A home and a 3 other buildings have been burned in two fires that started minutes apart in Covelo. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department reports the fires ignited by mowers and did not appear suspicious. One of the fires burned about 5 acres and another about 30. Cal Fire reports the largest fire near Cemetery Drive at the north end of town. The sheriff’s department tweeted three outbuildings and one home have been destroyed, but there were no injuries. They were still figuring out the damage yesterday. They had several air tankers, a helicopter, air attack plane, two hand crews, 13 fire engines and two battalion chiefs on the fires. There were other regional departments on the scene too.
Sheriff’s departments finally tallying up the amount of pot plants found in a four-day eradication operation in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle. The triangle of Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt counties. The cops saying there were major environmental violations. They located 86,500 plants, a massive bladder of water, illegal water diversions, cash, guns and thousands of pounds of dried pot on the remote Island Mountain region where the 3 counties meet. The Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman spoke about the case Friday saying it was one of the biggest eradication operations since 2011. 4 people have been arrested in connection to this garden including three in Mendocino County and one in Trinity County. The operation starting mid-spring after many complaints from area residents. Pilots flying over the area also apparently complaining about the environmental desecration.
The name of a boy killed in Ukiah about 10 days ago has been released. Police say 11-year-old Antonio Rodriguez-Victor was from Oakland. He was taken off life support last week and died. Police suspect 19 year old Jaime Rodriguez was waving a loaded gun around when it went off. The boy was found by police on the road with a face and neck wound. They say the boy was with Rodriguez and another boy when he was hit at near point-blank range. Rodriguez faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter, with a special allegation that he personally used a firearm. He could get up to four years in jail.
The retiring city manager in Clearlake had a going away party. City Manager Joan Phillipe has been in the area about 4 years, first spending time as a city manager in Colfax, Colusa and Loomis. She was also the executive director of the California State Sheriff’s Association before coming to Clearlake. She was the first city manager in town, starting in March 2012. She announced in January she would be leaving effective tomorrow. The city has hired Greg Folsom as her replacement. He’s been in town a couple weeks working with Phillipe.
Laura’s Law delay had the chairman of the Mendocino County Mental Health Advisory Board speaking out. John Wetzler says they need to hire an outpatient treatment coordinator first. He says the program for mentally ill patients who’ve been either in treatment or refused it in the past, was delayed due to budgetary reasons. Apparently the county’s mental health budget has been overdrawn almost $4 million because of past audits and settlement charges. The Board of Supervisors has approved a one year trial of the program which is now set to start in January, not this summer. Laura’s Law provides voluntary advanced outpatient treatment for those who can’t get the help they need. Patients have to apply and be approved by the county.
The Clearklake City Council’s approved the new budget. The budget unanimously approved by the council for the 2015/16 fiscal year after two workshops. The operating budget for the city, just over 6 million dollars, the general fund holds almost 4 and a half mil of that. There’s money for a rainy day, about 326-thousand in uncertainty reserves. There’s also 150-thousand in risk management reserve, required by the city’s insurance. There’s a need for more than 3 million for capital projects, but about 2 of that comes from Community Development Block Grants and the Active Transportation Program.
Fourth of July gaining on us and hot dry weather has settled in with fire danger. Lakeport Police says the city’s allowing Safe and Sane Fireworks within the incorporated area of the city. The dates they can be discharged starting Wednesday and going thru Friday, 9am-10pm then on Independence Day itself, until 11pm. There are designated areas for the discharge too. Check with local police. In Mendocino County, CalFire says no to all burn permits in the County effective June 29th, today. Fire officials say fuels are ripe for burning and there’s already been several fires reported, not usually this many seen until early August. Fireworks are illegal in Mendocino County.
The Clearlake City Council considering an ordinance regarding residential solar panels. The city council has to adopt an ordinance after an assembly bill passed regarding streamlining the permitting process. The Governor signed the bill into law last fall to stop companies from creating unreasonable barriers to solar panel installation. It means there can be no local regulations beyond those necessary to making sure solar energy doesn’t have a specific, adverse impact on public health and safety. The council unanimously approved the ordinance, which will have its second reading at its July 9 meeting.
The Skunk Train line on the Fort Bragg side is closed down until further notice. This after the railroad let go of the contractor trying to stabilize a hillside over the westernmost tunnel on the line. The project is taking longer than anticipated, running several months past when it was supposed to be done. That also caused problems during heavy rains in Fort Bragg last winter when earth around the tunnel’s western side collapsed onto the tracks. The Skunk Train general manager says the tunnel has remained intact, just the hill above it needs major work, The work was first supposed to be done in May, then July 1st. But there’s no end currently in sight.
If you’ll name you baby Quinoa, you might be able to win a $10,000 gift card to BJ’s Restaurant and Brew house. The restaurant chain’s announced a contest to coincide with the release of their new quinoa bowl dishes. The franchise’s chief marketing officer says their quirky contest would have only one winner. It also wasn’t going to anyone using a middle or nickname. The winner had to back it up with a birth certificate.
A man in Aspen, Colorado says he had quite the scare when a bear approached on his deck during an afternoon nap. Peter Rizzuto says the animal was nibbling on his ankle, he thought at first it was his neighbor’s dog and started to pet it. He said he looked up and the bear backed up and looked at him then the man went into his house and the bear left.