Sunday, 21 July 2024


NICE – A group of Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo tribal members plan to hold a protest at the tribe's casino on Saturday to draw attention to what they allege are the tribal council's violations of human and civil rights.

The protest, scheduled to being at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, will be held at the casino's entrance on Highway 20, between Nice and Upper Lake.

Community members of all ethnic backgrounds are invited to the event, which the organizers says is meant to highlight the need for civil and human rights protections for American Indians.

Last month, the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council voted to disenroll several dozen tribal members, as Lake County News has reported. At least 60 people had been up for disenrollment, although not all of those individuals lost their membership.

Tribal Chair Tracey Avila previously told Lake County News that the people whose names were removed from the tribe's membership rolls had been in question for some time, and that the council was conducting a housekeeping effort to finally have those names removed.

Among those organizing the protest on behalf of disenrolled families are EJ Crandell, whose election as tribal chair last summer was decertified by the tribe's election committee, and Mark and Carla Maslin.

Carla Maslin's entire 76-member family was disenrolled from the Redding Rancheria in 2004. Her family, along with other disenrolled tribal members from around the state, founded the American Indian Rights and Resources Organization – AIRRO for short – of which Maslin is board chair.

The protest organizers issued a statement this week saying that the tribal council has “created an atmosphere that oppresses their people from expressing opposing viewpoints, disregarded tribal traditions and laws to deny members their tribal identity and inherent rights.”

Those up for disenrollment already have reportedly lost regular payments tribal members are entitled to from its casino, as well as access services such as health care and education.

The Quitiquit family, with about three dozen members who were notified they are being disenrolled, reported that several members also recently were terminated from jobs with the tribe in recent weeks following the disenrollment action.

Avila said previously that the tribe only dismissed people from jobs for performance-related issues.

The tribal council's disenrollment decision has to be approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has jurisdiction over the matter because of clauses in the tribe's constitution.

Those who were notified of their disenrollment have appealed the decision to the bureau, which is reportedly still in the process of arriving at a decision.

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


CLEARLAKE – Jury selection in a Clearlake murder trial is set to begin Jan. 21 after a judge ordered Tuesday that the trial would move forward despite prosecution concerns about the availability of a key witness.

Eighteen-year-old Erik Michael McPherson of Clearlake will go on trial this month for the May 2008 stabbing death of Nicolai Chukreeff, also of Clearlake.

On Tuesday Judge Stephen Hedstrom heard a motion filed by Senior Deputy District Attorney John DeChaine, who requested that Hedstrom dismiss the case because DeChaine held that a key prosecution witness would not be available for the trial if it began this month.

DeChaine called the female witness “foundational” to his case against McPherson. He explained that the woman had allegedly driven McPherson to the Harbor Lite Motel in Clearlake. There, Chukreeff was stabbed once in the chest following an alleged confrontation.

The woman told investigators that she sat in her car waiting for 30 minutes when, according to DeChaine, McPherson allegedly came running back to the car with someone chasing after him – reportedly Chukreeff himself. McPherson is then alleged to have jumped into the car and demanded that the woman drive off.

She and McPherson then allegedly drove around during the middle of the night, with the woman telling officials that he was attempting to hide things in the bushes, DeChaine said. They they went back to her home, where McPherson allegedly put his clothes in garbage bags before disappearing into the night.

The issues with the woman's availability arose late last month, said DeChaine.

It was then that the woman allegedly stabbed herself in the chest with a knife in what appears to have been a suicide attempt.

Now living in Massachusetts, the woman was rushed to a Boston-area hospital where she underwent open heart surgery to repair an injury to her heart as well as a collapsed lung. She later required followup surgery due to internal bleeding.

During the more than two and a half hours of arguments on the motion Tuesday, DeChaine and defense attorney Stephen Carter argued whether the woman was recovered enough to take part in the trial.

DeChaine said not having her testimony could damage his case. He told the court that, if the case was dismissed, he intended to refile charges against McPherson the same day. That would allow the case to be presented at a later time when the woman was recovered enough to travel west.

Carter called DeChaine's motion a “fallback position” that he was using because he couldn't justify getting a continuance for the trial. He also called DeChaine's plan to seek a dismissal and to refile “a problem.”

McPherson, Carter argued, has a constitutional right to a speedy and fair trial. Dismissing the case and then refiling it over the witness issue would be a blatant attempt to undermine that right.

“That's the true basis of our objection to this motion to dismiss,” Carter explained.

The time to schedule McPherson's trial ran out on Tuesday, said Carter.

Carter said his private investigator found that the witness ahadn't decided whether or not she intended to cooperate with the prosecution and testify.

On Monday, the defense and prosecution had met with Hedstrom in chambers, during which time the judge had offered to get one of the victim's doctors on the phone to discuss her ability to travel. Carter said that DeChaine hadn't been interested in pursuing that discussion.

The defense's attempts to track down the witness also were meeting with limited success, said Carter. He and his law partner and wife, Angela Carter, had requested the woman's contact information from DeChaine but had yet to receive it. Stephen Carter also accused DeChaine of stalling his attempts to receive the witness' medical records.

“It's not OK what they're doing,” Carter said of the prosecution, who he suggested was trying to delay the trial because they didn't like how it was shaping up.

Carter said a dismissal or continuance could cause problems for the case at the appellate level, where he's found murder cases thrown out because of similar delaying actions.

DeChaine said his reasons for seeking the dismissal were simple: Based on the available information, the prosecution couldn't move forward with its case unless its key witness was available at the start of the trial.

He denied trying to stall the defense, which also had filed a motion it later dropped accusing him of prosecutorial misconduct, allegedly because he withheld information. “I haven't tried to hide the ball here.”

Carter, in rebutting DeChaine, accused him of “negligent and lame” attempts to get the court information on his dismissal motion.

He said DeChaine's real motive was to reevaluate the evidence, including the defense's allegations that another man is responsible for Chukreeff's murder.

“What the prosecution wants, your honor, is more time because they think they might lose,” said Carter.

Carter said the prosecution isn't supposed to seek dismissals in order to prolong a case. They're supposed to pursue “justice – always justice,” not just a conviction.

Hedstrom called a break until later in the afternoon and asked DeChaine to provide the Carters with medical information on the key witness.

Following the break, DeChaine reported he had the opportunity to speak with the witness' doctor, who submitted an electronic declaration testifying to the woman's current condition.

Looking at the declaration, Carter said the doctor had placed no travel restrictions on the woman, which meant she could come to give testimony right away, and wouldn't have to wait at least a month, as DeChaine originally had estimated.

DeChaine argued that Carter was minimizing what the doctor said, explaining that the woman's condition still needs to be stabilized. She's being treated for a pulmonary embolism – a blockage of a pulmonary artery – and needs to have her medications checked twice weekly, which DeChaine called “not insignificant.”

He maintained that he still wasn't comfortable with moving forward with the case due to his concerns about the womans' condition.

In making his ruling, Hedstrom said the reasons for the witness' possible availability issues are very serious. “This is no minor thing,” he said. “Apparently, she stabbed herself.”

A witness in the case could be subjected to serious stress, said Hedstrom, adding that she clearly has other issues.

However, Hedstrom felt it was reasonable for the woman to have one of her regular checkups, then to fly out to California, give her testimony and then return home to Massachusetts.

Some case dismissals are appropriate, said Hedstrom. Based on certain merits, “This court was fully prepared to grant a dismissal.”

However, the main factor of whether or not the woman could attend the trial changed with the new information from the doctor, said Hedstrom. For that reason, he couldn't find substantial reasons to support the prosecution's dismissal motion.

“Therefore that motion is denied,” he said.

The defense and prosecution have given varying estimates of how long the trial could last – from six to eight weeks.

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


WASHINGTON – Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), and Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA), along with 29 of their colleagues, sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) late Friday urging them to ensure that rural areas receive an equitable share of any economic stimulus package.

“People across this country are struggling to pay their mortgages and afford rising health care costs, but rural communities are being hit even harder by the tough economy,” said Congressman Thompson. “Congress must ensure that America’s rural areas receive their fair share of any economic stimulus package by investing in the highways, bridges, and other infrastructure that are the arteries of our country’s economy. America cannot be restored to greatness without the help of all Americans, not just those in urban areas.”

His colleagues also emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships and investing in rural infrastructure such as broadband and electric grids.

In the letter to Pelosi, they wrote, “As Congress continues to craft an economic stimulus package, it is critical that the benefits of any stimulus are broadly distributed throughout rural, urban, and suburban America.”

That's because, according to the letter, approximately 50 million Americans live in rural communities.

“An economic stimulus package must recognize that rural Americans make vital contributions to our economy and face the same struggles with rising unemployment as people living in urban and suburban communities,” the members of Congress explained. “In fact, seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for non-metropolitan areas were higher each quarter in 2008 than for metropolitan areas.”

Thompson and his colleagues – all of them from rural districts – assured Pelosi of their support for her continued efforts to include infrastructure spending in a recovery package.

“However,” they said, “legislation with infrastructure spending that ultimately only funds projects in urban and suburban communities will fail to provide the broad economic benefit the American people expect. Facing rising unemployment, rural America cannot afford to be shortchanged in an economic recovery package.

“As representatives of rural districts, we know that rural communities are prepared with ready-to-go infrastructure projects that could put people to work within months,” the members of Congress wrote. “Rural communities have the workforce and the infrastructure needs to effectively utilize new federal spending. Rural areas should be provided with an equitable share of economic stimulus funds to improve their local economies just like metropolitan communities.”

The Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act of 2008, H.R. 7110, included a provision to distribute stimulus funds between rural and metropolitan communities.

The letter explained that funds in the Federal Transit Administration Transit Capital Assistance Grants were specifically reserved for rural formula grants.

The representatives said Congress should “build on the precedent created by the transit funds in the Job Creation and Unemployment Relief Act with guarantees in new economic recovery legislation to ensure an equitable distribution of all infrastructure funds between rural and metropolitan areas.”

In adding to Thompson, Rahall, Gordon and Filner, signatories to the letter included Reps. Joe Baca, John Barrow, Marion Berry, Dan Boren, Leonard Boswell, Shelley Moore Capito, Chris Carney, Ben Chandler, Travis Childers, Jim Costa, Jerry Costello, Henry Cuellar, Lincoln Davis, Bob Etheridge, Frank Kratovil Jr., Jim Marshall, Eric Massa, Jim Matheson, Charlie Melancon, Mike Michaud, Alan Mollohan, Collin Peterson, Mike Ross, John Salazar, Heath Shuler, Mike Simpson, John Tanner, Tim Walz and Peter Welch.


MIDDLETOWN – A Sonoma County forensic medical examiner was arrested on drug and drunk driving charges on Tuesday evening after having testified earlier in the day in a local murder trial.

Dr. Kelly A. Arthur, 41, of Santa Rosa was pulled over by California Highway Patrol Officer Rob Hearn at approximately 5:20 p.m. Tuesday at Highway 29 and Armstrong Drive in Middletown, according to CHP Officer Josh Dye.

Arthur, who was traveling with a male companion, allegedly had driven her 2001 Mercedes through a crosswalk and nearly hit a pedestrian, which led to Hearn's stop, Dye said.

During the stop Hearn detected the odor of alcohol and conducted a field sobriety test on Arthur, arresting her shortly afterward for driving under the influence, said Dye. It's also alleged that Arthur had a small amount of marijuana in her possession.

Arthur was booked into the Lake County Jail shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday on felony charges of possession of narcotics, and misdemeanor DUI and use of a controlled substance.

An additional felony charge of bringing drugs into the jail was added after Hearn found her in possession of Vicodin without a prescription, Dye said.

Bail for all charges totaled $28,000, according to jail booking records.

Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said Arthur bailed out of jail just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Arthur was in court on Tuesday morning to give testimony in the murder trial of David Garlow Deason, 69, who is accused of shooting his girlfriend, 48-year-old Marie Parlet, to death in December of 2004.

Deason previously was convicted of the murder, but that conviction was overturned by an appellate court in December of 2007, as Lake County News has reported.

Arthur is a staff pathologist for the Fairfield-based Forensic Medical Group Inc., which performs autopsies for several Northern California counties, and serves Lake on an “as needed” basis, according to the company's Web site. The company provides autopsies and autopsies for the Kaiser system, and also provides medicolegal consulting for criminal and civil court cases.

Lake County News was unable to contact the company for comment before close of business Wednesday, but left messages for company principals.

Deputy District Attorney John Langan said Arthur gave testimony in the Deason case beginning at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and ending around 11 a.m.

Langan said Arthur had preformed the autopsy on Parlet in 2004. Because this is a retrial, Arthur essentially was repeating previous testimony, not coming to new conclusions, said Langan. He didn't indicate any ramifications for the Deason case arising from Arthur's arrest.

While Arthur is only facing charges at this point, the possible impact of the situation on her credibility as a professional witness is a concern for local attorneys.

Stephen Carter heads Lake Legal Defense Services, which holds the Lake County public defender's contract. He said Arthur regularly testifies in local criminal trials.

If Arthur were to be convicted, particularly of the felony charges, Carter said it likely wouldn't cause concerns for past testimony, but it could become a credibility issue going forward.

“It might be something that the prosecution then has to disclose for future cases,” he said.

The situation also could create a conflict of interest for local authorities, faced with prosecuting an individual who has been an important witness in numerous cases, he said. In that situation, the California Attorney General's Office could be called in to handle the case.

Arthur's booking sheet says she is due in court on the charges in March.

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


KELSEYVILLE – A Tuesday evening collision blocked a highway intersection.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the crash occurred at about 6: 30 p.m. at Highway 175 and Highway 29 on the way to Cobb.

Two vehicles were reported to be involved. Responders included the CHP and Cal Fire.

Some of the vehicle passengers were reported to have suffered minor injuries, the CHP reported. No medical transports were reported.

Traffic was being diverted around the crash scene because the damaged vehicles were blocking the intersection, according to the CHP.

CHP reported that the roadway was cleared shortly after 7:30 p.m.

Names of the crash victims were not available from the CHP Tuesday evening.

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SACRAMENTO – The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has released its preliminary draft California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guideline amendments, which – once formally adopted – will guide public agencies on how to analyze the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by new projects on the environment.

“California is a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our fight against climate change,” said the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research Director Cynthia Bryant. “With these draft guidelines, OPR took a thoughtful approach to how greenhouse gas emissions can be addressed in a comprehensive and fair way, so that we can rebuild California’s infrastructure and stimulate our economy while at the same time reducing our carbon footprint.”

In 2007, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 97 by Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga). The bill’s purpose is to advance a coordinated policy for reducing GHG emissions by directing OPR and the Natural Resources Agency to develop CEQA guidelines on how state and local agencies should analyze, and when necessary, mitigate GHG emissions.

Under SB 97, OPR has until July 1 to submit proposed draft CEQA guidelines to the Natural Resources Agency.

The Natural Resources Agency must then take the draft CEQA guidelines through a formal rulemaking process and adopt them as state regulation by Jan. 1, 2010.

OPR is releasing the draft guidelines ahead of schedule to allow additional time to address public comments and for the Natural Resources Agency to prepare the necessary documentation as part of its rulemaking process.

In June, OPR released its technical advisory, which was developed in consultation with the Natural Resources Agency, California Environmental Protection Agency and the Air Resources Board.

Until the CEQA guidelines are adopted next January, this technical advisory provides a blueprint that public agencies can use to address GHG emissions within existing requirements of the CEQA statutes and guidelines.

OPR will hold two public workshops on Jan. 22 and 26 to discuss the preliminary language before submitting its final recommendations to the Natural Resources Agency.

For more information on the OPR preliminary draft CEQA guidelines and additional tools for public agencies, go to


CLEARLAKE OAKS – A Pollack Pines man was arrested Wednesday morning after leading a California Highway Patrol officer on a high-speed, hour-long chase from Interstate 5 into Lake County.

Abram Louis Sassenberg, 27, was arrested following the chase, which ended about 10 miles inside the Lake County border, according to CHP Officer John Waggoner of the Williams area CHP office. Also arrested was a passenger in the vehicle, 29-year-old Joshua George Pine if Diamond Springs.

Waggoner said a CHP officer doing speed enforcement on I-5 near Williams saw Sassenberg's 1990 Plymouth Acclaim at about 8 a.m. traveling northbound at speeds the officer clocked at close to 90 miles per hour using radar.

The officer turned around in the center divide to pursue Sassenberg, who allegedly exited I-5 onto the Highway 20 offramp, where he ran a stop sign and continued west toward Lake County, said Waggoner.

Despite the pursuing officer putting on his lights and siren, Sassenberg allegedly continued on, driving at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour. Waggoner said Sassenberg was driving wrecklessly, passing other vehicles on blind curves and double yellow lines.

Sassenberg had three passengers with him in the car – two females and Pine, said Waggoner. “All three passengers were actually trying to get the driver to stop.”

As the pursuit continued into Lake County, it became clear something was wrong with Sassenberg's Plymouth. Waggoner said the vehicle began smoking and losing oil, and appeared to have lost the function of its transmission.

About 10 miles inside of Lake County Sassenberg pulled off onto a dirt road that led to a private residence, said Waggoner.

Sassenberg stopped the car and allegedly fled on foot, said Waggoner. The three passengers stayed with the car.

As the Williams CHP officer pulled up where Sassenberg had stopped his car, an unmarked Lake County Sheriff's vehicle driven by a sheriff's detective pulled up behind him, helping detain the three subjects in the car without incident, said Waggoner.

Capt. Jim Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office and Officer Josh Dye of the Clear Lake CHP office confirmed that their agencies assisted with the arrests, but that the Williams CHP office was the lead agency.

As additional local CHP and sheriff's units arrived, they conducted a search for Sassenberg. Waggoner said Sassenberg was found lying in the ground, hiding in some bushes not far from his car.

The two women, Sassenberg and Pine were taken back to the Williams CHP office. Waggoner said the two women eventually were released.

Currently is on parole, Sassenberg has a Department of Corrections warrant for failure to appear, “which is the reason he fled,” said Waggoner.

Sassenberg was arrested on a parole hold and a charge of evading arrest. Pine also is on parole and was arrested on a parole hold, Waggoner said.

Both Sassenberg and Pine remain in the Colusa County Jail without bail, Waggoner said.

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Timothy Freeman will be nearly 86 years old before he's eligible for parole because of the lengthy prison sentence he received Monday. Lake County Jail photo.


LAKEPORT – A Contra Costa County man received a life sentence on Monday for a June 2008 sexual assault.

Judge Arthur H. Mann sentenced Timothy Hanse Freeman, 43, a mechanic from San Pablo, to an indeterminate term of 50 years to life in state prison for a sexual assault which took place on June 13, 2008, according to a report from the Lake County District Attorney's Office.

Attorney Ken Roush, who defended Freeman, did not receive a call seeking comment.

Deputy District Attorney Ed Borg prosecuted the case. Det. Martin Snyder of the Clearlake Police Department acted as lead investigator.

On Nov. 3, 2008, Freeman pleaded guilty to one count of sexual intercourse with a child 10 years of age or younger and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child, the District Attorney's Office report.

In addition, officials said Freeman admitted to a special allegation that he had previously been convicted of a violation of rape by force, as well as admitting that he had suffered a prior strike for rape.

In exchange for Freeman's plea, the District Attorney's Office dismissed several additional counts and special allegations.

According to police reports, Freeman – who was on parole for a weapons charge – absconded from parole in Contra Costa County in May of 2008.

Investigators discovered that Freeman and the victim’s mother had a mutual acquaintance, and he made his way to the city of Clearlake, where he stayed with the victim’s family for several weeks. The victim’s mother was aware that Freeman was a parolee but unaware that he had absconded from parole.

On June 12, 2008, the victim’s mother asked Freeman to watch her two children – the victim, a 9-year-old girl, and her 7-year-old brother, while she worked a graveyard shift because her regular babysitter was unavailable, according to the investigation.

The prosecution alleged that later that evening Freeman assaulted the victim.

The young victim told her mother about the assault early the next morning, according to investigators. The girl's mother then told Freeman to leave and notified the Clearlake Police Department, which arrested him later that day.

Because the charges he pleaded to are violent felonies, Freeman must serve 85 percent of 50 years, or 42.5 years, before he is eligible for parole. That would make him nearly 86 years old before he could have the opportunity to be released.


Norman Henderson won't be eligible for parole for 20 years, when he'll be 82 years old. He was sentenced to 24 years in state prison on Jan. 9, 2009, for a series of 10 arson fires he was convicted of setting between April of 2007 and April of 2008. Lake County Jail photo.


CLEARLAKE – A Clearlake man could spend the rest of his life in prison after receiving a 24-year sentence on Friday for a series of arsons – some of which claimed historic local buildings – that he was convicted of late last year.

Norman Ralph Henderson, 62, received the upper term of 24 years in prison from Judge Richard Martin for 10 arson fires he intentionally set between April 25, 2007, and April 10, 2008, in Lake County, according to a Sunday report from Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff. Defense attorney Jeremy Dzubay represented Henderson.

Henderson also has a long history of setting fires that goes back decades, according to officials.

Hinchcliff said that, because the convictions include what are termed “violent felonies,” Henderson is subject to credit limitations so he will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole.

Martin also ordered Henderson – who will be 82 years old before being eligible for parole – to pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $543,046.25, Hinchcliff said.

On Oct. 3, 2008, Henderson pleaded guilty to starting the fires in the eastern Lake County areas of Bartlett Springs Road and Indian Valley Reservoir, according to Hinchcliff.

The fires Henderson was convicted of starting involved two motor homes, two inhabited vacation residences, a Yolo County Flood Control District cabin, two water bottling and purifying facilities owned by Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water that had been shut down, and two wildland fires.

Beginning in the spring of 2007, a series of suspicious fires began to hit vacation homes and other buildings in the Bartlett Springs area, as Lake County News has reported.

Two of the fires in particular claimed the old Bartlett Springs Lodge and the lodge's rebuilt gazebo, along with water bottling facilities that are part of the former Bartlett Springs Resort property now owned by Nestle Waters North America, the parent company of Arrowhead.

Because of their remote locations, the fires usually were well under way before firefighters could respond. That, along with the fact that by the time they arrived there was no one on scene, had left fire investigators with few leads as to who was responsible, according to previous interviews Lake County News conducted at the time with local officials.

But an important break came the way of Lake County Arson Task Force investigators when, in April of 2008, Henderson was arrested for setting fire to a fruit stand on Highway 20 just west of Williams in Colusa County, said Hinchcliff.

That case came to the attention of the task force when Williams Fire Chief Jeff Gilbert called Northshore Fire Protection Chief Jim Robbins and told him, “We may have your guy,” as Lake County News reported last May.

Lake County Arson Task Force members – including Sheriff’s Investigator Corey Paulich, Cal Fire Investigator Chris Vallerga and Lake County Fire Protection District Investigator Brice Trask – were able to connect Henderson to the Lake County fires, said Hinchcliff, who is the District Attorney's Office's arson prosecutor.

Hinchcliff said Henderson's guilty plea in October was part of an agreement reached with the District Attorney's Office which agreed not to charge Henderson with prior “strikes” for previous arson conditions in Nevada and Butte County.

Henderson's background investigation, Hinchcliff said, revealed a conviction for setting fire to a barn in Butte County in 1969. Then, in 1991, Henderson went to prison after threatening a 73-year-old Las Vegas woman. That same year he also reportedly set fire to the Nugget Casino in Fallon, Nev.

Even after spending time in prison, Henderson's series of arsons continued. Hinchcliff said that Henderson set ablaze an unoccupied building in Fallon, Nev., in 1994.

Hinchcliff said Henderson is still facing charges related to the Colusa County fire. Although the Williams fruit stand fire was quickly extinguished with little damage as a result, Henderson currently has an outstanding Colusa County warrant for that case.

Henderson, who has done yard work for a living according to his booking sheet, currently is in the Lake County Jail for the local arson cases and the outside agency warrants, according to jail records.

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


MIDDLETOWN – Three drivers received injuries in a Tuesday evening crash involving three vehicles on Highway 29.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia reported that the collision occurred at 6:34 p.m. on Highway 29 at the intersection with Highway 175 in Middletown.

Garcia said that 55-year-old Steven Shafer of Lakeport was stopped in his 2005 Porsche SUV on northbound Highway 29 preparing for a left turn onto Highway 175.

Driving southbound on Highway 29 at Highway 175 was 36-year-old Ronnie Boyd Jr. of Clearlake in a 2003 Ford Ambulance owned by South Lake County Fire Protection District, said Garcia.

Roy Pike, 65, of Hidden Valley Lake was driving his 2001 Dodge Intrepid northbound on SR-29 approaching the rear of Shafer. Garcia said Pike was distracted and did not notice the Porsche stopped to his front until just prior to impact.

Pike swerved left but was unable to avoid a collision with the left rear of the Porsche, according to Garcia. Pike’s vehicle then struck the ambulance head on.

All parties involved sustained minor to moderate injuries, said Garcia.

Pike, Boyd and the ambulance passenger Mark Jones of St. Helena were taken to St. Helena Hospital Clearlake by South Lake Fire ambulance. Garcia said Shafer was not transported.

Traffic was detoured for approximately an hour until the scene could be cleared, Garcia reported.

Garcia said Officer Steve Curtis is handling the investigation.


Chuck Morse, volunteer for Middle Creek CRMP, and president of West Lake RCD, talks to students about invasive weeds during the annual Kids in the Creek event. Photo by Linda Juntunen.


UPPER LAKE – The Middle Creek Coordinated Resource Management and Planning (CRMP) group will serve as this year’s host to the Lake County watershed groups for a celebration of activities and achievements throughout 2008.

The annual “year in review” will be held on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m., at the Odd Fellows Hall, 9480 Main Street in Upper Lake.

The evening will shine a spotlight on the events and accomplishments of the various watershed groups in the county’s Upper Cache Creek Watershed, the two local Resource Conservation Districts, and their partners in the Upper Putah Creek Watershed.

The West Lake Resource Conservation District (RCD) will announce the recipient of their “2008 Partner of the Year” award. Last year’s well-deserved award was given to the Lake County Department of Public Services, under the direction of Kim Clymire.

This will be the second year for the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year awards. Sponsored by the Upper Cache Creek Watershed Alliance, the award will recognize an outstanding volunteer from each of the active watershed groups.

Last year's recipients were Kevin Ingram, Big Valley Watershed Council; Robert Geary, Chi Council for the Clear Lake Hitch; Fran Ransley, Lower Lake Watershed Council; Joe Dias, Middle Creek CRMP; Jim Bridges, Nice Watershed Council, and Patty Patten, Scotts Creek Watershed Council.

Greg Dills, watershed coordinator for the East Lake and West Lake RCDs, will present the highlights of 2008 for the watershed groups in the Upper Cache Creek Watershed.

Dwight Holford will present activities for the Upper Putah Creek Stewardship, and Korinn Woodard will discuss the accomplishments of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The event provides a wonderful opportunity for the community to see what these groups do. Be sure to mark this great event on your calendar.

All stewardships, CRMPs and watershed councils are invited to attend, and are being asked to assist with potluck refreshments and food.

The groups also are encouraged to bring materials that they’d like to display or share with others. Natural resource partners, public agencies, tribes, neighbors, friends, and everyone interested in the health of the local watersheds are welcome and encouraged to attend the event.

For questions about the event or refreshments, please call Linda Juntunen, 263-4180, Extension 16, or Greg Dills, 263-4180, Extension 12.



Game Warden Loren Freeman and his law enforcement dog, Leo, have the attention of everyone at Kids in the Creek. Photo by Linda Juntunen.




An annual visitor to Kids in the Creek is Smoky Bear and his friends. Photo by Linda Juntunen.




UKIAH – An earthquake was recorded near the Ukiah area on Saturday.

The 3.6-magnitude quake occurred at 1:18 a.m. Saturday, according to the US Geological Survey.

The US Geological Survey report noted that the earthquake was recorded at a depth of three miles.

Its epicenter was 11 miles southwest of Ukiah and 12 miles southwest of Talmage, according to the report.

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


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