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7 MENDOCINO RESIDENTS CHARGED IN DRUG RING JH 11/20/12

SEVEN MENDOCINO COAST RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN CHARGED IN A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION INTO $17 MILLION IN ILLEGAL SALES OF HIGH GRADE MARIJUANA AND COCAINE IN KANSAS.

42 YEAR OLD JAMES SODERLING OF FORT BRAGG PLEADED NOT GUILTY YESTERDAY IN KANSAS TO MULTIPLE DRUG CHARGES. HE AND SARAH SODERLING WERE ARRESTED IN JULY, AND ARE AMONG 43 DEFENDANTS LISTED IN A 103-COUNT INDICTMENT FILED OCTOBER 31 AS HAVING A ROLE IN DRUG PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND SALES FROM 2005 TO 2012 IN KANSAS, MISSOURI AND CALIFORNIA. THE DEA MADE SEVERAL MORE LOCAL ARRESTS IN THIS CASE ON NOVEMBER 7. JOHN McMILLON AND WIFE ERIN KELLER, HENRY McKUSKER, JEFFERY WALL, AND RICHARD SMITH JR ALL FACE CHARGES THAT CARRY A MINIMUM SENTENCE OF 10 YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON AND $10 MILLION IN FINES.

MISSING MOTORCYCLIST TURNS UP SAFE JH 11/20/12

A MISSING MOTORCYCLE RIDER, LOST OVERNIGHT ON COW MOUNTAIN WAS FOUND YESTERDAY MORNING.

32 YEAR OLD MAURICE RUCKER OF SANTA ROSA HAD BEEN RIDING IN THE AREA SUNDAY MORNING WITH FRIENDS. AS THEY WERE LEAVING, RUCKER DECIDED TO TEST A FRIENDS MOTORCYCLE, SAYING IT WOULD BE A SHORT RIDE. BY 1PM, HE HAD NOT RETURNED AND THE FRIENDS CALLED FOR HELP. LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SEARCH AND RESCUE VOLUNTEERS SEARCHED THE VAST AREA UNTIL ABOUT 4AM, AND THEN RESUMED AT 8:30 MONDAY MORNING. ACCORDING TO AUTHORITIES, HE WAS LOCATED ABOUT 10 AM, AND TRANSPORTED TO UKIAH VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER FOR POSSIBLE EXPOSURE PROBLEMS.

LAKEPORT YACHT CLUB FLAGSHIP SINKS JH 11/20/12

THE FLAGSHIP OF THE LAKEPORT YACHT CLUB, A NEARLY 75 YEAR OLD SAILBOAT, HAS SUNK NEAR THE FIFTH STREET LAUNCH RAMP LAST WEEK.

THE 32 FOOT SLOOP KNOWN AS THE EGRET, WAS BUILT IN DENMARK IN 1939. IT CAME TO THE US AFTER WORLD WAR II, SAILING THROUGH THE PANAMA CANAL AND UP THE WEST COAST. IT WILL NOW BE CONNECTED TO INFLATABLE TUBES TO RAISE IT FROM THE LAKEBED, BEFORE A CRANE PULLS IT FROM THE WATER. CLUB MEMBERS WILL THEN DECIDE ON WHETHER TO DISMANTLE THE SAIL BOAT OR TRY AND REPAIR IT. THE CAUSE OF ITS SINKING IS UNKNOWN.

WILLITS SCHOOL DISTRICT TRYING TO AVOID ITS OWN FISCAL CLIFF JH 11/20/12

SIMILAR TO THE ENTIRE US ECONOMY, THE WILLITS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT IS TRYING TO AVOID ITS OWN FISCAL CLIFF.

THE DISTRICT HAS DETERMINED THAT IT CAN AVOID FISCAL INSOLVENCY BY BORROWING MORE IN BONDS TO HELP MAKE THE NEARLY $5 MILLION BALLOON PAYMENT ON AN EARLIER BOND LOAN. THAT PAYMENT, WHICH CAME TO LIGHT RECENTLY, IS DUE IN JULY OF 2014, AND WOULD ALSO REQUIRE THE USE OF AN ESTIMATED $3.7 MILLION IN REMAINING CONSTRUCTION MONIES FROM THE FIRST ROUND OF BOND SALES. THOUGH IT IS THE LIKELY SOLUTION, IT COMES AT A HEFTY PRICE, AS THAT MONEY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE USED TO BUILD SCIENCE BUILDINGS AT WILLITS HIGH SCHOOL AND BAECHTEL CREEK MIDDLE SCHOOL. ANOTHER ASPECT OF THE INITIAL BOND ISSUE IS THAT IT INCLUDED $3.787 MILLION OF VERY EXPENSIVE CAPITAL APPRECIATION BONDS. THE PAYMENT OF THAT $3.787 MILLION ALREADY BORROWED WILL COST THE DISTRICT ABOUT $40.5 MILLION BY THE TIME THE BOND IS PAID OFF IN 2041.

WILLITS WATER CONTRACTOR WITHDRAWS BID JH 1/20/12

C.W. ROEN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, THE APPARENT LOW BIDDER TO CONSTRUCT UPGRADES TO THE WILLITS WATER TREATMENT PLANT, HAS WITHDRAWN ITS BID.

THE COMPANY, WHOSE ORIGINAL BID WAS $4.547 MILLION, CLAIMS TO HAVE DISCOVERED A $434,000 MATHEMATICAL ERROR, AND REVISED ITS BID TO $4.981 MILLION. WHEN BIDS WERE ORIGINALLY OPENED IN AUGUST, C. OVERAA AND COMPANY WAS THE SECOND LOWEST BIDDER AT $4.898 MILLION, AND THE WILLITS CITY COUNCIL LAST WEEK VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO AWARD THE PROJECT TO THEM. THE PROJECT IS BEING PAID FOR BY $2.8 MILLION IN NO-INTEREST LOANS FROM THE CALIFORNIA SAFE DRINKING WATER STATE REVOLVING FUND AND $3 MILLION IN GRANTS.

CLEAR LAKE HITCH WORKSHOP 11/20/12

WITH THE CLEAR LAKE HITCH PROPOSED FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES LISTINGS AT BOTH THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS, A PUBLIC INFORMATIONAL WORKSHOP HAS BEEN SCHEDULED TO EXPLAIN THE PROCESS TO THE COMMUNITY.

THE WORKSHOP WILL CONVEY INFORMATION ABOUT THE HITCH, ITS ECOLOGY, THE LISTING PROCESS AND FOSTER AN OPEN DIALOG TO ADDRESS THE COMMUNITYS CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROCESS. A PANEL OF EXPERTS WILL BE ON HAND TO ANSWER QUESTIONS. THE FREE WORKSHOP IS SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 3RD AT 7 PM AT THE LAKE COUNTY COURTHOUSE.

WEATHER MAY IMPAIR DRIVING OVER THE HOLIDAY JH 11/20/12

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IS WARNING OF THE POTENTIAL FOR WIND, RAIN AND SNOW IN LAKE AND MENDOCINO COUNTIES, AS WE APPROACH THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY.

A WIND ADVISORY IS CURRENTLY IN EFFECT, AND RAIN IS LIKELY INTO WEDNESDAY NIGHT, WITH SNOW IN HIGHER ELEVATIONS. PATCHY FOG IN THE VALLEYS IS EXPECTED TO MOVE IN WEDNESDAY NIGHT AND REMAIN THROUGH THANKSGIVING DAY, WITH OVERNIGHT TEMPERATURES IN THE 30S. CHP WANTS TO REMIND YOU THAT THIS WEEKEND IS ALSO A MAXIMUM ENFORCEMENT PERIOD, SO DRIVE CAUTIOUSLY AND SAFELY IF YOUR TRAVELING FOR THE HOLIDAY.

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