Saturday, 13 July 2024


LAKEPORT – A man with a history of gang involvement was sentenced on Monday to more than seven years in prison for his part in a gang-related assault in 2006.

Judge Arthur Mann sentenced Donald Kirk Horne, 32, of Nice to seven years, four months in state prison for participating in a gang-related assault, evading a police officer and driving under the influence, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff, who prosecuted the case. Defense attorney Doug Rhoades represented Horne.

On June 3, 2006, Horne and several other members of a documented local Sureno gang, the Street Villians – also known as STV – approached a 28-year-old male near the Prestige Tattoo shop in Lakeport, according to investigation reports and witness accounts. Horne and the other gang members reportedly stated they were “Street Villians,” and all of them attacked the victim by punching and kicking him.

Hinchcliff said when the victim's 19-year-old girlfriend attempted to stop the attack by pulling Horne away from the victim, Horne punched her numerous times in the face and head.

According to the victims, Horne and other gang members had approached both victims in the Bruno's parking lot six months earlier, flashed gang signs, claimed to be Street Villians, and challenged the victim to fight.

An independent witness who was standing about 20 feet from the assault corroborated the victim's statements, Hinchcliff said.

The assault was investigated by Norm Taylor, a gang expert with the Lakeport Police Department. Taylor confirmed that Horne was a documented gang member with a prior history of gang-related criminal activity.

Horne also was charged with felony evading a peace officer and driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to investigation reports, on May 30 CHP Officer Kory Reynolds observed Horne speeding on Highway 29 near Kelseyville. When Reynolds attempted to pull Horne over, Horne tried to evade him by driving approximately 80 miles per hour on Highland Springs Road.

During the pursuit, Horne failed to negotiate a turn and rolled the vehicle over, leaving his passenger hanging upside down in the vehicle, according to Hinchcliff's report. Horne then attempted to convince officers that someone else was driving. It was determined Horne was driving under the influence of alcohol he had consumed after a softball game.

On June 16 Horne pleaded guilty to felony evading, misdemeanor DUI, and a felony charge of actively participating in a criminal street gang and promoting, furthering and assisting in felony conduct by gang members, said Hinchcliff.

In addition, Horne admitted having suffered a prior "strike" conviction in October 2000 for participating in a criminal street gang and assault on another person causing serious bodily injury. The prior strike conviction serves to double the sentence imposed for a new felony.

That 2000 conviction was for an assault on July 4 of the previous year, when Horne and the Street Villains jumped a group of young men they thought were Nortenos in Lakeport. The young men turned out to be visitors, according to a previous report from Lt. Brad Rasmussen. One of the men was significantly injured.

At sentencing on Monday, Horne asked the court to sentence him to less than the upper term in prison. Hinchcliff, in turn, asked the court to sentence Horne to the upper term because of his extensive criminal history, extensive background in gang-related activity and for the protection of the public.

Judge Mann sentenced Horne to the upper term, doubled for the prior “strike” conviction, for a total term of seven years, four months in prison.

Because of the prior strike conviction, Horne will be required to serve at least 80 percent of that time, rather than the usual 50 percent after good time and work time credits, said Hinchcliff.

Horne, Hinchcliff said, will be sent to San Quentin for processing and assignment to a prison for the remainder of his sentence.



Butler Amusements' carnival was being assembled on Wednesday in preparation for Thursday's fair opening. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – Over the next four days tens of thousand of people are expected to visit the Lake County Fair, which opens this evening.

The fair's theme this year is “Let the good times roll!”

The annual event begins Thursday at 5:30 p.m. with the fair parade, which starts at Natural High School on Main Street and will end at the fair's main gate on Martin Street, where a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held, according Richard Persons, the fair's chief executive officer. Gates open at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The fair will open on Friday at 4 p.m., and at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Exhibit buildings will remain open daily until 10 p.m., with all other areas of the fair – including Butler Amusements' carnival – open until 11 p.m.

The fair will run through Sunday, Aug. 31.

Persons said the fair is annually visited by more than 37,000 people, who come to enjoy live entertainment, livestock shows, a carnival and exhibits, among other attractions.

Fair buildings and grounds will feature thousands of displays made, grown or raised for entry by talented residents – both young and young at heart.

Entries for judging in the fair include most types of fine arts, home arts and crafts, photography, amateur wine and beer, many types of agriculture and floriculture, livestock, small animals, and horses.

Walk-on contests this year include the fastest penny rolling contest, a cookie stacking contest, a marshmallow tossing contest and a decorating with candy contest.

Special features for the 2008 fair include a hands-on children's discovery science center, free health screenings, the annual Junior Livestock Auction, and more than 4,000 exhibits entered in various competitions.

Fairgoers can also expect appearances by a variety of local musical acts and attractions on three stages, as well as clowns, magicians, and other strolling performers. Hispanic Day activities will take place in the Solo Flight School Stage area on Sunday, Aug. 31.

Grandstand shows include the REQHA Invitational Cattle Sorting Contest and Sheep Dog Demonstrations on Thursday evening, the traditional demolition derbies on Friday evening, an X-Style Motorcycle High Jump Show on Saturday evening, and the return of the California State Finals of the WGAS Motorsports Tuff Truck and ATV Races on Sunday evening. All grandstand shows start at 7:30 pm, and are sponsored by Robinson Rancheria Bingo and Casino.

Live local entertainment occurs continuously on two stages, and a third stage features karaoke. The Solo Flight School Stage will host the likes of JW's Ranch House Band, the LC Diamonds, Bill Noteman and the Rockets, and the Lost Boy's Band, among others. The Oxyboost H2O Stage will host a variety of acts including Mike Wilhelm, Neft and Dubois, the Carter and Chambers Duo, and the Kustom Cuts. The KWINE Stage will hold regular karaoke sessions throughout the fair.

The annual Junior Livestock Auction takes place on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 1 p.m. in the Baldwin Pavilion. Businesses and individuals are invited to bid on the prize-winning livestock raised and exhibited by local youth.

Various livestock species are displayed throughout the fair, including swine, beef, sheep, goat and horse exhibits from local 4-H and FFA exhibitors. Small animals are represented as well, with chickens, turkeys, rabbits and cavies all residing in the barn areas.

Regular admission prices for the fair are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 11. Children under 6 years old are admitted free each day. Parking is $5 per car.



Butler Amusements Co., which has provided the carnival at the Lake County Fair for nearly 30 years, returns in 2008 with all day ride wristbands on each day of the fair. All-day wristbands can only be purchased at the carnival ticket booths, and sell for $22 on Thursday, and for $25 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

More fair information can be obtained on the Internet at or by calling 263-6181.


MIDDLETOWN – Fire officials spotted and quickly contained a small wildland fire on Monday afternoon.

Cal Fire reported the fire, located in remote wildlands near Big Canyon Road and Ettawa Springs, was reported at about 2 p.m.

The area couldn't be easily accessed initially by engines, so Cal Fire reported that airplanes were used primarily in fighting the blaze.

The fire was quickly contained, reaching only an acre in size. Cal Fire reported that four engines, a water tender and two hand crews continued to mop up the site later Monday afternoon.

The fire turned up an unexpected find – a pot garden was revealed to be in the area. Cal Fire said it was turned over to law enforcement.

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Red Cross volunteers Al Phillips of Petaluma and Ken Reynoldson of Gualala prepare to deploy to a pre-staging area in San Antonio, Texas, in advance of Hurricane Gustav. The trained volunteers will join hundreds of others who are getting ready to help those in needs after the hurricane hits. Photo by Ellen Maremont Silver/American Red Cross, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.


SANTA ROSA – American Red Cross chapters in the greater Bay Area have activated disaster response teams and Emergency Response Vehicles to assist with preparations for Tropical Storm Gustav.

The storm is poised to enter the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane this weekend, and early next week could affect Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Approximately 40 volunteers and three Emergency Response Vehicles are being deployed from the greater Bay Area through the weekend.

Volunteers from Sonoma-Mendocino Chapters, the Bay Area, Palo Alto area and Santa Clara Valley are en route to Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, where the Red Cross is staging personnel and hundreds of mobile feeding trucks along with supplies before landfall to assist with any necessary relief efforts in the threatened areas. The Red Cross is preparing to assist residents in the storm’s path with shelters, food and emotional support.

The volunteers will be serving by providing evacuated residents with a safe place to stay, food and counseling services both before and after the storm makes landfall.

Alan Phillips of Petaluma and Kenneth Reynoldson of Gualala were the first two local, trained Red Cross volunteers to deploy to San Antonio, in the southern part of the state. That’s the staging area for the Red Cross, where hundreds of volunteers from around the country will prepare in advance of the potential disaster.

Phillips and Reynoldson don’t know yet where their work will take them, since it depends on where the storm does the most damage and who needs Red Cross assistance. Both will be working on the job for three weeks, the standard length for Red Cross disaster deployments. The two men have both served on numerous national Red Cross assignments.

The volunteers know they will be facing what the Red Cross terms a “hardship assignment.” That can take many forms; in this case, they can expect high heat and humidity, power outages, sleeping in shelters and food shortages that may make their work more difficult.

Should evacuations occur, Red Cross volunteers will be working with residents in affected areas to register on the Red Cross Safe and Well Web site at

Bay Area and North Coast residents who are concerned about family members and friends in the affected area can search for information by entering the telephone number and address of their loved ones on the Web site.

The Web site also is equipped to receive donations from those who want to offer monetary support to the Red Cross, which provides its disaster assistance free of charge.


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – US Forest Service officials have arrested a suspect who admitted responsibility for setting a fire near the Mendocino National Forest last Friday.

On the afternoon of Aug. 22, a fire was reported on private timber land near the Mendocino National Forest and within a U.S. Forest Service protection area in Mendocino County, according to a US Forest Service report issued Tuesday.

During a series of water drops, a helicopter pilot observed a man dressed in camouflage, lean over

and start a fire. The pilot reported this incident and firefighting was suspended until law enforcement could secure the area.

The Forest Service had been conducting marijuana eradication operations in the general area earlier in the week, but none on Aug. 22 and nothing in close proximity to these fires, the agency reported.

A Forest Service special agent was just a few miles away, along with three other law enforcement officers, preparing for marijuana eradication operations. These officers and two additional Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies responded to the fire area where they located the man near the fire origin.

The suspect said he was from Mexico and admitted to starting the fires, the Forest Service reported. He

also indicated that there were other people with him. Evidence on the suspect indicated he was associated with marijuana cultivation.

The suspect was arrested and transported to the Mendocino County Jail. The “Island Fire,” which consumed approximately 50 acres, was 100-percent contained as of 6 p.m. on Saturday and is currently undergoing mop up control.

The Forest Service is currently in the process of conducting a thorough origin and cause investigation, as well as searching for other people associated with cultivation sites in the area.

All of the Forest Service officers were recently hired last year due to funding provided by the chief of the Forest Service and Congress. This funding is specifically targeted toward marijuana eradication on public lands.

Marijuana eradications have been a significant problem in recent years on the Mendocino National Forest, which has led the state in the amount of illegal marijuana found on a National Forest.

A joint investigation with the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department is looking into the Aug. 22 incident, officials reported.


A REACH air ambulance takes off from a field behind Sentry Market to transport a crash victim to the hospital as another helicopter prepares to do the same on Sunday, August 24, 2008, in Nice. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

NICE – A crash that occurred late Sunday morning on Highway 20 resulted in four people being injured, with three of them transported from the scene by helicopter.

The California Highway Patrol reported the two-vehicle, head-on collision occurred shortly before noon on Highway 20 at Hammond Avenue.

Firefighters from Northshore Fire, Lakeport Fire and Cal Fire responded to the scene.

The two vehicles involved were a late model white Toyota full-size pickup and an older Mercury Lynx station wagon. The collision left the pickup on its side with debris from both vehicles scattered across the roadway.

Rescuers used the jaws of life to extricate three injured people from the station wagon.

All three of the station wagon's passengers were transported by REACH air ambulance to emergency care.

The crash victims were taken by ambulance to the helicopter landing zone, a field a short distance away behind Sentry Market.

The first air ambulance left about 12:20 p.m., with two other helicopters leaving within another 20 to 30 minutes later.

The Toyota's driver was treated at the scene.

The names of those involved were not available Sunday.

CHP reported that the roadway was cleared by 2 p.m.

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The head-on crash left a Toyota pickup on its side on Highway 20. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




It took about two hours to clear the crash scene, where four people were injured and the vehicles blocked the highway. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Firefighters had to use the jaws of life to extricate three people from a station wagon involved in the crash. Photo by Harold LaBonte.





LAKE COUNTY – The number of driving-related deaths on the state's highways dropped to the lowest level in California history in 2007, officials reported Thursday.

Also showing a slowdown are the number of local deaths on roadways, according to the California Highway Patrol.

With Labor Day weekend about to begin, officials with the CHP, Caltrans, Office of Traffic Safety, Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Department of Motor Vehicles gathered in the state capital on Thursday to commemorate the “Holiday Death Count” also known as the Maximum Enforcement Period.

The Holiday Death Count is a grim reminder of the deaths that occur each year on state roadways.

This year, however, the annual observance brings with it a hopeful message – people are dying on California roadways at a lower rate than has ever been previously recorded.

That finding is based on the CHP's Mileage Death Rate, which looks at the number of people killed per 100 million miles driven on state roadways.

For 2007, the Mileage Death Rate was 1.18 deaths per 100 million miles driven, down from 1.27 deaths per 100 million miles driven in 2006, CHP reported.

There were 3,967 people killed in collisions on California roadways in 2007, CHP reported, compared to 4,197 in 2006 and 4,304 in 2005.

In Lake County, CHP reported there were 17 fatalities in 2007, down from 20 in 2006. In 2005, there had been 13 deaths. The county's population was listed at 64,059 as of Jan. 1, a 0.5-percent increase over 2007.

Business, Transportation and Housing Agency Secretary Dale E. Bonner said the numbers were the result of a successful partnership between the state’s traffic safety professionals at all levels of government, the news media and the general public. “It proves we can change behavior for the better if we all work together,” he said.

The Mileage Death Rate for 2007 is about one-tenth of what it was in 1933, when California's population was nearly six million. Figures released in May by California's Department of Finance put the state's population at just over 38 million as of Jan. 1, 2008.

Had the numbers kept pace with the state's population growth, there would be a many as 160 traffic deaths each Labor Day weekend, said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.

The three major causes of fatal crashes in California are speeding, not wearing a seat belt and driving under the influence, CHP reported. Those factors have been the focus of aggressive enforcement and education by traffic safety organizations during the past several years.

Office of Traffic Safety Director Christopher J. Murphy said it wasn't a coincidence that the Mileage Death Rate dropped at the same time that the state had a reduction in alcohol-related crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reported on Thursday that its 2007 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment of Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities showed that 32 states – among them California – had decreases in the number of deaths on roadways attributed to driving under the influence, as compared to 2006.

In the 1940s, the state Legislature gave the CHP a mandate to compile traffic collision data. That became the Holiday Death Count.

As part of the effort to address the alarming numbers of driving-related deaths during holidays, in 1948 the CHP's first commissioner, Clifford Peterson, created the Maximum Enforcement Period to increase safety on the roadways.

Since the count began, the numbers of fatal crashes have shown a general decline, despite the state's large population increase and increasing number of miles driven, CHP reported.

“We believe this is due not only to safety improvements in the vehicles, but also the added public awareness combined with the increased enforcement,” said CHP Deputy Commissioner Skip Carter. “As a result, thousands of lives have been saved over the past 60 years.”

Officials said the area of motorcycle fatalities still has room for “considerable improvement,” as the number of registered riders and crashes have bucked the downward trend and are climbing.

“With more riders on the road, we continue to emphasize safe driving practices for new and veteran motorcycle riders,” stated Department of Motor Vehicles Deputy Director of Licensing Operations, Mimi Khan. “We are reaching out to folks and urging them to take it slow as they learn to ride.”

Likewise, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as part of its Motorcycle Safety Program, reminds motorists to keep watch for motorcycles, which are smaller and can therefore be harder to see.

This weekend, CHP will hold one of its six annual Maximum Enforcement Periods in an effort to keep fatality numbers down.

Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and lasting through midnight on Monday, up to 80 percent of CHP officers will be on the roads to monitor driving activity and look for speeders, people driving under the influence and those not wearing their seat belts.

Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) also will be in force this weekend, with extra patrols on interstate highways including I-5 and I-80.

CHP reported that it also plans to increase its educational outreach and enforcement efforts to ensure that all motorists safely share the road.

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LAKE COUNTY – The California Highway Patrol is warning the public of the dangers of leaving a child alone inside a sweltering-hot vehicle.

“When left in the sun, it only takes a minute for the inside of the vehicle to become like an oven,” said CHP Lt. Mark Loveless of the Clear Lake Area office.

Heat isn't the only danger; children left in running cars can injure themselves or others by accidentally hitting a gear and putting the car in motion.

“Not only is it dangerous, it is illegal to leave a child in a car,” Lt. Loveless added.

“Kaitlyn’s Law,” also known as the “Unattended Child in a Motor Vehicle Act,” states that anyone who leaves a child of six years old or younger inside a vehicle without the supervision of someone at least 12 years old can be fined $100.

CHP Officer Adam Garcia reported that the county had a fatal collision in 2005 caused by children being left in a vehicle unattended. He said they engaged the gear and caused the crash.

To increase awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in or around motor vehicles, the organization 4 R Kids Sake has designated the month of August as “Purple Ribbon Month.”

In support of this campaign, the CHP has affixed a purple ribbon to the antenna of all its patrol cars. The ribbons are in memory of children who have lost their lives, including 6-month-old Kaitlyn Russell who died from hypothermia after being left unattended in a parked vehicle Aug. 15, 2000.

“As a driver, you are responsible for all of your passengers’ safety while the vehicle is running and when it is parked,” reminded CHP Lt. Loveless.

The CHP urges anyone who sees an unattended child in a vehicle to immediately call 911.


Friends and family members of Pastor Ruth Canady said she's left a legacy of love and service to her community. Courtesy photo.


CLEARLAKE OAKS – Lives well lived often have certain things in common – a sense of sacrifice, vision and great love. {sidebar id=93}

All of those traits were abundant in the life of Associate Pastor Ruth Canady.

Canady, 77, died Aug. 14 at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital after a brief and sudden illness.

She and her husband, the late Rev. Bill Thorton, became pastors of the Clearlake Oaks Community United Methodist Church in 1998, said her daughter, Charlene Stearns. The couple lived on Cobb, where they ran a retreat, before they were asked to take over the church.

The Rev. Dr. Rick Schlosser, senior pastor of the church today, said when Canady and Thornton took the reins of the church 10 years ago, the congregation was down to 17 people and ready to close.

The renewal that the Thornton-Canady duo began at the church is continuing today. Schlosser, who commutes from Sacramento to lead the congregation, said it has grown to 75 people and has impacted the community around it.

Canady and Thornton nurtured the congregation to take on a vision of making the community a better place as a primary goal, he said.

Always learning

Canady was born June 15, 1931, in Warren, Ark. Her father was an Assemblies of God minister who started a church in Harris, Ark., Stearns said.

Canady's young life changed dramatically during a family vacation to California. The family, while driving west, was involved in a car crash that killed her father and hospitalized her mother with serious injuries.

Following the crash, the 12-year-old girl and her family moved to California, where her mother's family lived.

She didn't graduate from high school as a young woman, but instead went on to marry and raise a family, attending the United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church, as well as the Assembly of God.

Stearns said her mother continued to study throughout her life. When she was in her 40s, she returned to school to get her GED, then went on to junior college before transferring to California State University, Hayward, where she received a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Her psychology degree would lead to work as a hypnotherapist and a practicing ministerial counselor, said Stearns.

Canady and Thornton met at an Assemblies of God church where he was minister, said Stearns. Thornton went on to establish The Renewal Center, an interdenominational church where Canady also came to work.

The two became friends and, in the mid-1980s, married, said Stearns.

They were a devoted team, doing everything together, said Stearns. "They really were soul mates. They really balanced each other in a beautiful way."

In 1989 they bought they Cobb property, where they held hypnotherapy trainings before taking over the Clearlake Oaks church.

Rebuilding a community

The work of rebuilding a church is no small task, but Thornton and Canady took on the task with their unique blend of teamwork and outreach.

Those who knew them said they brought with them a vision for the community, wanting it to become a place where everyone was valued.

They brought to the work a broad and deep spirituality that welcomed everybody, said Schlosser.

The example that they set, he said, included understanding that being a person of faith means following Jesus' example of love and compassion. Loving God and one's neighbor are first, and everything else is secondary.

"It was just an amazing thing," said Schlosser, who said since taking over as minister he has seen every day the fruit of their work in the people who got their message.

Stearns and her sisters said Thornton and Canady believed in giving back to their community and caring for others, making sure everyone knew they were a part of their family.

"They believed that everyone was special in the eyes of God," Stearns said.

They were chaplains for Hospice Services of Lake County, and started Lil Acorns Preschool and counseling services at the church. Under their leadership, the church had a new statement of mission and purpose, which set out a list of goals including providing a place of spiritual growth to all community members, no matter their backgrounds; establishing social programs; sponsoring a senior housing project; and providing career counseling.

"They worked tirelessly, way beyond what the family wanted them to do, but the truth is, it's what they loved, and it was their passion," said Stearns.

John Pavoni wandered into the church in 1998, where he met the couple. He had been looking for a church family but had so far encountered places where he didn't feel at home. He credits Thornton and Canady for giving him back a feeling of equality that he had lost.

After that first meeting, he said Thornton gave him his first "god job," asking Pavoni – of Italian ancestry with a talent for cooking – to help cook for an upcoming fundraiser.

Everyone has such jobs, said Pavoni, in the work of building a community. And once you were done with one, you needed to look for another. "You're never done."

Some of their "god jobs" were bigger than others, such as purchasing and tearing down an old drug house next to the church on the Clearlake Oaks Plaza. Several people went out to tear the house down themselves, with Pavoni, 53 at the time, the youngest of the group. Another participant in the teardown was 82.

Today, the site is the location of the church's Lil Acorns Preschool. Pavoni said Canady had a heart for children, emphasizing the community's responsibility to create a future for them.

Pavoni said there were a lot of great people in the community who were not connected by anything until Thornton and Canady brought them together.

Canady mentored Pavoni, helping him with parenting – he's a foster and adoptive parent – and teaching the importance of caring about others and the power of the spirit.

"There's a greater being there for all of us," Pavoni said of her lessons. "We have to allow ourselves to be found by it and go with it."

Margaret Medeiros joined the church about four years ago. She had read an article about the couple and their work at the church by former local reporter Margaret Gan-Garrison.

So one Sunday morning, which also happened to be her birthday, Medeiros decided to visit the church. "I hadn't been to church for 40 years," she said. "I cried during the whole thing."

The couple's charisma, tenderness and nonjudgmental attitude drew Medeiros, who said she felt an immediate kinship with them. Six months later, her husband Phil joined her at church.

Canady, Medeiros said, "was the glue that kept us all together," a wonderful soul who brought out the best in everyone.

Another chapter

In April of 2005, Bill Thornton died suddenly at age 81. Stearns said her mother was heartbroken, but felt a sense of obligation to stay with the church until a new pastor could be found.

Even after Schlosser arrived, Canady stayed on as an associate pastor. He said he tried to convince her to offer sermons, but her compassionate heart kept her in the role of a very personal ministry that included visiting the sick, and offering counseling and mentoring.

Schlosser said people felt an intimate connection with Canady. "When she was talking to you, you were the center of the universe."

She was constantly on the phone checking with people, said Pavoni, speaking to everyone in the congregation at least once a week. He said she never missed a chance to say "I love you" to those around her, or to show them the value of opening their heart to others and appreciating each day.

Patricia An Schmidt met Canady after being referred to her for counseling through Hospice Services of Lake County.

"I was experiencing a 'spiritual and mourning meltdown' a few months after being widowed in 2005," Schmidt said.

Canady quickly became a mentor to Schmidt, using her feminine instincts and spiritual guidance to help the healing process. Schmidt said Canady also challenged her past and led her to use her personal skills for the church, the church family and the community.

All the people she met were important to Canady, said Schmidt. In the midst of all of that caring for others, Canady was still in mourning for Thornton. Yet, as Schmidt observed, Canady kept her focus and poise.

"I appreciate the time and caring she gave me," Schmidt said.

A sudden end

Ruth Canady's remarkable life ended with dramatic swiftness.

Five weeks before she died, she became ill after being in apparent good health, said Stearns.

Medeiros said Canady thought she had the flu at first. She later was treated for pneumonia, but didn't respond to the treatment.

Eventually, doctors would conclude she was suffering from some type of lung disease which Stearns said was not cancer.

During her last week, Canady was hospitalized in Santa Rosa. Daughter Cheryl Carzoli said the first thing she asked for was her church phone book, so she could call and check in on people.

Pavoni spoke with Canady the night before she died, with her son-in-law holding his cell phone to her ear so she and Pavoni, whom she trained as a lay minister, could pray together.

Later that night, Pavoni and nearly 40 church members gathered at the church for a candlelight vigil to pray for her. "She just meant so much to everybody."

Church members weren't prepared for the news of her death, which occurred early on the morning of Aug. 14.

"I think she decided it was her time," said Medeiros.

A heartbroken Pavoni said he doesn't know if he'll ever heal from her loss, but said his broken heart is held together with the love she gave him.

A lasting legacy

Schlosser said Canady's absence is a heavy one for the church. "It's definitely a huge hole, not just in everybody's hearts but in our ministry that we'll have to find a way to fill.”

Canady had mentored many people, like Pavoni and another congregation member, Ken Young, who are now stepping into lay minister positions.

Pavoni, a nurse by profession, said Canady has inspired him to go back to school, where he's planning to study divinity.

Schlosser said the church is preparing to finish the first phase of its Thornton-Canady Community Center. Stearns said seeing the work come to fruition is very gratifying for the family. She said the family also continues to hear stories from people about how Thornton and Canady touched their lives.

Stearns, who is a Buddhist, said she considers her mother a bodhisattva, a person entirely full of compassion. Carzoli called her mother "a wise crone," while sister Diana O'Hara summed her up as a "soft light."

Schlosser said Canady was absolutely convinced that God, the creator power – "whatever word you want to use" – loved everyone unconditionally. "She embodied that more than any person I've ever known."

The community is invited to a memorial service for Ruth Canady that will take place on Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Thornton-Canady Community Center, next door to the Clearlake Oaks Community United Methodist Church on The Plaza.

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LAKE COUNTY – Lake County officials reported Thursday that another mosquito sample found locally has tested positive for West Nile Virus, and they're asking county residents to be especially vigilant in taking precautions to deal with mosquitoes over the holiday weekend.

The Lake County Vector Control District and Lake County Health Services reported that they received confirmation that the third mosquito sample collected in Lake County, this time near Upper Lake on Aug. 18, showed the presence of West Nile Virus.

The two previous positive mosquito samples were from Lakeport, as Lake County News reported earlier this month.

So far this year, 1,101 West Nile-infected mosquito samples have been reported statewide, with nearly 300 of those found in Los Angeles County, according to the state's West Nile Virus Web site.

There have been 103 human cases in 13 counties – more than half in Los Angeles and Orange counties combined, the state reported. No human cases have been reported in Lake County.

In addition, 1,456 dead birds, 109 sentinel chickens, 10 squirrels and five horses have been infected with the disease across California. Lake County has had no reports of any of those animals being infected.

West Nile virus is transmitted by mosquitoes to a variety of animals and to humans. Mosquito and vector control agencies usually detect the virus in mosquitoes, birds and sometimes tree squirrels before human cases appear, according to the Thursday report.

The best way to stay healthy during West Nile virus season is to prevent exposure to mosquito bites, local officials said Thursday. West Nile virus is present throughout most of California, so if you plan to be outside, use a mosquito repellent.

Lake County Health Officer Dr. Karen Tait said that, when properly used, mosquito repellents that have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are safe and effective. She added that people should not rely on products that have not been scientifically tested.

Dr. Jamesina Scott, district manager and research director for the Lake County Vector Control District, said the agency is working hard to reduce the risk of mosquito bites and West Nile virus to Lake County residents and visitors.

However, there's one area they need help – and that's with finding backyard water sources like neglected swimming pools or ornamental ponds that can be mosquito breeding grounds, Scott said.

“Mosquitoes are easy to control in these habitats if we know where they are. Just one neglected swimming pool can produce thousands of mosquitoes per day, and cause problems for an entire neighborhood,” she explained.

The message local health officials emphasize to residents is the need to drain standing water sources around homes that may breed mosquitoes. People also need to protect themselves with long sleeves or an effective repellent during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

Most people who become infected with West Nile virus do not show symptoms and will recover uneventfully, officials reported. Up to 20 percent of people will develop fever, headache and other nonspecific symptoms that may last several weeks. Approximately one in 150 people will develop severe illness known as neuroinvasive disease. People over age 50 and diabetics appear to be at most risk for the more severe forms of disease.

While there is no human West Nile Virus vaccine, very good equine vaccines are available and officials strongly recommended having horses vaccinated because the disease is potentially fatal for the animals. When West Nile Virus first hit the state several years ago, hundreds of horses died or were euthanized in the disease's initial peak years in California.

Residents can request service, get mosquitofish, or report neglected swimming pools to Lake County Vector Control District at 263-4770 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To report a dead bird or squirrel, call 1-877-WNV-BIRD (1-877-968-2473) or visit the California Department of Public Health’s West Nile virus website at

For additional information on West Nile virus, visit, or


The Sunday crash on Highway 20 near Nice has claimed two lives. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


NICE – Two people injured in a crash that occurred late Sunday morning on Highway 20 in Nice have died, officials reported Monday.

Marguerite Feio, 81, and 86-year-old Arne Nordh, both of Clearlake, died as a result of injuries suffered in the crash, which occurred at 11:55 a.m., according to California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia.

Feio and Nordh were passengers in a 1986 Mercury station wagon driven by 39-year-old Michael Whitfield of Corralitos, Garcia said.

Whitfield, who Garcia said was heading eastbound on Highway 20 at Stokes Avenue, was hit head-on by a 2000 Toyota Tacoma pickup driven by 18-year-old Taylor Fales of Red Bluff.

Garcia said Fales, who was driving westbound, drifted into the oncoming lane. Initially, CHP believed that Fales may have fallen asleep at the wheel prior to the collision. She sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

REACH air ambulance transported Feio, Nordh and Whitfield to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Garcia reported.

Feio died later Sunday of her injuries, Garcia said. On Monday, Nordh was reported to have died as well.

Both were wearing their seatbelts when the collision occurred, said Garcia.

Whitfield also sustained major injuries, Garcia said. There was no word on his condition Monday.

Garcia said alcohol is not believed to have been a factor and no arrests have been made at this point.

Officer Brendan Bach is investigating the incident, Garcia said.


Joyce Paiva, Lake County's Teacher of the Year, will be honored along with other educators this fall. Courtesy photo.


LAKE COUNTY – The county's best teachers recently were honored with special recognition for their achievements.

Each year the county's school districts select one outstanding teacher as their District Teacher of the Year. A Blue Ribbon Committee of community leaders then interviews these candidates.

The criteria for selection of the County Teacher of the Year is based upon the state and national requirements. These include professional development activities, commitment to the improvement of the educational system, personal attributes, creativity and ability to communicate ideas effectively as well as professional skills in delivering curriculum and instruction to students.

This year's committee members were Wally Holbrook, Madelene Lyon, Kate Lyons and Marc Morita. The committee chair was Chris Thomas, county deputy superintendent of schools.

Mountain Vista Middle School teacher Joyce Paiva was named 2008-09 Lake County Teacher of the Year.

Paiva was born in Illinois, but grew up in what she says used to be small town Morgan Hill where she commuted to Norte Dame High School. She moved to the city of San Jose after high school graduation to attend San Jose State University, where she majored in English.

She says she “knew she had a talent for writing and really enjoyed the literary aspect of the major” so it was a natural choice to choose this area of study.

While in college, Paiva worked at a large bank part-time and was offered a full-time position before she received her bachelor's degree. She felt she needed a greater challenge and while she was trying to figure out what her next step would be, she received a flier in the mail from San Jose State University that described a program called Project 70.

The college was taking applications for a special education program and would accept 70 students. She decided to give it a go, was accepted, and thus Paiva’s teaching career was born.

Paiva has taught in Lake County since 1971 with her first job student teaching kindergarten and third grade. She has taught various grade levels, with the past 12 years of her career spent teaching sixth through eighth grades at Mountain Vista Middle School.

Currently, Paiva teaches seventh and eighth grade math, which she finds very challenging and rewarding. Her goal is “to have each student reach their highest level and establish a strong mathematical foundation.”

“It is a day-to-day challenge, making sure they understand each and every step,” she said.

Mountain Vista Middle School Principal John Berry gave Paiva high marks.

"Joyce Paiva is an outstanding instructor who is well liked and highly respected,” he said. “She is totally dedicated to her students and continues to grow as an educator. Her commitment to academic excellence has not only benefited her many students over the years, but has also been an inspiration to the faculty at Mountain Vista Middle School."

In addition to this honor, Paiva has received recognition for her outstanding teaching by the California State Senate and Assembly, the United States Congress, the California League of Middle Schools and was named the 2002 Kelseyville District Teacher of the Year.

Other teachers honored as outstanding District Teachers of the Year for 2008-09 are Cindy Beasley, Lakeport Unified School District; Robann Hill, Konocti Unified District; Kathy Hughes, Lucerne Elementary District; Janice Klier, Upper Lake Elementary District; Christina Moore, Upper Lake High District; and Bob Norris, Middletown Unified District.

Paiva, along with the District Teachers of the Year, will be honored for their exceptional achievement at a dinner this fall.

For more information on the upcoming award dinner, please contact Janice Bailey at the Lake County Office of Education, 262-4102.

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


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