Tuesday, 19 January 2021

News

CLEARLAKE – A head-on collision early Friday afternoon claimed the life of a Clearlake Oaks man and sent two other Oaks residents to the hospital with major injuries.


The California Highway Patrol's Clear Lake office reported that the accident took place along Highway 53 approximately one-half mile south of Highway 20 at 12:52 p.m.


Ronald Neville, 53, of Clearlake Oaks was driving his 1990 Mazda pickup southbound on Highway 53, the CHP reported. Coming from the opposite direction was 63-year-old Carla Sawyer of Clearlake Oaks in a 1993 Dodge minivan. Both drivers were traveling at between 50 and 55 miles per hour.


For an unknown reason, Neville's pickup drifted to the left and into the opposing lane, which was directly in Sawyer's path, the CHP reported.


Sawyer was unable to avoid the collision, and the two vehicles hit head-on in the Highway 53's northbound lane, according to the CHP report.


The CHP incident logs reported that there was “utter chaos” at the scene, with both cars blocking the roadway and emergency personnel on scene to help the three accident victims.


At just after 2 p.m., CHP confirmed that Neville had died of his injuries.


Sawyer and her passenger, 56-year-old Craig Sawyer of Clearlake Oaks, both sustained major injuries. Carla Sawyer suffered a fractured pelvis and a fractured upper arm. Craig Sawyer had a fractured neck, fractured leg, a broken sternum and broken ribs.


One of the injured was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, but CHP did not specify which.


Highway 53 was completely shut down for about 15 minutes before one lane was reopened, CHP reported. Both lanes once again were clear by 2:16 p.m.


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LAKEPORT – A local California Highway Patrol officer will be in court Friday morning to face allegations of elder abuse and fraud arising from a Lake County District Attorney's Office investigation.


District Attorney Jon Hopkins said his office filed the felony charges against CHP Sgt. Timothy Poindexter, 48, on Wednesday.


Specifically, Poindexter was charged with elder abuse of a financial nature, and grand theft of personal property, according to Hopkins.


The charges, Hopkins explained, arose out of a real estate transaction, in which Poindexter was purchasing property in the Finley area from an elderly couple.


The CHP placed Poindexter on administrative leave after the charges were filed Wednesday, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, Hopkins reported.


Hopkins said Poindexter has not been arrested or taken into custody, an issue that will be addressed when he appears in court Friday at 9 a.m. in Superior Court's Department 2.


The Clear Lake CHP office declined to give details about Poindexter's employment or his length of service with the CHP.


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LAKEPORT – This week, a local commission will consider adding 150 acres to the City of Lakeport's boundaries.


The Local Area Formation Commission – or LAFCO – will consider the Parallel Drive annexation issue at a meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 6, at Lakeport City Hall, 225 Park St.


Lakeport Community Development Director Richard Knoll said the 150-acre area runs along the west side of Parallel Drive, extending from the current city limits which is the southern boundary of a vacant orchard property to the south of KFC, the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise down to the Highway 175/Parallel Drive intersection.


The area is within the city's sphere of influence, or urban growth boundaries, Knoll said. It includes a population of 50 people and about 24 dwellings, he added.


The annexation process started two years ago, said Knoll. At that time, the city was considering a much larger area, about double the size of that currently proposed.


After surveying area residents and conducting a public workshop, Knoll said a number of people voiced opposition to joining the city, and the area under consideration was reduced to 150 acres.


What the annexation would mean for property owners and residents, said Knoll, is different services. Lakeport Police would take over policing the area from the sheriff's office. Residents would be required to participate in the city's universal – or mandatory – garbage service and would have to observe a permanent burn ban.


Property taxes would not change, Knoll said; neither would fire services, which the Lakeport Fire Protection District would continue to cover.


Lakeport also would offer the area sewer and water services, an issue which delayed the annexation's consideration.


The Parallel Drive annexation had been scheduled for consideration by LAFCO earlier this year, said Knoll. But when the state hit the city with a cease and desist order on hookups to the city sewer system in January, due to a capacity issue that manifested itself last year, Lakeport officials decided to postpone the annexation discussion.


“We put it on hold because the cease and desist order had the connection ban,” said Knoll. “We felt like we needed to sort out the implications for that with respect to annexation.”


Knoll continued, “The city really does need to address and resolve this sewer capacity issue,” both for the purposes of expansion and in-fill development. The city is doing that through, among other things, some proposed expansion projects, Knoll said.


LAFCO's staff is recommending the annexation's approval, said Knoll.


He said it's the city's position that it makes sense for the Parallel Drive area to be within Lakeport's city limits because of its close proximity to the city and the fact that it's already equipped for growth through city services.


The city's draft General Plan, which will be the subject of a June 19 City Council public hearing, calls for about 1,000 more acres to be annexed over the life of the plan, said Knoll, which the document itself says is a 20-year timeframe.


Some of the areas slated for eventual annexation are about 400 acres of the City of Lakeport Municipal Sewer District, which the council has been looking at for a golf and residential subdivision development; and 500 to 600 acres of potential that includes an area near the city limits along Scotts Valley Road, the South Main Street corridor and an area west of the Parallel Drive annexation, Knoll said.


The Parallel Drive annexation isn't a given, said Knoll.


For starters, LAFCO could choose to turn it down. If LAFCO does approve it, there are still several steps required to finish the process, Knoll explained.


There has been opposition to the plan by area residents, he added. If enough opposition exists from property owners, the issue could go out to an election of voters and landowners in the area, which could prevent the area from joining the city.


“It's an interesting process,” he said.


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LAKEPORT – A local California Highway Patrol officer pleaded not guilty on Friday to allegations of fraud and elder abuse.


The Lake County District Attorney's Office filed the felony charges on Wednesday against 48-year-old Kelseyville resident Timothy Poindexter, a sergeant with the Clear Lake CHP office.


District Attorney Jon Hopkins said the charges arose out of an investigation his office conducted on a real estate transaction in which Poindexter was purchasing property from an elderly Finley couple.


Poindexter pleaded not guilty during his Friday morning appearance before visiting Superior Court Judge Galen Hathaway, Hopkins reported.


Hathaway released Poindexter on his own recognizance, Hopkins said, and ordered that Poindexter be booked the same day at the Lake County Jail.


Fran Clader, a spokesperson with the CHP's Sacramento headquarters, said Poindexter has served with the CHP for 26 years. He has worked at CHP offices around the state, including Napa, Alturas and Gilroy. He joined the Clear Lake CHP office in August 2001.


Hopkins told Lake County News on Thursday that after the charges were filed the CHP put Poindexter on administrative leave, pending completion of an internal affairs investigation.


Hopkins said Deputy District Attorney Joyce Campbell is prosecuting the case. Representing Poindexter is Judy Conard, an experienced defense attorney with Alvord & Conard law firm in Lakeport.


A call to Conard's office seeking comment on the case was not returned.


Poindexter is set to return to court for a preliminary hearing on July 13, Hopkins said.


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Jim Harris, now 83, was 19 when he took part in the D-Day invasion. Photo by Ginny Craven.

 

LAKEPORT – “OK, let's go.”


That was the final order from General Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, on the morning of June 5, 1944, after receiving word that a few days' break in the North Atlantic's stormy weather was forecast.


That, Eisenhower decided, was enough time to carry out what would become the greatest invasion in military history.


The following day, an estimated 150,000 men would invade Normandy by land, sea and air, an effort that included 5,000 ships and 11,000 airplanes.


On Wednesday morning, veterans gathered at the Pearl Harbor memorial flagstaff in Lakeport's Library Park to remember that day 63 years ago.


Among those gathered was a man whose boots actually touched the sands of Omaha Beach, where US forces were concentrated during the invasion. That beach would later be called “Bloody Omaha,” because or the estimated 2,200 casualties the American forces took there under the Germans' fierce defenses and the coast's high cliffs.


Allied forces overall suffered about 10,000 casualties on D-Day, according to historical reports.


Ronnie Bogner was the master of ceremonies for Wednesday morning's commemoration, which featured the singing of the National Anthem by former Miss Lake County Saundra Combs, and a three-volley salute and Taps by the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team.


Sea Scout Ship Whisper Bosun Desmond O'Connor and Mate Trina Lane helped raise the American flag. Also in attendance were members of the California Highway Patrol and Lakeport Police. (For a full picture gallery of the ceremonies, visit our Gallery section.)


Captain Woody Hughes led the invocation and was a featured event speaker.


Hughes emphasized the Normandy Invasion's importance in breaking Adolf Hitler's stranglehold on Europe.


The invasion, Hughes noted, was the first invasion to cross the English Channel in nine centuries.


He shared the story of visiting Devon, England, where he met Ken Small, who helped discover the untold story of Slapton Sands, a practice invasion that took place along the English coast in April 1944.


While walking Devon's beaches, Small – who had retired and moved to the area, where he bought a a guest house – discovered US military artifacts and began to write the government and talk to locals. During the course of his search he helped locate a US Sherman tank underwater just off the coast, on which fishermen often hooked their nets.


During the Slapton Sands practice invasion, two German torpedo boats appeared and attacked the destroyer flotilla, according to a US Navy history. What followed was the death of 749 men.


Those battle dead are part of the D-Day story, which Hughes said is important to remember.


Following Hughes was Lucerne resident “Gypsy” Jim Harris, 83, who has witnessed more history than most people have read about.


Harris has the distinction of having been at Pearl Harbor at the start of the war and at D-Day toward the war's end. He grew up in Oakland and joined the Navy at age 15. At 17 he was present when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. He was a 19-year-old second class petty officer and sonar man by the time of D-Day.


He also was at Slapton Sands, where he estimated 3,200 men died – more than four times the official report.


Harris shared the story of being aboard the destroyer USS McCook (DD 496), damaged in a bombing raid just days before the invasion. He said the ship sailed around England, up the Irish Sea and down to Wales, where the McCook was repaired in 36 hours.


On June 4, he said, the invasion nearly launched, but was called back due to bad weather.


In an interview later on Wednesday, Harris said mine sweepers and smaller boats the sailors called “spit kits” had already started out toward the French coast when bad weather forced the commanders to call of the invasion.


“We had to go out like a bunch of cowboys and herd them back to Portland,” said Harris, which was a city on the east coast of England.


Finally, with a predicted break in the weather, the invasion went forward on June 6.


Early that morning, they headed for Omaha, Harris explained during the ceremony. “At 4:30 in the morning, we started to see the mists of Normandy.”


Harris said he and his fellow sailors watched as the Germans destroyed Army tanks on Omaha Beach. The USS McCook, the USS Carmick and two other destroyers in his squadron then began returning fire on German Tiger tanks high above the beaches in the woods. The firing ships destroyed about 20 German tanks, he said.


Down on the beach, US soldiers struggled to get past German guns, Harris recalled.


“Our troops who landed on the beach were in a murderous crossfire,” said Harris.


From the USS McCook, Harris said the gun control officer spotted machine gun muzzle fire from the cliffs above the beach, which the Germans had hallowed out and were using a a firing position. From there, the Germans were able to place a “withering fire” down the length of Omaha, Harris said.


The gun officer reported spotting the German guns to the captain, and the ship fired on the position. “They just tore up that whole cliff,” said Harris.


The ships were so close to the beach they were actually in the surf, and had to reverse their engines to keep from running aground, said Harris.


Over the three days that the battle ensued, ships like the McCook – which Harris said were “floating artillery” – helped destroy German positions and command posts, Harris told Lake County News.


Later, Harris and the McCook would head south to participate in Operation Anvil, the invasion of southern France, where Vichy forces helped resist the Allied invasion.


Later in 1944, Harris would go on to Corsica and Italy. But by year's end, an injury he suffered while on duty in the South Pacific earlier in the war, earned him a trip back to the states and his new wife.


Harris said he's undertaking a project to encourage county residents to send the names of loved ones, friends and relative who served at D-Day to the Veterans Service Office, where they'll be compiled. He said he'd like to get names, ranks, military branches and phone numbers where he can call for more information.


To send in names of D-Day vets, drop them off or mail them to the Veterans Service Office, 255 N. Forbes, Lakeport, 95453.


Why is he taking on that project, which he calls a labor of love?


“When you're over there, you're scared to death. You haven't got time to think about it. But later, it gets to be something that was important in your life,” Harris said.


“An old man has nothing but his memories,” he said, adding, “They're memories that should be passed on.”


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The United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team fires a three-volley salute. Photo by Ginny Craven.

 

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Bugler Austin Ison of the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team plays Taps at Wednesday's ceremony. Photo by Ginny Craven.

 

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Starr Hill's family believes the Middletown woman, who disappeared two years ago, is dead, and they hope to find her to achieve some level of closure. Photo courtesy of April Robinson.

 

MIDDLETOWN – Starr Hill was looking forward to the future.


In May of 2005, the 46-year-old mother of two, who also was a youthful grandmother, had recently quit smoking to get her scuba diving certification.


She and husband, Curtis, had purchased a cave on the big island of Hawaii and were building a tourism business there.


Starr Hill's younger daughter, April Robinson, said her mother liked to show pictures to friends and family of the work she and Curtis were doing for the business, which included taking people on tours of the Hawaiian cave.


On May 17, 2005, Starr Hill and Robinson spoke on the phone, as they did on an almost daily basis, Robinson said. They had last seen each other the week before.


They were due to speak again May 19, said Robinson, but Hill never called.


No one has reported seeing or speaking with Hill since that week two years ago, and the search for answers about what happened to her has turned up no substantial clues.


At this point, said Robinson, it's a cold case.


Searching for Starr


After three days of hearing nothing from her mother, Robinson called Starr's husband, Curtis. Robinson said Hill told her they had fought on May 18 and Starr had walked away from their home on Western Mine Road.


In an interview with this reporter in May of 2005, Curtis Hill stated he and his wife had argued and she walked away from their 37-acre property during a rainstorm, wearing blue jeans, a green sweater and a black leather jacket. She didn't take her purse or any other personal effects.


Curtis Hill said then that Starr had been known to leave for weeks at a time following heated arguments during their five-year marriage.


He later reported that he came home from his job as a firefighter in Contra Costa County the day after his wife left to find an angry note from her. He said he also found duffel bags, her purse and makeup bag missing.


Robinson said she never saw that note that Curtis Hill said he found from Starr.


Curtis Hill did not return several phone calls from Lake County News to his Middletown home seeking comment for this story.


A friend of the couple later stated they saw Starr Hill on the same day that she disappeared walking in the rain along the highway toward near Twin Pine Casino. Robinson discounted the story, saying her mother would likely have stopped into the casino to call a friend or family member for a ride and so someone would have heard from her.


The Lake County Sheriff's Office searched the Hill property on May 24, 2005, with the help of K-Corps and Search and Rescue teams. No signs of Starr Hill were found.


Her grandson's birthday came and went the week following her disappearance, and still no signs of Starr, who Robinson said didn't miss family events.


In the months that followed, Robinson, her stepfather and his family reported handing out fliers and traveling to areas of Mendocino and Napa counties where Starr had liked to visit. Meanwhile, sheriff's investigators found no signs of activity on Starr Hill's cell phone or credit card accounts.


In August 2005, Sheriff Rod Mitchell held a press conference to help publicize the missing woman's case, and to ask the public for leads.


By the time of Mitchell's press conference, Curtis Hill had stopped cooperating with the Lake County Sheriff's Office, which Mitchell called attention to, saying Hill's behavior was “suspect.”


Hitting a dead end


The only physical evidence of Hill that the investigation turned up was her cell phone, which was found by a vineyard worker alongside Highway 29 in Lower Lake in October 2005.


The last number that showed up on the phone belonged to Starr Hill's mother, Leona Schneider, now 85, who lives in Auburn.


But Mitchell reported that the cell phone find ended up yielding no forensic evidence and few clues, other than it was last used before Starr Hill's disappearance.


In December of 2005, Robinson volunteered to take a voice stress analyzer test, answering questions about her mother's disappearance. She passed. Her stepfather, however, refused to take the same test, according to Mitchell.


Robinson said she regularly speaks with sheriff's investigator Det. Corey Paulich, but that the last time anything of significance in the case occurred was last May, when authorities conducted another search of the Western Mine Road property.


That effort had been postponed for eight months while they waited for Shirley Hammond, a noted cadaver dog handler and author of books on training disaster search dogs, to become available to take part in the search, said Robinson.


Hammond had been key in the search for Tracy Lyons, a man who went missing in the Clearlake Oaks area in 1998. Hammond's dog, Twist, reportedly found traces of Lyons' remains, and Hammond later testified in the trial of Nathan Davison, who was convicted in 2005 of Lyons' murder.


However, Hammond's search of the Hill property yielded no clues, said Robinson.


The Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation last year offered a $5,000 reward for information about Hill, thanks to Robinson's efforts to get attention for her mother's case.


But the rewards are only offered for six months, said Robinson, and the reward money was withdrawn in August 2006 so it could be used for another case.


Robinson said she's still in touch with the foundation, and that they continue to circulate information about Starr Hill's case. She hasn't asked to have the reward reinstated, however.


There are thousands of missing persons around the country, said Robinson, “and families that are going through the same thing we are.”


Hill's DNA was submitted to a national database of missing persons, thanks to Paulich's efforts to get past a Department of Justice backlog, said Robinson. “It took a really long time to get that done,” she said.


The DNA came from a hairbrush Curtis Hill turned over to authorities, along with DNA samples contributed by Starr's brothers and mother.


Tomorrow: The authorities try to piece the case together while the family seeks closure.


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LAKE COUNTY – More than a year after a boating accident resulted in the death of a Willows woman, charges are being brought against a Carmichael man who was operating the sailboat on which she was a passenger.


District Attorney Jon Hopkins announced Thursday that he was charging Bismarck Dinius, 39, with felony vehicular manslaughter involving a vessel and misdemeanor boating under the influence of alcohol.


Dinius is scheduled for arraignment in Department 2 in Lakeport at 9 a.m. Friday.


Hopkins said Dinius was at the tiller of a a 27-foot sailboat owned by Willows resident Mark Weber after 9 p.m. on April 29, 2006.


While sailing near Konocti Bay, the sailboat – which included three other passengers besides Dinius and Weber – was hit by a 24-foot Baja motorboat driven by Clearlake Park resident Russell Perdock, who is a chief deputy at the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


In the collision, one of the sailboat's passengers, Willows resident Lynn Thornton, was seriously injured. Days later, she died at U.C. Davis Medical Center, according to the original statement by Sheriff Rod Mitchell.


Hopkins reported that after the accident Mitchell called on the District Attorney's Office to participate in the investigation in order to avoid “any appearance of impropriety” because of Perdock's involvement.


A sergeant and a deputy from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office Marine Services who are experienced in investigating boating accidents also took part in the investigation, said Hopkins.


Before moving forward with prosecuting the case, Hopkins said he referred the case to the California Attorney General’s office. In doing so, Hopkins again cited the desire to avoid the appearance of impropriety.


He said he asked the Attorney General for an independent opinion on who should be charged in the case and if his office should be recused because of its close working relationship with the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


After a complete review of the case, Hopkins said the Attorney General’s Office found no reason for the District Attorney to step down.


In charging Dinius, Hopkins alleged that he was operating without running lights and was under the influence of alcohol. An original report of Dinius' blood alcohol level reported it was 0.12, which is above the legal limit of 0.08.


Hopkins said no charges were filed against Perdock or Weber. Hopkins added that Weber was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.


Deputy District Attorney David McKillop, whose position is funded by the new Office of Traffic Safety grant for prosecuting driving under the influence cases, is prosecuting the case, said Hopkins. Tom Clements, who recently retired from his position as a lieutenant with the Clearlake Police Department, is assisting McKillop as a part-time investigator, which the grant also funding Clements' position.


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LAKEPORT – After nearly three hours of discussion by the Local Area Formation Commission Wednesday, a decision on the Parallel Drive annexation was postponed until July, with the commission asking the city for more information.


LAFCO consists of city and county representative and members of the public who decide on issues concerning formation of special districts and municipal boundary issues such as the proposed annexation.


The City of Lakeport asked the commission to approve a proposed annexation of 157 acres along Parallel Drive, as Lake County News reported earlier this week.


But the city's sewer capacity issues posed a concern for commissioners. Specifically, they wanted more information about the city's ability to provide sewer services to the new area, which currently includes 24 dwellings on about 30 parcels, according to Lakeport Community Development Director Richard Knoll.


There's also a 130-lot subdivision Tom Adamson has proposed for the area, said Knoll.


If annexed, about 100 acres of the land would be designated residential, with the rest slated for commercial development, officials explained.


Residential zoning in Lakeport allows as many as seven units per acre, but Knoll said the city's average is four. He said many of the lots in the area already are developed.


Earlier this year, the state placed a cease and desist order on Lakeport because of capacity issues that manifested last year in a treated wastewater runoff from the city's sewer facility. Part of that order included a temporary connection ban to the city's sewer system.


The state has lifted that ban on condition that the city meet certain requirements by November. Meeting those requirements also would give the city 77 residential unit equivalents – or 77 residential hookups to the sewer system.


Lakeport City Manager Jerry Gillham told LAFCO commissioners that he believes they have much more capacity even than that to cover the new annexation area and future development.


Since the connection ban, Lakeport officials have argued that the state water quality control board's calculations of the city's sewer capacity were faulty.


Annexation would give the city impact and development fees – to the tune of as much as $14,000 per residence that hooks up to the system, Gillham and Knoll explained.


But LAFCO Commissioner Denise Rushing said she was uncomfortable with Gillham's argument that the state's numbers aren't to be trusted.


Rushing said she wanted more information about studies of the sewer facility capacity issue the city has conducted.


Gillham pushed for annexation on the basis of contingencies – that the request would be approved based on the city fulfilling certain requirements by a certain date.


LAFCO Executive Officer John Benoit said the commission's five-page resolution on the annexation could be altered to include such requirements.


The resolution includes a condition that the annexation could only go forward if the city did, in fact, receive the 77 residential unit equivalents from the state.


Rushing, however, questioned if the city could meet the annexation area's needs. “I think LAFCO's job is to make sure the plan matches the annexation.”


Commissioner Ed Robey asked Benoit if it was typical for LAFCO to make a decision based on a contingency, because he didn't believe he had encountered that before. Benoit admitted the situation was “somewhat unique.”


Robey said he wasn't opposed to the project, but wanted a commission decision to conform with policy.


Gillham said he was concerned that holding the annexation too long would hamper the city's ability to get financing for a sewer facility expansion project, but he didn't object to the one-month delay.


Rushing moved to have the decision postponed so the city could provide more information on how many residential hookups will be added through the city's expansion projects, as well as a report on the current flows into the city sewer system versus the system's maximum flow capacity.


Alternate commissioner Jeff Smith said he also wanted the city to provide updates on what development projects it has approved so the commission can know how many hookups are available to the annexation area.


“We need those exact figures before we can make an informed decision,” said Smith. “That's the bottom line.”


Gillham said after the meeting that the one-month postponement shouldn't hamper their funding application to US Department of Agriculture Rural Development, which the city hopes will help fund its sewer expansion.


“If it had been much longer than that I would have been a little squeamish,” Gillham said.


LAFCO will return to City Hall at 9:30 a.m. July 18 to continue its consideration of the Parallel Drive annexation.


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American soldiers on a Coast Guard landing boat prepare to land on the coast of France under heavy Nazi machine gun fire. Picture taken on June 6, 1944, by Robert F. Sargent. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard/National Archives and Records Administration.

 

LAKEPORT – Local veterans groups will gather this Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, or D-Day, the Allied operation that turned the tide of World War II.


The event will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 6, at the Pearl Harbor flagstaff in Lakeport's Library Park, according to Rich Feiro, firing party commander for the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team.


Feiro reported that each veterans organization in the county will have a representative present with their colors at the ceremony.


The Military Funeral Honors Team will provide a three-volley salute and Taps will be played, Feiro added.


The Normandy Invasion, codename Operation Overlord, took place June 6, 1944, according to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation. It was the first step in the Allied plan to invade northwest Europe.


On D-Day, General Dwight Eisenhower was supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, which included troops from 12 nations United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland and the United Kingdom, according to the National D-Day Memorial Foundation.


The D-Day landing included more than 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes and more than 150,000 servicemen in what was the largest land, sea and air invasion in history, the National D-Day Memorial Foundation reported. During the invasion, the Allies suffered, 4,000 battle deaths and 10,000 total casualties.


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A Cal Fire helicopter drops water the wildland fire near San Joaquin Avenue on Thursday. Photo by Kristin Dugan.

 

CLEARLAKE – Fire crews were able to quickly contain a small wildland fire near San Joaquin Avenue in Clearlake Thursday afternoon.


The fire was reported at 1:27 p.m., said Justin Benguerel of Cal Fire's Emergency Command Center.


Captain Brice Trask of the Lake County Fire Protection District said the blaze was about five acres in size and originated on San Joaquin Avenue, burning up to the west end of Carter Lane.


Trask said his department sent 14 personnel to the blaze – including the chief, and assistant and battalion chiefs – along with one water tender and three engines.


Cal Fire dispatched two air tankers, one air attack, one helicopter, two fire crews consisting of 36 firefighters, one dozer and five fire engines with three firefighters each, Benguerel reported.


The fire didn't immediately threaten any homes, said Trask, but if it had burned about 600 yards farther it would have reached a number of residences.


Trask said the fire was contained quickly, by about 2 p.m., but crews had just returned to quarters at 6 p.m.


“We did mop up for quite awhile,” he said, which included knocking out fire hot spots.


The fire's cause is under investigation, Trask said.


Fire season is well under way, said Trask. Because of that, he reminded homeowners that it's important to keep 100 feet of defensible space – free from weeds, brush and other flammable materials – around their homes.


But be careful about when you're doing your mowing, Trask said.


One of the major causes of fires during hot and dry weather is using lawnmower or flail mowers, he said. When the blade hits a rock, it can cause a spark, which can then result in a blaze, Trask said.


That was the case in a small fire at Anderson Marsh State Park on Thursday afternoon, he said. While mowing, a maintenance worker set off a small blaze that, luckily, was quickly contained.


Trask advised not mowing after noon during the hot weather.


In other fire-related news, Trask said that insurance and workman's compensation investigators are looking at the Brown's RV blaze.


That fire was set off June 1, reportedly from a propane tank explosion. One person was injured but Trask said he couldn't report on the victim because of legal requirements.


“That's going to be under investigation for quite a while,” he said.


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CLEARLAKE OAKS – Authorities reported a vehicle went into the lake along the Northshore lake Monday.


The California Highway Patrol incident logs included a report at 11:21 p.m. of a red 1991 Mazda Protege going off Highway 20 and into Clear Lake, near Clearlake Oaks.


A female caller – possibly the driver – advised CHP that the car was traveling from Lakeport toward the south end of the lake when it went off the road between Clearlake Oaks and Lucerne, just east of Pepperwood Cove.


The logs reported the car was submerging, but all parties were out of the car.


An ambulance was initially dispatched, although the woman who reported the accident said she only had some cuts and bruises.


No further information, including how many other people may have been involved in the incident, was available Monday night.


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Eleven Roses Ranch participated in Saturday morning's parade at Upper Lake Wild West Day. Photo courtesy of the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team.

 

LAKE COUNTY – There was a lot to do on Saturday, with celebrations ranging from Upper Lake to Lakeport.


In historic downtown Upper Lake, it was time for the annual Wild West Day, sponsored by the Upper Lake Community Council.


The daylong event was complete with parade,which featured such local organizations as the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team; old West costume contests as well as awards for the bet beard and bonnet; barbecue, music and more.


Across the county, the ninth annual Wood & Glory event was taking place at Library Park in Lakeport, sponsored by the Lakeport Regional Chamber of Commerce.


Wood & Glory brings to Clear Lake dozens of beautiful classic wooden boats for a day on the water.


Also taking place Saturday was the Law Enforcement Torch Run to benefit Special Olympics, with routes being run around the county. That event ended at the Lake County Fairgrounds, in time for the People Services Chicken-Que.


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

 

 

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Classic wooden boats drew admirers at the ninth annual Wood & Glory. Photo by Harold LaBonte.

 

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