Friday, 12 April 2024

News

LAKE COUNTY – Stormy conditions on Monday hammered the North Coast and Lake County, where there were numerous reports of downed trees, rock slides, power outages and vehicle collisions.


Western Weather Group reported rain levels approaching 2 inches on Monday for many areas of Lake County, with Middletown nearing 3 inches and one weather station in the Red Hills area between Kelseyville and Lower Lake showing approximately 3.55 inches.


US Geological Survey stream gauges showed the levels in area streams and creeks jumped thanks to the recent storms.


Clear Lake was reported to be at 1.23 feet Rumsey late Monday, up from less than 0.80 feet Rumsey earlier in the week.


The Lake County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services warned that there could be instances of flooding later in the week. But that problem already had started Monday afternoon, when the CHP reported water over the roadway on Highway 20 just west of Lucerne.


One area that was hit particularly hard by Monday's storms was Cobb.


Cobb resident Roger Kinney said they were experiencing gusting winds and power outages, along with several small hailstorms.


They also had several thunderstorms, Kinney said, with the thunder and lightning getting so close at one point that it was shaking his house.


Around the rest of the county, there were numerous instances of trees that were down and blocking roadways and downed power lines.


Shortly before 2 p.m. officials reported downed power lines blocking both lanes on Bottle Rock Road north of Sulphur Creek, with South Lake County Fire Protection District and the California Highway Patrol responding.


Rock slides and boulders rolling onto area roads because of the saturated earth also were an issue.


One CHP report made shortly before 1 p.m. on Highway 29 near Lower Lake said there were rocks in the roadway “about the size of basketballs.”


Numerous car collisions – most without injuries – were reported Monday, with most appearing to be due to the wet conditions.


A crash that occurred at around 6 p.m. on Highway 29 just south of Spruce Grove Road resulted when a Ford Explorer hit a boulder that had gone into the roadway, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Monday evening, icy conditions were reported on Highway 53, and similar icy conditions on Highway 29 at Red Hills Road caused a vehicle to go off the roadway at around 9 p.m. No injuries were reported.


On Monday evening, a retaining wall on Beryl Way in Clearlake Oaks collapsed due to excessive water, which pushed cinder blocks from the wall into the road, according to the CHP.


The county's road department reported that Berle Way was scheduled to be closed until Tuesday morning because of the wall failure.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LUCERNE – The Lucerne Alpine Senior Center is closed temporarily in anticipation of needed repaired.


Lee Tyree, the center's executive director, said the center closed last Tuesday, Jan. 15. She said she expects it to be closed for a few weeks, with a date for reopening not yet set.


Tyree said center staff found some mildew in a broom closet this past week.


When a repair company came out to look at the closet, they found a hot water pipe had sprung a leak, and soaked the broom closet and the dish room's walls over the course of last weekend, Tyree said.


An expert came to take air samples, and found that there was no harmful mold. Now, Tyree said she's taking bids to get the walls replaced.


“We have to take the plaster down and get it cleaned up,” she said.


Wanting to take every precaution to keep local seniors safe, Tyree decided to close the center, although she and her assistant director remain on duty to answer phones.


She needed to be able to keep Meals on Wheels going, so she turned to the Northshore Fire Protection District.


Fire Chief Jim Robbins gave the center permission to use the commercial kitchen at the fire station in Lucerne, where the meals for Meals on Wheels are being prepared, said Tyree.


“I just can't praise him enough for helping us out,” Tyree said of Robbins.


Anyone needing to reach the center can still call during weekdays and reach the front desk at 707-274-8779.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKEPORT – A preliminary hearing for two suspects allegedly involved in the October shooting and hogtying of a Lakeport man has been rescheduled to February.


Joshua Isaac Wandrey Sr., 35, and Deborah Ann James, 47, were in court Friday for a preliminary hearing on charges that they were involved in the Oct. 20 attack on 49-year-old Ronald Greiner, who told officials that his attackers tried to steal his medical marijuana, as Lake County News has reported.


Wandrey is charged with premeditated attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, torture, home invasion robbery in concert with another, first degree burglary with a person at home, assault with a firearm, assault with a blunt force object, assault likely to cause great bodily injury and serious battery, and special allegations of use of a firearm, according to court records. James is charged with attempted murder, robbery and burglary.


District Attorney Jon Hopkins also filed new charges against Wandrey and James, alleging they are members of the Misfits motorcycle gang, along with co-defendant, Thomas Loyd Dudney, 59.


Defense attorneys Stephen Carter and Komnith Moth, representing Wandrey and James, respectively, entered not guilty to all charges, including the new allegations.


Judge Richard Martin decided to grant the request for a continuance from Moth, who said he wasn't prepared to move forward with the preliminary hearing after receiving 700 pages of discovery evidence that morning from Hopkins. He said Hopkins had told him Thursday that the materials were coming.


“I'm protesting the late discovery in this case, your honor,” said Moth.


He said that at the last appearance in December he also received late discovery, which at that time was about 50 pages.


Some of the new information came from a warrant search of James' house, Moth said.


Carter said he picked up approximately 982 pages of new discovery from Hopkins Friday morning, and thought it was “odd” that the District Attorney's Office would pass on so much discovery right before the preliminary hearing was set to begin.


Following a quick review of the information, Carter said he found a lot of duplication of materials he had previously received, including police reports. The final 347 pages had to do with the alleged gang violations, which he said appeared to do mostly with Dudney, who already has had his preliminary hearing and been ordered to stand trial.


Judge Martin asked what materials specifically related to Dudney. Carter said that material included a packet of information that he said Hopkins had received Dec. 1 and which had been sitting in his office ever since.


He said the amended complaint, which included the gang allegations, wasn't filed in a proper manner, and he alleged that Hopkins was building a delay into the case and didn't want the preliminary hearing held Friday.


“I think it's unacceptable to have this sort of discovery literally dumped on the defense the day before the preliminary hearing,” said Carter, who opposed the amended complaint with the additional charges and objected to delaying the preliminary hearing.


Martin asked if any of the discovery evidence indicated that Wandrey was associated with, or a member of, a criminal street gang. “I haven't seen any in there,” said Carter.


Hopkins told the court that some of the discovery was late due to one of his staffers being out ill. He said he didn't feel the information he received about Dudney – which came from officials in Sonoma, San Joaquin and Tulare counties – was a part of the case against Wandrey and James, but decided out of “an abundance of caution” that he should make the evidence available to Carter and Moth.


Phone records that his office is receiving are helping to create the connection between the defendants in order to move forward on the gang allegations, said Hopkins.


Martin asked him when he got evidence relating to the gang enhancement charge he filed. Hopkins said he received a stack of reports this week and began going through it.


“They're pretty serious charges and I wanted to make sure we had what we need to prove them,” he said.


Carter said the allegation that Wandrey is associated with the Misfits motorcycle gang in Sonoma County is not new to the discovery. “We don't admit that by any stretch,” said Carter, who added that the evidence is “weak.”


Martin told Carter that he made a very effective argument, but said it shouldn't have come as a surprise to him that the evidence or the charges were coming.


Carter said he wasn't surprised, but pointed out that last week Martin had expressed serious concern about the District Attorney's Office putting out 80 pages of discovery late in another case. He said it caused him grave concern when individuals' rights to time in a preliminary hearing are toyed with in such a way.


“I don't want this to turn into a personal battle between you and Mr. Hopkins,” said Martin.


Martin explained that the previous week he had chewed out someone else in Hopkins' office over the late discovery issue, but the situation with Hopkins appeared to be different.


“It's not personal, it's professional,” Carter said about his concerns in the case, which he said were based on his duty to Wandrey.


“I'm not questioning what your duty is,” said Martin, adding that when one party or another makes a comment about the other side, it becomes personal and isn't appropriate.


Moth said he agreed with Carter's position, and reiterated his request for a continuance.


Martin, in ruling on the amended complaint, found that they were “very serious charges,” and they create challenges from both the standpoints of sentencing and the difficulty of the trial. The defense needs to determine the best defense to set forth and the sooner the better, he said.


During the hearing, Martin also told the two sides that they needed to get together to work out some of their concerns. “It's not my job to help either side with the case.”


Martin found good cause for the discovery being presented as it was.


Carter said it still hadn't been explained what documents had led Hopkins to file the additional charges. “I'll be happy to show them to him,” said Hopkins.


Martin said he wasn't going to spend the day holding the hearing – which lasted close to 40 minutes – and he said if that evidence doesn't exist in the documents they can take it up later and he can sanction Hopkins.


“Now that takes us to the next step,” which was determining whether to proceed with the preliminary hearing, said Martin.


With Moth saying he wasn't ready to proceed because he needed to study the information that came from the search of James' home, Martin said it seemed to be a waste of resources to do two separate preliminary hearings. He found good cause to push the hearing back based on Moth's concerns.


Carter remained opposed. “I think I've made my arguments very clear,” he said.


Martin granted Moth's request, and ruled that Wandrey's hearing also would be rescheduled over Carter's objection. Wandrey waived time to allow the hearing to be rescheduled.


The preliminary hearing was continued to 9 a.m. Feb. 19 in Martin's Department 1 courtroom. A pre-preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. Feb. 5 will be held for the purposes of getting the two sides together so they can sort their issues out, Martin said.


“All I'm asking is a mere communication between the parties so we can avoid these types of problems,” he said.


Carter also asked the court to correct the spelling of Wandrey's last name, which previously had been given as Wandry. It also was noted that his full name was Joshua Isaac Wandrey Sr. Hopkins asked that the name be changed in the record.


On Friday, the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported that two more people were arrested in the case. Joseph Henri Deshetres, 62, of Santa Rosa and Cheryl Ann Reese, 56, of Lakeport were both booked on felony charges of preventing or dissuading a witness with threats.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

SACRAMENTO – Sutter Health has announced that it will make the largest disaster-relief donation in the history of the health care system, contributing $1.25 million to help the victims of the powerful earthquake in Haiti.


The Northern California network of doctors, not-for-profit hospitals and other health care service providers also will provide critical medical supplies and trained medical personnel to the support the relief effort.


“We find it difficult to comprehend the staggering human tragedy that continues to unfold in Haiti following Tuesday’s powerful earthquake. Devastating events such as this compel us to look beyond our local Northern California communities to the overwhelming needs of our global community,” said Patrick Fry, Sutter Health president and CEO.


Since 2005, the network has donated $850,000 to support relief efforts around the world.


“We have a long history of coming to the aid of those impacted by natural disaster,” said Fry. “Our organization’s donation is a testament to generous nature of our employees, who also have offered their own time, money and expertise to help the people of Haiti.”


The Sutter Health network’s donation includes:


– $1 million: Sutter Health provides these funds to Doctors Without Borders to support health care treatment for earthquake victims.


– Critical medical supplies: The Sutter Health network is collecting much-needed supplies from its facilities and partnering with the MedShare to transport these resources to Haiti.


– $250,000: Sutter Health makes this donation to MedShare to help support expenses for shipping of critical medical supplies to Haiti.


– Medical volunteers: In the days ahead, Sutter-affiliated hospitals and physicians will work together to send trained medical personnel to Haiti.


"The next several days, weeks and months will likely be overwhelming for the people of Haiti,” added Fry. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this devastating natural disaster.”


The Sutter Health network selected MedShare because the organization brings needed supplies to worldwide disasters and impoverished hospitals 365 days a year. Supporting the health infrastructure is an important mission of Sutter Health.


The Sutter Health network selected Doctors Without Borders because this international medical humanitarian organization provides aid in nearly 60 countries, and it already has at least 1,000 people working in Haiti. Doctors Without Borders commits to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.


Sutter Health physicians and hospitals share a common commitment to creating healthier communities through programs and services that respond to community needs. In 2008, the network invested $599 million in these programs, as well as in charity care.


Visit Sutter Health online at www.SutterHealth.org or www.Facebook.com/SutterHealth .


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – Some of the county's most talented and hardworking students are gearing up for Lake County’s 30th annual Academic Decathlon.


The academic challenge will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, at Upper Lake Union High School’s Multi-Purpose Room.


The portion of the competition open to the public begins at 4 p.m.


Upper Lake High School, last year’s winning team, went on to compete in the state competition in Sacramento. The state competition for 2010 also will be held in Sacramento from March 12 through 15.


The decathlon is designed to rigorously test academic skills.


The theme for 2009-2010 is “French Revolution.”


The teams consist of three divisions – Honor, Varsity and Scholastic.


Coaches for this year’s event are Nancy Harby, Lower Lake High School; Ryan Callen, Middletown High School; and Anna Sabalone and Steve Harness, Upper Lake High School.


Sponsored by the Lake County Office of Education, the competition this year will match the following teams:


  • Lower Lake High School, Team 1: Justin Harrison (H), Elizabeth Perkins (H), Alyssa McCosker (H), Joe Riggs (S), Corey Cherrington (S), Victoria Hanners (S), Kenneth Cates (V), Spence Hadden (V), Carina Ruedas (V); alternate includes Stephen Whitcomb.

  • Lower Lake High School, Team 2: Teodora Toshich (H), Bianey Madrigal (H), Cesar Ruiz (H), Sean Grant (S), Carla Martinez (S), Leslie Sweeden (S), Gerald Skinner (V), Samantha Weatherly (V), Shawn McAlister (V).

  • Middletown High School: Nick Speridon III (H), Seamus O’Herlihy (H), Jolon Cisneros (H), Donald Albright (S), Terry Marley (S), Haley Tallman (V), Melinda Dixon (V) Nicole Lawrence (V), Julia Rebolledo (V); alternate includes Breeann McKnight.

  • Upper Lake High School: Courtney Havrilla (H), Laura Wold (H), Justine Moran (H), Ian Weber (S), Roy Hankins (S), Devin Hoyt (S), Ben Mullin (V), Tiffany Criss (V), Cameron Beighle (V); alternates include Yessica Ayala, Jose Ruiz Olguin, Megan Morgan and Sean Gay.


“The decathletes began preparing for this event in May of 2009 and have been heavily involved in team study groups since September, when the last of the study materials were sent to the schools,” said Academic Decathlon Coordinator Robin Totorica.


The first portion of the competition is the essay, which was administered to students on Friday. The second portion of the competition is the interview, speech and impromptu, which is scheduled for Jan. 27 through 29 at the Lake County Office of Education in Lakeport.


On Saturday, Feb. 6, the students will compete in seven written tests, consisting of language/literature, arts, social science, math, music, economics and a written portion of the super quiz.


“The event is free and open to the public and this year should be another exciting evening filled with lots of anticipation. Please come and support your school/team,” Totorica said.


The super quiz relay and awards ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. Feb. 6 at Upper Lake Union High School’s gymnasium and will feature entertainment by Upper Lake High School students.


Dave Geck, Lake County Superintendent of Schools, will welcome the participants. Patrick Iaccino, Upper Lake Union High School District Superintendent/Principal will host the super quiz event.


School officials presenting awards to their students at the awards ceremony are Jeff Dixon, principal at Lower Lake High; Bill Roderick, principal at Middletown High; and Pat Iaccino, district superintendent/principal at Upper Lake Union High School.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKEPORT – Officials have made two additional arrests in a case involving a man who was attacked and shot at his Lakeport home in October.


Joseph Henri Deshetres, 62, of Santa Rosa and Cheryl Ann Reese, 56, of Lakeport were both arrested on Wednesday in connection with the Oct. 20 break-in at the S. Main Street home of 49-year-old Ronald Greiner, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


Deshetres and Reese are charged with threatening witnesses in the case, Bauman reported.


Greiner was beaten, shot and hogtied by his assailants, who he told investigators had broken into his home to steal his medical marijuana, as Lake County News has reported.


On Wednesday, the Lake County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit executed two more arrest warrants and three more search warrants in Santa Rosa as a result of the ongoing investigation into the attempted murder of Greiner, Bauman said.


Members of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Rosa Police Department assisted with the execution of the warrants.


Bauman said the warrant teams converged on two homes and a business in Santa Rosa during the Wednesday searches.


Reese was arrested at her place of business, Rod Buntjer Bail Bonds on West College Avenue, and a search warrant was executed on the business, Bauman said. Deshetres was arrested at his home on Gloria Drive and a search warrant was executed there as well.


A third search warrant was served at another, undisclosed residence in Santa Rosa, but no other arrests were made, according to Bauman's report.


Following execution of the three search warrants, both Reese and Deshetres were eventually transported to the Lake County Jail where they were both booked on Thursday afternoon on felony charges of preventing or dissuading a witness with threats, Bauman said.


Other suspects arrested in the case so far include Thomas Loyd Dudney, 59, of Fulton, a validated member of the Misfits motorcycle gang, who has remained in custody since his Oct. 20 arrest; Joshua Isaac Wandrey Sr., 35, of Rohnert Park; and Deborah Ann James, 47, of Windsor.


Dudney allegedly had been conspiring with other members and associates of the Misfits residing in the Santa Rosa area to threaten and intimidate key witnesses in the case, Bauman said.


Bauman said both Deshetres and Reese remain in the Lake County Jail on the no-bail warrants for their alleged involvement with Dudney and the Greiner case.


More arrests are anticipated as the ongoing investigation continues, according to Bauman.

 

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

VACAVILLE – A man convicted of conspiring to kill a young crime victim has been denied parole.


On Jan. 13, the Board of Parole Hearings denied parole for Robert Alvie Jones, 42, a former Kelseyville resident, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff, who attended the lifer hearing at California State Prison-Solano in Vacaville to argue against Jones' release.


Jones was convicted of conspiracy to commit second degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life on July 3, 1995.


He also was sentenced to an additional three years and eight months on two other cases for burglary and possession of stolen property.


Superior Court Judge Robert L. Crone Jr. sentenced Jones to an aggregate term of 18 years and eight months to life.


According to investigation reports by the Lake County District Attorney’s Office and Probation Department, Jones was housed in the Lake County Jail in December 1994 with other inmates, including Karl McNabb.


McNabb was awaiting trial on several counts of using force and violence to commit lewd and lascivious acts on a female child under 14 years of age, and allegedly wanted someone to get rid of the victim because of the potential prison sentence he was facing.


According to information from an informant who contacted law enforcement, Jones had entered into an agreement with McNabb to scare off or kill McNabb’s minor victim in exchange for payment of $1,500.


Jones bailed out of jail in February, and on March 8, 1995, Jones set the victim’s car on fire using four and a half gallons of gasoline.


On March 10, 1995, District Attorney's Office Investigators Gary Hill and Bob McDonald met with the informant who disclosed the agreement.


The informant advised investigators that Jones had asked for a throwaway gun to use, and Jones had been told a guy named “Gene” would get in touch with him to provide a gun and payment.


The district attorney's investigators then set up an undercover agent to pose as “Gene.” On March 15, 1995, the undercover investigator met with Jones in the Kmart parking lot in Lakeport, provided an unloaded gun and $1,500 cash to Jones, and arrested Jones after he accepted the gun and cash.


McNabb later was convicted of several of the sexual assault charges and sentenced to 31 years in prison.


At Jones' sentencing and again at the parole hearing on Jan. 13, Jones claimed that when he set the car on fire he did not know it belonged to McNabb’s molest victim, and he claimed that when he accepted the gun and cash he had no intention of killing anyone, he was simply trying to rip off McNabb for the money.


Jones’ history indicated he had a serious drug addiction to methamphetamine for at least nine years prior to the conspiracy conviction, along with a significant and escalating criminal history.


At the Jan. 13 hearing the parole commissioners agreed with Hinchcliff’s argument that Jones still presented an unreasonable risk of danger to the public if released at this time.


The commissioners also agreed with Hinchcliff that Jones' conduct while in prison and lack of any significant drug abuse treatment, along with an unfavorable psychiatric report and the seriousness of the crime, did not make Jones an acceptable risk for parole.


They found that, under all of the circumstances, it was unreasonable to expect Jones would be ready for parole for at least 10 years.


His parole bid therefore was denied for 10 years and his next chance for parole, unless there is a significant positive change in his circumstances, will not be until the year 2020.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – The Lower Lake, Upper Lake and Kelseyville congregations of the United Methodist Church are raising funds to support the United Methodist Committee on Relief's (UMCOR) efforts in Haiti.


A 7.0 earthquake that occurred last Tuesday, followed by dozens of aftershocks, have left Haiti devastated.


The death toll is estimated by Reuters to be as high as 200,000, with countless Haitians left homeless and injured.


Numerous international aid organizations are sending personnel and resources and raising funds, and US officials are working to get relief to the Haitians.


The UMCOR, the not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization of the United Methodist Church, works in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States. Its mission is to alleviate human suffering – whether caused by war, conflict or natural disaster, with open hearts and minds to all people.


Every dollar given to UMCOR goes to the designated program; administrative costs are born by general funds of the church.


Gifts to support UMCOR's Haiti Relief efforts can be made online at the UMCOR Web site, http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/ , by specifying Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325. Checks can be made to UMCOR with Advance #418325 Haiti Emergency in the memo line and mailed to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087.


In addition to special collections from church members, each church will accept funds from the community as well.


There are seven United Methodist churches in Lake County located in Upper Lake, Clearlake Oaks, Clearlake, Lower Lake, Middletown, Kelseyville and as part of the United Christian Parish in Lakeport. The Kelseyville Church will have a collection jar available at the thrift shop each Monday.


Checks can be dropped off or mailed to any local United Methodist Church or can be placed in the church's offering plate (make check payable to the local church with UMCOR Advance #418325 Haiti Emergency noted in the memo line).


For more about the UMCOR visit http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umcor/newsroom/releases/archives2010/umcorrespondstohaiti/ .


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKEPORT – A Lucerne man facing embezzlement and grand theft charges for allegedly taking funds from the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center still hasn't entered a plea in the case.


Rowland James Mosser, 65, made a brief appearance in Lake County Superior Court's Department 1 on Friday morning.


Mosser is charged with two felony counts of embezzlement and two felony grand theft charges for allegedly taking funds from the center between Jan. 1, 2005, and Aug. 12, 2005. He was the center's director from July 2002 to August 2005.


On Friday, Lakeport attorney Mitchell Hauptman made a special appearance on Mosser's behalf, although Mosser hasn't retained him as an attorney. Hauptman had made a similar appearance for Mosser at a November court date.


Hauptman told Judge Richard Martin on Friday that Mosser hasn't yet hired an attorney.


“He's still trying to arrange the money to hire counsel,” Hauptman said, noting Mosser was hoping for another two to three weeks in which to make arrangements.


“Judge, it's been a long time already,” said Gary Luck, the retired district attorney who now works cases in a part-time capacity.


Luck said there has been nearly a four-month lapse in the case while they've waited for Mosser to hire an attorney.


“I'd like to get this case moving forward again,” said Luck, who suggested that if Mosser can't afford an attorney that a public defender should be appointed for him.


Martin asked Hauptman the reason for the delay.


Hauptman said it was a matter of money. Mosser currently is trying to close a business deal that will pay him a commission.


“He thinks that the deal is imminent, that it will close sometime in the next week or two,” and will allow him to hire counsel, Hauptman explained.


Luck suggested they come back on Jan. 29.


Martin agreed, noting that in two weeks, “He either has the money or he doesn't,” and can then have defense counsel appointed.


The next court appearance will take place at 9 a.m. Friday, Jan 29, in Lake County Superior Court Department 1, at which time Mosser will be expected to enter a plea.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

KELSEYVILLE – This past week, the Corvettes of Lake County voted selected the charity they will support this year, and the one they unanimously chose was the Barbara LaForge Memorial, which benefits Lake Family Resource Center's domestic violence shelter.


During the monthly Corvettes of Lake County meeting last Tuesday night at Guido's Pizza in Kelseyville, all club members raised their hands to pass a motion to select this year's charity of choice.


Club President Larry Durnil brought the meeting to order and the members swiftly determined their support for the fund and its principal beneficiary, Freedom House, Lake Family Resource Center's facility to house and protect Lake County residents who fall victim to abuse.


Gail Salituri, a member of the Corvette club and founder of the LaForge Memorial, suggested Lake Family Resource Center last November as she was looking for support from her fellow members and friends.


She started the fund in memory of her friend and fellow businesswoman, Barbara LaForge, who was murdered in her downtown frame shop in October 2002.


“Although the amount of funds which will be donated is still undetermined, we do have a date of presentation at our annual Run To The Lake event in May that brings in as many as 100 Corvette enthusiasts to enjoy and discover our community,” said Durnil.


Salituri said she thought the club's members were heroes for supporting those in need by assisting the Lake Family Resource Center. The new, nonconfidential shelter is located at 5350 Main St., Kelseyville.


“I believe the members of the Corvettes of Lake County all realized the heartfelt joy it brought to me personally as I watched each hand raise,” said Salituri.


The Corvettes of Lake County was organized in 2002 and the club is a member of the Western States Corvette Council. Salituri said the club has been very generous to various charities in the Lake County community.


“Words cannot begin to express how proud I am of our Corvette organization,” said Salituri. “There is a lot more to these Vettsters then meets the eye. They are aware and cautious of our community and have always supported local charities and now have committed to sponsor a very worthy cause, the Barbara LaForge Memorial Fund.”


To date, the LaForge Memorial Fund has raised $3,800 through auctions and raffles of artwork at Inspirations Gallery in Lakeport.


Community members can contribute to the LaForge Memorial Fund at any Westamerica Bank branch, or contact Sheri Salituri at Inspirations Gallery, 165 Main St., telephone 707-263-4366. Visit Gail Salituri's Web site at www.gailsalituri.blogspot.com to see other supporters, winners and news.


For more information on the Corvettes of Lake County please check out their Web site at www.corvettesoflakecounty.org .


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .


 



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Nobody gets a choice about these things in life but most people are born either good looking, intelligent or talented. A lucky few get to be two out of the three, but rarely does a person get to be all three, like Padma Lakshmi.


Not only is Padma Lakshmi good looking, she’s downright gorgeous, so much so that she could read the book of Leviticus in a dull monotone and it would still get a million hits on YouTube.


It’s the same with the wine called Meritage. Most wines are what the grapes make them.


For example, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes will give you a Cabernet Sauvignon wine. It may be a wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon but it doesn’t get to choose to be anything else. It can’t make itself better than a Cabernet Sauvignon; the grape has a certain potential and it can’t exceed that potential. No matter how much you want you can’t have a (natural) Cabernet Sauvignon with certain features.


Not so with Meritage. Like a Rosé, Meritage isn’t a grape varietal but a style of blending wine in the Bordeaux fashion.


This means that the winemaker can blend different types of grapes to make the most perfect wine possible. The winemaker can take the potential of the grape and exceed it by adding another type of grape.


Many people believe that blended wines are the pinnacle of the winemaker's art. This is where the creativity and expertise of a winemaker can be fully tried and expressed.


Meritage, the proprietary name for this Bordeaux style of wine, was created:


1. As a way to not infringe on the Bordeaux region’s trademarks; and


2. As a rebellion against the federal government which in 1985 regulated that any wine that contains less than 75 percent of a single grape variety was to be labeled as “table wine.”


The ignominious title “table wine” most likely caused the winemakers who fashioned these classic Bordeaux blends to pout and stomp their feet and start The Meritage Association in 1988. It has since been renamed The Meritage Alliance.


The word Meritage was created from combining “Merit” and “Heritage.” Don’t try to fancy it up by saying “Meri-TAHJZ”; it simply rhymes with heritage.


Padma Lakshmi’s name isn’t really difficult to pronounce either. Yes, like Meritage it might look intimidating at first, but it isn’t complicated at all. Don’t make it more difficult than it is.


Padma Lakshmi isn’t the type of celebrity that is instantly recognized by everybody, nor is Meritage a type of wine that everyone can recognize on a menu, but both of them are skyrocketing in popularity.


There are about 200 different Meritages on the market made in America in the past year. Red Meritage is by far the most common but White Meritage can be made.


Meritage has strict guidelines in order to claim its pedigree. It cannot contain more than 90 percent of any single grape, and the grapes must all be “noble” Bordeaux origination.


Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Merlot, Malbec, and Petite Verdot are candidates for red Meritage. Muscadelle du Bordelais, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon can be blended for a white Meritage.


Padma Lakshmi’s heritage is Brahmin (Indian) and her full name, Padma Parvati Lakshmi, contains names that are each sacred in Hindu mythology. Noble grapes look a little blue collar after that.


The original vision for Meritage wines was that they would be crafted in smaller batches of 25,000 cases or less but recent agreements with Robert Mondavi Private Selections, Sterling Vineyards and Costco have allowed for mass marketing and turned this objective into less of a requirement and more of “guideline.”


Similarly, Padma Lakshmi, this elegant and refined woman, now has her own line of spices on a home shopping network show. Both Meritage and Padma Lakshmi seem to be lessened a little with these volume marketing turns.


There are more than 240 wineries producing Meritage in over seven countries. Padma Lakshmi speaks five languages.


Descriptors that you might find in a Meritage can be … unfortunately I can’t give you a definitive list of every flavor descriptor like I usual do since every Meritage will be unique in its blend of grape varietals, whether it be red or white. You will get different flavors, aromas and assets from each grape.


For instance, Cabernet Franc isn’t the most flavorful grape but it is known and appreciated by many winemakers for the rich color and nose that it imparts to a wine. There are other grapes that will contribute deep flavors but not great colors.


A winemaker can then take the rich flavors of a Cabernet Sauvignon and blend it with a Cabernet Franc to improve the color and therefore make a superior wine to the original two grapes. Sauvignon Blanc can be a harsh acidic wine at times but blending it with a Semillon can smooth it out while a Muscadelle can sweeten it up.


Similarly, Padma Lakshmi can’t be described in a single category: actress, author, chef, jewelry designer, model, television show host and soon-to-be mother. Talk about driven! I feel successful if I clean my pantry or finish a column.


Padma Lakshmi has written two cookbooks, “Easy Exotic” and “Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet,” both of which are very good (she’s won awards). I own them both, and as much as I might like it to be the titles are not double-entendres. If you are a fan of “Top Chef” you may notice she makes unintentional double-entendres often.


I had to giggle when reading “Tangy Tart” because at one point she says substituting an ingredient in a recipe would be “lovely.” If you watch “Top Chef” you’ll be familiar with the fact that Padma Lakshmi uses the word “lovely” about as often as Michael Ruhlman uses the word “craft” in his books (just a little inside humor for the foodies out there).


Personally, I’m dying to make her tangerine peel pickle recipe. I just purchased all of the spices required.


A short time ago I took my wife out to the Langtry Estate & Vineyard and asked to sample their Meritage.


After she tasted the wine she looked at me and said “Wow, you hit it out of the park with this one, this is definitely Padma. Dark and sultry, complex … this is so good.”


Langtry/Guenoc also has a red “Proprietary Blend” that is very good and follows the Bordeaux style.


Lake County only has two licensed Meritages, but I’ve included some very similar Bordeaux style blends that all use the “noble grapes” in this list.


Lake County Meritage/Bordeaux style blends / (grapes)


Beaver Creek Vineyards “Red Wine” Bordeaux style blend. (Merlot, Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon)


Ceago Vinegarden “Winemakers Blend” Bordeaux style blend. (Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec)


Dharmapalan Vineyards Meritage (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot)


Fortress Vineyards “Novateur” White Bordeaux style blend. (Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc)


Guenoc/Langtry Estate Wines Meritage (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc)


Six Sigma Ranch “Cuvee Pique Nique” Bordeaux style blend. (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc)


Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community. Follow him on Twitter, http://twitter.com/Foodiefreak .

MENDOCINO COUNTY – This week a Mendocino County jury convicted a Covelo man of driving under the influence of marijuana.


On Tuesday, following a two-day trial and 30 minutes of deliberation, a nine-woman, three-man jury found 28-year-old Lawrence Nye Jr. guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana, according to a report from Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott.


The jury also found true a special allegation of a prior conviction for driving under the influence, Lintott's office reported.


Judge Ronald Brown sentenced Nye to five years probation, 15 days in the Mendocino County Jail, fines and fees of $2,410, and the second offender driving under the influence class. In addition, Nye’s license will be suspended for two years.


Nye allegedly was seen smoking marijuana in his pickup as he drove north on Highway 101 near Ukiah. Lintott's report said another motorist called 911 and reported a driver who was smoking marijuana and who was all over the road.


California Highway Patrol dispatch put out an alert that included a description of the pickup and its license number, and a CHP unit responded from the scales at Ridgewood Summit and parked at the base of the grade a couple of miles south of Willits.


About 10 minutes later Nye drove by at over 70 miles per hour and the CHP followed him. Nye allegedly continued at more than 70 miles an hour as the road narrowed to two lanes and the speed limit changed from 65 mph to 55 mph.


Nye did not appear to see the CHP parked in plain sight next to the roadway as he went by, he did not see it pull in behind him and he did not see the red lights when the attempted to pull him over. It was only when all of the emergency lights were turned on that he noticed them. Nye yielded very suddenly, stopping from 70 miles an hour in only 200 feet.


When CHP officers contacted Nye there was a strong odor of burned marijuana in the pickup and on his breath. He failed the field sobriety tests and was arrested. An evaluation by a drug recognition expert confirmed that Nye was under the influence and too impaired to drive safely.


Lintott's office reported that marijuana DUI cases are more difficult than alcohol cases because scientific evidence has not been developed to show impairment based solely on certain levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the main psychoactive substance found in the marijuana plant – in the human body the way it can be proved with alcohol.


While a person with .08 percent of alcohol in their blood is presumed to be under the influence, there is no comparable standard for marijuana, according to the report.


Proof of impairment depends on objective symptoms and the driver’s behavior. A doctor's prescription or a medical marijuana recommendations is not a defense to driving under the influence – driving while impaired by any drug is against the law and it does not matter that the drug was approved by a doctor, according to the report.


The statement from Lintott's office said impaired drivers present a tremendous hazard to everyone, endangering other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, to name a few.


Lintott said her office is committed to keeping impaired drivers off the road and prosecuting anyone who drives while under the influence, and it does not matter if it is marijuana, alcohol or any other drug.


 

She said that this verdict proves that Mendocino County jurors likewise see the danger that impaired drivers present and drivers impaired by marijuana are no less dangerous than drivers impaired by alcohol or any other drug.

 

Deputy District Attorney Brian Newman prosecuted the case, while Deputy Public Defender Jessyca Hoagland represented Nye.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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