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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 www.laketransit.org 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 www.rebuildinglakecounty.com to list all licensed contractors and anyone offering services to help the community in the rebuilding process.

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