From The Lake Berryessa News




How Jesus Got His Name (Non-traditional version)

When the three kings came to visit newborn Jesus, one of them slipped on the straw and twisted his ankle. 

“Jesus Christ!” he yelled in pain. 

Mary looked questioningly at Joseph and said, 

“That actually sounds a lot better than Chester, doesn’t it?”




Community Forum Meeting: 12/13/17

Friends and residents of Lake Berryessa attended a meeting Wednesday evening hosted by the US Bureau of Reclamation and the County of Napa.

Both agencies are making fantastic progress in the direction of forming a Managing Partnership Agreement, allowing Napa County to manage Concession Contracts with terms that were previously not available through the BOR, leading to the rebuilding of campgrounds and more.

Forum Meeting121317

Thank you to all that are helping to bring back amenities to Lake Berryessa, and special thanks to Napa County for fighting to make it happen for all Californians, and other visitors to Napa County too!

The BOR had many staff members at the lake on December 13 all day, some all the way from Denver. The original meeting of prospective bidders started at 10 am followed by a bus tour of the 5 concession areas that lasted until 4 PM. Nine companies attended the presentation and took the bus tour..

What happened at the December 13 events was very good news for Lake Berryessa - especially the Berryessa Highlands. The BOR said that it is dedicated to coming to a Managing Partner Agreement with the County that allows the County to manage the concessions (as it did from 1958 to 1975). The County is dedicating major financial and staff resources to make this happen. Both Lake Berryessa supervisors, Pedroza and Dillon were there and spoke positively about the potential outcomes. The photo above was taken by Supervisor Pedroza.

The future proposed schedule for the Lake Berryess project includes:

January 31, 2018: RFII Submittals are due by 2:00 pm

January-April, 2018: MPA development and RFP process.

April, 2018: MPA Authorization

May, 2018: RFP Release

June, 2018: RFP Response Due

Summer/Fall 2018: Concessionaire Selection & Negotiations


Lake Level 12/16/17

The Lake has started to drop slightly due to the lack of rain. It is now at 430.2 feet - 9.8 feet below Glory Hole.

That’s 2.6 inches below it’s high point of 430.42 feet on 11/28/17. Last year on this date the lake was at 400.24 feet, 39.76 feet below Glory Hole. Water temperature I now in the high 50’s.    


The History of Christmas Card

The custom of sending Christmas cards was started in England in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, who had helped set-up the new Post Office and wondered how it could be used more by ordinary people.

Sir Henry had the idea of Christmas Cards with his friend John Horsley, who was an artist. They designed the first card and sold them for 1 shilling each, about 8 cents today!

The card had three panels. The outer two panels showed people caring for the poor and in the center panel was a family having a large Christmas dinner! Some people didn't like the card because it showed a child being given a glass of wine! About 1,000 or  fewer were printed and sold. They are now very rare and cost thousands of dollars to buy!

Before 1840 only very rich people could afford to send anything in the mail. As printing methods improved, Christmas cards became much more popular and were produced in large numbers from about 1860. In 1870 the cost of sending Christmas cards, dropped to half a penny in England. This meant even more people were able to send cards.

Christmas Cards appeared in the United States of America in the late 1840s, but were very expensive and most people couldn't afford them. In 1875, Louis Prang, a printer who was originally from Germany, but who had also worked on early cards in England, started mass producing cards so more people could afford to buy them. 

Mr. Prang's first cards featured flowers, plants, and children. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, Which is still one of the biggest card makers today! 



Remember the Atlas Fire! October 8, 2017

This old tree on the side of Monticello Road near Moskowite Corners, previously surrounded only by high grass, shows the intensity of the fire and height of the flames.

Burned tree Dec issue


2017: The Year In Review Through Lake Berryessa News Headlines

January, 2017: Will 2017 Be Lake Berryessa's Lucky Year?

Napa County and the Bureau of Reclamation may move forward with negotiating a Managing Partner Agreement and creating a formal Request for Proposal process to select a concessionaires. Napa County will become the managing entity.

February, 2017: Napa County Cares about Lake Berryessa - Finally!

The County is considering whether to take over managing the Bureau of Reclamation’s stalled effort to redevelop five Lake Berryessa resorts. Ragatz Sedgwick Realty will assist the County in  identifying interested concession partners by marketing the opportunity to the resort community and performing a feasibility analysis.

March, 2017: Lake Berryessa Takes A Full Breath of Fresh Water: Glory Hole Goes Viral!

On February 21, 2017, Lake Berryessa  OFFICIALLY HIT THE TOP of the Glory Hole Spillway, 440.0 feet, at 1 A.M! On February 21, 2017 Lake Berryessa finally took another big deep breath and reached its second highest lake level in history - 443.6 feet msl - a  45 foot rise - the second fastest rise in its 58 year history.

April 1, 2017: Special April 1st Holiday Edition!

Glory Hole Declared a National Infrastructure Treasure: Lake Berryessa’s Glory Hole Spillway rose to international prominence in early 2017 due to detailed reporting and drone videos by the Lake Berryessa News. Glory Hole to be Lowered to Attract More Tourists!

May, 2017: The Cleanest Lake In Northern Caliornia Is FULL And OPEN For Summer Fun!

Now that the “cleanest lake in Northern California” is full again, recreation spirits are rising fast. Boaters are flocking to the lake in greater numbers than ever. It just feels good to play on a full Lake Berryessa!

June 2017: 1967 - 2017: 50 Years Since The Summer of Love. This Year Is The Love of Summer at Lake Berryessa!

Winter rains brought Lake Berryessa to its maximum water storage capacity for the first time since 2006. With the rise in water level, and people's spirits, it is expected to be a busy summer at the lake.

July 2017: Milestone Achieved! A Positive Report on the Potential Future Rebirth of Lake Berryessa!

More than a year since  the Lake Berryessa News began the campaign to give Lake Berryessa management back to Napa County, a major milestone in that campaign has arrived. A 434-page Lake Berryessa marketing report done by Ragatz Realty was just presented to the County and to the Bureau of Reclamation.

August 2017: The Future of Lake Berryessa Looks Brighter, But The Sun Also Rises A Bit Slowly

It began almost 18 months ago with the Lake Berryessa News headline: A Modest Proposal: Radical Restructuring - Ownership and Management of Lake Berryessa Should Be Transferred to Napa County. On August 1, 2017, Ragatz Sedgwick Realty released their report, Lake Berryessa: An Untapped Resort Development Opportunity.

September 2017: Hurricanes, Heat Waves, Fires and Smoke! Summer 2017 Goes Out With A Bang (or Sizzle)!

Now that the Napa County supervisors have approved potentially taking over management of the Lake Berryessa resorts, a feeling of cautious optimism is in the air. County staff are meeting regularly with the BOR. A Request For Information and Interest (RFII) will solicit large recreation companies to invest in Lake Berryessa.

October 2017: Fire and Water: Positive Progress at Lake Berryessa Continues - Napa County Releases Lake Berryessa RFII

Another important milestone in the potential rebirth of Lake Berryessa has been achieved. Napa County has issued a Request for Information and Interest (RFII) to solicit potential concessionaires for five sites at the lake. Berryessa Estates and Berryessa Highlands  Fire Stations Dedicated 

November 2017: The Great Lake Berryessa (Atlas) Fire of 2017!

The official name was the Atlas Fire and it never reached the shores of Lake Berryessa, but its immediate threat dramatically pulled the Lake Berryessa community together. Lake Berryessa News editor, Evan Kilkus, using his cellphone and Facebook Live, broadcast the Lake Berryessa wildfire battles from the Berryessa Highlands.

December 2017: Lake Berryessa Revitalization Process Delayed Several Months By Napa County Wildfire Disaster

RFII planning schedule has been revised.  Concessionaire selection to be completed and contract negotiations begun by Summer/Fall 2018.

All editions of The Lake Berryessa News since 2005 are available as downloadable, searchable PDF files at


CeCe Dec2017


Santa Has Twelve Reindeer!

Did you know that according to the song, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", Santa has twelve reindeer? 

Sure, in the introduction it goes "There's Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen..." That makes eight reindeer. Then there's Rudolph, of course, so that makes nine. Then there's Olive. You know, "Olive the other reindeer used to laugh..." That makes ten. The eleventh is Howe. You know, "Then Howe the reindeer loved him..." Eleven reindeer. Oh, and number 12? That's Andy! "Andy shouted out with glee.” 

The proof is in the song!


1021 Arroy Linda Ct


Christmas Calls To Action For The Survival Of The Human Race

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love; 

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy. 

Grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

to be understood as to understand,

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive, 

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  Amen.


The Eightfold Path of Buddhism

Right understanding: Understanding that the Four Noble Truths: Suffering exists. Suffering arises from attachment to desires. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases.

Right thought: Determining and resolving to practice the principles of  mindfulness so we behave ethically in this life.

Right speech: Avoiding slander, gossip, lying, and all forms of untrue and abusive speech.

Right conduct: Adhering to the idea of nonviolence (ahimsa), as well as refraining from any form of stealing or sexual impropriety.

Right means of making a living: Not slaughtering animals or working at jobs that force you to violate others.

Right mental attitude or effort: Avoiding negative thoughts and emotions, such as anger and jealousy.

Right mindfulness: Having a clear sense of one’s mental state and bodily health and feelings.

Right concentration: Using meditation to reach the highest level of enlightenment.


The Golden Rule

The most familiar version of the Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The concept occurs in some form in nearly every religion and ethical tradition. It can also be explained from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, sociology, human evolution, and economics.

One ethical tradition (outside of a formal religion) which supports the Golden Rule is Humanism.

Humanists try to embrace the moral principle  of the  Golden Rule, also known as the ethic of reciprocity, which means  that people should aim to treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves - with tolerance, consideration and compassion.

Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. 

Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values - be they religious, ethical, social, or political - have their source in human experience and culture. 

Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.

“…being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.” Kurt Vonnegut


The Great Lake Berryessa (Atlas) Fire of 2017

The official name was the Atlas Fire and it never reached the shores of Lake Berryessa, but its immediate threat dramatically pulled the Lake Berryessa community together for more than a week. All Lake Berryessa residents were affected. All  Lake Berryessa residents worried about it. And the whole Lake Berryessa Region was united by it.

See the full story with photos and videos here….


Supertanker Final


Atlas Fire Timeline From The Berryessa Highlands

By Evan Kilkus

See full story here


Fire on ridge

Lake Berryessa Atlas Fire Updates by Evan Kilkus

For a real-time raw history of the Atlas Fire from the view of the Berryessa Highlands, here are the unedited YouTube versions of Evan Kilkus’ Facebook Live updates.


December, 2017

LBNews Pg 8&1 Dec17

Click above to download this issue…


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LBNews Pg 4&5 Dec17


Welcome to the best map of Lake Berryessa you’ll ever find!

Click on the map to see a larger version.

Click here to download a pdf copy.

1 Lake Map Base 082317


Lake Berryessa Fills and Glory Hole Spills

The Video History

This amazing series of Lake Berryessa News Drone videos by Evan Kilkus documents the 45 foot rise of Lake Berryessa in 2017.

It was the second largest annual increase in the history of the lake.

It was also the second highest level the lake has reached in its 58 year history.

The lake has only spilled into Glory Hole 26 times in those 58 years. Also the rainfall total (47.1 inches as of 5/8/17) is the highest in 20 years.

The first video shows how low the lake was 2 years ago. You should watch it before the others to get some perspective on the amazing rise of the lake in 2017.


Full lake level history 2015
Lake Levels 2006 to 031217 edited-1



Berryessa Valley and the Town of Monticello Historical Photos and Videos from before Lake Berryessa covered it.

Berryessa Valley photo

Thanks to Carol Fitzpatrick for creating the Berryessa Valley Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center described in the first video.



1958 - 2017

by Peter Kilkus

Download a PDF of the history timeline here.

How Could the Government Have Done Something So Stupid?

Many people ask me about the history of the process that led to the present situation at Lake Berryessa. When I explain what happened most become incredulous and can't believe the government could have done something so stupid. "How could they have gotten away with that?" they exclaim.

The Bureau of Reclamation destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of children. Here's an interview I did in 2010, three years after the interview below with Pat Monaghan and just after Pensus had been given the contract for 5 resorts. As we all know Pensus was subsequently kicked out in 2012.        

Here's a 2007 TV interview with Pat Monaghan, cofounder of Task Force 7 at Lake Berryessa, to give you some historical insight. Those of you who remember Pete Lucero will recognize his description of what we called "The Big Lie" - which turned into the "Epic Fail".


Some Interesting Past Stories

The Great Lake Berryessa (Atlas) Fire of 2017

Atlas Fire Timeline From The Berryessa Highlands

What Is That Red Stuff Falling From The Sky?

What’s Happening NEXTDOOR?

Pasote Tequila & Berryessa Bass Tournament

Circle Oaks Fire - The Great Escape

Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach Program: Summer 2017

Download full report pdf here...

Lake Berryessa 1971: Controversy Begins (Oakland Tribune)

Napa County and the Bureau of Reclamation Consider Working Together to Rebuild Lake Berryessa

Milestone Achieved! A Positive Report on the Potential Future Rebirth of Lake Berryessa

Floating Native American Casino Coming to Lake Berryessa

Reclamation's Draft Environmental Assessment For Lake Berryessa

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

The Destruction of Steele Park Resort

Analysis of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument - the Dumbest National Monument in the United States

Final Report on ICON A5 Crash at Lake Berryessa

Napa County Wildfire Awareness Resources

Is His Name Smokey Bear or Smokey THE Bear?

The California Boater Card Is Coming!

Adventure Water Drinking - The New Outdoor Sport

Lake Berryessa History: The Summer of Love (1967) versus The Summers of Chaos (1998-1999) 

Rural Code Enforcement in Napa County

Exciting New Game Fishing Opportunity at Lake Berryessa

Rattlesnakes: Friend or Enemy – or just a primal fear?

Two Napa County Volunteer Fire Sub-Stations Open


Special Publications

Final Ragatz Report (75MB PDF)

Ragatz Summary Recommendations (75 KB PDF)


Conspiracy Theory Or Automatic Pilot: The Economic Roots Of Environmental Destruction        

By Peter F. Kilkus 

Download PDF of this report (2 MB)


The Amazing Foods of Chef Neiman Marxist

Chef Neiman Marxist French rev1


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The Winters Express

*****                       © Peter Kilkus 2017