Monday, 24 June 2024

News

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The new 'county fair' quilt block on the south facing wall of the Phil Lewis Hall at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lakeport, Calif. Photo provided by Vicky Parish Smith.
 

 

 

 

LAKEPORT – On July 12 the Lake County Fairgrounds on Martin Street in Lakeport joined the Lake County Quilt Trail.


A fairgrounds crew installed the hand-painted 8-foot by 8-foot quilt block onto the south facing wall of the Phil Lewis Hall.


The design was chosen because of its appropriate name, “county fair.”


The Phil Lewis Hall is the largest free-span multipurpose building available for public events in Lake County at 10,000 square feet.


Built in 1950, it was named after the first manager of the fairgrounds.


That naming tradition has continued throughout the fairgrounds, with a building named after every retired fairgrounds manager, and also a couple of influential fair board members.


Lake County’s largest event, the Lake County Fair, traditionally occurs Labor Day weekend each year at the fairgrounds in Lakeport. The fair is one of the county’s favorite summertime activities, and is enjoyed by more than 37,000 people each year.


The annual event features a variety of entertainment, food, exhibits, a carnival and livestock shows.


More than 4,000 items made, grown, or raised by Lake County residents during the previous year are entered in the contest at Lake County Fair, which includes one building dedicated entirely to textile items, including quilts.


The 2010 Lake County Fair opens Thursday, Sept. 2, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 5, in Lakeport.


This year's Lake County fair theme is “Fun for the Whole Herd!” For the first time this year fairgoers can enjoy the Lake County Quilt Trail quilt block, “county fair.”


For your own self-guided map of all 13 quilt blocks in the Lake County Quilt Trail, go to the Kelseyville Pear Festival Web site, www.kelseyvillepearfestival.com, and click on the “Quilt Trail.”


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LAKEPORT – Downtown Lakeport will be the scene of an old-fashioned German celebration when it hosts Oktoberfest this fall.


The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 2.


Main Street will be closed from First to Fourth streets and filled with food, arts, crafts and game booths for all ages.


An authentic beer garden will be created with the opportunity to taste a large variety of microbrews. Activities such as pretzel making, pretzel eating, beer stein carrying contests, authentic beer stein contests are among some of the “fun things to do” in which adults and children can participate.


There will be games and contests, beer tasting, wine tasting, great food booths, arts and crafts booths, and music and entertainment throughout the entire day, culminating with a street dance.


A new event at Oktoberfest, not held in Lake County previously, will be a “Dachshund Derby Dash.”


If you want your dachshund to be a wiener winner, contact the chamber or go to www.oktoberfest-lakeport.com for an entry application.


The Dachshund Derby Dash will have a short course for the short-legged dachshunds, with an emphasis on safety. All dogs must have some dachshund in them, but need not be purebreds.


First place will award the title to your friend of “2010 Wiener Winner” and he or she will win his person a $100! Weiner costumes are encouraged for your doggy, the best dog costume will receive a nice prize.


The rules are simple: vaccinated dogs only, leashed at all times until the race. The entry fee is $10. For more information on the derby contact Jan Parkinson at 707-349-2919.


Plan now to attend Oktoberfest and become reacquainted with downtown merchants as you enjoy a day long festival of fun.


For more information, visit www.oktoberfest-lakeport.com or call the Lake County Chamber at 707-263-5092.


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MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – The Mendocino National Forest is entering into fire restrictions beginning Monday, Aug. 2, due to dry conditions and increased risk of wildfires.


The fire restriction will continue through the end of fire season.


Under the restrictions, fires, campfires, charcoal fires or stoves are prohibited on the National Forest unless in the following designated recreation sites:


  • Grindstone Ranger District – Red Bluff Recreation Area and Big Springs Day Use Area; Whitlock, Kingsley Glade, Sugarfoot Glade, Three Prong, Wells Cabin, Sugar Springs, Letts Lake, Mill Valley, Dixie Glade, Plaskett Meadows, Masterson, Little Stony, Grey Pine, Fouts Springs, Davis Flat, South Fork, Cedar Camp, Mill Creek, North Fork and Old Mill Campgrounds.

  • Upper Lake Ranger District – Fuller Grove, Fuller Group Camp, Navy Camp, Pogie Point, Oak Flat, Sunset, Middle Creek, Deer Valley, Bear Creek, Penny Pines and Lower Nye Campgrounds.

  • Covelo Ranger District – Eel River, Little Doe, Howard Lake and Hammerhorn Lake Campgrounds.


California Campfire Permits are not needed in the designated recreation sites listed. In all other areas of the forest, lanterns or portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel with be allowed as long as the person has a current California Campfire Permit with them.


California Campfire Permits may be obtained at any Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or Cal Fire office in California, as well as most Forest Service field employees. They may also be obtained online at www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino/passespermits.


The following activities are also prohibited as part of the fire restrictions:


  • Smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or in the designated recreation sites listed above;

  • Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame;

  • Using explosives;

  • Possessing, discharging or using any kind of fireworks.


Forest visitors will be able to continue riding Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) on designated roads and trails, provided that the vehicles are equipped with the required spark arresters.


Spark arresters also are required on chainsaws being used for people filling valid personal use wood cutting permits, and may also only be used on designated roads and trails.


“This summer the Mendocino National Forest has been very fortunate when it comes to wildland fire,” said Forest Supervisor Tom Contreras. “We would like Forest visitors to help us continue this by being safe when using fires in designated areas, complying with these fire restrictions and reporting smoke when they see it. By being aware we can all help protect the forest’s resources from human-cased wildfires.”


Temporary fire restrictions are put in place annually to protect natural resources and limit the threat of human-caused wildfires.


Similar restrictions are going into effect on neighboring forests. However, restrictions can vary by forest and visitors should check with the forest they plan on visiting for the latest fire restrictions and conditions.


For the Mendocino National Forest, the fire restrictions are formally referenced through Order Number 08-10-03.


Violation of these fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of no more than $5,000 for an individual, $10,000 for an organization, or up to six months imprisonment or both.


Fire season typically ends in late fall following a series of drenching, measurable rains in the mountains. An announcement will follow when fire restrictions are lifted.


For more information, please contact the Mendocino National Forest at 530-934-3316 or visit www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino.


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 .

COW MOUNTAIN – A fire sparked Sunday afternoon in the Cow Mountain area west of Lakeport quickly rose to more than 100 acres, according to fire officials.


The fire was reported shortly before 4 p.m. with a rapidly building smoke column, Cal Fire and the California Highway Patrol reported.


Cal Fire sent helicopters and air attacks to respond to the fire, which witnesses could see from across the lake in Kelseyville, and from Highway 20 near Blue Lakes.


Ash was reportedly falling near Upper Lake, and light winds were carrying smoke from the fire east along the Northshore.


Reports from the scene indicated that firefighters were having trouble accessing the remote location with their engines.


Initial reports shortly after 4 p.m. put the fire at about 35 acres, but just after 5 p.m. it had reportedly tripled in size.


Cal Fire's Howard Forest Station, which was handling incident command, reported the fire was about 120 acres with a moderate rate of spread at around 5:45 p.m. No structures were threatened at the time.


Efforts to fight the fire included attempting to hold it at a ridge top, fire officials said.


Exact numbers of the dozers, engines and firefighters on scene were not immediately available, but additional resources were being summoned after 6 p.m., including a Konocti Camp strike team, based on radio reports.


The CHP reported that Mill Creek Road at Cow Mountain Road was closed before 5 p.m. due to the fire.


One report from the scene indicated that the fire “will last for days.”


Lake County News will continue to follow the story.


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 .

SACRAMENTO – The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that it is making progress in its effort to achieve accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA).


CALEA’s Accreditation program improves the delivery of public safety services, and recognizes professional excellence.


“As the largest state police agency in the United States, and the fifth largest police organization in the nation, I am confident our operations will meet or exceed the high standards required by CALEA.”

 

said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Ultimately, accreditation will build upon the outstanding reputation we have in place, while complementing and reinforcing our organizational values.”


CALEA was created in 1979 as a law enforcement credentialing authority through the joint efforts of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).


The accreditation process includes five phases – enrollment, self-assessment, on-site assessment, commission review and decision, and maintaining compliance.


The CHP applied for CALEA accreditation and was formally accepted in the enrollment phase on Dec. 12, 2008.


On-site assessment will begin the week of Aug. 16, 2010, by a team of assessors from the CALEA who will travel to California to examine all aspects of CHP policies, procedures, management, operations and support services.


Verification by an assessment team from other states will ensure that the CHP meets the commission’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation – a highly prized recognition of public safety professional excellence.


Once accredited, the CHP will hold the distinction of being the largest accredited law enforcement agency in the nation.


As part of the on-site assessment, agency personnel and members of the public are invited to offer comments to the assessment team via telephone.


A public call-in period will take place on Aug. 17, 2010, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Members of the public wishing to comment may call 916-843-3325, during this time period.


Comments should be limited to the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA standards. A copy of the standards will be made available at the CHP Headquarters, 601 North 7th Street, Sacramento, CA 95811.


Persons wishing to offer written comments about the CHP’s ability to meet accreditation standards may write to CALEA, at 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainsville, VA 20155.


Once the CALEA assessors complete their review, they will report back to the full commission, which will then determine if the CHP is to be granted accredited status.


Accreditation is for three years, during which time the CHP must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.


For additional information regarding CALEA, please write to the commission at 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainsville, VA 20155, call 800-368-3757 or email 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 .

People want the gifts stated in their will or trust respected. Protecting such gifts against future attack entails foreseeing subsequent claims by disappointed parties alleging undue influence, incapacity, mistake or fraud.


Litigation over the validity of such gifts can cause great expense and personal aggravation to the surviving loved ones. Preventative actions should be taken by the testator and his or her attorney prior to the testator’s death, as discussed below.


Undue influence means that the testator did not make the gift out of his or her own free will, but yielded to the undue pressure of another.


To protect against an undue influence claim, the client should always meet individually (alone) with his or her own attorney, outside of the presence of his or her own beneficiary.


The attorney and client should fully discuss the client’s reasons for any disproportionate gifts. The client may write a handwritten letter stating his or her own wishes and any relevant circumstances.


For example, if the client has previously made large gifts to another child during life, then the letter could include that fact.


If prudent or necessary, a second attorney may meet with the client and review the documents in order to issue a certificate of independent review stating that the reviewing attorney has determined that it is not the product of undue influence.


Incapacity means that the testator lacked the legally required attention (presence of mind), understanding (grasp of the issues) and awareness (insight into the choices and their consequences) to execute his or her will or trust at the time of its signing.


To protect against a claim of incapacity, the attorney should preserve written notes during the attorney client meeting that show that the client had mental capacity as illustrated by the client’s thoughtful consideration of all relevant particulars concerning the client’s family, assets and relevant circumstances.


In addition, the attorney may request a physician’s evaluation to hopefully confirm the client’s mental capacity before proceeding further.


Importantly, the witnesses to the signing of the testator’s will should themselves be mentally competent and trustworthy individuals who know the testator personally. At the signing, the testator should affirm any controversial gifts.


Lastly, if necessary, the gifts can be confirmed by a court order, obtained by means of a conservator who files a court petition for “substituted judgment.”


Allegations as to a mistake could entail a claim that a drafting error occurred that went unnoticed and that the testator accordingly did not truly intend to make a particular gift.


To forestall such an attack the testator might sign a document (often prepared by the attorney) that states in layman’s terms the specific gifts to the individual beneficiaries (and alternative beneficiaries).


The client also can share his wishes with his family while he or she is still alive to get everything out in the open. This can be very uncomfortable and may or may not be a recommended course of action.


Dennis A. Fordham, attorney (LL.M. tax studies), is a State Bar Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. His office is at 55 First St., Lakeport, California. Dennis can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 707-263-3235.


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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The 2010 Fault Activity Map of California was released in April 2010 and is the first all-digital statewide fault map. Courtesy of the California Geological Survey.

 


 

 


LAKE COUNTY – A map released this spring tracks all of California faults – the earthquake variety, that is.

 

The California Geological Survey's 2010 Fault Activity Map of California marks the survey's 150th anniversary.

 

It's based on maps compiled by Charles Jennings published in 1977 and 1994, but it's different in an important way, according to Chris Wills, supervising engineering geologist.

 

“It's an all-digital project,” said Wills, explaining that the map's previous version in 1994 was drawn on a printer's plate, which can't show as much detail.

 

A number of the California Geological Survey's maps over the last 10 years have been fully digital, but this was the first fully digital statewide map, he said.

 

“For this version we went back to all the original sources” for all of the faults, he said.

 

Wills said the California Geological Survey also works with the US Geological Survey, sharing information about fault activity and compiling fault activity rates that area used for the US Geological Survey's national seismic hazard maps. Those maps, in turn, are used in developing building codes.

 

He said the new state fault map shows the faults that criss-cross California in more precise detail and location that before. The map quality is done at a 1 to 750,000 scale, with one inch equaling 12 miles.

 

“The best thing about this map is there's a lot more capability here than there was before,” said Wills, explaining that a couple hundred faults have been updated on the map, with some added and even some deleted.

 

Wills said there were many “bedrock” faults that have since broken the surface and become active. A big earthquake in the Southern California desert in 1999 ruptured just such a fault that hadn't been known.

 

Quakes are classified according to how recently they offset the ground surface, said Wills. Faults classified as active have been active since the last ice age.

 

The quaternary period is the most recent in the geologic time scale, spanning the last two million years. “Almost everything we call soil has been deposited in the last two million years,” he said, with deposits coming from the ice ages.

 

The map color codes the faults. Wills said if they've been active in the last few millions years, or the early quaternary period, they're purple, while late quaternary period, from 11,700 to 700,000 years from the present, are green. Both of those time frames belong to the Pleistocene epoch.

 

More recent late quaternary periods, including the Holocene epoch, from 11,700 years ago to 200 years ago, are marked in orange, with the historic period – 200 years ago to the present day – denoted in red, according to the map legend.

 

 

 

 

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A closeup of the Lake County area from the 2010 Fault Activity Map of California. Courtesy of the California Geological Survey.

 

 

 

 

The map shows the Lake County area has several faults from the early quaternary period, noted in purple, which follow the Northshore of the lake or run parallel to it.

 

They include the Clover Valley fault line, Hunting, Hunting Creek, Ellis and Wilson faults, the Resort fault to the east of Indian Valley Reservoir and the long Bartlett Springs fault line, which runs along Lake Pillsbury, which recently has seen some increased seismic activity, as Lake County News has reported.

 

On the other side of the lake there is the Big Valley fault, denoted in green, originating in the late quaternary period, with one portion of it marked in red, showing that displacement has occurred within the last 200 years, according to the map explanation.

 

In the seismically busy Geysers geothermal steamfield area, there are a number of unnamed faults from the Holocene epoch – marked in orange – and early quaternary period lines in purple.

 

Also coming from the late quaternary period is the Collayomi fault, which runs through the Middletown and Cobb areas.

 

“In the Clear Lake area there aren't a lot of new faults,” but there are more detailed lines included in the map now, said Wills.

 

He said the volcanic deposits in the Lake County area are between one and two millions years old, and almost all of the faults now illustrated on the county's portion of the map were on the 1994 fault map.

 

Will said The Geysers area has a high natural rate of earthquakes, plus whatever is being added to it through geothermal production.

 

He said The Geysers always is the source of small earthquakes because it's a shallow magma body.

 

Lake County isn't quite as active seismically as places in Humboldt County, Cape Mendocino or even Imperial County, which this spring was dominating the state for aftershocks from larger quakes, Wills said.

 

Some regional faults have shown recent dramatic changes, such as the Maacama fault, which has broken pavement in the driveway of the Willits Safeway, he said.

 

A few of the newly recognized faults are in the Sierras, he said, with new active faults found in the Lake Tahoe area.

 

Wills said they include the Polaris fault east of Truckee and the West Tahoe fault that runs into the lake and comes on shore near Emerald Bay before moving south. In the southern Sierra there is the Kern Canyon fault.

 

“It's a generalization to say that the more recent faults have the most earthquake hazard near them, but that's not far off,” he said.

 

The larger active faults have the majority of the earthquake hazard, and Wills said the map gives a good idea of where the hazards are.

 

San Andreas continues to evolve

 

Then, there is the San Andreas fault, perhaps the state's best known.

 

The map shows the fault running in an ominous blood red line from Southern California all the way up to Cape Mendocino, where it disappears into the Pacific Ocean.

 

The northern portion of the San Andreas fault, which Wills said runs from San Juan Bautista northward, includes the epicenter of the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which caused a rupture of the fault.

 

A portion of the fault north of Mendocino and noted in purple is believed to have resulted from the 1906 quake, however, Wills noted, “The data is not all that clear.”

 

From San Juan Bautista south to Parkfield, Will said the San Andreas is a “creeping” fault, meaning there is constant slow movement of it.

 

South of Parkfield down to San Bernardino is the San Andreas' 1857 rupture, which he said is the same size as the rupture from 1906, “but it was only 50 years earlier,” said Wills. Faults usually don't have that many major ruptures in such a short period of time.

 

There also were big quakes along the fault in 1838 in San Francisco and 1812 in Southern California, Wills said.

 

Wills said the San Andreas fault has the most slip between the North American and Pacific plates. The Pacific plate is moving northwest at almost 40 millimeters a year. “Over 20 of that is on the San Andreas itself,” he said.

 

North of Cape Mendocino, “You cross into a whole different plate boundary,” said Wills.

 

Near the mid-ocean ridge where the ocean floor is being created is the area known as the Gorda plate, and it's close to where the big quakes happened off of the coast of Eureka earlier this year, he said.

 

He said the Gorda plate is being pushed underneath the continent on the Cascadia subduction zone. “That's the zone where you can have very large earthquakes,” he said.

 

Farther north is the Juan de Fuca plate, which was the site of the Cascadia earthquake, measuring around magnitude 9, which occurred in January of 1700, Wills said. It's an active fault but geologists aren't sure of the fault's actual route.

 

The Cascadia quake caused tsunamis on the coast of California, Oregon and Washington, he said.

 

“That geologic evidence gets preserved in some of these bays all up and down the coast,” Wills said.

 

Wills said salt marsh and edges of freshwater marshes suddenly subsided below sea level.

 

The Cascadia earthquake was similar to the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Chile last February, he said. “The tsunamis that came on shore there were devastating.”

 

An anthropologist who was the wife of a Humboldt State geologist studied the Cascadia quake based on American Indian stories of the time, and Wills said she found stories of a “long shaking” in the middle of a winter night.

 

Already out of date

 

Shortly after the map was released in April it already was out of date, said Wills.

 

An earthquake in early April in Baja caused surface faults, he said. “We have historic surface breakage on a number of faults that we didn't before.”

 

It probably will be a decade before another comprehensive update of the map is completed, but Wills said it will not require as much work next time, and the technology may allow them to conduct updates more frequently.

 

Much of the work for the new map was done by senior geologist Bill Bryant and student assistants, said Wills.

 

Wills said they've had a “surprising amount of interest” in the map.

 

“I think people are primed to care about earthquakes right now,” he said, especially in light of large and highly destructive earthquakes around California and the world this year.

 

To see the map in detail, visit here.

 

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 .

LAKE COUNTY – Lake County schools are receiving funds from a federal program that is meant to help them enhance counseling programs that in recent years have been hit by cuts.


This week Congressman Mike Thompson's office reported that county schools would receive nearly $400,000 from the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Demonstration Program through the US Department of Education.


The funding will be used to hire school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists to reduce the number of disciplinary referrals, according to Thompson's office.


“As schools all over our district are struggling to maintain staffing for even the most basic services, I’m glad to know that kids in Lake County will have access to quality counseling services,” he said. “Counselors are an important resource for many students who are facing some challenges, and play a crucial role in our schools.”


The grant will be in place for three years, and will be used in elementary and secondary schools, Thompson reported.


“These funds will really make a difference in restoring needed services for our students,” Lake County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck told Lake County News this week.


He said the Lake County Office of Education is very excited about the grant funds.


“State budget cuts have devastated counseling services to students in our county and these funds are going to go a long way towards replacing the staff and services that were cut,” he said. “Expanded counseling services will improve student’s attendance, academic performance and social skills development. Our students will benefit greatly from the services funded by this grant.”


Kandee Stolesen, administrative assistant with the Lake County Office of Education's human resources department, said the office's Safe Schools and Healthy Students Program lost several employees last summer because of budget constraints.


“We laid off 10 staff at that time, and that was a combination of schools counselors, interns, specialists and one intervention aide,” she said.


The Lake County Office of Education estimated that each of the county's seven school districts have had to reduce their staff by at least one counselor.


Thompson's office reported that a bill that would offer additional funding for teachers recently passed the House of Representatives in supplemental legislation.


The bill, for which Thompson voted, included $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund to provide additional emergency support to local school districts to prevent impending layoffs.


If passed it's estimated that the Education Jobs Fund will help keep 140,000 school employees on the job next year. Thompson said the funding is fully paid for and will not add to the national debt.


The measure has been referred to the Senate for consideration, according to Thompson's office.


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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One of the signs recently installed by the Lake County Department of Public Works Road Division gives information about Manning Creek and the bridge that crosses it. Photo courtesy of Steve Stangland.
 

 

 



LAKE COUNTY – The next time you're driving over local bridges, watch for new signs that highlight the county's tributaries and offer information about bridges and roads.


The Lake County Department of Public Works Road Division is in charge of the signs project, according to Road Superintendent Steve Stangland.


State stormwater management mandates require the county do public outreach about the importance of protecting local water bodies, Stangland said.


Caltrans also requires that the county identify its bridges, so Stangland said they decided to take all of those mandates and create informative and interesting signs.


They didn't want plain markers, Stangland said, but instead sought to create signs that would help brand Lake County.


“We wanted something we could be proud of,” he said.


Stangland said Jaliece Simons and Jim Stuckert in the road division's sign shop designed the signs.


The signs include the creek that's being crossed, the outline of Clear Lake, a notation to “Help keep our waterway clean,” the bridge number, the year the bridge was built, the road number and the mile post marker number.


“They cover a multitude of issues,” said Stangland.


Stangland said the planning for the signs project started last fall.


Lake County Water Resources partnered with the road division, supplying $5,000 in funding for materials, he said. The road division is providing the manpower for the installation.


The first sign was tested out last fall at Rodman Slough, Stangland said.


Over the last several months the signs have started popping up all over the rest of the county, from Kelseyville to Lucerne.


Stangland said the biggest message of the signs is to remind people that they're crossing creeks. He said many people don't realize how often they travel over tributaries as they make their way around the county.


The education aspect of the effort also intends to inform people that all of the local tributaries drain to Clear Lake, he said.


If someone dumps motor oil in a creek in Cobb, that oil eventually will get to Clear Lake and will affect not only the lake but its wildlife, Stangland said.


“The message that we're trying to get out to people is that everything is connected,” he explained.


Stangland said the signs project will be ongoing, with the road department installing them in phases.


The first $5,000 for materials has covered 45 bridges, said Stangland. The county has 125 bridges altogether.


Eventually, the goal is to have the tributary signs installed on every county maintained road, Stangland said.


In a separate project, Stangland said the road division is working with watershed groups to install signs that designate watershed areas.


Visit the road division's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=112943542078816&ref=ts.


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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Veggie Girl Esther Oertel explores the refreshing cucumber in this week's column. Courtesy photo.



 

The term “cool as a cucumber” is more than a cliché. Cucumbers really are a cooling food, which is one reason why it’s especially nice to have them around in the midst of the summer heat.


They’re commonly featured in the cuisine of countries throughout the world with hot climates. Think of raita from India, a condiment made with cucumber and yogurt that offsets their spicy cuisine, or tzatziki, a salad served in the Greece, also made with cucumber and yogurt, but flavored differently.


Africans enjoy many dishes with cucumber, such as marinated salad from the Ivory Coast and a cucumber-tomato salad from Gabon. Africa, in fact, is home to what may be the most unusual cuke of all, the African horned cucumber with spiky yellow skin and melon-like green flesh.


Spain has gazpacho, a cold vegetable soup that includes cucumber, and Thai cuisine offers a variety of cucumber salads, including larb, a salad made with meat.


The cucumber is a beloved veggie in places where it gets hot, but its popularity doesn’t stop there. It’s also loved in parts of the world without such high temperatures.


Think of Denmark, where cucumber salad is made with dill, or England with its famous cucumber tea sandwiches. The Scots have a traditional recipe for whiskey-cured salmon with cucumber.


Not only do cucumbers have a cooling effect when consumed internally, they cool the skin externally, such as when they’re used to treat sunburn. There are two compounds in cucumbers – ascorbic acid and caffeic acid – that prevent water retention, thus making them useful for swollen eyes, dermatitis and burns.


Since cucumbers contain silica, an essential component for healthy connective tissue, cucumber juice is recommended to improve the complexion and health of the skin.


Mint is often paired with cucumber in cuisine. (Think of Thai spring rolls that feature both or the mint that flavors Greek tzatziki.) I love this pairing and often infuse water with these two elements for a refreshing no-calorie thirst quencher.


To a pitcher of water add a peeled, seeded cucumber cut into spears and a nice handful of mint that’s been slightly crushed (bruised). Place in the fridge to infuse for at least an hour, then enjoy!


Speaking of water, cucumbers are full of it, and the moisture gives it its characteristic cooling flavor.


Cucumbers have become a popular ingredient in cocktails, from margaritas to gin to sake. For a cooling non-alcoholic drink, blend peeled and seeded cucumber with fresh lime juice in a blender along with your chosen sweetener, such as simple syrup or agave nectar, using a ratio of one cucumber to two or three limes. Strain and serve over ice, garnished with mint or a lime slice.


They’re a natural diuretic – the best known one – and for this reason they’re said to be helpful in treating kidney and urinary bladder diseases. They’re also supposed to promote the health of the liver and pancreas, as well as the gums and teeth.


Cucumbers are members of the gourd family, which also includes squashes and melons. They’re thought to have originated in India – though some sources cite other parts of Asia – and they’ve been cultivated there for at least 3,000 years.


Greenhouse cultivation of cucumbers was invented during the time of King Louis XIV, presumably so he could have a ready supply since he loved their taste.


Even earlier, the ancient Romans invented artificial growing methods so their emperor, Tiberius, could have cucumbers on his table throughout the year. They used raised beds on wheels to follow the sun and special growing houses glazed with oil cloth.


Supermarkets typically stock only two types of cucumbers – the garden, or market, cucumber and the long, slender dark green English cucumber, which is most often wrapped in plastic – but there is so much more!


Last summer, I discovered a wonderful variety at a local farmers’ market – the Armenian cucumber – and it has since become one of my favorites. It’s also known as the snake cucumber or snake melon, but don’t let this somewhat scary name fool you. It’s one of the nicest slicing cucumbers around.


The ribbed, pale green skin looks as though it would be tough, but is delicate. Like the English cucumber, it doesn’t need to be seeded or peeled and has a mild flavor. It tends to be long and slender, but sometimes grows with twists and turns that resemble a crook-necked squash.


I visited Kelseyville’s Leonardis Organics recently, where Jim Leonardis is growing specially selected varieties of cucumbers, including a variegated version of the Armenian cucumber with handsome dark and light green stripes.


According to Leonardis, the varieties of cucumbers most commonly grown for markets don’t do well in Lake County’s ultra hot summers, so he’s picked less common varieties that do not become bitter in the heat, including the Asian cucumber, which is similar to the English cucumber, but with spiny skin.


He’s also growing round, yellow lemon cucumbers, which are nice for pickling.


Such interesting varieties can be found at farmers’ markets, active now around the lake. Thankfully, locally grown cukes aren’t covered with the wax that commercial growers use to extend shelf life.


The recipe I offer is my version of tzatziki, the Greek cucumber-yogurt salad mentioned previously. In this version, it’s made with dill, but I’d encourage you to also try it with mint. It’s best when made with real Greek yogurt, but if this is unavailable, it can be simulated.


To do this, buy the best plain full-fat yogurt you can find and allow it to sit in a strainer lined with paper towels or cheesecloth atop a bowl several hours or overnight. (Refrigerate it during the process.) This allows liquid to drain off, leaving behind a thickened, richer yogurt.


You’ll be surprised at the amount of water that appears in your bowl. If you’re using this method, be sure to buy enough yogurt for the recipe as it reduces in size by about half.


Greek cucumber yogurt salad (tzatziki)


2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

2 cloves garlic, smashed, then finely diced

Juice of half a lemon

Chopped fresh dill to taste (or fresh mint)

Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste


Combine the yogurt, garlic and lemon juice in a bowl. Add cucumber to yogurt mixture, and add dill or mint to your liking. Mix and enjoy!


Esther Oertel, the "Veggie Girl," is a personal chef and culinary coach and is passionate about local produce. Oertel owns The SageCoach Personal Chef Service and teaches culinary classes at Chic Le Chef in Hidden Valley Lake. She welcomes your questions and comments; e-mail her 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 .

LAKE PILLSBURY – A 3.0-magnitude earthquake was reported in the Lake Pillsbury area Friday evening.


The quake, recorded at 6:31 p.m., was centered 10 miles southeast of Lake Pillsbury, 12 miles north northeast of Upper Lake and 13 miles north of Nice, according to the US Geological Survey.


The depth of the quake was six miles, the survey reported.


A 3.4-magnitude earthquake was reported 11 miles northwest of Lake Pillsbury on Tuesday afternoon, as Lake County News has reported.


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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Smoke testing of the Southeast Regional Wastewater Collection System is taking place in Clearlake and Lower Lake, Calif. Photo courtesy of Lake County Special Districts.

 

 

 

CLEARLAKE – In an effort to improve the Southeast Regional Wastewater Collection System, Lake County Special Districts reported this week that it's conducting smoke testing on sections of the system.


The agency, which provides water service and wastewater treatment in many areas of Lake County, said it has so far completed several weeks of smoke testing for 200,000 lineal feet of the sewer collection system in sections of Clearlake and Lower Lake.


Testing involves use of non-toxic liquid smoke that leaves no residual and pinpoints potential leaks in sewer lines. Leak detection and subsequent repairs may have a significant impact on minimizing spills next winter.


Miksis Services Inc. specializing in leak detection, and Special Districts crews are introducing smoke under pressure into manholes.


“Smoke is introduced into the system approximately every 400-800 feet,” said John Thompson, Special Districts systems compliance coordinator.


“If there is a leak in the sewer line including service lateral, smoke will appear out of the ground,” he explained. “Smoke is also visible where there are leaks such as private cleanouts that are open and not capped properly. We’ve seen many cleanouts that are not capped off.”


Another common problem detected is rain gutters and roof vents that are illegally connected to the cleanout to avoid flooding yards, Thompson said. All these holes contribute to excess rain water entering the collection system.


Additionally, if a building waste drain system is faulty, smoke may appear in the building, Thompson said.


“It’s difficult to quantify the exact savings resulting from smoke testing but we do know that any preventive measures taken now will reduce inflow the amount of storm water treated at the wastewater treatment plant,” said Thompson. “This method of regular inspection ensures continued proper operation of the collection system.”


In addition, homeowners are encouraged to do their part.


That includes inspecting the rain gutters on your house to see if the downspout connects to a sewer line.


Such connections are illegal. If the gutter downspouts are connected to the sewer line, have them disconnected – the large amount of water from the roof can cause a sewage spill. The rainwater needs to be directed onto your lawn and/or to the storm drain system.


Also, look for and check your sewer cleanout. The cleanout is usually a small pipe, about 4 inches in diameter, outside your house that is used to access the sewer lateral for cleaning. You will normally find it near the house (where the sewer lateral comes out) and/or near the property line (where the sewer lateral connects to the main sewer line).


Make sure the cap to the cleanout pipe is not missing and has not been damaged – such as by a lawn mower. Replace missing caps so that rainwater cannot get into the sewer line.


Check to see that outdoor patio, deck or yard drains are not connected to the sewer. Also, be sure that pool or pond overflow drains are not connected to the sewer. These connections are not allowed by the Lake County Sewer Use Ordinance.


“Special Districts is appreciative of the cooperation shown by the community during the testing which will resume over the next few days in the Clearlake and Lower Lake area,” Thompson said. “Residents are taking an active interest while observing the procedure, asking questions and taking time to explore potential corrective actions on their property.”


Any individuals with questions about smoke testing of sewer lines are encouraged to contact the administrative office at 707-263-0779.


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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