Monday, 04 March 2024

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From time to time, clients ask me who is entitled to see their will or trust. Often they ask because they want to keep matters confidential. Confidentiality is best discussed into two ways: before death and after death. Now, let’s examine each.


While a person is alive, the person’s estate planning attorney is strictly prohibited from disclosing any information to anyone else without the client’s express consent (authorization). An attorney is not supposed to even disclose that the client came to him for estate planning.


So, as long as the client does not invite other persons to sit-in on the estate planning meeting, or subsequently allow others to read their estate plan documents, then the contents of that person’s will or trust will remain confidential.


That said, if the client later on becomes incapacitated and the named successor trustee steps in during the period of disability, then that other person will naturally read the trust (estate planning document). The trust document can advise the successor trustee, however, to keep the document confidential from other inquiring persons.


At death, the estate plan will have to be disclosed, to one degree or another. If a will is used, it is filed with the county superior court of residence; at which time anyone in the public is allowed to see the entire document. If a trust is used, however, it is not required to be filed with the county court, and so does not become a public record (unless trust litigation ensues). This makes the trust a more confidential document than a will.


Clearly, however, neither a will nor a trust is a “secret” document. That is, after death, one’s beneficiaries and heirs (i.e., those familial persons otherwise entitled to inherit under California Law) are each entitled, upon request, to a copy of the trust and/or will, as relevant. One cannot exclude disinherited heirs (e.g., a disinherited child) from receiving a copy of the estate planning document.


A major distinction between a will and a trust is that you can to a keep matters more confidential with a trust, as it does not become a publicly available document. If a trust is used, then it is best to remove any minor gifts to persons who otherwise are not entitled to receive a copy of the trust; instead, have their gifts pass by way of a will, in order that such minor beneficiaries do not become entitled to receive a copy of the trust. For example, a gift of an antique grandfather clock to a neighbor should not be included in the trust if one does not want the “neighbor” to know the contents of the trust.


Lastly, and importantly, after one dies, all beneficiaries are entitled to receive information about the estate’s assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements to the extent that such information is pertinent to their inheritance. This usually comes in the form of an inventory and accounting by the trustee or executor to the beneficiaries.


In summary, until one passes on, the estate planning documents can be kept confidential. After death, copies of the estate planning documents are allowed to the heirs and beneficiaries.


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 1st 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.

LAKEPORT – A local man has been arrested by Mendocino County authorities in connection with an alleged sexual assault that occurred last week.


Carlos Alberto Lopez, 38, of Lakeport was arrested Tuesday by officials with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, according to a report from Lt. Rusty Noe.


Lopez works as a correctional deputy with Mendocino County, Noe said.


On Oct. 1 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a report from a female subject who stated that she had been the victim of an assault during her release from the Mendocino County Jail, Noe reported.


Noe said that, due to the nature of the criminal complaint, the case was referred to the sheriff's office's detectives.


Working with the sheriff's internal affairs division and the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office, detectives started a criminal investigation and were able to develop evidence that confirmed the victim's allegations, Noe said.


Noe said that on Tuesday, Lopez was called into the sheriff's office for an interview, after which he was arrested and booked into the county jail on charges of a sexual assault under the color of authority.


Lopez was placed on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the internal affairs investigation, Noe reported.


Noe said Lopez posted $15,000 bail and has been released.


Because all officers in the state have protection under the Peace Officers Bill of Rights, by government code it is unlawful to release an officer's photo, Noe said.

LAKEPORT – A local man has received a sentence of more than 15 years in prison after being convicted of a sexual assault that took place last year.


On Monday Darnell James Mitchell, 46, of Nice was sentenced to state prison by Judge Arthur H. Mann for a sexual assault that took place last November.


Mitchell pleaded guilty on Aug. 24 to one count of assault with intent to commit rape, which is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, four or six years, according to the District Attorney's Office.


Police reports indicate that on Nov. 2, 2008, the victim was at Mitchell’s residence with several other people.


The victim, who was 14 years old, consumed an unknown amount of alcohol and then she, Mitchell and another 18 year-old female left the residence and went to a nearby playground and continued to drink.


The investigation found that Mitchell attempted to grope the 18-year-old. She was able to escape but was forced to leave the victim, who was at that time passed out from the effects of the alcohol.


The 18-year-old shortly returned to the park with another young woman to help her get the victim home. There they saw Mitchell lying on top of the victim.


Mitchell reportedly fled when he saw the two young women approaching. The two young women then took the victim home.


Judge Mann elected to impose the upper term of six years, which was doubled to 12 years because Mitchell admitted that he had been convicted of a prior strike in Alameda County in 1997.


Mitchell’s sentence was further enhanced by two years because he admitted that he had served two prior prison terms. He previously was sentenced to a term in state prison for failure to maintain registration as a sex offender and one prior prison term, so another one year and eight months was added to his sentence.


The District Attorney's Office said the total aggregate term is 15 years and eight months. Because assault with intent to commit rape is a violent felony, Mitchell must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.


The lead investigator on the case was Det. Mike Curran of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Mitchell was represented by Jeremy Dzubay.


The victim received services through the District Attorney’s Victim Witness program. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Ed Borg.

LAKE COUNTY – The remnants of super Typhoon Melor, which pounded Japan on Thursday, is moving over the Pacific Ocean and heading towards the West Coast, and combined with a powerful jet stream, will develop into a strong storm that is expected to move into Lake County late Monday.


The National Weather Service in Sacramento stated that this storm has the potential to produce a significant amount of rain across interior Northern California, including Lake County, beginning on Monday through Wednesday, accompanied by strong winds.


Typhoon Melor, which blew across central Japan on Thursday with winds of up to 123 miles per hour, caused transportation disruptions and landslides on Japan's southern, according to Reuters.


Rain is expected to arrive in Lake County Monday afternoon and spread over interior Northern California by Monday evening, the National Weather Service predicted. Periods of heavy precipitation are possible overnight into Tuesday, with some areas receiving between 2 and 7 inches of rain.


High winds also will accompany this storm, with sustained winds expected around 40 miles per hour, and gusts up to 60 miles per hour or more at higher elevations in the mountains and foothills, based on the National Weather Service forecast.


Winds at these speeds can down tree branches and cause property damage, officials cautioned.


Because this is predicted to be the first significant storm of the season and water levels are low, significant impact on most rivers and streams is not expected. However, the National Weather Service said that excessive runoff from heavy rainfall could cause flooding issues on smaller streams, creeks and tributaries that have accumulated plant growth through the summer.


Additionally, areas that have experienced fire events and have burn scars could experience debris flow, the agency warned.


Temperatures Friday through Sunday should reach daytime highs near 80 degrees, with overnight temperatures in the low 40s, but as the storm approaches, highs through Wednesday will only reach the mid 60s with precipitation continuing, the National Weather Service forecasted.


Next Thursday, skies will be partly cloudy and daytime temps rise back in to the 70s, with the National Weather Service predicting sunny skies for the remainder of next week.


Residents are advised to make preparations in advance of the approaching storm and monitor weather reports for updated information.


E-mail Terre Logsdon 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 .


LAKEPORT – A visiting judge ruled Tuesday that two Clearlake men will be held for trial in the Sept. 22 homicide of a Montana man who had been staying in the county since the spring.


Shannon Edmonds, 35, and Melvin Dale Norton, 38, were in Lake County Superior Court's Department A on Tuesday for their preliminary hearing in the homicide of Shelby Uehling, 25, who had been staying both in Cobb and Clearlake.


Retired Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Raymond Giordano ruled there was sufficient evidence to try Edmonds and Norton for the murder.


Edmonds also faces a special allegation of using a knife, and Norton faces a charge of being an accessory and a strike enhancement.


However, Giordano found that prosecutor Art Grothe hadn't provided sufficient evidence to back up a charge against Norton of assault with a deadly weapon likely to cause great bodily injury or a special allegation that he used a billy club to beat Uehling.


Uehling was found face down next to an oak tree along Old Highway 53 in the early morning hours of Sept. 22. The first officer at the scene found that he had no pulse, according to Clearlake Police Sgt. Brenda Crandall, who was the a patrol supervisor on shift when Uehling's body was discovered and was one of five witnesses called to the stand during the six-hour hearing.


Based on the evidence that's been gathered so far, Grothe argued a theory for the homicide that proposed the motive was Edmonds' anger with Uehling, who had been dating Patricia Campbell, Edmonds' girlfriend of four months, during a brief time when she and Edmonds had split up.


Uehling had been severely beaten, suffering multiple blows to the skull and face, bruising to his chest, arms, legs and hands.


But the fatal wound was a three-inch laceration to his neck that severed his carotid artery, with another serious stab wound to his lower back that punctured a lung and still another stab wound to the buttocks. The thyroid glands in his neck also has been crushed and lacerated from blunt force trauma.


Grothe argued that Edmonds and Norton went to the area of Old Highway 53 and Lotowana with the specific purpose of killing Uehling.


He theorized that when the attack occurred at about 1 a.m. Sept. 22, Uehling had been asleep in his small red Honda Civic, with the seat in a reclining position and a shaving kit in the backseat.


Grothe suggested that Norton had swung a golf club through the open car window, embedding the head of the club in the dashboard and breaking off the shaft, which police would find down the road closer to the tree where Uehling's body would be found.


Uehling was pulled from the car, beaten and stabbed, said Grothe, with witnesses telling police that they heard Uehling screaming in agony as he fought for his life. Witnesses also told police that the heard one of the alleged assailants say at the scene of Uehling, “He's dead.”


But Edmonds' defense attorney Doug Rhoades took exception to the idea that the two men set out with the intent to kill Uehling, calling it “a stretch.”


Rather, Rhoades argued that it was just as likely a scenario that a fatal confrontation may have resulted without that intent, and that Uehling – who was found with a knife in his shoe – may have been an aggressor at some point in the struggle.


In the smaller Department A courtroom, Edmonds sat at a table with Rhoades which also was shared by Grothe and the case's lead investigator, Tom Clements. Defense attorney Stephen Carter sat with his client, Norton, in the jury box.


During the day Norton and Edmonds, both wearing black and white jail jumpsuits, their wrists shackled to their waists, would occasionally exchange pointed looks and raised eyebrows as the testimony against them was presented. At one point, five bailiffs were stationed in the courtroom.


Edmonds shot and fatally wounded two men as they ran from his Clearlake Park home during a 2005 break-in. He was not charged in that case, and this is the first time he's faced any felony criminal charges in Lake County.


Witnesses recount crime scene, events leading to man's death


Crandall, the second officer to arrive on the murder scene, said the attack occurred in an area called “the resorts,” composed of old cabins and mobile homes along Old Highway 53.


When she arrived she found an officer standing next to Uehling's body. In the roadway was a large amount of blood and pieces of evidence, including the broken shaft of a golf club, a mini Maglite flashlight and a trail of doughnuts. About 50 yards from his body was Uehling's Honda, with the driver's side door open and the engine still running. Crandall secured the scene and began taking photographs.


At the scene she spoke with a witness who had been outside at his residence on Lotowana, covering up his boats that night, when he said he heard a lot of yelling and screaming. “He stated that it sounded as if someone was in agony,” Crandall recounted.


The witness told Crandall that he had seen two men walking away from the crime scene.


Carter asked Crandall during cross examination if she had seen blood on the golf club or in the car's interior. She said she did not, that she hadn't performed a close examination but was just trying to get photographic impressions of the scene.


Norton's girlfriend Jackie Shelafoe said they've been living together on and off for two years at her trailer on Clement Drive, but she'd only known Edmonds for a few months.


She recalled twice visiting Edmonds' home a few trailer parks away on Sept. 21 before finally walking home at about 9:30 p.m. She then took her medications for bipolar disorder and went to bed.


Later that night, at about 11:45 p.m., Norton came in and made a phone call to Edmonds, telling him that someone – believed to be Uehling – was up at the top of the hill on the Lotowana side. He then hung up, grabbed a golf club Shelafoe kept by her front door for protection and ran out of the trailer.


About 20 minutes to a half hour later, Norton returned to the trailer with Edmonds, with Shelafoe noting that Norton had blood on his blue jeans.


“Melvin said, 'Don't worry, we didn't stab anybody,” she said.


She said Norton and Edmonds then changed clothes, with Norton grabbing white plastic shopping bags from the kitchen, into which they placed the clothes. They also washed up.


Shelafoe also recounted that they had a billy club with that, measuring 10 inches in length but extending to a fully opened length of 24 inches, that belonged to Edmonds. In pictures Grothe showed her, Shelafoe also identified a two-bladed knife that Edmonds owned.


Shelafoe, who said Norton had assaulted her last year, said she was scared when she saw the men come in with bloody clothing, “because I was afraid they'd done something wrong.”


Under cross examination by Carter, Shelafoe said she couldn't recall specifically seeing Norton take the shopping bags from the kitchen, and also didn't see the men wash up or change, although their clothes were different when they left the home.


Girlfriend recalls days before Uehling's death


Campbell, who lived with Edmonds at the Lakeside Resort, followed Shelafoe to the stand.


On the stand the young woman was at times exasperated, angry, embarrassed and impatient with the questioning by the three attorneys.


Campbell said on the stand that during their four months together she and Edmonds would occasionally fight and split up briefly, and she would either move from his trailer go next door to her mother's or to her father's Clearlake home.


About a week before Uehling's death she had briefly dated him after meeting him at the home of her mother's friend. It had been Campbell who had reached out to Uehling after meeting him.


Edmonds, Campbell said, knew that she and Uehling were dating but didn't know about their brief sexual relationship.


The relationship, which was marked by the couple using methamphetamine together, broke up quickly. Campbell accused Uehling of stalking her after he came to her mother's home and banged on all of the windows, trying to get in. That incident ended after Norton and Edmonds told Uehling to leave, she said.


Campbell – who after she broke up with Uehling texted him a picture of her and her daughter – said she sent him a final message on Sept. 21 telling him she didn't want him to contact her any more.


During testimony Campbell said that at one point Uehling had made a threat against Edmonds, telling her that if Edmonds ever tried anything Uehling had items in the trunk of his car that could “take care” of Edmonds.


Campbell said she moved back in with Edmonds on Sept. 20. At the time she was using methamphetamine, but she said it was Uehling's drug use that made her stop seeing him. During testimony she stated that Uehling had gone to her father's home and said he would quit using drugs to get back together with her.


Campbell said she slept all day on Sept. 21, waking up briefly to eat some of the barbecue that Edmonds and his friends had fixed. The next time she woke up was at 5 a.m. the next day, when the police showed up at the residence.


Grothe asked her if she had ever told Edmonds about Uehling's threat against him. She said yes. “I was just warning him just in case anything went down,” she said, noting that the conversation took place within a few days of Uehling's death.


Clearlake Police Officer Timothy Alvarado testified to interviewing two brothers who lived near the crime scene. One of them heard a man scream, “No, leave me alone,” before hearing another man state, “He's dead.” He also claimed to have seen two men leaving the area in dark clothing after apparently considering taking the Honda with them.


During his turn on the stand, Clements recounted going to the home shared by Shelafoe and Norton on Sept. 22, where during the service of a search warrant officers found Norton's and Edmonds' clothing in the shopping bags in the trailer's first bedroom, stashed under the bed.


Tucked between the mattresses of that same bed was an “asp,” or retractable billy club, and the two-bladed knife, both of which had been identified as belonging to Edmonds.


That same day, he interviewed Edmonds once and Norton twice, noting that both men originally denied having anything to do with the incident.


Eventually, Norton said they went to confront Uehling to make him stop harassing Campbell, and an argument ensued in which Edmonds and Uehling began fighting. During the fight Edmonds reportedly got a cut on his forearm, which Grothe later would argue was accidentally self-inflicted.


Clements, who also was present for the autopsy, conducted by Dr. Thomas Gill, described the extent of Uehling's injuries.


Grothe argued that the attack was intentional and a “joint endeavor for which Edmonds specifically armed himself.


Rhoades said Edmonds was known to usually have a knife on him, and said the evidence presented a scenario that was a “far cry from, 'Let's go up there and kill him.'”


Carter argued that there was no evidence to show his client had committed murder, with the two main weapons – the billy club and the knife – identified as belonging to Edmonds.


Giordano ordered the men held for trial. They'll return for arraignment at 8:15 a.m. Oct. 19 in Department 3. They remain in jail on $1 million bond.


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 .

LAKE COUNTY – The Health Leadership Network has begun work on a Community Food Assessment for Lake County, and the project team, lead by JoAnn Saccato, has just launched the surveys tools.


The comprehensive surveys will be used to assess the county’s food supply and demand status, as well as help assure a larger vision for the Lake County Food Policy Council – the county’s food security, sustainability and emergency preparedness citizen group.


With a grant award to Sutter Lakeside Hospital from the California Endowment on behalf of the Health Leadership Network (HLN), the HLN is able to fund this project with administrative support provided by the Lake County Marketing and Economic Development Program.


Two surveys are under way to help discern what food items are currently being grown and produced locally, as well as the potential demand for those products at retail and institutional outlets locally.


The information collected will be used to inform a local food guide and an effort towards a coordinated online ordering and distribution system for local food producers and buyers.


Having the surveys completed by all Lake County producers and buyers is critically important for the success of this project.


Food producers, such as farmers, ranchers and producers of value-added products like jams, cheeses, pickles and nut butters, are encouraged to take the brief producer survey. The information gathered will be used to create a database of food types and quantities available


Retail outlets, such as grocery and convenience stores, restaurants and farmers’ markets are encouraged to take the short buyer survey. This survey is also intended to include larger purchasers and institutions such as hospitals, schools, correction facilities and senior centers.


Community food assessments are a tool to assist communities in addressing such issues as food security and hunger, the availability of adequate nutritious foods, the capacity of communities to sustain themselves with locally grown or processed products while maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and to evaluate emergency preparedness in the event of unforeseen disruption in the food supply.


They are part of a growing movement across the nation to more effectively serve the food needs of

local communities.


The brief surveys can be taken online at http://lccfa.wikispaces.com .


Those without Internet access may take the survey or request a copy by contacting Lake County Community Food Assessment information line at (707) 995-9060.


Copies of the producer survey also is available at the Agricultural Commissioner’s office at the Lake County Agricultural Center in Lakeport and both surveys are available in the Lake County Administration office at the Courthouse in Lakeport, or downloaded from the Web site.


For more information about the Lake County Community Food Assessment, contact JoAnn Saccato at 707-350-1719, or Terre Logsdon at 707-263-2580.


For more information about the Lake County Food Policy Council, contact Denise Rushing at 707-275-8892.


To take the producer or buyer survey online or download a PDF version, visit http://lccfa.wikispaces.com .


The Health Leadership Network is a consortium of organizations working together to improve population health. The consortium includes: St. Helena-Clearlake Hospital, Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Lakeside Health Center, County Public Health Services, County Marketing and Economic Development, County Office of Education, County Dept of Social Services, First 5, Easter Seals, Lake Family Resource Center and Lake County Tribal Health.


The food assessment is paid for by a grant from the California Endowment to Sutter Lakeside Hospital on behalf of the Health Leadership Network.

CLEARLAKE – An emergency slide repair project along Lakeshore Drive and San Joaquin Avenue in Clearlake will begin next week, with preparation work under way Friday.


FEDCO Construction will start the project – located on Lakeshore Drive adjacent to Nelson's Island and between San Joaquin Avenue and San Joaquin Avenue Extension, on Monday, Oct. 12, and continue through Nov. 6, the city reported this week.


Work hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Tree removal began Thursday and is expected to continue Friday, the city reported.


The project will widen and reconstruct Lakeshore Drive just northwest of the gooseneck. Work will include excavation and grinding out of the existing embankment, and placing new pavement. A portion of the existing roadway embankment also will be stabilized.


Lakeshore Drive through the construction area will be reduced to one through lane and controlled by a flagman. Officials said motorists should expect delays.


Electronic message boards will be in place prior to the start of the project, advising motorists of the work schedule and any changing conditions. Lakeshore Drive will be open to two-way traffic during the nights and weekends. Motorists are advised to drive safely through the construction zone.


The project is weather-dependent, and cooler-than-normal or rainy weather could delay the work schedule.


Anyone with questions should call Clearlake City Hall at 707-994-8201.

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Lake Family Resource Center Executive Director Gloria Flaherty explains renovations at the group's new domestic violence shelter in Kelseyville to Congressman Mike Thompson on Monday, October 5, 2009. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.





KELSEYVILLE – As he prepares to return to Washington, DC this week, North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson visited Lake County on Monday and toured the county's new domestic violence shelter.


Thompson, accompanied by district representative Brad Onorato, met with several groups on Monday during one of his regular stops in the county.


Late in the afternoon, he met with the Lake Family Resource Center Board of Directors at the new domestic violence shelter and administrative offices, located at 5350 Main St. in Kelseyville.


The group closed escrow on the $1.1million property in July, as Lake County News has reported. It will include 35 beds contained throughout several small cottages, as well as housing Lake Family Resource Center's administrative offices, and community meeting rooms and classrooms.


Executive Director Gloria Flaherty and board members including Dr. Bill Cornelison, Kathy Fowler, Barbara Breunig, Joanne Van Eck and Barry Parkinson, showed Thompson around the facility, which currently is undergoing renovation.


Flaherty explained how that families will have separate space but also will share common areas for meals and laundry.


Those communal situations, said Flaherty, are meant to instill a sense of stability in families escaping violence. They also hope to help families recreate bonds.


Flaherty said the people who stay at the shelter can stay anywhere from overnight to as long as a year. The average stay is six to nine months, during which clients are working on becoming independent, including saving for deposits on new places to live.


Originally, Lake Family Resource Center had planned to build a new facility, but they then became aware of the former motel property in Kelseyville, which Flaherty previously said was much less expensive than what it would have cost to build a shelter from scratch.


On Monday she credited Thompson with urging she and her board to look first at purchasing an existing motel or resort property.


As he listened to Flaherty explain the plans, Thompson appeared impressed.


“I see the vision,” he said.


On Tuesday, Thompson is due to return to Washington, DC, where he'll get back to work on issues including the health care bill.


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 .

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T. Watts at the KPFZ microphone. Courtesy photo.

 

 


if i don’t see you no more in this world

i’ll see you in the next one don’t be late

a dearly departed guitar master


It’s the beginning of football season. I think I’ll go deep. Back through time to the days of yore. I was a yet a rock and roll baby, weaned on the flavor of rhythm and blues. Somewhere on an excursion between soul and funk, I discovered jazz. It wasn’t like jazz was something foreign in our household. My Dad was into Count Basie, period. My Mom’s tastes were more varied:. Jimmy Smith, Bruebeck, Witherspoon, early Marvin Gaye. I’ve stated before that she turned me on to Koko Taylor and Sugar Pie DeSanto.


I remember when I was summoned wholeheartedly into the jazz realm. I was about 17 years old. I was in my room lying on my bed listening to the Silvertone AM/FM radio my Dad had given me. Somehow, I had it tuned to KJAZ, 92.7 I believe it was, emanating from Alameda.


Suddenly, I heard this tune. It was called “The Inflated Tear.” It was by a great artist who, at the time was known as Roland Kirk. The tune starts with what sounds like two tenor saxophones blowing a longing train whistle ode deep inside an echo chamber. The riff then segues into a lonesome, New Orleans-type funeral dirge. In that mournful expression of a soul passing, I was awakened to a new sensibility.


Soon after I started drinking it all in. My buddies and I made jaunts to the Both/And Jazz Club in San Francisco. Of course, we saw Roland Kirk there. He was blind and could play up to four wind instruments simultaneously. He was also a practitioner of circular breathing where he could hold one note for minutes without visibly drawing a breath.


I remember calling the Both/And in anticipation of seeing and hearing the great Thelonius Monk there. The voice at the other end of the phone was not impressed by my youthful exuberance.


“Both/And.”


“Hi. Is Thelonius Monk playing there tonight?”


“Thelonius Monk is working here tonight,” said the voice gruffly. I got hip real quick!


Though I saw Miles Davis live I totally missed John Coltrane. I did, however, see his widow, Alice.


The Coltranes, first John and then Alice, explored the connections between Eastern religions and philosophies and jazz.


John Coltrane passed in 1967 right about the time I was getting started as a listener. Alice released an album in 1970 called “Journey Into Satchidananda.” It is still a favorite of mine.


After the album’s release Alice Coltrane brought her group to perform at the Berkeley Jazz Festival. In those days the Berkeley Jazz Festival was held in the spring at the Greek Theater. You never knew what kind of weather one would get at the Greek. That year it was chilly and windy when the Coltrane group took the stage.


For those of you who don’t know, Alice played piano, organ and acoustic harp. That night they rolled out a grand piano and harp for her. She had a stellar group consisting of Archie Shepp and Frank Lowe on saxophones, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Clifford Jarvis on drums.


The group started playing what sounded like kind of a warmup number. But, unfortunately it was not to be. After a few bars, Ms. Coltrane stopped the music and said to the audience, “Ladies and gentleman, we are not going to be able to play for you tonight. The elements are not allowing us to play in tune.” That was it. They left the stage. We were kind of bummed.


As fate would have it, the night was not lost. A very healthy looking Esther Phillips closed the show with a very over the top rhythm and blues set that had the audience dancing whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ ‘til she took expertly took us home. It was still a great night.


Alice Coltrane retreated from public performances in the late 1970s. She established an ashram in Southern California and continued to record her own style of meditative music.


In 2006, the San Francisco Jazz Festival announced that Alice Coltrane would be making a rare appearance on Nov. 4 of that year. She would be appearing with her son Ravi, the spitting image of John, on saxophone, double bassist Charlie Haden and Roy Haynes on drums.


I copped a couple of tickets and offered one to my spiritual advisor. He accepted and we headed for some San Francisco history. First of all, drummer Roy Haynes was all of 81 years old the night of the concert. He actually played with John Coltrane back in 1963. I’ve never seen a more youthful version of 81 years of age. There was not a visible wrinkle on Mr. Haynes.


Charlie Haden of the double bass is a highly esteemed player who in 1971, while on tour in Portugal, dedicated a performance of his Song For Che to the anticolonialist revolutionaries in the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau. The following day he was arrested by the Portuguese Secret Police, though promptly released when the American cultural attaché intervened.


The concert itself was a sold out embodiment of artistic virtuosity. Ravi Coltrane is a great melodic, technical player. His playing at times recalled his dad’s mastery of the ballad form. Roy Haynes was simply an amazing physical specimen on drums as well. He anchored the unit along with Mr. Haden and the pulse of the evening was never weak.


Ms. Alice Coltrane was 69 years old at the time of the concert. She played with all the fire and passion of John Coltrane, rocking Ray Charles-like in her posture as she played the organ. There was an intensity that was very other worldly. The 35 year wait was definitely worth it. Eight and a half weeks later Alice Coltrane left this plane. She died of respiratory failure on Jan. 12, 2007. I was flabbergasted that my desire to see her perform had come to fruition so precisely through the portals of time and space.


Keep prayin’, keep thinkin’ those kind thoughts.


*****


Upcoming cool events:


Monday, Oct. 5


Monday, Oct. 5. Will Siegal & Friends. 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Information: 707-275-2233 or www.bluewingsaloon.com .


Thursday, Oct. 8


Open mike night at the Blue Wing, 6 p.m. Blue Wing Saloon & Café, 9520 Main St., Upper Lake. Information: 707-275-2233 or www.bluewingsaloon.com .


Saturday, Oct. 10


Hilltop Recovery’s Inaugural Musicians Picnic w/Bill Noteman & The Rockets, The Blue Collar Band, Without A Net, The Bob Keys Band and Eareverence. 10 a.m. Moose Lodge at Highway 53 and Highway 20 in Clearlake Oaks. Information: 707-987-9972.


T. Watts is a writer, radio host and music critic. Visit his Web site at www.teewatts.biz .

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From left to right, Kaj Ahlmann, chairman, Lake County Winery Association and owner, Six Sigma Ranch; Gregory Graham, winemaker/owner Gregory Graham Wines; Matt Hughes, People's Choice Wine Awards event chair, and past chair Lake County Winery Association; Donna Roumiguiere of Steele Wines, winner of Winery of the Year; and Ron Nagey, event volunteer and concept originator. Courtesy photo.




LAKE COUNTY – The inaugural “People's Choice Wine Awards” has crowned its first winners.


On Oct. 3, the Lake County Winery Association hosted the final portion of the People’s Choice Wine Awards for consumers at Six Sigma Ranch and Winery in Lower Lake.


The event brought 300 people to the Lake County wine region for a day of wine tasting and voting.


The day's public tasting was the culmination of a few months of concentrated efforts.


Earlier this summer, wineries in and outside Lake County were invited to submit their wines to the first ever, “Lake County” wine competition. The only criterion for taking part in the competition was that wines had to be produced using Lake County grapes.


In August, a panel of 10 prestigious wine judges gathered at Langtry Estate and Vineyards to narrow down the number of competing wines from the 168 submitted. A total of 38 wines in 164 categories were nominated to be part of the People's Choice competition.


The day's tasting concluded with the revealing of awards. Ribbons were given to winners and runners-up in each of the categories including: varietal, American viticultural areas (AVAs), "Best Red Wine of Lake County" and "Best White Wine of Lake County."


A special award was given to the "Winery of the Year" which was determined by the winery with the most votes for all its nominated wines.


The People’s Choice tasting was organized as a "double-blind" tasting. All bottles were uncorked in the tasting room by a few trusted volunteers and brought out one at a time, disguised in foil or black paper bags. A plain label revealed the wine varietal but named the brand only as "x", "y", or "z".


A few of the winning wineries included: Best Sauvignon Blanc, 2008 Hess Collection; Best Chardonnay, 2008 Shannon Ridge; Best Cabernet: 2006 Shed Horn Cellars; Best Zinfandel, 2007 Writer’s Block from Steele Wines. A full list of winning wineries is available at www.lakecountywineries.org .


“The People’s Choice Wine Awards event was created to educate and expose the public to the excellence of Lake County Wines,” says Kaj Ahlmann, Chairman, Lake County Winery Association and owner, Six Sigma Ranch. “To that end, we feel we met our goals. People had fun and were very enthusiastic – about the event and the wines. This was a perfect first occasion, and we look forward to doing the same next year...and beyond.”


The Lake County Winery Association’s People’s Choice Wine Awards event was sponsored by the following businesses and organizations: Lake County Winegrape Commission, Tallman Hotel, Blue Wing Saloon & Café, Kädär Hungary Cooperage, Synergy Glass and Packaging, Twin Pine Casino and Hotel, Bella Vista Farming Company, Clearlake Chamber of Commerce, Elk Mountain Vineyards, Foods Etc., Hardesters Market, Jonas Oil, SaverGlass, Inc., M.A. Silva Corks, U.S.A., Rosenthal Vineyards and World Cooperage.

 

 

 

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Best of show for both reds and whites went to Gregory Graham Winery. Pictured at Greg and Marianne Graham. Courtesy photo.

 

 

 

 

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Community members visited Six Sigma Ranch on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, to take part in the final part of the People's Choice Wine Awards. Courtesy photo.

 

LAKE COUNTY – It's another record-setting year for the eradication of illegal marijuana in Lake County.


Since 2006 Lake County has led the state in the number of plants eradicated within its borders, with increasing amounts found on state and federally owned lands, as Lake County News has reported.


It appears no different this year.


So far this season, with another month to go, Lake County Sheriff's deputies and agents with the state's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) have pulled 517,942 illegally grown plants from both public and private lands, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


In addition, officials have seized 272 pounds of processed marijuana and 14 firearms, and made 34 arrests, Bauman said.


In 2008, there were 498,174 plants eradicated, 220 pounds of processed marijuana and seven firearms seized, and three arrests made, according to Bauman.


Total plants eradicated for 2007 totaled 507,000 and 344,241 for 2006, based on previous state reports.


Bauman said the sheriff's office has one detective assigned full-time to marijuana suppression.


Depending on the operation, as many as 10 to 15 CAMP members assist with an eradication during the season and another two to four local police officers assist with an operation, he said. That means a typical eradication operation can involve anywhere from one to 20 people, including CAMP.


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 .

LAKEPORT – The Lakeport Senior Center has elected a new board of directors.


The board was elected through balloting that took place Sept. 21 through 25. The center's registered program participants elected the group.


Ballots were available at the center during lunch and ballots were delivered to Meals on Wheels recipients by the drivers. Ballots were restricted to one ballot per person and verified against the data contained in the state reporting system “Q.”


Results were tabulated and published at the center on Sept. 28. Those elected to the board are Ann Bussard, Ginny Cline, Pat McIvor, Pam Plank, Jo Rodriguez, Betty Lou Serber, Mike Swartz, Jean Welch and Marie Zelif.


Elected as alternates to the board are Pat Skoog and “Doc” Starin.


The new board will be seated at the next regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 16.


JJ Jackson, chief executive officer and executive director, will act as facilitator for this meeting only.


At that time cards will be drawn to determine one-, two- and three-year terms to prevent full board replacement annually. The election of the chairperson, co-chairperson, secretary and treasurer also will take place at this meeting.


All board members are required to attend a board training seminar to be held at the Highlands Senior Center on Friday, Oct. 9, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. There will be a potluck dinner during the break.

Upcoming Calendar

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03.05.2024 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
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5Mar
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03.09.2024 8:30 am - 10:30 am
Anderson Marsh guided nature walk
10Mar
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03.17.2024
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