A diver’s reportedly died at the southern Mendocino Coast. The Sheriff’s office says emergency crews were called out to Cooks Beach just north of Gualala around 1pm Sunday. Officials say the man is from out of the area. Two other people were also reported to be in distress but were pulled from the water. The Sheriff’s Office has not released any other details.
The annual Lake County Burn Ban for 2015 has been lifted. Do remember burn permits are required for all outdoor burning in the Lake County air basin though. You can get them through your local fire department, or the Lake County Air Quality Management District. A Smoke Management Plan is required for all burns more than 20 acres in size, multi-day burns, standing vegetation, whole tree or vine removals more than one acre. Residential burn permits require a one-acre or larger lot, and must be at least 100 feet from all neighbors, and at least 30 feet from any structures.
Marymount California University is hosting a forum next week on the summer’s fires, restoration and recovery plus preparations for expected El Niño rains. The Forum is set for next Thursday, December 3rd from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. at the Lakeside campus in Lucerne. Folks from Cal Fire, the University of California Cooperative Extension’s forest and wildlands ecology advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties; and a representative of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Lake County will all be there. For more information you can contact the university at 888-991-LAKE.
The next meeting of the Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County is January 8th. There is no December meeting. At their November meeting the Alliance got a presentation from Comcast on their Internet Essentials program which offers low-cost internet access to eligible families with children in the Ukiah, Willits, and Fort Bragg school districts that are within the Comcast service area. The program has been in effect for 4 years and offers low-cost internet service within their service area to all students and their families enrolled in schools with a 50% or higher number of students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. Comcast is looking at expanding the program but meanwhile asked the Alliance to help spread the word to those already eligible but who may not know about it.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve caught a man in Ukiah who may be connected to the murder of his parents. The man, Nathan Wilson of Sebastopol is accused of killing David and Adrienne Wilson Monday. Police say they got a call yesterday morning to the double homicide by a man saying he thought his nephew was the culprit. The man told police the couple was on the floor of their home in a pool of blood and says his nephew was also seen covered in blood, but he wasn’t there. A CHP helicopter went looking for the missing man, but didn’t immediately capture him. He was found late yesterday afternoon. Police say they found the couple with multiple sharp object wounds and a possible weapon was found in the house.
Not much change in the October real estate market in Lake County, even after several massive wildfires this summer. Lake Co News reports sales activity was actually above normal in part of the south county. The Lake County Association of Realtors says the median sales price for a single family residence in October was almost exactly what it was a month before, just off $250. October’s median was $211,250 and September’s, $211,500. It was 30% higher than a year before when the median price of a home in Lake County was $162,500.
More than $17 million dollars has been approved for a tree mitigation project in Lake County. The hired contractor has identified about 26,000 trees that need approval to be felled or their limbs cleared. The price per tree is different depending on its diameter with the average cost about $150. It goes up if there’s a tree and/or stump on private property, on County land, it’s about $200 for a tree 24 to 47.99 inches in diameter. That doubles if it’s considered a hazard on someone else’s lot.
Tempers flaring at the Hidden Valley Lake Campground. The Record Bee reports with only a couple weeks left before Valley Fire survivors and others at the campground have to clear out, things are getting bleaker at the campsite. The paper reports some of the complaints received by camp residents are fighting, loud music and partying late at night with heavy drinking and homeless residents who find themselves that way for reasons besides being displaced by September’s fire. Other residents complain about a lack of security and organization and some blame two men at the campground who are not there due to the Valley Fire. The deadline to leave is Dec. 7th but the newspaper reports, many residents said they have nowhere to go.
Homeless people in Garberville, a small town with less than 1,000 people living there. But apparently a new residency, "Hippie Hill where a tent city popped up on a hill just outside of town. The Press Democrat reports there’s a grassroots movement to get the transients and drug addicts off the street. Others say they’re vandalizing and stealing from homes and businesses, partake in hard drugs in public, pee in the street and generally harass tourists who don’t want to be there anymore. The Humboldt County Sherriff’s Dept. reports there’s been something of a community revolt. Willits also has something of a problem, but the newspaper reports, it’s not as bad as Garberville. But Willits has an annual migration of people looking for marijuana industry work, which the city’s mayor says is bad for the community, and could be deterring an effort to attract doctors to its new hospital.
The Mendocino Redwood Company won its recertification for using sustainable forestry methods even though there had been a movement against due to the company’s hack and squirt work. A group of rural Mendocino County residents trying to get the Rainforest Alliance not to label the timber company “sustainable” but the certifying agency didn’t pay much attention to concerns. The Rainforest Alliance saying it interviewed multiple people with years of fire suppression experience saying dead and dying tan oak doesn’t really impact fire hazard. Environmentalists were against the re-certification saying the company plans to continue poisoning trees for 2 or 3 more decades to come.
The mac and cheese student is back in the news. The kid at the University of Connecticut who went on a drunken, obscenity-laced tirade about the jalapeno-bacon macaroni and cheese.. well, he’s applied for probation. Luke Gatti asking for accelerated rehabilitation for charges of misdemeanor breach of peace and criminal trespassing. The ex freshman arrested in Oct. for losing it in the Student Union, ranting and shoving a university food service supervisor for not selling him macaroni and cheese. The whole thing caught on video.
Belgium police asking residents to stop commenting on the recent surge in activity to root out potential terrorists because they say it could tip off suspects. So soon after, the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown went viral, but folks instead started to tweet tons of pictures of their cats in all kinds of situations — holding their paws up like they were captured, posing as police snipers with automatic weapons, and ignoring police warnings to stay away from windows. Police even got into it, posting a picture of a dish overflowing with dry cat food "For the cats that came to our aid last evening. Serve yourself! #BrusselsLockdown"
Three people suspected in a double murder in Lakeport have agreed to plea deals with the District Attorney’s Office. Conrad Velez of Lakeport faces 50 years to life in prison, his son Dakota Velez of Kelseyville will be on formal probation and Dahnna Burrows, Conrad’s girlfriend at the time of the 2014 murders has served required time for the sentence she’ll likely get next month. The trio arrested for the murder of William Busch of Lakeport and Edward Morgan of Kelseyville who were both stabbed multiple times and possibly bludgeoned too. Prosecutors say Conrad was responsible for killing Bush and Morgan and that he’ll get two 25-years-to-life sentences. He’ll have to serve 50 years before starting the life sentence.
Lake County Sheriff’s office is searching for owners of stolen property found after a long investigation into three men, two have been arrested, the other on the run. The Sheriff’s Office says there had been reports of multiple suspects involved in thefts, burglaries and drug sales. They connected a few individuals to the crimes so they started investigating Lonnie Scott of Kelseyville; Michael Shaffer of Upper Lake; and Jose Rodriguez Jr. of Kelseyville. Scott was arrested after a chase in Kelseyville, where they say he was found with several pounds of pot, stolen property and a gun. Shaffer was arrested a week later in Kelseyville with a stolen car, stolen property and methamphetamine and released and has not been found when searching again. Rodriguez was arrested and linked to several crimes.
AmeriCorps is helping volunteers in Lake County in receiving, sorting and redistributing donations for victims of the Valley Fire. The AmeriCorps team of 13 members ages 18 to 24 from all over the country, getting to Lake County from Nov. 7th to Dec. 18th for post fire relief. The team requested by Lake County after the Valley Fire which destroyed almost 2,000 structures, including more than 1,300 homes. The community liaison for Lake County is working with the volunteers as of yesterday. Work Right Circle Valley Fire Relief Distribution Center in Lakeport is still accepting donations. They say the need winter coats, boots, kitchen appliances and furniture. For more info on Americorp www.NationalService.gov .