Saturday, 13 July 2024


Children from Lakeport Elementary School took part in a noontime parade through downtown to celebrate Halloween. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

LAKEPORT – Downtown Lakeport got a little spooky Friday afternoon as local students participated in an annual Halloween parade along Main Street.

The Lakeport Elementary Halloween Parade included hundreds of children from several grades and classrooms, as well as members of the Clear Lake High School Band. Some children not yet in school also came along for the fun.

Costumes included everything from witches and monsters to soldiers and super heroes.

The students marched from the north end of town down Main Street from Natural High School and turned around at First Street. There was cool weather but no rain to foil the fun.

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The parade was led by members of the Clear Lake High School Band. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




This little boy wasn't in school but he attended the parade with is dad. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Witches, super heroes and princesses were among the many costumes on display Friday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




A young soldier in uniform shows his patriotism during the parade. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Several grades and many children walked the parade route through downtown. Photo by Harold LaBonte.





LAKE COUNTY – The 2008 federal election, with races for the president and congressional seats, is on track to become the most expensive ever, with contributions both here at home and on the national level reaching new records.

The nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics,, is tracking election contributions, with its staff having gone through two million records.

“We've known, of course, that 2008 would be the most expensive ever,” Executive Director Sheila Krumholz told reporters in a pre-election analysis conference call.

Just how big will it be?

Krumholz estimates the federal election, including the presidential and all congressional races, will hit the $5.3 billion mark, surpassing the 2004 election cycle numbers by 27 percent. She said $4.5 billion already has been raised in all races.

Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama already have raised $1.5 billion since the election cycle began in January 2007. The Center for Responsive Politics noted that this is the first time that candidates for the White House have raised and spent more than $1 billion, and this year's total is on track to nearly double candidate fundraising in 2004 and triple 2000.

The presidential race alone is expected to reach $2.4 billion in funds raised, Krumholz added.

To put those numbers in perspective, Krumholz noted that US consumers spent $17 billion on Valentine's Day this year, and $8.7 billion on Super Bowl celebrations.

In California alone, itemized contributions for this campaign cycle have reached $283.7 million, with Democrats raising $185.9 million to Republicans' $96.8 million, the center reported.

And here in Lake County, contributions to congressional and presidential races this year total $99,150, up slightly from the $94,340 donated in 2004 and more than double the $41,182 in contributions to federal races in 2000, according to the center's statistics.

This election, Krumholz added, will blow through historic records on a number of counts.

In the 2008 election cycle, Krumholz noted that Democrats have raised 52 percent more in contributions than they did in 2004, while Republicans have shown only a 2-percent contribution growth rate in that same period.

Top contributors this year are those who list their occupation as “retired" (accounting for at least $204.3 million), lawyers and law firms ($180.9 million), the securities/investment industry ($122.8 million), real estate ($105.5 million) and health professionals ($69.6 million). Business interests account for about 72 percent of all contributions, with ideological, labor and other interests making up the rest.

Viewed more broadly, the finance, insurance and real estate sector once again dominates in political contributions, said Krumholz, exceeding $373 million in the center’s most recent analysis. Democrats have a slight edge with the finance sector.

The top donors this cycle, based on contributions from their PACs and employees, is dominated by companies in the financial sector, and most of them favor Democrats.

After ActBlue, the online organization that directs individual contributions to progressive candidates, the top corporation in 2008 is once again Goldman Sachs, the center reported. The global investment bank's employees and PAC have contributed at least $5 million to the 2008 campaign. Citigroup is next at $4.2 million, followed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. at $4.1 million.

The biggest-giving industry association is the National Association of Realtors, which has given nearly $3.2 million, the center reported.

Krumholz said Wall Street and other industries in the financial sector don't seem to have tightened their belts, with no signs of recession in their political giving. “Of course, their contributions may be part of a strategy to continue securing government assistance for their businesses as the economy heads further south,” she said.

Among the big-giving industries, the Democrats' advantage is smaller than in the overall election, Jrumholz said. Lawyers remain strongly in the Democrats' camp and Wall Street favors them, too; however, some of the other top givers – retirees, real estate and doctors and other health professionals – – mostly split at this point between the two major parties.

Additionally, Democrats have solid support in a number of traditionally supportive industries, of course, including the entertainment industry and among college professors and other educators, but Republicans can count on contributions from the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries, she added.

An important finding in the center's research of candidate contributions is that the lion's share of the money influencing US elections comes from individuals, said Krumholz.

The center has identified more than one million people – less than one half of one percent of the country's population – who have given more than $200 each to political action committees and candidates. That's down slightly from the 1.1 million individuals shown in the 2004 records.

Most of those people include lawyers, bankers and chief executive officers, she notes; guys like “Joe the Plumber” don't figure as prominently as “John the Bond Trader.”

Analysts have estimated that, historically, no more than 4 percent of Americans make a contribution of any size to federal politics. By comparison, about 10 percent of American taxpayers elect to dedicate $3 of their annual tax bill to the presidential public financing system, the center reported.

At the same time, many new donors have come into the fold in 2008, she said.

The big story in this election, Krumholz added, is the number of smaller donors who are coming into the process.

She said that 61 percent of donations to Obama's campaign and 37 percent of McCain's contributions are coming from people donating $200 or less.

Krumholz said both campaigns have done a better job of raising these small amounts, presumably over the Internet, as opposed to past years. It's also a more effective strategy than the direct mail model.

“This it the yellow brick road of candidates it the future,” Krumholz said of the Internet as a fundraising tool.

Those Internet donations can't yet be tracked, said Krumholz, adding that the center would like to see all congressional contribution data filed electronically.

Krumholz said incumbents and Democrats have the advantage in House and Senate races. The average Senate incumbent has raised $8.3 million (which includes money raised since the start of the six-year term in 2003) to the average challenger's $850,000, an advantage of nearly 10 to 1.

For candidates looking to claim an open Senate seat, the average is about $1.6 million and varies widely depending on the state's size and advertising costs, Krumholz reported.

The incumbent's advantage in the House also is lop-sided; members of the House have raised approximately $1.2 million through the third quarter of 2008, on average, while their opponents have raised an average of $286,000 – a 4-to-1 edge for the seat-holder. Open-seat candidates have collected about $497,000.

She said candidates for Congress in 2008 have spent nearly $95 million from their own pockets to get elected.

"You can't win a seat in Congress without being personally wealthy or knowing a lot of wealthy people who are willing to back you with their money," Krumholz said. "With Election Day coming up, it’s important for candidates and citizens to remember that you can't win without votes, either."

The center adds that if history is an indicator, most congressional incumbents should expect to return to Washington next year. In the last five elections, since the 1998 contests, an average of 97 percent of House incumbents have won re-election, as have 86 percent of senators. Even two years ago, when control of Congress shifted to the Democratic Party, 94 percent of House members still won re-election, as did 79 percent of senators.

In the 2008 election cycle, the Center for Responsive Politics estimates Democrats will end up taking 59 percent of the overall contributions, compared to the nearly even split between Democrats and Republicans in the 2004 cycle.

The shift in money, said Krumholz, followed the shift in power that occurred in Congress in 2006, when Democrats took over the majority.

Since then, Democrats have shown skillful use of online fundraising, especially in the presidential race, she said.

Tomorrow, Lake County's contribution numbers are broken down and analyzed.

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


HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – Lake County Sheriff's officials are looking for a suspect in an alleged home invasion and armed robbery that took place Tuesday.

Capt. James Bauman reported that sheriff’s deputies responded to a residence on Park Point Court in Hidden Valley Lake on Oct. 28 to investigate a reported home invasion and armed robbery.

Upon arrival the victims, Kevin Schosek and Wendy Ferrell, told deputies that they were eating dinner in their living room at about 7:30 p.m. when they heard their back door slam shut, Bauman said. When they turned to see who had entered the house, a man wearing all black with a black ski mask was standing in their living room pointing a semi-automatic pistol at them.

According to Bauman, the suspect told the two not to get up and demanded their money. Schosek threw his wallet to the suspect upon demand and then the suspect took Ferrell’s purse from a kitchen counter. The suspect told the two to “wait 60 seconds before they called 911 or he would kill them” and then retreated back through same door he had entered.

Once the suspect left the house, Schosek went to a balcony to see which way the suspect would flee while Ferrell called 911, Bauman said. Schosek did not see the suspect flee the area once he ran out of the house.

The two victims were unharmed, Bauman added.

Sheriff’s deputies conducted a search for the suspect with the assistance the California Highway Patrol and Hidden Valley Security but he could not be located, Bauman said.

The suspect is believed to be a white male as part of his skin could be seen through the cuts in the ski mask, according to Bauman. The only other description the victims could provide was that he was about 5 feet 9 inches tall and had a thin build.

Anyone with information relating to the home invasion and robbery is requested to call the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Investigations Branch at 262-4200.


LAKE COUNTY – The 2008 presidential and federal election cycle is on track to be the most expensive in history, and the local spending trends also are growing.

Lake County's contributions to congressional and presidential races this year total $99,150, up slightly from the $94,340 donated in 2004 and more than double the $41,182 in contributions to federal races in 2000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics,, as Lake County News has reported.

In the presidential race alone, Lake County residents have so far contributed approximately $28,200, based on fundraising records.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has received the most local contributions, totaling $7,750, compared to Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) $3,450.

Other presidential candidates receiving local contributions included Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), $6,400; former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC); $3,550; former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass), $3,300; Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), $1,900; Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), $1,000; Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), $600; and former Congressman Bob Barr (Libertarian-Georgia), $250.

Perhaps the most interesting federal election story is the strength of Congressman Mike Thompson's fundraising efforts.

Thompson, who the Center for Responsive Politics lists among the top 10 best members of the House of Representatives when it comes to reporting his finances – he has a 100-percent rating – has raised $1,782,280 in the 2008 election cycle so far, up about $40,000 over his 2006 earnings. That places him fifth among the 53 members of California's congressional delegation in terms of fundraising since the start of 2007.

In Lake County alone he has raised $19,959, almost twice the amount McCain and Obama have raised, combined.

So far Thompson has spent $1,192,729 in his bid for reelection, the center reported.

His opponents this year include Green Party candidate and Mendocino County resident Carol Wolman, who ran against Thompson in 2006 as an independent write-in candidate. Wolman has reported $5,490 in contributions and $5,317 in expenditures.

Thompson also has a third opponent, Zane Starkewolf of Davis, who calls himself a “Green Republican.”


As of the last reporting deadline, Oct. 15, Starkewolf has submitted no financial reports, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

However, Starkewolf must have some funding coming in, because he has been using robocalls to get out his message.

The calls, which went out this past weekend, were believed by some First District residents to be obscene phone calls at first, with a woman using a suggestive tone of voice to tell voters, “Mike Thompson has been a bad boy ...”

Starkewolf has taken responsibility for the calls which may have violated campaign law by now having a live person introduce them. However, that didn't stop him from sending out another round of the same calls the day after the first. The calls also have garnered Starkewolf national attention.

Laurel Brown, Thompson's spokeswoman, said the calls were a “sophomoric and tasteless prank.”

“As our nation deals with a financial crisis and two ongoing wars, it's incredible that someone would waste voters' time with this drivel,” she said in a written statement.

Local Republican groups show fundraising power

When it comes to groups that have fundraising muscle, the Republican Party has proved to be particularly effective locally, with various party-affiliated groups reporting contributions totaling approximately $25,348.

The Lake County Central Committee has raised $16,258 since the beginning of 2007, with the Lake Elephants raising another $6,500.

The Republican National Committee brought in $830; the New Republican Majority Fund, Sen. Trent Lott's (R-MS) political action committee, reported contributions of $700; the Republican Party of Yolo County received $560; and the National Republican Congressional Committee reported $500.

The largest donor from a local individual was an August 2007 donation in the amount of $3,000 from Supervisor Rob Brown to the Lake County Republican Central Committee.

While candidates associated with the Democratic Party did well overall, groups and political action committees fell far short of the funds raised by their Republican counterparts.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reported $2,750 and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee received $500.

The Solidarity PAC for Bay Area Congressman George Miller, a Democrat, raised $5,000 in Lake County. That amount, incidentally, came from one donor, the Scotts Valley Band of Pomos, who had the largest single group contribution for the election cycle, given this past May. The tribe has a proposal to build a casino in Richmond, which is in Miller's Seventh Congressional District.

In the state Assembly race, former state Sen. Wes Chesbro is seeking to succeed Patty Berg in the Assembly. Berg is being termed out at the end of this year.

Chesbro has raised $243,530.95 since the start of January, and spent $369,249.40, according to the California Secretary of State's Office. He had more than $165,000 that he carried over from previous fundraising.

The Secretary of State's Office did not have contribution records for Chesbro's opponent, Republican James J. Pell of Eureka.

Below is a breakdown, by community, of presidential and federal election contributions for the 2008 election cycle, with total amounts raised for election years 2000, 2004 and 2008 listed by the community name.

Clearlake (2008, $7,895; 2004, $6,914; 2000, $1,240)

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), $2,220

Sen. Hillary Clinton, $1,500

Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), $1,000

New Republican Majority Fund, $700

Congressman Mike Thompson, $500

American College of Surgeons Professional Association, $500

Dr. Deborah Travis Honeycutt (R-GA), candidate for US Congress, $500

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, $350

Sen. Barack Obama, $250

Bob Barr Leadership Fund, $250

Clearlake Oaks (2008, $10,200; 2004, $3,175; 2000, $1,300)

Sen. Hillary Clinton, $3,500

Lake County Republican Central Committee, $3,500

Lake Elephants, $2,000

Congressman Mike Thompson, $700

Republican National Committee, $500

Clearlake Park (2008, $0; 2004, $1,500; 2000, $1,000)

No contributions reported.

Cobb (2008, $650; 2004, $722; 2000, $625)

Sen. Barack Obama, $450

Sen. John McCain, $200

Finley (2008, $750; 2004, $450; 2000, $0)

Congressman Mike Thompson, $750

Glenhaven (2008, $950; 2004, $500; 2000, $0)

Sen. Barack Obama, $750

Sen. Barbara Boxer, $200

Kelseyville (2008, $24,249; 2004, $20,114; 2000, $16,393)

Congressman Mike Thompson, $8,444

Lake County Republican Central Committee, $5,625

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $2,500

Lake Elephants, $2,000

Congressman Ron Paul, $1,200

Sen. Barack Obama, $1,050

Safari Club International (protects hunting freedoms, advocates wildlife conservation worldwide), $1,000

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $500

Sen. John McCain, $450

Republican National Committee, $330

Lakeport (2008, $33,268; 2004, $30,020; 2000, $11,750)

Lake County Republican Central Committee, $6,633

Solidarity PAC (PAC for Bay Area Congressman George Miller), $5,000

Congressman Mike Thompson, $3,987

Gov. Mitt Romney, $3,300

Lake Elephants, $2,000

National Community Pharmacists Association, $2,000

Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR), $1,400

Sen. Hillary Clinton, $1,150

California Association of Realtors, $1,052

Loch Lomond/Middletown (2008, $4,880; 2004, $7,509; 2000, $3,524)

Congressman Mike Thompson, $3,070

Sen. Barack Obama, $1,000

Republican Party of Yolo County, $560

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, $250

Lower Lake (2008, $8,600; 2004, $5,990; 2000, $750)

Sen. Barack Obama, $3,300

Sen. John Edwards, $2,550

Congressman Mike Thompson, $1,250

Congressman Ron Paul, $500

National Republican Congressional Committee, $500

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $250

Sen. Hillary Clinton, $250

Lucerne (2008, $5,335; 2004, $1,750; 2000, $4,400)

Sen. John McCain, $2,300

Sen. John Edwards, $1,000

Congressman Mike Thompson, $535

American Nursery and Landscape Association, $500

Lake Elephants, $500

Lake County Republican Central Committee, $500

Nice (2008, $1,773; 2004, $11,951; 2000, $0)

Sen. Barack Obama, $750

Congressman Mike Thompson, $523

Sen. John McCain, $500

Upper Lake (2008, $600; 2004, $3,745; 2000, $1,200)

Sen. Barack Obama, $200

Congressman Ron Paul, $200

Congressman Mike Thompson, $200

For more on campaign finance, as well as breakdowns of local contributors and statistics, visit and click on the “Get Local” tab on the lefthand menu, which offers zip code details.

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LAKE COUNTY – Minor injuries were reported in two of three vehicle collisions that took place late Thursday.

The first incident occurred just after 5 p.m. on Highway 20 just east of Walker Ridge Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Two vehicles were reported to be involved, with a Subaru Outback over the side of the road and overturned, CHP reported. CHP and Northshore Fire responded.

REACH was called to transport a 7-year-old child from the scene. At least one of the children was being transported to Oakland Children's Hospital, according to CHP.

CHP reported that minor injuries to the passengers were the result of that collision.

A short time later, at just after 5:30 p.m., two vehicles were involved in a collision on a blind corner Highway 20 between Glenhaven and Clearlake Oaks.

CHP reported that an SUV on was on its roof and a mother wanted medics to examine her child. A big rig coming upon the scene also nearly jack-knifed. No injuries were ultimately reported.

At 5:45 p.m., a vehicle was reported to have flipped over and trapped a person in a crash on Butts Canyon Road, between one and two miles from Highway 29, the CHP reported.

CHP and Cal Fire responded to the scene. Minor injuries resulted in that crash.

Authorities did not say if the crashes were a direct result of a rain that occurred late in the day. However, weather had proved a concern for REACH which were nearly canceled due to weather conditions when it came to transporting a victim from the Walker Ridge crash.

Harold LaBonte contributed to this reported.

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COBB – Operators of the Bottle Rock Power Plant are due to sit down with area residents on Thursday evening and discuss concerns about the plant and its impact on the community.

The meeting will take place beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Cobb, 15780 Bottle Rock Road.

Supervisor Rob Brown said he organized a meeting to bring together the community and the power plant's representatives to discuss the plant and make an attempt to work out concerns and differences. Brown has received numerous complaints about the plant, prompting the meeting.

The plant, owned by US Renewables Group of Santa Monica and Carlyle/Riverstone Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund I, reopened at the end of March 2007, as Lake County News has reported.

The plant originally had been built by the state Department of Water Resources to provide power for its operations.

The 55-megawatt plant, which can power as many as 55,000 homes, was closed in September of 1990 due to lack of steam. When it was reopened in 2007, plant officials said they had successfully reopened seven of the plant's original 10 steam-producing wells, and drilled two new ones.

Since the plant's reopening, neighbors in the area say they've experienced a number of impacts from the plant – including noise levels and handling of what they believe are hazardous materials – that is harming their quality of life and causing environmental concerns.

Larry Bandt, vice president of engineering for Oski Energy, which manages Bottle Rock Power's plant operations, said company representatives will be at the Thursday meeting to hear what the neighbors have to say and offer their own comments.

Bandt said the company has been talking about neighbors regarding their complaints, and have made and effort to work with them since the plant reopened last year.

One of the neighbors complaining about the plant is David Coleman. Coleman, whose great-grandfather settled the area and homesteaded the land where plant is located on Bottle Rock Road, splits his time between Cobb and the Bay Area.

He and other neighbors are particularly concerned about the plant's drill sumps – which collect water and chemicals – and how they're cleaned. Coleman said the operators have been taking the materials from the sumps and letting them dry in a nearby meadow. When he and a neighbor went to look at the situation they were told they were trespassing and informed they needed to make an appointment.

Coleman's concerns are echoed by another neighbor, Hamilton Hess, who owns property about a quarter-mile from the plant. “The most serious problem is the drilling pad and especially the sumps.”

He said the sumps are potentially a “huge cesspool of materials, many of which are toxic.”

While the plant's operators have claimed the sump materials have been tested and are benign, Hess said the neighbors remain skeptical, and have asked the county to require testing by authorized labs and make the information public.

They're also requesting the plant move to sumpless drilling, which uses tanks instead of ponds. “To move to sumpless drilling is state of the art,” Hess said.

Coleman also alleges the plant is responsible for stream alterations and violations of their use permit, and suggested the plant was approved under an outdated environmental document.

Hess added that there has been a great deal of grading and equipment work, which he said has been unpermitted.

However, he added, “We're not faulting them in terms of motivation,” saying that a new operations team has come on board since last November.

Coleman has taken his and fellow neighbors' concerns to the California Energy Commission, Department of Fish and Game, the Office of Emergency Services and the county's Community Development Department, along with approaching the Sierra Club Lake Group.

“It's just a huge, huge mess,” he said.

Coleman claims the plant has used dredged materials for top soil, and garbage and pallets are stacked everywhere.

Recently, however, he said the county and Fish and Game have the plant working on erosion control, and the plant is moving equipment and junk out of the area.

He said the biggest complaint he and his neighbors have concern the compromised sumps, and what is being done with the mud and materials pulled from them.

Coleman questions what might be in those materials. “I think everybody is nervous about that.”

Sound also is an issue. Coleman said at first the plant's operators encouraged the neighbors to call if they had problems. They did call, he said, but they only were only temporarily appeased and nothing was actually done.

“We found out a lot of things were slipping through the cracks,” he said.

He said at least 10 families in the area have expressed problems with the plant, while many more have just resigned themselves to accepting the problems.

Coleman said he's irritated by the difficulties he's had getting state and local agencies to talk to each other regarding the plant, or even to get plant personnel and Fish and Game communicating. “Why am I doing someone else's job without pay?”

He said he's like to see the power plant stop using the sumps. “I've seen the sumps overflowing on numerous occasions.”

Coleman said he is hopeful since the parent company recently sent out an executive to take a look at operations more closely.

“I'm just very dubious about who's going to fix it and how it's going to get done,” he said.

Hess said he believes things are getting better, and he is looking forward to the meeting, which he sees as an opportunity for the neighbors to get their issues resolved.

When asked about the issues the neighbors have with the plant, Brandt said he would wait until the Thursday meeting to respond to them.

For a full account of the plant's reopening, see Lake County News' February 2007 story,

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Dustin Powell's booking photo from Lane County, Ore. Powell was arrested Thursday on charges connected with a sexual assault case involving two young teenagers. Photo courtesy of Lakeport Police.


LAKEPORT – After four years in hiding to arrest prosecution, a former Lakeport resident has been arrested on charges that he allegedly sexually assaulted two girls.

Dustin Graham Powell, 26, was arrested Thursday in Lane County, Ore., in connection with the 2004 case, according to Lt. Brad Rasmussen of the Lakeport Police Department.

Rasmussen reported that in 2004 police first investigated the case of two female juveniles who had been sexually assaulted, allegedly by Powell, with whom police had other previous contacts, though not for this type of offense.

The girls, ages 13 and 15 at the time of the assault, are cousins, said Rasmussen. Powell was an acquaintance of the girls' families, which is how he was able to get close to them.

Following a complete investigation of the incident, the Lake County District Attorney's Office filed felony sexual assault charges against Powell and an arrest warrant was issued in the amount of $20,000, said Rasmussen.

The charges filed against Powell included one count of unlawful or lewd acts with a minor child under the age of 14, two counts of rape by intoxication or a controlled substance, and one count of penetration when the victim is under 16 years of age and the perpetrator is over the age of 21.

Based on the facts of the case, Rasmussen said Lakeport Police considers it particularly egregious.

“This is a case where he specifically took advantage and preyed on the two girls,” Rasmussen said.

Before investigators could arrest Powell, he is believed to have fled Lake County to Oregon, where he's been hiding out to avoid prosecution ever since, according to Rasmussen.

Rasmussen said Lakeport Police investigators have worked with law enforcement agencies in Oregon in an effort to locate Powell.

The Oregon State Police arrested Powell without incident on Thursday after receiving information on his whereabouts.

Because of his previous effort to escape prosecution, Lakeport Police investigators believed the original bail of $20,000 was not sufficient to secure his appearance, said Rasmussen.

As a result, on Friday Rasmussen said Det. Norm Taylor presented a Lake County Superior Court Judge with an application for increased bail and Powell’s bail was ordered increased to $250,000.

Powell is being held in the Lane County Oregon Correctional Facility pending extradition

to Lake County. Rasmussen said Lakeport Police is waiting to hear about when he will be brought back to Lake County, and hope to have more information on Monday.

Rasmussen said that, before Powell is brought back, he must make a court appearance in Oregon and be informed of his rights relating to extradition to California.

“If he makes an effort to fight extradition it could hold it up for a while,” Rasmussen said.

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LUCERNE – The Code Enforcement Division of Community Development has completed the relocation of its offices to downtown Lucerne.

The division is now located on the second floor above the Lake County Visitor Center at 6110 A East Highway 20, Code Enforcement Manager Voris Brumfield reported.

“Our target date to re-open to the public is Nov. 3,” said Brumfield. “With the current reduction in the number trained officers on staff, this move will be a significant benefit to north county.”

Brumfield said a great percentage of code violations occur in the areas of Clearlake Oaks, Lucerne, Nice and Upper Lake, and the move will allow the division's officers to respond to complaints more quickly.”

Code Enforcement's main phone line has been changed to 274-8923. Information about the division is available on the county Web site at


LAKEPORT – A Sutter Lakeside Hospital official says that a Wednesday informational picket of the hospital by union members has little to do with working conditions there, while the union is using the opportunity to raise patient care issues.

SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West (UHW) members will hold the informational picket from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the hospital on Wednesday at the hospital's main campus on Hill Road East.

Also on Wednesday, UHW plans strikes at 10 hospitals around the state, including five belonging to Sutter Health, as Lake County News has reported. The union reported that UHW workers have been in negotiations with Sutter Health for months, and have been without a contract since Sept. 30.

A Sutter Health information sheet on the UHW actions said the strike has “nothing to do with employees who work within some Sutter Health hospitals and everything to do with increasing power, membership and money for UHW.”

Sutter Health states it pays higher-than-average wages to its employees, with medical records clerks receiving an average of $44,336, far above the $28,558 paid by other Northern California hospitals.

Sutter Lakeside Hospital spokesman Mitch Proaps said the union presented its proposals to the hospital in the middle of September, and Sutter Lakeside is now in the midst of answering them.

“I can't really respond to what may or may not be in those proposals,” he said. “I have to respect the negotiations process. We do our negotiations at the table, not through the media.”

Proaps said the hospital and UHW are scheduled to meet to discuss the contract proposals in November.

He said he's not aware of the specific issues the union is using as the reason for the Wednesday event. “They're not at liberty to tell us their motives for the picket.”

Proaps added, however, that it's the hospital's assumption that the picket at Sutter Lakeside is in support of labor actions outside of the area due to where they're at in the negotiations process locally.

Stefanie Edwards, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and a nursing student who also is a UHW member, said she's worked at the hospital for a little over a year. Currently, Edwards is in the hospital's outpatient unit, where she works on a per-diem basis a few days a week.

The main concern for her is a proposal to have a patient to CNA ratio of 16 to 1. “Even in nursing homes they have more staff per patient.”

Edwards said registered nurses, who normally are in charge of more advanced medical care and passing medications, also are doing more duties like bathing normally assigned to CNAs, and that raises concerns over the quality of patient care.

She added that she's seen staff get fewer work hours since the hospital's change to critical access designation became effective earlier this year. “We've seen them keep only one CNA for the whole med-surge wing.”

Edwards said the hospital had said it would not cut hours or lay off staff due to the designation change, but she and others have experienced drastic hour cuts.


She said the ratio change appeared to have occurred about two or three weeks ago, after the September exit of the hospital's former chief executive officer, Kelly Mather.

Proaps said the hospital's CNA contract was settled some time ago, and the state mandates particular ratios for patient to nurses and caregivers. “We run a hospital here,” he said. “Our main priority is patient care.”

He added that staff hours depend on census numbers, not the critical access designation. “Census has always driven staffing, regardless of what your capacity is.”

The critical access designation limits a hospital's beds to 25. As of Sunday, the hospital's census was 22, with a month-to-date average of 19 and a year-to-date average of 20 patients, said Proaps.

Patients are either being sent to other facilities in Santa Rosa and Ukiah, or being sent home early because of fewer beds, said Edwards. She added that she hasn't seen a larger ratio of people being sent to the skilled facilities, like Evergreen or Lakeport Skilled.

Lakeport Skilled Nursing Administrator Debra Sims said her facility hasn't seen more patients due to the critical access designation. “I can't say it has remarkably increased.”

The facility, which Sims said depends on hospital for patients, has worked “very smoothly” with Sutter Lakeside since the hospital's access change.

The formal contract between the hospital and care facility was never finalized – which Sims said was on Lakeport Skilled's side, with the agreement still in the hands of their legal department. However, they are working with the hospital as if it had been finalized, and they talk with the hospital daily.

Proaps confirmed that a formal, signed bed agreement hasn't been reached with Lakeport Skilled Nursing yet. He said the hospital is working closely with both Lakeport Skilled and Evergreen Lakeport, and the hospital has been impressed by how receptive the facilities have been to Sutter Lakeside's needs.

He said the hospital receives a daily report on bed availability which, between the two facilities, hasn't proved to be an issue. That's one of the areas in which the process has run much more smoothly than anticipated since the critical access conversion.

Proaps said Sutter Lakeside has an “impressively low” vacancy turnover rate, far below Sutter Health's and the state's average.

He also emphasized that the hospital has not reduced its services due to the critical access change, with emergency, intensive care and other important services still very much present.

Proaps said the hospital doesn't plan to take any action regarding the picket. “That's their right and we honor it.”

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


LAKE COUNTY – It's time to once again turn the clocks back as Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday.

Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday of November, when clocks are turned back one hour. That extra hour will give people a little more daylight as the days continue to shorten into the winter months.

On the second Sunday in March at 2 a.m. Daylight Saving Time will begin, with clocks moving forward once more.

Beginning in 2007, Daylight Saving Time was extended by one month as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, according to the California Energy Commission.

States and US territories including Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona – except the Navajo Indian Reservation – don't observe Daylight Saving Time, the California Energy Commission reported.

California's Legislature sent a joint resolution to the White House and Congress in May of 2001 to ask that Daylight Saving Time be extended year-round due to the state's energy crisis, the commission reported. However, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, led to no action being taken on the request, which has not been renewed by state leaders.

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


Buster, a golden retriever who lives in Lucerne with the Sorenson family, is among the first Humane Society of the United States Dog of Valor award winners. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


LUCERNE – A big-hearted golden retriever who was adopted as a puppy from Lake County Animal Care and Control has been named among the first field of honorees for a new national honor for canine heroes.

Buster, who lives in Lucerne with his family, the Sorensons, received his Humane Society of the United States Dog of Valor medal on Wednesday in a small ceremony at the new animal shelter on Helbush near Lakeport.

Chris Sorenson, 47, adopted Buster as a 5-week-old puppy from the local animal shelter. In the 11 years they've been together, Buster has served as a service dog for Sorenson, who has no sight in his right eye due to glaucoma, besides suffering from numerous other health issues, including a heart condition.

Buster was honored Wednesday for action he took to save his master and family on the morning of Nov. 22, 2007 – Thanksgiving Day.

Sorenson was in bed that morning asleep, recovering from back surgery in which four discs in his back were replaced.

He was awakened by Buster jumping up and hitting him in the back with his paws.

“When I woke up there was a flame shooting a foot and a half out of the wall,” said Sorenson, explaining that a faulty electrical outlet had started to catch the house on fire.

He got up and evacuated his wife and three children, all of them meeting in the front yard of their Fifth Avenue home in Lucerne.

Sorenson, a former volunteer firefighter with Upper Lake, then took a fire extinguisher and a claw hammer and went in and made sure the fire was out. A foot and a half of wiring and a stud in the 1930s-era home were damaged, but no major harm was done.

“Basically, he saved the house,” Sorenson said of Buster.

After a few hours of repair, the family was able to sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner.

“We had a lot to be thankful for,” said Sorenson.

Paul Bruce, regional program director for the western regional office of the Humane Society of the United States, traveled from Sacramento to bestow the honor on Buster. He said Buster was nominated through a letter sent to the group.

This is the Dog of Valor award's inaugural year, said Bruce.

Seven dogs were honored, including three companion dog runners-up, three runners-up from the working group (including Buster) and one grand prize (see below for details on the other winners).

The grand prize was awarded posthumously to Buffy, a 7-year-old German shepherd from Oakland who was shot while trying to protect her master, Will Bartley, from an armed gunman who attempted to rob Bartley as he was returning home from work. Buffy later died from health complications exacerbated by her wounds.

Bruce said the Humane Society of the United States had offered a reward for her shooter, who has not been found. Later, the group decided to start the Dog of Valor award, and he put Buffy's case forward.

Buffy, Buster and the other winners were chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, among them tennis great Martina Navratilova; dog trainer Tamar Geller; animal activist Candy Spelling, widow of the late TV producer Aaron Spelling; and Silvio Horta, creator/executive producer of the TV show, “Ugly Betty.”

Bruce said he was on an animal evacuation mission for the Humboldt Fire in Butte County earlier this year when he got the call about Buffy and the other dogs being chosen for the award.

“I enjoy my job,” said Bruce, who got some kisses from Buster. “I get to meet a lot of nice dogs.”

Buster is with Chris Sorenson all day, every day. He walks on Sorenson's right side to prevent him from walking into objects which he can't see because he's lost sight in his right eye. Buster sleeps with Sorenson at night, gets him his medicine bag, and uses his calm presence to keep Sorenson's blood pressure down, as well as control the pressure in his eyes which are stricken with glaucoma.

Sorenson also has taught Buster some tricks – fetch, roll over and shake hands.

He said Buster enjoys playing with the children, and slept at the door of his young daughter's bedroom after she was born. When the children argue, however, he will stand between them, not liking to hear them fight.

For years Buster's best friend was the family's cat, Spotsy, who died recently. The dog used to carry the 22-pound Spotsy around from room to room, Sorenson said.

The Sorenson family – Chris and wife Ann; sons CJ, 18, and Luke, 9; and daughter Hally, 2 – are dog lovers. They also run Lucerne Bath and Brush pet grooming.

Chris Sorenson said he always urges people who want a pet to check out the shelter first – a good suggestion, since that's how Buster came into his life.

You can adopt a canine (or feline) hero and companion of your own by visiting the shelter at 4949 Helbush in Lakeport, telephone 263-0278; or check them out online at, where pictures of adoptable animals can be viewed.

Profiles in canine courage: Dog of Valor winners for 2007

The following dogs – some of which, like Buster, are service animals – are the other winners of the Humane Society of the United States' inaugural Dog of Valor award. The following profiles are taken from the Dog of Valor award pages, where the full profiles can be found, at

Companion Dog Group

Buffy (Owners, Will and Lagree Bartley; Oakland, Calif.)

Buffy’s guardian, Will Bartley, had just returned home from work when he was approached by an armed man who pointed a gun at his chest and demanded money. Buffy, a 7-year-old German shepherd who had just made her way out to greet Bartley, sensed danger and lunged at the gunman, who fired two shots, striking her once in the front leg. Despite her wound, Buffy pursued the gunman who eventually escaped. A month after the shooting the Bartleys were forced to euthanize Buffy due to an underlying kidney condition that was exacerbated by the shooting.

Working Dog Group

Yeager (Owner, Sharon Yunker-Deatz; Louisville, Ky.)

Yeager, a 2½ year old Labrador retriever, is trained to help his owner, Sharon Yunker-Deatz, live with multiple sclerosis. Yunker-Deatz and Yeager took a trip to the beach in Muskegon, Mich., during which Yeager helped draw rescuers to a drowning child, swimming out to help despite a strong undertow. A month later, Yeager protected Yunker-Deatz from danger; while visiting a friend whose home had just burned down, she started to walk through the rubble but Yeager blocked her from moving forward. She discovered that a hole had been burned into the floor and, had it not been for Yeager, she may have fallen through the damaged floor.

People's Choice Valor Dog of the Year

Companion Dog Group

Jack (Owners, The Pieters Family; Willow Street, Penn.)

Jack is a terrier mix who a police officer rescued from a trash dumpster. In 2004, he was adopted from the animal shelter by the Pieters family whose daughter, Maya, had been diagnosed the previous year with Congenital Bilateral Perisylvian Syndrome, an extremely rare neurological condition that mainly affects the oral motor functions. Jack and Maya bonded immediately. On a fall morning in 2007, Jack awoke suddenly and rushed upstairs to Maya's room, where he began clawing and barking at the door. The girl was having her first grand mal seizure in her sleep; the family rushed her to the hospital. When she came home, Jack stayed at her side, and since then he seems able to sense when the little girl is about to have an epileptic event, event breaking her fall once and sitting on top of her as she suffered a seizure.

Dogs of Valor Finalists

Companion Dog Group

Anna (Owner, Candace Jennings; Idaho City, Idaho)

Early Thanksgiving morning, Anna, an adopted Australian cattle dog, barked and nudged her sleeping owner as flames quickly began to sweep through their Idaho City, Idaho mobile home. Finally waking her, Anna, two other dogs, and their guardian, Candace Jennings, were able to safely escape the burning home. As soon as they were outside, Jennings realized that all of her work keys were still inside. With Anna by her side, she crawled back in to find them but became disoriented by the thick smoke and could not find her way out. Anna came to Jennings' rescue again by pushing and nudging her towards the door that led to safety. Both escaped with minor burns just moments before the roof collapsed. The home was a total loss.

Bear (Owner, Jeremy Rogers; Palmer, Alaska)

Bear's two owners, Christopher E. Rogers Sr. and Elann Moren, were startled awake before dawn in a frightening way: Rogers Sr.'s 28-year-old son, Christopher Erin Rogers Jr., stood over them with a machete. Even as his son hit him multiple times with the deadly blade, Rogers Sr. tried to fight back. When he finally collapsed, Rogers Jr. turned his attention to Moren, his father's fiance, and began to attack her. That's when Bear, the couple's 160-pound Mastiff mix, attacked the assailant and bit him, giving Moren a chance to escape to the bathroom where she was able to lock herself inside and call the police. His attack thwarted, Rogers Jr. fled the Palmer, Alaska house and allegedly continued his 26-hour rampage in nearby Anchorage. Sadly, Rogers Sr. died from his injuries. While Morenn suffered a dozen devastating slashes to her head, neck, and back, she survived in part because Bear, who suffered a split lip and a shattered tooth, slowed the attack and gave her a chance to escape the nightmare.

Working Dog Group

Pearl (Owner, Adrian McKee; Big Bear City, Calif.)

Pearl is a service dog who is trained to help her owner, Adrian McKee, with her mobility. The 70-pound boxer-great dane mix also alerts McKee to oncoming migraines and has developed a skill for "tasting" (licking) McKee's skin and notifying her when her potassium levels are low or are dropping. One day in their Big Bear City, California home, McKee fainted and collapsed from potassium loss and was barely conscious. Pearl used her nose to try to raise McKee's head. She also licked McKee's neck and tried to get her up again. When that failed, Pearl went to the phone, knocked the receiver off the hook and stepped on one of the large emergency buttons her owner had casually shown her. When there was no response, an ambulance and police car were dispatched to the home. When they arrived, Pearl opened the door as she had been trained, grabbed a ball in her mouth and ran to the gate. Because Pearl's appearance had frightened paramedics and police in the past, McKee trained Pearl to carry a ball in her mouth in an effort to ensure visitors that she was friendly. Paramedics followed Pearl back into the home to McKee and took her to the emergency room where she was treated for dangerously low potassium levels. Thanks to Pearl's quick thinking, help for her guardian came just in the nick of time.

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


Curt Giambruno

Age: 70

Family: Married 51 years to Judie, mother of five children – three girls, two boys – and five grandsons and one great-granddaughter.

Experience in government and community service: 1993 to 1994, started to volunteer for many different entities for and with the city: Chamber of Commerce, CRC, community cleanup projects, auto abatement, City Code Enforcement Department for nine years, Countywide Parks Advisory Board for six years, president of Vector Control Board for nine-plus years. Appointed to the Clearlake Planning Commission for a total of more than nine years, including four as chairman. Appointed to the City Council in 2006. In more than two years on the council, I have been councilmember, vice mayor and currently am mayor.

Endorsements: Supervisors Ed Robey and Jeff Smith; Mark Cooper, DDS, and Janice Cooper; Clearlake Planning Commission, Chairman Carl Webb, Vice Chair Al Bernal, and Commissioners Bill Perkins, Gina Fortino Dickson and Fred Gaul; Carol Webb; Pamela Bernal; Kathy Perkins; Ruth Gaul; Bob Keil; Terry Stewart; Doug and Arlene Cooper; Anna and Frank McAtee; Andy Peterson; Konocti Unified School District Board of Trustees member Anita Gordon; Lower Lake High School Counselor Amy Osborn; Harriet Rogers; endorsed by many more citizens and community leaders.

1. Explain what you believe a city council member's responsibilities are. How would you fulfill these? What qualifications do you possess that make you a good candidate for office?

Responsibilities: Setting policy through legislation, reviewing and approving the annual budget, selecting a chief administrator, an attorney and a chief of police. Setting the mission and goals for the organization. Explaining and selling programs.

In order to get anything accomplished an elected official must be a good listener, learn to work together in defining and agreeing on mutual goals for the organization. One of the main things not to do is micromanage staff.

I am a good listener and am able to work cooperatively with enough other members of the group to be able to get things accomplished.

2. Explain how your management style would be applied to your position as council member. Are you hands-on or do you set policy and delegate?

My management style as applied to the role of an elected official is directly accountable to constituents. I feel I must constantly balance individual and group demands with the needs of the entire community.

I would prefer to set policy and delegate by adopting legislation making policy. Adjudicating issues and help to establish budgets.

3. Large developments are proposed for Clearlake and surrounding areas, particularly the Provinsalia development near Cache Creek, the Serenity Cove project on the lakeshore and increased commercial development along Highway 53. What is your opinion on these various projects? Are they good for Clearlake? Why or why not? Are there any other developments that you think are either good or bad for the city?

My general answer to this question is YES. Provinsalia development and the Serenity Cove project (this project is under way) have the potential of bringing to our community additional tourists and visitors. This will be economically viable for our city.

Retail center for the county along Highway 53: This retail hub would provide jobs for our citizens and revenues for our city. This project has the potential of bringing in a large sales tax base, which is sorely needed. The city needs to have this economic stability in order to provide for the public safety and other public needs for our city.

I am not award of any other developments on the drawing board, at this time.

4. For several years the Clearlake Police Department's budget has been augmented by the Measure P sales tax approved by voters. Do you support continuing to augment the police department budget? Are there different approaches that you, as a council member, would take when addressing the police department?

I absolutely support continuing with Measures P as part of the police department budget. Additional funding would be nice (additional sales taxes from retail developments) would help, add the necessary officers and at least two K-9 units to our force. The approach I would take as a council member with the police department is working closer with our chief and his reorganized department, which is doing a fine job in community policing.

5. The city's redevelopment plan has two years remaining in its implementation. Updating the plan is being proposed to extend it for another 10 years. Do you support extending redevelopment in Clearlake? Why or why not?

Yes I support the update of the redevelopment plan and extending it another 10 years. This will be good for the city and will add a number of millions of dollars in future years. In conjunction with this update we need to amend and update our general plan which will make the redevelopment plan more viable.

6. In September of 2007, the Clearlake Vision Task Force presented to the council a 60-page report that lays out a vision for the city, from improved infrastructure and public facilities to ways to build the economic base and create a sustainable city. What is your opinion on the value of the report? Do you think its ideas can be achieved? What would you as a council member do to carry the vision forward?

I am very pleased this task force was formed and the 60-page report came from those many meetings. I spent nine years on the Planning Commission asking for this type of document to be brought forward. I am most pleased it finally came to fruition. This vision was accepted by the council and assigned toht e Planning Commission to work with it and carry forward.

7. Some issues that come before the council can be extremely divisive, both among council members and city residents. How would you address clashing opinions when approaching a decision? What experience do you have in working with others when there are no easy answers but a decision has to be made?

In the past two-plus years on the council I have had a number of issues that have been very divisive among both council and residents. I have been involved in openly negotiating a compromise conclusion, which pleased all concerned. My experience in working with others comes from owning my own business for 30 years. I had to listen to others and to compromise.

8. If elected, is there any project or issue you plan to tackle first?

I have a number of items on my wish list – not in this order.

A. Form a Lakeshore Drive Parking District.

B. Continue to clean up Lakeshore Drive.

C. Try and make the senior center more economically viable. Solar – drop ceiling in main room.

D. Expand our economy and create jobs by working toward a retail center complex.

E. Construct a medium-size BMX bike track at Haverty Field.

F. Construct a small playground for little children at Redbud Park.

G. Economic development of Austin site.

H. Assist police department in getting the K-9 program up and running.

I. Continue working with the senior community addressing their issues.

9. Public safety is an important issue in Clearlake. How would you as a council member seek to improve safety and reduce crime in the city's neighborhoods?

I would refer to question No. 4 regarding the police department and Measure P, the new chief and his community policing policies.

10. When you think of Clearlake's future, what do you want the city to look like in 10, 20 and 30 years?

1. Having the lake more accessible to our citizens for their recreation and marinas for public use.

2. Revitalizing Lakeshore Drive.

3. Two good-sized resorts on the water – one possible a timeshare.

4. A pier extending out into the lake with a first-class restaurant and some small gift shops.

5. Transition from a small resort town to a world-class small city.

6. Through a policy of managed growth the city can expand its town center and its stock of housing while building parks and preserving open space.


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