Thursday, 18 July 2024

News

LAKEPORT – About 30 members of the Scotts Valley Pomo plan to hold an event in downtown Lakeport on Friday in an effort to rally support for a proposal to bring a planned casino for the tribe to Lake County.


Les Miller, a tribal member and former Scotts Valley chairman, said the group will gather at the Courthouse Museum on Main Street from noon to 1:30 p.m.


Their goal is to gather backing for a proposal to purchase Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa – which closed last November – and open a casino there, said Miller.


The resort was reported to be under a sales contract late last year, but resort officials have not returned repeated calls seeking an update on the situation.


For several years the Scotts Valley tribe – which has no trust land – has been working to get approval for its Sugar Bowl Casino plan in north Richmond, where tribal officials say they have ancestral ties.


The plan calls for a 225,000-square-foot facility with 2,000 gaming machines and 50 gaming tables, which the tribe's Web site said will create thousands of jobs.


But some tribal members, like Miller, would rather see the casino here, in the tribe's home area.


They're also hoping to see jobs created in Lake County, where Miller said the community is hurting. He said so far they're receiving broad-based support from community and business leaders who have heard about their plans.


“This is not just a tribal issue anymore, it's a community issue,” Miller said.


However, the current tribal government isn't supporting the plan.


“We're not going to be able to respond immediately,” said Bennett Wright, tribal administrator for the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, adding that the tribal government would issue a full response next week.


Wright said that certain members of the tribe like Miller have opposed the tribal government before, and that there is nothing factual about their statements.


In turn, Miller said he and other tribal members who have disagreed with the tribal leadership have been intimidated and threatened with disenrollment, and that internal disagreements have deepened over the last 10 years, as the casino plans have been under way.


Miller and his family also have attempted in recent years to vote out Tribal Chair Don Arnold from office and have disputed the results of recent elections.


At the rally Miller said community members will be able to sign a letter asking US Sen. Dianne Feinstein to take action to limit off-reservation casinos. Miller said it would “open up the floodgates” if Scotts Valley's goal for a Richmond casino were allowed to move forward.


However, those plans appear to have hit some significant obstacles.


Last September, the National Indian Gaming Commission issued a decision disapproving a gaming management contract between the tribe and Richmond Gaming Ltd. – which is the group of investors backing the project and the entity which also owns the land for the proposed casino facility.


The reasons for the decision included the commission's finding that Richmond Gaming provided false information about the partners and their financial interests.


“The actions of Richmond are quite serious,” stated then-National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman Philip N. Hogen in a September letter, a copy of which was obtained by Lake County News.


Hogen explained that the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act – or IGRA – “specifically identifies protecting tribes from organized crime and corrupting influences and ensuring that tribes are the primary beneficiary of the gaming as the objectives of IGRA.”


Hogen also faulted Richmond for not answering his questions. He had requested a list of all persons and entities with a financial interest in, or management responsibility for, the contract, which Richmond failed to provide. Many of those names are redacted in the letter available through public records sources.


Miller alleged that the tribal council “were just basically selling the farm to these investors,” and that the plan unraveled.


Richmond Gaming later appealed, and in December the National Indian Gaming Commission and Richmond Gaming – represented by Florida investor Alan H. Ginsburg, a real estate mogul who a San Francisco Weekly article from 2004 identified as also being involved in the Lower Lake Rancheria-Koi Nation's plans for a Bay Area casino – signed a settlement agreement.


In that agreement, Richmond Gaming agreed that it wasn't in compliance with National Indian Gaming Commission regulations regarding submission of management agreements, and as part of the settlement Richmond Gaming withdrew its appeal and the commission withdrew its letter disapproving the management agreement.


Richmond must form a new entity to take over its responsibilities. That company must then resubmit the previous management agreement or submit a new one by the end of May.


If Richmond fails to follow the terms of the settlement, Scotts Valley will have the chance to purchase from the company the casino land at the appraised value, the agreement states. If the company fails to sell the land in that circumstance, Hogen's previous letter voiding the contract will become the agency's final action.


Miller said members of the tribe who want a casino in Lake County know that they're in for a battle.


He said Lake County is where he was raised, and that's where the tribe's efforts should be focused.


“I'm not going to sell my history,” Miller said.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKEPORT – A Southern California man has been arrested for allegedly shooting a north Lakeport man earlier this year.


Raymundo Catalan, 31, a painter from North Hollywood, was arrested Feb. 9 for attempted murder, according to Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.


Catalan was booked into the Lake County Jail on Tuesday, according to jail records. His bail is set at $750,000.


He was arrested for the Jan. 4 shooting of 35-year-old Marshall Wisterman, Bauman said.


Deputies found Wisterman – who had been shot in the abdomen – lying in the hallway of his home in the Lakeside Village Estates mobile home park in north Lakeport, as Lake County News has reported.


Bauman said witness statements and evidence at the scene revealed at the time that an unidentified man had come to Wisterman’s home to talk to him. When an argument ensued between the men outside of the home, the man shot Wisterman at close range before fleeing the scene.


Wisterman was flown by air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of the gunshot wound and later released, Bauman said.


The reason for the argument that apparently led to Jan. 4 shooting is still under investigation, Bauman said.


However, he added that detectives have determined that a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol was used in the attempted murder of Wisterman.


He said the weapon is still outstanding but a slug was recovered from the scene.


The Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit, which led the investigation into the shooter's identity and the motive for the apparent attempt on Wisterman’s life, focused in on Catalan as the suspect not long after the incident, Bauman said.


Within days of the incident Lake County Superior Court Judge Richard Martin signed a $750,000 warrant for Catalan's arrest. Although he's from North Hollywood, Catalan was determined to have ties in Lake, Sonoma and Marin counties, according to Bauman.


For the past month, sheriff’s detectives have coordinated with the California Department of Justice and the U.S. Marshal’s Service in determining Catalan’s whereabouts, Bauman said.


On Feb. 9 Catalan was located at a restaurant in North Hollywood by a team of U.S. Marshals. Bauman said he was arrested without incident.


When the U.S. Marshal's Service apprehended Catalan, he allegedly had a large quantity of methamphetamine in his vehicle, Bauman said.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Catherine Koehler pictured at the Land Trust's Rodman Slough Preserve near Upper Lake. Courtesy photo.



LAKE COUNTY – The Lake County Land Trust is pleased to welcome its new executive director, Catherine Koehler.


After Executive Director Susanne Scholz announced her retirement plans for this March, the trust set about searching for someone to fill her shoes. “Not an easy task!” noted one board member.


But, as it turned out, Koehler with a strong background in science, and most importantly, a love for Lake County, was among the many qualified applicants who applied for the position.


Koehler will take over full responsibilities on March 1.


“We are extremely pleased to welcome Cathy as our new executive director and look forward to her working with us on our many projects,” noted the trust’s president, Pete McGee.


She has a bachelor of science degree in zoology and an master's degree in behavioral ecology.


Koehler currently works as the resident co-director, along with her husband Paul Aigner, for the Donald and Sylvia McLaughlin Reserve in Eastern Lake County. She will continue in this position as both it and the land trust executive director jobs are half-time.


She has an impressive background in the biological sciences and a deep appreciation of the combinations of geology and ecology that comprise the often rare and unique ecosystems of Lake County.


She is proud of her ability to work with diverse groups of people, fostering positive outcomes for common goals.


Koehler currently is chair of the Blue Ridge Berryessa Natural Area Conservation Partnership and has a background in developing and conducting science and natural history based public outreach and education.


She has worked on projects ranging from restoration projects for Inland Coastal Sage Scrub, to bird inventories on U.S. Navy Lands in Southern California and Arizona. She also was involved with an endangered species recovery project for the San Clemente Island Loggerhead Shrike, and developed community outreach programs for Rancho Santa Ana botanic Garden.


Locally, in addition to managing research and land stewardship at the McLaughlin Reserve, Koehler has conducted many outreach programs at the reserve, worked with educators to develop and implement science workshops for grades fourth through sixth, and mentored teachers. She has also been successful in acquiring grants for public outreach and facilities at the reserve.


“Lake County is a wonderful place, with a great mix of cities and small communities, agriculture, natural lands, and intact historical and prehistoric sites. I look forward to playing a part in helping ensure that our county continues to be a great place to live for generations to come,” Koehler said.


The Lake County Land Trust is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of Lake County’s unique natural habitats and open spaces. The group owns and operates the Rodman Slough Preserve at 6350 Westlake Road, Upper Lake, as well as the Rabbit Hill park in Middletown.


For more information about the Lake County Land Trust, go to www.lakecountylandtrust.org .


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 – Local job seekers and businesses are invited to upcoming sessions on opportunities for subsidized employment and training programs.


Lake One-Stop Inc., Lake County Department of Social Services and Arbor Education will present information on the programs during two separate sessions – one designed for employers and another specifically for job seekers.


The employers' session will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Lake One-Stop's Lakeport office, located at 55 First St.


Employers will learn what services are available and understand their liabilities for unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation when utilizing Department of Social Services and Lake One-Stop’s work experience programs.


The workshop for job seekers will take place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 3, also at the One-Stop's Lakeport office.


Prospective employees can learn about services such as resume writing workshops, computer literacy labs, paid work experience and on-the-job-training.


Space is limited. To serve a seat, call 707-262-3400.


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 .

WITTER SPRINGS – A Lakeport man died in a Tuesday night head-on collision that occurred when another driver – who may have been under the influence – attempted to pass a big rig on a blind curve.


Robert G. Roe, 58, died at the scene of the crash, which took place just before 8 p.m. Tuesday on Highway 20 west of Witter Springs Road, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Roe was hit head-on by Tracy resident Daren K. Norman, 44, as Norman was attempting to pass a big rig, the CHP reported.


CHP officers later arrested Norman for driving under the influence.


Norman was driving a 2005 Nissan Altima westbound on Highway 20 just west of Witter Springs Road, while Roe was traveling eastbound in a 1990 Honda Civic hatchback, the report explained.


Rodney J. Lucero, 59, of Red Bluff was driving a 2005 International truck westbound ahead of Norman, who the CHP investigation concluded crossed over double yellow lines and attempted to pass Lucero on a blind curve at a high rate of speed.


Norman hit Roe's Honda head-on and sideswiped Lucero's truck, killing Roe and resulting in major injuries for Norman, CHP officials said. Lucero was uninjured.


REACH air ambulance landed a mile and a half to the east of the crash at the Half Diamond Ranch, and Northshore Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Pat Brown transported medical personnel to the scene, as Lake County News has reported.


Later, a Northshore Fire ambulance transported Norman back to the ranch, where he was picked up by REACH and taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment. At that time he also was placed under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, the CHP reported.


The CHP said all of the drivers were using their safety belts.


CHP Officer Kory Reynolds is leading the investigation.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – What is your vision of Lake County’s future? Did you know that our population is projected to grow by over 50 percent by 2030?


You have the opportunity now to help plan for this growth so that we preserve the character of our communities, provide for needed services, and protect our natural resources.


Lake County 2030, the Region Blueprint Planning Program, asks the question “Where will we live, work, shop and play in 2030?”


The blueprint process uses an extensive community involvement process to develop a set of shared core values and a vision for Lake County’s future growth. The process involves “scenario planning,” where a computerized land-use model is used to show participants the impacts of growth under alternative scenarios. The impacts may involve measures such as how much land is consumed by urban growth, water usage, energy usage, air quality, and impacts to transportation.


Through input received during seven highly interactive community workshops held in early 2009 as apart of Phase 2, the Draft Lake County 2030 Blueprint Vision and Principles were developed that reflect the values of Lake County residents.


In Phase 3 of this process, the vision and principles are used to develop alternative Blueprint Scenario maps. These maps will be commented upon by the public in a series of workshops starting later this month.


The meeting schedule is as follows:


  • Lakeport: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Lakeport Senior Center, 527 Konocti Ave.

  • Lucerne: Thursday, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, 3985 Country Club Drive.

  • Middletown: Saturday, Feb. 27, 10 a.m. to noon, Calpine Visitors Center, 15500 Central Park Road.

  • Kelseyville: Thursday, March 4, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Kelseyville Senior Center, 5245 Third St.

  • Clearlake: Saturday, March 6, 10 a.m. to noon, Best Western El Grande Hotel, 15135 Lakeshore Drive.


The Lake County 2030 Blueprint is coordinated by the Lake County/City Area Planning Council (APC) and participation by a broad range of individuals, agencies and organizations is critical to its success.


The program provides a means for the citizens of Lake County to understand how housing, jobs, transportation and land use combine to impact the quality of life in the region, and how to improve the quality of life through an integrated planning approach.


The values, priorities and needs of the county’s citizens will provide the foundation for the Lake County 2030 Blueprint.


For more information regarding the timeline for the Lake County 2030 Blueprint please view the Blueprint Phase 3 Work Plan and schedule at www.lakeapc.org (and click on “Lake 2030” on the page's righthand side) or call Terri Persons at the Lake APC at 707-263-7799.


For Spanish speakers, please call Jesse Froelich of MIG Inc. at 626-744-9872, for more information and opportunities for input.


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 .

NICE – An investigation into the burglary last November of the US Forest Service's Upper Lake Ranger Station resulted in the recovery of a large amount of federal property and several arrests at a Nice residence on Thursday.


Capt. James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said the burglary investigation by the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit and the U.S. Forest Service recovered $47,000 in Forest Service property taken during the Nov. 27 burglary at the ranger station compound, located on Elk Mountain Road.


On Thursday, authorities served a search warrant at the Manzanita Drive home of 50-year-old Thomas Glenn Meyer, according to Bauman's report.


Bauman said investigators allegedly discovered several items of government property believed to have been stolen from the ranger station.


The Mendocino National Forest reported in December that the items stolen included several laptop computers, a desktop computer, an assortment of electronic equipment, and wildland firefighting equipment and gear, as Lake County News has reported.


Some of the ranger station's buildings also were ransacked and damaged, according to forest officials.


Also allegedly found at Meyer's home was a large amount of narcotics paraphernalia, which Bauman said deputies seized during the search.


Meyer and two other people at the home were all suspected to be under the influence of a controlled substance at the time of the warrant service and all three were arrested for various charges, Bauman said.


Meyer was booked for felony charges of possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. Bauman said Meyer also was charged with misdemeanor being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is held on $10,000 bail.


The other two subjects arrested at the scene were 43-year-old Cathi Larae Larson and 33-year-old Angel Dusty Spring, both of Lakeport.


Larson was booked on misdemeanor charges of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of narcotics paraphernalia with a $3,500 bail. Spring was booked for misdemeanor being under the influence of a controlled substance with a $3,000 bail, Bauman reported.


Bauman said the investigation into the November burglary continues and other arrests are anticipated.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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Gary Basor and wife Christina, along with their Chihuahua, Harley, are glad to be back home together after he spent two weeks on a recovery mission in Haiti. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

LAKEPORT – Gary Basor is glad to be home.

Basor returned to his Lakeport home late Friday after spending two weeks in Haiti, assisting with the recovery of victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake, a 7.0-magnitude shaker that devastated the country.

The veteran member of the Lake County Sheriff's Office took two weeks of vacation time to make the trip to Haiti, where humidity, mosquitoes, an early rainy season and general resource challenges made the job of recovery even more difficult.

The trip, he said, gave him an even greater appreciation of home.

“When you see people who are surviving with nothing, it definitely humbles you with what we have here,” he said, sitting with wife, Christina, and their faithful Chihuahua, Harley, at their Lakeport home on Saturday.

Basor was with a team from Kenyon International conducting recovery excavations at the Hotel Montana, a major hotel in the city where people from around the world were believed to have been staying when the earthquake hit.

Kenyon International arrived in Haiti shortly after the earthquake, and reported that it has so far recovered 46 bodies, 13 of which have been transferred to US custody, with others transferred to the French, Canadian and Dutch governments. Twenty bodies so far are unidentified.

Mario Gomez, Kenyon's spokesman, said they were surprised by the magnitude of the destruction in Haiti. “It's a very challenging environment.”

A nongovernmental organization hired Kenyon to work at the Hotel Montana, Gomez said. Because of privacy issues, he could not identify the client, who had several people believed to be at that location.

The search for Americans and for people of nations from around the world is continuing.

Last Friday, Assistant Secretary of State Philip J. Crowley said during a press briefing that 15,000 Americans have been evacuated from Haiti, and the State Department has opened cases on about 2,200 Americans who haven't yet been located.

Crowley said 97 Americans are confirmed dead due to the Jan. 12 earthquake, including four US officials – among them a member of the military and a Foreign Service officer – and 93 civilians.

Basor, 55, has been master diver since 1973 and began with Lake County Search and Rescue in 1982, long before he joined the Lake County Sheriff's Office in corrections in 1995. He later became a deputy and in 2006 was promoted to sergeant.

Today, he's a patrol sergeant whose duties cross over into work with the sheriff's Office of Emergency Services. He has been on the scene at critical incidents all over the county, including 2008's Walker Fire near Clearlake Oaks.

Last year, Basor went to a search and rescue conference where he happened to hear Robert Jensen, president of Houston-based Kenyon International, speak about the company.

Kenyon International is a century-old company originally founded in the United Kingdom, according to Gomez.

A company history said Kenyon began in 1906, when the London and South Western Railway boat train jumped its tracks and crashed in Salisbury, England. Nearly all of the casualties in that disaster were American, and they were returned to their families through the efforts of brothers Herbert and Harold Kenyon of JH Kenyon Limited, who deployed from London to work with the coroner and chief constable to prepare and repatriate the deceased.

Later the company began to expand into dealing with other incidents, such as airplane crashes and natural disasters, Gomez said. More recently, the company has been involved in recovery and identification efforts for Sept. 11, 2001, as well as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Asian tsunami in 2004.

Basor was so impressed he decided to join the company, which hired him as an independent contractor. Gomez estimated there are about 1,200 Kenyon team members like Basor around the world, with a variety of skills – from search and rescue to scientific skills involving DNA analysis.

In a disaster, team members from the closest countries are called up, and in Haiti's case many of those responders are coming from the United States, Gomez said.

Getting the call

Shortly after 5 p.m. Jan. 29, just as he was getting off shift at the sheriff's offie, Basor got the call that he was needed in Haiti, and he was packed, ready and on his way to the Sacramento Airport with just a few hours of sleep the next morning. He said Sheriff Rod Mitchell gave him the go ahead to take the leave time for the humanitarian mission.

Christina, 57, a raw foods chef, made sure he had plenty of healthy foods, including lots of dried fruits and nuts, to take with him. Basor, who always travels with all kinds of gear needed in emergency situations, said he took a lot of his own equipment with him.

The trip to Haiti was a long one, about 24 hours of traveling, he estimated. After several layovers including stops in Houston and Miami, Basor arrived in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republican, Haiti's neighboring country. The Dominican Republic didn't suffer the same impacts as Haiti, he noted.

From Santo Domingo, it was a six hour drive to Port-au-Prince over a rough road with drivers following few if any traffic rules. Basor described it as “Mr. Toad's Wild Ride”; he said he watched people ignore stoplights, fuel trucks pass passenger cars over double-yellow lines with cars simply having to go off the road to avoid collisions. The main road along the way also frequently floods and has to be rebuilt.

Watching the driving from a peace officer perspective, Basor noted, “I could have emptied a ticket book in 30 seconds.”

Once in Port-Au-Prince, Basor met up with other Kenyon staffers, who were housed in a fully-contained camp near the airport, with tents, outdoor showers and restrooms, packaged meals ready to eat and plenty of water, a critical need in Haiti, where the water isn't safe to drink in the earthquake's aftermath.

“It was pretty sparse and we knew that,” he said. “I had taken enough equipment to be pretty self-sufficient.”

He arrived at about 2 p.m. Jan. 31 and spent the rest of the day getting an orientation before being deployed to the recovery scene the next day.

By the time he arrived, live rescues were past. He didn't see bodies stacked in the streets, although one day on the way to the excavation site, they saw a body alongside of the road that had been pulled from rubble and set aflame.

Moving out through the city that first day, Basor recalled, “That was an incredible, eye-opening experience, to see the conditions the people were living in, to see housing and buildings just in total collapse. That first day I didn't see anybody trying to clean up or do anything.”

People were walking shoulder to shoulder through what streets had been cleared, and many of them were begging for food and water. “You could see despair on their faces,” he said.

Many areas still appeared to have not been cleared, and people with using whatever water sources they could find for laundry, drinking and sanitation, he said.

Electricity was online in some areas but appeared to be scattered. Basor said red tape needed to be cleared because the “boots on the ground” people trying to do things like build water purification systems were running into difficulties offering assistance

Basor said he also saw looters – both armed and unarmed – roaming the streets. Those who were armed carried rifles and shotguns.

He also saw signs that world relief organizations were handing out supplies and makeshift tents were being replaced with hundreds of white dome tents. United Nations vehicles also were spotted around the country.

He said he and his team members had little interaction with the people. They were advised not to, and he said they really didn't have the time because of the long days.

After a few hours of sleep at night, Basor and his teammates usually were awakened at around 5 a.m. with C-17 and C-130 planes flying overhead, along with some private aircraft.

On the average day, they were leaving base camp by 6 a.m., and Basor said they often didn't return until as late as 8 p.m. They worked seven days a week.

One day as they headed to the excavation site, they saw people dressed up and headed to church. Basor said it was good to see a sign of some sense of civilization in the midst of so much destruction.

It took about 45 minutes to work through the crowded city, where even police and public safety officers with sirens on found themselves stuck in traffic, Basor said.

Multinational team worked at the scene

Kenyon's team in Haiti included forensic anthropologists, fingerprint specialists, mortuary funeral directors and mortuary services technicians, Basor said.

“The recovery process was difficult at times, especially because of the heat, the humidity and the location of remains,” said Basor.

Excavators from the Dominican Republic were working on scene with recovery teams, which included spotters and structural specialists. Basor said no dogs were part of their operation.

The excavators, Basor said, were trained to remove rubble as carefully as possible.

He said the structure had ceiling to floor collapse, and they were searching for void areas where bodies might exist.

When remains were spotted, the machines would stop and the entire site of about 170 people shut down while the body was removed, he said. The bodies, he said, were treated “with the utmost respect.”

The remains were then sent to a temporary morgue where they were identified in order to return them to their families. Basor said they also attempted to find personal affects to help with identifications.

Basor was working with people from around the world, including a forensic anthropologist who came from Scotland.

Their work was grueling; days were hot – about 90 degrees – with humidity at about 90 percent. He and his team of four went through two cases of water a day, and they were urged to take frequent rest breaks.

The more humid it got, the more the mosquitoes came out, and Basor said even after he returned home he was continuing a round of oral malaria prevention medications.

All of Kenyon's supplies had to either be flown in or come through the “itty, bitty road” from the Dominican Republic. Basor said there was little or no refrigeration, and even though Kenyon was bringing in supplies of fresh fruit, one afternoon an entire shipment spoiled because of the climate.

Christina Basor, who is used to her husband having to drop everything and leave on a rescue mission, said she received some special comfort thanks to the fact that a computer with e-mail capability was at the Kenyon base camp. That meant she got e-mail updates from her husband, which let her know he was OK.

Then the computer went down for a few days. Although she's trained herself not to worry, she got worried anyway. And then someone handed her husband a phone with free minutes from AT&T, and on Feb. 5 she got an unexpected call from him.

Her husband isn't one to complain about hardships, she said, and when she called she could hear in his voice “that he was really satisfied with what he was doing because he felt like he was helping people and making a difference.”

She added, “I just stopped worrying about him after that. This is Gary's calling.”

More work ahead

People were camped near the excavation scene in Haiti, including family members of missing people, Gary Basor said. Some of those people also offered to help.

A few days before the end of his deployment, a woman came to the scene and provided information about her daughter, who she believed had been at the site.

“Through our process and our efforts, the day before I left we were able to return her daughter's remains to her,” Basor said. “It really, for me, gave me that satisfaction through all of the hardship that we were going through, the hard work of our team, made it all worthwhile.”

More problems could be ahead for Haiti. Basor said the rainy season appears to be starting about a month early, and the day after he left there was a huge rainstorm that damaged some of Kenyon's temporary setups.

Basor is used to finding bodies through his work with Search and Rescue and as a deputy coroner. Still, he's never encountered such a large disaster situation, and he and other team members were put through an exit interview to make sure they were OK before they left.

He said he's dealing with his experience in a positive way. “For me it's always been bringing closure to the family.”

On rescue scenes he's encountered family members who tell him, “Don't leave my loved one there.”

Basor added, “For me, that's what drives me to do this.”

That kind of closure allows families to start the healing process, he said.

He also felt there is a greater duty for people like him.

“Those of us in the world that have the ability to respond and help them, I think we have an obligation,” he said.

Recalling what he saw in Haiti, he noted, “No people should have to live that way,” and there's no reason why other nations can't share what they have to make sure Haitians don't stay in those circumstances.

Gomez said Kenyon can't estimate how long they'll be on scene, but based on his experience, Basor estimated that the recovery and identification process could go on for years.

Gomez noted, “It's not a quick process.”

In any kind of mass disaster situation, Gomez said the recovery and response can take months and even years to do, with part of the complexity coming from the paperwork and steps needed to meet the requirements of different countries.

Basor was looking forward to resting up, eating some good food and getting back to work at the sheriff's office on Wednesday.

He's already been asked if he would be willing to return to Haiti in three weeks. He and his wife said they were grateful to Mitchell for letting him go on the deployment, which he realized takes a toll on the small department.

Meanwhile, Basor – reaching out to take his wife's hand – said he came back to Lake County with an added appreciation for family and home.

Christina Basor, whose family has a law enforcement background, is extremely proud of her husband, and she and Harley were glad to have him home safe and sound.

“His life has been dedicated to helping other people,” she said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at [email protected] . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY, CA – In an effort to ease the burden of high utility costs and to help the environment, North Coast Energy Services (NCES) will be offering free solar electric systems – including installation and home weatherization – to qualifying homeowners in Lake and Mendocino counties.


This pilot program, funded by the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), is offered at no cost to qualifying homeowners.


Qualification is based on the number of people in the home and current (within the previous six weeks at time of application) income.


Number of people    Monthly

in the home              income

1                              $2,482

2                              $3,246

3                              $4,010

4                              $4,774


In addition to income, the roof of the home must be in good shape and not be flat. Mobile homes are not eligible in this pilot program.


Between Lake and Mendocino counties, 50 homes can be retrofitted with solar electric systems on a first-come, first-served basis.


NCES is a nonprofit organization that provides utility bill assistance and weatherization programs in seven Northern California counties, including Lake and Mendocino.


NCES will utilize two licensed contractors based in Mendocino County for this program, Real Goods and Gaia Energy Systems, to install the solar electric systems and provide home weatherization.


For more information on this program and to request an application, contact Linda McQueen or Glenna Gaches at 707-463-0303, or 966 Mazzoni St., Ukiah.


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 .

CLEARLAKE – Local veterans are encouraged to attend a special outreach event planned for this coming Sunday, Feb. 21.


Staff from the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center will host the veterans outreach event from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Elks Lodge, located at 6039 Crawford Ave. in Clearlake.


Veterans will have the opportunity to learn about and enroll for VA health care benefits, and learn about the new Clearlake community-based outpatient clinic that is scheduled to open this fall at 15145 Lakeshore Drive, as Lake County News has reported.


In late 2008 the VA announced that it would open the Clearlake clinic, which was the focus of more than a decade of lobbying by local and federal officials. It is one of 31 such clinics set to be open in 16 states.


The San Francisco VA Medical Center will manage and staff the Clearlake facility, officials previously reported. It will offer general health care and some other procedures for which local veterans previously were required to travel out-of-county.


On Sunday representatives also will be on hand to talk about VA volunteer opportunities.


Attendees will have the opportunity to tour VA’s new Mobile Veterans Center, a mobile counseling center that travels the state providing PTSD counseling and other outreach services to rural veterans.


In addition to the veterans outreach, a barbecue will be provided by DAV Chapter 83 Clearlake.


For more information about the outreach event, contact Jim McDermott, voluntary service specialist, 415-221-4810, Extension 2144.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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A California Highway Patrol officer investigates a fatal crash that occurred on Highway 20 between Saratoga Springs and Witter Springs roads west of Upper Lake, Calif., on Tuesday, February 16, 2010. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.




UPPER LAKE – A driver who attempted to pass on a curve on Highway 20 Tuesday night set off a three-vehicle collision that resulted in a fatality.


The collision occurred at around 8 p.m. on a curve on Highway 20 between Saratoga Springs and Witter Springs roads.


California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Domby said a passenger vehicle traveling westbound behind a big rig attempted to pass the truck and collided head-on with a car traveling eastbound.


The driver in the eastbound vehicle died at the scene, while the driver believed to be the cause of the crash had to be extricated, Domby said. The big rig driver was badly shaken but otherwise unhurt.


The highway was shut down and traffic diverted onto Scotts Valley Road or turned back as numerous CHP, Lake County Sheriff's deputies and fire officials worked on scene.


An air ambulance landed at the Half Diamond Ranch a mile and a half to the east of the crash site, and Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown transported medical personnel from the helicopter to the scene.


A Northshore Fire ambulance later transported the surviving vehicle driver back to the ranch and the helicopter landing zone.


Domby said the particulars of the incident were still being investigated. Names of those involved were not immediately released.


The inquiry continued late into the night, as CHP officers diagrammed and photographed the scene.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

NICE – A town hall meeting for the Nice community will take place Wednesday, Feb. 24.


District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing invites the public to attend the meeting, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Sons of Italy Hall, 2817 Highway 20.


County staff will provide updates on the redevelopment process, local projects and other issues.


The agenda includes an open forum to discuss issues of interest to the community. Sheriff’s office representatives will be in attendance.


For more information contact Rushing at telephone 707-263-2368 or via e-mail, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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