Wednesday, 24 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY – There's some good news on the employment front in Lake County, where the jobless rate was down in August compared to July of this year.

However, while Lake County’s preliminary August 2008 unemployment rate was 9.8 percent – down from the revised July rate of 10.2 percent – it remained 2.2 percent above the year-ago, August 2007 rate of 7.6 percent, according to Dennis Mullins of the Employment Development Department's North Coast Region office in Eureka.

In comparison to the 9.8-percent rate, the statewide rate increased 2.1 percent for the period, Mullins reported.

At 9.8 percent, Lake ranked 48th among the State’s 58 counties. Some surrounding county rates included 9.5 percent for Colusa, 6.5 percent for Mendocino and 6.1 percent for Sonoma, said Mullins.

Marin had the lowest rate in the state at 4.9 percent, Mullins noted; Imperial County had the highest with 24.7 percent.

The comparable California and U.S. rates were 7.6 and 6.0 percent, respectively, Mullins added.

Total industry employment increased 230 (1.5 percent) between August 2007 and August 2008, ending the year-over period with 15,780 jobs, according to Mullins.

Year-over job growth occurred in trade, transportation and utilities; private educational and health services; and government.

At the same time, year-over job losses occurred in natural resources, mining and construction; financial activities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; and other services.

Industry sectors with no change over the year included farm, manufacturing and information.

Mullins said government led industry gainers adding 190 jobs over the year. The trade, transportation and utilities sector gained 80 and private educational and health services was up 60.

Natural resources, mining and construction and the professional and business services sectors led decliners, Mullins reported, dropping 30 jobs each for the period. Leisure and hospitality was down 20 and financial activities and other services each dropped 10.

Six industry sectors gained jobs or held steady over the year, and five declined, Mullins said.


LAKE COUNTY – Students and parents are invited to activities this week that will educate them about college and university opportunities and give them the chance to meet with representatives from all systems of higher education in the state.

The Lake County Office of Education's College-Going Initiative, in collaboration with all county high schools, is sponsoring Higher Education Week, which will include individualized workshops for juniors and seniors and evening events for parents and students of all grade levels on Wednesday, Sept. 24, and Thursday, Sept. 25.

Parents and students will be able to visit with a variety of college representatives and ask detailed questions about planning for college, the application process, financial aide and pose any other questions they may have.

If parents and students are unable to attend the evening event at their local high school, they are welcome to attend an event at another high school.

Participating college and university recruiters include Yuba College, Mendocino College, Santa Rosa Junior College, Pacific Union College, Cal State East Bay, University of California at Davis, Sonoma State University, UC Santa Cruz, Humboldt State, UC San Francisco, Empire College, Wyo Tech and Universal Technical Institute. Community organizations and school programs participating include AVID/Upward Bound and Mendo-Lake Credit Union. UC Berkeley, Sacramento State and California Forestry Foundation are unable to attend but information about them will be available.

Daytime workshops will take place at the following locations and times:

‒ 9:50 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, Kelseyville High School;

‒ 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, Upper Lake High School;

‒ 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, Lower Lake High School;

‒ 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, Middletown High School.

Afternoon and evening meetings for all students and parents will take place at the following places and times:

‒ 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, Upper Lake High School (Upper Lake will combine this event with their Back-to-School Night and a dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.).

‒ 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, Clear Lake High School (Clear Lake will combine this event with Junior Parent Night from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. and will have break-out sessions for parents).

‒ 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, Middletown High School (Middletown invites all interested parents and students to visit with the college reps immediately after their high school day).

‒ 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, Lower Lake High School (Lower Lake will combine this event with their Back-to-School Night).

The Lake County College-Going Initiative is a partnership between University of California and the Lake County Office of Education. The initiative sponsors a variety of college-going events, including the Summer Algebra Academies, Higher Education Week I and II, 10th grade college trips for families, SAT/ACT test prep, college application and financial aide workshops, and the University Admittance Reception.

For more information about Higher Education Week please contact Lake County College-Going Initiative Coordinator Jamey Gill at the Lake County Office of Education, 262-4123, or call the

following high school counselors: Kris Andre and Paul Larrea at Clear Lake High School, 262-3010; Jill James and Sue Samota, Kelseyville High School, 279-4923; Amy Osborn and Kathy Simpson, Lower Lake High School, 994-6471; Phil Mascari and Kevin McInerney, Middletown High School, 987-4140; and Karen Riordan and Greg Smith, Upper Lake High School, 275-2338.


The state Senate and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived at points of compromise on the state budget Friday, which now are being considered by the state Assembly.

On Tuesday the legislature approved a controversial budget deal – that both sides admitted was far from perfect in addressing the core issues with the state budget – an action that was met by a veto threat from Schwarzenegger.

Late Friday afternoon, the Senate voted on budget compromise measures worked out between Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders.

A statement from Senate Pro Tem Don Perata said that the actions taken Friday will restart payments to schools, community colleges, day care centers, health care providers and others that have been hurt by the 81-day budget stalemate.

The two measures approved Friday include:

‒ SB 28: This legislation removes provisions in the budget increasing tax withholding 10 percent on all taxpayers and establishes a higher, 20-percent penalty for corporations that underreport their taxes by $1 million or more. The vote was 22-14.

Legislators expect SB 28 will increase revenues in the short term as companies catch up on taxes from previous years, while reducing the underreporting rate and increasing tax compliance in the future.

‒ SCA 30: The bill adds a provision to build a rainy day reserve fund into the budget reform constitutional amendment sent to the governor. It also will withdraw funds from the Budget Stabilization Fund when state revenues fall below projected spending. The vote was 30-0.

“I am tempted to say I am ‘relieved,’ except that might suggest I am happy about this budget, and I’m not,” Sen. Patricia Wiggins said in a written statement late Friday. “Budgeting requires compromise, and even though it was clear from the outset that no one, or no one group, was going to get everything they wanted, there was some pretty serious resistance to a number of options that might have allowed us to pass a budget that was more responsible.”

Wiggins said the real relief, if there's any, in completing the budget deal will be for schools, health care providers and child care providers, vendors doing business with the state and others who were not getting paid, reimbursed or otherwise supported by the state because of the protracted budget stalemate.

In the end, the Senate agreed to pass a budget without raising taxes. Wiggins suggested that increasing some taxes, at least temporarily, is the most responsible way to bring the state budget into balance.

However, even without raising taxes, the budget manages to restore full funding for the Cal Grant program for college students, restores most of the 10 percent Medi-Cal rate cuts and restores almost all cuts to Medi-Cal eligibility.

Wiggins noted that the budget also rejects Schwarzenegger deep cuts for the safety social net, including children’s services and foster care, CalWORKs kids’ eligibility and In-Home Supportive Services; and restores cuts in funding for COPS grants, juvenile justice and other law enforcement programs.

Schwarzenegger could still attempt to cut those programs through the line-item veto, Wiggins said.

The three-month budget stalemate held up billions of dollars from the state's communities, said Wiggins. That resulted in schools putting off hiring teachers, while hospitals and health care providers were forced to either take out loans or use personal funds to stay open. Some child care centers went into crisis mode because of no payments, and Medi-Cal payment cuts to health centers left providers no choice but to cease taking new patients or cut off care altogether.

Wiggins called the state's current budget process “a mess,” which she attributes to the two-thirds vote requirement to pass a budget. California, Arkansas and Rhode Island are the only states that pass budgets in that way, which Wiggins said should be abandoned for a majority vote rule.

“We also need to get to a point where the people of this state – and their elected representatives – make real, and likely difficult, decisions about what programs and services we provide and how much we are willing to spend to provide them,” she said.

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


UKIAH – The Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency reported on Monday that it has confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus in 2008.

The Mendocino County resident was infected within the county, officials reported.

In 2007 one resident of Mendocino County was diagnosed with West Nile, but that person had traveled and became infected outside of the county, Mendocino County officials reported.

Across the state, 236 human cases have been reported so far this year, with none reported in 2008 in Lake County, according to the California West Nile Virus Web site.

West Nile Virus is endemic in California and it is important to take precautions to prevent infection whether traveling or not.

The disease is transmitted to humans and animals through the bite of an infected mosquito. A person or animal that has been infected by West Nile Virus may have no symptoms of illness or they may become severely ill.

Severe symptoms occur in approximately one in 150 people (less than 1 percent) of persons infected by West Nile. These symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, coma, convulsions, loss of muscle control, numbness, paralysis and vision loss. Symptoms can last several weeks and neurological effects may be permanent.

Mild symptoms occur in up to 20 percent of persons infected with West Nile. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands, or a rash on the chest, stomach and back. A person with these symptoms can feel ill for a few days, while other persons may feel ill for several weeks.

No symptoms occur in approximately 4 out of 5 people (80 percent) who are infected with West Nile. They do not have any symptoms at all and do not feel ill.

If you or somebody you know has had a fever for seven days or more with any other symptoms seek medical care.

Persons who are at risk for West Nile Virus are those over age 50, or those who spend a lot of time outdoors between dawn and dusk.

To prevent the disease, it's important to protect oneself from mosquito bites, so use an insect repellent when outdoors and avoid being outside during the hours of dawn and dusk, as many mosquitoes are most active at this time. Wear long sleeves and pants that are light in color as this can help to see the mosquitoes if they land on you.

Other important preventive measures include emptying containers with standing water around your home, such as flowerpots, barrels, old tires and rain gutters; changing the water weekly in birdbaths and frequently change the water in your pet's water bowl, as these items are potential areas for mosquitoes to breed; and repairing or replacing torn screens on the windows and doors of your home to help keep mosquitoes outside.


WHISPERING PINES – Law enforcement officials are searching for a man who is alleged to have kidnapped his girlfriend from her home on Saturday.

Thomas Miller, 37, allegedly kidnapped 30-year-old girlfriend Sally Martin from her Parnassus Drive home on Saturday, sheriff's officials reported.

Miller, who is armed and considered extremely dangerous, was seen on foot dragging a barefoot and injured Martin into the Boggs Mountain area, according to officials.

On Saturday evening, the Lake County Sheriff's Office used a telephonic warning system to alert residents in surrounding areas, including Middletown and Cobb, of the situation.

Sheriff Rod Mitchell told Lake County News on Sunday afternoon that Miller and Martin have not yet been located.

“The suspect and victim are not married, to our knowledge, but they have been together a very long time,” he said.

Mitchell said he was reluctant to release anything about potential motive at this point.

Miller is described as being just under 6 feet tall, with heavy tattoos on both arms. He also is missing three fingers.

Martin is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and about 130 pounds, with red hair and blue eyes. She was last seen without shoes and is reported to be injured.

Officials warn that anyone who sees Miller should not approach him but should call 911 immediately.

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


NORTH COAST – A Lake County man was one of several people arrested by law enforcement officials this week who were seizing illegally grown marijuana in Mendocino County, including the Covelo area.

Lt. Rusty Noe of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported that 21-year-old Daniel Isaiah was arrested on Wednesday in Covelo.

For the past several weeks Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies and California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement agents have been investigating specific targets in the the Covelo area, Noe reported. They began serving search warrants and conducting open field raids on Tuesday.

From Tuesday through Thursday, deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, California Department of Justice, CAMP, Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, Mendocino County Probation, Ukiah Police Department and the California Highway Patrol conducted a series of marijuana raids in the Covelo Area, according to Noe.

Noe said the raids against commercial growers were a result of numerous complaints of uncontrolled marijuana cultivation in the rural Covelo area.

During the service of these search warrants no evidence or claim of medical marijuana was made. With the exception of one suspect, all the 12 suspects arrested were from outside of Mendocino County, said Noe, a large portion were from outside of California, including three Mexican nationals.

Isaiah, of Lakeport, and Daniel Goss, 27, of Santa Cruz were arrested Wednesday in the Bently Ridge area of Covelo, said Noe.

The men were allegedly found in possession of 62 marijuana plants and 100 pounds of processed marijuana, said Noe. They also were alleged to be in possession of four firearms – including one AK47 assault rifle.

Noe said both Isaiah and Goss were caught after attempting to escape. Isaiah was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of cultivating marijuana for sale and possession of marijuana for sale, with bail set at $25,000.

The rest of the two-day operation officials netted 3,343 marijuana plants, taken from both public and private lands; 40 pounds of processed marijuana; methamphetamine and illegal mushrooms; a large, very flammable and potentially dangerous butane honey oil hashish lab used to convert marijuana into a high quality hashish oil; and shotgun and a .223 rifle.

Noe said that deputies reported that some of the marijuana plants seized were so large that it became difficult to lift 15 marijuana plants with a helicopter capable of lifting 600 to 700 pounds.

Arrested in the week's raids were Mexican nationals Joeyah Ruiz, 26, Jose Franco, 19, and Valdovinos Cruz, 22; Oregon residents Morgan Costley, 24, Natalie Darves, 25, and Jordan Feathers, 28; Mark Pacitti, 29, of Florida; Gevitye Goins, 24, of Michigan; Yesenia Deuluna, 30, of Los Angeles, and Blake Hastings, 27, of Covelo.

Noe said in the past Mendocino County was promoted as a place to come and conduct marijuana cultivation operations.

“It became common knowledge that illegal activity was accepted,” he said in a written statement. “This is no longer the case. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will investigate and prosecute illegal commercial marijuana cultivation on a case by case basis.”


COBB – Sheriff's investigators are still trying to determine the motive of a man accused of kidnapping and assaulting his longtime girlfriend this past weekend.

Sheriff's deputies arrested Thomas William Miller, 37, of Cobb late Sunday night after searching for him throughout the weekend following his alleged abduction of girlfriend Sally Martin, 30.

Capt. Jim Bauman said sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call at 9:45 p.m. Friday reporting a physical fight between a man and woman near a Parnassus Drive residence in Cobb.

Bauman said Miller was reported to be assaulting Martin. While deputies were responding to the scene, Miller allegedly threatened others who tried to intervene with a handgun before dragging a barefoot Martin – whose face was bleeding from the assault – into his pickup and leaving the area.

When deputies arrived on the scene, witnesses told them that Martin had tolerated ongoing abuse by Miller and had been on the verge of seeking help from a domestic violence shelter, according to Bauman.

Deputies stayed at the Parnassus Drive residence to process the scene and gather information while another group of deputies who were responding to assist with the investigation found Miller's pickup near his Sugar Pine Drive residence, Bauman reported.

An extensive search of the home and the surrounding area was conducted throughout the night, but Bauman said there was no sign of Miller or Martin.

With an armed Miller still at large, on Saturday the sheriff's office issued a telephonic public safety alert to warn 3,200 Cobb and Middletown area residents, Bauman said. The call urged residents not to approach Miller, who was considered extremely dangerous, but to call 911 immediately if he was spotted.

At the same time, deputies continued to canvass the Cobb community for information and worked leads as to Miller's and Martin's whereabouts throughout the weekend, Bauman said.

Thanks to leads developed through the community, deputies received information that led them to a Whispering Pines area residence on Sunday at about 10:30 p.m., according to Bauman. Miller – along with several other people, including Martin – was believed to be at the home.

As they were conducting surveillance on the home, Bauman said deputies encountered a male adult approaching the house who ran when they attempted to detain him. Following a brief foot chase, the subject was arrested and positively identified as Miller.

With Miller in custody, Bauman said deputies searched the home they were watching and found Martin inside, relatively unharmed, along with several others, including 22-year-old Corey Lee Burnezky of Cobb.

Bauman said Burnezky also was arrested as he had provided false information to deputies and aided Miller’s concealment throughout the weekend.

Miller was booked into the Lake County Jail on felony charges of kidnapping, spousal battery and threats, and misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia, brandishing a firearm and a misdemeanor out-of-county warrant. Bauman said he remains in custody with a combined bail of $258,000.

Burnezky, who was booked for felony accessory to a crime, has since been released on a $10,000 bond, Bauman reported.

Bauman said the case remains open pending further investigation as to the motive for the kidnapping and assault.

The sheriff's office has had numerous contacts with Miller going back to 1991, said Bauman, but all are traffic-related with the exception of a 2006 arrest for driving on a suspended license.

Cobb residents reported Monday that they received an “all clear” message regarding Miller's capture from the sheriff's office through the telephonic alert system.

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


Third generation no-license New Yorker Sherman Black (Michael Shulman) pleads with eccentric ex-Olympian Palmer "The Bomber" Van Dyke (James LeGros) to drive safer after a chance encounter in Starry Night Entertainment's "Sherman's Way," directed by Craig Saavedra. The film was screened at the Coyote Film Festival Friday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008, in Middletown. Photo courtesy of Starry Night Productions.

MIDDLETOWN – The first feature film to be filmed in Lake County in decades was screened in Middletown this weekend to rave reviews. {sidebar id=97}

The independent film “Sherman's Way” was shown Friday and Saturday during the Coyote Film Festival at the Calpine Visitors Center.

Karen Turcotte-Williams, the festival's creator, arranged for the film's local debut. As an added treat, “Sherman's Way” made its trip to Lake County in completed form accompanied by its director and co-producer, Craig Saavedra of Los Angeles, and lead actor and co-producer, Michael Shulman of New York, two down-to-earth artists who took part in a question-and-answer session following the showings.

“We had so much fun making this film here in Lake County,” Saavedra told the audience.

“Sherman's Way” is a heartfelt story about an uptight Ivy Leaguer, Sherman Black (Shulman) whose carefully ordered and meticulously planned life one day begins to fall apart, leading to an accidental journey of self-discovery.

The film's backdrop includes numerous locations around Lake County, including Library Park, downtown Kelseyville and Butts Canyon Road, and dozens of local residents who were extras.

Saavedra's directorial skills capture the beauty of the county, from small and delicate details like mist on the lake to the county's eye-popping expanses.

Originally, the film was meant to be set in Napa County with Lake Berryessa as a location, said Saavedra. However, he explained, “Napa was so much more beautiful in my mind.”

So they looked around, and Shulman came across Lake County on the Internet. He called up the county's chief administrative officer, Kelly Cox, who – along with Debra Sommerfield of the county's marketing program – showed the men around Lake County and helped them scout locations.

“We just couldn't imagine shooting anywhere else,” said Saavedra. Shulman added that finding Lake County “was a blessing.”

The men said Lake County offered an incredibly welcoming atmosphere, which is a major departure from Los Angeles. There, Saavedra said, people will see filmmakers at work and will honk their car horns incessantly until they're paid to stop. Those kinds of bribes have to be worked into the movie budget, he said.

Lake County, Saavedra told the audience Saturday, made “Sherman's Way” what it is.

The film was shot in 19 days over a four-month period, with other locations outside of Lake County including Los Angeles, San Diego, New York and New Haven, Conn., at Yale University.

Saavedra and Shulman gave big credit to Sommerfield – who Shulman called “amazing” – for her help on the project. “She did the work of 10 location managers and a film office,” said Saavedra.



Sherman Black (Michael Shulman) and Palmer Van Dyke (James LeGros) learn valuable lessons from each other along their journey together in "Sherman's Way." Photo courtesy of Starry Night Entertainment.





A unique, optimistic film

What sets the film apart most may be what it conspicuously lacks – no car chases, explosions or assassins, which seem to be the requisite elements in today's big movies.

Rather, the focus is on crafted dialog – with people actually talking to one another – realistic relationships and struggles that would be familiar to most people.

Another of the film's traits is its optimism – which is a characteristic Saavedra said once made American-made films stand apart, but which now is often missing.

Sherman is the sheltered son of an overbearing mother, Evelyn Black (Donna Murphy) who also is a successful lawyer running for the U.S. Senate. Evelyn tries to protect her son from everything while herding him toward a law career. But when he heads to California to visit his girlfriend, Marcy DeLang (Lacey Chabert), he finds she's got another guy.

In an uncharacteristically spontaneous move, Sherman decides to hitch a ride with Palmer Van Dyke (James LeGros), a washed up Olympic alpine skier driving an MGB Roadster.

The two men can't stand each other at first. Over time, however, they begin to learn from each other, with support from DJ (Enrico Colantoni) and Addy (Brooke Nevin), a free spirit who helps Sherman forget Marcy's betrayal and learn to loosen up a little bit.

The independent film is Saavedra's debut as a director of feature films and the first film made by Starry Night Entertainment LLC, the company he and Shulman formed in 2005, the year after Shulman graduated from Yale .

Saavedra, 44, has directed TV movies; he met a 14-year-old Shulman on the set of “Rhapsody in Bloom,” and the two became friends.

Before becoming a director, Saavedra produced TV and film projects. On “Sherman's Way,” Saavedra and Shulman also are co-producers.

At 26, Shulman already is an acting veteran. He began his acting career as a child in Broadway's “Les Miserables” and in the original cast of Stephen Sondheim's “The Assassins.” He acted in M. Night Shymalayan's 1998 movie “Wide Awake” and in “Little Man Tate” with Jodie Foster, but he may be best known for a recurring role on the TV show, “Party of Five.”



Palmer Van Dyke (James LeGros, left) and DJ (Enrico Colantoni) take a break from restoring a classic MGB Roadster for Palmer's estranged son in "Sherman's Way." Photo courtesy of Starry Night Entertainment.



The art in “Sherman's Way” does imitate life in some ways, especially when it comes to the similarity in the relationship dynamic between Sherman and Palmer and Shulman and Saavedra. For one, Sherman and Palmer share an age difference with the creators.

As the story develops, the boundaries of age fall away and Sherman and Palmer begin learning crucial lessons from each other; for Sherman, it's about being a better son, for Palmer, a better father.

Realizing the lessons that life has to offer you is a key to the story, said Saavedra in an interview with Lake County News Saturday evening. “That's really the heart of 'Sherman's Way' – it's never too late to learn from books or life.”

While the film features aspects of the the Great American Road Trip – which has been the subject of many a film – Saavedra and Shulman point out that the characters spend 90 percent of the movie in one place, staying with DJ at his lakeside home, painstakingly restoring the classic red MGB Roadster.

Much of the journey is truly an internal one, they say, and is far more important than the destination.

The car, said Saavedra, is a metaphor for tearing down Sherman. “We needed to tear Sherman down to rebuild him.”

Saavedra and Shulman receive hundreds of scripts, but it has to be a special project to make the cut. “We won't do a project we both don't absolutely believe in,” Saavedra said.

The film – which received big applause from Lake County audiences this weekend – also is receiving great reviews at film festivals around the country.



Free spirit Addy (Brooke Nevin) embodies all that Sherman is not, and motivates him into "letting loose" in "Sherman's Way." Photo courtesy of Starry Night Entertainment.



Although “Sherman's Way” was filmed two years ago and officially opened earlier this year, Shulman and Saavedra are currently on the festival circuit with the film, where it's grabbing the awards.

So far, it has won audience awards at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose and the Newport International Film Festival in Newport, Rhode Island; opening night selection honors at the Newport Beach Film Festival; and was made an official selection at the Jackson Hole Film Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The story behind the story

The movie also has a humorous and quirky back story that touches on everything from cars to cats.

Three MGB Roadsters were used in the film, including one Saavedra bought locally and took home, plus one in mint condition that was on loan from a Pasadena MGB club member. That car, he said, had to be shipped by Federal Express, which turned out to be the movie's biggest expense.

Palmer's black and white tuxedo cat, dubbed “Sparky” in the film – named after a tabby cat that liked to play fetch that Saavedra had as a child – originally was supposed to be played by two trained calico cats.

However, those cats got a last-minute commercial deal and left the film. So the black and white cat was brought in, but its training was so bad that some scenes had to be shot later, after it had grown substantially bigger. Saavedra and Shulman said they also used a mechanical cat in some scenes.

When it came to catching a broad, sweeping shot of the county's vineyards, Saavedra brought in a helicopter – at a cost of $5,000. Because they got started late on the shoot they could only do one take, whereas normally a director might do 20 or more takes to get the perfect shot. Even so, Saavedra managed to catch a vineyard vista in the golden hour of a summer evening.

For Shulman, a lifelong Manhattan resident, filming in Lake County gave him the summer he never had as a kid, where he was able to swim, get a tan, learn to climb a tree – not much need for that in Manhattan – and even learn to drive a stick shift, much as his film character does.

“Sherman's Way” had many important contributors, one of them being writer/producer Tom Nance, who drew from his own experiences with his biological father in crafting a believable scene between Palmer and the son he's abandoned. He also appeared in the movie as a car salesman who hires Palmer for an ill-fated publicity stunt.

Nance was supposed to make the trip to Lake County with Shulman and Saavedra, but here the story has a sad end.

With the money he made from the movie, Nance bought himself a motorcycle. Last week, he was killed when a truck hit him while he was riding the motorcycle through Los Angeles.

More projects ahead

Saavedra and Shulman say their partnership has been a great one, and they have much more planned ahead, including a movie and a play project off Broadway.

When it comes to Lake County, both enjoyed their time here, and have fond memories of the experience, which is why they came back this weekend.

“The reason why we're both here is we want to stay thank you to Lake County,” said Shulman.

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



As the story develops, Palmer Van Dyke (James LeGros, left) and Sherman Black (Michael Shulman) realize how much they have to learn from each other. Photo courtesy of Starry Night Entertainment.



Linda Herndon and Joanna Richardson-Jones were seated on the Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District board earlier this month. Courtesy photo.


HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – The Hidden Valley Lake Community Services District and the Hidden Valley Lake Association both have new board members.

The community services district reported that it has seated two new directors this month.

Linda Herndon was appointed and administered the oath of office at a special district meeting on Sept. 5, with Joanna Richardson-Jones receiving her appointment and taking the oath at the district's regular meeting on Tuesday.

Herndon has a business background in management, business relations and has served on several boards through her business career.

Richardson-Jones brings expertise in business and experience in leadership through her career, combined with a passion for the Hidden Valley Lake community, water quality and its abundance. She has served on the Hidden Valley Lake Association Board for the past several years.

Over at the Hidden Valley Lake Association, community resident Kathy Joseph was elected to succeed Judy Mirbegian on the Hidden Valley Lake Board of Directors at the Thursday board meeting.

Joseph joins a board that includes President Don Dornbush, Vice President Tom Miller, Secretary Cheri Johnson, Treasurer Diana Marshall, and directors Joanna Richardson-Jones and Rick Munroe.

Two directors seats are still up for election, including Dornbush's. A candidates' forum is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Hidden Valley Lake Association Country Club.

Dornbush, Bob Brossier, Joseph Martin, John P. Ryan, Dan Sheehy, Eric Soderstrom and Bill Surber are running for the two seats, and will be available to answer questions from community members at the forum.

For more information about the agencies and their activities, including dates and times of meetings, visit the Hidden Valley Lake Association online at, or the community services district at


Late on Saturday afternoon, Rick Grant's 1956 Grumman Albatross flies low and slow past Clear Lake's western shores on his way to home base in Santa Rosa on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008. The huge twin engine aircraft carries a 96-foot wing and burns 110 gallons of aircraft fuel per hour. Two other Albatross had splashed in Saturday for a short stay. Both aircraft had departed by 1 p.m. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – Many people call them seaplanes. Others refer to them as float planes.

Call 'em planes on floats if you wish. Break them down further and you find floatplanes and amphibious planes. One type lives on the water and in the air. The other can call the good earth home as well.

Throughout the weekend the waters and air space around Clear Lake and specifically that which is just offshore of downtown Lakeport were the temporary home to about 30 of the above-mentioned type of aircraft for the 29th annual Clear Lake Splash-in.

Ranging in size and style, from small ultra-light single- and two-seat aircraft on up to the very large 20-passenger, 68-foot-long, 97-foot wingspan behemoths of the 1940s, they all have one thing in common – well, two for that matter.

First, they all fly and, large or small, they all take flight from, and return to, water.

Splash-in coordinator and seaplane pilot Chuck Kimes said 35 pilots and owners had completed the registration process – including the quagga mussel certification required by all boat owners and operators on Clear Lake – in order to take part in the festival. Of those, 30 planes came for the event.

Kimes expected that the total number of aircraft participating will increase. Last year's event was hampered by an unexpected change in the weather. Then, many of the larger aircraft canceled just hours before their expected arrival due to poor weather conditions.

Returning for his third splash-in, co-owner Randy Fiorini and pilot Rob Davids of Turlock brought their twin engine 1959 Piper Apache.

The aircraft was completely restored four years ago. The four-seat airplane has been given all new avionics, new engines and sports new paint in the original design with the same factory colors. Sierra Seaplanes primarily use tail number 34DA for multi-engine seaplane training in San Andreas County. It is believed that this is the only Piper Apache on floats anywhere in the world.

One of the larger aircraft returning was the 1964 Grumman Widgeon owned and piloted by Todd Dickey. Based in Arizona, Dickey's plane can carry 10 passengers and a large compliment of gear.

Still larger are the Mallards. John Fuller from Los Gatos brought his 48-foot-long twin engine 1946 Grumman amphibian with its 66-foot wingspan into Lakeport.

The smaller Grumman aircraft have wingspans that allow the planes to ramp out at the Natural High ball field.

The Mallards, the Grumman Goose and their big brother the Albatross have wingspans that prohibit these planes from exiting the water at the narrow confines of downtown Lakeport. They could, however, at Lampson Field for service and refueling.

It was a treat to see a Grumman Albatross in action. The huge flying boats measure just over 60 feet long with a wingspan of 97 feet, and are powered by a pair of 1,460 horsepower radial engines. They can carry 12,000 pounds of cargo at just over 200 miles per hour, for up to 2,800 miles before refueling.




A trio of Republic SeaBees including the Corvette-powered Tahoe Special (right) owned and flown by Steve Lantz of Carson City, Neva., fly in formation during the Seaplane Grand Parade on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



The planes began service in 1947, and just a couple of hundred at most still survive with many owned by private parties. Many have interiors outfitted, as would be the finest oceangoing yachts. A load of fuel cost roughly $6,000; the two huge radial engines burn 110 gallons an hour between them.

Besides the Albatross, there were plenty of aircraft to admire.

Steve Lantz flew in from Carson City, Nev., with his beautifully restored Corvette-powered Republic SeaBee.

Ray “I wear a kilt to stay comfortable” Arceneaux flew his turbo charged Cessna 185 Skywagon for an unprecedented fifth splash-in in a row. Arceneaux also frequents the Burning Man event on the Nevada desert, providing thrills for those not expecting a seaplane on the desert floor.

Seaplane rides also were offered for a fee, besides the festival that took place in Library Park on Saturday.

The festival ran Saturday, with most of the planes taking to the skies and heading to their respective homes on Sunday.

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



As expected Todd Dickey flew his 1964 Grumman Widgeon from Deer Valley, Ariz. Dickey and his guests left Lakeport at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008, for their return flight to the Phoenix area. Photo by Harold LaBonte.








Yellow was a popular color at this year's Clear Lake Splash-In, held Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008. Tom Binsfield's brightly colored SeaRay stood out because of its color and cool design. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Pilot Brandon Wilcox of Bend, Ore., takes a young passenger out for a spin in his Cub Crafters seaplane during the Clear Lake Splash-In, held Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Everyone gets a “Crock-Pot”, or slow cooker, when they get married. I think it’s one of those wedding rules:

1. You can’t see the bride on the wedding day

2. You can’t go fishing the morning of your wedding (Trust me, I know this one personally!)*

3. The couple gets a slow cooker among the gifts.

The name “Crock-Pot” was trademarked in 1971 by Rival Industries and now belongs to Sunbeam, so using the term “slow cooker” keeps me from having to send them a royalty check at the end of every sentence. The main purpose of a slow cooker is to throw a bunch of items into it, turn it on, and come back several hours later to a fully cooked, delicious braised meal.

Technically people have been braising foods (cooking foods in a liquid for long periods of time) for millennia, while the slow cooker is a product of the past century.

The main thing that started me using the slow cooker was that I knew on occasion I wouldn’t make it home in time to make dinner yet wanted to have something waiting for my family that didn’t come out of a box. I also like the fact that it uses less energy than an oven or stovetop, and it doesn’t heat the house up and counteract the air conditioning during the summer.

As I became more involved in the cooking for the family I started learning more about using the slow cooker. The thing that makes it so great to work with is not only does it take almost no work to use, but it works best when using the cheapest cuts of meat so it’s great for the wallet too.

When you first start using your slow cooker you should expect to have an anti-honeymoon period while you learn the settings. You will burn this and undercook that, but don’t become disheartened because all slow cookers are different and it takes a little time to feel out your slow cooker’s personality.

My slow cooker has high, low and keep warm settings. I like to start the process on high, and when the liquid bubbles I switch it to low for the remaining cooking process. Most slow cookers maintain a temperature between 175 (on low) and 200 degrees Fahrenheit (on high).

While you can just throw a raw hunk of meat into a slow cooker and it will cook just fine, searing the meat on all sides in a frying pan before placing in the cooker will make for better-tasting results. Meats that work best in a slow cooker are usually high in fat and with lots of connective tissue. These dissolve during the slow cooking process and create a lower fat, tender, moist and unctuous finished dish.

Using lean meats in a slow cooker doesn’t produce good end results since they don’t have the fats or connective tissues to baste them during the process. They wind up with good flavor, but with a hockey-puck texture and no moisture content.

The meats your slow cooker will work best with are pork shoulder, beef chuck, and chicken or turkey thighs and drumsticks. Dairy products tend to curdle when kept too long in a slow cooker, and seafood gets tough and chewy, so they should be avoided, or added in the last hour of cooking at the most.

Since slow cookers don’t lose much moisture during the cooking process like, for instance, soup does, you can use less liquid in a recipe that wasn’t meant for a slow cooker and still have great results.

WARNING! Some raw beans (including fava and kidney beans) contain a toxin called PHA (phytohaemagglutinin, if you prefer) that is destroyed once the beans are cooked at high temperatures, like by boiling (212 degrees). Slow cookers may not heat high enough to destroy this toxin and can even raise the toxicity of the beans, so either cook your beans before adding them to a slow cooker or use canned beans to avoid harming your diners.

I came up with this recipe just the other day when I wanted to find a use for the leftover tortilla chips that are always found in the bottom of a bag after everyone has used the whole chips for dipping. While utilizing the leftovers of a bag of chips and a jar of salsa, it results in a very enchilada-like flavor.

Pork shoulder with tortilla sauce

1 pork shoulder (seared)

6 cups chicken stock

2 cups leftover crushed up tortilla chips

1 cup salsa

3 tablespoons green Tabasco sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Sour cream (optional)

Add all of the ingredients except the cheese and sour cream into your slow cooker and, depending on the settings, start it on high. After a couple of hours set to low (although leaving it on high won’t affect much). At serving time, remove the pork and whisk the sauce remaining in the pot until smooth. Serve the pork and pour over the sauce and sprinkle on the cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

*My wife married into a fishing family - so much of an enthusiastic fishing family that when she announced our wedding date as being the day fishing season opened, calls came in asking if this announcement was some sort of joke, and relatives hemmed and hawed for weeks deciding if they could even attend an event that coincided with such an important day (Fishing Opener, of course). And my wife had nightmares for weeks before the wedding of me showing up to the church, late, in tuxedo shirt and vest and waders, with a fish in each hand and asking “Do I have time to clean these?” So men, just for the record, No fishing on your wedding morning! If my family could handle it, yours can. (Mumbling under my breath: “Although I still don’t understand why I couldn’t ... what’s the big deal? ... shheeessss!”)

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.


BUCKINGHAM – The county's preeminent charitable fundraiser, the Lake County Wine Auction, will take place Saturday, and there are still opportunities to attend the event for those who want to enjoy great local wines and food while benefiting local groups.

The Wine Auction will be held beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday under the big tent at the Buckingham Golf & Country Club, 2855 Eastlake Drive, Kelseyville.

U. S. Congressman Mike Thompson, First District of California, is the event chair, with Andy Beckstoffer, chief executive officer of Beckstoffer Vineyards, acting as the master of ceremonies.

The event's supporting organization, the Lake County Wine Alliance, will have a limited number of tickets available for purchase at the door on Saturday, the group reported Friday. Tickets are $100 per person.

Donations from sponsors already have brought in more than $90,000 for the ninth annual event.

Last year's net contributions to county charitable beneficiaries was $93,000; in its previous eight years, the Wine Auction has donated $623,002 to local nonprofits, with 2005 having the highest single amount of $125,000.

The beneficiaries chosen for this year's event are Kids 4 Broadway, Lake County Special Olympics, Wiloth Equine Therapy and Riding Center, Hospice Services of Lake County, Adult Day Care/Respite of Clearlake, the Military Funeral Honors Team, Church Women United, Operation Tango Mike, the Lake Family Resource Center, the County Literacy Coalition and the fine arts programs at five Lake County high schools.

In addition to benefiting groups such as these, the event also showcases fine wine and food from local businesses. Twenty-three wineries will pour wine and 17 restaurants, caterers or markets will serve gourmet foods.

The evening will feature 32 lots in a live auction, and 165 items in the silent auction. Auctioneers are Archie McLaren, founder of the Central Coast Wine Classic and a rare and fine wine consultant, and Jed Steele, owner and winemaker of Steele Wines of Lake County.

For more information and to purchase tickets for any of the events, call 866-279-WINE.


Upcoming Calendar

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
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08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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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
08.24.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

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