend State Fiscal Stabilization Funds allocated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” said the letter, whose signatories included 26 members of Congress, among them North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson.


The members of Congress addressed the suggestion that the state has the ability to intercept stabilization fund dollars – which they emphasized it does not.


Officials reported that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed by President Barack Obama last month, includes a state stabilization fund to give states emergency relief.


That relief would help stave off teacher layoffs, as well as backfilling harmful cuts to education programs. In addition, funds would be available to repair and modernize schools, which would create jobs.


The legislation's structure gives states the funds, and then the states would allocate the money to school districts and colleges and universities.


The plan allocates over $5.9 billion in stabilization funding to California, officials reported.


Thompson's office is still compiling final number estimates for Lake County's schools.


Congress' intent, the letter stated, is that local educational agencies may determine how they will use stabilization funds. The money also is meant to be allocated from the state to school districts and higher education institutions as soon as possible.


“The purpose of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund is to help stabilize local government budgets, to minimize or avoid harmful cuts to education programs and services, to keep teachers in the classroom, and to support modernization, renovation, and repair of school facilities,” the letter stated.“It is imperative that local educational agencies receive stimulus funds as soon as possible so they can appropriately adjust their budgets to address these challenges.”


The letter added that thousands of California's teachers will be laid off in the coming weeks without the infusion of stimulus funding, and they asked Schwarzenegger and education leaders to quickly resolve issues relating to the funding, which could be done with the technical assistance of the US Department of Education.


“Any delay in funding local educational agencies may have dire consequences for children and teachers in our great state,” the letter added.


Local education cuts go deep


On March 13, educators, parents and students gathered in downtown Lakeport on “Pink Friday” to send a message to Sacramento – that the level of cuts to education isn't acceptable. Pam Klier, president of Lakeport's California Teachers Association chapter, said the “deep, drastic cuts” facing schools will change how teachers are able to do their jobs.


Based on a poll of school districts, Lake County News estimates that 112.3 school employees – many of those teachers, but also including some administrators and classified staff – have received layoff notices so far this year. Many more classified staff may be laid off in the weeks ahead.


In the Lakeport Unified School District, 17 employees were given layoff notices – 13 classified and four certificated – earlier this month in an effort to meet a shortfall $800,000 resulting from both state cuts and lost revenue.


In the Konocti Unified School District, 53 teachers and eight administrators have received layoff notices, which amounts to a reported quarter of the district's teaching staff.


While the district has said that it expects to be able to hire many of those teachers and administrators back, it has the challenge of a $1.2 million budget cut in the coming fiscal year. The Konocti Unified board voted March 11 to close Oak Hill Middle School as a cost-saving measure.


Stimulus funding amounts still unclear


Countywide, Lake County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck has estimated school districts will face a total of $5.7 million in cuts over the next 16 months.


So local districts are hoping the federal stimulus money will be able to offer them some relief.


Konocti Unified district officials said during a school board hearing on March 18 that the district is estimated to receive $880,000 in stimulus funds, but that still hasn't been confirmed.


Geck said it's still not clear just how much stimulus money could be coming to Lake County.


“We only have initial projections from the feds,” he said. “The amounts have not yet been confirmed by the state since the initial projections did not include charted schools and special school programs like our juvenile hall and community school programs.”


Geck said he expects that the state will identify the specific amounts sometime this week since the funds are going to be released by the end of the month by the federal Department of Education.


Whether the money actually will arrive in time to avert damage to programs is harder to answer, said Geck.


The stimulus funds won't be enough to cover all the cuts local schools are facing, but Geck said if the funds are released quickly and available to be used by school districts to help mitigate the budget cuts, some of the damage will be repaired.


He noted that some of the funds coming from the federal stimulus package are targeted for certain specific purposes, including Title I, which supports student achievement for children in low socio-economic brackets and supporting student achievement for students with identified disabilities. Geck added that some of the funds are more discretionary in nature.


In addition, budget cuts can be avoided if the six propositions to aid school funding, which will go before voters in a special May 19 election, pass and if the revenue projections that will be part of the governor's May budget revise are not as terrible as currently projected.


Declining enrollment challenges local districts


While stimulus money is looked at as help in current difficult times, all of the district superintendents point to consistently declining enrollments as a longterm issues for local schools.


In Kelseyville, Superintendent Boyce McClain said the district is facing a budget cut of just under $1 million in the coming fiscal year.


He has four teachers retiring, and three of those positions will not be replaced. That prevented the district from having to issue layoff notices by the March 15 deadline.


So far, the district has had no classified layoffs, but there may yet be some classified layoffs at the end of April, McClain said.


Middletown Unified Superintendent Korby Olson said his district was able to absorb the roughly $530,000 in mid-year budget cuts for 2008-09.


Still ahead in the 2009-10 fiscal year is an estimated cut of just over $1 million from the district's general fund, with 15.3 certificated positions slated to be cut, which includes some administrative slots.


“We haven't done classified yet,” he said. “We have a different deadline on those.”


Olson said the majority of the certificated cuts are a result of declining enrollment.


Over the last several years, enrollment losses have been fairly spread out. But then it began to accelerate last year, when the district lost 30 students. This year, they lost 65 more.


Olson believes a few things explain the lower enrollment. For one, there were a few years of low birthrates, and students in better birthrate years are coming into the school system. There also are many people leaving the county because of the lack of work opportunities.


At Upper Lake High, Superintendent and Principal Patrick Iaccino said they've laid off a total of 11 classified and certificated staff.


He hopes that, in the worst case scenario, they'll only end up losing a maximum of two teachers and three classified staff, since the district is being creative in handling planned retirements, which may allow them to bring back some staffers on at least a part-time basis.


Sue Milhaupt, Upper Lake High's business manager, said the district is looking at $511,000 in cuts – $236,000 for this fiscal year, and $275,000 in 2009-10.


Changes to rules for how to spend categorical funding will give districts more flexibility, Iaccino said, which means cuts in the coming year may not have to go as deep as previously anticipated.


However, the school's music program appears to be in danger of being cut. Iaccino said he didn't yet know the outlook for the music program, noting there are a lot of ifs in the budget process.


One thing is for sure, said Iaccino – the bigger issue is declining enrollment, which promises to hurt school budgets long after the current economic crisis.


The high school district stands to lose an estimated 100 students over the next five to six years, which Iaccino said amounts to more than $700,000 in lost income for the district on an annual basis.


Iaccino calls it one of the most difficult scenarios the district has ever faced.


If enrollment numbers don't improve, “this doesn't end for us,” he said.


Upper Lake Elementary School District also has been seeing declining enrollment for some time.


District Superintendent and Principal Kurt Herndon said they've lost an estimated 100 students in the past six or seven years. Losing that number of students equates to a loss of roughly $500,000 for the small district, which has a $4 million annual budget.


“We're so small just a few kids is quite an impact on us,” Herndon said, estimating that many young families were priced out of the housing market during its height and so they left the county.


The result is that the district has been trimming its budget for years, and gave out two layoff notices this year, one to a person in a one-year position and the second to a kindergarten teacher who they hope to have back if next year's kindergarten class fills up. They also have lost a custodian position through attrition, when the person retired last fall.


Herndon said they're doing their budget right now, so they're not sure of the amount of cuts they're facing.


Lucerne Elementary Principal and District Superintendent Mike Brown said his school is anticipating being down 10 students in the coming year. Currently the school's enrollment is about 260 students. Brown said enrollment has declined by about 10 students a year in the past several years.


Brown said the district has issued two layoff notices to teachers and will lay off four part-time classified employees, with hours to some other classified staff cut back. He said one teacher may be coming back.


At this point, Brown said the budget numbers can be confusing. For the remainder of this year, they're looking at $71,000 in cuts. Next year will see greater cuts, but those numbers aren't certain yet. The district has an annual budget of about $2.5 million.


When 85 to 90 percent of a school district's budget is salaries, there's no way to make deep cuts without cutting jobs, Brown said.


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


{mos_sb_discuss:3}


Upcoming Calendar

23Jul
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
24Jul
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
27Jul
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
30Jul
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
3Aug
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
6Aug
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
10Aug
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
13Aug
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
17Aug
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
20Aug
08.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar

loader

LCNews

Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 

 

Newsletter

Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.