Thursday, 23 May 2024


CLEARLAKE OAKS – A local couple lost their home to a fire early Wednesday morning.

Tony and Shirley Hibbs' doublewide mobile home, located at 486 Schindler, caught fire at about 4 a.m., said volunteer firefighter Eric Jones with the Northshore Fire Protection District's Clearlake Oak station.

Jones, who lives across the street from the Hibbses, said Tony Hibbs was alone at the house when the fire broke out, with his wife staying at her sister's home in Willits.

Tony Hibbs was up cooking bacon for breakfast when he briefly left the room, only to come back to find the kitchen on fire, said Jones.

Hibbs went to Jones' home to call for help, and Jones said he called firefighters. By the time Hibbs came for help, said Jones, the mobile already was fully engulfed in flames.

Fourteen firefighters – including all three Northshore Fire battalion chiefs and personnel from Clearlake Oaks, Lucerne and Clearlake, and Cal Fire – responded, said Jones, along with four Northshore Engines and a water tender and a Cal Fire engine, said Jones.

The fire was contained at about 5:30 a.m., said Jones.

The home was a complete loss, said Jones. “They basically lost everything that was in the house.”

However, firefighters were able to save two sheds on the property as well as Tony Hibbs' motorcycle, Jones said.

Jones said it was lucky that Shirley Hibbs wasn't at home. She has a back problem with resulting mobility issues, and Jones said he feared if she had been home rescuers may not have been able to get to her in time.

The Red Cross and neighbors are helping the couple right now, said Jones, adding that the Hibbses are discussing rebuilding, because they want to stay in the area.

He added that it's a particularly sad circumstance, as this isn't the first time the couple have suffered a major loss. A few years ago they lost everything in a flood while living in another area.

Jones said if anyone would like to help the Hibbses, they can forward donations to the Clearlake Oaks Fire Station, 12655 E. Highway 20, telephone 998-3294.

Over the holiday, there were no other home fires along the Northshore, said the district's fire chief, Jim Robbins.

A drier burned up in a Northshore residence on Tuesday but didn't result in a fire, he added.

Emergency personnel mostly responded to accidents and medical aid calls over the holidays, Robbins said. “We've been very busy with those.”

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


Patricia An Schmidt captured this fantastic picture of 2008's first sunrise.

LAKEPORT – 2008 started off with yet another spectacular Lake County sunrise, which Patricia An Schmidt captured on her camera Tuesday morning.

“No one was in Library Park this morning,” Schmidt reported. “The morning was very crisp but the anticipation of the morning and new year was perfect.”

Schmidt said her camera wasn't cooperating because of the cold, so she hugged it to her to warm it up, saying, “One picture is all I ask!”

She got her picture – and a spectacular one at that – of the sun coming up over Mt. Konocti and Clear Lake.


CALISTOGA – Emergency personnel rescued an injured mountain biker near a site known around Northern California for its riding trails.

Lt. Chris Spallino of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office reported that it's rescue helicopter, Henry 1, was dispatched to the Oat Hill Mine Road near Calistoga on a report of an injured mountain biker at 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

Deputy Wade Borges along with Pilot Matt Heart and Paramedic Dmitri Menzel responded to the area and located 47-year-old Randy Woods of Sacramento approximately four and a half miles from the nearest roadway, Spallino reported.

The helicopter landed nearby, Menzel and Borges were secured to the bottom of a 100-foot rescue rope and were flown to Woods, according to Spallino.

Once on scene, Woods complained of a broken lower leg due to the crash, Spallino reported. Woods was placed into a rescue stretcher and long-lined to a nearby landing zone.

Spallino said the helicopter crew flew Woods to Saint Helena Hospital for treatment.

The 10-mile Oat Hill Mine Road area is known to mountain biking enthusiasts for its great views along an old wagon road.


NORTH COAST – A series of workshops to educate women- and minority-owned businesses on how to become more competitive in the Caltrans contract bidding process will begin this month.

The North Coast Small Business Development Center announced that it was recently awarded a $50,000 contract to help train disadvantaged businesses in Humboldt, Del Norte, Lake and Mendocino counties on how to become Caltrans contractors.

The free workshops will be held once a month beginning in January, said Michael Kraft, executive director of the North Coast Small Business Development Center.

There will be five sets of three, three-hour workshops, he said. The courses were created so that businesses outside of Humboldt County would only have to spend one night away from home to attend each round of classes.

The first three courses will be offered on Jan. 16 and 17 at the College of the Redwoods downtown Eureka campus, Kraft reported. The course subject titles are Prime and Subcontract Relations, Submitting Winning Bids and Project Management and Construction Methods.

Kraft said the effort grew out of Caltrans' discovery that, since the 1996 passage of Proposition 209 – which eliminated the use of race and gender in higher education and state contracts and hiring decisions – the percentage of women and minority-owned businesses awarded Caltrans contracts have dwindled to the single digits.

There also are few Lake County businesses that receive the grants, Kraft added.

To improve those numbers, Kraft said Caltrans has invested in 10 small business development centers throughout California – which are aligned with Caltrans districts – to offer free educational workshops and counseling services to qualified disadvantaged businesses.

While most people think only of roads and asphalt when they think of Caltrans contracts, Kraft said the agency's needs go far beyond those basics.

He compared the variety of service and equipment needs to the needs of a film crew coming to town – saying there also is a need for architectural and engineering design, hazardous waste removal, escrow services, aircraft rental, tree trimming, vehicle repair and maintenance, caterers, hotels, office supplies, even information technology consulting.

Major commodities used by Caltrans are computers, janitorial supplies, metal fabrication, construction supplies, paint, fence and chain link, heavy equipment and all types of traffic signs and cones, he added.

Making the effort to go through the workshops and become more competitive as a prospective service provider is worth it, said Kraft. “What the businesses that do this find is that after the first contract or two they have really good margins.”

Kraft said now is a good time for interested businesses to prepare for the possibility of contracting with Caltrans. “Because of the transportation bonds passed by the state recently, there's about 60 percent more money that's going to be spent by Caltrans over the next seven or eight years, so it's a large piece of business that's coming down the pike.”

The California Construction Contracting Program reports that over the next year Caltrans anticipates receiving more than $3 billion in federal transportation funding and $3.5 billion in state funding.

The North Coast Small Business Development Center will offer the workshop portion of the program from Eureka, but Kraft said there are future plans to bring some of the counseling services to Ukiah to better accommodate Lake and Mendocino businesses.

Participants will learn how to become more competitive when applying for Caltrans contracts, will be trained in the necessary paperwork, find out how to become certified as disadvantaged businesses and Caltrans vendors, and learn to understand the requirements of accepting Caltrans dollars – such as the prevailing wage requirement, Kraft said. “A business needs to be pretty well organized.”

The North Coast Small Business Development Center's Eureka office is a newly designated “Plan Room” – where a running log of regional Caltrans Requests For Proposals that are currently waiting for bids is kept, according to Kraft.

The center also has contracted with a consultant who will hold appointments on a monthly basis in Mendocino County to offer extra help to North Coast businesses.

Kraft said the North Coast Small Business Development Center wants to help the region's companies have a better shot at getting a piece of that business.

Caltrans has had programs to increase its pool of women- and minority-owned businesses for some time, said Kraft, although his center is new to the effort.

He said he believed his center was chosen for its outreach record, location and proximity to numerous women-owned and Native American-owned businesses.

To find out more information about the January workshops or whether your business qualifies for these services, call 707-445-1163 or visit

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


CLEARLAKE – Clearlake Police reported that on Monday officers used a Taser on a suspect who is alleged to have stolen a vehicle.

A Monday report from Sgt. Rodd Joseph explained that officers used the device in apprehending 18-year-old Clearlake resident and student Randy Dean Fouche.

Clearlake Police received a report on Sunday from a 42nd Avenue resident that their 1991 Chevy Caprice was stolen from their driveway, Joseph reported.

Joseph said that officers took a police report and had the license plate number and vehicle identification number entered into the Stolen Vehicle System, a national computer database used by law enforcement agencies to report and log stolen vehicles.

Shortly before 4 p.m. Monday Clearlake Police Officer Dominic Ramirez saw the reported stolen Chevy Caprice near the intersections of Brannan and Manzanita avenues while he was on patrol, Joseph reported.

Ramirez requested additional police units as the vehicle was occupied by a lone subject wearing a ski mask and gloves, according to Joseph's report.

Officers Tim Hobbs and Ryan Petersen responded to Ramirez’s location, Joseph reported, where the officers ordered the suspect – later identified as Fouche – was ordered from the car at gunpoint several times.

Joseph said Fouche wouldn't comply with the officers’ orders, and refused to get out of the car after the officers repeatedly told him to do so.

When it became clear Fouche wasn't going to cooperate, Officer Petersen deployed his department-issued X26 Taser on Fouche, Joseph reported.

Fouche was then safely taken into custody, said Joseph. During a search officers found Fouche was in possession of suspected methamphetamine and a hypodermic syringe.

After being medically cleared at Redbud Hospital and found to be suffering no permanent injury, Fouche was transported and booked into the Lake County Jail, according to Joseph.

Joseph reported that Fouche was charged with felonies including possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of methamphetamine, and misdemeanor charges of obstructing or resisting an officer and possession of a hypodermic syringe.

Fouche remained in jail Monday night, with bail set at $22,000, according to jail records.

Last week, Clearlake Police reported using Tasers on four individuals at four separate calls around the city on Dec. 23, as Lake County News has reported.

Those incidents involved people either attempting to escape from police or intoxicated subjects who refused to cooperate or began fighting with police, according to a police report.

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



LAKEPORT – It seems like it has been forever.

It has felt at times as though nothing at all was being done, or that the wheels slowly turning in distant bureaucratic machines would never arrive at our number.

So now is the time to let a breath of fresh air into the Soper-Reese Community Theater, and we have that in the Winter Music Fest/Vaudeville 2008, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27.

It will be the lead program when the Soper-Reese opens its doors after completion of stage one of the reconstruction plan.

The Music Fest is returning to its home at Main and Martin streets. During the short period that the theater was kept open after the Arts Council purchased it, the Music Fest was presented there. Since then it has been held in the Little Theater in the Fairgrounds and last year at the Marge Alakszay Center at Clear Lake High School.

The Arts Council is delighted to get its Winter Music Fest back to its source.

Last year's presentation was a good show, one of the best in some time. This arose from a more varied fund of talent, skillful production staff, and the excellent facilities of the Alakszay Center.

Some of last year's talent is with us again, and there will be some new faces. At the time of writing this, the slate is not fully written, but you will be entertained.

Just a hint or two for you, though. Bill, for instance, will take a journey together with Connie, and Hope will fall in love, forever. Mrs. Flores will be the source of Adelaide's lament, Holland will just barely

contain the October rain, and a Zimmerman will become a sultan. Stranger things than these can happen, were Rod a rich man.

Nick Biondo assisted us last year, his last at the high school, and has agreed to come with us to the Soper-Reese. He has been setting up a sound system for the community Theater, and he will be manning it for the Music Fest performances.

Once again, this show will be done without karaoke. For singers who don't have any accompanying musician, David Neft will be on hand to accompany them.

Of course, some of the audience will be there just to see the reopened Soper-Reese Community Theater. There are those who can't believe even yet in any progress on that Lakeport landmark, and some of them will come just to see for themselves. I'm sure that they too will have a good time!

Tickets are now available at the Main Street Gallery, 325 N. Main St., Lakeport, and at Catfish Books, 1013 11th St., Lakeport.

For more information, call the Arts Council, 707-263-6658.


LAKE COUNTY – Weather reports indicate that serious winter storms are headed Lake County's way later this week.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather alert for areas of Northern California, including Lake County, warning of a series of heavy winter storms.

The storms, according to the National Weather Service, are expected to arrive Thursday afternoon and continue through Sunday.

The source of the storms is an intense, low-pressure system originating from the Gulf of Alaska, which the National Weather Service says is pushing the storms into interior Northern California.

Rain is predicted to arrive Thursday morning in Lake County, with south winds building and gusts of as high as 31 miles per hour expected, the National Weather Service reported.

On Friday rains are expected to continue through the evening, with heavy rainfall possible in the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Rain showers may continue through Sunday, with the National Weather Service reporting that snow could fall Sunday night, before giving way to more rain through Tuesday.

The National Weather Service also expects heavy rain in the Sacramento Valley and heavy snow in the mountains through the weekend. Up to 2 feet of snow could fall at the 7,000 foot elevation in the mountains by Friday morning and up to 4 feet of snow over a 24-hour period in the highest elevations on Friday, with the storm also anticipated to deliver up to 3 inches of rain in the Sacramento Valley.

The valley and Sierra Nevada Mountains could also see heavy wind gust, with the National Weather Service warning that the dangerous winds could lead to possible blizzard conditions in the Sierra Nevada over the weekend.

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


LAKE COUNTY – The California Highway Patrol's Clear Lake Office is looking for someone who may be missing some Christmas goodies.

CHP Officer Adam Garcia reported Monday that, while officers remove lost items from the state's roadways on a daily basis, one Clear Lake area officer recently came across a much different find.

On Dec. 23, CHP Officer Erica Coddington was removing a box from the middle of Highway 20 near Blue Lakes, Garcia reported.

“Once Officer Coddington was out of the roadway she noticed that this was not the usual ice chest or ladder,” Garcia said.

Rather, it was a wrapped Christmas present labeled “From Grandma and Grandpa,” Garcia reported.

Normally, such items are moved to the road shoulder, said Garcia, where Caltrans picks them up and takes them to the landfill.

However, the thought of a sad child on Christmas day kept Coddington from discarding the package, said Garcia.

Garcia said the CHP is requesting the public's help in locating the lost Christmas gift's intended recipient.

Anyone who was traveling through the area of Highway 20 near Blue Lakes and has a child missing their gift is asked to call Officer Erica Coddington at the Clear Lake Area CHP office at 707-279-0103.

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


Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Pascoe and Sgt. Wes Frey at the inaugural Lake County Law Enforcement Challenge. Frey won the pistol division, and the Lake County Sheriff's Office won team honors. Photo by Deputy Probation Officer Teddi Walker.




LAKE COUNTY – Local law enforcement officers took part in a friendly shooting competition recently which the organizer hopes will turn into an annual fundraiser.

California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Dye arranged the inaugural Lake County Law Enforcement Challenge, which was held Oct. 28 at the sheriff's shooting range at Highland Springs.

Dye said it was a way to get all of the county's law enforcement agencies together, enjoy some camaraderie and have a friendly competition.

Each agency was invited to send its top five shooters in three categories – shotgun, rifle and pistol – and they all went head to head, Dye said. More than 35 competitors took part.

Speed and accuracy decided the victors in each event, said Dye.

In the pistol division, Lake County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Wes Frey won, said Dye, and received a new pistol. Lakeport Police Det. Norm Taylor won the shotgun competition, with Deputy Mike Pascoe of the sheriff's office coming out the best shot with a rifle, with Taylor receiving a new shotgun and Pascoe a new rifle.

The overall team competition only counted the best pistol performances, because Dye said that some local agencies don't carry rifles and shotguns.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office won the overall team championship, said Dye. Their prize was a Howitzer shell made into a traveling trophy.

There was even a special chiefs division in the competition, said Dye.

Local CHP Commander Dane Hayward won the chiefs competition, which Sheriff Rod Mitchell couldn't attend because of a meeting.

Mitchell, Dye reported, “started calling right away wanting a rematch.”

For his part, Mitchell responded, “I don't want a rematch, I want a match. I want an opportunity to compete against them.”

“I think everyone had a lot of fun,” said Dye, who added that it was one of the most fun days he's had in his law enforcement career.

The competition had a lot of local support, said Dye, including help from the Konocti Rod and Gun Club, which helped set up targets.

Dye sent a special thank you to the event's local sponsors, including Huggins Uniforms, Lakeshore Bait and Tackle, Lake County Guns and Rick's Guns.

In addition, national sponsors Safari Land and Midway USA also lent their support, said Dye.

The plan is to hold the competition on an annual basis, said Dye, although next year's date hasn't yet been set.

“I'm hoping that it will be even bigger next year,” he said, noting that he would like to turn it into a fundraising event.

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



CHP Commander Dane Hayward won the chiefs shooting division. Photo by Deputy Probation Officer Teddi Walker.



Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke competing in the chiefs division. Photo by Deputy Probation Officer Teddi Walker.



Lakeport Police Det. Norm Taylor won the shotgun division. Photo by Deputy Probation Officer Teddi Walker.



CHP Officer Adam Garcia competing in the rifle competition. Photo by Deputy Probation Officer Teddi Walker.



WASHINGTON, D.C. Acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner announced in late December that more than $389 million in Forest Service revenue will be distributed to 41 states and Puerto Rico for improvements to public schools, roads and stewardship projects.

“This is the seventh and final year of payments as authorized under the Secure Rural Schools Act and Community Self Determination Act of 2000, as extended by PL 110-28 for one year,” said Conner. “The Forest Service has distributed more than $2.5 billion dollars under this legislation since 2001 to assist counties in maintaining and improving local schools and roads.”

Since 1908, 25 percent of Forest Service revenues, such as those from timber sales, mineral resources and grazing fees, have been returned to states in which national forest lands are located.

Due to the fluctuation of receipts from timber sales, the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 was developed to stabilize payments to counties.

The funds have been used for schools and roads as well as to create employment opportunities to maintain current infrastructure and enhance forest ecosystems, improving land health and water quality. Authority for the Forest Service to make the payments expired at the end of fiscal year 2007.

Lake County and its schools also have received the funds, as Lake County News has reported. Lake County's most recent payment payment from the law was roughly $1 million, which was split between the county's road department and local schools, with Upper Lake's high school and elementary school receiving a total of nearly $250,000.

The USDA reported that fiscal year 2007 payments do not reflect national grassland revenues, which are calculated on a calendar year basis and will be paid to counties in March.

Oregon received the highest payment of more than $153 million; California received $66 million; and Washington received $42 million.

States may see a minor drop in their 2007 payment due to two limiting factors that were included in the one year extension in Public Law 110-28, which limited the amount of collections and the amount of money that could be requested from the General Fund at Treasury for the Payments under Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act.

An additional provision of the act provides for an additional $26 million this year to be used by local county Resource Advisory Committees to fund projects to improve federal lands.


LAKE COUNTY – The county's unemployment edged upward slightly in November, according to the latest state labor statistics.

Lake County’s November 2007 unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, up 0.8 percent from last month and 1.0 percent above the November 2006 rate, according to Dennis Mullins of the Employment Development Department's North Coast office in Eureka.

The 8.2 percent rate compares to a seasonally unadjusted rate of 5.6 percent for California and 4.5 percent for the U.S. Some surrounding county rates included 14.4 percent for Colusa, 5.5 percent for Mendocino and 4.5 percent for Sonoma, Mullins reported.

Marin again had the lowest rate in the state with 3.8 percent and Imperial County had the highest at 19.1 percent, according to Mullins.

Lake's unemployment rate ranks it No. 42 out of California's 58 counties, according to statistics provided by Mullins.

Total industry employment increased 530 jobs (3.6 percent) between November 2006 and November 2007, ending the year-over period with 15,080 jobs, Mullins said.

Mullins reported that year-over job growth occurred in farm; trade, transportation and utilities; information; private educational and health services; and government.

Year-over job losses occurred in Natural Resources, Mining, and Construction; Financial Activities; Professional and Business Services; Leisure and Hospitality; and Other Services, Mullins reported.

The manufacturing sector, said Mullins, experienced no change over the year.

The farm sector again led industry gainers adding 380 jobs for the year, according to Mullins. Government was up 130; and private educational and health services and trade, transportation and utilities gained 70 and 50 respectively.

Information was up 10 jobs; natural resources, mining and construction led decliners dropping 50 jobs; and financial activities was down 30. Professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and other services shed 10 jobs each for the period.


ANDERSON SPRINGS – A small earthquake shook Anderson Springs Friday afternoon.

The quake, measuring 3.1 in magnitude on the Richter scale, was recorded at 3:20 p.m., according to the US Geological Survey.

The US Geological Survey reported that the small earthquake was centered two miles west of Anderson Springs, four miles east southeast of The Geysers and five mile south of Cobb. It occurred at a depth of 1.6 miles.

Four reports were submitted to the US Geological Survey from people who reported feeling the quake, including one person each from Middletown and Pope Valley, one from Novato and one from Stockton.

The US Geological Survey reported a 3.0 quake near The Geysers on Dec. 23, as Lake County News previously reported.

Across the county, the Lake Pillsbury area, which has had increased seismic activity this year, had two small quakes – a 2.7 and a 2.6 – that occurred just after 6 p.m. Friday, according to the US Geological Survey's records. Both of those small earthquakes were centered eight miles west northwest of Lake Pillsbury.

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


Upcoming Calendar

05.25.2024 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast 
05.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
05.26.2024 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lower Lake Daze
Memorial Day
05.28.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.01.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.04.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.08.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.