Saturday, 20 July 2024


SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, has awarded over $3.1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) “stimulus” contracts to five small and one large business for projects that support the district’s mission.

The projects include construction and upgrading of major recreation and community-use areas, endangered-species preservation, water recycling and vital fish-hatchery operations.

The money was awarded to six California companies, five of which are small businesses, according to Lt. Col. Torrey DiCiro, San Francisco District commander.

The district made the following ARRA awards:

  • Coyote Valley Dam Comfort Stations Repair/Replacement, Lake Mendocino at Ukiah: $113,298 to Belmont-based MIE Inc., a small business.

  • Elevator Hoistway Control-Structure Seepage Repair, Warm Springs Dam, Lake Sonoma at Geyserville: $18,644 to Livermore, Calif.-based CSRW, Inc., a small business.

  • Warm Springs Dam Control Structure Repair, Warm Springs Dam, Lake Sonoma at Geyserville: $4,080 to Livermore-based CSRW Inc., a small business.

  • GIS Data Development of Salinas and Arroyo Rivers, Monterey County: $149,493 to Concord, Calif.-based Towill Inc.

  • San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Project, Contra Costa County: $2,406,145 to Yuba City, Calif.-based North Star Construction and Engineering Inc., a small business.

  • San Francisco Bay Multipurpose Building Electrical Generation Project, Sausalito: $408,688 to Riverside-based Hal Hays Construction Inc., a small business.

With the addition of these six ARRA contracts awards, the San Francisco District has awarded over $56 million in 93 “stimulus” contract awards since May 2009. Small businesses comprise 72 of the 93 awards.

Established in 1866, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District, employees approximately 350 people, who are responsible for 40,000 square miles extending 600 miles from the Oregon border to San Luis Obispo County. The district’s programs and projects support approximately 1,000 permanent, higher-wage jobs that contribute to more than $100 million to the regional economy.

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WASHINGTON, DC – Hundreds of American Indian and Alaskan Native communities will receive almost $127 million to enhance law enforcement, bolster justice systems, prevent youth substance abuse, serve sexual assault and elder victims, and support other efforts to combat crime, the US Department of Justice reported Wednesday.

The grants are the first under the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS), a new effort combining 10 different Department of Justice grant programs into a single solicitation.

Tribes in the North Coast region receiving grants include the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians in Mendocino County, which received a COPS- Tribal Resource Grant Program for $332,949 and $675,000 from a tribal governments program.

Also in Mendocino County, the Round Valley Indian Tribes in Covelo were granted $319,285 to develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems.

In Sonoma County, the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians were granted funds for tribal justice systems in the amount of $329,107.

Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli announced the CTAS awards at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Perrelli noted that Attorney General Eric Holder and other Department of Justice leadership held tribal listening sessions last year.

The department developed CTAS in response to views shared at these sessions, Tribal consultation events and other feedback from tribal leaders.

"Today, we take another major step toward true nation-to-nation collaboration," said Perrelli. "CTAS is not only a more streamlined grant-making process, it is part of the department's broader strategy of increased engagement with tribal communities across a broad range of areas."

CTAS includes most of the tribal programs from the department's Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The programs were listed as 10 purpose areas.

In previous years, tribes seeking funding for more than one of these purposes would need to submit multiple grant applications. With CTAS, tribes were able to submit a single application while selecting multiple purpose areas, ranging from juvenile justice to violence against women.

"This approach not only saves time and resources, but it also allows tribes and the Department to gain a better understanding of overall public safety needs," Perrelli added. "Through CTAS and other initiatives, we have sought to take action to respond to tribal leaders and help end the inexcusably high crime rates in tribal communities."

Additionally, COPS Office Director Bernard Melekian, addressed the National Native American Law Enforcement Association's 18th Annual National Training Conference Wednesday in Las Vegas. Director Melekian simultaneously announced the CTAS awards to the approximately 400 tribal law enforcement representatives in attendance.

All federally recognized tribes were eligible for CTAS. OJP, COPS, and OVW worked together in making the award decisions.

Tribal leaders have been invited to a tribal consultation session on Oct. 5 in Spokane to discuss ways to improve the department's grant-making process in future years.

Other California tribes receiving grants included:

  • Barona Band of Mission Indians: COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $98,443.

  • Bishop Indian Tribal Council: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems,$350,000; and COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $55,625.

  • Hoopa Valley Tribe, develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $324,800; prevent and reduce alcohol and substance abuse-related crimes, $349,846; COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $136,747.

  • La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians: COPS-Tribal Resources Grant Program, $366,951; develop new demonstration projects on violence prevention and rehabilitation, $499,999; tribal sexual assault services program, $300,000.

  • Los Coyotes Band of Indians: tribal governments program, $200,000.

  • Pala Band of Mission Indians: prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $274,926.

  • Pauma Band of Mission Indians: COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $338,050.

  • Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000.

  • Pit River Tribe: prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $398,384; tribal governments program, $450,000.

  • Shingle Springs Rancheria: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000; prevent and control delinquency and improve the juvenile justice system, $300,000; and tribal governments program, $398,149.

  • Smith River Rancheria: develop and enhance the operation of tribal justice systems, $350,000; COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $75,300.

  • Southern Indian Health Council Inc.: tribal governments program, $558,804.

  • Yurok Tribe: prevent and reduce alcohol and substance abuse-related crimes, $500,000; COPS-Tribal Resource Grant Program, $497,866; enhance accountability for delinquent behavior, $300,000; provide community outreach and victim assistance services to address elder abuse, $100,000; tribal sexual assault services program, $300,000.

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UPPER LAKE, Calif. – The identity of the victim of a hit-and-run vehicle collision last week has been released by local officials.

Merlin James Pruitt, 73, of Ukiah was identified as the crash victim, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Pruitt left Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino at about 2:30 a.m. Sept. 9 and was traveling northbound in his wheelchair on the westbound shoulder of Highway 20, as Lake County News has reported.

A half-hour after Pruitt left the casino, 30-year-old Manuel Herrera of Nice is alleged to have hit Pruitt with his vehicle while traveling at around 70 to 80 miles per hour, according to the California Highway Patrol report.

The CHP reported that a Caltrans crew found the debris from Pruitt's wheelchair along the roadside before discovering his body in an area off the roadway.

Later that day, the CHP arrested Herrera on charges of felony hit and run resulting in death and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license, officials reported. He later was released after posting $10,000 bail.

Bauman said an autopsy on Pruitt is scheduled for Tuesday morning at the Napa County Coroner’s Office.

The CHP is continuing the investigation on the hit-and-run case.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .


CLEARLAKE, Calif. – The new Veterans Affairs clinic under construction in Clearlake is on schedule to open in October, the county's veterans service officer and health department head said Thursday.

Jim Brown said a grand opening for the new clinic is scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 13. Local dignitaries and Congressman Mike Thompson will be on hand for the event.

The 10,000-square-foot clinic is located at 15145 Lakeshore Drive, with Vila Construction Co. of Richmond doing the construction work, as Lake County News has reported.

The groundbreaking for the project – which had at least 10 years of lobbying behind it – took place last April.

The VA has been handling oversight of the construction and keeping the county informed, with Brown saying he's getting updates on the progress.

At the same time, Veterans Service Office staff have been busy enrolling veterans who want to receive the health care services offered there, he said.

Brown said it's estimated that there eventually will be about 3,500 vets enrolled for the clinic's services. Altogether, the county has a veterans population of about 8,000.

Some of those veterans who currently want to transfer health services from Ukiah and Santa Rosa may be held off until newer enrollees are brought in, he said.

The Veterans Service Office also will have space at the clinic, according to Brown.

“We do expect to have some presence in the clinic, probably about two days of the week,” he said.

The Veterans Service Office staff will be “doing everything,” said Brown, from talking about health care issues and enrollments to giving information about home loans.

While veterans will be able to get a wide array of general health care services at the clinic, Brown said major procedures will still require travel to Santa Rosa or San Francisco.

Currently, veterans can catch a bus from Clearlake City Hall down to the Bay Area every weekday morning at 5 a.m. for major treatments, but the clinic may now serve as a staging place for those trips, he said.

“That's something that we've just started talking about,” Brown added.

Brown said those trips and the associated logistics will be overseen by the VA.

For veterans wanting to enroll for health services, it's not too late. Call the Lake County Veterans Service Office at 707-263-2384.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Following concerns last month that a transit worker strike could occur locally, contract negotiations between the company that operates Lake County's transit services and its union-represented employees came to a successful conclusion this week.

Paratransit Services of Bremerton, Wash., which holds the contract for Lake Transit Authority, and Teamsters Local 624, based in Santa Rosa, reached a tentative agreement for a three-year contract for 35 transit employees on Sept. 1, as Lake County News has reported.

This past Sunday in Lower Lake, that tentative agreement went before a vote of a committee representing the workers, said Ralph Miranda, a union spokesman and negotiator on the contract.

“The offer was unanimously accepted and recommended by the committee,” he said.

Randy Grove, Paratransit Services' director of operations and human resources, confirmed the settlement.

“We are pleased that an agreement could be reached,” Grove said.

Miranda said the contract terms include a 1.5-percent wage increase retroactive to July 1, up from the 1 percent wage increase Paratransit Services had previous proposed.

He said they also will continue with the current health plan offered by Paratransit Services, with an agreement that the company and employees would split the costs of any increases the insurance company implements.

The two sides agreed to reopen negotiations on medical benefits and wages on June 30 of the next two years, he said.

In turn, the union agreed in the contract to Paratransit Services' request to freeze longevity increases, which Miranda previously said include step increases between five and 10 years of service.

“We agreed to freeze the step increases, which was one of the big item that was delaying it,” he said.

Miranda said federal mediator David Weinberg, who has worked with the two sides over the last several weeks, was very helpful in getting a resolution.

“The atmosphere at the bargaining table, I've got to say, really turned cooperative,” said Miranda, noting that everyone wanted to get an agreement.

Though the union had set deadlines for strikes last month, Miranda said they hadn't wanted to interrupt services for the thousands of local residents who depend on local transit.

Paratransit Services officials also had emphasized that they didn't want to see service interruptions.

“Paratransit Services values its employees,” said Grove. “In turn, the employees value their commitment and responsibility to provide safe and efficient transportation services to the residents of Lake County.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Volunteer workers at the Soper-Reese Community Theatre in Lakeport, Calif., include, from left to right, Marc Spillman, Kelseyville Lumber Truss Division;; Jim Plank, Soper-Reese Theatre, facilities; John Ross, Soper-Reese Theatre, theatre manager; Mike Beale, Guido

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The Lake County Social Services Department is beginning an online customer service survey to gauge how it's serving the community.

The agency, headquartered in Lower Lake, is the county department with the largest budget – $45 million – most of which comes from the state, as Lake County News has reported.

It oversees numerous offerings, from In-Home Supportive Services to Child Protective Services, Adult Protective Services, CalWORKS, Medi-Cal, food stamps and a variety of other relief-based programs.

Director Carol Huchingson reported Thursday that they were launching the online customer satisfaction survey.

“Based on our commitment to excellent customer service, we are encouraging persons served by our department to complete a survey anytime, online at,” she said.

From that Web page, users can click on the link for English or Spanish versions of the survey.

“The feedback you give us will help us enhance our service delivery,” Huchingson said.

For those without access to computers, hard copy customer satisfaction survey forms also are available in the agency's Lower Lake lobbies, she said.

The survey asks about ease of application for services, if the person received information about other services and if that information was explained, were they able to ask questions or voice issues, were questions answered and issues resolved, who they dealt with and overall satisfaction.

Social Services can be reached via telephone at 707-995-4200.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – AIDSWALK Lake County invites the community to come out this weekend and help with the work of raising awareness about AIDS and its prevention.

The third annual event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at Austin Park in Clearlake.

Come and walk along with Hospice Services of Lake County, Yuba College Rotaracts, Head Start and many others.

Walk alone for a small donation or with a team of four for only $25.

Although the walk is only three-quarters of a mile, organizers say the walk invokes a warm, community spirit.

Local health and wellness caregivers will have booths, including the Sutter Mobile Health team which will offer free health screenings. Also on hand will be a diverse community of caring, civic groups, including the Stonewall Democratic Club, Lake County PRIDE, Save The Lake, The Sierra Club, CLO/Glenhaven Business Association, the Clearlake Oaks Community Methodist Church, Clearlake United Methodist Church and many more.

Enjoy the arts and crafts and the delicious gourmet food by “Kim Young & Crew,” and join the silent auction of art and things, including a weekend getaway and raffle prizes, all of which will be awarded the same day.


“Without A Net,” a band composed of local educators, will provide the music.

AIDSWALK Lake County is produced by Community Care HIV/AIDS Program and The Drop In Center and the special Lake County communities.


For more information about AIDSWALK Lake County call 707-995-1606.

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LAKEPORT – National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed annually across the nation on the third Friday in September.

This year the commemoration takes place on Sept. 17.

To mark the date and remember those who were or are prisoners of war or missing in action and their families, a gathering will be held at the gazebo in Library Park in Lakeport at 8 p.m.

The program will include a candlelight vigil, speakers Woody Hughes and Dan Christensen, and music by Robert Deppe.

The Military Funeral Honors Team of Lake County will also fire the traditional rifle volleys and play “Taps.” It is a rare opportunity to view a nighttime rifle firing.

More than 1,700 American personnel are still listed as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam conflict. There also are personnel not accounted for from the current conflicts.

Though National POW/MIA Recognition day is not a public holiday it is a national observance.

You are encouraged to take time to remember and honor our American POW/MIA service members.

Everyone is welcome. Please bring a candle to light.

For more information, please call 707-349-2838.

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Local officials gathered for a check-passing ceremony at Lakeport Fire Protection District in Lakeport, Calif., on Wednesday, September 16, 2010. From left to right, Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke, Arlin Pischke and Wally Cox, all members of Lakeport Kiwanis; Lakeport Fire Chief Ken Wells, receiving the check from Cox; Siri Nelson, chief administrative officer of Sutter Lakeside Hospital; Lakeport Police Lt. Brad Rasmussen, also a Lakeport Kiwanis member; and Steve Grant from Zoll, the company that manufactures the AutoPulse cardiac pump. Courtesy photo.

LAKEPORT, Calif. – Thanks to the generosity of community members and groups, Lakeport Fire Protection District officials will be able to pay off a life-saving piece of equipment.

On Wednesday Chief Ken Wells received a check from the Lakeport Kiwanis Club to go toward the purchase of an “AutoPulse” cardiac support pump, which already has helped save local lives.

The device, according to Wells, offers a more powerful and effective manner of doing chest compressions as part of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, with more blood pushed through the body.

The check presented to fire officials Wednesday came from proceeds of an Aug. 28 fundraiser breakfast, which raised about $3,100, along with numerous donations from groups and individuals.

“The community just stepped up and helped out with this,” Wells said. “We're still getting donations.”

Among the major donors were Lakeport Kiwanis, Early Lake Lions and Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Sharon and Jim Hubman, Denise Hinchcliff, City Center Realty and John Whitehead, said Wells.

The family of Glenn Wilds, a former Lakeport firefighter and commissioner who died Sept. 3, also asked that donations be made to the fire department for the machine, Wells said, adding they received a $200 donation in Wilds' memory.

At the Aug. 28 breakfast, the Lakeport Volunteer Firefighters Association and the Lake County Channel Cats both pitched in to help, said Wells.

The Channel Cats were instrumental in selling tickets ahead of time and did a great job as servers at the event, he said, adding they also were pretty cute.

The end result was the department was able to purchase the AutoPulse outright, he said, along with some replacement LifeBands, which are placed around the chest and used for chest compressions. A new machine costs $15,000, but the agency was able to buy a reconditioned one for less.

The volunteer firefighters association has started an AutoPulse account, said Wells. “We're going to keep that account going so eventually we would purchase another one.”

He added, “I would like to see one on every ambulance.”

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Vehicle thefts dropped statewide but rose locally in 2009, according to a new California Highway Patrol report.

The CHP said that statewide vehicle thefts are down for the fourth consecutive year.

“Vehicle theft prevention efforts by law enforcement agencies and the public are paying off,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Since 2005, California has realized a 35-percent reduction in stolen vehicles.”

The agency attributes the decrease in thefts to enforcement, education and technology – all three of which have contributed to the largest decrease in decades of the number of vehicle thefts in California.

The CHP reported that 169,058 vehicles were stolen in 2009, which represents a 15.4-percent decrease from 2008, when 199,766 vehicles were stolen.

“Even with the decrease, on average, a vehicle is stolen every three minutes in California,” said Farrow.

In Lake County, the trend appears to be the reverse.

For 2009, 156 vehicles were stolen, up 16.4 percent from the 134 vehicles stolen the previous year, according to CHP statistics.

Lake County had approximately 84,941 registered vehicles in 2009, with the 156 stolen vehicles representing 0.27 percent of that number, and 0.09 percent of the statewide thefts, statistics showed.

In Lake's neighboring counties, thefts were mostly down last year. In Yolo, thefts dropped by 14.9 percent, 9.4 percent in Colusa, 9.1 percent in Glenn, 4.2 percent in Mendocino and 1.9 percent in Napa. In Sonoma, there was a 0.6 percent increase in thefts in 2009.

The CHP said that of the vehicles reported stolen in 2009, more than 88 percent were recovered. However, the economic loss to Californians exceeded $1 billion.

Statewide, the number of recoveries actually dropped by 13.5 percent from 2008, when 173,328 vehicles were recovered, to 149,884 vehicles recovered in 2009

Lake County showed an increase in stolen vehicle recoveries. In 2008, 125 stolen vehicles were recovered, a number which increased 5.6 percent to the next year, when 132 were found.

Lake's recovery statistics were far better than those of its neighbors, which registered the following numbers: Colusa, -8.6 percent; Glenn, -37 percent; Mendocino, -21 percent; Napa, -8.8 percent; Sonoma, 1 percent; Yolo, -12.8 percent.

In 2009, the top automobile for theft was the 1991 Honda Accord, followed by several other Honda Accord and Civic models from the 1990s. The CHP said the top personal trucks for theft included 1986, 1987 and 1988 model Toyota pickups, while 2007 Suzuki and Yamahas topped the motorcycle theft list, followed by 2006 through 2008 model year Hondas.

Southern California is a hot spot for vehicle theft, the CHP reported.

Approximately 53.4 percent of all thefts in 2009 occurred in the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, according to CHP numbers.

“In order to put thieves out of business and keep from becoming a victim, we must remain vigilant in our efforts,” Farrow said.

Law enforcement is aided by the strategic deployment of bait cars, license plate recognition systems, joint task force operations, vehicle theft training and district attorney cooperation to help drive the vehicle theft numbers down year after year, according to CHP officials.

“Vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity,” added Farrow. “Citizens are on the front lines when it comes to prevention.”

The CHP encourages the public to safeguard vehicles by parking in a secure or highly visible location, always locking the vehicle’s doors, using an alarm system and never leaving a vehicle running unattended.

The agency also urged citizens to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

Shane Hutchins has been on the run from Mendocino County law enforcement for three months. Photo courtesy of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.




MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif. – The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is attempting to locate a wanted parolee who has been on the run for three months.

Shane Hutchins, a 32-year-old transient from the area, is being sought on a variety of charges, including evading and resisting arrest and being a wanted parolee, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

Smallcomb said Hutchins has been evading law enforcement for the past three months in incidents that took place in Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and Ukiah.

During that time, Hutchins has allegedly been involved in three vehicle pursuits, where at least one deputy injured himself in an accident involving the pursuit, said Smallcomb.

Hutchins also has allegedly been involved in two foot pursuits with law enforcement officers who were attempting to apprehend him for the listed charges, Smallcomb said.

In addition, Smallcomb said Hutchins is wanted for a California State Parole violation.

According to witness statements, Hutchins has been known to be in possession of either handguns or knives during these incidents. Smallcomb said Hutchins has further stated he was “not going back to prison.”

Anyone with information on Hutchins' possible whereabouts is asked to contact the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office at 707-463-4086. Callers can remain anonymous.

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Upcoming Calendar

07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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