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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Africanized honeybees, also known as killer bees, are in the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time. The San Francisco Chronicle reporting the bees spotted in Lafayette by UC San Diego researchers who have been watching them move thru the state. They’d been seen only as far north before this as Mariposa County. Researchers say they don’t know how many there are, but it’s likely there’s more than one colony.

A man has been arrested in Napa County in connection to the suspicious death of a woman at a Calistoga bed and breakfast earlier this month. Gena Penney of Alta Dena found in a room where she and her boyfriend Kevin Jones were vacationing. Police say evidence collected and Jones’ suspicious behavior led to his arrest in Reno. The cause of Penney’s death has not been released.

New warnings for those who’ve survived the Valley Fire. State and federal disaster officials say there are scammers out there like so many other disasters. The Governor’s office of emergency services says property owners should beware of false claims of being federal disaster workers or licensed building contractors. FEMA says if someone shows up at your home, make sure to verify their credentials. Federal workers always have their official photo id’s. And contractors need to have a state license. The fire burned 76,000-acres and took down almost 2,000 structures, including 1,280 homes, 27 multi-family structures and 66 commercial properties. Federal teams are going to move thru neighborhoods and will ask residents to register for federal aid. Ask for their photo ID and if you feel something is still suspicious call FEMA’s Disaster Fraud Hotline, (866) 720-5721.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept. has new info and some arrests connected to the death of a man in the Yorkville area by a pot garden. The sheriff’s office says the man was found with about 200 marijuana plants in a remote and hidden garden in the Anderson Valley. Cops went to the area after getting a call about another man injured by shots fired. Police say it seems to be a botched pot heist on remote property. Isidro Lopez-Bernal of Ukiah and Mario Godinez of Cloverdale have been arrested in the case and are held on $500,000 bail for suspicion of robbery and murder. The victim described as a Hispanic man who had at least one gunshot wound and possibly more. Another wounded man taken to a hospital. No word on his condition.

A man who went home to his house in the Cobb Mountain area says it was looted and ransacked. The Press Democrat reports Mario Uribe went home Saturday after being evacuated for two weeks. His home was not damaged by the fire, but crooks got in instead. He says his home in the Whispering Pines area had been turned upside down, the contents of almost every drawer dumped. He says he thinks he’s out as much as $38,000 of cash that he stashed as well as missing tools. The newspaper reports Uribe is one of several homeowners who were ripped off while under mandatory evacuations. Law enforcement is tallying all of the crimes committed during the two weeks of intense fire activity. At least a half dozen people have been arrested for crimes committed against evacuees.

A man’s been arrested in Kelseyville, hanging out with others in a vacant house. The Sheriff’s dept. reports Edward Gutierrez and 2 others telling them they were renting rooms at the home, but a checkup showed that not to be true. Dispatch reported to the officer on the scene that Gutierrez had two outstanding warrants so he was taken into a patrol car which he escaped from. Later he was found and arrested after an alert via City Watch, a program that calls folks in a specific area to advise them of emergencies or law enforcement activities. Gutierrez booked for several crimes including the outstanding warrants and possession of methamphetamine.

Crews in Ukiah are pouring concrete over new piping after a fire hydrant leak. The work on the corner of Peach Street and South Orchard Avenue after thousands of gallons leaked onto nearby streets last Friday. The city’s Water and Sewer Maintenance Division says about 15,000 gallons of water leaked onto the street. None is going to be charged to residents. There was a second water main break a day after on Peach Street at Plum Drive. Crews say that leak was easier to fix than the one Friday. About 500 gallons of water escaped in the Plum Drive leak Monday.

The Mendocino Council of Governments is having their next regular public meeting in Hopland. The meeting next Monday for a presentation, among other things, of transportation plans and projects for the Hopland area. The agency says it’s also hearing a presentation on the final draft report for the Hopland Main Street Corridor Engineered Feasibility Study. They could take action on the study which was put together after public input the last several months. They will also consider projects including the Mendocino County Department of Transportation bridge project across Feliz Creek, a chip seal project on Old River Road in old Hopland and a visit to the first roundabout by Caltrans at Old River Road and Highway 175.

A law firm from Southern California says it’s filed a civil lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for 2 residents of Calaveras County in relation to the Butte fire. The plaintiffs Brian Moeller and Jolene Stewart were renting homes in Solana Beach and lost all of their personal belongings and left homeless after the fire. There’s been no cause determined for the fire which is 96% contained after burning nearly 71,000 acres. But PG&E officials had said a tree may have contacted a PG&E line where the fire started. The lawsuit names PG&E and Trees Inc., a contractor who maintains trees in the area of the power lines.

A major die off of Guadalupe fur seals means an depth study and investigation. The seal is a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and has been dying off along the North Coast for 8 months in large numbers. The sea animal facing new challenges finding food, like several thousand California sea lions which have come ashore emaciated looking over the past year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports as many as 80 Guadalupe fur seals found since January, eight times the yearly average.

A dog by itself in a pickup truck had to be rescued after causing the truck it was in to go into lake in Maine. Ellsworth Police say a man out walking the dog near Branch Lake Saturday and put the dog back into the truck after an encounter with another dog. As the owner spoke to the other dog’s owner, the Yorkshire terrier managed to bump the gear shift, causing it to roll about 75 feet into the lake, before sinking in roughly 10 feet of water. A family friend swam into the lake and saved the trapped dog.

A woman in Nogales had a surprise after a loud thunder like sound. Maya Donnelly says she thought she heard thunder in the early morning hours, and thought it was probably a typical monsoon and went back to sleep. Then later she looked in her carport near the U.S.-Mexico border, finding pieces of wood on the ground and a bulky bundle wrapped in black plastic. Turns out it was about 2 dozen pounds of pot. Cops say it was probably dropped accidentally by a drug smuggler’s aircraft.

Two weeks after the Valley Fire many Lake County groups and organizations are ready to help residents with recovery. All road closures are lifted. FEMA is in town helping Lake County residents. They can be reached at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or online, you can also go directly to the Local Assistance Center in Middletown. More than 2 dozen companies and agencies representing local, state and federal government and non-profits are helping the community to rebuild, remove debris, replace important records and find housing and basic needs. There are also professionals on standby with psych evaluations and counseling 24/7 for help with increased anxiety, worry and anger. For phone numbers and other resources visit For help with temporary housing call (707) 262-1090 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to request assistance. There’s Free debris removal through the Environmental Health Department. Sign up to receive assistance through the Local Assistance Center (LAC) or contact Environmental Health at (707) 263-1164.

The deadline to get assistance from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Field Operations Center for small, nonfarm businesses in 26 California counties and Nevada is October 26th. The low-interest loans are for those suffering from a loss of money caused by the drought. The counties are Humboldt, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Solano, Sutter, Ventura and Yuba; many other neighboring counties that are also affected to, including Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Mendocino, Sacramento, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo. Up to 2 million dollars for some businesses with interest rates as low as 2.6 percent with terms up to 30 years.

The Calif. State License Board is warning folks who need contractors to help with rebuild or remodels after the Valley Fire to be careful who you hire. The California State License Board has tips on false claims and services, make sure you don’t rush into repairs, get at least 3 bids, don’t hire the first contractor you meet, be careful with door to door offers or flyers or business cards left at your property. And ask friends, family and associates for contractors they have hired. Also, don’t pay with cash, get licensing proof, and with your contract, make sure you have an itemized list of work.

The Lake County Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is opening in Middletown at the Sr. Center. Today at noon, the center will open for those impacted by the Valley Fire. Each day the center is open until 6. Then tomorrow, it will be open for more regular hours, 8a-7p. The State Office of Emergency Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the county and local agencies.

​The Adult Services branch of the Lake County Department of Social Services says those who need help from In­Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and Meals on Wheels should call. The number: 995-4680. They say they want to make sure their clients are safe and get the benefits they need.

The Department of Social Services is offering services to fire survivors with extended hours starting next week. Those in need of food, should be in touch with the agency to sign up for Disaster CalFresh. They will temporarily help with food for 30 days, there are Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to be used for buying food at participating retailers. To qualify you must live or work in a disaster area, have had a disruption to your income stream, have disaster related expenses, have no liquid resources. Go to either the Middletown Library or Lake County Department of Social Services in Lower Lake.

A leaking fire hydrant caused a traffic nightmare in Ukiah. It happened at the corner of Peach Street and South Orchard Avenue Friday dumping thousands of gallons of water. The city’s Water and Sewer Department says they tried turning off the valve to the hydrant without luck, so they turned it off at Peach Street. The agency says about 5,000 gallons was lost. The hydrant would be replaced on Monday.

A local legislator says about 2.5 million dollars is going to local tribes in grants for police departments. House member Jared Huffman says the money coming from the will go to the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, Yurok Tribe, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Round Valley Indian Tribes and the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians as part of the Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation grant program,. The money helps with law enforcement, bolsters justice systems, helps prevent youth substance abuse, addresses violence against women, serves crime victims and supports other efforts to combat crime. Huffman says the money’s going to help tripes hire cops, help victims and keep tribal lands safe.

Concerns voiced about the way Red Cross handled evacuees of the Valley Fire. The Press Democrat reports a resident of Calistoga says a volunteer from Red Cross turned her away when she went to volunteer for help. Apparently the resident’s not the only one, they say they were told to go home and instead donate money. So they decided to work on their own, accepting donations of clothes and other items. The shelter in Calistoga was said to be the largest of all, helping as many as 20,000 people the first days of the fire. About 3,000 people have been left homeless. Complaints included volunteers being turned away, donations also turned away and officials complaining there was no collaboration on early aid.

Only half of the Willits Teachers union’s members voted on whether or not they still had confidence in the schools superintendent. Only 110 members took the vote on Pat Johnson and of those who did, 60 percent said they had “no confidence” and 40 percent did. The vote result mailed to the school districts trustees before their meeting earlier this month. Apparently only half voted because several teachers were new and others only in the district a couple years. The superintendent’s contract is almost up and there’s an evaluation in progress to decide if the contract will be picked up. She’s asked for a one year extension.

A draft environmental report’s been going around Mendocino County and the City of Fort Bragg related to the Draft Environmental Impact Report on the Central Coast Transfer Station Project. The final report has been prepared and the board of supervisors and city council have not made decisions because comments came in after from State Parks and the Department of Fish & Wildlife. Now the County and City have decided to make some changes and send it around again.

A man from Willits has been arrested after crashing his car thru a fence near the Ukiah Municipal Airport. Police say they got a call Sept. 18th about the car crashing into the chain-link fence and that the driver had run off. The next day cops picked up the driver, Seth Foster of Willits and sent his case to the DA’s office for a possible hit-and-run charge against Foster.

A man from Ukiah’s been arrested for attempting to break into a bank on North School Street. Ukiah Police say it was after hours when an officer patrolling the area saw a man looking into the windows of the bank last Sunday night. He’s been identified as Kenneth James-Horton. The officer apparently recognized the guy from another arrest for burglary and trespassing. James-Horton arrested again on suspicion of burglary and trespassing.

Many tall pine and oak trees have been taken down by the Valley fire on Cobb Mountain and in Hidden Valley Lake. A scientist and tree expert from the University of California tells the Record Bee newspaper many of the trees were more than 80 years old or even older, some as much as 150 years old. Brush also charred but will grow back in two or three years creating a major fire hazard. He says proactively cutting the trees and brush before they get too out of hand would be less expensive and deadly then fighting fires again in the future.

Updated Bus Schedules from Lake Transit so Route 3 goes from Clearlake to Deer Park via Hidden Valley, Middletown and Calistoga. Those on the bus who want to exit Route 3 at the Twin Pines Casino must be registered evacuees though. Lake Transit’s posting regular service updates at since the Valley Fire. Routes 3, 4, 4A, 7, 10, and 11 are operating under their regular schedules. For more info, call 994-3334.

Cal Fire has closed Boggs for the foreseeable future because of hazards from the Valley Fire. Boggs is closed to road and trail traffic and camping because of dangerous conditions. Plus there’s salvage logging happening. The Forest Manager says when Boggs reopens, there will be tours for the public to see what happened, what is left and what the forestry staff plan to do for rehabilitation. Officials say there could also be great educational opportunities for local schools about rehabilitation after a destructive wildfire, and it’s possible children, youth, and the greater community can help replant some of the forest.

1st and 2nd graders from Burns Valley Elementary helped with the ceremony to lower the community flag at Austin Park in Clearlake. Students and members of the Clearlake Police Department, Clearlake Public Works and the Park Study Club and other local luminaries were at the ceremony. The post is having a flag retirement ceremony later, depending on the weather. Proper retirement means the burning of the flag. Anyone who wants to contribute to the purchase of the new flag, should call 707-994-7335.

A lot more money after a lot more fire. A fund established for victims of Lake County’s wildfires continues growing and has handed out tens of thousands of dollars to help those in need. The tally of the Lake County Wildfire Relief Fund – which started with Mendo Lake Credit Union (MLCU) and North Coast Opportunities (NCO) is just over $300,000. A community-based managing committee going thru all of the applications, verifying resident status and the losses of those who applied. So far over $96,000 in funds have been given to those in affected areas.

Careful if you’re planning a trip to the Eel River. Scientists confirm toxic cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as “blue green algae”, in the Eel River in Eastern Mendocino County. Recently a dog was thought to have swam in the river. It died soon after. The death confirmed as algae-related after testing at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory. An advisory now after the extended drought and summer conditions, the algae blooms are there also, partly due to low water levels.

Middletown High School the scene of a town hall for those still recovering or dealing with homelessness after the Valley Fire. More than 76,000 acres burned along with 1,250 homes. 4 people have died, one’s missing and 3,000 are homeless. Officials from several local agencies and organizations at the meeting yesterday so they could answer questions and concerns. One resource brought up at the meeting is a new site being put up called to list all licensed contractors and anyone offering services to help the community in the rebuilding process.

The latest on the valley fire, 1,910 structures lost, 1,238 of those homes. The Cal Fire damage estimates were up overnight as inspection teams were almost done with their surveys of the fire. It burned thru more than 76,000 acres since starting in Cobb Sept. 12th. It’s 75 percent contained. The fire ended up spreading into Sonoma and Napa counties. It’s now being called the third most destructive fire in the state’s history. Firefighters say loss totals could go up as more surveys are finished and mop-up continues. Three people killed and four firefighters injured.

Police in Fort Bragg say they’ve arrested a man after reports of a robbery in progress. Officers get a call and find the owner of La Bamba Imports fighting with the suspect, they’ve named as Daniel Van Brunt. The man said to be homeless in the Roseville area, went into the store, asked an employee for alcohol, they said they don’t sell it. Cops say that’s when Van Brunt got upset, but left. Then he returned wearing a bandana over his face and a hood covering his head announcing a robbery, then demanded money. Van Brunt arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail.

An open house at Mendocino College as part of the “Discover the Coast” event hosted by the Bureau of Land Management and the local coastal community. There were posters displayed and hands-on activities in the lab plus short tours of the college property. Members of the “Friends of the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences” were there. About 100 people came through the first day of August. It even led to an anonymous donation of $1,000 from a couple from Southern California, who wished to stay anonymous.

2 people are still reported as missing since the beginning of the Valley Fire. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office continues the search for the two after they were asked on September 16th to go out for a welfare check on 66 year old Robert Fletcher, who lived in Cobb and was last heard from by a family member on September 10th. Deputies went to the home but didn’t find Fletcher. The home destroyed in the fire. A search with dogs for human remains didn’t turn anything up. Another missing persons report for 61 year old Robert Litchman of Lower Lake. Litchman reported missing by a friend who said the man probably didn’t leave his house because of no transportation and said he refused to leave when told to. That home also burned, with negative results for human remains there too.

Fort Bragg Police, the Coalition for Gang Awareness and Prevention (CGAP), Waste Management and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have a turn in medication day. This Saturday, you can bring in expired, unused, and unwanted prescriptions and over the counter drugs to the Fort Bragg Police Department. It’s a free and anonymous service. No questions asked. Studies show many abused prescription drugs are thru family and friends, including a home medicine cabinet. The event Saturday, September 26th between 10:00a.m. and 2:00p.m.

The President Barack Obama has declared the areas burned by the Valley Fire a major disaster. That means federal money will be available for those who’ve been affected by the fire, losing homes and or personal belongings. The fire ranked among the three worst in California’s history. Residents in Cobb, Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake, can apply for grants for temporary housing and home repairs. The declaration also means low-cost loans are available for uninsured property losses.

A raid at the Pinoleville Tribe’s Rancheria by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office north of Ukiah. The project had been getting attention due to its legality. The tribe saying their marijuana garden would create jobs and bring in revenue for cash-strapped tribes. 400 pot plants taken from an outdoor location. Plus deputies started to take down a chemical laboratory where honey oil was being manufactured. More than 100 pounds of trimmed and drying pot also taken from the building, a former car dealership on North State Street.

Mail delivery to resume in Middletown. Anyone who can’t get mail to their home can get it at the Middletown Post Office with a photo ID. Mail for Cobb residents is at the Kelseyville Post Office, The U.S. Postal Service reported its Cobb Post Office was not destroyed in the fire, but they’re not sure the extent of any smoke or other damage. Residents can also temporarily have their mail forwarded.

Many households have spoiled food after returning home from the Valley Fire evacuation because of a loss of power. Officials reminding it’s important to get rid of spoiled food in dumpsters identified for food disposal. Anyone without a bin should report to South Lake Refuse to get a replacement.

A local plumbing and pipefitting union w/ headquarters in san francisco has announced they’re open part of the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa in Kelseyville to displaced evacuees, who lost their homes during the valley fire. The fire ate thru more than 76-000 acres and is almost 80% contained. The resort’s been closed for years, hoping for a sale, now it’s being used for a limited time. For more info, GREG

A man in Burbank’s been charged with punching an elderly man at a Costco store who confronted him for taking too many Nutella waffles from a sample cart. Police say 24 year old Derrick Gharabighi walked by the Nutella sample station and as the elderly shopper reached out to grab one, Gharabighi snatched all the samples. The victim says he told the man to slow down and that he wanted one too. So he was punched. If convicted, Gharabighi faces up to 11 years in state prison.

Jail workers in trouble for telling female lawyers to remove their underwire bras if they wanted to meet with clients. A couple of lawyers went into the Cumberland County Jail in Maine because they set off the metal detector and refused to comply. The Sheriff Kevin Joyce says it was never jail policy to turn away attorneys under such circumstances, and it won’t happen again.

The second annual crush celebration at Parducci Wine Cellars in Ukiah. The party along with the Crush Rush 5K benefit run this weekend. Parducci inviting runners, joggers, and walkers of all ages and abilities to come out and see the 115-acre Parducci Home Ranch vineyard and winery while getting their exercise on. It’s a community fundraiser to benefit the Ukiah Unified School Gardens Program. The running club North Coast Striders is sponsoring with several other local businesses.

The Lake County board of Supervisors to take up the agreement with Mendocino County for housing juveniles in police custody, and consider continuing a health emergency. They’ll also consider the latest grand jury report. The Chief Probation Officer has previously told the board they’d have better services for juveniles at a reduced cost to the county thru neighboring Mendocino County. The board taking up the local health emergency extension with a presentation by the Lake County Health Officer.

There’s a new Valley Fire Public Information and Support Hotline. The number 888-565-2787 for those in Lake County needing updated Valley Fire information and support, including help with the damage assessment survey. Residents should also check out for updated news and information before calling.

The State Superintendent of Schools has visited Mendocino County schools. Tom Torlakson finding rural schools are challenged finding teachers or for students to just go straight to work, especially in the marijuana industry. The Superintendent of schools in Mendocino Unified Schools says of 37 students graduating high school, only 16 were planning to go to four-year colleges, he says most the others were going to work growing and trimming pot. Apparently many of the parents in the district work in the industry too. The superintendent of Laytonville Schools reported it was a challenge in her district due to no wifi. They all brought up the challenge of getting teachers to the area, and retaining them.

A man from Laytonville’s been arrested on suspicion of DUI after crashing into a motel. The Ukiah Police Department reports Joshua Wood crashed into the Motel 6 on South State Street a couple weekends ago. When cops got the call, they went to the motel finding the man had been driving too fast while trying to turn into the motel parking lot and lost control. He totally missed the driveway, crashing into the wheelchair access ramp near the motel’s office. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and booked into Mendocino County Jail.

Several dozen volunteers picking up trash in Ukiah, filling nearly 2 dozen trash bags. The volunteers out last weekend picking trash out of Gibson and Doolin creeks. The organizer of the trash pickup says they top three things they kept getting, cigarette butts, more than 1,300 of them, also plastic pieces and food wrappers. They also raked in a couple of mattresses and three shopping carts. The truck being used to haul the trash away had to be filled twice. At least one volunteer was stuck by a needle. 500 lbs of trash taken out of the area.

Firefighters finally nearly surround the Valley Fire in Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties, as assessment of the areas continues. It’s said the Valley fire’s the third most damaging fire in California history. Almost 1,800 structures destroyed with more than 1,200 believed to be homes. The fire 75% contained burning nearly 76,000 acres, forcing more than 19,000 people from their homes. 3 people confirmed dead, 4 firefighters injured. 6 who were reported missing have been found safe.

Northern Calif. Congressman Mike Thompson asking President Obama’s administration to promptly approve Individual Assistance for victims of the Valley fire. The state has also sent in a request to FEMA for the same. FEMA disaster funds for Individual Assistance can be used for those affected by the fire to rebuild, repair and replace housing and other personal property.
The state and local governments have conducted damage assessments and determined that the extent of the damage is beyond its capacity to repair without federal assistance.

The Calistoga Fairgrounds temporary shelter for the Valley fire is closing. The official closure Thursday morning. Anyone still in need of services can go to other shelters, at Grace Church in Kelseyville; Highlands Senior Center, in Clearlake; the Twin Pine Casino in Middletown and the Hidden Valley Lake Golf Course in Hidden Valley Lake. The local assistance center’s been opened at the Middletown Senior Center too. For more info, visit or call 1-800-325-9604. Anyone needing more help, can try the American Red Cross at 855-224-2490. Anyone looking to donate to Valley fire evacuees as they transition back to their homes in Lake County, the Kelseyville Church of Christ, the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Lakeport or one of two United Methodist Churches, one in Lakeport, the other in Clearlake. For financial donations, please donate at .

Another arrest connected to evacuated properties due to the Valley Fire. The Lake County Sheriff’s Dept. reports a traffic stop ended in the arrest of a man in a stolen car. Cops say they found a Jeep Grand Cherokee in Loch Lomond last week, finding Jeremiah McGinnis of Cobb. McGinnis was wearing black clothing and deputies say there were burglary tools in the SUV. They also say the car was recently painted black and white and McGinnis admitted he painted it to look like a police vehicle. The missing SUV registered to someone in the Lower Lake area which was under a mandatory evacuation. Deputies also checked the home where the Cherokee was taken and noted it had been robbed, and many stolen electronics, a rifle and ammo were in the SUV. McGinnis was arrested for theft and unlawful driving or taking of a vehicle, burglary during a state of emergency and other charges.

Several state agencies, non-profits and companies across the state coming together for relief and help to those affected by wildfires in California. The State Board of Equalization (SBOE) is offering help with tax filing extension, waivers of penalties and/ or interest from some taxes and fees plus if needed, replacing copies of records lost to damage for business owners and fee-payers. Some of the areas that are affected include: Butte, Amador, Calaveras, Lake, and Napa counties. If you’d like to donate and assist victims who lost their homes in Lake County, visit:

Residents going home after being evacuated from the Valley Fire take note, Lake County working with several agencies for the disposal of debris from the fire. Disposal of food is the number one priority. For those going home, all three waste bins (trash, recycled and green/compost) can be used for food. Trash will be picked up about 3 days after your neighborhood is repopulated. Those without bins should call the trash company. Several dumpsters will be put in repopulated neighborhoods for food to be thrown out in. Volunteers will be on hand to make sure the right items are placed in the correct bins.

An armed robbery has been reported at the Regency Inn Motel in Lakeport. The suspect described as a Hispanic man about 25-30 in dark clothes and a bandana covering his face and neck. Lakeport Police Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies went to the scene after getting a call. Two female juveniles and an adult female working in the office say they were robbed at knife then the man took off. The man accused has been identified as Sidney Freeman of Willits. He has a long list of crimes on his record. Freeman was arrested for the felony crime of armed robbery.

The Valley Fire is no longer progressing after burning more than 75,000 acres. It’s currently 69% contained. Most evacuated residents have been allowed to go home. At last count nearly 1050 homes had burned and 6,500 are still threatened. 3 people are dead and 4 firefighters injured. Low humidity and high temps were concerning fire officials, but they still made progress on the fire over the weekend. The fire started on Cobb Mountain a week ago and charred 40,000 acres in the first 12 hours. The mandatory evacuations for Aetna Springs and James Creek in Napa County were lifted Saturday, and the Hidden Valley Lake, Jersusalem Grade, Grange Road and Butts Canyon Road areas yesterday. There are still many closures including Cobb, Loch Lomond and Anderson Springs and the area along Highway 175 down outside Middletown. Some of the areas will repopulate today at 5p. 19 thousand people were told to leave their homes at the height of the fire evacuations.

Female employees get a boost from lawmakers in Calif. A bill has been passed by the legislature and the governor is poised to sign it to make all women’s salaries comparable to the male counterparts. The legislation expands an outdated state equal pay law and is even stricter than federal law. It means an employer will have to prove a man’s higher pay is not simply because he’s a man and that are other factors involved. Workers can sue if it’s found to be otherwise. There have been complaints to California’s labor commissioner, but not that many. Eight in 2012, 7 in 2011, and 6 in 2010.

The first new medical Cannabis regulations have been passed in nearly 2 decades and the State Water Resources Control Board has come up with fees to support the first established environmental regulations for cannabis cultivation. The Governor has until October 11th to sign the new bill into law or ask for changes to it. As we’ve reported the new legislation is 3 bills put together. It will reclassify cannabis cultivation as agriculture, be regulated by the state Department of Agriculture and the Board of Equalization and the Department of Public Health.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office looking for qualified people to fill positions. The sheriff tells the board of supervisors he expects all open positions to be filled by the end of this fiscal year. Sheriff Allman says if he can fill all positions, he will try to keep overtime to a minimum starting the next budget cycle. The Sheriff’s office has spent nearly 3 million dollars over the last 2 years on O.T. Allman says it’s a goal to have all jail, dispatch and patrol positions filled and to better cover resident posts. Right now they’re looking to fill four corrections deputy positions and six deputy-sheriff coroner spots. They’ve received 50 applications during a one month recruitment that ended Sept. 10th.

Let the wine harvest begin anew. Lake County winegrape growers are testing fruit to see if there’s smoke damage. Results so far show no elevated levels of certain chemicals associated with smoke flavors. Winds moving west moved smoke away from many vineyards and cooler temperatures early to the middle of last week with light rain was a help too. Reports say about 85 percent of Lake County’s vineyards are not affected by the fire. Managers and employees of vineyards are going to restart irrigation and harvest operations. Some areas are still closed and access to properties and restoring power is sketchy in some regions. Vineyard reservoirs were used as a water source for fire-fighting. 90 percent of Lake County were able to resume operations or should be able to process fruit in this year’s harvest.

That guy who decided he really wanted a wool mill is doing well. The Daily Journal report Matthew Gilbert of Ukiah had a showing of sheep shearing over the weekend at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show. The paper reports the man’s been sheering sheep since he was 12 years old. He became a processor for Mendocino County after buying a mill. The Ukiah Planning Commission approved his permit last year for Mendocino Wool and Fiber. Gilbert says they’re just trying to get funding with the help of Economic Development Financing and needs more than a quarter million dollars to start.

The Lake County Sheriff’s office confirming 2 more bodies found in burnt out areas of the Valley Fire. The Sheriff’s Office, CAL FIRE, California Fish and Wildlife Wardens and two California Cadaver Dogs and their handlers found bodies in the Hidden Valley area and the Anderson Springs area. The id’s of the people found have not been released until positive identification can be made. They say based on the location and evidence found they believe the dead to be Bruce Burns, who was reported missing on September 15th in Hidden Valley and in Anderson Springs Leonard Neft, who was reported missing on September 14th.

A shelter set up by Mendocino County’s Health and Human Services Agency is being closed. The shelter’s been at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah since Sunday. It’s closing at noon today. There are evacuation notices lifted so shelter guests can go home. There’s space at other shelters in Lake County. Mendocino County’s CEO released the information yesterday saying they’ll continue to update evacuees through the county’s 211 emergency system.

Fort Bragg police chief updating the City Council on local crime statistics. Chief Fabian Lizarraga says it’s changing to a yearly report with a new one starting in January or February 2016. They’ve studied gang and property crime, crimes against people and more. There were more than 16-thousand calls last year for service, nearly 1,700 crime reports and nearly 580 arrests. He says there’s been a little bit less crime from a year before but robberies were up. There were 7 rapes last year compared to 6 in 2013. Assaults were down in 2014 from 2013 but there were 100 assaults.

6 men patrolling the Cobb area themselves are crediting with saving homes. The Press Democrat reports Gary Herrin, his two sons and their three friends saved nine homes, five horses, some goats, two dogs and a pet turkey. Close to 600 homes destroyed in the fire and three people been confirmed dead. Herrins brother, brother-in-law, a niece, and the house where he lived with his sons for 11 years is also gone. The 6 men had hoses, shovels and a small, bobcat dozer and started to defend a neighborhood.

A fight of sorts between a couple of animal welfare agencies, one’s a nonprofit, the other public administration. The Press Democrat reports a fight on social media, after one agency evicted the other from emergency animal care efforts in Lake County. Petaluma Animal Services posted on Facebook that animal control officers near Middletown were told to leave. They say Lake County Animal Control told them they were not authorized to be there but they said they wouldn’t leave. But they’re at the Calistoga evacuation center now with more than 300 animals. The Lake County animal control chief says Petaluma was telling the truth because animal service groups have to get authorized. But Petaluma says they properly checked in with Lake County officials.

The mandatory evacuation order for Berryessa Estates has been lifted so residents can go back in to possibly burned out areas. Road closures are revised though. Butts Canyon Road at Aetna Springs Road has been opened and is being moved north to Butts Canyon Road and Snell Valley Road. There’s new road closures at the entrance of Aetna Springs Road and at the entrance of James Creek Road.

The State Attorney General Kamala Harris says she’s going to go after anyone trying to make money off of the state’s wildfires. Harris says they’ve received reports of hotels who are gouging people, which is illegal. The Press Democrat had reported some cases where some evacuees had been ripped off at one hotel, which managers blamed on reservation systems that automatically input rate increases because of high demand. As we reported the Lake County Sheriff also said he would investigate the same. It’s illegal to charge 10 percent higher than anyone charged before the declaration of an emergency. This law for anyone selling food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials and gasoline.

Three men cops say are suspected of trying to loot evacuated homes in the Valley Fire area have been arrested. Police say the three come after several other cases where people were found in the wrong place by police who searched and found either stolen items or burglary tools. The three men arrested from San Francisco and Brisbane. They were seen early yesterday morning in the Hidden Valley Lake area and could not explain why they were in the area. A sheriff’s deputy found a loaded pistol on one of the men, passenger David Cesari, plus he had ammo. There was a face mask, gloves, tools headlamps, flashlights and other materials that seemed suspicious enough. But the men were also apparently wearing camouflage and black clothing. The 3, Cesari,, the driver Dyami Connel and another passenger Michael Jimenez arrested on several charges including suspicion of possessing burglary tools and entering a closed disaster area. The men were booked into Lake County Jail, with bail set at $100,000.00.

The State Attorney General Kamala Harris says she’s going to go after anyone trying to make money off of the state’s wildfires. Harris says they’ve received reports of hotels who are gouging people, which is illegal. The Press Democrat had reported some cases where some evacuees had been ripped off at one hotel, which managers blamed on reservation systems that automatically input rate increases because of high demand. As we reported the Lake County Sheriff also said he would investigate the same. It’s illegal to charge 10 percent higher than anyone charged before the declaration of an emergency. This law for anyone selling food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials and gasoline.

Three men cops say are suspected of trying to loot evacuated homes in the Valley Fire area have been arrested. Police say the three come after several other cases where people were found in the wrong place by police who searched and found either stolen items or burglary tools. The three men arrested from San Francisco and Brisbane. They were seen early yesterday morning in the Hidden Valley Lake area and could not explain why they were in the area. A sheriff’s deputy found a loaded pistol on one of the men, passenger David Cesari, plus he had ammo. There was a face mask, gloves, tools headlamps, flashlights and other materials that seemed suspicious enough. But the men were also apparently wearing camouflage and black clothing. The 3 Cesari,, the driver Dyami Connel and another passenger Michael Jimenez arrested on several charges including suspicion of possessing burglary tools and entering a closed disaster. The men were booked into Lake County Jail, with bail set at $100,000.00

The Mendocino County Health and Human Services agency is accepting applications from those in need due to the Valley Fire. The Fire has scorched more than 73-000 acres and was only 35% contained by last night. The agency says they’re disbursing state benefits like cash, food or medical assistance. You need to visit the fine arts building at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah at the emergency shelter. You can also apply at the agency’s offices on State St. in Ukiah. and online, check this radio station’s website for the link….

Benefits can also be applied for online at

Updates from local and state officials for the Valley fire. Almost 3,600 firefighters from across the west are helping to contain the Valley Fire which is currently at 35% with 73,700 acres burned. Fire officials say the rain helped but it’s supposed to get hot and windy again and they have to be vigilant. The Sheriff’s Dept. says they are working to help residents go into some evacuated areas to feed pets and livestock but that was suspended so they could help others go back home. They are also following up on multiple missing persons’ reports. The Sheriff says many areas will stay closed for some time but repopulation has begun in Berryessa Estates in Napa County. The Sheriff also says they’ve got help from several emergency managers from around the state. The Kelseyville High School shelter is closing and instead folks will be sent to Grace Church in Kelseyville.

The Lake County Office of Emergency Services North Coast Opportunities’ Volunteer Network is now in charge of all volunteers for the Valley Fire. Anyone interested in helping evacuees has to preregister at After you’ve pre-registered you will get updates when a need comes up. They say they may soon need folks who can operate heavy equipment, have tools, building supplies, materials, and other expertise. North Coast Opportunities is a nonprofit out of Ukiah working in both Lake and Mendocino counties as well as other surrounding counties.

Assemblyman Bill Dodd of Napa speaking out about the Valley Fire response in Lake, Napa, and Sonoma Counties. Dodd says the region’s been hit hard, the worst in his memory by fire. He says more than 170,000 acres have been destroyed in his district along with hundreds of homes and other structures. He says of the most concern to him is the mandatory evacuations still in effect, and the safety of residents. He’s also thanking firefighters and first responders for working tirelessly. For more info on the fire please or call Lake County OES at 800-325-9604.”

A long moment of silence opens the latest Lake County Board of Supervisors meeting for the woman killed and firefighters injured in the Valley Fire. The Sheriff also spoke about people who are impatiently waiting to return to their homes saying they’re personally doing what they can to help people go home. He says there are health hazards in going home too soon and says they expect to find more bodies as the clean up begins. The Sheriff’s Office has been providing escort services into burnt out areas, but so far only for people who need to check on pets and livestock. He also spoke about looting and some arrests. The director of Social Services also spoke saying the shelters are well stocked and says now there’s more than they can handle, encouraging donations to the Mendo Lake Credit Union.

A large base camp for PG&E workers has been set up as 300 workers survey and start repairs in areas hit by the Valley Fire. So far four major transmission lines they know of were damaged. The utility company reports that could take some time to fix. There’s also damage to branch lines and substations. PG&E is also donating $350,000 to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Lake County.

The Moose Lodge on Hwy 20 in the Oaks, at the Intersection of Hwy 53 is accepting evacuees. They also say they need volunteers and supplies for people and animals. They can be reached at 707 998 3740

Lake County Scanner News Facebook page also asking for people who may have storage units available for evacuees to place items.

Careful of the contractor you hire for work after damage or a needed rebuild from the Valley Fire. The Contractors State License Board reporting on scammers taking advantage of homeowners. It’s illegal to contract for work without a license in a disaster zone. The board reminding to get three estimates, ask for references and get a written contract. There should only be a 10 percent or $1,000 deposit for work, whichever is less.

A local therapist in Lake County offering free counseling services to those impacted by theValley Fire. Counseling this Saturday from 1-5pm at the Mark West Lodge in Santa Rosa. Therapist Trinity Lee offering the help on the Record Bee Facebook page, saying she can take up to 5 clients for free (!!) and 5 free counseling sessions for each individual over the next several weeks/months. There will be other therapists available too with more services to be offered in the future. They’re accepting groups, family, individual, child therapy, and possibly couples therapy. For more info, visit the Redwood Empire Chapter of California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists website (

A man from Whispering Pines has been arrested for impersonating a peace officer and theft during a state of emergency. The Lake County Sheriff’s Dept patrolling Cobb Mountain after a mandatory evacuation order finding a car with its hazard lights on. The car also coated in pink flame retardant. The deputy recognized the car as belonging to Steven Worley, because of past contact. The car sped off, but the officer caught the guy finding him in a CHP cap, then searched his car and found several cell phones, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot device and an iPod. There was also other stolen items in the back seat of the car. Worley arrested for theft during a state of emergency, wearing id to impersonate a police officer and removing, injuring or destroying an object of archaeological or historical interest or value.

Chico’s North Valley Animal Disaster Group is helping animals affected by the Valley Fire. They’re helping with animal evacuations and welfare checks. They’re also providing food and water for animals sheltered where they live. They’re having a FUNdraiser. "Pets and Jets" this Saturday at the Chico Air Museum.

Food and yard waste may be co-mingled in Ukiah. The Daily Journal reports even though it’s not on the Ukiah City Council’s agenda, the owner of Cold Creek Compost says there’s negotiations ongoing with the city. He says he has even signed contracts to move forward on the plan. He has a pricing plan put together too. The city of Willits apparently has a contract with Cold Creek starting Nov. 1st. The company also doing business in Northern Sonoma County with Windsor, Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale.

Frontier Days is getting donations together for those affected by the Valley Fire including hay for sheltered horses. Community members in Mendocino County have donated clothes, blankets, household goods and other donations thru the organization.

Firefighters from Little Lake Fire Department and Brooktrails Fire were helping after the fire started. Little Lake also helped with the Butte Fire in the Sierra foothill. Many other local engine companies showing up, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, Hopland Fire Protection District and Comptche Volunteer Fire Department have all assisted. There were dozers from Boonville and Ukiah too.

El Niño conditions are getting bigger in the Pacific Ocean meaning there could be a really wet winter in California. Federal scientists report there’s a 95 percent chance the conditions could go thru the end of next year. That’s up from the predicted 85 percent in June and 50 percent six months ago. The National Weather Service in Eureka says the best chance for above normal rainfall is for the southern part of California. 3 of 5 El Nino’s since 1950 have produced above average rainfall.

This year’s Wine Auction has been cancelled. The Lake County Wine Alliance decided against the yearly event at Cache Creek Winery because of the Valley Fire. The Alliance president says because of the fire , they decided instead to re-direct efforts to those suffering from this year’s devastating fires. The Alliance also says they’ll decide if they should have an alternate event and an online auction with money going to this year’s beneficiaries and more to folks who’ve suffered because of this year’s fires.

The Valley Fire containment holds at 35% and there’s more acreage scorched as area rains die down. The fire’s now blackened 73,700 acres. The National Weather Service is also warning about windy weather to hit northern California fire areas this weekend.

Police patrolling the Cobb area say they’ve found and arrested several people suspected of looting. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies helping the Lake County Sheriff’s Office with the Valley Fire say yesterday afternoon found 4 people in the area of the Hobergs Resort and Spa which was destroyed in the fire. But they were in an area untouched by the fire but where there have been mandatory evacuations and it’s closed to public access. Cops chased the car on a dead end road near Highway 175 and stopped 3 adults and a 14 year old. James Dotson of Cobb arrested and booked for vehicular fleeing, child endangerment, and possession of methamphetamine. Richard Tillman a former resident of Ukiah arrested for two outstanding no bail arrest warrants for probation violations and the other adult and teen were released.

Thousands of Hidden Valley Lake told to leave their homes in the early days of the Valley fire still out as crews start to descend on the area to assess damage. The fire has burned more than 73,000 acres. Lake Co News reports as many as 70 homes in the gated community are gone. The hardest hit around the community’s back nine holes of the golf course. Cal Fire and Pacific Gas and Electric are working to bring the power back on. PG&E reports to the news site more than 7000 customers in the south county are without power with more than 500 crews working to repair downed poles and remove hundreds of trees.

Local and state agencies in the Valley Fire area to assess destruction. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency weeks after the same due to the Rocky fire. Cal Fire reports the fire has destroyed 585 homes and more are known to have been but they’re assessment teams continue to work thru the area and take a count. Road repairs alone have an initial pricetag of $15 million. Caltrans removing damaged trees and working around still burning trees near roadways. They’re replacing burned pavement and hundreds of damaged signs too.

A petition to qualify for an ordinance against hack-and-squirt processes by timber companies. A group of mostly coastal firefighters gathering signatures for the June 2016 primary ballot. Opponents of the process call it "intentional poisoning of trees”. If passed it would immediately declare certain dead trees a public nuisance. The trees intentionally killed and left standing more than 90 days, are more than 16 feet tall, within at least 3,200 feet of critical infrastructures like roads, driveways, fire lanes, significant water sources and telecommunication structures. Any company or group involved in the hack-and-squirt activities, would be liable for damages.

The Valley Fire now at 70.000 acres and is 30% contained. After 100’s more firefighters went to the fire along with dozens more engines and other equipment. More than a thousand firefighters have come to help since Monday. There are inmate hand crews helping cut brush and building fire lines. At last count there were nearly 2,400 firefighters on the scene. The forecast calling for some rain, but also more wind overnight. So far 585 homes are known to be burned and possibly more. Damage assessment crews continue looking thru burned areas. Officials say they expect it to hit 1,000 or more. As many as 9,000 homes are threatened and 19,000 residents have been evacuated.

A man from Lakeport has been arrested for attempted looting of evacuated homes. The Lake County Sheriff’s Dept. reports seeing a parked car in Kelseyville near a section of Highway 29 which had been closed to traffic because of the Valley Fire. Deputies say they saw a man and woman in the car in front of a road barricade and it looked like there was items in the car being hidden by the man. There was gloves, a black bandana and a backpack with Royce Moore. There were warrants out for his arrest so he was immediately detained. There were burglary tools in the backpack and a fake gun. He was arrested for possession of burglary tools, two warrants and possession of controlled substance paraphernalia.

Just over a quarter century since its first run, the Napa Valley Wine Train has been sold. The company made the announcement yesterday. It comes a month after controversy surrounding a group of nearly all black women on the train for their book group were tossed from the train. The train purchased by a partnership of a Washington state hotel group and a California real estate company.

The Valley Fire’s spread into Sonoma County near the Geysers power plant. Cal Fire reports the fire had quieted some in that area though so crews cut a line next to it. Fire crews stayed close by yesterday protecting The Geysers geothermal facilities. The fire moving to the southeast, further into Napa County yesterday afternoon. It blackened a few hundred more acres, burning south of Butts Canyon. Lake County Sheriff’s Dept says they think the one woman found dead in Anderson Springs won’t be the last fatality because of how fast the fire was moving. There are several reports of missing people and cadaver dogs are being brought in for searches. Law enforcement out in Hidden Valley Lake and Middletown after reports of looting. 2 people have been arrested, one found with burned-out safes in their car.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors says as many as 15 county employees may have lost their homes. 49 full-time and nine part-timers have homes in the fire zone and at least 3 dozen of them have been evacuated and three have definitely lost their homes. Another employee’s home has been seriously damaged.

Hotel owners say rumors they’ve overcharging those leaving their homes due to the Valley Fire are not true. The manager of the Lake Point Lodge in Clearlake Oaks says a front desk clerk made an error to raise rates, because of demand. Eight guests charged $249 for rooms that in low season start at $100 less. An apology and explanation was posted on the hotel’s Facebook page. But there were more than 500 comments on the page, some urging a boycott. The Discovery Inn also got the same treatment. The state board of equalization is investigating some hotels after hearing complaints. The Lake County Sheriff also says he’s investigating reports of price gouging.

Post fire looting is a thing and many law enforcement officers have been on patrol in Hidden Valley Lake and Middletown. In one case, suspected looters found Monday with burned-out safes and the Lake County Sheriff says more have been arrested on suspicion of looting too. Deputies are patrolling the fire areas saying Middletown and Hidden Valley Lake were the most vulnerable because homes were still standing after residents remained evacuated.

At least a dozen families went to the Bu-Shay Campground near Lake Mendocino after being evacuated from the Valley Fire area. The campground said they were expecting more people to come in because Lake County shelters were quickly filling up with evacuation orders still in effect. The campground is currently only open to evacuees. Two locals are staying at the campground to make sure there’s a volunteer on site all hours. Volunteers at the campground say they still need food, gas and lighting for the evacuees.

Updated school closure info. The Lake County office of education reports due to changing fire conditions some schools are staying closed this week and others open today. Lakeport Unified, Upper Lake Union High, Upper Lake Union Elementary, and Lucerne Elementary School Districts will be back at school today. Those staying closed include the Kelseyville Unified and Konocti Unified School Districts. They reopen Monday.

There had been an advisory that State Highway 29 would re-open to traffic between Kelseyville and the intersection of Highway 53 in Lower Lake. Now the Sheriff’s Dept, says fire activity in the area is too dangerous so it’s staying closed. State Highway 29 south of Highway 53 is still closed to all non-emergency traffic. Many roads into the area, so – called feeder roads are closed to all traffic except residents and employees of businesses in unaffected areas. Those include:

State Highway 175
Bottle Rock Road
Siegler Canyon Road
Diener Drive
Red Hills Road

Escorts again into evacuation areas to take care of livestock and pets, This morning at 8:30, Sheriff’s Deputies are escorting residents to their homes. You must provide proof you live in the evacuation area. Escorts start at 8:30 am and end at 5:00 pm. Those who need to go to Lower Lake, Hidden Valley Lake and Middletown meet in the main parking lot of the Lower Lake High School. No escorts to Loch Lomond, Cobb or Anderson Springs because of continuing firefighting.

A library at the center of the Valley Fire still standing, but staying closed until further notice, the Lake County librarian announcing the Middletown Library is waiving all fines and fees. Other branches, in Lakeport, Clearlake and Upper Lake are open. Anyone affected by the fire can come to those libraries to use computers to check email and communicate with family. There is free WiFi, and power outlets to charge devices.

The fire has scorched 100 square miles or so, that’s larger than the cities of San Francisco and Oakland combined. 4 firefighters have been injured 585 homes burned and 9,000 threatened. More than 19,000 people have been evacuation centers and flooded centers, including Kelseyville High School, Napa County Fairgrounds, Highland Senior Center and Big Valley Rancheria Gymnasium.

Cal Fire says they may have found the origin of the Valley Fire, a shed in Cobb. Investigators spent yesterday looking at the shed on Higher Valley Road in the town of about 18,000 people. The shed is across the road from where the first call came in to report the fire. The Valley Fire has charred 70,000 acres and has been burning since Saturday.

The fast-moving Valley Wildfire in Lake County has caused massive devastation overnight. It’s now at 62,000 acres and is only 10% contained. The fire’s destroyed at least 400 hundred homes with some counts higher than 500, but a count was being done last night. We will have confirmed numbers as soon as they are available. Dozens of businesses have been destroyed and 9,000 buildings are threatened. The fire had consumed more than 50,000 acres in the 24 hours after it started Saturday. Evacuations have been expanded and are being constantly updated on our Kwine facebook page and website. There’s a secure Lake County Fire Victims Fund through Redwood Credit Union with one hundred percent of donations going to help fire victims. Visit

2 men in Ukiah have been arrested on drug charges. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept reports an officer on patrol conducted a traffic stop for a speeding car on Highway 101 in Ukiah and smelled pot when stopping Johnathan Russaw and Eddie Figueroa. The officer searched the car, finding about 8 pounds of processed pot and about $10,000.00 cash. The duo arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail held on $30,000.00 bail ea.

Reports of scammers targeting people evacuating their homes due to the Valley Fire. Napa and Lake County officials say callers claim to be a news crew and ask for victims’ addresses through social media. The scammers claim they’ll check victims’ homes but will use the addresses to rob the evacuated homes instead. Residents advised not to give out their addresses online.

Orange County firefighters joining the fight on the Valley Fire. The Orange County Fire Authority has sent 70 people, a helicopter and five engines to help in Lake County. Officials say they’re happy to help, because they know they’re going to need help from Northern California firefighters when dangerous wildfires break out in Southern California.

Famous for its tranquil setting, Harbin Hot Springs is no more. The clothing-optional resort with soaking pools in Middletown has been destroyed by the Valley Fire. Power poles and wires collapsed along Highway 109 so firefighters were blocked from getting into the area northeast of Middletown. One reported hiked in past downed electrical lines Monday to grab pictures, which can be seen on the San Francisco Chronicle website at S F Gate dot com. Dead fish were seen upside down in the koi ponds and piles of debris were burning and smoldering. Hoberg’s Resort, a 19th-century lodging, spa, and popular wedding destination in Cobb is also gone, destroyed by the Valley Fire.

Teams are rolling out to homes in burned out areas to assess damage and say it could take up to five days. The Red Cross Safe and Well website will have information for the public to help notify friends and family who may not know if you’re safe. You can long on and list yourself by clicking the "List Myself as Safe and Well" button at the Red Cross Safe and Well website: Please visit our radio station website or facebook page for that link. The site also allows a search for folks who may have been affected too, click the Search Registrants button.

Any evacuated residents who want to check on their pets or animals can call the Lake County Animal Care and Control at (707) 263-0278.

Red Cross letting residents who’ve been evacuated and in need of critical medication know they’ve got registered nurses and licensed mental health providers at all their shelters. They can set you up with 3 day prescriptions to be filled at nearby pharmacies. All info available at:

If you have interested in volunteering to help with the Valley Fire you can register with North Coast Opportunities online at Click on Lake County Valley Fire Volunteer/ then Most Recent Opportunities and click Apply. You’ll be contacted if a need arises that meets your availability and skillset. Any monetary donations can be made too through the North Coast Opportunities / Mendo Lake Credit Union / Lake County Wildfire Relief Fund. See this radio station website for the link to make a donation and the street address of 3 locations where you can do so…

Payments may be made online at and checks may be made out to Mendo-Lake Credit Union or North Coast Opportunities with a memo for Valley Fire and dropped off or mailed to the following branch locations:

  • 14866 Olympic Drive in Clearlake, CA 95422
  • 953 11th Street in Lakeport, CA 95453
  • 526 S State Street in Ukiah, CA 94582

A man from Berkeley found guilty of moving more than 130 pounds of processed marijuana has been sent to prison for 2 years. The Mendocino County DA’s office reports Abraham Norton convicted in April of 2013 for money laundering and conspiracy to illegally distribute marijuana. While his case was pending, he was arrested in Mendocino County a couple months later for transporting 137 pounds of pot, then again in Sonoma County of moving 31 pounds. The judge denied an application for probation but split his confinement to 8 months in custody and 16 months on mandatory supervision.

A mistrial’s been declared in the case of a man accused of molestation of a child under 18. The Mendocino County DA’s office reports the jury announced it couldn’t reach an agreement on Jose Manuel Ramirez Carmona’s case. The man from Santa Nella was charged with two counts of annoying or molesting a child and indecent exposure. There will now be a post trial review to consider a new trial. The California Highway Patrol office in Ukiah arrested the man.

The Booster President for El Molino High School reports Middletown High and El Molino have canceled the game Friday. Per the Record Bee Facebook page as many as 10 Middletown High staffers have lost everything due to the Valley Fire. They are looking for gift cards for sports supply stores like Big 5, Sports Authority, and Dick’s Sporting Goods because of all the athletic gear lost. To send donations, visit our radio station Facebook page or our website or see the note at the Record Bee Facebook page too.

Send donations to:
El Molino Boosters
7050 Covey Rd
Forestville, CA 95436
Make a note that it is for Middletown Mustangs

Also noted on the Record Bee page, Minnie Cannon Elementary, Minnie Cannon Preschool, Middletown Middle School, Middletown High School and Cobb Elementary School are all still standing.

Five injuries have been reported due to the Valley Fire and one fatality. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports an elderly, disabled woman unable to leave her home on her own died. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports getting a call by Cal Fire for evacuations and going out to help folks. They were inundated with calls Saturday afternoon, a call to assist the woman out of Cobb off Hot Springs Road was too late due to subdivisions overtaken by fire.

Assemblyman Bill Dodd of Napa, whose district includes Lake County is thanking first responders and residents for helping with the response. Lake Co News reporting closures of Highway 29 in and around the fire area are still in effect for the general public, including evacuees. The Lake County Air Quality Management District reported air quality was improving across the county to good levels in most areas, compared to the “unhealthy” and “hazardous” levels Sunday.

Some vintners in Lake County in recovery mode after the fire plowed thru, destroying at least one winery, some vineyards and worries about this year’s harvest. Shed Horn Cellars, a winery just outside Middletown is gone and its owners lost their home. Their tasting room is still standing though and there’s some inventory too, enough to fill orders. Some damage as well to Langtry Estate & Vineyard, the most noted in the area. The Valley fire the third fire this summer to hit the wine industry in Lake County. The Rocky fire in July and Jerusalem fire in August also sent smoke and ash over the region, but there wasn’t damage to any vineyards.

A woman who says she was the caretaker of the elderly woman said to be the first fatality in the Valley Fire, was that she didn’t need to leave her home. The Press Democrat reports Barbara McWilliams caretaker called Saturday during the first hours of the fire saying she was fine at home and knew someone would get her if she needed to leave. Jennifer Hittson of Kelseyville regularly delivered groceries, cleaned house and other chores for the former teacher. A neighbor had also offered to bring her to Middletown, but says McWilliams declined. A body believed to be McWilliams’ found in her home at the end of the Hot Springs Road. She had advanced multiple sclerosis and could not walk.

Most public schools still closed but hopes of some opening by tomorrow. Lake County public schools are closed again today because of the Valley Fire. The county Superintendent of Schools says they’ll start to open schools furthest from the fire first. Officials in Lakeport, Upper Lake and Lucerne were preparing to reopen schools tomorrow. Just over 2,600 of the county’s 9,100 public school students attend those schools. Schools in Kelseyville and Lower Lake are staying closed thru the weekend. The Middletown district’s five schools — and Coyote Valley Elementary in Hidden Valley Lake — all survived, some with minimal damage.