Saturday, 13 July 2024


Jennifer Harte (second from left) and her homestay family at Kyoto. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Harte.



MIDDLETOWN – On Aug. 13, Middletown Middle School arrived back in America from an adventure they will never forget.

Twelve lucky students who were chosen after a long selection process along, with three chaperones, traveled to Naka-cho, Middletown's sister city in Japan.

I am one of the students who was lucky enough to go on this trip. This was definitely a big deal for both towns involved in the exchange.

When we arrived in Osaka we took a bus to Naka-cho community center. We were taken to a welcome party which had all of the town council waiting there for us. Every member made a speech including some members from their school board. It was a strange but exciting feeling being in a foreign country surrounded by people who you can't understand.

After the party we met up with our homestay families who we'd stay with during the week. Some of the students got to stay with the same students who visited Middletown last summer, but some students stayed with families they had never met and had no problem getting friendly and comfortable with them. The whole town showed nothing but hospitality and tried to make our stay as comfortable as possible.

It was odd getting used to all the differences in Japan, especially the little things, like instead of lifting the faucet up to turn it on you lift it up to turn it off, using a toilet you had to squat over and driving on the opposite side of the road.

The houses there were very simple as well, but constructed beautifully. There was not much furniture in each room but my favorite room was the living room with the sunken table. There were many shrines everywhere and religion seemed very important to them. Every time we went to a shrine they would pray.

Everyone on the delegation had to be open about trying new things because there was definitely some strange and unfamiliar food. They took us to a creek were we caught fish with our bare hands, cooked them then ate the fish, ungutted. I even ate the fish head, eyeballs and all!

At one point toward the beginning when we all meet the students we had to catch our lunch, noodles with soy sauce, with chopsticks which were being shot down a bamboo shoot. The following day we got to watch a Kabuku (type of dance) play done by the elementary school students. With such grace and beauty they performed!

We got to go on a tour of their schools and see what the normal school day was like for them. Their main sport was Kendo, which we got to try out as well. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's like fencing but with bamboo sticks. Also we got to enjoy visiting some temples like Jogoji Temple, where we did Za-Zen meditation and took part in a traditional tea ceremony followed by a trip to Kyoto's Golden Temple.

The trip was way more then any of us had expected. Many of the delegation stated that we were "rock stars" during our stay. Some funny experiences happened that proved that point like constantly getting stared at, teens wanting our autographs and many people wanting pictures with us as well.

Our chaperones have stated many times that the group of students that went were so wonderful and they wouldn't have wished to replace any one of us.

When asked his favorite part of the trip, the first thing Middletown Middle School's principal, Dan Morgan, said was, "I really enjoyed getting to know the students who made the trip on a completely different level. Traveling with our students, experiencing another country and culture with them, and observing them mature and grow through the experience was really rewarding. I also really enjoyed getting to know these students on a more personal level ... we had a lot of fun together."

Troy Brierly, the school's wrestling coach, our other chaperone, said, "Not even the 1,000-degree heat could have taken anything away from that trip. I will never forget one second of it or the other delegates who shared the experience with me."

I think we all agree that there wasn't one part of the trip any of us would have wished to change. It was perfect and hopefully someday you too can get the chance to go visit this wonderful country.

Jennifer Harte, 14, is a freshman at Middletown High School. She lives with her mom and dad and two cats, and enjoys playing piano and guitar, drawing, writing short stories, reading and spending time with friends. She is an aspiring journalist.



The student delegation with their chaperones and the Naka-cho Town Council. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Harte.




The community of Naka-cho, Middletown's sister city. Photo by Jennifer Harte.




Jennifer Harte tries on a traditional kimono. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Harte.




The Kyoto Golden Temple. Photo by Jennifer Harte.




The home on Harbor Drive burned Sunday evening. Photo by Dwain Goforth.


KELSEYVILLE – A home was hit by fire Sunday in the Clear Lake Riviera.

The home, located on Harbor Drive, reportedly burned early Sunday evening, before 6 p.m., according to witnesses.

Kelseyville Fire and Cal Fire were among those responding to the fire, which was reported to have completely engulfed the two-story dwelling at one point.

Wind blew the smoke around the Riviera, which reportedly led to concern that other fires might be in the area.

No further information on the fire or the cause were available late Sunday.

Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.

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


Kelseyville Fire Captain Joe Huggins said the home, which burned Sunday, is a total loss. Photo by Dwain Goforth.

KELSEYVILLE – A Clear Lake Riviera home is a loss after a Sunday fire, a Kelseyville Fire Protection District official reported Monday.

The home, located on Harbor Drive, burned Sunday evening, as Lake County News has reported.

Captain Joe Huggins said the fire district received the call on the fire at 6:44 p.m. Sunday.

Three Kelseyville Fire engines, one engine from Lakeport Fire Protection District, a water tender from Lake County Fire Protection District and three Cal Fire engines responded to the blaze, Huggins said.

Three to four people were in the home at the time the fire broke out, Huggins said. No injuries were reported.

The fire destroyed the home, said Huggins. “It didn't burn to the ground but it was a loss,” he said.

He said the fire's cause is still under investigation.

The loss estimate is also being prepared as part of a final report, Huggins said.

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


KELSEYVILLE – A motorcycle crash on Soda Bay Road Sunday night claimed the life of one person and injured another.

The crash occurred shortly after 10 p.m. in front of Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Two riders were involved, however it was not clear in the preliminary report if they were riding together on one bike or were riding separately.

CHP, Lake County Sheriff's deputies and fire responded to the scene. Shortly after 10:30 p.m. officials determined one of the riders had died.

The surviving rider was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital by REACH air ambulance, which used Riviera Elementary School as a landing zone, officials reported.

CHP sent an officer to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital to oversee a blood draw on the surviving rider.

The names of the injured rider and the crash victim were not available Sunday night.

Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.

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


LUCERNE – A late-night motorcycle collision left one subject with major injuries.

The crash occurred at about 11:41 p.m. at Fourth and Country Club in Lucerne, according to a California Highway Patrol report.

A speeding motorcycle crashed into a pickup, leaving the rider – who was reportedly not wearing a helmet – with major head, shoulder and leg injuries, officials reported.

The rider was reported by CHP to have been found unconscious, but later was in a semi-conscious state.

A blood draw was ordered for the motorcycle rider, whose name was not available before publication.

A REACH helicopter was called to transport the rider to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The helicopter maneuvered down into town to pick up the rider, and flew out to Santa Rosa before 12:30 a.m.

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


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Later this week a Chico tribe will begin commemorations of their forced removal from lands in the valley and relocation to Round Valley in 1863.

On Saturday, Sept. 6, the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico will sponsor a potluck gathering at 3 p.m. at Hooker Oak Park in Bidwell Park to commemorate the 145th anniversary of the Nome Cult Trail, which was the forced relocation of American Indians from Chico across what is now the Mendocino National Forest to Round Valley in 1863.

The next week, on Saturday, Sept. 13 in the afternoon, the Round Valley Indian Tribes will sponsor a gathering at the Round Valley Reservation in Covelo to mark the completion of the 13th annual retracing of the original 100-mile trek.

Descendants of those who were part of the original relocation and other supporters will walk from Chico to Covelo starting Sunday, Sept. 7, descending down into Round Valley Sept. 13.

The theme for the walk and gatherings is “Honor Their Memory … A Path Not Forgotten.” Both the Chico and Covelo events are free and open to the public.

At the Covelo event there will be presentations by the walkers and a meal starting at about 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Tribal Building, 77826 Covelo Road. From Sept. 7 through Sept. 13, walkers will retrace the original trail, camping out each night along the way.

The tribes welcome the public to join them for all or part of the walk and for the gathering in Covelo on Saturday afternoon.

The removal of American Indians from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation in 1863 is one of the many forced relocations following the establishment of reservations in northern California in the 1850s.

Several different tribes were moved to the Nome Cult Reservation after it was established in Round Valley in 1856.

In September 1863, 461 American Indians were marched under guard from Chico to the Nome Cult Reservation, nearly 100 miles across the Sacramento Valley and rugged North Coast Ranges. Only 277 tribal members completed the journey. Some were killed, a few escaped, and others were left behind, too sick to go on.

Although the path itself has disappeared, this route is now called the Nome Cult Trail. The most grueling part of the trail passed through what is now the Mendocino National Forest.

The Forest Service has placed interpretive signs along the route to mark places where the tribal members and their military escorts camped. A free brochure and trail map produced by the Forest Service is available from Mendocino National Forest offices for those interested in the route.

The Mendocino National Forest requests that people traveling on forest roads along the trail route be aware and careful of the walkers to ensure their safety.

This year the walkers, many of whom are descendants of those who made the trek in 1863, will begin west of Chico at Irvine Finch Park, located at River Road and State Highway 32, at 7 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 7. They will walk west on State Highway 32 and camp at the Buckhorn Campground at Black Butte Lake the first night. For the remainder of the week they will walk across the Mendocino National Forest, following the Nome Cult Trail.

Their planned schedule is:

  • Monday, Sept. 8, camp at Buckhorn Campground;

  • Tuesday, Sept. 9, camp at Black Bear Campground;

  • Wednesday, Sept. 10, camp at Log Springs;

  • Thursday, Sept. 11, camp at Wells Cabin Campground;

  • Friday, Sept. 12, camp at Eel River Campground;

  • Saturday, Sept. 13, walk into Round Valley.

For more information on the Sept. 6 Chico event, please contact Arlene Ward, Chico Mechoopda Tribe, at 530-899-8922, Extension 220. For more information on the walk and the Sept. 13 Covelo event,

please contact Alberta Azbill, Round Valley Indian Tribes at 707-983-6126.


LOWER LAKE – A vehicle crash early Monday morning resulted in at least one person being seriously injured.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the crash occurred on Spruce Grove Road a mile and a half east of Highway 29 at Lower Lake at about 12:18 a.m.

A single vehicle collided with a tree and overturned in the middle of the road, CHP reported.

Three people were involved, with one of them hurt badly, according to the CHP.

Cal Fire was requested and REACH was called to transport the crash victim to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The subject transported to the hospital was reported to be Brian Inglewood.

No further information on injuries or the identities of the other victims involved was available early Monday morning before publication.

Harold LaBonte contributed to this report.

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


As you begin to read this you must understand that I am a “world famous” (I use the term loosely, hence the quotes) sushi aficionado. When the head instructor of an American sushi training school read my book he admitted that even he learned some new facts, so when people started asking me if I’ve ever eaten at Watercolors Restaurant on Sushi Sunday I thought, “They’d be doomed.” After all, I can look at the ball of rice from a piece of Japanese-made sushi and tell you at what school the person who made it was trained.

Once in a popular Santa Rosa sushi bar I wrote on my bill, “Worst sushi I have ever had! And I’ve eaten sushi in South Korea!” I’ve even got into an argument with one sushi bar owner when I told him his spider roll was made out of substitute ingredients and contained no actual crab in it at all. So when it comes to sushi, I’m a pedantic eater.

My daughter wanted sushi and she’s a spoiled little girl, so she was going to get sushi. Since I was able to sample some excellent things from Watercolors Restaurant during the “A Taste of Lakeport” event last week I thought it was a good time to check them out.

When we arrived at Watercolors Restaurant at the Ferndale Resort my first thought as I walked in was how elegant it looked. The room seats about 35 to 40 people, and has a fine, clean-looking interior, white tablecloths, beautiful stemware and candles on every table. Not to mention the view from the dining room overlooks the lake. I was impressed so far. My second thought was, “I’m too ugly to ever work here; every man and woman on staff is gorgeous. As of right now, I’m the least attractive person in the room!” My waitress Holly, for example, looked like she must be a waitress by day and jet-setting supermodel by night.

We were seated at a very comfortable table, and the host graciously welcomed us and asked if we were familiar with their Sushi Sunday menu. He said their regular menu was scaled down so they could provide the sushi menu ... get it? Scaled down, scales, fish, sushi ...? The host wasn’t trying to be clever, he hadn’t even thought of it that way, but it struck me as funny.

Another thing about the staff is that they were Johnny-on-the-spot when I wanted something; water is refilled before the glass is even empty, you raise one eyebrow at a staff member and they are right at your side to assist you (really, I did that). When Holly mistakenly mentioned to my wife the risotto that wasn’t even available at the time, the kitchen offered to make it for her anyway. Keep in mind that we’re here anonymously, they don’t know I’m going to review this seating; this is how they treat everyone! So now I started thinking, OK, maybe they aren’t actually “doomed.”

My daughter and I ordered the rainbow roll, Philadelphia roll, spider roll, ahi tuna roll, and one order each of the available nigiri, hamachi (yellowtail), unagi (freshwater eel), ahi (tuna), sake (salmon) and smoked salmon. Yes, when I eat sushi it’s a marathon, not a sprint. My wife had ... I don’t know, something pasta, not the risotto. She didn’t get into the sushi spirit with us. Italians ... their obsession with cooking their seafood, don’tcha know.

Let me say this, unagi is one of the types of sushi that gets people to wrinkle their noses: “Eel!?” Eel isn’t loved in America as it is in the rest of the world, but it ends up being a favorite for most people after they actually try it. Grilled and served still warm with a thick teriyaki-type sauce (called tsume). If you want to try unagi, then definitely try Watercolors’ unagi. It was perfect ... yes, perfect! It is the exact taste, temperature, amount of sauce and size that it should be. It was so good that when my daughter was eating it she was making noises that no father wants to ever hear his daughter making, if you get my meaning.

The rolls were all made with good creativity. The ends of the rolls were decorated with kaiware (daikon radish sprouts), and there was a clever addition of a basil sauce on some of the plates and a chile aioli on others. These are not traditional Japanese sauces, but they worked very well.

The ahi roll was served with an impressive, nay, decadent amount of tobiko (flying fish eggs). The spider roll is much smaller than you would expect if you have had them in big cities but it is much easier to eat than those cartoon-like giant rolls you would get in other sushi bars (besides my daughter has never been able to eat a spider roll due to their mythic size so this ended up to be a good thing). And all of the sushi was served with the typical side of wasabi (horseradish) and gari (pickled ginger), nicely presented on the plate.

One thing I noticed which was surprising is that the rainbow roll actually contains – get this – REAL CRAB! Not those rubbery imitation “krab” sticks that most sushi bars use. Called “surimi” in the industry, they contain no actual crab in them. Why am I telling you this? You don’t need to have this information since Watercolors uses REAL CRAB!

The nigiri tasted good and most people will absolutely love it; the percentage of fish to rice is the perfect combination and my nose wasn’t scorched out with wasabi. But I’ll admit if I were to show it to an itamae (expert sushi chef), we’d both giggle before making some joke about the knife skills of troglodytes.

In sushi tsu (expert) circles, a piece of nigiri is like a resume; not only does the shape of the rice ball tell you things about the chef’s training but the way the fish is sliced also tells you about the chef’s background. Looking at a selection of sushi from a classically trained sushi chef, a tsu can tell you where he was trained and even what part of the country he is from. It’s like ordering barbecue in the United States; each region is unique in certain ways.

So I’ll happily admit I was being somewhat trivial about the knife work on the nigiri, and my wife even commented that there are probably only a handful of people in the entire state that can tell a person’s history from looking at a slice of cold, dead fish. On the one hand it’s not expertly sliced, but on the other hand it didn’t take anything away from the taste of the meal. It’s just this food snob’s only detraction from an otherwise excellent meal. A person doesn’t get to know as much about sushi as I do and not have some fun with it, so don’t take my troglodyte joke too seriously.

I’ll give you a little dining tip to use at Watercolors (I hope they approve). They have little bread dishes on the table for the complementary bread, and don’t let that plate get away from you. Although they will bring you a small dish to pour your soy sauce in, don’t use it. The dish they bring you is like a sake cup, too deep to use effectively but the little bread plate is perfect. Just drip about four drops of soy sauce on the plate and use as needed; when you need more pour a few more drops on the plate.

This is actually the sign of a more experienced sushi eater. People who fill bowls with tablespoons of soy sauce and dunk their sushi like a cop dunking his donut in a cup of coffee are thought of as dilettantes to sushi tsu. If you want to look like a savvy sushi eater use only a few drops of soy sauce at a time (soy sauce in sushi tsu speak is called miruzaki).

When we were finished eating my daughter looked like a python that had just swallowed a goat; you knew she wasn’t going to be moving for a long time. She sat there saying, “It was soooo good but I can’t move now.”

Prices are exactly what you would expect for sushi and they didn’t cause me to flinch at all. We will definitely return. I won’t lie to you and say it’s world class sushi but it is dangskrabinjabit good sushi (as a person that doesn’t swear I thought that was a good expletive). This brings up a predicament for me, do I continue eating sushi there over and over again or do I return to review their daily menu? Once again, it’s a tough life.

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.


KELSEYVILLE – Highway 29 was closed for a few hours Monday afternoon to allow firefighters to mop up after a small vegetation fire sparked by a vehicle fire.

The California Highway Patrol reported that a Jeep flipped over and caught fire on Highway 29 near Kelseyville Auto Salvage and Tow just after 3:30 p.m.

The Jeep fire sparked a grass fire which burned less than a quarter of an acre, according to Cal Fire, which responded to the scene along with local fire officials.

Lake County Animal Control also was called to respond to the scene because of a dog that was found loose following the collision.

Shortly after the Jeep crash was reported another collision involving a motorcycle took place to the south, according to the CHP.

A total of three people were reported injured, with two being transported to the hospital via REACH and CalStar air ambulance, which used Kit's Corner for a landing zone. A third victim was taken by ambulance to Redbud Community Hospital, officials at the scene reported. At least one person was reported with major injuries.

The Jeep crash blocked the highway and backed traffic up for nearly two miles, the CHP reported.

Traffic was diverted from Highway 29 onto Highway 175 and Highway 281/Red Hills for a few hours while the scene was cleared and firefighters mopped up the fire area.

Shortly before 5 p.m. Cal Fire said that the two fires were contained and that firefighters were mopping up the area.

The roadway was reopened shortly before 6:30 p.m., the CHP reported.

No further information about the injured parties was available late Monday.


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


Dustin Scott of Scotts Valley 4-H earned $400.00 for his grand champion turkey; he's pictured here maneuvering his turkey toward the auction ring. Photo by Harold LaBonte.





LAKEPORT – Future Farmers of America and 4-H members from around Lake County wrapped up a year of livestock projects at the annual Junior Livestock Auction.

The event was held Saturday afternoon at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lakeport. It's part of the annual Lake County Fair, which runs through this weekend.

Auction officials reported there were approximately 282 lots in this year's auction, the proceeds of which many young people put toward education and other goals.

Full results and auction tallies will be published as soon as they are prepared.

The Lake County Fair wraps up Sunday evening.

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



Kylie Hill of Big Valley and her two white grand champion chickens, which sold for $500. Later in the auction Kylie auctioned her reserve grand champion steer, which weighed in at 1,225 pounds. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



A large crowd gathered for the annual auction Saturday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



Two youngsters enjoy a ride on on Friday, August 29. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – The Lake County Fair was in full swing on Friday, as county residents and visitors stopped in to enjoy the event's numerous offerings.

The fair runs through Sunday night.

On Saturday, the gates open at 11 a.m.

A fair highlight on Saturday will be the annual Junior Livestock Auction, which begins at 1 p.m.

The auction is expected to offer around 230 lots of prize winning livestock, poultry, and rabbits for potential buyers from throughout Northern California. A registered buyer's luncheon immediately precedes the sale at 10:30 a.m.

In recent years, the sale has been split into two sales rings which operate at the same time, making for a total sale length of around three and a half hours and providing buyers with plenty of time to visit the rest of the Lake County Fair.

An average of around 230 lots have been offered for a number of years, and the 2007 total auction proceeds were slightly more than $275,000.

"It's a real indication that the community supports youth programs like 4-H and the Future Farmers of America," said Fair Chief Executive Officer Richard Persons, adding that the programs teach kids about agriculture, which is Lake County's largest economic sector, and about teamwork, sportsmanship, honor and responsibility.

Persons said they hope to set a new record this year, in excess of $300,000. “Many of these kids save the money for college or other educational efforts, and eventually return to Lake County to become farmers and ranchers, so in the long run the whole community benefits,” he said.

On Saturday evening, an X-Style Motorcycle High Jump Show will take place at the grandstands. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday the fair will hold Seniors Day, with seniors 60 and over admitted all day at the discounted price of $4. Gates open at 11 a.m. Sunday. Seniors are advised to visit early in the day before the evening crowds become hard to negotiate.

The grandstand show on Sunday evening, beginning at 7:30 p.m., will be the WGAS Motorsports Tuff Truck and ATV Races.


Regular admission prices for the 2008 Lake County Fair are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 11. Children under 6 years old are admitted free every day.



The colorful fair midway entertained visitors on Friday, August 29. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




A sidewalk magician entertains visitors with some sleight of hand on Friday, August 29. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Visitors crowded into the fair on the evening of Friday, August 29. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




The fair midway on Friday, August 29, from the top of the slide. Photo by Harold LaBonte.






Upcoming Calendar

07.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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07.16.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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