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A dad and his two kids out in the surf in Fort Bragg had to be rescued after being swept further out to sea by a wave at Pudding Creek Beach.  Police say witnesses saw the family stuck and swam out to them on surfboards and brought them back to shore. Mendo Fever reports a resident said she saw police, deputies and a couple of ambulances at the beach.

A quarantine has been called on mussels being harvested by recreational sport harvesters from the ocean shore of California. The quarantine area is from the Oregon border south to the Mexican border, including all bays, inlets, and harbors. The state says it’s to protect the public health because this early in the season the mussels may contain naturally occurring toxins which can be highly poisonous to humans. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters or dealers are frequently tested. It can be used or sold as bait under certain conditions and marked that it’s unfit for human consumption. And only white meat from clams and scallops should be used for human consumption. All of this effective from May 1 through October 31, 2021.

A woman in Redwood Valley accused of violating her probation has been arrested, but not booked into jail. The sheriff’s dept. reports contacting Shayla Guerrero, and a passenger and checked the driver’s records finding her to be on active formal probation. While chatting with her they found she had drug paraphernalia in the car.  So they searched the car and found three pipes commonly used to smoke meth. She’s additionally charged with felony violation of probation and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Due to the pandemic Guerrero was allowed to leave with a promise to return to court at a later date.

Willits City Council working on the next budget unanimously approved a set of goals. The Willits News reports the council had several workshops with a consultant where each council member said what they’d like to achieve. There was also public comment on the list which ended up as about a dozen high ranking goals. They include updating the City’s General Plan for future development within 3-5 years, come up with a long-range Fiscal Sustainability Plan, maintain a Public Safety Agency to keep the community safe, maintain and improve infrastructure, come up with a plan for new housing construction, economic development for a strong business sector, one day becoming an Environmental Model City and a new City Street Improvement Program.

Some politicians and public health experts in Calif. say the plan to beat the pandemic needs to be more transparent. A new report shows as COVID19 cases surged this past year it overwhelmed the public health system which was challenged by collecting basic information on patients’ ethnicities, occupations and exposure to others, so the true impact from the virus is still unknown. Lawmakers, epidemiologists and academics are equally critical of the state’s response after 60,000 deaths and over 3.6 million infections and agree it should be further reviewed.

The new US Sen. for California, Alex Padilla is proposing a sweeping bill to expand protection of public lands and rivers. Padilla says his package of three bills, which already passed the House, will help fight climate change and guard natural treasures from harm. The proposal will designate almost 600,000 acres of new wilderness, nearly 600 miles of new wild and scenic rivers and add to an existing national monument by more than 100,000 acres. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is co-sponsoring the bill. Padilla was appointed by the Gov. to fill the seat once held by now Vice President Kamala Harris.

Health officials say anxiety, not something in a vaccine is causing reactions in some people in California and four other states after receiving their coronavirus vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is noting the phenomenon, which is not new and has been on the books for decades following several other vaccines, people panic when they’re about to get an injection of any sort, and that anxiety can cascade into a physical reaction. The authors of the CDC report from clinics in California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina came from interviews with, and reports by, clinic staff showing some people fainted, got dizzy, nauseous or vomited. Some also had racing hearts, chest pain or other symptoms, but none of them became seriously ill. All got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Governor is trying to get hard to reach rural residents vaccinated. He’s also trying to figure out what to do about vaccine hesitancy in hard hit communities. So there’s a new campaign of community outreach with appointment help, neighborhood canvassing, phone banking and text banking; at-home vaccinations and transportation services. The effort being funded with $33 million more for a total the state has spent on the effort in the $86 million dollar range. Around 60 percent of eligible residents had at least one dose of a vaccine by April 15th.

You might be able to get a gift card if you get a COVID19 vaccine. The Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren told the Board of Supervisors yesterday the county may start to offer incentives to get more people vaccinated to reach the last holdouts. Dr. Coren says there’s more urgency right now due to the variant strains that have turned up in the county. He told the board about the case of a county resident infected with the B117 variant from the U-K. He says it was in one family and there was no community spread. There are also more than 2 dozen cases of a Calif. strain that were confirmed between January and March. He says that one is less transmissible than the UK variant (which is 50 percent more transmissible), but still 20 percent more than the original one.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors looking to hire a new Community Development director by splitting the way a couple of budget categories are classified. Lake Co News reports on the unanimous decision on a resolution for the planning budget unit to include the Community Development director classification. Last year, the board combined the Community Development Department with Public Works and Water Resources. At the same time the board appointed Scott De Leon to be the director of Community Development. He was already overseeing Public Works and Water Resources, but now the Community Development director budget classification has been eliminated from the planning budget unit. So, the Community Development Director will only oversee his one department.

A new set of streetlights have been put in on State Street in Ukiah. The new lights on State Street from Henry to Perkins are part of the Downtown Streetscape Project. They’re still installing sidewalks and gutters and the new lights are not connected quite yet. The project includes some street closures over the next weeks as there’s excavating and other major construction continuing. Look for closures in the 100 block of West Church Street in the next couple of weeks, new sidewalks just before Memorial Day and for a few weeks beyond. There will also be newer traffic signals on sensors instead of timers.

The Ukiah City Council has to decide what to do about accumulating algae in the new purple pipe project. Staff is recommending an expenditure of over $175,000 on a so-called “buoy-array” system which they say has been successful in similar systems in southern calif. where recycled water is stored. High nutrient content and the local climate can impact the water quality, forming algae which can clog filters or irrigation equipment. And the system is currently being treated with chemicals and not been effective. The buoy system would use sonar which would not hurt aquatic organisms including birds and water fowl. 

This is an informational email with lots of great tips from a Virologist.

Below is the most detailed description of the coronavirus I’ve read. James Robb, MD UC San Diego, is a virologist who’s worked with this virus for almost 50 years. COVID-19 has an affinity for pulmonary receptors that is extraordinary.

Feel free to copy and send to family & friends.

Subject: What I am doing for the upcoming COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic

Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.

The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.

Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:

1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.

2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.

3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.

4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.

Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

2) Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

4) Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.

I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defense against it. Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.

I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this email. Good luck to all of us! Jim

James Robb, MD

Any residents of Humboldt County with damage due to earthquakes have a reprieve on the deadline to file for disaster loans. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Loan Outreach Center is moving to Rio Dell until a week from this Friday, Feb. 10th. Starting today, the will be at the Rio Dell Community Resource Center. Homeowners, renters, business owners and some non-profits may be able to get low-interest disaster loans through the SBA for losses due to earthquakes. The last report was that more than $3 million in disaster loans had already been issued to Humboldt County residents and more than $330,000 for businesses for earthquake repair and recovery purposes.

In person application assistance is available at the SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center. Applicants may also apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/.

Siren tests are planned for Lake County. In one week from today, at 11 am, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is doing a full-length test of the warning sirens in Middletown, Anderson Springs, Cobb, Loch Lomond, and Kelseyville Riviera (formerly known as the Clear Lake Riviera for a full three minutes. They remind, if there was an actual emergency, the siren is a way to alert the entire community to danger from a catastrophe like a wildfire, earthquake, or other hazard. There will be monthly tests on the first Monday of the month from March until January, those are :30 seconds long. The yearly February is the only 3 minute activation. There will be a message that goes out through LakeCoAlerts and Nixle to remind residents about the test.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office encourages all residents of Lake County to sign up for LakeCoAlerts at: https://lakesheriff.com/869/LakeCoAlerts and follow both the Office of Emergency Services and the Lake County Sheriff on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lakecountyOES and http://www.facebook.com/lakesheriff.

The City of Ukiah is getting almost 54 million dollars for its Water Recycling Project. The money will help the city expand the capacity for the recycled water project from 1,000 acre-feet per year to 1,500 acre-feet. The recycled water is used at parks, on sports fields, and at schools, and for agricultural and industrial uses to help take the load off the Russian River and Lake Mendocino and groundwater resources. The city built three phases of the system in 2019 with funding from the State Water Resources Control Board, with $9 million in grants and a low interest loan. Now phase 4 is in the works since more grant money came through.

ChargePoint, a manufacturer of EV chargers is working with the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) to find where it would be beneficial to install EV chargers. The company has received a “Rural Electric Vehicle” grant from the California Energy Commission to place 25 chargers in the greater Ukiah/Redwood Valley/Hopland area. There will be five sites for the chargers, including a fast-charging hub in central Ukiah. Each site will have around five chargers. The Council of Governments is asking the community where they think the chargers should go at virtual workshops. The first is Thursday, February 16 at 5:30 p.m. To attend this workshop, visit http://www.mendocinocog.org and click on the Zoom meeting link which will be posted by February 9th.

Additional opportunities for public input will be available beginning February 15, 2023 through an interactive survey and map on MCOG’s website, where individuals may pin their preferred charging location and provide comment. Comments may also be mailed to the MCOG office at 525 S. Main Street, Suite G; Ukiah, CA 95482, or emailed to lellard@dbcteam.net.

The bridge for residents to get out of the Creekside Cabins RV Park, and away from the sinkhole and other damage from floods near Willits, is gone. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports residents were given some time Friday morning to evacuate, since the facility was declared a “public health menace”. A temporary bridge was taken out Friday morning. Some residents had to leave belongings behind, others were able to get out. United Disaster Relief of Northern California was helping residents leave, and gave some basic necessities. As of last Thursday night, the county’s Social Services department said out of the 27 households at the park, 13 were given vouchers to an alternate RV Park, five checked in to those sites, two households were given hotel vouchers and checked in. Three more reported to the county, they had other plans and eight did not report anything to the county, or ask for help.

Student housing will be added at three Cal State campuses – CSU Dominguez Hills, Cal Poly Humboldt, and San Francisco State.  The Cal State Board of Trustees gave the green light for three projects which had already been funded through the Higher Education Student Housing Grant program. Lawmakers awarded over $492 million for nearly 3,100 affordable units on nine campuses last year due to the continued high price of rent, and the crunch of no housing. The majority of CSU campuses don’t give a guarantee to incoming students they will have a place to live. Cal Poly Humboldt will have almost 1,000 more beds, SF State is using their money for a health center and dining space for now, and dorms by the end of 2024. And at Dominguez Hills, they’re getting a six-story residence hall and a one-story dining facility.

More time has been give to residents who live in high fire areas on the draft fire hazard severity zone map. Cal Fire is giving more comment time on the new map, after groups said there wasn’t enough time or clarity. The League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties complained so Cal Fire obliged. So now the public comment period is until April 4th, instead of this Friday, February 3rd. This replaces the map created in 2007 for the State Responsibility Area, or SRA, managed by Cal Fire, which they call officially the “unincorporated, rural areas, where wildfires tend to be frequent.” At the same time the Board of Supervisors, Lakeport Fire Protection District chief and some residents said the new map may need some revising because of challenges already getting fire insurance.

Lake County is getting much needed road work. Millions of dollars have been approved from the California Transportation Commission. Almost a billion dollars was approved last week for the state. The Caltrans Director says this will help shore up infrastructure and help to bolster transit and active transportation options.  Lake Co News reports about $21 million to Lake County and about $34 million to Mendocino County. Plus, more to neighboring counties for hazardous tree removal.  

A young man from Lakeport has been arrested after reports of a string of burglaries and thefts. Police say 18-year-old Jordan Alger was connected to a series of crimes over the last several weeks. Police say there were two vehicles, stolen items worth thousands of dollars that included tools, firearms and more.  Police had several officers on the case and arrested the teen for burglary, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. They also say he’s a suspect for five other cases.

A man from Fort Bragg who was about to go to trial for committing sex acts on a minor has decided to admit guilt instead. Antonio David Borrero-Ginel was supposed to be in court today, but then changed his not guilty plea, and admitted sex acts on a child under 10 years of age. That means he faces 15 years to life in prison. He also pleaded guilty to another felony, lewd and lascivious acts on a child, which tacks on another three years. Now the case goes to the Adult Probation Department for a sentencing recommendation. That will be used to determine the sentence. Borrero-Ginel is due back in court March 23rd for formal sentencing in Ukiah.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has rejected an offer to buy more than 500 tax-delinquent properties that did not sell at the county property auction in June. Lake Co news reports that a newly established non-profit wanted to buy those properties but county treasurer-tax collector Patrick Sullivan questioned the purchase application. North State Solutions of Chico was formed in September to buy single-family homes and re-sell them to low-income families, however Sullivan says he can’t find proof that it was registered as a charitable organization. North Coast offered to pay just over 350,000 for the 548 properties, but Sullivan told the Board that is way below the market value. He also questioned the size of the proposal and whether the county could handle all that would be involved. The Board agreed with Sullivan’s assessment and denied the application.

Mendocino County is clarifying the status of those evacuated from the Creekside Cabins property near Willits. The county says the residents chose to leave and were not evicted—because the county doesn’t have the authority to do that. Some residents are upset that the county didn’t give them more time to get their belongings. The temporary bridge allowing limited access will come down today. After it does, the property will be off-limits and the Sheriff’s office says it will cite anyone who trespasses. The county says it holds the property owner responsible for fixing access to the property but the landlord contends the STATE is responsible because the sinkhole is on state lands. 13 families who lived at the site have received vouchers for an alternate RV park, while a couple dozen others either have hotel vouchers hotels or have made their own arrangements.

A famous country music star reportedly owns some property adjacent to the Creekside Cabins. Mendofever.com reports that Kris Kristofferson has 7.4 acres next door. There is no indication that Kristofferson has ever been there—and the report says there is nothing to suggest he has anything to do with the situation with his neighbors.

Ukiah City manager Sage Sangiacomo is reflecting on the past year in his community. In an open letter to residents, Sangiacomo says the city is investing in priorities now while positioning itself well for the future. He cites the city’s handling of the drought and progress on environmental concerns as the top accomplishments of 2022. He also says Ukiah has done a good job advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, maintaining infrastructure, and implementing fire mitigation measures, among other accomplishments. Sangicomo says Ukiah is continuing initiatives that improve the quality of life in Ukiah a priority moving into 2023.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies are using a new way to track suspected criminals. Deputies responding to a report of a man with a rifle in the 2800 block of North State Street in Ukiah used a specially equipped drone to spot the man—and tell him to give up via an aerial one-way speaker. He complied and the situation was resolved peacefully. The gun he had was actually a pellet gun, disguised to look like a high-powered rifle.

The owner of several Chevron gas stations in the region—including some in Lake and Mendocino Counties—will have to pay half a million dollars for failing to follow state environmental laws. The Press Democrat reports that Alam and Faizan Corporation failed to maintain equipment to detect leaks from its underground tanks and mishandled hazardous waste at some locations. Prosecutors also charged the company with labeling pumps with the wrong octane level and falsely advertising regular gas as premium at some stations.

A plan to bring passenger rail service to Windsor and Healdsburg is back on track after a unanimous ruling from the California Supreme Court. The seven judges say money in an escrow account set up after voters approved spending billions of dollars for a high-speed rail network in the state can be freed up. The proposition included money for the northward expansion. The Howard Jarvis Tax association sued, saying the question needed a two-thirds majority vote. It got 54 percent. Now, work to extend service can begin. Planners say the trains could run to Windsor by 2026 and to Healdsburg about a year later. Local officials say it could be a big boost to the regional economy.

California is getting almost 30 million dollars from Washington to fix roads damaged by the January storms. The state congressional delegation says the money will be a big help to communities hit hard by the storms. The National Park Service is getting another 10 million to repair the public-use roadways under its jurisdiction, while the Forest Service is getting another 8 million.

A federal judge has ruled against a California law that would have prevented doctors from going against the generally accepted science when treating COVID patients. Governor Newsom approved that law last September. He said it was aimed at preventing COVID misinformation. A group of doctors sued, saying the law was unconstitutional, and the judge ruled in their favor. The law is on hold as the litigation continues.

The January rain is helping the California Department of Water resources boost its allocation of water to 29 public water agencies. The Department says it can provide 30 percent of what the agencies asked for—up from 5 percent announced December 1. Director Karla Nemeth says the storms made clear the importance of efforts to modernize existing water infrastructure for an era of intensified drought and floods. The state’s two biggest reservoirs—Oroville and San Luis—gained 1.6 million acre feet of water. That is enough by itself to supply the needs of 5.6 million homes a year.

Mendocino County continues to deal with the situation at the Creekside Cabins near Willits. That site has been closed for sanitary concerns and the 50 or so residents who once called the property home have been ordered out. The temporary bridge built to cross over a large sinkhole should close today, leaving cleanup of the raw sewage that has spilled onto the ground and threatens the nearby creek. California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the threat comes just as the salmon spawning season begins. The Mendocino County sheriff’s office plans to follow up on some unregistered vehicles and trailers reportedly left behind on the land, while Public Health and CalTrans will work with the property owner to restore access. Officials say the property owner is ultimately responsible for the mess.

Six businesses on North State Street in Ukiah suffered damage when a man went on a rock-throwing spree early Wednesday. Police later found him and had to talk him out of hurting himself with a knife he pulled out of his pocket. Officers say it took several minutes to de-escalate the situation but they got the 51-year-old transient from the state of Washington to lower the 6-inch blade from his throat. He ended up in the hospital on a mental health hold. Damage to the businesses in the thousand block of North State totaled around 3,500 dollars.

The recent storms have left a lot of debris behind — both on land and in the water. The Lake County Water Resources Department wants anyone venturing out onto Clear Lake to be careful of trees, branches, and other flotsam washed into the lake. Their advice is to slow down and keep a clear line of sight, especially around dusk and dawn. The department is patrolling the lake and pulling out hazardous d debris but warns boaters to be alert with storm runoff continuing.

Lake County Water Resources Department, US Fish, and Wildlife Service, and consultants are hosting a Virtual Forum to discuss how the County would respond if invasive Quagga or Zebra mussels are ever found or established in Clear Lake. Experts say continued vigilance and collective action is essential and that relenting could invite far-reaching environmental and economic harm. The February 2 webinar will share information on the invasive mussel rapid response and containment transition project, which is intended to improve the current Clear Lake aquatic invasive species program while preparing for an invasive mussel introduction to Clear Lake or Lake County. The results of an invasion would be severe, given the Lake’s central role in the region’s economy and ecology. Given the Lake’s popularity and accessibility, the county says it is important to know the risks—and act now to plan for the worst-case scenario. There is information about the meeting on the website clearlakemusselprevention.org

Willits police have put out more information about an armed robbery at a cannabis-related business at a residence on Creekside Drive last weekend. Officers were called out to that business on Sunday afternoon, where the victims told police that 5 men with guns made off with around 40 to 50 pounds of processed marijuana bud. The robbers then took off in a Jeep Compass with Arizona plates and another vehicle. While the business was approved as a medical consultancy, it did not have permission to store or handle marijuana. City officials say they’ll start a separate investigation of possible unauthorized use.

A plan for a huge ultra-luxury resort east of Middletown is slowly moving forward now that the state Attorney general’s office has dropped its objections. Lotusland Investment Group wants to turn a 25-square-mile property into what it calls an international destination, with 5 boutique hotels with 600 rooms, plus 1,400 residential villas. The AG’s office had concerns that the area was prone to fires, but the developers made some concessions about that risk and greenhouse gas emissions. The Press-Democrat reports it may still be a while before the project gets started though. Lotusland will have to submit fire evacuation plans and the impacts of adding almost 5,000 new people to an area that has about 10,000 people already. There will be public comment and the Board of Supervisors will have to go along. The mega-development is near the site of two major fires—the Valley Fire in 2015 and more recently the LNU Complex fire that burned more than 350,00 acres in 2020. The location is East of Highway 29 near the Napa County line. In addition to the hotels and villas, the plan includes a golf course, polo fields, a spa, and high-end shops and commercial properties.

A bill that would impose a tax on the richest of the rich has been introduced into the California Assembly. The proposal would impose a 1% annual tax on people with a net worth of more than 50 million. For billionaires, the tax would go to 1.5 percent. About 23,000 households would be affected and the tax would bring in an estimated 21.6 billion a year. The plan may be more symbolic than anything else—a similar bill last year didn’t even make it past the first steps in a committee.

A rare sight in a California national park. Special trail cameras set up in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks have caught at least one Sierra Nevada red fox—the first time anyone has seen that endangered animal in almost 100 years. Researchers say the videos will help understand the habits and habitats of the tiny population of Sierra Nevada red fox.

No decision about a proclamation of local emergency about the dwindling population of the Clear Lake hitch. The small fish has gone from a population of millions to the point where it could soon be gone forever. The reason for the drop-off is not clear and that’s what caused the County Board of supervisors to put off calling it a local emergency. Lake Co news reports that the supervisors heard hours of comments about the issue Tuesday, and eventually decided NOT to decide until its next meeting on February 7th. The hitch is culturally important to Lake County’s Pomo Indian tribes. They think fewer diversions from creeks and wells around the lake is a good first step, but the county agriculture community doesn’t like that idea. They worry that diverting water intended for the crops is most at risk. . After hearing from a long list of experts, the board voted to put off more discussion of the resolution until its February session.

A woman reported missing in Clearlake has been found. Clearlake Police had been looking for 28-year-old Kayla Johnson since Tuesday morning, but now report she is OK.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is looking for information about a missing woman. 55-year-old nancy Mingey of Lakeport hasn’t been heard from since January 4th. The Sheriff’s Office took a missing person report on January 19th. If you have any information that might help, you can get in touch with the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit.

The saga of the Creekside Cabins goes on. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has signed off on an emergency order shutting down the property near Willits and has decided to start a lawsuit against the property owner. The site has been isolated since just before New Year’s because of a large sinkhole. County Public Health, Environmental Health, and Code Enforcement ordered that closure after a tour showed sewage on the ground, potentially running toward the creek. While investigating the site and helping residents evacuate, County staff members reported that they saw the illicit discharge of sewage material. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will investigate the site for criminal violations. The property owner disputes that her property is unsafe. Theresa Thurman told the board that she has followed the rules set out by the state for sewage disposal. CalTrans has been working on a temporary bridge that will allow the 50 or so residents to get out or get back in to collect their things. No one will be allowed back in after 5PM tomorrow. After that, anybody on the property will be considered a trespasser Supervisor John Hassack calls the whole situation tragic.

Mendocino County Fourth District supervisor Dan Gjerde won’t run for re-election next year. The election on March 5th next year is the same date as California’s presidential primary. Gjerde says an early campaign schedule prompted him to make the announcement now so anyone interested in government service can start to prepare. Filing papers for the position are due starting in early September. Gjerde has been the district 4 supervisor since 2013. Before that, he was on the Fort Bragg City council for 12 years.

PG&E says it will continue its fight to keep the state’s last nuclear power plant open longer. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has turned back a request to keep the Diablo Canyon plant open past an originally projected closure in 2025. The utility says it needs to keep the plant open longer to allow more time to transition to solar and other renewable energy. Governor Newsom supports leaving the plants open for at least another 10 years. The NRC has the final word on whether or not that happens.

The January rain has helped refill California reservoirs. The state says levels in two of the state’s biggest water sources, Lakes Oroville and Shasta are at their highest levels in more than two years. As the winter snowpack melts the state expects both to be near capacity by May. Last summer, Lake Shasta was just 40 percent full.

More and more of us are ditching gasoline. The State Energy Commission says almost 20 percent of new cars sold in California last year were either hybrid or fully electric. That is up from less than 10 percent2021. Officials say several things caused the big increase. Higher gas prices, more models to choose from, and incentives are among the factors. Nationwide last year less than 6 percent of all vehicles were electric.

Fort Bragg Police say officers were reportedly able to stop a suicidal person from jumping off the Noyo Bridge on Sunday. They did not release any names or details on the incident saying only that officers responded Sunday evening and were able to help the distraught person. They remind the public of the many resources available if you are depressed and having suicidal thoughts, including the new national call/text number 9-8-8 as well as 9-1-1 or RCS Crisis 1-855-838-0404. And they say school counselors in the Fort Bragg School District are ready to assist any students.

An arrest has been made in the January 17 death of a bicyclist in Clearlake. Clearlake police say 18-year-old Johnny Leon-Rojas of Santa Rosa has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. It happened at the intersection of Boyles Avenue near 26th Avenue. The rider, Edward Quinone of Clearlake, was pronounced dead on scene. The truck that had hit him was still there but abandoned. Leon-Rojas was booked into the Lake County Jail. Police are still looking for any possible witnesses.

Another civil suit has reportedly been filed against a former Ukiah Police Sergeant accused of rape and sexual coercion. In 2021 Kevin Murray was charged with sexual battery and coercion and while that was pending through the system other rape allegations surfaced including from a female Ukiah police officer and another woman dating back to 2014. In September Murray was allowed to plead “no contest” to witness intimidation and false imprisonment for the 2021 incident and was sentenced to two years probation and sex offender counseling. Mendo Fever reports that in addition to a civil suit filed by the female Ukiah officer, the woman from the 2014 allegation is also suing. She says Murray raped her twice at her home with a weapon and since despite speaking to investigators her case was not resolved, she is suing in civil court.

Clearlake Police are asking your help in finding a missing woman. 28-year-old Kayla Johnston was last seen in the area of West 40th and Carrol Avenues. They have not said what date she was last seen or whether she was with anyone else. She is described as white, about 5 feet 2 and 110 pounds, with brown shoulder length hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing a hot pink hoodie and dark blue jeans. If you have any information on her whereabouts you are asked to call Clearlake Police.

If you have storm damage from the last couple of months Mendocino County needs to know. The County has started the transition from response to recovery and they need you to self-report damage from the severe weather from December to January. The information will be used to help the County in requesting help from nonprofits as well as state and federal agencies. So far, FEMA has not authorized individual assistance for private property so the County needs your info to find other ways to help. There’s a survey on the Mendocino County website. The deadline is February 3rd.

Governor Gavin Newsom is heading to Half Moon Bay today, the scene of the second mass shooting in three days in California. The Governor had been set to lead a panel for the National Governors Association meeting in Los Angeles but instead that First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom will lead it so the Governor can visit the seaside town in which 7 people were killed and one remains in critical condition. The gunman, 67-year-old Chunli Zhao of Half Moon Bay, turned himself in after opening fire at a mushroom farm and then another affiliated farm nearby. While the motive is still unknown, the San Mateo County Sheriff says Zhao was a worker with the farms.

Drunk driving is said to be at the center of a Sunday night car crash near Covelo. The CHP says the crash was reported around 830pm Sunday with emergency responders finding the car about 20′ off the road near the corner of Hill and Dobie. Mendo Fever reports the driver was transported to the Covelo airport where he was taken by air ambulance to Ukiah Valley Medical Center with what are said to be major injuries. The CHP confirms that the driver was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Interim Lake County Chief Probation Officer Wendy Mondfrans has been appointed into the position permanently by the Lake County Superior Court. Mondfrans was named to the interim position by the judges at the start of the year when former Chief Probation Officer Rob Howe was sworn in as Lake County Sheriff. Lake County News reports Mondfrans was a practicing attorney before joining the probation department in 2010.

Lake County’s unemployment rate was down a touch in December. The Employment Development Department reported that Lake County’s unemployment rate was 5.1% in December which is down from 5.3% in November and 5.8% in December 2021. Lake County News reports that while most industry sectors in Lake County showed no change in the number of jobs available, professional and business services showed an increase of 2.8% and retail trade in increase of about half a percent.

Nonprofit community organization Change our Name is sponsoring an essay contest for Fort Bragg High School students. The org wants citizens to consider whether the town should still be named for Braxton Bragg who was a General in the Confederate Army and a slaveholder. The essay contest asks students to write on whether or not the name of Fort Bragg High School should be changed. They say the purpose is for students to do their own research and make up their own minds and the essays will be judged not on whether the students agree with the organization but on the breadth of their research and the force of their arguments and the judges will be independent of the organization. First prize is $1,000, second prize $500 and third prize $200. The contest runs from February 1 through March 30.

Mendocino County has closed Creekside Cabins near Willits. Public health says the property is a health hazard because of exposed sewage and other concerns. The site has been cut off since early this month because of a sinkhole at the entrance. CalTrans is building a temporary bridge to let the 50 or so residents evacuate or get back in to get their belongings. The bridge should open Wednesday, morning but everyone will have to be out by Thursday at 5:00 PM. The County says the property owner is responsible for access, but so far hasn’t done anything to fix the problem. Anyone entering the property does so at their own risk because of the unsanitary conditions.

The US Forest Service is working to get off-road vehicles back on its trails. The trails are closed until further notice. The Forest Service says crews are still assessing the damage done by the January rain, especially in the burn-scarred areas of the Ranch and August Complex fires. Trees are down and several slides on main forest roads will have to be cleared. The roads and trails are soaked as well so too much use too soon could cause more damage. If you’re thinking of hitting the trails, check the forest service website or social media to see the conditions first.

The Mendocino Emergency Ag Pass application portal is now live. The Emergency Ag Pass helps farm property owners get into areas of the county that may be under an evacuation order. With a valid ag pass, those owners can get to their land during the day to tend to essentials with their crops and livestock. The county says it is a good idea to apply now because of possible delays when there is actually an emergency. The county website has a link to the Ag Pass application.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors will hear about the plummeting population of the Clearlake Hitch at its meeting this week. The minnow-like fish is said to be on the brink of extinction due to several factors including drought, invasive species, and human-made changes to habitat The hitch once numbered in the millions, but over just the past few years the number has dropped dramatically. Environmental groups think that unless there is a reversal as soon as this year the fish could vanish for good. The hitch is an important part of the culture of the Pomo tribes in Lake County. They say losing it would be especially hard for tribe members. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will decide on an emergency declaration about the situation at their meeting on Tuesday.

The hitch issue is part of a full agenda. Among other things, commissioners will consider an agreement with the City of Clearlake for the costs of the design of a proposed Skate Park. The board meeting starts at 9AM at the County Courthouse. The link to the agenda is on the county website. You can watch it either on Chanel 8 or on Facebook.

A new 40 Unit affordable housing project has a green light in Lakeport. LakeCo News reports the Lakeport Planning commission has voted unanimously to approve AMG Associates’ proposal for the complex on almost 4 acres on Smith Street. AMG has several other projects in the city, either built or planned. During the hearing on the Smith Street plan, a couple of residents expressed concerns about how the developer handled those earlier projects. They cited problems with water lines, a retaining wall, and contractor behavior. Commissioners say they are sorry about those issues, but that they should not stand in the way of the new project. Up next—approval from the City Council, which meets on February 21st.

Police are looking for five men they say held up a business in Willits Sunday afternoon and got away with 50 pounds of cannabis. Mendofever.com reports the heist happened just before 1:00 at the business on Creekside Drive. Four of the five robbers reportedly had handguns. The suspects made their getaway in a Black Jeep SUV south on Highway 101.

A 76-year-old man is dead after a UTV crash near Alderpoint in Humboldt County. CHP says the man lost control of his Polaris Ranger on the private property Thursday afternoon, flipping it down an embankment. He died at the scene. CHP continues its investigation.

Mendocino County Social Services will be at the Creekside Cabins this morning to help residents deal with the sinkhole that has blocked the way in and out for weeks now. It will be a chance for those 50 or so residents to find out what resources may be available to them. Work on a temporary bridge to the site will start Tuesday. Caltrans will allow exit only on Wednesday and Thursday because of safety restrictions. Vehicles will only be allowed to enter the property to assist with towing travel trailers or similar with prior approval. The bridge will be removed next Friday. The installation and removal of the bridge may alter some of the foot access paths, so residents should not rely on existing foot access paths to remain after the bridge has come and gone. There is no existing plan for permanent access to the site which will seriously compromise the ability of sewer, garbage and emergency response to provide services to the site. Mendocino County Code Enforcement and Environmental Health issued an inspection warrant earlier this week and will be evaluating the property this week to further investigate health and safety concerns. The county says the landlord has failed to live up to obligations to fix the issue since the heavy rains caused the ground to open up at the property access to highway 101 just before the New Year. Officials are still urging people to avoid that area for the time being. Today’s meeting with residents starts at

The Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care will be conducting its annual unsheltered point-In-Time Count next week The count will start at sundown on Thursday and run through the following week. The Count is mandated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and is used by the State of California and other Federal Departments to calculate allocations of homeless services funding. The data received through the Count will help our local community to identify needs and develop planning to engage and support people experiencing homelessness throughout Mendocino County. Organizers say it takes a lot of help before and during the survey, so they need volunteers to count along the Coast as well as Southern and Northern Inland parts of the county. The website Mendocino.PointInTime.info has more on how you can sign up.

An informational meeting this evening about a proposal for a facility for Homeless Youth in Lucerne. The Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians has a $5.2 million grant from the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency to turn the Lucerne Hotel building into 65 housing units for homeless youth from around the region. Lake Co news reports the Lucerne Area Town Hall passed a resolution condemning the plan in December. This evening’s session, hosted by District 3 supervisor EJ Crandell at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, on Country Club Drive is from 5:30 to 7:30. It is also available on Zoom.

No reports of any damage from a small earthquake early today in Humboldt County. The US Geological Survey reports that a 4.3 magnitude quake was centered northeast of Arcata just after midnight. There was another small earthquake yesterday afternoon near Cloverdale but you probably didn’t notice. The US GS says the 3.6 magnitude shake occurred just after 5, centered under the middle of Lake Sonoma. There were no reports of any damage. In fact, very few people even reported feeling it. The USGS says that’s not unusual. Quakes between 2.5 and 3 are usually the smallest anyone can feel it. Seismologists say It takes a magnitude 4 to do any damage.

President Biden has seen firsthand the damage done by the storms that lashed California for the past few weeks. The president was in Santa Cruz on Thursday surveying the situation there. He says Washington will help out wherever it can—including assistance from FEMA and other agencies. Damage statewide will run into the billions.

In addition to floods on the coast, the storms dumped FEET of snow on the mountains. That snow may have led to an avalanche that trapped two skiers just outside the boundaries of one ski resort near Lake Tahoe. Rescuers found two back-country skiers just outside the Heavenly valley resort. The skiers survived but were hospitalized.

The ocean often washes up unusual things after storms but one community down the coast is dealing with something you might not expect the sea to give back..golf balls. Carmel is dealing with dozens of them—apparently hit into the water by errant shots from golfers at nearby Pebble Beach and other courses.

A celebrity may be putting his name out for congress in California. Reports say a grown-up Fred Savage—from the 90’s TV show Boy meets World –has filed papers to run as a Democrat to replace Congressman Adam Schiff. Schiff is one of several dems thinking of running for the US Senate in 2024.

Mendocino County Public Health’s Test to Treat sites, which offered on-site COVID testing and treatments, are closing. The closure is because OptumServe, the Test to Treat provider, is ending services in the County. The Ukiah Test to Treat site closed today, while the Fort Bragg site closes on Tuesday. The county says there are still lots of options to get tested. Those include Federally Qualified Health Centers and medical providers across the county that offer both testing and treatment options. COVID tests are also easy to find at local pharmacies. If you do test positive, treatments are available by contacting your health provider.

If you want tickets to this weekend’s 49ers home playoff game against the Cowboys, be prepared to pay up. The cheapest seats online are around $500—each—and the players will look like ants from where you’ll be at that price. That doesn’t count the parking, concessions, and souvenirs. The best seat will probably be your recliner when the game kicks off on Fox, Sunday at 6:30.

Mendocino County Social Services staff along with the Sheriff’s office, legal aid, and other resource agencies will meet Friday with residents of the Creekside Cabins to discuss what’s next. A sinkhole has cut off access to those cabins and the county has decided to make a temporary bridge because officials say so far the landlord has not accepted responsibility. The plans include relocation, but housing at that site is varied so plans for potential removal will have to be addressed on a residence-by-residence basis. Meanwhile, County staff, Caltrans, and contractors will be meeting at the site today, to work on logistics for the temporary bridge to allow residents to get off the property. Traffic control measures will be in place at the site on Hwy 101 next week while the bridge is put in, used, and eventually taken out. The County continues to ask people to avoid the area so that staff, resource agencies and contractors can work and provide assistance safely.

The Upper Lake Ranger District in the Mendocino National Fire is starting prescribed burning on 452 acres of hand piles in the Lake Pillsbury area this week.. Fire managers will conduct prescribed fire activities during the safest possible burn windows in the coming months. Before crews are authorized to move forward with burning, wind, humidity, air quality, fuel moisture, and availability of fire crew personnel guildines must be met. Residents and visitors should avoid areas where prescribed fires are being conducted. Though you may see smoke, do not worry because fires are carefully monitored. Local fire and government authorities are told before burn days and kept informed throughout prescribed fire operations. The national forest website has the locations.

President Biden will tour the damage and be briefed on recovery efforts after the series of major storms that hit California in recent weeks. At least 20 people died, and there is damage in 41 of the state’s 58 counties. Governor Gavin Newsom, and other federal, state, and local officials will join the trip to Santa Cruz County, where the president will meet with business owners and affected residents. He has declared affected areas a federal disaster area and pledged FEMA will help the state however it can.

Clearlake’s new recreation center is getting a big boost. The city is getting 2 million dollars from Washington for the Clearlake Burns Valley Sports Complex and Recreation Center project. Congressman Mike Thompson helped steer that funding through congress, He says the center will have a major impact on the community by encouraging a healthy lifestyle, providing safe activities for youth, and drawing visitors from outside the region. It will eventually include sports fields and a 20,000-square-foot rec center. It will also grow to have retail space, a new county public works yard, and an 80-unit affordable housing project.

Plans for Lakeport to take over an area along South Main Street are over for now. Lake Co News reports that the Lake Local Area Formation Commission has decided to shelve the annexation of 137 acres along South Main near Soda Bay Road east of Highway 29. The idea failed to get a majority of affected property owners in the November election. The city has been eyeing annexation for years to develop the commercial corridor. Now, it will be at least a year before the city can try again. Commission executive officer John Benoit plans to brief city manager Kevin Ingram on what’s next

The state is planning a the first of two listening sessions todayto talk about the future of the Clear Lake hitch. The minnow like fish is only found in Clear Lake and its population has dropped significantly over the years. It has been an endangered species since 2014. The hitch is traditionally important to several indigenous Pomo Indian tribes in the region, both spiritually and as a food source. It is also important to the lake ecosystem. The Zoom session is from 1:00 to 3:00 and you can find how to access on the State Water Resources Board website. There will be another virtual session on February 1st from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. The Board hopes to develop both short and long term plans to protect the Clear Lake hitch.

Coastal tides will be extremely high –and extremely low this weekend due to a phenomenon called King Tides. King Tdes occur when several astronomical events happen at the same time: when there’s a new or full moon when the moon is closest to the Earth, and when the Earth is closest to the sun, The tides are not related to the recent storms or climate change, but experts say they could be a glimpse at what the coast could be like if sea levels continue to rise. A project from the California Coastal Commission hopes to document the tides. The commission would like people to—safely–take pictures of the tides and submit them. You can find out more about the tides and the project on the Coastal Commission website.

One of the oldest people in the world lives in our own backyard. With the death of 116-year-old Sister Andre in France this week, Edie Ceccarelli of Willits has moved up to third place on the world super-centenarian list. She will be 115 on February 8. She recently became the oldest living US Citizen. Officials hope to have a drive-by parade in her honor on her big day in a couple weeks. When she was born, Teddy Roosevelt was President, and World War 1 was 6 years in the future.

Plans for a new headquarters for the Lake County Sheriff’s office emergency Operation center at the former Armory in north Lakeport are moving ahead. Congressman Mike Thompson has helped secure almost a million dollars in the latest federal budget to help pay for the project. The county is swapping some property on 18th Avenue in Clearlake for the Armory property on Hoyt Avenue next to the county jail. The congressman says the new HQ will help the county respond better to wildfires, floods, landslides, and other natural disasters. The initial work will include a new roof and HVAC system, weatherization, and accessibility alterations. Eventually, the plan is to have most of the department operations at the repurposed armory. The property the city swapped on 18th Avenue is being developed for emergency housing.