Tuesday, 16 July 2024


Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Jay Beristianos on the scene of the fire on Monday, November 30, 2009. Photo courtesy of Andrew Bergem.



NORTH LAKEPORT – Firefighters quickly put out a small wildland fire that broke out in the north Lakeport area Monday evening.

Cal Fire said the blaze was reported at about 5:20 p.m. It was located in the area of Bridge Arbor and Robinson roads.

Local residents traveling through the area reported seeing a large fire, with one person telling Lake County News that at one point it looked like four separate fires.

Lakeport firefighters Andrew Bergem and Brian Hajik were passing by and were the first on scene to report the conditions, Bergem said.

They saw four spots, light flashy tule vegetation, moderate rate of spread, with no structures immediately threatened, said Bergem. The men also assessed the resources needed and access, which Bergem said was difficult due to terrain.

Hajik requested a response from Lakeport Fire Protection District, which sent one engine, and Cal Fire Boggs Mountain, Bergem said.

Northshore Fire, which also responded, had a water tender and at least one engine on scene, based on reports from the incident. Cal Fire sent one engine and started to send a bull dozer, but it was canceled.

When the fire was contained at about 6:15 p.m., it had burned between four and five acres, according to Cal Fire.

Bergem said the fire was contained by firefighters with the help of a natural fire break – a creek that surrounded the southern and eastern perimeters of the fire, where it burned itself out.


See video of the fire, shot by Michael Augustine, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLQR4Ngmpco .

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

SONOMA COUNTY – A Sonoma County family died and several others were injured when a local teenager allegedly ran a red light late Saturday, setting off a four-car collision.

The crash occurred at 9:21 p.m. Saturday on eastbound Highway 37 at Reclamation Road in Sonoma County, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Cakebread.

The CHP would not release the names of the fatalities or the driver of the car that hit them to Lake County News, although Bay Area media reported receiving the names from the agency.

The family that died included 45-year-old John Maloney and his wife Susan, 42, of Sonoma and their children Aiden, 8, and Grace, 5.

The man who hit them was identified as Steven Culbertson, 19, of Lakeport.

Conflicting reports were being given about the status of Culbertson, who Cakebread said was transported by helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

While some media were reporting Culbertson died Sunday, on Sunday evening Santa Rosa Memorial spokesperson Katy Hillenmeyer said Culbertson was in critical condition. Lake County News could not reach Culbertson's family late Sunday.

Culbertson allegedly was driving a silver Mini Cooper at speeds of more than 90 miles per hour when he ran a red light and hit a Honda CR-V driven by Thomas Graham, 61, of Petaluma, the CHP reported.

The Mini Cooper then hit the Nissan Quest mini van driven by the Maloney family, the CHP said. The Quest then hit a Mitsubishi Galant driven by Carrie Rodriguez, 52, of Novato.

All of the members of the Maloney family were pronounced dead at the scene, Cakebread said.

Rodriguez and her passengers – Liberty Rosario, 42, of Fairfield and Adelaida Nicholas, 53, of Novato – were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries, according to the CHP. Graham and his passenger, James Parker of Stockton, were uninjured.

The CHP said the eastbound lane of Highway 37 was shut down just after 10 p.m. Saturday. At 11:25 p.m. the both directions of Highway 101 to Highway 27 were closed, as were Atherton Avenue to Highway 37 and the stretch of Highway 37 between Highway 131 and Lakeville.

The roadways remained closed until 7:30 a.m. Sunday as the investigation took place. Lakeville Road was shut completely, with travelers urged to take an alternate route. The vehicles involved in the crash were cleared from the scene at around 7 a.m., according to the CHP.

The CHP reported that several vehicles had gone through the closure at high speeds early in the morning.

Caltrans and the Sonoma County Coroner were called to the scene, according to the CHP report. A Caltrans boom truck was requested to assist the CHP with taking aerial photos of the crash scene.

Cakebread said the CHP's Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) – which is called out to investigate collisions where two or more deaths are involved – was working on the crash Sunday.

The social networking site Facebook provided information about some of those involved in the crash.

Culbertson's Facebook page said he was a 2008 graduate of Clear Lake High School, with aspirations of being a professional driver and mechanic. It also featured pictures of him driving on race course.

John Maloney's page featured pictures of him, his wife and his young children. While his profile was open to the public, his wife's was not.

He was a 1986 graduate of the University of Georgia, where he received a bachelor's degree in journalist before going on to receive a master's degree in humanities from Dominican University in San Rafael.

Maloney worked at SolarCraft, a solar services company with offices in Novato and Sonoma. SolarCraft's Web site listed Maloney as the company's vice president of sales and marketing, and noted that he had three children.

He noted in an August message to a friend on Facebook that his older daughter, Molly, was heading off to the University of Wisconsin this fall.

Friends left messages on the Facebook page over the weekend in remembrance of the family.

“John and Susan, Aiden and Grace. We all love you and miss you terribly. No words can convey the sorrow we feel at your loss. RIP 11/28/1009,” wrote Ben Delaney.

“Dearest Maloney Family - My heart breaks at the loss your friends and family are feeling right now ... My best wishes go out to them, and perhaps some peace can come from them knowing that you are and always will be together. Much ♥,” Shannon Greene wrote hours after the fatal crash.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

In 1981 MTV debuted on the air with the prophetic song “Video Killed The Radio Star,” and we entered the era of pretty, perfect-bodied babes ruling the airwaves. Yeah, I’m talkin’ about you, Adam Lambert! But we have to face it, if a young Bob Dylan had auditioned for American Idol last season, it would most likely end with the following ...

Randy: “Dawg! It was pitchy, off key at points … nawh.”

Paula: “You’re unique. You are special and unique.”

Simon: “Absolutely horrendous! Do you realize that you’re singing out of your nose?”

Kara: “Can I please talk?”

What’s the point I’m trying to make? It’s this: Shallots are the Bob Dylan of onions. They are special and unique, but they have been replaced by the pretty, perfect-bodied babes. (Growling and shaking my fists: “Lambert!”)

I love shallots and have been growing them in my garden for years. It’s a shame that the food television shows don’t know more about them. I think the networks also put too much into the practice of having excessively pretty people hosting their shows than people who actually know a lot about food, but that’s what our society has become.

One of the biggest problems in food television is that much of it is written by people who don’t know the actual produce and products they use. They’re often written and produced by big city people who are getting their information from the Internet, and one of the things I teach in almost every class I do is that the Internet can be your worst enemy.

Take shallots for instance: I was watching a pretty girl’s cooking program and she said that she liked to use shallots in the recipe since they are milder flavored than onions. I start screaming at the TV, “That’s not a shallot, you dingbat, that’s a potato onion, a false shallot! They’re harsh tasting and taste nothing like a shallot, so you obviously have never tasted a real shallot in your life!”

I’m not embarrassed to admit this, I really do yell at my TV in times like this. I had to stop watching Emeril the day my daughter said, “Daddy why do you watch him, you just end up yelling at the TV?”

The pretty TV chef goes on to talk about shallots’ superior flavor, and I realize that she’s just spouting information that one of her little interns or flying monkeys picked up off the Internet and shoved into the teleprompter. The pretty TV chef was only there because she is a pretty face and interacts well with a camera, not because she’s someone who actually knows what she was cooking with.

It is very common to find imposters being used as shallots. False shallots, potato onions and even using young red onions as shallots is pretty usual. Even the “shallots” you find at the local grocery stores are actually potato onions. Imposters are almost always larger than true shallots since true shallots are typically only a tablespoon to a quarter cup in size. Traditional gardening habits use the largest bulbs in the kitchen and then replant the smallest for next year. I do the exact opposite, and due to this “selective breeding” my shallots are larger than most, some of my shallots being a half of a cup in volume. Imposters are also easier to work with, having thin, easy to remove skins, while the skin on true shallots is like armor plating.

While false shallots must be used within a couple of months, true shallots, if stored in a cool dry place, can be stored up to a year.

In my opinion shallot imposters have become popular because they grow faster and larger than true shallot varieties. False shallots can take as little as three months from planting to harvest.

I planted my shallots a month ago and they are just now starting to sprout. Green tops looking like chives will start to grow and can be used sparingly like chives. The bulbs will start to look like a head of garlic, but then each bulb will separate from the mother and grow green tops.

The bunch of bulbs will start to spread out and look like they are pushing themselves out of the ground. Each bulb will grow larger. Then up to eight months from now the tops will die off and turn brown and that will let me know they are ready for harvest.

This long growing time is one of the reasons that, while imposters sell for dollars per pound, true shallots sell for dollars per ounce. It is often said of true shallots that their flavor is milder than onions but that isn’t really true.

The true shallot's flavor is strong and complex but it dissipates faster than onions and you don’t have that lingering onion taste in your mouth for hours. Its aroma contains hints of garlic, lemon, chives and earth. The texture of cooked true shallots is much softer than that of cooked onions. It is also best to avoid browning shallots since this turns them bitter.

If I were the head of a cooking school of my own, or were Emperor of the planet, I would require all chefs to spend two weeks per year working on a farm. Most of the truly great chefs either own a farm or have a close relationship with a farmer.

When I worked on an oyster farm there was a program that had restaurant workers spend a week working on the farm. Later there were fewer complaints from those restaurants because they knew their product better and didn’t jump to conclusions. Cooks who really know and understand their ingredients are the best of the best.

The shallot’s history is muddled at best. Their first mention is around 300 BCE when Theophrastus, “the father of botany,” wrote of the “askolonion.” Where this word originates is unknown, but we know both the words shallot and scallion originate from it.

Centuries later, Pliny the Elder concluded that they were named after the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel. Although the city of Ashkelon did exist in Theophrastus’ time, no evidence supports this correlation.

Some sources say shallots originated in China 2,000 years ago and still others claim Southeast Asia. Whatever its origin, they became very popular in French, Flemish, Mediterranean and Thai cuisines. The Crusaders brought the shallot to Europe in the 12th century from the Middle East.

I think the problem is that I’m being pedantic (I usually am), while the rest of the world is falling into the marketing ploy to merge all multiplier onions under the heading of shallots. Even the Web site named after the shallot has only has one picture of a true (grey) shallot on it. They market a variety of shallot grown from seeds even though shallots don’t make seeds.

There is an unwitting movement to have the word shallot include Allium oschaninii and Allium cepa var. aggegatum, which are the most common imposter shallots. I say unwittingly because it’s not a vast right wing conspiracy as much as it’s just that people have read the information online and repeated it not knowing that the information is incorrect.

Just like the word “forte” is correctly pronounced “fort,” but through years of people mispronouncing it as “for-TAY” the dictionary itself has now changed to reflect the incorrect pronunciation. You can actually compare an older dictionary to a newer one and see the change. Shallots are going through the same process. The Bob Dylan shallots are being overshadowed by the Adam Lambert shallots.

Shallots are high in flavanoids, a type of antioxidant that protects the body against cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Shallots are low in carbohydrates, cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. They are also high in folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C.

True shallots are available to grow in your garden but using false shallots in your cooking is acceptable as long as you understand that the flavor and texture will be different. I use the shallots from the grocery store any time I’m out of my own shallots.

In an amusing twist the recipe I’ve included goes fantastic with steaks. It’s a Bercy style sauce but not a true Bercy sauce. So I do get a giggle while making a false Bercy sauce with my false shallots. I know, I’m being pedantic again.

Just for the record, I love Adam Lambert’s music and wanted him to win American Idol. It was just funnier using him in this context than someone more obvious. And you have to admit, he sure is pretty.

Bercy sauce for steaks

2 to 3 shallots, finely diced

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups beef stock

2 tablespoons demi-glace (optional)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons chopped parsley



After cooking your steak, set it aside to let it rest. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan the steak was cooked in and add shallots. Sauté until tender, just a couple of minutes, then add white wine. Scrape the fond from the steak off the bottom of the pan and simmer over medium heat until mixture is reduced to just a couple of tablespoons. Add stock, demi-glace and lemon juice.

Bring back to a simmer over medium heat and reduce again to one cup. Remove from heat, and finish the sauce by whisking in the remaining butter and the parsley. Salt and pepper to taste, but be sure to taste first since reducing the stock may have increased the saltiness.

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, http://twitter.com/Foodiefreak .

SONOMA COUNTY – A 19-year-old Lakeport resident who was involved in a four-vehicle collision that killed a family of four Saturday night has died.

Steven Culbertson died late Sunday morning at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, according to Officer Jon Sloat of the California Highway Patrol's Santa Rosa office.

Katy Hillenmeyer, a Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital spokesperson, told Lake County News late Monday that Culbertson died “surrounded by loved ones.” Under privacy laws Hillenmeyer was not authorized to give further details.

The young man's death followed by several hours the deaths of John Maloney, 45, his wife Susan, 42, and their young children Grace, 5, and Aiden, 8, whose Nissan Quest was hit broadside by Culbertson at around 9:20 p.m. Saturday.

Based on its initial investigation, the CHP determined that Culberton allegedly was driving his Mini Cooper more than 90 miles per hour southbound on Lakeville Highway when he clipped the rear end of a Honda CR-V driven by Petaluma resident John Graham, 61.

Culbertson's vehicle continued on, running a red light and hitting the Maloneys' Quest, which was traveling eastbound on Highway 37. The Quest was then pushed into an eastbound traveling Mitsubishi Galant driven by 52-year-old Carrie Rodriguez of Novato.

Rodriguez and her passengers, Liberty Rosario, 42, of Fairfield and Adelaida Nicholas, 53, of Novato, were transported to a Novato hospital with minor injuries, said Sloat. Graham and his passenger, Stockton resident James Parker, weren't hurt.

There had been differing reports over the weekend regarding Culbertson's death.

Sloat said the CHP received a call from the Sonoma County Coroner's Office reporting that Culbertson died at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.

However, several hours later Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital officials continued to report to Lake County News and other media that Culbertson was in care and in critical condition.

The CHP – which spent hours investigating the scene with the help of the agency's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) – said speed was a factor in the crash.

Sloat said that Culbertson was not being pursued by any law enforcement at the time of the collision.

There was no evidence of alcohol or drugs at the scene, said Sloat.

However, he added, “We're not ruling it out yet.”

A blood sample was taken from Culbertson and submitted to the Department of Justice laboratory. Sloat said it should take about two weeks for those tests to be completed.

Two years ago, a family of five was killed in a fiery crash on Highway 101, said Sloat. That and Saturday's crash are the two worst in his 10 years working in the Sonoma County area, he said.

Culbertson graduated from high school in 2008 and aspired to be a professional race car driver and mechanic, according to his Facebook page.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .



THE GEYSERS – The Geysers area experienced a moderate on Saturday evening.

The quake, first reported to be 3.0 in magnitude but later downgraded to 2.9, occurred at a depth of 1.4 miles at 9:08 p.m. Saturday, according to the US Geological Survey.

The agency reported that the earthquake's epicenter was located two miles northwest of The Geysers, six miles west of Cobb and eight miles west northwest of Anderson Springs.

Five shake reports were submitted to the US Geological Survey – three from Cloverdale, one from Kelseyville and one from The Dalles, Oregon – approximately 759 miles away.

The Geysers area experienced a 3.7-magnitude earthquake on Nov. 24, as Lake County News has reported.

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MIDDLETOWN – Late Saturday federal officials were in Middletown to investigate a mid-air collision that claimed the lives of two pilots.

The crash occurred at around 11 a.m. Saturday at Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Laura Brown.

Brown said the crash involved a Schleicher ASW 27 glider and a Piper PA 25 tow plane.

“They were on approach to the same runway,” but coming from different directions when the glider and plane collided, said Brown.

Brown did not know if the aircraft hit head-on, a determination that she said is part of the investigation.

The glider pilot was killed, as was the plane's pilot, said Brown. There were no other passengers aboard the plane.

The identities of the pilots were not released late Saturday.

Jim Indrebo, who owns Crazy Creek Air Adventures, confirmed to Lake County News late Saturday that the crash had occurred.

“I can't say much about it,” he said, adding that he may be able to make a statement following the completion of the investigation.

Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were at the scene of the gliderport, located on Grange Road near Middletown, Saturday evening, Indrebo said.

Brown said the NTSB and FAA will issue a preliminary report on the crash within a few weeks.

The FAA investigates every aviation collision case, Brown said. However, it will be up to the NTSB to decide the incident's probable cause and decide if more investigation – leading to a final report in a few months' time – is warranted, she explained.

The NTSB could not be contacted late Saturday.

However, the agency's Web site explained that it deploys a safety board “go team” – led by a senior investigator – to respond to major incidents.

The NTSB reported that its go team can number from three to more than a dozen specialists ready to be deployed around the clock from the safety board's Washington, DC office.

On an annual basis, the NTSB investigates about 2,000 aviation collisions, according to its Web site.

Among the crashes it investigates annually, Brown said the FAA doesn't see many involving gliders, estimating they account for only “a handful a year.”

Schleichers are one-seat, high-performance gliders, designed with competitions pilots in mind, according to the company Web site. The gliders have a 49-foot wingspan.

Piper PA 25s, which have reportedly become widely popular among glider enthusiasts for use as tow planes, were manufactured for crop dusting from the 1950s through early 1980s. They are ones-seat planes, with a 36-foot wingspan, according to the Virtual Aircraft Museum.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

Cotati resident Harold Chouinard's Schleicher ASW 27 glider, foreground, and a Piper PA 25 tow plane flown by Robert Boylan of Hidden Valley Lake, landed to the east of the runway at Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown after they collided mid-air on the morning of Saturday, November 28, 2009. The aircraft are pictured on Monday, November 30, 2009, a short time before they were removed from the scene. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.





MIDDLETOWN – On the morning that a preliminary investigation into a Saturday mid-air collision near Middletown was wrapping up, local officials released the names of the two men who died in the crash.

Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported Monday that 44-year-old Robert Sean Boylan of Hidden Valley Lake and 63-year-old Harold Harvey Chouinard of Cotati were the crash victims.

Boylan was piloting a Piper PA 25 tow plane and Chouinard was in a Schleicher ASW 27 glider when they collided, according to Eliott Simpson, an aviation accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, who remained on the scene Monday morning.

Simpson said that, based on witness reports, both men were approaching the landing strip at Crazy Creek Air Adventures from different directions when the crash occurred.

He said the glider was coming on the right downward leg and the tow plane was the left downward leg, with both circling to land. They hit at the approach end of the runway.

The equipment on both the glider and plane had appeared to be in working order based on Simpson's preliminary onscene investigation.

Bauman reported that sheriff's deputy coroners responded to the scene at about 11:40 a.m. Saturday. Rescue personnel from Cal Fire were already on scene when deputies arrived and both the Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB had been notified of the collision.

When deputies arrived at the scene, Bauman said they were led to the wreckage, where they found the pilots of both aircraft near their respective crafts. Boylan and Chouinard both were pronounced dead at the scene.

Bauman said that, due to extended response times by the FAA and the NTSB, deputies secured and guarded the crash scene throughout the day and night until both federal agencies could arrive to investigate the cause of the collision the following day.

Autopsies will be scheduled to determine the exact cause of death for both of the pilots, Bauman said.

The two aircraft came to rest in a pasture several hundred yards to the east of the approach end of the landing strip. The plane was sitting about 100 yards to the north of the glider, facing in a northerly direction, while the glider was pointed toward the runway.




The wreckage of the tow plane, sitting where it landed in a pasture near the landing strip at Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown. The plane was moved a few hours after the picture was taken on Monday, November 30, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



On Monday the wreckage remained where it had landed, said Simpson, except that he had the glider turned over so that it was sitting right side up for the purposes of the investigation.

Following the collision the glider had landed on its top and fire personnel cut off the right side wing as they worked to rescue Chouinard, Simpson said.

Both aircraft were surrounded by small debris fields. The wheel of the plane lay about 30 feet from it.

The glider's tail section bore the name “Hal,” for Chouinard, under whose name it was licensed, according to FAA records. The registration certificate was issued in April of 2003.

The tow plane was licensed to Cal Soar Inc., at the same address as Crazy Creek Air Adventures on Grange Road. That certificate was issued in July of 1992, FAA records showed.

Six people, who Simpson said were family members of Boylan, visited the crumpled wreckage of the tow plane early Monday morning. They walked slowly around it and then stood quietly together. As they left the field they declined the request for a comment.

Simpson, who has been doing the investigations for about three years, is an engineer who also is a pilot. Most of the NTSB investigators have a piloting background, he said.

“We have to investigate every single civil aircraft crash,” said Simpson, who is based in Los Angeles. About 15 NTSB investigators are based on the West Coast, he added.

The cause of the crash itself is yet to be determined. Simpson said a preliminary reported will be available within the next five to 10 days, with a final factual report likely to be completed in about six months, although it could take as long as nine months to finish.

That report will then go to Washington, DC, to the full safety board, which will determine the collision's probable cause, Simpson said.

Simpson expected to be at the Middletown crash site until noon on Monday, noting that the onscene portion of the investigation was complete.

“So now it's just recovery,” he said.

The aircraft were recovered later Monday morning and transported to a privately owned storage facility in Sacramento, Simpson said.

The facility, which was hired by the insurance companies covering the aircraft, will store the plane and glider during the investigation, Simpson said.

“They're there in case anything else comes to light,” he said.


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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

COVELO – Officials on Sunday were searching for the suspect in a shooting that took place earlier that day near Covelo.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reported that a 911 telephone call came into the sheriff's dispatch center just after 9 a.m. Sunday reporting that a shooting had occurred in the Chicken Ridge subdivision east of Covelo.

Sheriffs deputies were dispatched to the location where they met up with Covelo Fire Personnel and learned the victim had been shot during a possible home invasion robbery over marijuana, according to the report from Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

Smallcomb said the victim received serious injuries from the gunshots and was subsequently airlifted to an out of town hospital for major gunshot wounds.

He said deputies learned that at least three suspects had fled the location in a vehicle. The deputies had communication officers radio broadcast a "be on the lookout bulletin" to neighboring law enforcement entities regarding the description of the suspect vehicle.

Just after 10 a.m. Willits Police officers observed the described suspect vehicle and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, at which point one of the suspects fled on foot, Smallcomb said.

The two other suspects were being detained and questioned by law enforcement at the time of Smallcomb's report, which was issued Sunday afternoon.

Sheriff's deputies, Willits Police officers and California Highway Patrol officers were continuing the search for the third suspect who fled the car stop on Sunday, Smallcomb said.

He said Mendocino County Sheriff's detectives were conducting an investigation and following up on leads in regards to the incident.

Anyone with information as to the suspects responsible in this case are encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's investigative tip line at 707-467-9159.

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Daniel Rogers shakes hands with Suzie Defrancisci as Ron Quick looks on during a welcome home reception for Rogers in Upper Lake on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.


UPPER LAKE – With only a few hours' notice, citizens gathered on Main Street in Upper Lake on Friday afternoon to welcome home a local soldier.

Daniel Rogers of Upper Lake arrived home from Afghanistan to waving flags, a cheering crowd and handmade signs thanking him for his service.

The family vehicle turned onto Main Street where Rogers saw a crowd waiting to personally embrace him and thank him for his service and sacrifice.

Rogers was visibly moved by the reception, taking time to shake hands and share hugs with everyone.




Happy to be home, Daniel Rogers scoops up his mom, Becky, on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.



The young soldier has recently endured difficult times. His unit was hit hard during the Battle of Kamdesh, where eight soldiers lost their lives in one day.

The base where Rogers was assigned was destroyed and he and his fellow soldiers lost all of the belongings they were not wearing or carrying.

Rogers has expressed his gratitude for the support he and his comrades have received. He has communicated directly, using calling privileges to let the participants of Operation Tango Mike and his Lake County supporters know he had received the extra care packages sent to replenish their supplies.




Vic and Becky Rogers welcome home their son, Daniel, from Afghanistan on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.



He also has sent messages via his parents, being gracious and very appreciative of the concern and encouragement he has received.

Rogers will enjoy his 15 day mid-deployment leave with his family. He will return to Afghanistan to complete his tour of duty, but will take with him memories of a warm welcome on a November day.

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A group of well wishers, including these youngsters, welcomed Daniel Rogers home from Afghanistan for a visit on on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.




Daniel Rogers received many welcome home hugs when he arrived in Upper Lake for a mid-deployment leave on Friday, November 27, 2009. Photo by Ginny Craven.

MIDDLETOWN – The investigation into a mid-air collision that claimed the lives of two pilots continued on Sunday.

The crash – between a Schleicher ASW 27 glider and a Piper PA 25 tow plane – occurred on Saturday at around 11 a.m. at Crazy Creek Air Adventures in Middletown, as Lake County News has reported.

On Sunday, Eliott Simpson, an aviation accident investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, was on the scene in Middletown, examining the wreckage of the two aircraft.

He said the Federal Aviation Administration also had been on scene earlier in the day.

Based on an evaluation of the wreckage, Simpson said no equipment appeared to be missing from the aircraft.

“Both aircraft appear to be in working order,” said Simpson, noting that such a determination is merely preliminary.

He explained that, based on the investigation so far, it appears that the glider and the tow plane both were approaching the same runway from different directions – the glider coming from the north, with the tow plane on the southern side.

“Witnesses stated that they both appeared to turn toward the runway at the same time,” he said.

Simpson said he will have a preliminary report on the crash prepared within 10 days, but a final report will require about six months of investigation.

He said the report will then go to the full safety board for a final determination.

Simpson said they see glider crashes but “not an excessive amount.”

On Sunday Simpson worked the investigation from the NTSB side alone on Sunday, a situation which he said isn't uncommon, since the agency only has 44 investigators to cover the entire United States.

He said the release of the crash victims' names will be up to the Lake County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's officials could not be reached Sunday for official confirmation of the pilots' names.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .


Eleven Roses Ranch's mules returned this year to give wagon rides to visitors at the Dickens' Christmas Market in Lakeport on Saturday, November 28, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



LAKEPORT – Visitors and residents alike came out on Saturday to enjoy the sights and sounds of an old-fashioned Christmas in downtown Lakeport.

The seventh annual Dickens' Christmas Market, cosponsored by the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and the Lakeport Main Street Association, lined several blocks of Main Street in the heart of town on Saturday.

The day saw clear skies overhead accompanied by a brisk wind. Melissa Fulton, the chamber's chief executive officer – outfitted in period costume – said the morning had started out perfectly still before the winds came up. The winds posed some challenges for vendors in tents.

Fulton said the day s good saw good attendance at the event.




Bert Hutt, in authentic Victorian attire, looks on during the festivities at the Dickens' Christmas Market in Lakeport on Saturday, November 28, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



There was music, numerous vendors with interesting offerings, fun for children, a mule-drawn wagon that carried visitors along as it wound its way through town, and plenty of canine visitors, some wearing wreaths and Santa hats.

In addition, there was caroling and even a costume contest. Many folks strolled through the fair in authentic period costumes.

Bert Hutt, artistic director of the Soper-Reese Community Theatre, once again this year donned his best Victorian garb. With his top hat, cane and overcoat, Hutt looked like he just stepped out of the pages of “Great Expectations” or “A Christmas Carol.”

The annual event kicks off the Christmas season at the north end of the lake. As part of the celebration, the day ended with a lighted parade and lighting of the Christmas tree in the courthouse square.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .




Parents and children lined up to visit Santa's Workshop, stationed near the Lake County Museum. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Vendors offered a variety of wares, including authentic handspun goods. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




Businesses opened their doors throughout the day and put out their best decorations. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.



Colorful displays enticed visitors to do their holiday shopping early. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

NORTHSHORE – Friday's wet weather brought with it two serious crashes along the county's Northshore.

Three air ambulances were called to fly out three crash victims, according to Northshore Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Pat Brown.

The first collision, a head-on between two off highway vehicles, occurred just before 3:30 p.m. in the Deer Valley area along Elk Mountain Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Elk Mountain Road was closed until nearly 6:30 p.m. as Northshore Fire medics worked on the crash victims. Brown said two REACH air ambulances flew out both subjects.

The CHP reported that the crash victims suffered major injuries.

The second crash, involving a single vehicle, occurred just before 4 p.m. on Highway 20 at Hillside Lane near Clearlake Oaks, the CHP reported.

The vehicle went into a wall, and shortly afterward the CHP reported one of the two subjects in the car was reported to be out of vehicle and on the ground.

“Everybody's going too fast,” said Brown.

The roadway was closed for nearly a half-hour as the two crash victims were assisted by Northshore Fire, according to the CHP.

Brown said a female was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital via CalStar air ambulance.

The CHP later reported that the woman was transported to a hospital in Quincy because Santa Rosa Memorial's trauma rooms were full. Her injuries were reported at minor later in the evening, according to the CHP.

CHP reported another crash happened along westbound Highway 20 east of Upper Lake, when a single vehicle fishtailed and went off the roadway. Minor injuries were reported in that incident.

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 http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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