Tuesday, 23 July 2024


LAKEPORT – Nearly a year after its attempt to annex an area along Parallel Drive into the city limits failed, the City of Lakeport is preparing to reapproach the issue.

City officials say they indeed to file another annexation application which will likely be heard this spring.

Last July 19, the Local Area Formation Committee (LAFCO) turned down the city's application to add 157 acres to the city's boundaries, as Lake County News has reported.

In a 5-2 vote, LAFCO turned down the annexation request the commissioners didn't believe the city had enough sewer capacity to serve the annexation area.

The proposed annexation area runs along the west side of Parallel Drive, extending from the current city limits – which is the southern boundary of a vacant orchard property to the south of KFC – down to the Highway 175/Parallel Drive intersection. It includes about 50 residents and 24 dwellings.

Sewer capacity became an issue last year after the city was issued a cease and desist order from the state in January 2007. The previous spring, wet weather caused the city's sewer ponds to fill up. Officials tried to dispose of some of the treated wastewater through irrigation, but the saturated ground didn't absorb the water, which ran off the city's sewer facility property.

That landed the city in trouble with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, who also hit the city with a hookup ban that was later lifted.

The annexation has commonly been referred to as the “Adamson Annex” for Tom Adamson, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based developer who approached the city in 2005 about having the area added to the city boundaries, according to Lakeport Community Development Director Richard Knoll.

Adamson, who owns a 31-acre parcel at 2565 Parallel Drive that he originally proposed to build a 130-unit subdivision on, took the project to the city, said Knoll.

The city's general plan called for annexing the area. “We took that on as a project,” Knoll told City Council members in a Tuesday evening workshop.

Although the proposed annexation area originally was much larger, Knoll said the area was narrowed to 157 acres following public meetings and surveys, which he said included a “mixed response.”

The annexation was first submitted to LAFCO in 2006, said Knoll.

Adamson agreed to pay the city for the costs of the annexation application, said Knoll.

By May of last year Adamson had paid the city, up front, just under $57,000, according to city records.

Knoll said the money helped pay for a consulting firm to assist in the process, Knoll said. The city also conducted a fiscal analysis of the annexation.

When the proposal went before LAFCO last summer, key issues included conversion of agricultural lands – which Knoll said was resolved.

The main issue, however, was the city's ability to provide services to the area, said Knoll. “It kind of boiled down to a question of sewer capacity.”

The city believed they had that capacity, Knoll said, based on estimates originally done by staff.

“Since that time, Mr. Adamson has continued to want to see the city pursue annexation,” said Knoll. “We've been working on doing just that.”

While Adamson originally had his sights set on building a subdivision on his 31-acre property, the land also has piqued the interest of other interests, including Mendocino College.

A $67.5 million bond voters approved in November 2006 sets aside $15 million to purchase land, make improvements and begin building a new Lake County center, which College President Kathy Lehner has said the college would like to see at that spot.

Said Knoll, “That's been driving the annexation to some degree.”

Lehner could not be reached for comment on Wednesday about the Adamson property.

However, the project appears to be ongoing. According to the agenda for the Mendocino College Board of Trustees' Wednesday evening meeting, a closed session discussion to look at price and terms of payment for the land was scheduled.

Knoll said city staff has been working with an attorney with the firm McDonough, Holland and Allen to create strategies for moving forward.

“At this point in time we are putting together an application to go back to LAFCO,” said Knoll.

The city also is working on environmental documents, said Knoll.

Knoll said the city plans to submit an application to LAFCO April 18, which will be circulated to LAFCO staff and commissioners in order to be on the commission's May 21 meeting agenda.

“That's our goal at this point,” Knoll said, adding the city may take the issue to LAFCO for an informal discussion April 16.

Councilman Bob Rumfelt, who also sits on LAFCO and was one of two votes against the July 19 decision, said he didn't believe some of the newer commissioners understood LAFCO's role by insisting that the city should be able to fully serve the entire annexation area.

Knoll said it was city staff's interpretation that Lakeport had to have a plan in place to eventually provide services to the entire area, but didn't need to necessarily have those measures in place for the annexation to be approved.

While sewer capacity will again be an issue, Knoll said he expects the city will be able to prove its ability to service a new area, especially in light of a recently completed $2 million sewer system expansion project which added about 200 new residential sewer hookups.

City Utilities Superintendent Mark Brannigan said the city has done everything the state has asked it to do in order to resolve the issues related to the cease and desist order.

The city also adopted a new sewer ordinance Tuesday night, updating its sewer operations.

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


LOWER LAKE In recognition of the outstanding conservation work of the Lake County Sierra Club, State Senator Patricia Wiggins has named Sierra Club Lake Group Chair Victoria Brandon as her 2008 Woman of the Year.

In a ceremony to be held on the floor of the Senate Chamber at the State Capitol in Sacramento on the morning of March 12, Wiggins will present Brandon to Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, who will give her a certificate honoring her record of civic leadership and contributions to the community and the state.

Brandon, who is also the Political Chair of the Sierra Club's 11,000-member Redwood Chapter and a chapter delegate to the Club's California-Nevada Regional Conservation Committee, has been a strong supporter of federal legislation designating 270,000 acres in the region as Federal Wilderness, and of the 2005 state law naming Cache Creek a Wild and Scenic River.

She is closely involved with Lake County growth management and watershed health issues on an ongoing basis, and currently active in efforts to prevent the threatened closure of Lake County's State Parks, to expand public ownership of open space on Mt. Konocti and to establish an Inner Coast Range National Conservation Area.

"Personal recognition from such an extraordinarily dedicated and able legislator as Pat Wiggins is immensely gratifying, but the honor actually belongs to the Sierra Club Lake Group, and to the other local conservationists committed to making this county the greenest place in California,” Brandon said.

A Lake County resident since 1981, Brandon also is a board member of Tuleyome, a Woodland-based nonprofit environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the Putah-Cache bio region, secretary of the Chi Council for the Clear Lake Hitch, and a member of the Cache Creek Watershed Forum steering committee and the Lake County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Committee.


KELSEYVILLE Parents, grandparents, teachers and anyone else concerned about the growthe of gang activity in Lake County are invited to a town hall-style meeting Thursday evening in Kelseyville.

The Gang Awareness Town Hall meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kelseyville Presbyterian Church, 5430 Third St.

The meeting is sponsored by the Lake County Gang Task Force, which is made up of individuals from the Lakeport Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Lake County Sheriffs Office and the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission, according to Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission chairperson Kathleen Sheckells.

CHP Officers Adam Garcia and Mike Humble, Lakeport Police Detective Norm Taylor, as well as a former gang members and other gang experts are scheduled to address the participants.

Topics will include a basic gang lifestyle orientation; a history lesson on Lake County gang activity, with an emphasis on ways to recognize when youngsters may be most influenced by the gang lifestyle;

current activities of various local gangs; and how to recognize true gang members by their clothing, behavior and communication techniques.

Event coordinator Katherine Rose encourages non-English speaking parents and families to attend as wireless headphones will be available through which English-to-Spanish translation will be available.

Pizza and soft drinks are provided for guests at no cost.

For more information about the event, contact Kathleen Sheckells, 262-1611, Extension 111.

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


KELSEYVILLE – Kelseyville High School students and their parents are the beneficiaries of the second annual Sober Grad Comedy Night, and this year they scored big time.

Several organizers, any number of volunteers and three comics, including local funny man and business owner Marc Yaffee and comedic partners Ric D’elia and headliner Ron Kenney, brought in just over 300 persons to a night of comedy Saturday that netted nearly $8,000.

The event's proceeds will go toward this year's Kelseyville High Sober Grad party at the end of the school year.

Each comic brought their own unique look of the modern world to the stage offering a cross section of humor that reflects several decades of experience.

More that 30 businesses and individuals donated goods and services that were auctioned during the breaks between each performer.

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


Faded At Four, led by singer Jon Foutch, performed Saturday night in Lakeport. Photo by Harold LaBonte.



LAKEPORT – Five of Lake County's new favorite sons rocked more than 220 of their biggest fans Saturday night, just 10 days before they're scheduled to participate in a huge battle of the bands showdown in Los Angeles.

The result of that competition is worth a million bucks – and a recording contract.

Nearly a fabled group, Faded at Four – Jon Foutch, Chris Murphy, Brian Kenner, Martin “Martan” Scheel and Chris “Pencil” Sanders – have managed during the past year or so to best more than 4,000 other bands invited to the Bodog Battle of the Bands, competition covering the entire country, Canada and Europe.

Their competition, now reduced to a dozen or so, continues in LA with the final eight bands participating in a reality-based TV show that will have the bands competing for national exposure as well as a recording contract and a cash prize of $1 million.

The band, together for more than five years, has yet to score big on the money side of the business. But they have multitudes of fans who crisscross all age groups.

They have a heavy metal sound that includes dynamic lyrics, and timely social and political statements.

I can’t wait to remind people ... I knew them when!

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


LAKE COUNTY – An effort is under way to strengthen a national sex offender registration law after a federal judge dismissed a case against a former Lake County resident based on a technicality.

Late last month Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kansas) introduced HR 5475 to close a loophole in the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, also known as the Adam Walsh Act, which became law in 2006.

The act, named for the Florida child kidnapped and murdered in 1981, creates felony violations for federal sex law offenders who fail to register and for state sex law offenders who travel between states without registering.

Moore's new bill is in response to U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs' January decision to dismiss charges of violating the Walsh Act against Terry Lee Rich, 59, of Kansas City, Mo., formerly of Clearlake, where he was convicted of sex offenses in 1996.

Rich was indicted on federal charges last summer after he failed to register after moving to Missouri.

The dismissal of Rich's case, Sachs wrote in his decision, was based on the use of present verb tense in the statute, which says an offender who “travels”rather than “traveled” across state lines without notifying authorities is guilty of breaking the law.

Sachs said the wording led him to believe it was necessary to determine if Rich had traveled across state lines after the law was enacted in July 2006. Based on that criteria, Sachs ruled he could not find Rich had, in fact, made interstate trips, and therefore he had not violated the act.

Following his release from jail, Rich promptly disappeared, once again failing to register with law enforcement, according to a report from the Kansas City Star.

Rich has a string of convictions for sex crimes spanning nearly three decades, according to court records obtained by Lake County News.

In Oregon, he was convicted of child sexual abuse, attempted kidnapping and two counts of public indecency in 1971, 1978 and 1985, respectively, court documents relate.

Later, he moved to California, coming to Lake County. In 1996, he was convicted in Clearlake for two counts of annoying or molesting children who were 7 and 8 years old, according to court records.

Two years later, he was convicted in Santa Rosa of felony sexual battery on a child said to be 7 or 8 years old at the time of the offense.

Rich left California for Iowa in 2002, where court records indicate he was arrested that November for failing to register as a sex offender. He was arrested the following year for the same offense, and sentenced to five years in prison.

He didn't serve the full term, and was released from prison in February 2006, according to court records.

Moore's bill will make technical corrections to the bill, including adding retroactive language that will hold offenders responsible for registering with the proper authorities irrespective of the date of interstate travel.

“It’s unfortunate that this technical deficiency exists,” Moore said in a written statement. “Congress never intended to exclude any sex offenders from the registration requirements. I am confident that Congress will make the necessary change to ensure that all sex offenders comply with the law.”

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


LUCERNE – T he County of Lake, in conjunction with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., will host a “Green My Home” public workshop at the Lucerne Senior Center on Saturday, March 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The seminar, moderated by District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing, will consist of a panel covering topics such as “what is a green home,” energy efficiency rebates, waterwise landscaping, indoor air quality, reducing your energy bills, the Energy Partners free weatherization program and various financial assistance programs available to the public. It will be followed with a question-and-answer session.

"I feel the concept of a 'green my home' seminar is particularly appropriate to Lucerne, where many of the residents are losing their green gardens due to the price of water,” said Rushing. “We will also share ways to actually bring more 'green' both figuratively and literally into our community.”

The “Green My Home” seminar is the first in a series to be held throughout the county. Lucerne was chosen for the first workshop, due to the high number of older homes, the high cost of water, and the number of residents on fixed income.

Free tables will be set up for local related businesses to showcase their products and services, such as solar energy, sustainability products, recycling, etc.

Information will be available to help qualifying low-income residents sign up for various free programs and financial assistance.

Armando Navarro, PG&E’s Customer & Community Relations manager, will present highlights of PG&E’s new Climate Smart Program, a voluntary program designed to help residents offset their carbon emissions. Money from the program is invested in Northern California projects such as reforestation.

"We are hoping to hold a future 'Train the Trainer' workshop, in which interested Lake County residents will be able to set up the same informational program in other communities,” said Rushing. “This is a win-win situation by greening their homes, local residents will foster a better quality of life, save water, energy and money, and help create a healthier world.”

The “Green My Home workshop” is part of a larger, joint project between PG&E and County of Lake on “Sustainable Communities.” Potential future projects also include creation of a Lake County Climate Action Plan, energy audits for county buildings, educating small businesses on reducing their energy usage and green building workshops.

The seminar is free and open to all members of the public.

Those interested in more information, showcasing their products or services, becoming involved or attending the future “Train the Trainer” workshop are encouraged to contact Holly Harris or Chuck Lamb at 707-998-0135, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Rushing at 707-263-2368, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The senior center is located on Country Club Drive.


LAKEPORT – A man accused of a November murder will return to court for a preliminary hearing in May.

Ivan Garcia Oliver, 30, charged with the Nov. 20 murder of 67-year-old Michael Dodele, was in court Monday, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.

The Monday court appearance was to set the preliminary trial date, which Hinchcliff reported will be May 13.

Oliver is accused of stabbing Dodele multiple times in the chest with a knife, as Lake County News has reported. The two men lived at the Western Hills Mobile Home Park in the unincorporated area of Lakeport.

The May court date will follow Oliver's next appearance in federal court in Southern California, where he has been indicted for an illegal dumping case.

Melanie Pierson, an assistant attorney with the US Department of Justice, said Oliver was arraigned in Southern California on the illegal dumping charges on Feb. 15, and will return in April for motions and trial setting.

Pierson said the process in the federal court should be fairly rapid; typically, a trial is scheduled within a month of the trial setting and motions. “It's not a long story, it's a short story,” she said.

Oliver and his half-brother are accused of dumping toxic materials into a San Diego County creek in the spring of 2005, not long after Oliver was released from state prison.

He had spent two years in prison for a 2003 conviction for felony assault with a deadly weapon with force likely to cause great bodily injury. Oliver had stabbed a security guard at a restaurant where he and some friends had attempted to skip out on the bill, as Lake County News has reported.

Pierson said the federal trial and any possible sentencing that might result won't interfere with Oliver's murder trial in Lake County.

“He would complete his proceedings in Lake County before he would be sent anywhere,” she said.

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


NORTH COAST – Sonoma County authorities are looking for a vehicle belonging to a murder victim who was found shot repeatedly at a beach in Jenner.

Officials are concerned that the car may be driven by a suspect in the case.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office is looking for a silver, 2006 Honda Accord four-door sedan, with California license plate number 5UJU394.

The public is asked to report any sightings of this vehicle immediately by calling 911. Any person in this vehicle should be considered dangerous and should not be approached.

The car belonged to an as-yet unidentified murder victim found by a park ranger early Sunday morning at the Blind Beach parking lot near Jenner, according to a report released late Sunday night.

The ranger contacted the Sonoma County Sheriff's dispatch to report the shooting, and also notified them of a vehicle that he had passed on Goat Rock Road.

While the deputies were making their way to the scene, one of them passed a vehicle matching the broadcasted description traveling in the opposite direction, away from the crime scene, at a high rate of speed, the report stated.

The deputy made a U-turn and caught up to the vehicle on Highway 116 at Crescent Avenue in Monte Rio, where a traffic stop was conducted, officials reported. Four subjects in the vehicle were detained and later questioned in regards to the incident.

Based on the information ascertained from witnesses, officials reported that the four subjects in the vehicle and physical evidence that was located at two separate crime scenes, all four subjects were later arrested and booked into the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder.

The four suspects that have been arrested for the above listed charges are; David Prak, 19, of Santa Rosa; Sarith Prak, 21, of Santa Rosa; Preston Kahoone, 22, of Santa Rosa; and Quentin Russell, 24, of Santa Rosa.

Theinvestigation was conducted by detectives from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Bureau in collaboration with patrol, Search and Rescue, California State Parks and the District Attorney’s Office.


LAKE COUNTY – Mary McMillan, Lake County's new Poet Laureate, is a marriage and family therapist who also is writing a nonfiction book about her experience of building a house.

McMillan was introduced as the Lake County Poet Laureate for 2008-2009, at a Sunday evening event at the Lake County Arts Council's Main Street Gallery.

She said she plans to continue the traditions established by the previous laureates, including hosting the Writing Circle which meets on the first Thursday of each month.

Her major goal is to provide more venues where local writers can publish and share their work.

She will be a co-host with Richard Martin of a radio show on KPFZ, interviewing and reading the work of local poets and writers.

McMillan has been writing poetry since 1987, when she took a class from Richard Silberg in Berkeley, and was introduced to Poetry Flash Magazine.

She attended Squaw Valley Community of Writers, where she studied with Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Galway Kinnell and Sharon Olds.

She coordinated a San Francisco group of poet alumni from Squaw Valley, which met monthly for four years. During this time, she also published poems in several local publications, including the Santa Clara Review and Tomcat.

In 1997, she got her master's degree in psychology, and four years later, earned her license to practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

She moved to Ukiah in 1999, where she practiced as a therapist until, in 2005, she transferred her practice to Lake County, and began writing poetry again.

She has worked as coordinator of a monthly writing group and participated in the Poet Laureate Writing Circle.

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


LAKE COUNTY – Lake County's unemployment rate climbed once again in January, according to the latest report from the state Employment Development Department.

Lake County’s January 2008 unemployment rate was 10.4 percent, up 0.8 percent from December, and 0.7 percent above the year-ago, January 2007 rate, according to Dennis Mullins of the Employment Development Department's North Coast region Labor Market Information Division.

The comparable California and U.S. rates were 6.3 and 5.4 percent respectively, Mullins reported.

Some surrounding county rates included 7.2 percent for Mendocino, and 5.2 percent for Sonoma. Marin had the lowest rate in the State with 4.0 percent and Colusa had the highest at 19.6 percent.

Lake County's unemployment rate ranked it at 40th out of the state's 58 counties.

Total industry employment increased 940 jobs (7.1 percent) between January 2007 and January 2008, ending the year-over period with 14,270, according to Mullins.

Mullins noted that year-over job growth occurred in farm; manufacturing; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; private educational and health services; other services; and government.

Year-over job losses occurred in natural resources, mining, and construction; professional and business services; and leisure and hospitality, Mullins reported.

The information industry was the only sector with no change over the year, Mullins added.

The government sector led industry gainers adding 760 jobs over the year, Mullins said. Farm and private educational and health services were up 220 and 110, respectively. Trade, transportation and utilities increased 40. Manufacturing and financial activities each gained 20 and other services added 10.

Natural resources, mining and construction led decliners, dropping 100 jobs, according to Mullins. Professional and business services and leisure and hospitality were down 90 and 50, respectively.


Lake County Skies on March 13, 2008 at 9 p.m.


LAKE COUNTY March is the month when the glorious stars of winter give way to the more sedate stars of spring.

On our star chart, you can see the constellation of Leo the Lion rising in the east. In Greek mythology, Leo was a huge beast that terrorized the Peloponnesian villages, devouring anyone he met. It took Hercules, the Greek strongman, to subdue Leo.

The brightest star in Leo is Regulus. It’s five times larger than our sun, and spins very fast – once every 15 hours. As a result, it looks like an egg!

Our Sun and Regulus, courtesy of Astronomy Now Online.

Sharing the spotlight in the spring night skies is the planet Saturn, the Ring Master. Saturn is visible in Leo this year, and is about as bright as Regulus. Our star chart shows its location.

Saturn courtesy of NASA.

Saturn is the second-largest planet in our solar system. Unlike the earth, which is solid, Saturn is a big ball of gas.

Saturn has approximately 44 moons. The beautiful ring system was created when one of the moons drifted too close and broke up into thousands of chunks of rock in Saturn’s upper atmosphere. Even through a small telescope, Saturn is a magnificent object.

Looking toward the north, we see Ursa Major, the big bear overhead. Some of the stars in this constellation make up The Big Dipper. The two stars that make up the end of the cup of the dipper point to Polaris, the North Star.

Image courtesy of Jerry Lodriguss.

For more information about astronomy and local astronomy-related events, visit the Taylor Observatory Web site at www.taylorobservatory.org. On March 8, starting at 8 p.m., the observatory will be open to the public. The topic for the evening is “Scopes for Folks,” a presentation about telescopes for the average person. You will also be able to view Saturn through the observatory’s telescopes.

John Zimmerman has been an amateur astronomer for 50 years. He is a member of the Taylor Observatory staff, where, among his many duties, he helps create planetarium shows.


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