Friday, 19 July 2024


WILLOWS, Calif. – A coroner's inquest held in Glenn County this week ruled that the July 2007 death of a Willows man was not accidental but was caused by another person.

Sheriff Larry Jones had ordered the inquest into the death of Ivan “Bud” Foglesong, who died as the result of burns suffered in the fire of a hunting cabin, located on the Holzapfel Ranch, owned by current Glenn County District Attorney Robert Holzapfel, a relative by marriage.

On Monday morning the coroner's inquest began in Glenn County Superior Court in Willows, according to Jones.

A jury was sworn in and listened to two days of sworn testimony. On Tuesday the jury ruled 9-6 that Foglesong’s death was “at the hands of another person, other than by accident,” according to Jones' report.

Jones said the manner of death will be changed to reflect the jury’s findings and an amended death certificate will be filed.

The case file will now be forwarded to the California Attorney General’s Office for review and further action, Jones said. The Attorney General's Office is reportedly handling the matter because of Holzapfel's connections to the case.

The story of the 59-year-old Foglesong has been featured by Sacramento Valley Mirror Publisher and Editor Tim Crews and by the Citizens Against Homicide newsletter.

The family of the retired Air Force lieutenant colonel has contended that he was murdered despite the initial ruling that it was a suicide and, later, that it was an accident, according to articles on Foglesong's death.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

NICE, Calif. – The charges have been dropped against a Lake County woman initially included in a case involving an alleged embezzlement against Sho-Ka-Wah Casino in Hopland.

Gloria Nelson, 77, of Nice was among eight original defendants in the case, which involves an alleged embezzlement of more than $102,000 from the casino, as Lake County News has reported. Charges against the defendants included embezzlement and grand theft.

The lead defendant in the group, Joan Pickron, 42, of Ukiah, is alleged by officials to have used her position as a casino shift manager to create and authorize false jackpots in the casino's online accounting system, and then to pay out the money to her alleged accomplices.

Nelson's defense attorney, Keith Faulder, did not return a call seeking comment.

Assistant Mendocino County District Attorney Beth Norman said she worked with Faulder to consider the case, and she decided there wasn't sufficient evidence to proceed in prosecuting Nelson.

She said Faulder made it very clear that Nelson's defense would be that she wasn't at the casino and hadn't been involved in taking the money.

A signature on one of the evidentiary documents that was alleged to have been Nelson's had some discrepancies, which Norman said led to a reasonable doubt about Nelson's involvement.

“Our evidence was based on signatures alone,” she said.

Norman said she doesn't know who signed Nelson's name, and added, “There's no way to know who signed it.”

The remaining seven defendants are scheduled to be in court on Sept. 20, at which time they'll start to set hearing dates, said Norman.

“We've had a bit of a challenge coordinating all of the defendants, getting them all to court,” she said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. – A man who had spent much of his life trying to protect people from fires lost his life when his own home burned early Sunday morning.

Firefighters were dispatched to the deadly blaze off of Old Long Valley Road shortly before 6:30 a.m. Sunday, according to Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown.

Local officials did not release the name of the victim on Monday, but Brown said the man was a retired Cal Fire dozer operator and a lifelong Lake County resident.

Brown said the single family dwelling was fully involved by the time Northshore Fire personnel arrived on the scene.

He said the burning home caused some nearby oak trees to catch on fire, but firefighters were able to quickly contain the fire before it got into the wildland.

The couple had escaped but the husband returned to try to find his dog, and perished in the fire, Brown said.

Northshore Fire sent two battalion chiefs, two engines and a water tender out of the Clearlake Oaks station, with one engine and a medic unit out of the Lucerne Station, Brown said. Lake County Fire responded with a water tender under automatic aid, and Cal Fire sent two engines and two battalion chiefs.

Brown said the fire, which started inside the home, has been ruled accidental.

Investigators from both Northshore Fire and Cal Fire are documenting the blaze, he said.

When the man's body was removed from the home, Brown said firefighters draped his body in the American flag.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The county's second deadly home fire in less than a week claimed the life of a Clearlake woman early Wednesday.

Janet Lynn Barber, 45, was the victim of the fatal fire in her mobile home at Lakeside Resort in Clearlake, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office, which conducted coroner duties on the case.

Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain said police officers and Lake County Fire Protection District firefighters were dispatched to the fire just after 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Barber's home was located in space No. 14 at Lakeside Resort, located at 5775 Old Highway 53, he said.

McClain said by the time firefighters and police units arrived, the mobile home was fully engulfed.

Lake County Fire Battalion Chief Willie Sapeta said firefighters along with four engines, a rescue unit, two medic units and two battalion fought the blaze, which was contained at 3:40 a.m. The firefighters didn't return to quarters until 9:40 a.m.

It was after the fire was out that the fatality was confirmed, Sapeta said.

McClain said the Lake County Fire Arson team responded to investigate the fire, which was determined to be accidental in nature, possibly from Barber smoking in bed.

He said the fire was enhanced by Barber's oxygen machine, which was located near her bed.

A witness told investigators that Barber was attempting to put the fire out herself and was not able to get out of the residence, according to McClain.

Barber's death comes just days after another home fire claimed an elderly Clearlake Oaks man's life.

Early Sunday morning, 83-year-old Eugene Throop died in a fire at his home on Old Long Valley Road, as Lake County News has reported.

Throop, a retired Cal Fire dozer operator, and his wife had initially escaped but he is reported to have gone back to look for his dog, according to officials.

In addition to those tragedies, fire calls have been on the rise. Sapeta said firefighters have been inundated with calls in recent weeks, taking as many as 45 calls in a recent two-day period.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Ruby Glebe has been named grand marshal of the 2010 Lake County Fair. Lake County file photo.

LAKEPORT – Lake County historian Ruby Glebe has been named this 2010 Lake County Fair's grand marshal by the fair's board of directors.

Glebe will preside over the fair parade this Thursday and help officially open the event, which runs through Sunday.

“Ruby has seen so much Lake County history, and been so involved in it,” said Fair Board Member Janeane Bogner. “She's worked really hard to preserve it, and she's incredibly deserving of being named grand marshal. We're so glad she accepted the honor.”

Born in 1914 in the Vacaville area, Glebe visited the Kelseyville area in the late 1930s for a couple of months, and, for all practical purposes, has lived in Lake County ever since.

A Kelseyville fixture for more than 70 years, Glebe has been active in preserving memories of the Lake County for most of that time.

She has served Lake County in various capacities over the years, having been involved in the 1961 centennial celebration, the Lake County Museum advisory board (now known as the Heritage Commission), a president of the Lake County Historical Society and was active on the committee driving the development of the Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, which opened in 1978.


Along the way, Glebe also found time for farming a pear orchard outside Kelseyville, having a son with her first husband, George, farming a prune orchard in Finley, working for the California Fruit Exchange, working for the county of Lake's social services department, working for the soils conservation office, and mentoring numerous individuals who today are involved with many of these same organizations in the preservation of Lake County history.

She's been involved in the Clear Lake Grange, the Presbyterian Church, the Trowel and Trellis Club, the Kelseyville Lioness Club and various other service groups.

Glebe also made some history along the way, having survived the 1918 influenza epidemic at the age of 4, anti-German sentiment directed towards her immigrant family during World War I, and being the very last patient ever operated on in the county hospital on Armstrong Street in Lakeport in 1948. She has been honored by having a building named after her, Glebe Hall in Kelseyville, dedicated in 1989.

Each year the board of directors selects an individual or couple who have had a large and significant impact on Lake County and the Lake County Fair.

The grand marshal leads the parade up Main Street in Lakeport on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., and arriving at the main gate on Martin Street, cuts the ribbon and declares the Lake County Fair open for another year.


Regular admission for the 2010 Lake County Fair is $9, with $6 tickets for seniors 60 and over and $5 tickets for children ages 6 through 11. Children under 6 years old are admitted free everyday. Children through age 11 are admitted for $2 on Thursday, Sept. 2, only, for "Kid's Day."

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. – Officials are still working to identify the man who died in a single-vehicle crash and fire in Kelseyville on Saturday night.

The fatal crash occurred at 11 p.m. Saturday, according to a Monday report from the California Highway Patrol.

A 2004 silver Dodge Stratus was traveling north on Highway 29, south of Highway 175 to Cobb, at an undetermined speed when the solo male occupant was unable to negotiate a left curve in the road, the CHP said.

The Stratus went left across the southbound lane where it hit a dirt embankment along the road's west edge. The CHP report said the vehicle spun in a counter-clockwise direction with the rear of the vehicle striking a tree, causing major inward intrusion on the rear of the car.

The vehicle continued to spin around before coming to rest facing north along Highway 29's west shoulder, the CHP said.

The report explained that a preliminary CHP investigation indicated that the rear inward intrusion caused the gas tank to ignite and start a fire.

The CHP said passing motorists stopped and attempted to help the driver while emergency personnel were en route. However, the fire burned the vehicle so quickly the driver couldn't escape.

The driver's death was attributed to the fire before it could be extinguished, the CHP said.

By the end of Monday the driver hadn't been identified. The CHP said no one else was injured due to the crash and fire.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .


CLEARLAKE OAKS – After not seeing baby grebes for several years, a resident of Pirates Cove got a big surprise this week.

Marni Johnson spotted a family of grebes off her dock while drinking her morning coffee on Tuesday.

Seeing the babies and the dancing adults was a nice sight apart from “all the doom and gloom going on in the world,” Johnson said.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at





LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The Lake County Sheriff's Office has released the names of two men who died over the weekend in separate fire-related incidents.

A Saturday night crash and vehicle fire claimed the life of 21-year-old Geronimo Mateos-Hernandez of Stockton, and 83-year-old Eugene Milton Throop died when his home burned early Saturday morning, according to the report from Capt. James Bauman.

On Saturday at about 11:40 p.m. sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene of an auto accident on Highway 29, near Kelseyville Auto Salvage in Kelseyville, he said.

The California Highway Patrol had determined the driver of the single vehicle involved in the accident was deceased and requested a deputy coroner to investigate the death, according to Bauman.

While the driver's exact cause of death and positive identification are both pending the outcome of an autopsy, Bauman said officials believe the man to be Mateos-Hernandez of Stockton.

On Sunday at about 8 a.m. sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene of a residential structure fire on Old Long Valley Road in Clearlake Oaks, Bauman said.

Subsequent to containing the fire, Northshore Fire Protection District personnel had located a body

inside the home and requested a deputy coroner respond to investigate the death, he said.

Bauman said Throop's exact cause of death and final positive identification also are pending an autopsy.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Caltrans reported Monday that two rubberized chip sealing projects on Highway 29 and Highway 175 in Lake County are almost complete.

The chip seal is intended to extend the life of the pavement, delaying major rehabilitation which will eventually cost tens of millions of dollars, the agency reported.

The new high-traction surface will increase wet weather safety and the rubberized binder is helping to recycle more than 34,000 passenger car tires. Over the next several months the aggregate, or chips, will settle and the surface will become more smooth, Caltrans reported.

These projects, with a combined cost of about $2.1 million, are complete except for construction of the center line rumble strip and final striping, which is anticipated to be completed within three weeks, according to the report.

The striping, the agency said, is being delayed due to a nationwide shortage of reflective highway paint, caused by the combination of a chemical plant breakdown earlier this year and an increased number of highway projects funded by President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

For the most current road information on all state highways, call 1-800-427-7623 (1-800-GAS-ROAD) or visit

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .


LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – In an effort to avert a strike of local transit workers, a federal mediator has asked the employees union and the company that provides transit services for the Lake Transit Authority to come to the table for a meeting Wednesday.

Both sides have agreed to the meeting, set to take place beginning at 10 a.m. at the Best Western El Grande Inn in Clearlake.

Santa Rosa-based Teamsters Local 624, which has represented about 35 Lake Transit employees since 2007, had set an Aug. 26 deadline to come to an agreement with Paratransit Services – which holds the Lake Transit contract – or else take strike action, as Lake County News has reported.

But a federal mediator, who entered the negotiations earlier in the summer, asked the union if it would postpone a strike and again meet with Paratransit Services, and the union agreed, said union spokesman Ralph Miranda.

“Hopefully we're going to resolve this,” said Miranda.

Randy Grove, Paratransit's director of operations and human resources, said the two sides met on Aug. 12 and Paratransit made what they considered was a fair offer, which included a 1-percent wage increase across the board.

He said they offered a total three-year package representing a potential of between 10 and 18 percent in increased wages over three years. Paratransit Services also offered to pick up half of any increases in the cost of medical plan premiums, and made offers of work shift and vacation provisions.

The union rejected that offer a few days later, and Grove said Paratransit is still not certain why.

Grove said the union is asking for wage and benefit increases that would amount to more than $500,000 in costs to the community.

Sticking points appear to be related to health benefits and wages, with the sides offering conflicting details about what's being offered.

Miranda said previously that Paratransit Services had asked the employees to begin paying half of their insurance, which Grove disputed.

“We haven't asked anything like that,” he said, adding that Paratransit Services wants to continue the current practice of cost-sharing health insurance with employees. He said the company pays medical premiums that total $7,200 annually for each eligible employee.

Miranda also had said that the offered wage increase wasn't enough to cover the expected impacts of health care premium increases.

Paratransit Services currently offers a Blue Shield insurance plan that, according to an employee who contacted Lake County News, requires them to travel out of county for most of their medical care because of a dearth of local providers, which Miranda confirmed.

Grove, however, said the company offers a “premium comprehensive medical plan,” along with dental, vision, life insurance, and a retirement plan.

Miranda said the goal is to get the employees on a Teamsters health plan instead. However, Miranda said they're willing to back off of that request and keep the current plan if they can reopen wage and medical insurance changes at the ends of the second and third years of the proposed new contract.

The union wants to be able to negotiate any changes to the plan, which Paratransit Services can change at any time based on the current agreement. Miranda said that contract was negotiated with the company's predecessor, Laidlaw.

Grove said Paratransit Services currently starts its drivers at $9.88 per hour, compared to $12.24 in Mendocino County, where there is twice the funding available for transit services based on sales tax.

Despite having less dollars, Grove said, “We're actually very competitive.”

Union members had begun telling riders several weeks ago that a strike could occur, according to Miranda.

Should no agreement be reached and a strike result, “We do have plans to sustain bus services,” Grove said.

Services in that case would initially be more limited, he said.

Miranda stated previously that if the union's terms aren't met, a strike is inevitable.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

OAKLAND – State officials on Tuesday announced a major takedown of key members of the Nuestra Familia gang who allegedly commit murders and other violent crimes “orchestrated in prison” by gang leaders using cell phones.

As part of an operation code-named "Street Sweeper," a joint task force of 250 state and local law enforcement agents led by Attorney General Jerry Brown's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement concluded a year-long series of arrests attacking the hierarchy of prison gangs.

On Tuesday in Visalia and surrounding areas, agents arrested 34 gang members, including four local gang leaders. Five other Nuestra Familia leaders were incarcerated in earlier operations.

“Operation Street Sweeper represents a big step forward in reducing vicious street crimes orchestrated in prison by the Nuestra Familia hierarchy,” Brown said.

He said Tuesday's operation “has stripped the dangerous Nuestra Familia gang of key managers who carry out orders from its imprisoned leaders.”

Launched in Folsom Prison in 1968, Nuestra Familia is one of seven prison gangs in the state. Through top-down leadership, Nuestra Familia controls illegal activities inside several prisons, as well as most of the Nortenos gangs who operate in central California from Yuba City to Bakersfield and from Salinas to the Sierra foothills.

With a sombrero resting on a dagger as its symbol, Nuestra Familia is believed to have hundreds of members inside state prisons, tens of thousands in communities and many more associates, according to gang investigators.

Three gang leaders serving life sentences direct Nuestra Familia activities from inside Pelican Bay's Secure Housing Unit, also known as the "Shu," which isolates prisoners 24 hours a day. While such confinement places some limits on the gang's ability to communicate, gang leaders are still able to direct gang members on the streets through cell phones smuggled into the prison.

"In addition to arresting street gang leaders through efforts like Operation Street Sweeper," Brown said, "we must cut imprisoned gang leaders' ability to communicate with cell phones by blocking that communication through an electronic net over Pelican Bay."

Sophisticated technology exists to jam cell phones, even selectively, within prisons, but federal law must be changed to allow that to happen. The "Safe Prisons Communications Act" has passed the Senate, and a companion bill by Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas is in committee in the House. Brown called on members of the House to approve this legislation, which is essential to cracking down on one of California's most feared prison gangs.

Gang violence has recently spiked in Central Valley communities, officials reported. So far this year, Visalia's serious gang-related murders, assaults and drive-by shootings have doubled compared to the same period last year.

"History was made today in Visalia," said Colleen Mestas, chief of the Visalia Police Department. She thanked the 300 officers from 20 law enforcement agencies that took part in the operation. "With their help, our police department has been able to make an impact on our local gang crime."

Other law enforcement agencies that assisted with Tuesday's operation are the Central Valley Regional SWAT team, Delano Police Department, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas - Central Valley and Southern Tri County, Kings County Sheriff's Department, Madera County Gang Enforcement Task Force, Madera County Narcotic Enforcement Team, Porterville Police Department, Salinas Police Department, Tulare Police Department, Tulare County Sheriff's Department and Visalia Police Department.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers are preparing for the final maximum enforcement period (MEP) of the summer driving season.

Beginning Friday, Sept. 3, at 6:01 p.m., officers will join motorists on California’s roads for the Labor Day MEP.

The holiday enforcement initiative continues through 11:59 p.m., Monday, Sept. 6.

“I hope everyone enjoys the Labor Day weekend by keeping safety in mind,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “With many families headed for fun, the highways will be crowded and congested with traffic. Mixing these factors with alcohol, speed and not wearing a safety belt can lead to a deadly consequence.”

Although fatalities caused by collisions were far lower than previous Labor Day weekends, last year 12 people were killed in crashes on California roadways.

In addition, 75 percent of all vehicle occupants killed in CHP jurisdiction were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

In addition to the Labor Day MEP, the CHP is in the midst of an aggressive crackdown on impaired driving which began on Aug. 20.

The national campaign, “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest,” is a coordinated effort of law enforcement agencies throughout the country and continues through the holiday weekend.

Last year during the Labor Day weekend, CHP officers throughout the state made 1,417 arrests for driving under the influence.

“If we find you driving impaired we will arrest you, no exceptions,” added Commissioner Farrow. “DUI is a careless disregard for human life.”

Motorists are encouraged to call 911 if they encounter a suspected drunk driver. To help law enforcement intervene, callers should be prepared to provide dispatchers a description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel.

“Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Designate a driver in advance, always wear your seat belt, don’t speed and be sure to pay attention to the road,” added Farrow.

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Upcoming Calendar

07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



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.