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FIRE DISTRICT MERGE DEEMED NOT AN OPTION (LAW) JB 3/12/15

CONSULTANTS RESEARCHING THE PROPOSED MERGER OF UKIAH VALLEYS FIRE SERVICES HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THE MOVE IS NOT A VIABLE OPTION.

THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL REPORTED THAT, ACCORDING TO A PRESENTATION GIVEN TUESDAY BY CITYGATE ASSOCIATES, A COMPLETE MERGER OF THE UKIAH FIRE DEPARTMENT AND THE UKIAH VALLEY FIRE DISTRICT WOULD BE QUITE DIFFICULT. A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE FIRM SAID ANY CHANGE OF THE DISTRICTS BOUNDARIES MUST BE APPROVED BY MENDOCINO COUNTYS LOCAL AGENCY FORMATION COMMISSION, AND THAT HIS RESEARCH INDICATED AN ANNEXATION OF THE CITY INTO THE DISTRICT WOULD ONLY BE POSSIBLE IF SEVERAL THINGS COULD BE DONE, INCLUDING THE CITY PERMANENTLY TRANSFERRING ENOUGH PROPERTY TAX REVENUES TO THE DISTRICT TO SUPPORT THE $2.3 MILLION IN CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT EXPENSES. THE UKIAH CITY COUNCIL AGREED UPON THE CREATION OF AN AD-HOC COMMITTEE REPRESENTING BOTH BOARDS AND POSSIBLY THE FIREFIGHTERS UNION TO DISCUSS THEIR OPTIONS.

LAKEPORT POLICE SEEKING HELP FINDING VANDALS (LAW) JB 3/12/15

THE LAKEPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT IS ASKING FOR THE PUBLICS HELP IN IDENTIFYING THE INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE FOR RASH OF ACTS OF VANDALISM.

THE LAKEPORT POLICE CHIEF STATED THAT THE INCIDENTS, WHICH BEGAN LATE LAST MONTH, HAVE RESULTED IN THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN DAMAGE TO BUSINESSES AND CITY FACILITIES. THE MOST RECENT CASE OF VANDALISM OCCURRED EITHER LATE TUESDAY NIGHT OR EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING WHEN A GLASS DOOR AT THE LAKEPORT LIBRARY WAS COMPLETELY SMASHED OUT. EARLY ESTIMATES INDICATE THAT AT LEAST $4,000 IN DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE TO BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PROPERTY AS A RESULT OF THE VANDALISM. ANYONE WITH INFORMATION IS ASKED TO CONTACT THE LAKEPORT POLICE DEPARTMENT AT 263-5491.

COVERED CALIFORNIA EXTENDS SIGN UP WINDOW. (ECN/PI) JB 3/12/15

COVERED CALIFORNIA HAS EXTENDED THE WINDOW FOR THE STATES UNINSURED TO SIGN UP FOR HEALTH INSURANCE.

CALIFORNIANS WHO FACE A TAX PENALTY NEXT YEAR BECAUSE THEY DONT HAVE HEALTH COVERAGE WILL BE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO REDUCE THE FINE BY COVERED CALIFORNIA, THE STATES HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE. THE EXCHANGE IS CREATING A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT CATEGORY FOR TAXPAYERS CURRENTLY WITHOUT INSURANCE, ALLOWING THEM TO PURCHASE COVERAGE OUTSIDE THE FIXED ENROLLMENT PERIOD. THOSE WHO ENROLL BY THE DEADLINE OF APRIL 30 WILL ONLY HAVE TO PAY A PENALTY FOR THE MONTHS DURING 2015 WHEN THEY LACKED INSURANCE. WITHOUT THE NEW ENROLLMENT PERIOD, TAXPAYERS WITH NO INSURANCE WOULD PAY A PENALTY FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. THE AGENCY SAID THIS WEEK THAT THE NEED FOR SUCH AN ENROLLMENT CATEGORY HAS BECOME APPARENT AS MORE CALIFORNIA TAXPAYERS ARE FINDING OUT THEY WILL HAVE TO PAY A TAX PENALTY THIS YEAR BECAUSE THEY DID NOT HAVE INSURANCE LAST YEAR. COVERED CALIFORNIA HOPES THE SPECIAL ENROLLMENT CATEGORY WILL ENCOURAGE UNINSURED RESIDENTS TO BECOME INSURED THIS YEAR.

PLANS FOR MARINE SANCTUARY TO MOVE FORWARD (EVR) JB 3/12/15

THE PLAN TO EXPAND THE MARINE SANCTUARY OF THE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST IS SET TO MOVE FORWARD TODAY.

ACCORDING TO THE PRESS DEMOCRAT, THE FORMAL FEDERAL NOTICE OF THE EXPANSION PLANS FOR THE GULF OF THE FARALLONES AND CORDELL BANK NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARIES IS MARKED FOR PUBLICATION TODAY. POSTING OF THE FINAL RULE IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER TRIGGERS A 45-DAY CONGRESSIONAL REVIEW PERIOD AFTER WHICH NEWLY DRAWN SANCTUARY BOUNDARIES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE ADJOINING SANCTUARIES OFF THE NORTH COAST GO INTO EFFECT EXTENDING FEDERAL PROTECTIONS ALONG A STRETCH OF COASTLINE FROM BODEGA HEAD TO POINT ARENA AND MANCHESTER BEACH, AND MORE THAN DOUBLING THE COMBINED AREA OF THE SANCTUARIES. THE NOTICE, HOWEVER, INCLUDES A PROVISION DELAYING BY AN ADDITIONAL SIX MONTHS THE EFFECTIVE DATE FOR SEWAGE DISCHARGE REGULATIONS AS THEY APPLY TO THE U.S. COAST GUARD, WHICH RAISED LAST-MINUTE CONCERNS ABOUT ITS ABILITY TO OPERATE IN THE SANCTUARIES BECAUSE OF LIMITED STORAGE IN SOME OF ITS VESSELS.

CALIFORNIA SCHOOL BOARD SUSPENDS ACCOUNTABILITY (ED) JB 3/12/15

THE CALIFORNIA SCHOOL BOARD HAS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED THE COMMON CORE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM.

THE CALIFORNIA BOARD OF EDUCATION SUSPENDED THE STATE’S SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM ON WEDNESDAY FOR ONE YEAR TO GIVE TEACHERS AND STUDENTS TIME TO ADJUST TO NEW STANDARDIZED TESTS ALIGNED WITH COMMON CORE STANDARDS. THE BOARD VOTED AT A MEETING IN SACRAMENTO NOT TO PRODUCE AN ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE INDEX FOR THE 2014-15 SCHOOL YEAR. THE INDEX USES STUDENT RESULTS ON STATEWIDE TESTS TO RANK SCHOOLS AND TO IDENTIFY THOSE THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT. THE COMMON CORE BENCHMARKS ADOPTED BY A MAJORITY OF STATES AROUND THE NATION HAVE COME UNDER FIRE IN RECENT YEARS, LARGELY FROM CONSERVATIVES WHO SEE THEM AS A FEDERAL INFRINGEMENT ON SCHOOL POLICY. THE NEW TESTS HAVE ANGERED SOME PARENTS AND TEACHERS ACROSS THE NATION WHO SAY THE EXAMS DISTRACT FROM REAL LEARNING, PUT ADDED STRESS ON STUDENTS AND STAFF MEMBERS, AND WASTE RESOURCES, ESPECIALLY IN POOR DISTRICTS.

STATE AGENCY LOOKS AT UPPER LAKE BANK CLOSURE (ECN) JB 3/12/15

A STATE AGENCY HAS REOPENED ITS CONSIDERATION OF WESTAMERICA BANKS PROPOSED CLOSURE OF ITS BRANCH IN UPPER LAKE.

ACCORDING TO THE LAKE COUNTY NEWS, THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS OVERSIGHT, THE AGENCY INVOLVED WITH REVIEWING WESTAMERICA BANKS PROPOSED CLOSURE OF ITS UPPER LAKE BRANCH HAS REOPENED ITS CONSIDERATION OF THE MATTER BASED ON CONCERNS ABOUT THE IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY. WESTAMERICA HAD NOTIFIED THE DEPARTMENT IN A LETTER ON DECEMBER 31 THAT IT INTENDED TO CLOSE THE BRANCH LOCATED ON MAIN STREET IN UPPER LAKE. HOWEVER, SINCE THEN, UPPER LAKE RESIDENTS AND LOCAL OFFICIALS HAVE BROUGHT TO LIGHT THE PLANNED CLOSURES POTENTIAL IMPACTS. THEIR EFFORTS HAVE BROUGHT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS OVERSIGHT’S ATTENTION THE POTENTIALLY FAR-REACHING EFFECTS OF THE CLOSURE OF THE ONLY BANK ON THE NORTHSHORE AND, IN FACT, THE ONLY BANK ON THE 85-MILE STRETCH OF THE HIGHWAY 20 CORRIDOR BETWEEN WILLIAMS AND UKIAH.

GAS PRICES STILL CLIMBING, DESPITE STRONG SUPPLIES (ECN) JB 3/12/15

GASOLINE PRICES CONTINUE TO CLIMB, WITH CALIFORNIA CURRENTLY HAVING THE HIGHEST PRICE IN THE COUNTRY.

STATEWIDE GAS PRICES IN CALIFORNIA ON TUESDAY REGISTERED AT $3.43 ON AVERAGE FOR A GALLON OF REGULAR UNLEADED GASOLINE, 78 CENTS HIGHER THAN A MONTH AGO. EVEN IN MARYSVILLE, WHERE THE LEAST EXPENSIVE AVERAGE PRICE IN THE STATE WAS MEASURED, THE PRICE STILL ECLIPSED THE $3 MARK AT $3.21 A GALLON. CALIFORNIA HAS THE HIGHEST PRICE IN THE COUNTRY DUE TO REPORTED REFINERY PROBLEMS AND SUPPLY ISSUES. CURRENTLY, CALIFORNIA AND HAWAII ARE THE ONLY STATES IN THE COUNTRY WITH AVERAGE PRICES OVER THE $3 MARK.

LAKEPORT SENIOR CENTER LAUNCHES FUNDRAISER (PI) JB 3/12/15

THE LAKEPORT SENIOR ACTIVITY CENTER IS LAUNCHING A FUNDRAISER THIS MONTH TO HELP PURCHASE MUCH NEEDED EQUIPMENT.

IN AN EFFORT TO UPGRADE AND REPLACE AGING EQUIPMENT AT THEIR FACILITY, THE STAFF AT THE LAKEPORT SENIOR ACTIVITY CENTER HAS STARTED FUNDRAISING EFFORTS RECENTLY. CENTER STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS HAVE WORKED HARD TO KEEP THE DOORS OPEN DURING THE RECENT ECONOMIC DEPRESSION AND BUDGET CUTS AND THE COST OF REPLACING AND UPGRADING THE EQUIPMENT IS ESTIMATED AT MORE THAN $60,000. THE CENTER WILL BE HOSTING A CRAB FEED ON MARCH 21 TO RAISE FUNDS TO PURCHASE A NEW COMMERCIAL STOVE RANGE AND DONATIONS TO THE CENTER CAN ALSO BE MADE AT WWW.GOFUNDME/LAKEPORTSENIORS.

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