Monday, 22 July 2024

News

MENDOCINO – Mendocino County officials are dealing with water quality concerns in the seaside town of Mendocino.

The Mendocino City Community Services District made emergency repairs at the sewage treatment plant located at the far west end of town from Aug. 24 through 28, the county reported. The repairs necessitated wastewater to be diverted to the plants overflow pond.

On Aug. 28, repairs were complete, the pond was pumped dry and plant flow returned to normal, according to the county's report.

At about the time the repairs were completed, a resident located immediately adjacent to and east of the plant complained of foul smelling water coming from their well. Officials said the shallow well located approximately 100 feet away from the pond.

The Division of Environmental Health (DEH) was notified on Sept. 15 of a water sample taken from the well testing positive for the presence of fecal bacteria. DEH staff visited the neighborhood on Sept. 18, to obtain information on well construction in the area and to collect additional water samples.

Well construction varied from old, poorly constructed, shallow wells to newer deep wells installed to meet sanitary requirements, officials said.

DEH staff collected water samples from five wells. Two samples collected from shallow wells tested positive for bacteria, but none of the samples were found to contain fecal bacteria. Another shallow well in the area that was tested by residents also was reported to be free of fecal contamination, the county reported.

Mendocino County DEH staff conducts inspections at food facilities in Mendocino and those establishments on private well have water samples collected.  Of the most recently collected water samples from 16 food establishments, none were found to contain fecal bacteria.

Aside from the one positive sample there does not appear to be fecal contamination of water wells in the vicinity of the Mendocino sewage treatment plant, the agency reported. The source of contamination in the one well has not been determined.

DEH staff recommendation is for homeowners whose water is supplied from shallow wells to have the system inspected and repairs and upgrades made as required to minimize the risk of harmful bacteria getting into the water supply.

SONOMA COUNTY – A fire burning in a remote part of Sonoma County near The Geysers geothermal complex was fully contained Wednesday evening.


The Pine Fire burned 300 acres near Pine Flat Road, west of The Geysers Complex and east of Geyserville, according to Cal Fire.


The fire began Monday in heavy fuels. The fire's cause remains under investigation, Cal Fire stated.


Approximately 415 firefighting personnel – including 22 fire crews – remained on scene Wednesday, along with six engines and three water tenders, according to Cal Fire. Three injuries were reported during the incident.


Cal Fire's final report on the fire stated that suppression costs reached $1.7 million.


Agencies that worked the fire during its two-day duration included Cal Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Sonoma County Fire, South Lake County Fire, California Highway Patrol, Sonoma County Roads, Pacific Gas & Electric, Sonoma County Sheriff, Geyserville Fire Department and the California Emergency Management Agency.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .

UPPER LAKE – A man who was hang gliding in the Upper Lake area Saturday died after crashing his glider.


The man, whose name has not yet been released from the Lake County Sheriff-Coroner's Office, died at the scene.


He had been hang gliding in an area several miles north of Upper Lake in the Middle Creek area off of Elk Mountain Road, officials reported.


Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown said they responded to a medical call at around 1 p.m. Saturday.


They found the man had crashed his glider, but Brown noted that the crash wasn't a hard one.


What appears to have taken the man's life was a heart attack while he was still in the air, said Brown.


Brown said firefighters were unable to revive the victim.


Tamara Schmidt, spokesperson for the Mendocino National Forest, said the incident did not happen on US Forest Service Land.


She said the forest offered to assist Northshore Fire with an engine, but it wasn't needed at the call.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .

LUCERNE – A former director of the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center has been rearrested and charged again with embezzlement and grand theft.


Rowland James Mosser, 65, of Lucerne was arrested shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday and booked on four felony counts, two for embezzlement and two for grand theft, according to court records.


Mosser, whose current occupation is listed as business consultant on his booking sheet, posted the $10,000 bail later in the day and was released from the Lake County Jail.


Gary Luck, the county's retired district attorney who now works as a part-time prosecutor, said he is pursuing the same charges as were previously alleged against Mosser, but which were dropped during a January preliminary hearing due to the need for more evidence, as Lake County News has reported.


“It's the same case all over again,” but with a much deeper accounting of records, Luck said.


However, the case will differ in at least one way – charges have not been refiled against Mosser's wife, Jayne, who previously had faced a single felony count of grand theft.


“We don't feel we have enough evidence to convince the jury that she participated in it,” said Luck.


Judy Conard, who has acted as Mosser's attorney, did not have a comment on the case when contacted by Lake County News on Thursday.


Mosser was the center's executive director from July 2002 to August 2005.


The senior center's financial issues were the focus of an extensive grand jury investigation that was released as part of the 2006-07 report.


The refiled case against Mosser alleges that the embezzlement and theft activities took place between Jan. 1, 2005, and Aug. 12, 2005.


After the initial case was dropped earlier this year, the District Attorney's Office had a forensic examination conducted on the center's books and bank records, said Luck.


That, he said, gave the prosecution a better understanding of what was happening to the center's finances while Mosser was the center's executive director.


Former center officials told Lake County News in previous interviews that they could not account for between $150,000 and $175,000 in center funds after Mosser left in August 2005.


However, as to the total amount Mosser is alleged to have taken from the center, Luck said he doesn't have a “firm amount” and that such a total may never be available because Mosser didn't keep accurate financial records.


“Our case is built on his poor record keeping,” said Luck.


One figure that has become clearer is that between $60,000 and $64,000 was supposed to have been in the center's vault at one point, Luck said.


“The money had to go somewhere,” said Luck.


During testimony in the January preliminary hearing, Ron Larsen, the case's investigator, said he had found evidence of the Mossers' home electricity bill being paid at one point by the center.


Larsen also had testified to reviewing the Mossers' own bank statements, noting that over the period from 2003 to 2005 the couple went through a large amount of money, more than $167,000, which had appeared to come from investments.


In 2005 when the couple closed their personal checking account, all of that money appeared to be gone, with their only income source being Rowland Mosser's salary, Luck had stated in the preliminary hearing.


“When their money disappears, that's when the Lucerne Senior Center's money disappears,” Luck stated at the time.


Mosser is tentatively scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 20, according to booking records.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .


LAKE COUNTY – The California Highway Patrol, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lakeport Police Department and the Clearlake Police Department will conduct a joint sobriety checkpoint on Friday, Sept. 25.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“The desired result is to save lives and make everyone’s family summer excursion, for both our community residents and those visiting our beautiful county, a safe and pleasurable memory,” Lt. Mark Loveless, CHP area commander, said Wednesday.

The sobriety checkpoint will be staffed by officers and deputies from each department who are trained in the detection of alcohol and/or drug impaired drivers.

Drug recognition experts, certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, will be on site to provide on the spot assessments of drivers suspected of drug use.

The officers and deputies will also be equipped with state of the art handheld breath devices which provide an accurate measure of blood alcohol concentrations of suspected drunk drivers.

Caltrans employees will be on site providing traffic control in order to ensure the safety of officers and motorists alike.   

Lt. Loveless said that, traffic volume permitting, all vehicles will be checked and drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or unlicensed, can be expected to be arrested.

“Our goal is to ensure the safe passage of each and every motorist by targeting roads where there is a high frequency of drunk driving,” Loveless said. “DUI enforcement patrols as well as sobriety checkpoints are effective tools for achieving this goal and are designed to augment existing patrol operations.”

He added, “By publicizing our efforts, we believe that we can deter motorists from drinking and driving.”

LAKEPORT – The 10th annual Wine Auction made its way to a new venue this Saturday as it sought to continue its efforts to raise funds for important local causes.


The Lake County Wine Alliance put on the charity gala at the National Guard Armory in Lakeport for the first time. The black-tie event benefits various community, art, and health programs around the county.


The full receipts for this year's event aren't in. However, Wine Alliance member Wilda Shock said the live auction, consisting of 30 items, brought in $40,800.


This year's beneficiaries include the fine arts programs at Clearlake, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, Middletown and Upper Lake High Schools; Lake County Hunger Task Force, St. Helena Hospital Clearlake, and the five senior centers that provide Meals on Wheels or other nutrition programs; Stitch and Give Knitters, Lake County Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, Peoples Services and the Senior Law Project.


A special “fund a need” portion of the live auction benefited the Ely Stage Stop & Country Museum project of the Lake County Historical Society. Shock said those pledged totaled $4,100. The Wine Alliance anticipates participating with the society to add to this project, which will include placing a plaque at the museum noting the donors that contributed through the Wine Auction, Shock Said.


The event was very well attended and offered wine tastings from nearly every Lake County winery and hors d'oeuvre from local restaurants and catering businesses. In addition to the main tasting room, there was a Vintage Vault room which hosted reserve wines from a select group of wineries.


There were many generous donations of items made to both the silent auction and the live auction, including wine, trips to exciting vacation spots, deluxe gift baskets, winery tours, and other unique packages. These donations generated a lot of interest and raised significant funds for the event’s beneficiaries.


Shock said Andy Beckstoffer, the event chair, was the winning bidder for the single auction item that brought in the most funds, Mike Thompson's annual “Pig Out at the Pumphouse,” for $3,800.


Upon check-in at the front door, guests were presented with a gift bag, donated by Kelseyville Lumber, which contained a commemorative wine glass, hors d’ouvres plate, pen and auction bidding card. There were costumed actors at the entrance, some in flapper dresses, some in zoot suits and other periods of dress. In the main dining room the LC Diamonds provided music.


Rob Roumiguiere was the evening's master of ceremonies, with Congressman Mike Thompson the special guest. Tom DiNardo acted as Auctioneer for the live auction.


One might assume that a utilitarian building like the National Guard Armory would be hard to decorate, but it was excellently done. In the entryway, the dining room and the Vintage Vault the walls were all hung with fabric, creating a very soft appearance. In the dining room the fabric was also draped across the ceiling and enhanced with light strands. Each table was decorated beautifully as well.


In the tasting room, each vendor was duly designated by a sign placed above their table, with wine and food vendors interspersed. There was an excellent variety of foods offered, showing that Lake County has some wonderful chefs.


All the vendors were set up against the outer wall of the tasting room, and in the middle of the room was a circle of tables that held the silent auction items.


The auction was exciting, and DiNardo did a great job at generating interest and spurring on a little healthy competition over items with good grace and humor. People were very generous in their bidding.


All of the food being served was good if not great, but there were a couple of exceptional items. Lindy’s Quality Catering pulled out all of the stops with grilled prawns, grilled tri-tip, chicken yakitori, and sweet and sour pork. The smoked salmon mousse from Park Place Restaurant was great, as was the Blue Wing’s sesame tuna. There also were raves over Aromas at Yuba College’s figs with blue cheese and bacon.


Ross Christensen writes about food and wine for Lake County News; his wife, Lacy, is his editor and occasional co-author.


 


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Konocti Harbor is reported to be under a sales contract, according to a representative of the company overseeing the resort's sale. Courtesy photo.
 

 

 

KELSEYVILLE – A representative of the company overseeing the sale of Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa said Wednesday that the resort is currently under a sales contract.


The news comes just a few weeks after it was announced that the resort would close temporarily but indefinitely beginning in November.


James Bishop, managing director of WhiteStar Advisors LLC, shared some basic details about the resort's current sales situation in an interview with Lake County News.


“There is a signed contract but they have not yet reached the date by which the escrow needs to be opened,” he explained.


Bishop would not disclose the identity of the potential buyer or discuss terms of the contract, including the price, which is stated as $15 million on the county's multiple listing service.


The purchase contract is still being negotiated, Bishop said, and he wouldn't guess as to when those negotiations or a sale might wrap up.


The 90-acre full-service lakefront resort includes an outdoor amphitheater and indoor showroom, swimming pools, a marina, restaurant and night club facilities, hotel accommodations, a spa, and meeting and conference rooms.


The property had been listed locally by Coldwell Banker Town & Country. However, Bishop noted, “This particular contract did not involve a local Realtor.”


Coldwell Banker Town & Country representatives did not return calls from Lake County News seeking comment.


In November 2004, the US Department of Labor sued Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Journeymen, whose Convalescent Trust Fund, Lakeside Haven, has owned Konocti Harbor since 1959.


The federal suit alleged that the union diverted $36 million from pension funds to help run the resort, as Lake County News has reported. Department of Labor attorneys told Lake County News in a 2007 interview that the amount the union transferred to the trust fund between 1994 and 2004 was actually around $54 million.


The suit's settlement was finalized in August 2007.


WhiteStar Advisors LLC, based in Boca Raton, Fla., was appointed to act as the resort's independent fiduciary in September 2007, according to federal court records. The company is being paid $25,000 per quarter for its services.


“In this particular case our primary role is to facilitate the sale of the property,” said Bishop. “We see that as our most important function at the moment.”


He added, “Our job is not to manage and run the resort on a day-to-day basis.”


The lawsuit settlement, said Bishop, contains a formulation for the application of the sale's proceeds. “The first money goes back to the trust fund,” he said.


Bishop said the firm doesn't have a permanent presence, and relies on assistance from the current management team – led by Greg Bennett, the resort's longtime president and general manager.


Gloria Della, spokesperson for the US Department of Labor, told Lake County News on Wednesday that the consent order that resulted from the lawsuit isn't affected by the resort's closure or the current situation.


“The independent fiduciary continues to manage the property and the Department is monitoring the case on an ongoing basis,” she said.


During the two years that WhiteStar has been on the job, the economy has changed dramatically, which has proved a challenge in finding a seller.


There have been interested buyers, including Bay Area firm Page Mill Properties, which had at one point looked at buying the resort for $25 million, as Lake County News has reported.


However, that deal fell apart, and Page Mill has now fallen into troubles of its own. The San Jose Mercury News reported that the company failed to make a $50 million balloon payment to Wells Fargo last month and now has a court-appointed receiver overseeing it operations.


Page Mill also is locked in lawsuits over rent hikes in East Palo Alto, where it's the biggest landlord of rent-controlled properties, the San Jose Mercury News reported.


While there have been a number of people looking at Konocti Harbor, Bishop said resorts across the nation have been hit hard in the current economic climate, which is affecting all sectors.


WhiteStar has real estate and investment activities across the country, said Bishop. “We see the same kinds of problems in very high end properties with very sophisticated, high-end type buyers,” he said, just as they struggles for smaller, local properties.


Efforts under way to help employees


Earlier this month, WhiteStar sent Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) letters to local and state government officials, notifying them of the “expected temporary closure” of the resort, effective Nov. 11, as Lake County News has reported. The letter also was sent to Unite Here Local 2850 of Oakland, which represents the resort's workforce.


The closure, which the WhiteStar letter stated was to be for an “indefinite” period of time, was to affect approximately 700 employees, although an accompanying employee count list submitted to the state Employment Development Department listed approximately 559 staff slated for layoff.


Unite Here Local 2850's president, Wei-Ling Huber, said the economy has a lot of accommodations businesses struggling in other places like the Bay Area. I think Konocti's been hit a lot harder than a lot of the other hotels were hit,” Huber said.


Bishop said he didn't know whether the resort will be sold in time to prevent those employees from losing their jobs.


Meanwhile, in response to the announcement that the resort was closing, local officials created a committee to assess the economic impacts, primarily the displaced workers.


County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox said Wednesday that he can't say much publicly about the county's efforts at this point.


He did say, however, that the county has communicated its “strong desire” to all parties involved that the current owners keep Konocti Harbor open and operational until its sold.


“We have also been obtaining information about programs that may be available through the federal government to assist in keeping the facility open,” he said.


Huber said the union has a successor agreement which requires a new owner to retain the current employees if Konocti Harbor continues to be operated as a resort. That successor agreement also is supposed to uphold the current employee contract under new ownership.


She said Unite Here Local 2850 has has a good relationship with UA Local 38, which is working to ensure benefits and severance for the resort's employees.


Huber said Unite Here will meet in early October with UA Local 38 to discuss the succession and worker benefits issues.


She said this is the time of year when Konocti Harbor's seasonal workforce starts to shrink following the more active summer months. Huber estimated the resort tops out at about 700 employees in summer and is reduced to less than 100 employees during the winter.


No potential new owners have yet been introduced to the union, said Huber.


“It's pretty early in the process,” she said, explaining that, in general, the union doesn't start talking to new owners until a few weeks before the new ownership actually takes over.


In the case that Konocti Harbor goes to a new owner who intends to use it for a nonresort use, thus canceling out its succession agreement, Huber said the union will help point union members toward services and assist them in transitioning to new employers.


Teddie Pierce, executive director of the Lake One-Stop Center, located at 55 First St. in Lakeport, said she wants Konocti Harbor's employees to know that help with services including unemployment information, work readiness and career transition counseling is available if it's needed.


She said they can get immediate information about employee assistance by calling the office at 707-263-0630, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or emailing a request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .

SONOMA COUNTY – A wildland fire sparked Monday afternoon was edging toward full containment on Tuesday.


The Pine Fire, located near Pine Flat Road west of The Geysers Complex and east of Geyserville in Sonoma County, was estimated to be 85-percent contained by the end of Tuesday, according to Cal Fire.


Approximately 630 firefighters were on scene Tuesday, with Cal Fire reporting three injuries.


Burning in heavy brush since noon on Monday, the fire is estimated to be around 300 acres, down from Cal Fire's previous estimate of 350 acres.


Cal Fire said full containment is expected at around 8 a.m. Wednesday.


The fire's cause is still under investigation, Cal Fire reported.


Resources Cal Fire reported to have on scene Tuesday included 21 engines, 30 fire crews, seven air tankers, four helicopters, 15 bulldozers and five water tenders.


The six homes previously reported to be in danger are no longer threatened, officials said Tuesday.


Pine Flat Road also has reopened, Cal Fire said.


Firefighting costs by day's end Tuesday were estimated at approximately $922,896, according to Cal Fire.


Cooperating agencies working on the fire include Cal Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Sonoma County Fire, South Lake County Fire, California Highway Patrol, Sonoma County Roads, Pacific Gas & Electric, Sonoma County Sheriff, Geyserville Fire Department and CalEMA.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED AT 10:27 P.M. MONDAY.


THE GEYSERS – A wildland fire burning near The Geysers grew to an estimated 350 acres Monday evening.


The Pine Fire was reported at around noon on Monday, according to Angie Scohy of Cal Fire.


The fire was located in heavy brush off of Pine Flat Road, west of The Geysers complex and east of Geyserville, inside the Sonoma County line, Scohy said.


By the evening it has reached 50-percent containment, with officials estimating it will be fully contained on Tuesday.


Approximately 305 firefighting personnel were on scene at day's end, with one injury reported.


Earlier in the day the fire had grown rapidly in size. In the first hour and a half it had burned 150 acres, said Fire Capt. Paul Duncan of Cal Fire.


Two hours later, Cal Fire reported the fire at 375 acres, with that estimate later rolled back to 350 acres.


Scohy said the fire had a moderate rate of spread with spotting, Scohy said, adding that winds are at five miles per hour from the east.


Six residences were threatened in the fire's area, according to Cal Fire.


Residents from around Lake County reported seeing the smoke column.


Pine Flat Road in Sonoma County was closed at Red Winery Road. High tension wires also are reported in the area.


Seven air tankers and four helicopters, seven Cal Fire engines and five local engines, five local water tenders, 15 bulldozers and 12 hand crews were on scene early Monday afternoon, according to Scohy.


No information was yet available on the cause, Duncan said.


Cooperating agencies working on the fire included Cal Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Sonoma County Fire, South Lake County Fire, California Highway Patrol, Sonoma County Roads, Pacific Gas & Electric, Sonoma County Sheriff, Geyserville Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services.


Suppression costs as of Monday evening were estimated at $186,000.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .

LAKEPORT – Firefighters quickly contained a small vegetation fire in Lakeport Wednesday evening.


Lakeport Fire Protection District personnel responded to the fire at approximately 6:41 p.m. Wednesday, according to a report from firefighter/paramedic Brian Hajik.


Hajik said the fire was located near the intersection of Larrecou Lane and Konocti Avenue.


Lakeport Fire's engine 5021 arrived in under four minutes and reported the fire as under a quarter acre in light flashy fuels, he said. Lakeport medic engine 5012 arrived 1 minute later and assumed command of the incident.


Under the direction of Captain Rick Bergem, hose lines were quickly extended on both flanks before flames threatened structures, Hajik said.


He said aggressive firefighting operations led to fire containment in five minutes. Mopup lasted just over an hour, and the incident was terminated at 7:47 p.m.


In all, Lakeport Fire Protection District responded with three engines, and Kelseyville Fire provided one ambulance with mutual aid, according to Hajik.


The fire occurred at the future site of the Lakeport Fire Protection District station. Hajik said that construction has not yet begun.


Fire cause is currently under investigation and no injuries were reported, Hajik said.

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From left, Shannon Edmonds and Melvin Norton are being held in connection with a fatal stabbing that is alleged to have occurred in Clearlake on Tuesday, September 22, 2009. Lake County Jail photos.
 

 

 

THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED.

 

CLEARLAKE – A man who shot and killed two men as they fled from his home following an alleged December 2005 break-in has been charged, along with another Clearlake resident, with homicide in a Tuesday morning stabbing.


Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, of Clearlake was arrested early Tuesday, along with Melvin Dale Norton, 38, also of Clearlake, according to Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain.


Edmonds and Norton weren't booked until shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday as a result of interviews going on throughout the day, McClain told Lake County News.


Bail for each of the men is set at $1 million, according to their booking information. Arraignment is tentatively scheduled for Thursday.


McClain said Edmonds and Norton were arrested for the stabbing death of a white male adult in his 30s who has not yet been identified.


Clearlake Police officers were dispatched to an area of Old Highway 53 and Clement Drive at about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday on the report of a possible assault, McClain said.


When the officers arrived at the scene, they found the victim lying on the side of the roadway. McClain said the victim was transported to Saint Helena Hospital Clearlake where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.


The leads developed by the first officers on scene and by detectives assigned to the case resulted in the arrest of Edmonds and Norton, both of whom are charged with homicide, McClain said.


Officer Michael Ray arrested both men at 5 a.m., according to jail records.


McClain said Clearlake Police detectives, along with Lake County District Attorney's Office investigators, were in the process of serving search warrants and collecting additional evidence.


He said the victim's name will be released by the Lake County Sheriff-Coroner's Office at the appropriate time.


District Attorney Jon Hopkins said late Tuesday that his chief deputy, Richard Hinchcliff, was working on the case with Clearlake Police.


Edmonds was at the center of a December 2005 case in which three Bay Area men allegedly broke into his Clearlake Park home and assaulted him, his then-girlfriend Lori Tyler, her teenage son Dale Lafferty and Lafferty's friend, Justin Sutch.


Christian Foster, 22, along with 21-year-old Rashad Williams and Renato Hughes, then 21, allegedly formed a “crime team” and broke into Edmonds' home in search of marijuana, as Hopkins explained to the jury in the trial in the summer of 2008. During the 2005 incident, Lafferty was beaten nearly to death with a bat and suffered permanent brain damage.


Edmonds fatally shot Williams and Foster as they ran from his home, with the prosecution arguing the men were still in the house when they were shot, and the defense saying that Edmonds shot them after following them outside.


The District Attorney's Office did not charge Edmonds in that case.


Hughes later was charged with his friends' deaths under the provocative act law, which holds anyone alleged to have taken part in a crime that could provoke a lethal act responsible for resulting deaths.


His defense attorney, Stuart Hanlon, on Tuesday called news of Edmonds' arrest on the murder charge “amazing.”


Throughout Hughes' legal proceedings, Hanlon attempted to place blame on Edmonds and demanded his prosecution.


In similar fashion, Hanlon on Tuesday called the Clearlake homicide “a murder waiting to happen,” alleging that Edmonds had essentially been given permission to kill people because he had never been charged for any of the deaths.


Edmonds also wasn't charged for an August 2007 incident in which he allegedly tried to force Tyler to commit suicide with him, making her take about 150 pills and write out a suicide note, as Lake County News has reported. The couple later drove to the hospital, but about two weeks afterward Edmonds again attempted suicide by taking pills.


“He's a troubled man, that's for sure,” said Hanlon.


However, Edmonds has a sparse local criminal record, with no previous charges involving violence.


A check of Lake County court records showed that Edmonds has only one criminal case on file locally – a January conviction on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct while under the influence of drugs and disturbing the peace.


Hanlon said his investigators found that Edmonds was charged in Mendocino County with several low-level drug offenses – but no felonies.


In Hughes' trial – held last summer in Contra Costa County, where it was moved due to pretrial publicity – Hughes was acquitted of the two homicide counts, robbery and attempted murder, with the jury hanging on assault causing great bodily injury. Hughes was convicted of burglary and assault with a firearm.


During the trial's closing arguments, Hanlon had stated Foster was shot four times in the back, one of them while he was on the ground, which Hanlon told Lake County News on Tuesday that Edmonds had testified to while on the stand.


It's a point that both Hanlon and Hopkins continue to argue.


Hopkins told Lake County News in a recent interview that he provided evidence in last year's trial that proved Edmonds couldn't have shot Foster while he was lying prone.


Hanlon on Tuesday responded to that statement with some colorful language, and maintained that the jury didn't buy that explanation.


Last December, a federal lawsuit filed against Edmonds by Williams' and Foster's families was settled. Edmonds' insurance carrier, Allied, paid an undisclosed amount, as Lake County News has reported.


In the suit, the families alleged that Edmonds was a known drug dealer, and claimed that Foster's and Williams' civil rights were violated.


That suit's defendants originally had included the county and the city of Clearlake, but a federal judge dismissed the case against the local jurisdictions.


If anyone has any information regarding this case please contact the Clearlake Police Department at 707-994-8251.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews .

LAKEPORT – Had your jolt of caffeine this morning?


If you get your coffee on the run, perhaps you have a favorite coffee house or purveyor.


With a new, recently opened shop in Lakeport, residents of the county seat have several choices for satisfying their java cravings.


Harbor House Espresso Bar, Angelina’s Bakery and Kelsey Creek Coffee Co., all on Main Street, and Rico Aroma Coffee House on 11th Street offer a variety of coffee selections and specialty coffee concoctions.


They face corporate competition from Starbucks, a new line of coffee drinks at McDonald’s, and an economy that may have coffee lovers choosing less expensive options from mini-marts or brewing their own pots of caffeinated (or decaf) beverage at home.


How do the smaller, “mom-and-pop”-type coffee businesses attract new customers and attempt to keep a loyal customer base?


Owners of the four establishments surveyed say their success hinges on providing good customer service, excellent products, variety in food and drink, and community involvement.


“It is our philosophy to provide the highest quality products with passion, excellence and innovation,” said Angy DeSimone-Lundeen, who along with her husband Brian Lundeen owns and continues her parent’s family business, Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso.


She said she realizes customers have a choice. “They are in a sense voting with their dollars, promoting a sustainable economy when they choose to support locally-owned businesses.”


Martha and Ron Benway, owners of Harbor House Espresso Bar, agree, noting in their brochure that they have “a strong sense of community.”


Listing a number of local events in which they regularly participate, the Benways said “a community that helps one another and lives strong and independent” is what they strive to help accomplish. “We hope we can help keep Lakeport fun and lively.”


Harbor House is a drive-through espresso bar and offers delivery of their products as well.


“We offer great customer service and a friendly atmosphere,” says Brigette Lefort of Rico Aroma Coffee House.


Her parents, Saul and Debbie Lefort, are owners of the shop, where WiFi (wireless Internet connectivity), an in-house computer, and a 42-inch flat-screen television are available for customer use.


“Quality is No. 1” when it comes to customer satisfaction, said Saul Lefort. It is followed closely by “consistency,” he added, stating that consistency and quality apply to both products served and treatment of customers. The family-run business has to “keep a certain standard,” he said. “Customers are looking for high quality. People appreciate our products. They like our place.”


Saul Lefortt said his family relies on word of mouth and repeat business for attracting customers. However, he recently initiated a new promotional program. He introduced Rico Aroma’s new coffee cup sleeve which contains language inviting customers to return the sleeve for the next cup; purchase six drinks and get one free.


He said he is hoping the idea becomes popular with customers, saving them money and helping the environment at the same time.


At Kelsey Creek Coffee Co., the newest coffee house in Lakeport, owners Amanda and Bruce Beyer hope to entice customers by offering coffees roasted onsite, WiFi availability, live entertainment on a newly-built stage, and plans to offer another choice in beverage: micro-brews. The Beyers recently obtained approval for their liquor license and look forward to having a wide selection of micro-brews available to customers.


For the time being, coffee is the main menu item, and coffee lovers can purchase the organic java by the cup or by the bag for their own brewing.


“We fresh roast all of our own coffee. It is all organic and the freshest coffee you will drink,” said Bruce Beyer.


As the business grows, he said, additional products and services, such as extending the hours of operation, may be considered by the owners.


Like the Beyers, owners of Angelina’s, Harbor House and Rico Aroma stay competitive with drinks other than coffee and various selections of food. Angelina’s offers a full service scratch bakery, deli, artisan breads, and a catering company. Specialty drinks include espresso drinks, smoothies, blended and iced coffee. DeSimone-Lundeen said her business will soon open an ice creamery, a stone slab ice cream shop featuring fresh baked goods to mix into 16 flavors of ice cream.


Rico Aroma’s selections include all natural fruit smoothies, juice, tea and energy drinks. Specialty drinks on the menu include Mexican mocha, java chip, Milky Way, and other flavored coffees. Food choices include breakfast burritos, bagels, pastries and soft-serve ice cream.


At Harbor House, smoothies, frappes, chai and blended chai are among the drink favorites. Specialties include flavored mochas and lattes, cappuccinos, and coffee and espresso blends. Also available are hot and cold tea, Italian sodas, baked goods and fruit.


Angelina’s Bakery & Espresso

365 N. Main

Telephone: 707-263-0391

Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Time in business: Nine years in Lakeport following six years in Kelseyville.


Harbor House Espresso Bar

1151 S. Main

Telephone: 707-263-7004

Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Time in business: Nearly 12 years under current owners; originally opened in 1995.

 

Kelsey Creek Coffee Co.

930 N. Main

Telephone: 707-263-5600

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily

Time in business: Four months in Lakeport, following 10 years in Kelseyville.

 

Rico Aroma Coffee House

1025 11th St.

Telephone: 707-262-0285

Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Time in business: Five years; also operates a coffee house in Clearlake.

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