Saturday, 13 July 2024


COBB – A Wednesday morning crash left three people injured, with two of them transported via helicopter to Sonoma County for medical treatment.

The crash occurred shortly before 9 a.m. on Highway 175 west of Estates Drive, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Tanguay.

Those injured included Phyllis Sullivan, 56, and Jennifer McConlogue, 32, both of Cobb, and 51-year-old Malcolm Campbell of Middletown, Tanguay said.

Sullivan was driving her 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse at an unknown speed eastbound on Highway 175, Tanguay said. Campbell was riding as Sullivan's passenger.

Tanguay said Sullivan was traveling downhill through a curve in the roadway when, for an unknown reason, she allowed her vehicle to go to the left and cross over the painted solid double yellow lines and enter the westbound lane of traffic.

McConlogue was driving her 2004 Dodge Stratus westbound when Sullivan's Mitsubishi crossed over the double yellow lines directly in front of her. Tanguay said the two vehicles collided head-on.

REACH air ambulance took both McConlogue and Campbell to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Tanguay said. McConlogue suffered major injuries; the degree of Campbell's injuries were not specified.

Tanguay said Sullivan was transported to St. Helena Hospital-Clearlake by ambulance.

This collision is still under investigation by Officer Steve Curtis, Tanguay said.

SALT LAKE CITY – A Cobb man arrested by federal officials earlier this year has pleaded guilty to trying to lure a teenage girl across state lines to have sex with him at his home.

Robert Lavern Davison, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of coercion and enticement for illegal sexual activity in the US District Court of Utah's Central Division on Aug. 24, according to court records.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, assisted by the Lake County Sheriff's Office, arrested Davison and served search warrants on his Cobb home on Feb. 12, as Lake County News has reported.

Davison had allegedly met a 13-year-old Utah girl online in 2008 while playing an Internet game, “World of Warcraft.” That is alleged to have led to instant messaging in which Davison urged the girl to meet him in California.

The case came to the attention of the Centerville, Utah, police last November when the girl was reported missing. She later was found at a Salt Lake City bus station, where she was scheduled to get on a bus using a ticket Davison had purchased for her through a third party, according to case records.

Initially, Davison pleaded not guilty to the charge, and a jury trial was set for Sept. 28.

However, on Aug. 24 a change of plea hearing was held in which Davison entered the new guilty plea.

The charge carries a minimum 10-year sentence and a maximum life sentence, plus a $250,000 fine, according to federal documents.

Davison's plea document states that between June 1, 2008, and Nov. 13, 2008, he used the Internet and, in particular, instant messaging, “to coerce a minor to travel to California to engage in sexual activity with me.” He further admits that the girl was 13 years old at the time.

In exchange for the plea, the federal government agree to reduce his offense level under sentencing guidelines and suggest that he be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Davison's sentencing is set for Dec. 17 before Judge Dale A. Kimball.

Also on Aug. 24, Kimball granted the federal government's request that a psychosexual evaluation be prepared on Davison.

If that evaluation report is completed in less than 120 days, Davison's sentencing will be moved up at the request of his attorney.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at .

About 30 tribal members and supporters protested proposed evictions in a rally at the entrance of Robinson Rancheria in Nice on Saturday, August 29, 2009. Photo by Irenia Quitiquit.


NICE – Tensions between the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council and a group of tribal members the council is trying to remove from tribal membership is continuing to mount, and culminated in another protest at the casino's entrance on Saturday.

The Saturday rally is in response to a round of evictions under way by the tribe's housing committee.

About 30 people carried signs and walked along the edge of Highway 20 at Robinson's entrance. Sign slogans ranged from “Robinson Rancheria court equals housing eviction,” “Illegal housing evictions and fraud,” “Stop tribal council fraud,” “Lies, cheat, steal, “Honk for justice,” “Tribal rights denied,” “Nepotism and greed” and “My grandma is being evicted after 21 years living here.”

Over the three hours the group protested Saturday, they received numerous honks and gestures of support from passersby. One couple from out of the area stopped by to ask about the protest and what was happening.

Last December, following months of controversy over a disputed election, the Robinson Rancheria Citizens Business Council – headed by Tribal Chair Tracey Avila – passed disenrollment resolutions on 63 tribal members, according to recently released documents.

The council also disenrolled an additional three tribal members for lack of blood quantum – the amount of blood a person is supposed to have to quality for tribal membership.

Before taking the disenrollment votes on those 66 tribal members, the council also unanimously voted to disenroll Marie Boggs Quitiquit, who had by that time been dead for several years. The votes to disenroll her children and grandchildren, part of the large Quitiquit family totaling more than 30 members, then followed.

Marie Quitiquit's daughter, Wanda Quitiquit, is currently leading the disenrollment appeal effort to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has granted numerous delays in the process since the start of the year. Next month, the final appeals are due, and a BIA decision on whether the disenrollments were valid is expected to take place.

A previous protest by those who were disenrolled by the council and those who supported the disenrollees' case was held in front of the casino on Jan. 17, as Lake County News has reported.

That same month, the tribe's housing committee began efforts to evict several of those whose names were on the disenrollment list from homes built on the rancheria with federal Housing and Urban Development funds.

HUD officials have confirmed to Lake County News that they issued findings in February that found the tribe was not in compliance with the guidelines of its federal housing grants. The tribe could be forced to repay its grants – the amount was not disclosed – it it refuses to take corrective actions.

Those facing eviction include Inez Sands, who is raising her grandchildren in a five bedroom home that protesters on Saturday said already is being measured for new tile and carpet for new occupants. She received a three-day quit letter in January but has refused to give up her home.

Another person targeted for eviction is Karen Ramos, who was told she needed to come up with $4,000 in back mortgage payments for face eviction, according to her daughter, Tonia Ramos.

While many of those slated for eviction owe back mortgages, tribal member EJ Crandell – whose disputed win over Avila for tribal chair last year appeared to set the disenrollments in motion – said owing back mortgage payments was common among all tribal members, even the council, after the tribe took over its own housing agreements after severing ties with Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority in Ukiah.

Lake County court records show that Avila also had been sued by Northern Circle at one point over housing issues several years ago, which were resolved.

The current housing committee includes members of the Anderson family, to which Avila belongs also. Committee members include Judy Anderson, Michelle Monlo, Diane Boggs, Deborah Anderson and Audrey Gutierrez.

Crandell, whose grandfather is a part of the leadership for the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, said Robinson's tribal council attempted to have Hopland's tribal court handle 11 eviction cases, but Hopland turned down that request.

At one point Saturday morning Gutierrez showed up and confronted the protesters, using a cell phone to photograph and record the encounter. The protesters yelled questions at her, asking her which house she was going to get after the evictions were carried out.

Another election was held Saturday, Aug. 22, with the top vote getters being Curtis Anderson and Clayton Duncan. A runoff election is due to be held, although Crandell said there were concerns that the election was being invalidated, just as the election in which he beat Avila last year was overturned.

The election is having other ramifications for some tribal members. Tonia Ramos said her husband, a longtime Robinson Rancheria casino employee, abstained from voting in the tribal election, as is his normal practice. The result this time: The tribe suspended him pending an administrative hearing in which he faces losing his job.

Crandell's mother also has been threatened with eviction action.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at .



Tribal housing committee member Audrey Gutierrez, center, showed up at the rally to confront protesters on Saturday, August 29, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Several of the protesters who came out on Saturday also have been targeted for disenrollment. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

LAKEPORT – Lake County's premiere family event, the Lake County Fair, opens this Thursday, Sept. 3, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 6.

Lake County Fair is one of Lake County's favorite summertime events, and is enjoyed by more than 37,000 people each year. The fair features a variety of entertainment, food, exhibits, a carnival and livestock shows.

This year's theme is "Fun in the Sun!"

Special features for the 2009 Fair include a hands-on children's discovery science center, free health screenings, the annual Junior Livestock Auction, and more than 4,000 exhibits entered in various competitions.

Fairgoers can also expect appearances by a variety of local musical acts and attractions on three stages, as well as clowns, magicians, and other strolling performers. Hispanic Day activities will take place in the Theatre Main Stage area on Sunday, Sept. 6.

Grandstand shows include the Lake County Invitational Sheep Dog Trials on Thursday evening, the traditional demolition derbie on Friday evening, Mud Bog Races on Saturday evening, and the return of the California State Finals of the WGAS Motorsports Tuff Truck and ATV Races on Sunday evening. All grandstand shows start at 7:30 p.m., and are sponsored by Robinson Rancheria Bingo and Casino.

Live local entertainment occurs continuously on two stages. The Theatre Main Stage will host the likes of the LC Diamonds, Bill Noteman and the Rockets, the Mark Weston Band, and the Hip Replacements, among others. The Enhance H2O Stage will host a variety of acts including Mike Wilhelm, David Neft, the Carter and Chambers Duo, and the Kustom Cuts.

A fair parade, the kick-off event for the annual Lake County Fair, starts at Natural High in Lakeport, travels south on Main Street, and ends at the main gate to the fairgrounds with the ribbon cutting ceremony. The parade occurs at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3.

Fair buildings and grounds swell to bursting with the thousands of displays made, grown, or raised for entry by talented residents both young and young at heart. Entries for judging in the fair include most types of fine arts, home arts and crafts, photography, amateur wine and beer, many types of agriculture and floriculture, livestock, small animals and horses.

Walk on contests this year include the fastest penny rolling contest, a cookie stacking contest, a marshmallow tossing contest, and, and a decorating with candy contest.

The annual Junior Livestock Auction takes place on Saturday, Sept. 5, at 1 p.m. in the Baldwin Pavilion. Businesses and individuals are invited to bid on the prize-winning livestock raised and exhibited by local youth.

Various livestock species are displayed throughout the fair, including swine, beef, sheep, goat and horse exhibits from local 4-H and FFA exhibitors. Small animals are represented as well, with chickens, turkeys, rabbits and cavies all residing in the barn areas.

Regular admission prices for the 2009 Lake County Fair are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 11. Admission prices are unchanged since 2007. Children under 6 years old are admitted free everyday. Children through age 11 are admitted for $2 on Thursday, Sept. 3 only, for "Kid's Day."

WASHINGTON – After Department of Justice officials concluded the first of three working sessions on tribal law enforcement issues Aug. 26, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that more than $5.6 million in Recovery Act funds was awarded to nine tribal governments in five states by the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

The awards were made to tribal governments in California, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana and Oklahoma.

The tribal governments that received the grants included the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, based at Big Valley Rancheria in Lakeport, which received $446,700.

The grant will provide community resource and referral information services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and provide emergency food and clothing to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, or offer referrals to service providers.

The funds awarded to Big Valley also will be used to provide domestic violence counseling services or offer referrals to service providers, coordinate tribal, jurdisdictional and non-tribal victim service programs for Indian women by establishing formal memorandums of understanding and develop a comprehensive public education and outreach campaign to raise awareness.

These tribal awards are in addition to the more than $8.9 million in Recovery Act funds that were awarded earlier this week to 10 tribal governments and 10 tribal coalitions in Alaska, Arizona, California, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.

“American Indian and Alaska Native women are more likely to experience sexual assault and domestic violence than women from other racial or ethnic groups, which is why these funds are so vital,” said Attorney General Holder. “As the Department of Justice convenes the Tribal Nations Listening Conference and pre-sessions, these funds are just the beginning of a renewed partnership between the Department and our tribal communities to ensure the safety of every Indian woman and address Tribes’ criminal justice challenges.”

The landmark American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama, provides the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) with $20.8 million for the Indian Tribal Governments Program to decrease the number of violent crimes committed against Indian women, help Indian tribes use their independent authority to respond to crimes of violence against Indian women and make sure that people who commit violent crimes against Indian women are held responsible for their actions. The award period is 36 months.

The Recovery Act provides OVW with $2.8 million for the Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions Program to provide much needed resources for organizing and supporting efforts to end violence against Indian women and provide technical assistance to member programs. The award period is 24 months.

OVW, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, provides leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to reduce violence against women through the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and subsequent legislation. Created in 1995, OVW administers financial and technical assistance to communities across the country that are developing programs, policies and practices aimed at ending domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.



I want a Whole Foods Market in Clearlake.

Those people who regularly read my column know that I have always supported local businesses and patronize the mom ‘n’ pop stores whenever possible.

So it may seem odd that I am calling for another franchise chain to take up residence here, but I have several reasons why I think a Whole Foods Market would be a benefit to our community.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the model of Whole Foods, they are a grocery store that offers mostly organic food, homeopathic remedies, and unique house wares. They are not a discount grocery store, but what they offer is high quality produce and products that promote a healthful lifestyle.

I have a recurring list of things to pick up from Whole Foods Market whenever we are near one, unfortunately that ends up being twice a year.

The paradigm of Lake County is changing. The population is growing, wineries are popping up like dandelions and upscale homes and family neighborhoods are becoming more common. We have a growing interest in farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and in locally produced foods.

Lake County has a very organic, vegetarian, health conscious population yet there are only a couple of health food stores, and for the most part they are no larger than the size of my living room. I try to visit all of these stores but since the nearest one to me is 20 miles away I don’t visit any of them as regularly as I would like. These factors suggest that a Whole Foods Market would be a good fit for our expanding and evolving community.

I even have the perfect location for a Whole Foods Market. The Lakeport Safeway has recently been remodeled to look like a foodie’s tourist destination, and now the Clearlake Safeway is slated to get a similar upgrade in the near future.

Unfortunately this will consist not of a remodel of the current location, but will actually be a complete move to a brand new location. The plan is to build an entirely new Safeway where the defunct water park currently is, and while this is good news for Safeway, I call it unfortunate for a couple of reasons.

Being a resident of Clearlake Oaks, my twice monthly major grocery runs consist of a 14-mile round trip. When Safeway moves to the water park location, it will add a few more miles onto the trip. People in the towns of Glenhaven and Spring Valley who have to drive a good distance anyway will then have even longer trips to make. And the people of Clearlake will no longer have a grocery store in the center of town.

Almost all of the major grocery stores will be crowded on the southeastern side of the city – Safeway, Ray’s and Walmart, with its expanded grocery section, all will be within sight of each other, and Foods Etc. not very far away from them.

With the recent move of the Rite Aid drugstore out of the Burns Valley Center, when Safeway leaves too there will be no major anchor store to draw customers to the smaller businesses in the center and they will suffer.

Launching a Whole Foods Market in the current Safeway location would be a good draw to help support the smaller businesses, while keeping a grocery store in a location easily accessible to the population of Clearlake. In addition, another large grocery store like Whole Foods would offer dozens of employment opportunities and revitalize the center of the community.

I’m sure that just like I have to drive to the other side of the lake for sashimi grade tuna at Bruno’s market and people from Lakeport drive across the lake to get the amazing steaks at the Lakeside Market, other people also would be interested in the products and goods that Whole Foods can provide and would commute to acquire these goods. So not only would Whole Foods profit from the city of Clearlake and all of the towns that surround it but from people from the other side of the lake that don’t have access to Whole Foods diversity.

Whole foods has a list of stores in development but the problem is that most of them are many times in a reasonable driving distance of Whole foods markets already in existence. Here in Lake County we would have to drive over an hour and over at least one mountain to get to a Whole Foods Market. If they were to open a Whole Foods Market in Clearlake they would be opening their doors in truly virgin territory not just expanding by inching through the cityscape.

Here's the bribe.

So, regional president of Whole Foods, I’m calling upon you to get a couple of friends and associates together contact me and I will give you all a personal tour of our county. We’ll look at the local communities that you would serve, I’ll give you a personal wine tasting tour, and show you how you could be on the ground floor of this evolving community.

We’ll call it a working vacation, market research, or just a chance to get away from the wife and kids, but I think you would really love it here.

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

LAKEPORT – Ray and Jeannie Starks of Kelseyville, and their family of five children, have been chosen by the Lake County Fair Board of Directors to serve as grand marshals of the annual fair parade.

The parade through Lakeport kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3, at Natural High School on N. Main St. in Lakeport, and travels south down Main Street, then west on Martin to the main gate of the fairgrounds, where the Starks will cut the ribbon to open the fair.

The fair this year runs Thursday, Sept. 3, through Sunday, Sept. 6. This year's fair theme is “Fun in the Sun!”

The Starks have been residents of Lake County for decades, and grew up in the Ukiah area. They have been involved in producing the Lake County Fair since the early 1980s. They have five children, all of whom have worked at the fair, and several grandchildren.

“Ray and Jeanie and their children have been tremendous supporters of the Lake County community and of the Lake County Fair for decades, and the fair board is honored that they have accepted the duties of grand marshals,” said Fair Board President Janeane Bogner.

Jeannie Starks retired after the 2008 Lake County Fair. She served as the floriculture building superintendent for more than a decade.

Prior to moving to the floriculture building, she worked at one time as the superintendent in the home arts building, and at another time as the superintendent of the fine arts building, spending years in each building before moving on to the next.

Ray Starks started his career at the Lake County Fair driving the tractor used to collect used bedding throughout the barn areas, a job he did for many years before working his way up to his current position managing all of the space rentals on the fairgrounds.

As the fair’s rental coordinator, he deals with all of the tenants of the fairgrounds, both during the Lake County Fair and throughout the rest of the year.

The Starks children – Drew, Emily, Monica, Jeff and Leighton – all began working at the Lake County Fair at young ages. All five worked in the fine arts, home arts, and floriculture buildings over the years.

The oldest four each eventually were promoted to a building superintendent’s position, with Emily Starks spending more than a decade as the superintendent of the fine arts building. The youngest, Leighton Starks, will be a high school senior this fall.

Regular admission prices for the 2009 Lake County Fair are $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 through 11. Admission prices are unchanged since 2007.

Children under 6 years old are admitted free everyday. Children through age 11 are admitted for $2 on Thursday, Sept. 3 only, for "Kid's Day."


The Lake County Fair is one of Lake County's favorite summertime events, and is enjoyed by more than 37,000 people each year. The fair features a variety of entertainment, food, exhibits, a carnival, and livestock shows.

Visit the fair online at .

LAKEPORT – A Hidden Valley Lake man who has been held in the Lake County Jail for three weeks following his arrest in connection with an alleged rape was released after a lengthy bail hearing on Friday.

John Wesley Dunn Jr., 25, was arrested on Aug. 7 on allegations of rape while using drugs to prevent resisting, kidnap with the intent to rape and assault with the intent to commit a crime.

The alleged victim, a 25-year-old Hidden Valley Lake woman, told authorities that Dunn had driven her home after she was out with friends and family having dinner and drinks on July 31.

After Dunn's arrest, Lake County Sheriff's investigators put out an additional call for information on the case, as they try to find more people who may have seen Dunn and the alleged victim together on the night of the reported assault.

Dunn's attorney, Stephen Carter, said Dunn – who has no criminal history whatsoever – is facing life in prison for just the kidnap charge alone.

Since his arrest Dunn – an assistant golf pro at Hidden Valley Lake's golf course – has been held on $350,000 bail.

But after many of Dunn's friends and acquaintances testified to his character in an unusual three-hour Friday hearing, Judge Arthur Mann released Dunn on his own recognizance.

Carter had set up a bail hearing for Aug. 21 but it was delayed after the prosecution said that the 25-year-old victim had not been notified of the hearing.

His friends returned on Friday to Judge Richard Martin's Department Two courtroom. Martin, who had a full calendar of cases on Friday, had Dunn transferred to Mann in Department Three.

Before Martin handed off the case, prosecutor Ed Borg objected to Carter being able to submit dozens of letters on Dunn's behalf to the judge, questioning their relevance to the case.

When the hearing convened in Mann's courtroom, he noted that he had read the report on Dunn's case, including a six-page report from Lake County Probation, but not the letters, acknowledging the prosecution's objections to the court acceptance the evidence.

Elaborating on his objection, Borg said the letters contain hearsay, which doesn't meet standards of evidence.

Carter replied that there was no evidentiary objection he's aware of that would keep out hearsay. He said the court routinely considers letters, and Probation Department reports also consider hearsay evidence, which he maintained is admissable at a bail hearing.

Borg replied that his concerns were centered on relevance.

Mann took a brief recess to research the question. When he returned, Carter cited a case that allowed for relaxed evidentiary hearings at a bail hearing, just like sentencing. Borg said he wasn't aware of any such evidentiary rule changes.

Carter replied that the previous week the prosecution had argued that it was the defense's duty to notify the victim of the bail hearing. “That wasn't accurate and there was no basis for it,” he said.

Mann noted that while Marsy's Law – which provides for notifying crime victims of hearings – doesn't specify who is responsible for notification, it's likely to fall to the prosecution. “That's not an issue before the court now,” Mann said.

“Out of an abundance of caution” Mann sustained Borg's objection to allowing the letters into evidence.

Borg said he would offer a stipulation testifying to statements on Dunn's moral character to save time, but Carter declined, saying that, by not allowing the letters, the court didn't have the benefit of knowing the information being presented on Dunn's behalf.

Borg then asked to exclude the witnesses, which Mann declined to do.

Over the next two and a half hours court was in session, Carter called more than 15 witnesses who supported Dunn's character. They stated he was honest, sincere and sensitive, and gentlemanly in his demeanor toward everyone, especially women.

Theresa Hart said she's known Dunn for four years, and he's been “a very positive influence” for her young son.

When Carter asked if she had seen Dunn interacting with the alleged victim, Borg objected.

“I don't believe I have to put on an evidentiary hearing that I have a good case,” Borg said.

Mann overruled, and allowed Hart to explain that a few weeks before the alleged rape she had seen Dunn and the young woman at a local bar. When Dunn came up to Hart to talk to her, she said she saw the young woman giving her dirty looks from across the room, which she believed was a result of her talking to Dunn.

Hart said at one point an upset Dunn came up and asked her for a ride home after a confrontation with the alleged victim's mother, who had accused him of being a “player” and not dancing with the young woman or buying her a drink. At Borg's objection, Mann struck that portion of testimony from the record.

Several witnesses testified that Dunn often gave people who had too much to drink a ride home, a courtesy he extended to both men and women. Borg's main question for each of the witnesses was whether or not they had ever been mistaken in their assessment of someone's character, which drew mixed responses – some said yes, some no.

Barry Silva, Dunn's best friend, called the charge against his friend “crazy,” which Mann agreed to strike at Borg's objection.

Silva said he also had seen Dunn interact with the alleged victim at a local bar. He said the young woman came up and kept grabbing Dunn and pulling him away from his friends so he would buy her drinks, which Silva said happened at least three times one evening.

Dunn didn't behave in an inappropriate manner, said Silva. “John would be the last person to do something like that.”

As the witnesses continued making their way to the stand, Borg objected to an undue use of time, which Mann overruled.

Gregory Young Sr. said Dunn had a high moral character who he once saw offer to drive home a man who had had too much to drink at Mulligan's bar in Hidden Valley Lake. He called Dunn a “stand up” citizen. “I think that's important to be said.”

Craig Sharp, Hidden Valley Lake's golf professional and Dunn's boss, also came out to support Dunn, who he's known for two and a half years. Sharp said he trusted Dunn's character.

After Carter's witnesses were finished, Borg called the alleged victim, who has a right to attend the hearing and speak.

The woman asked the court not to release Dunn and said she was afraid of him being set free.

Mann ended by ruling that Dunn be released on his own recognizance.

Dunn is next due in court in October for a pre-preliminary hearing.

Carter said he felt the ruling was a proper one, noting that his client wasn't a flight risk.

“It's not, by far, the end of the case and there's a lot more serious work to be done,” said Carter.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at .

LAKE COUNTY – As fall arrives, Lake County will have plenty of great food and wine events to enjoy.

If you're curious about great local food and wine, you can now follow me on Twitter. Log onto and see what events I’ll be attending.

Sept. 3-5

Lake County Fair. Adults, $8; kids, 6 to 11, $5; age 5 and younger, free. Rides, exhibits, food. For gate opening and closing hours visit .

Sept. 4

Meet the Winemaker, Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe. High Valley Winery Dustin and Bobbie Brassfield will be pouring their wines. 9520 Main St., Upper Lake; 707-275-2233 or .

Meet the Winemaker, Lake County Wine Studio, Reynaldo Robledo will be pouring six wines with appetizers. Cost is $10. Also featured will be an art show featuring Bernard Butcher's black and white photography. 9505 Main St., Upper Lake; 707-275-8030.

Sept. 5

Labor Day Weekend Concert, Moore Family Winery featuring C.A.M. Jam blues and classic rock. Doors open at 5 p.m.; show starts at 6 p.m. Ribs, chicken and corn on the cob cost $10; hot dog meal costs $5. 11990 Bottle Rock Road, Kelseyville; 707-279-9279 or .

Sept. 7

Labor Day Blues Concert, Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe, Upper Lake. Premier slide guitarist Roy Rogers. Show starts at 5 p.m. and includes a set by Gerald Mathis and Starlight. Tickets are $30. Sponsored by Gregory Graham Wines. Tickets available at the Blue Wing Saloon or the Tallman Hotel. 9520 Main St., Upper Lake; 707-275-2233 or .


Sept. 12

Wildhurst annual Wine Club Harvest Party. Caribbean theme with steel drum entertainers. Caribbean cuisine will be served by Watercolors Restaurant. Holdenried Ranch, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m . $45 per person for members, $55 for non-members. RSVP: 707-279-4302.

Sept. 18-19

Lake County Wine Auction, Kelseyville. Tenth annual wine auction and black-tie gala is a must-attend event that benefits local organizations and programs that support the arts, health and community. Local and regional wineries provide ample wine-tasting opportunities while local purveyors serve gourmet foods. Guests can enjoy live music amid the buzz of a silent auction and the energy and excitement of a live auction and have the opportunity to enjoy other special events such as winemaker dinners scheduled throughout the weekend. Sponsored by the Lake County Wine Alliance. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. National Guard Armory, Hill Road, Lakeport. Cost is $100 per person. 707-278-0129, .

Sept. 24

Tapas Thursdays, Teo’s Lakside Bistro, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday through October 22. $35 per person. This week Michael Noggle will pour his Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. 2570 Lakeshore Blvd., Nice. Tickets and information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 707-263-1109.

Sept. 25

An evening with Cowboy singer Dave Stamey, Wildhurst Vineyards courtyard. 6:30 p.m. $25 per person. Proceeds benefit Kelseyville FFA. 3855 Main St., Kelseyville. Information: 707-279-4302.

Sept. 26

Kelseyville Pear Festival, Main Street, Kelseyville. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food, parade, exhibits, art show and sale. Information: 707-279-9022 or .

Pear specialty drinks, Kelseyville. In conjunction with the Kelseyville Pear Festival, sommelier Stephanie Cruz-Green will create wine-based pear cocktails, such as pear-tinis and pear bellinis for festival-goers to enjoy. 3940 Main St. Information: 707-279-2112.

Harvest Education, Six Sigma Winery, Lower Lake. The Six Sigma Ranch vineyard team will lead a demonstration on "Harvest 101." The event includes grape picking followed by a light lunch served with Six Sigma wines. Cost is $25 per person. Reserve your spot by Sept. 21. Six Sigma Winery, 13372 Spruce Grove Road. Information: 707- 994-2086.


If you have a food or wine related event and would like to have it listed in the coming months, call Ross at 707-998-9550.

LAKE COUNTY – With wildland fires raging in parts of both Southern and Northern California, local firefighters are once again on the move.

An Office of Emergency Services engine housed at South Lake County Fire's Middletown station was sent to the Station Fire in Los Angeles on Monday, according to Northshore Fire Chief Jim Robbins.

Robbins received the call from the state OES for the engine at 1 a.m. Monday, and within a short time the engine and several firefighters were under way.

The Station Fire is located in Los Angeles County in the Angeles National Forest's jurisdiction. It began Aug. 26 and has so far burned more than 105,000 acres and was only 5 percent contained late Monday.

Over the weekend the fire claimed the life of two firefighters, according to the Governor's Office.

Over the weekend, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared states of emergency in Los Angeles, Monterey and Placer counties because of the wildfires burning in those areas.

Late Sunday night Robbins also was called on to assemble a five-engine strike team to send to the 49 fire, which has destroyed 60 structures and burned 340 acres at Highway 49 and Rock Creek near Auburn, according to Cal Fire.

Evacuations are in effect for several areas as a result of that fire, which was 70-percent contained late Monday, Cal Fire reported.

However, after Robbins got the strike team – 15 firefighters and a battalion chief – ready to get on the road, the state called to cancel.

About a week ago a strike team of local firefighters – both paid and volunteer, from the county's several fire districts – and engines returned from a 16-day deployment in Shasta County, according to Northshore Battalion Chief Pat Brown.

Locally, firefighters have continued working on some small summer fires, including an early morning grass fire that burned a fence behind Sentry Market in Nice on Friday and a Saturday afternoon fire that burned on acre on Collier and Hammond, Robbins said.

The fire at Collier and Hammond was sparked by a young man on a riding lawn mower, which hit a rock while mowing during the heat of the day, Robbins said.

Robbins said they were unable to find a cause for the fire behind Sentry Market.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at .

Bettie Mae Fikes recorded a live album at Ancient Lake Gardens in Kelseyville on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009. Photo by Jillian Billester.

In my previous column, I cryptically referred to a “rightly energized space” in Lake County where Soul Diva Betty Mae Fikes would record a live album last week. I am happy to report that Diva Fikes did indeed cut the album at Ancient Lake Gardens. More on the Gardens momentarily. First, let’s explore a little of the history of Ms. Bettie Mae.

Some of you recall the Konocti Blues Café, not to be confused with the larger venue on Soda Bay Road. Many of us packed the KBC every weekend to hear the uncut funk laid down by a rotating cast of superior players, all recruited by KBC Music director and former Lake County resident Robert Watson. The hardest working man in show business, Mr. James Brown, referred to Watson as the Blaster. Rob Watson was the last guitarist James Brown ever hired.

Watson was responsible for bringing folks like Grammy-winning keyboardist Rodney Franklin, Miles Davis sideman Barry Finnerty, Sly & The Family Stone Bassist Rusty Allen and Volker Strifler to the KBC.

The recording band at Ancient Lake Gardens were all regular players at the KBC. They were Watson on bass, Tony DeWayne on guitar, Frankie J. and Robert Reason on keyboards and Billy Johnson on drums.

All the musicians I’ve mentioned so far came to the Konocti Blues Café to augment the Bettie Mae Fikes experience. It was her showcase, owned by her childhood friend and veteran Civil Rights attorney, Charles Bonner.

Bettie Mae Fikes has a successful career as a singer of blues and gospel. She is from a community called Selma, Alabama, which was a hotbed of activity during the period of 1963 to 1965, a crucial time in the Civil Rights Movement.

In a 2005 interview, Ms. Fikes speaks of her initial involvement with SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee:

“… In the early sixties, I just needed an avenue to get out of the house from going to church so much. This fellow here, Mr. Bonner and my other dear friend Cle, was telling us about SNCC. They got all of their friends involved including me. When The Movement hit, it was like, you went to bed one night and you woke up the next day with a new world order.”

“All of a sudden these people are coming to town and they're talking about voters' rights. I didn't even know that was happening, — that our parents didn't have the right to vote. There were a few black people that were registered, mostly in Selma. Lowndes County and all these [surrounding] counties were unregistered. So these are the things that brought me into the Movement.”

Through her involvement with SNCC, Bettie became a SNCC Freedom Singer which has paralleled her career as a Blues and Gospel singer. To access the above referenced interview with Bettie Mae Fikes and Charles Bonner go to .

Freedom’s road brought Bettie Mae Fikes to Ancient Lakes Garden this past Wednesday to record her latest CD in front of a live, enthusiastic gathering of souls.

The event was organized by Monte Black, caretaker of the site. He describes it thusly:

“We are trying to bring some solid cultural diversity to Lake County. It seems that if we don’t create it, we don’t get it. We are trying to put a small, spontaneous venue together here. We’d like to have four to six performances here a year. That’s just a piece of the vision. We want to create a cultural center here with artists and musicians set amid the agricultural environment of the land. We already have a forge here where metal artist Brian Kennedy is creating art that is finding its way out of Lake County into higher end locales. We also have a woodworker here who is an Anthroposophist in the tradition of Rudolph Steiner. It seems as though many people who pay attention to Rudolph Steiner are landing here. We have a beekeeper and a dowser. Simply put we are trying to string together some cottage industries: artisans, crafts persons and musicians in an organic farming setting. As far as developing the music venue, we will need to get a limited use permit to make it commercially viable and we are looking into that. Until then we will keep our events private.”

Bettie Mae’s association with local poet and publisher Carolyn Wing Greenlee led to the recording session coming together quickly. The sound engineer for the project is Dan Worley.

Most of the musicians Robert “The Blaster” Watson recruited for the project hail originally from Vallejo. Watson, Tony DeWayne and Robert Reason have played together since they were teenagers and consequently groove accordingly. Tony Dewayne has tenured as former Tower Of Power lead singer, Lenny Williams’ Music Director. Drummer Billy Johnson was the drummer for Frankie Beverly and Maze. The fertile, funky sound they lay down has its roots in trailblazing funkateers like Sly & The Family Stone and Con Funk Shun who also hail from Vallejo.

Before Bettie graced the stage on Wednesday for the first of two sets, the BMF Band, as they have been known in the past, funkafized Bobby Womack’s Breezin’ and Leon Russell’s This Masquerade, tunes made popular by George Benson.

I’m not going to reveal the set list performed by Bettie. That is a surprise until you acquire the CD. No word on when it will be released, but there are some positively stratospheric monologues that accompany the tunes that are alone worth the price of Bettie’s melodic intuition.

Those in attendance were thoroughly enraptured by Bettie. Folks were moving their bodies and responding to her call. It was a very interesting mix of energy and song and when it’s released, you don’t want to miss it.

Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts.


Upcoming cool events:

Lake Blues All-Stars with Neon, Blues Monday, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 31, Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Information: 707-275-2233 or .

Open mike night, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Information: 707-275-2233 or .

Will Siegal & Friends, Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe Sunday Brunch, Sept. 6. Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; music from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Telephone 707-275-2233, .

Labor Day Special In The Garden: Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings plus Gerald Mathis and Starlight. 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7. Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Telephone 707-275-2233, .

Con Funk Shun, 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. Cache Creek Casino Resort, 14455 Highway 16 in Brooks. Information: 888-77-CACHE or .

Petaluma Summer Music Festival, through Sept. 13. For lineup go to or call 707-763-8920.

T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at

The Konocti Challenge provides a great day of activity and some of the county's best views. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY – I don’t know about you, but for a fair weather, leisurely bike rider like me, the annual Konocti Challenge Bike Ride on Saturday, Oct. 3, is an awe-inspiring event.

Hundreds of intrepid bicyclists come from all over to tackle this challenging and beautiful ride.

There are four ride options, the 65 or 100 mile course following the circle of the lake, or the 19 or 30 mile family ride. All of the choices offer beautiful views and first class rest stops.

Pre-registration is Friday, Oct. 2, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lakeport Yacht Club. This is a benefit for the Rotary Club of Lakeport.

The ride release times for the 100, 65 and 30 miles rides are from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday morning with the 19 mile family ride having a mass start at 10 a.m.

I give the sponsors great credit for their honesty in their descriptions of the courses. While the really serious riders want this information so they can line out their strategy, the rest of us just gape in wonder at the changing elevations they expect you to be able to make.

The short version of the rides is as follows (for the nitty, gritty details you can get them on their Web site at ).

The 100-mile ride is for riders who are really ready to test themselves, knowing they really earned the absolutely great steak and chicken dinner at the end a great day in the saddle.

The 65-mile ride is also not for the faint of heart! Like the 100 mile ride you will ease into the ride as you enjoy coasting along the beautiful Clear Lake shoreline keeping Mt. Konocti in your sights from across the lake. The 65 mile ride also offers some of the Challenge's greatest vistas. The Web site says you may want to pack a camera.

The 30-mile ride sets you on a course traveling south of Lakeport through rows of engaging orchards and quiet country roads.

The new 19-mile fun ride is designed for you and your family to spend a wonderful day of riding together enjoying beautiful Lake County and each other.

All rides offer full SAG support and rest stops along the way.

There really isn’t anywhere else that offers more beautiful countryside and magnificent views than Lake County, so if you choose to participate in one of the rides or just go out and cheer the riders on, it is a great way to spend a beautiful fall day in Lake County and support a great organization.

Pre-registration fees are $60 for the 100-mile ride, $50 for the 65-mile ride, and $40 for the 30-mile ride and $10 for 12 and under and $20 for 13 and over for the 19-mile family ride. Add $10 to the fees if you wait to register at the event. You can also get an official ride jersey for $75.

For more information you can call 707-349-0815 or see their web site at .

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
Lake County Library Bookmobile special stop
07.16.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.17.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

Mini Calendar



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