Sunday, 21 July 2024


LAKEPORT – A 14-year-old Kelseyville boy died as the result of a car accident, not a July 4 gang-related assault, authorities reported Wednesday.

Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke reported that the Wednesday autopsy of the teen, who died Sunday, revealed that his death resulted from injuries he sustained in a Friday car wreck.

The 14-year-old gang assault victim was one of four teenagers riding in a car along Bell Hill Road, as Lake County News previously reported.

A 15-year-old Lower Lake boy was driving the car, went through a stop sign at a high rate of speed and ended up going off the road and into a tree. The three male teens fled the scene, leaving behind a 16-year-old female who claimed to be driving.

On Saturday night, the 14-year-old and another male juvenile who had been in the car showed up at the hospital to seek treatment. The 14-year old died early the next morning,

The 15-year-old boy who was driving the car was arrested Sunday morning for felony hit-and-run, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The car accident came two days after the incident in which the teen was assaulted by a gang of juvenile males as he walked along 11th Street on the evening of July 4. Lakeport Police said it was a gang-related incident.

Police have since arrested a 16-year-old teen who is a documented member of the Nortenos street gang for the assault.

Because of the sudden manner of the boy's death, Burke had been concerned that the gang assault case might turn into a homicide investigation.

But with the autopsy report's conclusions, Burke said, “We're going to investigate the original attack as an assault with a deadly weapon,” which was his department's original course.

“Even though the victim has now passed away we still have a strong case and are going to continue pursuing that investigation,” he added.

Burke said previously that he has four department members assigned to the case, and they are aggressively looking at new leads, which could lead to more arrests.

The 16-year-old charged with assault with a deadly weapon will undergo a fitness hearing in three weeks in which the District Attorney's Office will argue that he be tried as an adult, said Burke.

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


LAKE COUNTY – It's very unusual for July in Northern California, but officials are reporting that rain and thunderstorms may develop later today over a dry Lake County, which may be a recipe for wildfires.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Sacramento, a very unusual weather pattern for July is developing.

An upper-level low pressure system off the California coast will draw subtropical moisture into Northern California today and into tonight, bringing a threat of thunderstorms over coastal and Lake County mountains, NWS reported.

Combined with the very dry conditions, the potential for fires from lightning is possible and a fire weather watch is in effect, according to NWS.

This weather pattern and chance of thunderstorms and rain will remain in effect through Monday, with Wednesday predicted to have the highest possibility for thunderstorms.

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


Fire crews and sheriff's deputies respond to a report of a woman lying in the road on Hotel Road at Country Club Drive in Lucerne. Photo by John Jensen.





LUCERNE – A helicopter, sheriff's deputies and emergency medical personnel descended on Lucerne Sunday evening to respond to several incidents where subjects were reported seriously injured.


Radio traffic indicated a young woman was electrocuted in the vicinity of the Clear Lake Queen in Harbor Park Sunday evening. Her injuries were minor and she was transported to Sutter Lakeside Hospital in a personal vehicle, according to the Northshore Fire District. Further information about that incident was not immediately available.


At about the same time, Lake County Sheriff's deputies and Northshore Fire emergency personnel were responding to the report of an attempted suicide at a Foothill Drive address, according to Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins. That man was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center, said Robbins.


Shortly thereafter, at about 9:55 p.m., a woman was reported lying in the roadway on Hotel Road at Country Club. She was transported to the hospital, with Robbins saying that incident, too, was believed a possible suicide attempt.


The policy of Lake County News is not to report on the specifics and identities of attempted suicides or suicides, unless a suicide or an attempt is made in a highly public manner.


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THE GEYSERS – A 3.0 earthquake hit The Geysers area early Wednesday.

The quake occurred at 7:15 a.m., and was centered one mile west northwest of The Geysers and six miles west southwest of Cobb. The quake was measured at a depth of 2.5 miles.

The larger quake was followed by a 1.3 magnitude quake at 7:48 a.m., centered two miles north northeast of The Geysers and four miles west southwest of Cobb, 2.1 miles deep. Another smaller quake, a 1.2, happened at 4 p.m. right at the location of The Geysers.

The Geysers has a consistently high amount of seismic activity, which US Geological Survey seismologist David Oppenheimer said is due to geothermal activity in the area.

As for quakes 3.0 and above, The Geysers and Lake Pillsbury areas had several of those larger quakes in the spring, but in recent months the greater magnitude activity has tapered off.

Small quakes continue on an almost daily basis at Pillsbury, which had a 2.0 quake at 1:45 p.m. three miles north northwest of Lake Pillsbury. That location is several miles from the epicenter of the larger quakes recorded this spring.

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Zachary Eads was arrested Saturday after leading deputies on a chase and then trying to drive his truck over one deputy's patrol car. Lake County Jail photo.


HIDDEN VALLEY – A Yuba City man is in jail on more than $1 million bond for an early morning incident Saturday during which he allegedly tried to kill two sheriff's deputies with his truck.

Zachary James Eads, 33, was arrested for a laundry list of charges stemming from his confrontation with Sgt. Brian Martin and Sgt. Jim Samples of the Lake County Sheriff's Office, according to a Monday report from Sheriff Rod Mitchell.

Mitchell reported that deputies responded at 3:30 a.m. Saturday to Hidden Valley Lake, where Eads had reportedly been threatening someone.

Before deputies arrived on scene, Hidden Valley security personnel saw Eads fleeing the area on Hartmann Road, according to Mitchell.

Eads reportedly crossed Highway 29 where his Ford F-250 pickup collided with a power pole and started a small vegetation fire along the highway, Mitchell reported.

He again took off, with Hidden Valley security spotting him as he tried to escape. Mitchell said Sgt. Martin intercepted the truck and activated his overhead emergency lights. Eads, however, didn't stop, and attempted to evade the enforcement stop by driving at high speeds through residential neighborhoods in Hidden Valley.

At this point, said Mitchell, Sgt. Samples joined Martin in attempt to stop Eads, who drove onto Spyglass Road which ends in a closed cul-de-sac.

Martin exercised a “pit maneuver” in the cul-de-sac, said Mitchell, which uses the front bumper of a patrol car pushing against the rear corner of the pursued vehicle. That causes the pursued vehicle to lose rear-wheel traction and traps its front end using the front of a second deputy’s vehicle.

Martin successfully managed the maneuver, trapping Eads' truck with his patrol car blocking the rear and Samples' patrol car blocking the front of Eads’ Ford truck, said Mitchell.

But Eads apparently wasn't ready to give up. The sheriff reported that Eads drove his truck forward into the front end of Sgt. Samples’ patrol car causing the patrol car air-bags to deploy. A civilian who was in Samples' care for a ride-a-long was able to escape and get to safety.

Martin commanded Eads several times to stop and get out of the truck but Eads refused to comply, said Mitchell. Instead, Eads reportedly alternated between forward and reverse gears to gain traction to begin climbing the driver’s side of Samples’ patrol car while he was still seated behind the wheel.

Eads managed to get his pickup to climb onto the hood of Samples' patrol car, bending the hood in half and forcing it up in front of the windshield, Mitchell explained. Martin’s driver’s door was damaged when Eads reversed into it and significant damage was done to the front end and engine compartment of Samples’ car.

When Eads didn't stop, Martin fired his duty weapon into Eads' truck, which finally caused Eads to stop, said Mitchell. However, Eads – who had only minor injuries and sustained no gunshot wounds -- continued to fight and physically resist arrest. He threatened the transporting deputy and hospital staff where he was taken for medical clearance before being booked in the jail.

With Eads in custody, Mitchell said Samples and Martin checked with residents of the neighborhood to make sure that no one was injured.

Eads was booked into the Lake County Jail on charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon, resisting/obstructing a peace officer, felony evasion, terrorist threats and unlawfully causing a fire. His bail is listed as $1,065,000.

In the case of officer-involved shootings such as this, Mitchell said, “Standard protocol would normally involve our department inviting the District Attorney’s Office investigators to conduct an investigation into the incident.”

However, Martin – who is the son of Judge Richard Martin – also has relatives employed by the District Attorney's Office, and Mitchell was concerned that could lead to the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The sheriff said he consequently contacted the California Highway Patrol and requested their specialized critical incident team from Redding to conduct the investigation into this incident.

Mitchell said he was indebted to the local CHP office for their assistance and for their willingness to call on their Northern Divisions’ special incident team. “In addition to the significant training and expertise of CHP’s investigators, their home office being located in Redding helps us to assure a completely independent investigation,” he said.

In addition, Mitchell thanked the residents of the Hidden Valley neighborhood for their support for the deputies and patience while the cul-de-sac was shut down much of Saturday as investigators processed the scene. He said Hidden Valley Security personnel were also generous with their time and assistance before, during, and after the incident.

Most of all, Mitchell added, “We are very pleased that neither our deputies nor any other innocent civilians were injured during this incident.”

Because of the potential for conflict of interest, Mitchell said he believes it's likely the case will be forwarded to the state Attorney General’s Office for review. That determination, he added, will be made by the District Attorney’s Office after they receive and review all of the relevant reports.

Until the District Attorney's Office reviews the investigation, said Mitchell, no other details will be released.

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LUCERNE Lucerne Community Water Organization (LCWO) will discuss a change in rate setting schedules by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at a 7 p.m. meeting Thursday, July 12, at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, 10th and Country Club in Lucerne.

California Water Service (CWS), Lucerne's corporate water supplier, last week notified public officials and community leaders of the change.

The company had been expected to file a company-wide rate increase request in August, but because of the CPUC schedule change now has an interim request pending for the Redwood Valley District's Lucerne customers. It would increase rates by 21.3 percent, effective on July 1, 2008, or later, and 3.4 percent the following year.

LCWO president Craig Bach said the Thursday agenda includes discussion of intervening in the current rate increase request.

LCWO was formed in September 2005 to intervene with the CPUC when CWS had requested a 273 percent increase in Lucerne rates. With the help of pro bono attorney Stephen Elias of Lakeport, it won approval for greatly reduced rates and discounts for low income residents.

The next company-wide increase requests will be filed in July of 2009, covering costs of its centralized services and district-specific operations that could result in rate changes effective January 1, 2011 or later. After the 2009 company-wide filing, rates (both centralized services and district-specific operations) will be reviewed every three years.

Cal Water also has a separate conservation-rate application pending before the CPUC. If approved, it would promote water conservation by setting lower rates for a base amount of water usage and higher rates as water usage increases.


LAKE COUNTY – With the union representing them saying it's launching an effort to recall four county supervisors, In-Home Supportive Services providers and clients around the county may soon find themselves at the heart of a very political season.

California United Homecare Workers (CUHW) represents the more than 1,300 local IHSS providers in Lake County. Earlier this year, IHSS workers voted to make CUHW their primary union, according to Tyrone Freeman, CUHW's president.

In an interview with Lake County News, Freeman said the union is launching a recall of Supervisors Anthony Farrington, Rob Brown, Ed Robey and Jeff Smith, claiming the four incumbent supervisors have failed to respond to the needs of IHSS workers and clients.

On June 5, the board forwarded a proposal to the state that would give IHSS workers $1 an hour raise if they underwent drug testing and were trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid. Meeting those requirements would make them eligible for inclusion in the IHSS Public Authority registry and, therefore, the raise.

Freeman and the union were angered that the board took up the issues without bringing them first to the negotiation table. In a June 29 letter, County Counsel Anita Grant told Freeman that the county fully intended to meet and confer with the union if the state was willing to help support the proposal financially.

Nevertheless, the recall was announced and is going forward, said Freeman. Of the 1,379 IHSS workers recently counted, 584 voted on the recall, with 540 voting to support it and 44 voting against.

So, how do IHSS workers feel about the recall? Lake County News spoke to one on each side of the issue to offer two of many opinions.

A pro-recall viewpoint

Laurel Elliott of Nice has spent the last three and a half years providing home-based care. She first worked in Nevada, then came to Lake County and began providing IHSS care to her mother, beginning in December 2004. Elliott works full-time as her mother's caregiver.

IHSS care has made it possible for her mother to live at home and have a greater quality of life than if she was in a care facility, said Elliott.

Care facilities are also extremely expensive. About 10 years ago, Elliott said she worked as a supervisor of housekeeping services in a nursing home, where monthly care costs for patients ran between $3,600 to $4,200 a month.

“I really don't think the prices have gone down any,” she said.

It's because of such issues that Elliott feels strongly that IHSS workers need better pay, greater respect and more support. She said it's her opinion that the county hasn't offered any of those resource to IHSS workers.

As she's watched negotiations between the county and the union, Elliott said, “I got the impression that the county doesn't want to negotiate, they like things the way they are.”

Elliott said she supports the recall effort, and so when Freeman sent out a letter to union members early in June asking for them to vote on support for the recall, she said she sent back the voting card with the ballot marked “yes.”

She added that she thinks the entire board should go, even District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing – who Freeman said will not be a target – because she voted for the June 5 proposal. Elliott said IHSS workers helped get Rushing into office, but by accepting the proposal she didn't return that support.

Elliott said she thinks the recall as a “50-50” chance of succeeding. She said she's not sure yet if she'll actually work on the union's recall effort at the local effort, which Freeman said will include a community group to screen potential replacement candidates.

She said she feels the union has supported workers “by not letting us be railroaded into something that won't benefit us,” which for her applies to the proposal the board considered June 5. “I don't agree with it,” she said.

On the drug testing issue, Elliott said if IHSS care recipients request it, “then I think it's valid.”

However, for IHSS workers like herself who are working for family members, drug testing might not make sense.

In her mother's case, “It's not like she's getting someone she doesn't know.”

Said Elliott, “One of the reasons that I support the recall election is because I don't like being labeled a criminal or an addict. I'm neither one.”

That, she said, is how the drug testing proposal makes IHSS workers feel. “That to me shows a distinct lack of respect for the IHSS workers.

When she worked as a home care provider in Nevada, Elliott said she was required to undergo a drug test and a background check because the parents of the man who was her care client required those steps. Her client's parents paid for the test, Elliott said. She said she understood that request, since she was a stranger to her client's family.

Elliott said she feels it would be more fair if all IHSS workers were required to undergo background checks and drug testing as a condition of employment when they are first hired. Still, she questioned the necessity of it when working for a family member.

“She knows my history, she knows my background,” Elliott said of her mother and added that she does not use drugs.

Elliott said IHSS workers are needed now and likely will be even more needed in the future.

“The people who are against us now, in 20 or 30 years, they may need us,” she said.

If IHSS workers aren't given fair treatment, said Elliott, home care may not be available in the years ahead.

Counterpoint: Against the recall

Lynne Quartarolo of Kelseyville is on the other side of the recall effort. She said she abstained from the vote – not even returning her ballot – because she's unhappy with the union and its attempt to unseat area supervisors.

“If I sent the card in, I was voting for it,” she said.

And that meant allowing the union to take money from her paycheck to support the recall, and Quartarolo said she doesn't have any budget room when it comes to her wages.

The 62-year-old caregiver works more than full-time – 200 hours a month, seven days a week. She has no benefits such as sick leave – “if you don't work, you don't get paid” – and no health benefits, because she's too young for Medicare.

For the last three years she worked as an IHSS care provider in Lake County. She's also been a home care worker in New Hampshire and even England.

She said she doesn't consider herself a union member – “because I refuse” – and believes the union's approach to drug testing requirements “is totally wrong.”

Quartarolo said the union wants everybody to get the raise offered by the county even if they don't go through background checks and drug testing.

“I'm more than wiling to go for a drug test,” said Quartarolo, and said that those who don't shouldn't get the raise.

She also questioned why IHSS workers locally aren't annually testing for tuberculosis, which has been required in other places she's worked.

In negotiations, Quartarolo said the union has come away asking for less for workers, not more. “We've got to have some benefits.”

In June 2006, said Quartarolo, the “perfect solution” was on the table between the county and the union, which included benefits and a provision keeping IHSS workers' wages $2 an hour above minimum wage. That proposal also included stipulations for background checks, training and drug testing.

Quartarolo said she was watching the meeting on television – her work keeps her from attending board meetings – and saw the union representative turn the proposal down because it wasn't offered to all workers, notably those who wouldn't submit to the necessary testing.

“I wanted to come through the TV set,” she said.

She added, “This is why I'm not a member of the union.”

Turning down that raise proposal, said Quartarolo, to her mind demonstrated that the union was not “speaking for all of us,” but only for those can't – or won't – undergo testing to be entered into the IHSS registry.

Next, a look at the recall process and when it might take place.

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


VIDEO UPDATE: Helicopter bucket dumps water on fire as onlookers watch from roadside.


NICE – A burn barrel was the reported cause of a fire that burned three acres and a travel trailer on Monday morning.


Northshore Fire District Chief Jim Robbins said that the fire, which was on Bartlett Springs off of Selkirk Road, was reported at 10:07 a.m., with the first Northshore Fire unit arriving on scene nine minutes later.


A man was burning materials in a burn barrel, next to his travel trailer, said Robbins. “Unfortunately, the burn barrel caught the trailer on fire.”


Along with that, three acres of wildland were set ablaze, Robbins said.


Northshore Fire had two units and Robbins on the scene. They received assistance from Cal Fire, which sent five engines, a battalion chief, two air tankers, a helicopter and a dozer, Robbins said. The U.S. Forest service also sent one engine and a water tender.


The fire was contained at 11:20 a.m., said Robbins.


The man who was using the burn barrel was uninjured, said Robbins. However, he's facing a citation from both the county's air quality management district and Northshore Fire, said Robbins.


That's largely because of using the burn barrel, said Robbins.


“Burn barrels haven't been allowed for the last seven years within Lake County,” he said.


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LAKE COUNTY – With more visitors coming into the Mendocino National Forest during the summer months, forest officials are advising people to be on the lookout for illegal marijuana gardens and the people who guard them.

Nearly half a million illegal marijuana plants were seized on the Mendocino National Forest last year and the prime growing period is now underway, prompting national forest officials to advise the public to be especially vigilant when visiting the forest.

“We want the public to be aware that this is going on and know what to do if they encounter marijuana gardens on the forest,” said Forest Supervisor Tom Contreras.

Illegal marijuana growing is an increasing problem on public lands in California. National Forest System lands are becoming increasingly used for growing and harvesting illegal marijuana gardens and these operations can potentially present a safety hazard to forest visitors and employees.

Most of the marijuana gardens are in very remote locations. The national forest has vast and mostly uninhabited lands with many areas of rich, fertile soil and a climate that provides the necessary conditions for growing marijuana. Plants are put into the ground between May and June and harvested in late September through November.

“If a private citizen comes upon something suspicious, don’t enter the area; just leave and notify local law enforcement authorities immediately,” Dennis Cullen, Forest Service Law Enforcement Patrol Captain, advised. “Do not enter any garden area.”

In 2006 the MNF law enforcement team spent over 300 days eradicating 405,399 marijuana plants from 55 illegal marijuana sites on the Mendocino National Forest. More marijuana was taken by this team than any other group in the Forest Service in 2006.

In addition to the criminal nature of the marijuana gardens, there is substantial environmental degradation caused by the illegal growers. Herbicides and pesticides used to remove competing vegetation and gnawing rodents (which are a food source for the northern spotted owls), human waste and garbage, all end up in rivers after winter rains. Also, the irrigation systems dewater small streams needed by fish, and compacts the soil in the gardens, leading to erosion.

The typical marijuana garden has changed from the late 1980s and early 90s. During that time the typical operation had 100 to 1,000 plants. These days, operations are far larger, ranging in size from 1,000 to 30,000 plants, or more. The larger growing operations often have armed individuals tending the gardens, Cullen said.

“Most of the increase can be attributed to the proliferation of foreign Drug Trafficking Organizations,” Cullen said.

Forest Service law enforcement officers work with county sheriff’s departments and Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) teams. Headed by the Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, CAMP teams were created in 1983 for the primary purpose of eradicating illegal marijuana from public lands in California.

Growers can live in the forest near these sites for months at a time. Officers have come across camps with exercise facilities, tree houses, barbed wire fences and numerous firearms, Cullen said.

These camps often contain cooking and sleeping areas which are within view of the cultivation site. Some camps have tents, hammocks and sleeping bags on the ground and have been found with large overhanging tarps as cover for the entire campsite.

There are some things to watch for which may indicate marijuana is being grown in an area. They can include:

  • Isolated tents in the forest where no recreational activity is present.

  • The utilization of trailers with no evidence of recreational activities.

  • A pattern of vehicular traffic or a particular vehicle seen in the same isolated area on a regular basis.

  • Unusual structures located in remote forested areas, with buckets, garden tools, fertilizer bags, etc.

  • Signs of cultivation or soil disturbance in unlikely areas.

  • Black piping and trash scattered in forested areas.


For additional information or to notify law enforcement authorities of a suspected garden area in the Mendocino National Forest, persons can contact Forest Service Law Enforcement at (530) 934-3316.


LAKE COUNTY As we sweat through another warm summer month, the California Highway Patrol would like to warn the public of the dangers of leaving a child unattended inside a scorching hot vehicle.

Seven years ago, 6 month old Kaitlyn Russell’s babysitter decided to go shopping while leaving Kaitlyn in the car. The babysitter lost track of time, and by the time she returned to the car, the baby had died.

“The temperature within a car can climb higher than 20 degrees over the outside temperature in less than 15 minutes,” said Officer Adam Garcia of the Clear Lake CHP office.

“Kaitlyn’s Law,” also known as the “Unattended Child in a Motor Vehicle Act,” was passed by the Legislature in 2001 and went into effect on January 1, 2002.

The law states in part that anyone responsible for a child 6 years old or younger may not leave that child inside a vehicle without supervision of someone at least 12 years old, under the following conditions:

– Where there is a risk to the child’s health or safety.

– When the vehicle’s key is in the ignition or when the engine is running.

“Please do not leave your child unattended, even if it’s only to run inside the store or your house for a minute,” said Garcia. “A violator of this law could be fined $380.”


LAKEPORT – A 14-year-old juvenile injured last week in a gang-related assault has died after being involved in a Friday car crash.

The young Kelseyville resident, whose name was not released by California Highway Patrol, was hit in the head with a large rock on July while walking along 11th Street with his brother, as Lake County News previously reported.

On Friday, he and three other juveniles – a 15-year-old male from Lower Lake, a 16-year-old female and a 16-year-old male, both from Kelseyville – were riding along Bell Hill Road when the collision took place. CHP Officer Josh Dye said the 14-year-old was seated in the right rear of the vehicle.

A CHP report indicated that the 15-year-old driver, who was behind the wheel of a 1989 Buick, drove through a stop sign at Renfro Drive while attempting to turn left at an unsafe speed.

The car went off the road's west edge and collided with a walnut tree, causing major damage to the front end, the CHP reported. The driver suffered bruising and small cuts, the 16-year-old male had a bruised abdomen and the 16-year-old girl had bruised ribs. The extent of the 14-year-olds injuries are under investigation.

The three teenage males fled the scene, and the girl stayed behind, claiming to be the driver and filing an accident with CHP Officer Greg Baxter, the report said.

Late Saturday, the 14-year-old and 16-year-old males went to Sutter Lakeside seeking treatment for their injuries, the CHP report stated.

Officers Kevin Domby and Mark Barnes were notified of the two teens' arrival at the hospital, and began a felony hit-and-run investigation, according to the report. During that investigation they discovered that the teenage girl hadn't been driving the car, and that the three male juveniles had been in the car as well.

At 7:45 a.m. Sunday, Domby and Barnes arrested the 15-year-old driver at his Lower Lake home, said Dye. That teen is now in Juvenile Hall, facing a felony hit-and-run charge.

In the meantime, the 14-year-old reportedly fell into a coma at Sutter Lakeside Hospital. CHP reported he died early Sunday morning.

Charges haven't yet been filed on the other teens, but Dye said they're also likely looking at charges.

Dye said alcohol isn't believed to have been involved in the collision.

Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke said his department is waiting for the results of the 14-year-old's autopsy, scheduled for Wednesday, in order to decide if they'll need to take a new approach to their investigation into the July 4 assault.

“At this point, we're classifying his death as an undetermined death,” said Burke.

The concern, said Burke, is whether he died of injuries specifically from the car crash, or if his death was precipitated by the assault two days earlier. “At this point it's not clear.”

If it does look like the death is related to the original assault, Lakeport Police could switch gears into a homicide investigation, said Burke.

Even without its chief witness, the case against the 16-year-old who is believed to have led the July 4 assault is going forward. “The district attorney is seeking to prosecute the 16-year-old as an adult,” said Burke, who added that decision was made Monday.

A fitness hearing on the juvenile standing trial as an adult will take place in about three weeks, Burke said, which will give officials time to have the autopsy results and determine if they have any bearing on the assault case.

Burke said his department is continuing to aggressively pursue additional leads on the attack. “We've got more people working it now,” he said, saying four Lakeport Police personnel had been assigned to the case.

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


If you frequent the Restaurant at the New Riviera Hills you may have noticed that some changes are being made to the dining area.

First, it is in the process of being expanded to accommodate a larger crowd. Additionally the ninth fairway is being used for a leech field for the new and upgraded restrooms.

“It’s a refreshing change,” said longtime patron Mary Miles Ryan. “The restaurant did need a face lift; it will be a much more enjoyable place to visit in the future.”


Since the Gilberts bought the troubled club in January 2006, they have been attempting to make the facility a profitable business and have succeeded to some degree. The food and service at the restaurant have greatly improved and the pool has been upgraded at a considerable expense so it can be open on a regular bases.

The biggest expense in operating the facility is the maintenance of the golf course. The cost of keeping the greens watered is a major drain on the operating budget so there are plans to shorten up some of the fairways and planting grapes and olive trees on part of the area.

“I wouldn’t mind grapes because they have a low profile,” said Kathleen Quick, who lives on Sunset Ridge on the second fairway. “But if they were to plant olive trees where they will block our view, I would be very upset. We bought the home for the view and because it was on the golf course. Blocking our view would definitely affect our property value.”

In checking with the county there have been permits pulled to plant grapes but not olive trees at this time.

“They do own their land and have a right to make it viable,” said Alan Siegel, president of Clear Lake Riviera Home Owners Association. “We need to look at if they plan on spraying pesticides of any kind at any time.”

“One thing for sure, change is in the air,” said Ryan. “Let's hope that it’s change for the better.”

Visit Ray Perry's Web site at


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