Saturday, 01 October 2022

News

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – The Soda Complex has grown by a few hundred more acres with containment making no advances, officials reported Sunday.


The complex of four fires – three of which are contained – is located in the vicinity of Lake Pillsbury on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District. The fires were ignited by a dry lightning storm June 21.


US Forest Service spokesman Marc Peebles reported Sunday that the last of the fires still burning, the Mill Fire, has reached 2,972 acres and is 60-percent contained, with full containment – originally estimated to take place on Wednesday – pushed back to July 26.


The entire complex has burned 8,581 acres and is 79-percent contained overall, the same as the previous day, Peebles reported.


Nearly 30 more firefighting personnel have been assigned to the fire since Saturday, bringing the total, according to Peebles, to 793. There also are 23 crews, 26 engines, three dozers, 11 water tenders and 14 helicopters working the fire.


Peebles said the fire continued to spread through spot fires into steep and rugged terrain in a southeast direction, where firefighters and aircraft continue to work to hold the fire. Crews also continue to patrol the areas of the already-contained Monkey Rock, Big and Back fires.


Seven residences in Lake and Mendocino counties remain under evacuation at this time between Deadmans Flat and Sunset Gap to the east flank of the fire, he said.


Also still burning is the Vinegar fire, which has burned 10,410 acres on the the Mendocino National Forest and another 16,975 in the Shasta Trinity National Forest, for a total of 27,485 acres burned, according to forest officials.


For more information about the forest fires visit Forest Service Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino or www.inciweb.org. For information about other fires around the state, visit www.cdf.ca.gov.


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


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I hadn’t been to Cabo’s restaurant in Clearlake in quite a while, and I did remember it as having really good food, so I thought that it was time to go again.


Normally I’m an eat-alone type of person. It could be a primal urge from when mankind had to fight for every scrap of food, so he’d tear a piece off a carcass and then run away from the group in order to not lose his food to a stronger tribe member. Maybe it just gives me a chance to enjoy my food with my own thoughts and not have to worry about entertaining dinner guests with conversation. But most likely it’s because if I eat alone, I’m free to flirt with the cute waitresses. Hey, I’m getting older and having a young, pretty girl smile at me is now the highlight of my day.


But this time my wife, daughter and I all went out to eat together, and wouldn’t you know it, there was a smokin’ hot waitress there. Oh well, time to concentrate on the meal I guess.


When you first arrive, you are seated with warm tortilla chips and a couple types of salsa. What is it about that combination that makes you instantly ravenous? Everyone at the table snatches at chips until the basket is empty and the waitress brings more and the process starts again.


Before I go on, I will first have to mention that I love spicy food. No, probably not like you enjoy spicy food, I’m much more hard-core than that. I consider Tabasco sauce so mild that it can be used to clean wounds. I have a large assortment of hot sauces in my fridge, and my wife can only handle two of them. So I naturally decided to have the Camerones a la Diablo, The Devil’s Shrimp. My wife had the chicken fajitas, and my daughter ordered the garlic fries and shrimp cocktail.


The Camerones a la Diablo and the chicken fajitas each came with a trip to the salad bar, which isn’t anything very impressive, but I can see its being missed by folks if they didn’t have it. I would have forgone the trip to the salad bar had I any idea of the amount of food that was about to be placed in front of me.


The entree comes on extra-large plates, packed to the absolute brim with ingredients; you are going to be full by the end of this meal. Two words of warning: one, unless you have asbestos hands, don’t grab the plate – HOT, HOT and HOT! And two, you only get two tortillas (your choice, flour or corn) with your order, so you will want to request some extra tortillas on the side to handle all of the food.


My shrimp were well cooked, and as I tasted the sauce I was impressed by the complexity of flavor, but thought that it wasn’t spicy enough to justify the namesake. I shared these thoughts with my wife, so she tried the sauce and then said in a strained, breathy voice, “It’s hot enough; the back of my throat is melting.” Oops, sorry, it made my lips tingle but that’s about it.


The shrimp came with refried beans, rice, grilled vegetables, sour cream and guacamole. The chicken fajitas come with the same accompaniments, and they were all well cooked and delicious.


The shrimp cocktail was nothing like what we were expecting. It was warm with the shrimp swimming in a mild, soupy sauce. I wouldn’t say it was bad; it just isn’t what we were expecting. The garlic fries are covered in cheese and garlic, and the cooking process caramelizes the garlic making it fantastically sweet. But like the rest of the food, the plate is piled so high that this is not a one-person dish. These fries would make a good shared plate for four people.


The price for dinner was fair for the amount of food served, and we left with full bellies and plenty of left-overs. The décor has a touristy, “cabo flair” to it and a wide-open feel so it doesn’t seem crowded as the room fills up, and it does fill up so get there early for best seating.


Note to the readers who are shocked at my flirting with young waitresses: my wife has been my own personal editor for everything I have written for years. You would be shocked at some of the things that she has edited out over the years! By comparison, my flirting with waitresses is tame, especially if my wife lets it slip through!


Note from Ross’s wife/editor: Ross is like a strong alcoholic drink, best in small doses over a long period of time; too much too fast can cause vomiting with accompanied groans.


Ross A. Christensen is an award-winning gardener and gourmet cook. He is the author of "Sushi A to Z, The Ultimate Guide" and is currently working on a new book. He has been a public speaker for many years and enjoys being involved in the community.


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LOWER LAKE – Three people were injured in a crash near Lower Lake early Thursday morning.


The crash took place at 6:30 a.m. on Seigler Canyon Road, three miles west of Highway 29, California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia reported.


Garcia said 40-year-old Michael Rhode of Clearlake was driving a 2003 Ford Taurus westbound on Seigler Canyon Road when he lost control of his vehicle, apparently due to a medical condition. He collided head-on with Barbara Dwyer, 36, of Cobb, driving a 2006 Honda Civic in the eastbound lane.


The crash sent Dwyer's car off the roadway, where it came to rest in a creek bed approximately 15 feet off the roadway, according to Garcia.


Dwyer sustained major injuries and was flown by REACH air ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center. Garcia said it wasn't yet known on Thursday if her injuries were life-threatening.


Her front passenger, 53-year-old Cobb resident Sharon Anderson, suffered moderate injuries and was taken by Kelseyville Fire ambulance to Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Garcia reported.


Garcia said Rhode also was taken to Sutter lakeside Hospital for moderate injuries by Kelseyville Fire ambulance.


Officer Dallas Richey is investigating the incident, Garcia said.


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


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The Westshore Pool offers a fun and cool place to hang out this summer. Photo courtesy of Scott Harter.
 

 

LAKEPORT – With a scorching summer visiting the county this year, a number of new programs at Lakeport's Westshore Pool offer adults and children alike a chance to stay cool and exercise.


This is the second summer the Westshore Pool has been open since it was renovated in the spring of 2007. The season opened June 16.


Because it had been some time since the pool had been open, the city of Lakeport's Public Works Department – which oversees the pool – set about setting up new programs for the public, said department secretary Tina Banuet.


Banuet said the pool is open for public swims Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. The cost is $3 for children ages 2 to 17, $4 for 18 years and older, and $2 for seniors. Season passes also are available, costing $175 for ages 2 through 17, $250 for adults 18 and over, and $100 for seniors.


Family passes, which cost $15, admit two adults and three children for a day, with some flexibility offered if there is one less adult and an additional child, she said.


Children age 9 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older, without exception. Anyone entering the pool, even adult spectators, must pay the entrance fee.


Those fees help offset part of the city's cost of operating the pool, which Banuet said ran approximately $50,000 – excluding capital improvements – in the 2007-08 fiscal year.


After the first experience of running the pool last summer, Banuet said department staff and Public Works Director Doug Grider set about expanding the pool's offerings for this season.


She said they researched what other counties offered at their pools. “That's how we came up with everything this year,” she said.


New this year is an adult swim, held Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., said Banuet. The cost is $2 per day. The adult swims end Aug. 21.


The pool also now offers swimming lessons for children at all skill levels – beginners, advanced beginner and intermediate – this season, said Banuet.


Two swimming lesson sessions remain open for this year, running from July 28 through Aug. 7 and Aug. 11 through Aug. 21, Banuet said. The cost is $60 per child.


Among the other new offerings this year are pool parties, which groups can book on Friday nights and on Sundays, said Banuet.


Banuet called attendance at the pool this year “awesome,” with daily attendance averaging between 50 and 100 people, up from last year. A day care also visits the pool five days a week, bringing between 40 and 60 children, besides camps and other organizations using the pool this summer.


The pool, which is staffed by five lifeguards, will close for the season Saturday, Aug. 30, Banuet said.


Keeping the pool open year round is a goal, said Banuet. “We would like to – we just haven't gotten that far yet.”


For more information call the Lakeport Public Works Department, 263-3077.


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


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CLEARLAKE – A teenager accused of the murder of a schoolmate was in court Friday for the setting of her preliminary hearing date.


Gabrielle Rachel Varney, 18, is facing charges of murder and a special allegation of using a knife in the June 5 death of 17-year-old Heather Valdez. Varney pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.


Her attorney, Stephen Carter, said Varney went before Judge Richard Freeborn in Lake County Superior Court's Department 4 Friday afternoon.


Carter said Varney's preliminary hearing in the case will be held Tuesday, Sept. 30.


He said the case will be called on Sept. 26 for the purpose of assigning the preliminary hearing to a specific department.


Varney and Valdez allegedly were involved in a confrontation after getting off the school bus from Carlé High School, where they were both students, as Lake County News has reported.


Police said the girls had been involved in a feud for months before the fight occurred.


Varney remains in the Lake County Jail.


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


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CLEARLAKE OAKS – A Clearlake Oaks woman sustained major injuries this week when she was involved in a motorcycle crash in Sonoma County.


Phyliss Finlayson, 69, was injured Tuesday while she and friends were riding motorcycles southbound along Highway 1 near Timber Cove, said Officer Barbara Upham, spokesperson for the Santa Rosa office of the California Highway Patrol.


Upham said Finlayson entered a curve in the road and lost control of the motorcycle.


The motorcycle went off the road and into some gravel, where Upham said it hit an embankment and a tree.


Upham said Finlayson was thrown off of the motorcycle and landed in a creek bed about 40 feet below the embankment.


When Finlayson was ejected from the motorcycle, it appeared that her face hit the handlebars, which caused major facial injuries, according to Upham.


Upham said Finlayson also suffered a broken neck, broken ribs and a broken wrist, and was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment.


On Thursday Upham said she didn't have any update on Finlayson's condition.


“Currently, our suspicion is that she was driving too fast for the roadway conditions,” Upham said of the reason for the crash.


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


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LAKEPORT – A motorcyclist died Saturday afternoon as the result of a crash on Highway 175.


The male subject, whose name was not released Saturday, crashed into a guard rail on Highway 175 at about 12:25 p.m. three miles west of Lakeport, according to the California Highway Patrol.


The crash victim was said to be unconscious at the scene, with labored breathing, the CHP reported.


REACH air ambulance was called to transport the man to the hospital.


Shortly before 2:30 p.m. the man was reported to have died, according to the CHP.


CHP's Ukiah Dispatch Center would not release further information on the crash Saturday evening.


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


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The $16 million Walker Ridge curve realignment is expected to be completed this fall. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

 



LAKE COUNTY – A multimillion-dollar road improvement project which state officials believe will increase highway safety is continuing in the south county.


The Walker Ridge curve realignment is taking place along Highway 20. The project is likely familiar to drivers who have experienced stops in the area while road crews continue their work.


Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie said the $16 million project was awarded to Argonaut Construction in September of 2006, when some minor prep work was performed. Major work didn't begin until April of 2007.


It's the largest Caltrans project under construction in Lake County at this time, said Frisbie.


The project, which Frisbie said is expected to be completed this fall, includes a large retaining wall where the highway has been widened.


“It's realigning some of the curves to increase sight distance and it's also widening the shoulders and installing some new drainage systems,” he said.


The project, said Frisbie, is meant to increase safety along the stretch of highway.


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

 

 

 

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Caltrans intends for the project to help increase sight distance and safety, along with widening the road and installing new drainage. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.
 

 


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MENDOCINO COUNTY – After nearly a month of firefighting, smoky skies and more than 50,000 acres scorched, the Mendocino Lighting Complex was fully contained Thursday evening.


Theresa McNerlin, public information officer for the county of Mendocino, reported just after 8 p.m. that the 53,300-acre fire had reached 100-percent containment.


The complex of 129 fires was sparked by dry lightning storms beginning June 20, as Lake County News has reported. Suppression costs are now estimated at $44.1 million.


The fires had triggered evacuations in numerous parts of the county, and destroyed one home and one outbuilding.


During the weeks of firefighting, one Anderson Valley firefighter died from respiratory distress, and another 45 were injured, according to Cal Fire.


When containment was announced Thursday, 2,088 fire personnel were still assigned to the complex – including 340 “overhead” or leadership positions – along with 119 engines, 63 fire crews, 10 helicopters, 45 water tenders, 18 dozers and one fixed-wing aircraft, Cal Fire reported.


Officials reminded residents that despite containment, smoke and flareups could occur within the complex's containment lines. Several weeks of patrolling all the fire areas – from the air and the ground – will continue in an effort to extinguish hot spots.


For information about other fires around the state, visit www.cdf.ca.gov.


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


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MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Firefighters held the advance of the Soda Complex of fires to only 20 acres of growth on Saturday, with the amount of containment remaining steady.


The fires, which have burned 8,381 acres on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District near Lake Pillsbury, remained at 79-percent containment Saturday, according to a Saturday report from Forest Service spokesman Marc Peebles.


The Mill Fire, the last and largest of the complex's four fires, has burned 2,772 acres, Peebles reported. Its estimated full containment date is this coming Wednesday.


Peebles reported that 744 firefighters under the command of Southern California Incident Management Team No. 3 – based at Upper Lake High School – are fighting the Mill fire as well as continuing patrol on the areas of the other fires that already have been contained – the Monkey Rock, Big and Back fires.


On Friday, the Mill Fire once again got past containment lines, burning 150 acres to the southeast and northeast of the fire, Peebles said. Several spot fires also have occurred.


Peebles said six residences – located between Deadmans Flat and Sunset Gap to the east flank of the fire – are under evacuation at this time, which the Lake and Mendocino County Sheriff’s offices coordinating evacuations.


Also on the Mendocino National Forest, the Vinegar Fire – which is in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness – has burned 10,235 acres and is 30-percent contained, according to Forest Service spokesperson Phebe Brown.


The Vinegar Fire is part of the Lime Complex, which has burned 25,558 acres in Trinity and Tehama counties, Brown reported.


Lake County's air looked murkier in some areas again on Saturday, as smoke continued to come into the northern part of the county from the Mendocino Lightning Complex, which was contained on Thursday.


Doug Gearhart, Lake County's deputy air pollution control officer, said air quality should be back in the good range by Sunday.


Gearhart said smoke will likely continue in the county until all of the fires around Northern California are finally out.


Cal Fire reported Saturday that of the approximately 2,093 fires that had raged across the state at the peak of this past month's deluge of wildfires, 38 are still actively burning.


In all, those fires have burned 926,427 acres, Cal Fire reported.


For more information about the forest fires visit Forest Service Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino or www.inciweb.org. For information about other fires around the state, visit www.cdf.ca.gov.


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


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MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – More firefighters have been added to the effort to fully contain a fire complex that forest officials expect to be under control by next Wednesday.


The Soda Complex reached 79-percent containment on Friday, according to Forest Service spokesman Marc Peebles.


The fires, located in the vicinity of Lake Pillsbury on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District, have burned 8,360 acres, Peebles said.


Approximately 722 firefighters are assigned to the complex, about 70 more than the previous day.


Of the original four fires the only one still burning is the Mill Fire, which has burned 2,751 acres and is itself 64-percent contained. Peebles reported that total containment is estimated to take place July 23.


On Friday firefighters continued building containment line and dousing hot spots on all areas of the fire with the aid of aircraft and fresh crews. The fire, said Peebles, continues to burn actively on its western, southwestern and southeastern flanks.


He reported that one firefighter suffered a heat-related illness on Thursday and was temporarily removed from the fire line for recovery. The firefighter returned to duty Friday.


Elsewhere in the Mendocino National Forest, the Vinegar Fire has reached 30-percent containment after burning 10,070 acres, according to Forest Service spokesperson Phebe Brown. The Vinegar Fire is part of the complex burning in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, now managed under the Lime Complex.


In other areas of the North Coast, the Mendocino Lightning Complex was contained Thursday night, but residents in the northern part of Lake County reported Friday that thick smoke was still coming into the area.


Doug Gearhart, deputy air pollution control officer at the Air Quality Management District said that smoke is from the Mendocino County fires, with the winds carrying the fires to Lake County, where it's becoming trapped in some of the area's confined valleys.


Gearhart reported that Lake County's air quality is supposed to be in the good to moderate range through Monday, although residual smoke can be expected to remain throughout all areas of Northern California, including Lake County, until the wildfires are completely contained.


For more information about the forest fires visit Forest Service Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino or www.inciweb.org. For information about other fires around the state, visit www.cdf.ca.gov.


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


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NORTH COAST – The slow process of bringing the fires in the Mendocino National Forest under control is continuing, with firefighters concentrating on the remaining fire in the complex.


The Soda Complex, to the north of Lake Pillsbury on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District, is now 75-percent contained after having burned 8,337 acres, according to Forest Service spokesperson Marc Peebles. There are now 655 personnel assigned to the fire.


The 2,748-acre Mill Fire is the last of the complex's four original fires to still burn actively. Peebles reported that a five-acre spot fire occurred on that fire's northern portion on Wednesday, crossing containment lines. Firefighters on the ground were aided by aircraft and contained the spot fire.


Peebles said the fire continues to be active on the western, southwestern and southeastern flanks, especially in the late afternoon, as it backs down towards Thomas Creek to the southwest and to the southeast. Backfires and line construction continue to take place.


The Vinegar Fire in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness has burned 9,430 acres on the Mendocino National Forest, according to Forest Service spokesperson Phebe Brown. There is no estimate for that fire's containment.


Lake County Air Pollution Control Officer Bob Reynolds said the county's air quality is expected to continue to improve, with measurements expected to be in the good to moderate range through Friday. Some smoke from wildland fires around Northern California has remained in the air basin in recent days, brought here by west to southwest winds.


For more information about the forest fires visit Forest Service Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino or www.inciweb.org. For information about other fires around the state, visit www.cdf.ca.gov.


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


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Upcoming Calendar

1Oct
10.01.2022 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship annual walk and run
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Lakeport Harvest Festival
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