Monday, 15 July 2024


Hallie Sullivan of Lower Lake High School in Lower Lake, Calif., submitted this winning entry, chosen by the Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association's 2010 Old Time Bluegrass Festival Logo Contest.



LOWER LAKE – A Lower Lake High School student has been named the winner of this year's Old Time Bluegrass Festival Logo Contest.

The Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association (AMIA) announced that Hallie Sullivan submitted the winning entry.

The bluegrass festival is the major fundraiser for AMIA and its preservation/educational work at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park.

The event also raises funds for the Children’s Museum of Art & Science, supports local schools and service groups who participate, provides a venue for local craft and food vendors, advertises individual sponsors and “markets” Lake County.

The festival is held at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park on the second Saturday in September.

This year’s festival will be Saturday, Sept. 11, and will also honor and raise funds for Lake County’s first responders.

Sullivan received $100 and her logo will be used for the 2010 Bluegrass Festival posters, t-shirts and other merchandise and promotional materials.

All logo entrants will receive tickets to the festival, a recognition certificate and their original art will be framed and on display at this year’s festival.

“We also plan to continue last year’s practice of making postcards of all of logo entries, adding them to a group of Bluegrass postcards made from all the 2009 entries,” said Gae Henry, who coordinated the logo contest. “AMIA sells these postcards as part of their fundraising for the park.”

Help to support activities such as the Old Time Bluegrass Festival by coming and enjoying the music, and set into motion the recycling of dollars and energy back into our wonderful community.

Anderson Marsh State Historic Park is located on Highway 53, between Lower Lake and Clearlake.

For more information about the festival, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 707-995-2658.

For more information about the park, visit

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The wind often blows algae into inland harbor areas in Clearlake, where the algae builds up. Photo courtesy of Lake County Water Resources Department.



LAKE COUNTY – With higher water levels and strong clarity, Clear Lake is looking much better than it did last year, and to keep it that way the Water Resources Department is urging people to do their part to help prevent algae mats.

Last year, an outbreak of Lyngbya birgei resulted in serious issues for the lake, with the large, rotting mats keeping visitors away and causing alarm amongst residents, as Lake County News has reported.

Water Resources Program Coordinator Pamela Francis said some short-duration blooms have already occurred in the waters off of Clearlake and Clearlake Park, but the department has been monitoring the blooms.

To date, Francis said they haven't observed high quantities of Lyngbya birgei, the bottom-dwelling type of blue-green algae that created the problems last summer.

Nevertheless, officials are on the watch because of what Francis called “exceptional” water clarity, especially in the lake's upper arm.

That clarity, while considered by many to be a positive quality for the lake, is problematic because it gives algae the sunlight needed to grow, Francis explained.

“We certainly don't want it to happen like it did last year,” she said.

Since 1988, the county has only seen lyngbya four times, showing up for the first time in 1997, with instances also reported in 1998, 2001 and 2003, said Francis.

But she said those occurrences were orders of magnitude less than the 2009 outbreak.

In previous years, the cells per liter had measured between 100 and 100,000, said Francis.

“What we saw last year was millions of cells per liter in all arms” – the upper, Oaks and lower arms, according to Francis.

She said algae moves throughout the water column, and when it floats to the surface and is pushed by the wind, it can't go back down the water column as it normally would do.

When it stays on the surface, the sun hits it and it dies, which she said results in the kind of mats and stench that were reported last year.

Water Resources reported that there are four nuisance blue-green algae families in Clear Lake, which – with its watershed, relatively shallow depth and warm climate – is an ideal environment for the algae growth.

Clear Lake is a eutrophic lake – meaning it's rich in the kind of nutrients that feed algae that can become a nuisance when they form mats and die, according to a Water Resources report.

Francis said there are things county residents can do to help mitigate algae growth and prevent it from becoming a nuisance.

That includes keeping algae alive and moving it through its natural daily cycle of rising and falling, and breaking up mats that begin to form by using boats and spray systems, said Francis, who compared it to pool maintenance.

She said the county has a volunteer network, along with pontoon boats purchased last year, to help prevent algae nuisance issues.

Water Resources' tips to keep algae problems from developing begin with being proactive, and not waiting for algae build up.

To dissipate algae slicks, agitate the water daily through spray systems, which can be installed along the shoreline and on docks and piers. Such a system requires a pump, pipe and nozzles that spray the algae with water to sink it. For plans and part lists, see the Water Resources Web site at

Officials also suggested that garden hoses can be used, but people are urged to avoid using treated drinking water if possible. Instead, use irrigation pumps drawing from the lake with screens protecting the water intake.

In places where algae has built up, boats and jet skis can be used to dissipate the algae into the water column, according to Water Resources.

For more information call the Lake County Water Resources Department, 707-263-2344.

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 .



A closeup of algae from Clear Lake. Photo courtesy of Lake County Water Resources Department.

LAKEPORT – Officials on Wednesday were looking for a teenager who ran away after being taken to the hospital from juvenile hall for a medical evaluation.

The 15-year-old male was reported to have run away from Sutter Lakeside Hospital shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to Chief Deputy Probation Officer Dean Thornquist.

Thornquist said the teen, who was in juvenile hall for a probation violation, had attempted suicide on Tuesday night but was intercepted by juvenile hall staff.

He was then taken to Sutter Lakeside Hospital for medical clearance and was found to be in good physical health. The boy was then detained by Lake County Mental Health for a 72-hour treatment and evaluation before he ran away, Thornquist said.

Lake County Mental Health Director Kristy Kelly confirmed Wednesday, “We do have a report of someone from juvenile hall leaving the emergency room pending transportation for placement.”

She added, “My understanding is that law enforcement is trying to locate this person.”

Thornquist said mental health officials notified juvenile hall that the minor ran away from the hospital.

“We've sent out a pickup order,” which will notify local law enforcement to the teen's wanted status, Thornquist 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 .

ANDERSON SPRINGS – A 3.0-magnitude earthquake was reported near Anderson Springs early Friday morning.

The quake was reported at 1:42 a.m. Friday, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was centered two miles south southwest of Anderson Springs, 15 miles south southwest of Clearlake and 20 miles north of Santa Rosa, the US Geological Survey reported. The quake was recorded at a depth of 1.3 miles.

The survey received four shake reports – from Guerneville, Richmond, La Habra and Buckeye, Ariz., approximately 1,075 miles away.

A 3.3-magnitude quake was reported at The Geysers geothermal steamfield and six miles west of Anderson Springs on July 4, as Lake County News has reported.

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 .

ESPARTO – A 3.0-magnitude earthquake was reported near the Yolo County community of Esparto Thursday evening.

The quake occurred at 5:57 p.m. at a depth of 43.7 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.

It was centered 12 miles west of Esparto, 25 miles southeast of Clearlake, 30 miles north of Napa and 30 miles west northwest of Davids, the survey reported.

The US Geological Survey received two shake reports on the quake – one from Santa Rosa and one from Fort Bragg.

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 .

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – A team of law enforcement officials seized approximately 17,978 illegally grown marijuana plants in the Mendocino National Forest during a two-day operation, according to a Wednesday report.

The Glenn County Sheriff’s Office Marijuana Eradication Team (MET) operation took the plants from three separate grow sites, according to Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones.

Jones said MET, assisted by the state's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) and members of the US Forest Services Law Enforcement Branch, took 3,894 plants in the Twin Rocks area, 11,881 from the Heifer Ridge area and another 2,203 plants from the Freshwater Drainage.

Potential street value of these plants, if allowed to grow to maturity and processed for sales, would exceed $70 million, according to Jones.

All grows were consistent with those of large drug trafficking organizations, Jones said.

The grow site complexes were discovered during aerial reconnaissance flights. Jones said some grows were found three and a half miles from forest roads but near good water sources within the national forest.

Camps were found at the sites, however, Jones said the growers had fled the areas prior to entrance by law enforcement.

Clean up of the grows will be supervised by the US Forest Service, Jones said.

Jones urged anyone with information regarding these, or other marijuana plantations on public lands, to contact their local law enforcement agency.

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FORT BRAGG – An Oregon man has been sentenced to jail time and restitution of $200,000 for a timber theft.

On Thursday, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Richard Henderson ordered Edward Colombi Jr., 60, of Salem to pay $200,000 in restitution and serve 180 days in county jail for the theft of timber belonging to David McCutcheon.

“Justice for our citizens requires that property crimes be treated seriously,” said Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott. “These crimes include timber thefts, and our office remains committed to prosecuting them. I am grateful for the just resolution of this case against Mr. Colombi.”

Colombi had entered a no contest plea to felony grand theft of timber. He has been ordered to appear on Oct. 12 to make sure he has paid the full $200,000 and to turn himself into the Mendocino County Jail, according to Lintott's office.

In 1998 McCutcheon, a commercial fisherman residing in Elk, began storing sinker logs and cut lumber on property in Fort Bragg rented from Edward Colombi Sr., according to Lintott's report.

On March 26, 2006, McCutcheon visited the property and saw that all of his logs and lumber were present. On May 26 he telephoned the new owner, Edward Colombi Jr., and informed him he would pick up the logs and lumber between June 13 and 15.

On June 15, when McCutcheon returned to the property to pick up the logs and lumber, he discovered that “all my wood was gone,” Lintott's office reported. McCutcheon then undertook his own investigation, and discovered a small portion of the sinker logs in the possession of a Fort Bragg resident that had been sold to him for $3,200 by Robert Russell.

Russell later plead to petty theft, was ordered to pay $3,200 in restitution to McCutcheon and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office reported.

Officials said that except for a couple logs he found in Westport, McCutcheon he was unable to find what had happened to the remainder of his wood.

On Sept. 14, 2007, prosecutor Tim Stoen filed felony grand theft charges against Colombi and Russell. On March 17, 2008, Mr. Stoen presented evidence at a preliminary hearing before Judge Clay Brennan, who held both Colombi and Russell to stand trial.

Lintott's office said the case was then transferred to Ukiah because of the number of witnesses. After the defense filed a “995” motion to set aside the Judge Brennan's holding order, Deputy District Attorney Heidi Larson successfully defended the ruling.

This past Jan. 7, Colombi entered a no contest plea based on a promise of probation, with “no state prison at the outset.” Lintott's office said the main issue then became restitution, because the prosecution and defense counsel were "miles apart" on the number of logs, the amount of board footage, and the fair market value of the sinker logs.

Beginning on June 11, Judge Henderson held a restitution hearing that took place on five separate days. Stoen presented evidence, by testimony or declarations, through David McCutcheon, Stuart Beck, Lloyd Livingston, Fred Struthers and Darlene Letner.

Defense attorneys Richard Petersen and Justin Petersen called 10 witnesses, including a timber mill owner, and also a botanist who analyzed the “growth rings” of weeds on the issue of the size of the two sinker log piles claimed by McCutcheon.

After the evidence Judge Henderson made a tentative ruling in which he found that McCutcheon was “generally credible,” and that there was a theft of 65 to 70 logs at a fair market value of $4 per board foot. Following his ruling, Judge Henderson encouraged the prosecution and the defense to try to negotiate a restitution amount.

Based on Judge Henderson's ruling the prosecution and the defense entered a series of negotiations leading to a stipulation for Colombi's sentence that included $200,000 as restitution payable to McCutcheon, with $150,000 within 30 days, and the remaining $50,000 within 60 days thereafter, along with three years probation and a jail term of 180 days, or 90 days actual as a condition of probation.

Judge Henderson then approved the sentence stipulation, and gave Colombi time to return to his home in Oregon to get his affairs in order before turning himself in.

“I want to thank Judge Henderson for his careful attention to the conflicting evidence in this case, and for his ability to penetrate to the truth,” said Stoen. “Without his tentative ruling and analysis of the evidence, the prosecution and the defense would not have had a sufficient framework for a meeting of the minds as to a fair sentence. I am hopeful that Mr. McCutcheon will use this restitution money to fulfill his dream of building a custom house on the Mendocino Coast."

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Lake County Parks maintenance workers install the town clock in Clearlake Oaks, Calif. Bill Chapin manned the forklift and Ryan McArthur put the clock in place on Wednesday, July 7, 2010. Photo by Miguel Lanigan.





CLEARLAKE OAKS – County parks staff installed the new Clearlake Oaks town clock on Wednesday.

The $17,973 time piece was manufactured by Electric Time Co. of Medfield, Mass., as was the town clock installed June 29 in Upper Lake, as Lake County News has reported.

The new clock is located on the western side of Nylander Park on Highway 20, where visitors and residents alike can see it as they pass through town.

The Clearlake Oaks-Glenhaven Business Association partnered with the county to raise the funds for the clock, according to county officials.

On June 24, Clearlake Oaks-Glenhaven Business Association President Margaret Medeiros presented a check for $14,350 to County Administrative Officer and Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Kelly Cox, as Lake County News has reported.

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 .





Lake County Parks Department maintenance workers Bill Chapin (left) and Ryan McArthur installed the new clock in Nylander Park in Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Wednesday, July 7, 2010. Photo by Miguel Lanigan.

Sonoma Valley Health Care District announced this week that it has hired Kelly Mather as president and chief executive officer of Sonoma Valley Hospital.

Mather is the former CEO of Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport. She's also the author of six books on health and wellness, and developer of a healing model for hospitals.

She will begin work as CEO of Sonoma Valley Hospital on July 19.


“Kelly was quickly perceived by both the search committee and by the district board as a courageous and decisive executive,” said Sonoma Valley Health Care District Board Chair Bill Boerum. “She embodies the mission of the district ‘to maintain, improve, and restore the health of everyone in our community.’ We believe Kelly will be a transformational presence and leader.”


Mather was named Sutter Lakeside's CEO in 2001. During that time she transitioned the hospital to the critical access hospital designation, with a maximum of 25 beds.

She left in 2008, when she founded Harmony Healing House, an education and consultancy organization devoted to the concept hospitals offering four levels of healing – traditional hospital care, staff wellness, health awareness education in a healing environment and community outreach.

Mather recently completed a successful 18-month pilot of her healing hospital model at Mendocino District Hospital.

An avid writer, lover of nature and yoga practitioner, Mather is married and the mother of three children, ages 10, 12 and 15. The family currently lives in Lake County but plans to move to Sonoma.

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LAKE COUNTY – With the construction season in full swing, the Lake County Public Works Road Division and its contractors are working on projects around the county, including a list of storm damage repairs now nearing completion.

Two major projects currently are taking place on Soda Bay Road, including a stimulus-funded overlay project and storm damage repair, according to Road Superintendent Steve Stangland.

The $800,000 overlay project started a few weeks ago and is set to wrap up next week, Stangland said.

Thanks to highly competitive bids, the county was able to extend the project – which originally was supposed to reach down Highway 281 to just past Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa – all the way to the Riviera West entrance, Stangland said.

Also under way is a storm damage repair project in the area of Ferndale Resort on Soda Bay Road. Stangland said that project should wrap up this week.

A slide necessitated the repairs. Stangland explained that a gravity wall made of huge blocks is being installed to repair the slide, along with associated earth work at a total cost of about $340,000.

Another project set to start this summer involves realignment of a portion of Soda Bay Road from Big Valley Road to Mission Rancheria Road, which the Big Valley Rancheria and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are paying for and for which Stangland didn't have a cost figure immediately available.

“We're still trying to get the storm damage projects out,” said Stangland.

He explained that a department list of storm damage projects, compiled in 2006, had 125 projects at a total cost of just over $12 million.

Stangland said the projects came from two declared disasters – a period of stormy weather in December 2005 and January 2006, and another period of extended rain this past February.

“That's when a lot of things started showing up,” he said.

The projects range in size from as little as $1,000 of repair all the way up to a $3.5 million project on Morgan Valley Road near Lower Lake, which requires fixing a 160-lineal-foot slipout on the road's downhill side, Stangland said.

That latter project will get done, but Stangland isn't sure of the time frame, as it's still in a final approval process with the federal government, which is providing funding.

“We're going to do all of them,” Stangland said of the 125 projects.

Despite some setbacks and deadline adjustments, the road division is down to about the last 20 projects on the list. “We hope to have them all done by the summer of 2011,” Stangland said.

A $900,000 storm damage repair project on Sulphur Bank Road in Clearlake Oaks was recently completed, and another $86,000 project on Scotts Valley Road is set to start soon, Stangland said.

Other storm-related projects on the drawing board include $100,000 in repairs on Highland Springs Road and $200,000 for culvert replacement and slide repairs on Elk Mountain Road toward Lake Pillsbury, he said.

This summer another stimulus project will take place, this time on Lakeshore Boulevard in north Lakeport, Stangland said. Contractor North Bay Construction will widen the road shoulders and install bike lanes.

So far, even with all the projects going, the road division is able to get the asphalt it needs, which wasn't the case two summers ago when there was a run on available asphalt in the area, he said.

“We're optimistic,” Stangland added.

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 .

A 5.4-magnitude earthquake shook Southern California late Wednesday afternoon.

The quake occurred at 4:53 p.m., and was centered 15 miles north northwest of Borrego Springs and 30 miles south of Palm Springs, according to the US Geological Survey. It was recorded at a depth of 7.3 miles.

The 5.4 quake was immediately followed by a 3.6-magnitude quake six miles northwest of Anza and 15 miles southwest of Palm Springs, with the survey reporting that dozens more smaller aftershocks followed, including five quakes measuring between 3.0 and 3.3.

Throughout the afternoon and early evening the US Geological Survey received thousands of shake reports from more than 500 zip codes around California, Nevada and Arizona, with reports also coming from Mexico.

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 .

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