Thursday, 25 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY – Lake County started off 2010 with the highest unemployment rate in decades, hitting 19.6 percent, according to numbers released Wednesday.

Lake County's unemployment predictably rose during January, which is known as one of the slowest months for jobs in the county, where main industries are agriculture and tourism.

January's unemployment rate was up from 15.3 percent in January 2009 and a revised rate of 18.2 percent last December, according to the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

“I am not surprised at all,” District 1 Supervisor Jim Comstock said Wednesday of the unemployment rate continuing to climb.

Added District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing, “We're in the middle of a storm.”

In an effort to help the local economy, Comstock said the county is implementing measures like its local vendor preference, and Rushing added that they're doing everything they can to support local business.

The EDD's report on January's unemployment figures placed Lake at No. 50 of 58 counties.

Counties that had worse rates included Yuba, 20.4 percent; Sutter, 21 percent; San Benito, 21.1 percent; Merced, 21.7 percent; Plumas, 22.3 percent; Trinity, 25.8 percent; and Imperial, 27.3 percent.

The highest unemployment in the state was found in neighboring Colusa County, where 27.4 percent of its labor force is out of work, according to the report.

The lowest unemployment was found in Mono County, which registered an 8.1 percent unemployment rate.

California's overall unemployment rate was 13.2 percent, higher than was reported earlier this week.

In Lake County approximately 4,930 people of a workforce of 25,110 were out of work in January, compared to 4,510 people out of work in December, when the workforce numbered 24,740 people. The local workforce also was up slightly from the 24,920 workers reported the previous January.

A total of 12,370 jobs were reported across all industries in Lake County in January, down 5.3 percent from 13,060 in January 2009 and a 1.3-percent loss or 12,530 jobs in December, pointing to the impact of the job losses in neighboring counties and its impact on local residents who commute.

The largest job losses by percentage over the last year came in the category of “nonfarm” under the durable goods production subcategory, which lost 33.3 percent of its jobs, or 30 out of 90 jobs over the past year, based on the EDD's report.

Wholesale trade was down by 28.6 percent, or 60 jobs, over the past year, and leisure and hospitality jobs dropped by 23.5 percent, or 270 jobs.

Largest losses by numbers came in the subcategory of “total private” nonfarm industries, which lost 450 jobs.

Subcategories that showed job gains included government, which had an overall 1 percent gain; within that subcategory, the federal government showed job increases of 20 jobs locally, or 14.3 percent, from last year and 10 jobs or a 6.7-percent increase from December; followed by state government, with grew by 6.7 percent or 10 jobs from the previous year and had no changes from the previous month.

Local government added 20 jobs over the year but was down 40 jobs from December, the report added.

“Other services” also gained 10 jobs over the year, or 3.3 percent, but was down 10 jobs from December, for a 3.1 percent loss.

For Lake County's cities and towns, Clearlake Oaks had the highest unemployment rate, at 28.6 percent, while Upper Lake had the lowest, with 10.3 percent.

For other areas of the county the following unemployment rates were reported: Nice, 28 percent; city of Clearlake, 27.6 percent; Lucerne, 20.7 percent; Middletown and Kelseyville tied, each with 20 percent; city of Lakeport, 19 percent; Cobb, 17.6 percent; Lower Lake, 16.5 percent; Hidden Valley Lake, 16.3 percent; and north Lakeport, 15.7 percent.

Lake's neighboring counties posted the following rates and state rankings: Glenn, 18 percent, No. 42; Mendocino, 12.7 percent, No. 19; Napa, 11.1 percent, No. 10; Sonoma, 11.3 percent, No. 11; and Yolo, 14.8 percent, No. 28.

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 and on Facebook at .

BRANSCOMB – A Branscomb man was arrested last week after he allegedly ran his vehicle into the front of a post office and store.

Dale Carbaugh, 49, was arrested on charges of attempted arson, vandalism, burglary and felonious threats on March 5, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

On March 4 Mendocino Sheriff's deputies responded to the area of the Branscomb Post Office regarding a subject who had hit the front of the store with a vehicle, Smallcomb said.

Upon arrival, deputies spoke with witnesses who advised that Carbaugh had run his vehicle into the front of the store, impacting the gasoline pump, according to the report.

Smallcomb said that, upon hitting the pump, Carbaugh exited his vehicle and pulled the fuel dispensing nozzle off of the pump and placed it in the post office building, hooking it on a crate in an apparent attempt to dispense gasoline inside the building.

Witnesses advised the emergency shutoff switch was disengaged and Carbaugh got back into his vehicle and drove it to another location near the store, Smallcomb said. The witnesses also told deputies that Carbaugh walked past the store a few minutes later and threw a small plastic bottle towards them advising he believed the devil was inside the post office.

Deputies searched the area for Carbaugh but couldn't find him, Smallcomb said.

On the following day, Smallcomb said sheriff's deputies received a call for service advising Carbaugh was at the home of a relative in Branscomb and was vandalizing a boat with a hatchet. Deputies responded to the scene and arrested Carbaugh for felony vandalism attempted arson and burglary.

Smallcomb said the deputies also investigated the incident which had occurred at the relative's home. They learned Carbaugh had been hiding in the woods the previous day in hopes of eluding law enforcement and had arrived at a relative's home, where he took a hatchet and destroyed an inflatable Zodiac type boat.

Following this vandalism Carbaugh threatened to commit similar acts of violence on his family members at the location, Smallcomb said.

Carbaugh also was arrested on charges of vandalism and felonious threats. Smallcomb said Carbaugh was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail, with bail set at $50,000.

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SACRAMENTO – Unemployment in California edged up slightly as the new year got under way, according to a Friday report, with state labor officials also noting an increase in non-farm payroll jobs.

The California Employment Development Department's (EDD) latest report looked at statewide unemployment numbers. Reports on Lake and the other 57 counties in California is due out Wednesday.

The EDD reported that non-farm payroll jobs increased by 32,500 in January, with eight of 11 industry sectors showing gains, according to data from two separate surveys.

California's January unemployment rate was 12.5 percent, following an annual revision of monthly employment estimates.

In December, the state’s unemployment rate was a revised 12.3 percent, and in January 2009, the unemployment rate was 9.7 percent. The unemployment rate is derived from a federal survey of 5,500 California households.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased in January, to 9.7 percent.

Nonfarm jobs in California totaled 13,842,100 in January, an increase of 32,500 over the month, according to a survey of businesses that is larger and less variable statistically. The survey of 42,000 California businesses measures jobs in the economy.

The year-over-year change (January 2009 to January 2010) shows a decrease of 701,700 jobs – down 4.8 percent.

The federal survey of households, done with a smaller sample than the survey of employers, shows a decrease in the number of employed people. It estimates the number of Californians holding jobs in January was 15,850,000, a decrease of 18,000 from December, and down 735,000 from the employment total in January of last year.

The number of people unemployed in California was 2,266,000 – up by 32,000 over the month, and up by 488,000 compared with January of last year.

EDD’s report on payroll employment (wage and salary jobs) in the nonfarm industries of California totaled 13,842,100 in January, a net gain of 32,500 jobs since the December survey. This followed a loss of 41,200 jobs (as revised) in December.

Eight categories (mining and logging; construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government) added jobs over the month, gaining 45,900 jobs.

Construction posted the largest increase over the month, adding 16,200 jobs.

Three categories (information; financial activities; and professional and business services) reported job declines this month, down 13,400 jobs. Information posted the largest decline over the month, down

by 12,100 jobs.

In a year-over-year comparison (January 2009 to January 2010), nonfarm payroll employment in California decreased by 701,700 jobs (down 4.8 percent).

One industry division, educational and health services, posted job gains over the year, adding 12,400 jobs (a 0.7 percent increase).

Ten categories (mining and logging; construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; information; financial activities; professional and business services; leisure and hospitality; other services; and government) posted job declines over the year, down 714,100 jobs.

Trade, transportation and utilities employment showed the largest decline on a numerical basis, down by 148,900 jobs (a decline of 5.5 percent).

Construction posted the largest decline on a percentage basis, down by 18.0 percent (a decrease of 128,700 jobs).

In related data, the EDD reported that there were 717,070 people receiving regular unemployment insurance benefits during the January survey week. This compares with 792,764 last month and 717,525 last year.

At the same time, new claims for unemployment insurance were 92,738 in January 2010, compared with 80,873 in December and 75,514 in January of last year.

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The missing Toyota pickup, being sought by Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit investigators, is believed to be connected to the deaths of a Maine couple who were found dead near Lower Lake, Calif., on Thursday, March 4, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit.

LAKE COUNTY – Sheriff's officials are offering new details about a missing pickup truck that they're hoping to locate as part of their investigation into the deaths of a Maine couple whose bodies were found near Lower Lake last week.

The Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit is seeking the missing Toyota pickup that reportedly belonged to Frank Maddox, who along with wife Yvette, was found dead by two motorists at the bottom of an embankment about six miles east of Lower Lake March 4.

Since the bodies were found, detectives have arrested a person of interest in the case of the deaths, 29-year-old Robby Alan Beasley, for an unrelated fugitive warrant out of the state of Maine, Sheriff's Capt. James Bauman said.

Bauman said Wednesday that the pickup officials are attempting to locate is believed to be possibly connected to the deaths of the Maddoxes.

The missing truck is described as a 1982 Toyota pickup, either tan, beige, or pale yellow in color, with a black camper shell, and primer paint that is exposed on the hood and roof areas.

Bauman said the truck has oversized tires with chrome and gold wheels, a chrome brush guard on the front, and had California license plates of 1MHV850.

During their investigation over the past weekend, detectives learned that the truck had been missing since the couple's disappearance in late January or early February, Bauman said.

Bauman said that investigators have since learned that a truck, believed to be the Toyota pickup in question, had been called in to the county Code Enforcement Division on Jan. 25 as an abandoned vehicle parked on Jerusalem Grade Road near Spruce Grove Road, near Hidden Valley Lake. Code Enforcement tagged the truck for abatement on Feb. 2 and took several photographs of it.

However, sometime between Feb. 2 and Feb. 18, the truck was moved by someone and had been seen parked several miles further north, on Spruce Grove Road near Noble Ranch Road on Feb. 18, and again on Feb. 23. Bauman said the truck has since left that location and its whereabouts are still unknown.

Meanwhile, as a result of the search warrants served at his residences on Saturday, Beasley has had additional local felony charges filed against him for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sales and maintaining a place for the unlawful sales of marijuana, according to Bauman's report.

Bauman said Beasley is now in custody with a $1,000,000 bail for those charges, however an additional no-bail warrant has also been signed by a magistrate in the state of Maine for additional probation violations.

Beasley remains a person of interest in the deaths of Frank and Yvette Maddox at the present time, Bauman said.

Anyone with information on the possible whereabouts, recent sightings, or recent drivers of the truck are asked to immediately contact the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit at 707-262-4200.


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The pickup belonged to Frank Maddox, who was found dead with his wife, Yvette, near Lower Lake, Calif., on Thursday, March 4, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit.

UPPER LAKE – This Thursday, state education officials are expected to finalize a list of California schools that are considered “persistently lowest achieving,” with those schools facing remedies to improve performance.

The list of 188 schools, released Monday, identifies 5 percent of those lowest achieving schools based on a series of criteria derived from state and federal law, officials reported.

The schools are listed in three sections – tier one, tier two and graduation rate only.

On the tier two list – which includes middle or high schools that are eligible to receive Title I funds based on demographics such as above-average poverty – included one Lake County school, Upper Lake Middle School in the Upper Lake Elementary School District.

The only other school listed in the North Coast region was Kawana Elementary in Sonoma County's Bellevue Union Elementary School District. Tier one schools are elementary, middle or high schools that, among other things, are identified as being in Program Improvement in the 2009-10 school year.

Kurt Herndon, superintendent for the Upper Lake Elementary School District, received a letter dated Feb. 22 from California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, a copy of which Herndon shared with Lake County News.

In the letter, O'Connell informed Herndon that the district may or may not have one or more schools on the list. Herndon later received a four-page explanation of the list and what it means.

“I'm in the awkward position of trying to explain something that doesn't make any sense,” said Herndon.

Herndon wrote a memorandum to his board of education to explain the situation, and also called board members.

Rachel Perry, director of the California Department of Education's academic accountability and awards division, said that identifying the 5 percent of persistently lowest-achieving schools in California is part of a multistep process that the state has to follow in accordance with three federal funding programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Those programs are the Race to the Top, the School Improvement Grant and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Perry said.

In addition, SB X 51 – state legislation authored by Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) – added additional rules to help California compete in the Race to the Top, she explained.

The State Board of Education will discuss the preliminary list at its Thursday meeting, Perry said.

Perry said the US Department of Education allows states to apply for waivers of certain provisions of the federal law. She said California can apply for a waiver from having to identify lower performing schools before identifying the higher performing schools as required under the federal programs.

The State Board of Education will vote on seeking that waiver this Thursday, Perry said.

“If they vote to seek the waiver, the list will resort itself,” she said, with tier two schools like Upper Lake Middle School possibly being replaced by lower performing schools from tier one.

However, “There's still a second layer of review,” with Perry noting that the US Department of Education must approve the waivers, with the possibility that the agency could rule California doesn't qualify.

That makes it even more troubling for local districts because of the uncertainty, Perry said.

Herndon pointed out that Upper Lake Middle School isn't amongst the lowest 5 percent of schools when it comes to measures like the state's Academic Performance Index.

The school's 2009 API was 666, 12 points below its target score, according to state records. In 2008 the school scored 678, with a 2007 score of 672.

One of the reasons Upper Lake Middle School landed on the list was its failure to increase its API score by 50 or more points over the last three years. Perry explained that schools that didn't make that growth target were identified as low performers according to state law.

“We evaluate performance and progress,” she said.

Any schools that increased their API by more than 50 points or were at or above the state's API target of 800 points were removed from the state's analysis used to identify low performing schools, she said.

The California Department of Education reported that the schools identified as persistently lowest achieving must engage in a school intervention model as required by state and federal law.

Schools that make that final list of persistently lowest-achieving schools are required to implement one of four school intervention models: the turnaround model, which requires major school improvements that can include replacing the principal and adopting a new governance structure; a restart model, in which the school is converted or closed and reopened; the school closure model, in which the school is closed and students are enrolled in other, higher-achieving schools; and the transformation model, which also can include replacing the principal and increasing instructional time.

Herndon said the school already has worked on remedies to address performance, including the turnaround model.

Upper Lake Middle School currently has a new principal following the retirement of the previous principal, Herndon said.

“It just sounds so bad,” he said of the school's inclusion on the list.

Now that the school knows what to shoot for, he said it won't be on the list in the future.

Herndon is sure of one thing. “We are not in the bottom 5 percent of schools in California,” he said. “It's not that simple.”

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 and on Facebook at .

FORT BRAGG – A Ukiah man has been arrested for allegedly taking part in the beating last Saturday of a Fort Bragg taxi cab driver.

Norman White, 29, was taken into custody by Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies late Friday not long after the alleged attack, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

Smallcomb said deputies responded to the 31000 block of Simpson Lane in Fort Bragg shortly after 10:30 p.m. Saturday on the report of an assault and battery.

When they arrived on scene the deputies spoke to 51-year-old Dan Goekler, owner and operator of a local taxi cab company, who said two unknown males had assaulted and battered him after he picked them up, Smallcomb said.

Goekler told deputies that he had picked up the two subjects from a party on Mitchell Creek Drive, and as he was driving them into the city one of the men – later identified as White – struck him in the head with both hands simultaneously, according to Smallcomb.

After the attack began Goekler stopped and got out of the vehicle and pulled White out, at which point White and the other suspect attacked and physically assaulted Goekler repeatedly with their hands and feet while Goekler was on the ground, Smallcomb said. White allegedly kicked Goekler in the head repeatedly.

Smallcomb said Goekler sustained serious bodily injury as a result of the assault.

Deputies searched the area and located White concealed in the brush near the location of the assault. Smallcomb said Goekler identified White as one of the two suspects who had physically assaulted him and White was arrested.

Deputies continued to search the area but were unable to locate the second suspect, Smallcomb said. That suspect has not yet been positively identified.

White was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and assault and battery, with bail set at $30,000.00, Smallcomb said.

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THE GEYSERS – A 3.0-magnitude earthquake shook The Geysers area of southern Lake County Wednesday evening.

The temblor occurred at 5:06 p.m. at a depth of 1.1 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.

Its epicenter was located at The Geysers, five miles west southwest of Cobb and seven miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.

One shake report was filed from San Rafael, according to the agency.

The previous week, on March 4, a 3.4-magnitude earthquake occurred at 9:47 a.m. at a depth of seven-tenths of a mile, the US Geological Survey reported.

That quake was located two miles west northwest of Cobb, four miles northeast of The Geysers and six miles northwest of Anderson Springs.

The US Geological Survey received seven shake reports from seven zip codes, including reports from Kelseyville and Middletown.

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 and on Facebook at .

LAKEPORT – This Friday, the community is invited to come and enjoy the premiere of the inaugural “We Love the Tules Four Minute Film Festival.”

The Lake County Arts Council and Main Street Gallery, at 325 N. Main Street in Lakeport, is hosting the reception ceremony on Friday, March 12, to celebrate the creativity of the community.

Seven films were entered and each will be given its own reward, said Cheri Holden, creator of the festival and owner of Watershed Books.

“There were a wide variety of participants,” said Holden. “All of the films are worthy of an award. We had participants from age 13 to age 70, both amateurs and professionals.”

The festivities begin at 7 p.m. and will most likely last until about 9 p.m., she reported.

In addition to the films entered into the contest, several others also will be shown that are related to Clear Lake, Holden said.

“I’m keeping the films secret until the premiere, so I can’t give you any idea of what they are like,” said Holden.

The criteria for the entries was that the star of the movie be Clear Lake itself, that it be appropriate for all ages and be between two and four minutes in length, as Lake County News has reported.

To attend the award ceremony – complete with snacks and drinks - guests must RSVP.

Call or visit Watershed Books, which is located at 305 N. Main St. in Lakeport, 707-263-5787, or email Holden at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

So far, almost 30 people have confirmed that they will attend, so space is running out, Holden said.

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

LAKEPORT – The Lake County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit has identified a person of interest in the suspicious deaths of a man and woman whose bodies were discovered outside of Lower Lake last Thursday, officials reported Monday.

Robby Alan Beasley, 29, of Maine was taken into custody on Saturday on an out-of-state warrant, according to Capt. James Bauman.

Beasley is being investigated in connection with the suspicious deaths of Frank Maddox, 32, and Yvette Maddox, 40, both of Maine, whose bodies were found along Morgan Valley Road last week, Bauman said.

Autopsies for the couple are scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Napa County Coroner’s Office to determine the cause and manner of their deaths, according to Bauman.

Two Sonoma County men traveling through Lake County on Morgan Valley Road had discovered the two bodies when they stopped on the side of the road for a break about six miles east of Lower Lake on the afternoon of March 4, as Lake County News has reported.

The two men reported their discovery from the Lower Lake Fire Station and then led deputies to the scene where the bodies of the couple were found at the bottom of an embankment, according to Bauman's report.

Bauman said the bodies appeared to have been there for several weeks. Sheriff’s detectives processed the scene and investigated leads into the identities of the bodies and the manner of their deaths, non-stop, from Thursday afternoon into the weekend.

Subsequently, the bodies were identified as the Maddoxes, who had apparently been staying in Clearlake for several months, Bauman said.

He explained that Yvette Maddox was reported as a missing person to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department by a relative from Maine on Jan. 28. Frank Maddox also had been reported as a missing person to the Clearlake Police Department on Feb. 11.

Bauman said the investigation into the couple’s activities prior to their being reported as missing led to Beasley, who reportedly hired the Maddoxes and brought them to Lake County to help him with a marijuana operation.

Detectives also learned that some time during the last week of January, Beasley had reportedly convinced the Maddoxes to give him a ride to the Sacramento airport, Bauman said. The couple was said to have agreed, despite unverified information that Beasley had previously threatened one of them with a gun.

While determining Beasley’s whereabouts during the weekend, detectives learned he had an outstanding arrest warrant from the state of Maine for a probation violation relating to criminal threats and assault charges, Bauman said.

Detectives conducted surveillance all day Saturday on two locations where Beasley was known to reside – one in Clearlake and the other in Lower Lake. Bauman said that at about 7 p.m. Saturday Beasley was observed leaving the Clearlake residence in a vehicle, and was stopped and arrested for the warrant without incident.

As Beasley was being arrested, two search warrants were secured for both locations and executed that night, Bauman said. When the search warrants were executed, a large marijuana grow consisting of 96 plants was located at the Lower Lake location and about $5,000 in currency was seized at the Clearlake location. Beasley also had a large amount of currency on him at the time of his arrest.

Beasley was booked at the Lake County Jail for the no-bail fugitive warrant out of Maine and remains a person of interest in the couple's deaths pending further investigation, Bauman said.

A vehicle belonging to Frank Maddox is unaccounted for and is believed to possibly be linked with the two deaths. Bauman said that the vehicle is described as a 1982 Toyota pickup truck, either tan, beige or pale yellow in color, with a black camper shell.

Anyone with information on the possible whereabouts of that truck is asked to immediately contact the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit at 707-262-4200.

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NORTH COAST – The participation in Congressman Mike Thompson's latest telephone town hall, held Monday, broke records, Thompson's office reported Wednesday.

Nearly 12,000 constituents took part, breaking the previous record of 11,000, according to Thompson's staff.

The questions were on a wide variety of topics, ranging from health care to the federal debt to immigration, Thompson's office reported.

“Each time I hold one of these events, we have more and more participants,” said Congressman Thompson. “They are not a replacement for in-person town hall meetings, but they are a great way to hear from folks all across our district.”

He said the Monday event was a good chance for him to talk with constituents about important things like health care reform and jobs.

“It’s important that we had a chance to share our thoughts,” he said. “I wasn’t able to get to everyone, but I’ll be responding to all of the 131 voice mails that were left at the end of the call.”

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SANTA ROSA – On Tuesday, a former Chico resident was sentenced to life in prison for shooting his elderly grandfather in the back of the head as he sat in his rocking chair.

Sonoma County Judge Kenneth Gnoss sentenced Sean Patrick Mooney, 22, to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his grandfather, Robert Deming, on May 20, 2008, according to Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.

“Justice was finally served today for a senseless act upon a vulnerable victim, 78-year-old Robert Deming,” Passalacqua said in a written statement. “The jury agreed that the defendant executed his grandfather as he sat at rest in a rocking chair for the selfish expectation of financial gain.”

On July 24, 2009, a Sonoma County jury convicted Mooney of first degree murder with a special circumstance of committing murder for financial gain, use of a firearm, elder abuse charges and receiving stolen property, the 12-gauge shotgun that was used in the murder.

The evidence revealed that Mooney had shot his grandfather in the back of the head, at near contact, as Deming sat peacefully in his rocking chair at his Sonoma home.

Shortly following the jury’s verdict, Mooney hired new counsel to present a motion for new trial, claiming among other things that his trial counsel was ineffective at trial and there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict.

After several days in evidentiary hearing in February, Gnoss denied the motion for new trial and set the case for sentencing.

In addition to his sentence of life without the possibility of parole, Mooney also must serve two years for possessing a stolen shotgun and another 25 years to life for using a firearm during the murder.

Deputy District Attorneys Traci Carrillo and Rosanne Darling led the prosecution of the case. Detective Chris Vivian from the Sonoma County’s Sheriff’s Office led the investigation. District Attorney Investigator Les Vanderpool also assisted during the trial and subsequent court hearings.

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LAKE COUNTY – While foreclosure activity appears to be decreasing around the United States in recent months, the number of people in danger of losing their homes in Lake County is growing.

The most recent reports from Irvine-based RealtyTrac show that in January foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions — were reported on 315,716 U.S. properties, a decrease of nearly 10 percent from the previous month but still 15 percent above the level reported in January 2009.

RealtyTrac reported that one in every 409 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in January.

In Lake County, total foreclosure filings in January numbered 303, up 55 percent from the 195 filings reported in December 2009 and up 124 percent from the 135 filings in January 2009, the company reported.

The county's foreclosure statistics for the fourth quarter of 2009 show 476 total filings, down slightly from the third quarter of 2009, when 666 such filings were made, records show. The fourth quarter of 2008 had 393 total foreclosure filings in Lake County.

Nationwide, the January foreclosure numbers are holding to a similar pattern from a year ago, according to James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, who noted a double-digit percentage jump in December foreclosure activity followed by a 10 percent drop in January.

“If history repeats itself we will see a surge in the numbers over the next few months as lenders foreclose on delinquent loans where neither the existing loan modification programs or the new short sale and deed-in-lieu of foreclosure alternatives works,” he said in a written statement.

RealtyTrac reported that REOs, or bank foreclosures, were down 5 percent nationwide in January from the previous month, although they were 31 percent higher than January 2009 numbers.

REOs in Lake County numbered 101 in January, 83 in December 2009 and 39 in January 2009, based on RealtyTrace statistics.

January default notices were down 12 percent nationwide from the previous month but still up 4 percent from January 2009, and scheduled foreclosure auctions were down 11 percent from the previous month but still up 15 percent from January 2009.

Lake County's January default notices totaled 107, compared to 47 in December, and 69 in January 2009, the company reported.

The county's number of notices of trustee sales rose to 95 in January, up from 65 the previous month. They numbered 27 in January 2009.

Across California, in January foreclosure activity decreased by double-digit percentages from December, the company reported.

California, Florida and Arizona posted the three highest state totals in terms of properties receiving foreclosure filings in January. RealtyTrac's report showed that together those three states accounted for more than 44 percent of the national total.

Six California cities registered foreclosure rates among the top 10 cities nationwide, according to the report: Modesto, No. 3; Stockton, No. 4; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, No. 5; Merced, No. 6; Vallejo-Fairfield, No. 7; and Bakersfield, No. 8.

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 and on Facebook at .

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