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A 5-year-old from Willits reported missing after taking the family dog on what he called a field trip has been found safe after spending the night in the woods. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office says the little boy disappeared from the Brooktrails area Tuesday afternoon after telling a sibling he was going on a “field trip” but never came back. More than 100 people from about 10 agencies helped look for the boy, who was found in good shape, with the dog, around 8 yesterday morning, about two miles from home.

Two men suspected of looting during the Valley fire have pleaded guilty. The Lake County DA says Jeremiah McGinnis of Cobb pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary and is expected to get a five-year-prison sentence. The Press Democrat reports he was charged for stealing an SUV, and some items from a home. The other suspect Royce Moore of Lakeport pleaded guilty to being in a restricted area during a disaster and was sentenced to 75 days in county jail and three years’ probation. Cases against three others arrested in the fire zone expected to be resolved soon on charges including conspiracy, possession of burglary tools, and unauthorized entry into a disaster zone.

If you lost some work because of this year’s wildfires, FEMA and the state office of emergency services have announced Disaster Unemployment Services available to those whose job or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of the fires. This for those who would not otherwise be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. The coverage is for Lake and Calaveras Counties and for losses starting September 13th. To file a claim, visit the website or your local unemployment office. The Deadline for filing claims is Monday.

The Lakeport City Council says no to a Halloween event that would have shut down a whole street. Wayne Yanhke asking for the city’s permission for the event called “A Walk Through the Forest”, in his neighborhood on Halloween night. The proceeds for the event to benefit the Mendo Lake Credit Union’s Valley fire fund. He asked to block Forest Drive from Terrace Drive to Hillcrest Drive which the police dept said was a bad idea. So the city council followed suit, saying no to the idea.

A town hall has been hosted in Clearlake for residents to discuss flood prevention and preparedness. Forecast calls for a severe El Nino. The event last week in the city council chambers with about 70 people showing up. The Public Works Director says his department is preparing for El Niño conditions predicted by national meteorologists. But he says that’s a lot of work and he doesn’t have the staff. One problem is drainage. He’s asking residents for help clearing storm drains near the properties. There will be sandbags available to residents at the Public Works yard on Airport Road and area businesses should have some too. Recent wildfires in the region mean there could be dangers due to flooding and mass debris. The meeting also covered neighbors helping neighbors, especially the elderly.

FEMA continues registering survivors of the Valley and Butte Fires in Lake and Calaveras County. A FEMA spokesperson says the deadline to register is just before Thanksgiving, Monday, Nov. 23rd. So far they’ve received more than 2,300 registrations in Lake County alone and another 1,000 or so in Calaveras County. FEMA says its approved almost 8.5 million in so-called “Individual Assistance” funds for Butte and Valley fire survivors. The two disaster recovery centers in Lake County – at the Middletown Senior Center and the Burns Valley Mall in Clearlake – have had 1,630 visits. Teams checking on those who’ve registered reported having nearly 6,500 interactions with fire victims of both fires. If you need to register and cannot get there yourself, call 916-381-0330 and FEMA will come to you.

A year since the city of Ukiah raised the penalty fee for camping, by creeks and the river and one county worker says there’s been little reduction in the amount of harmful waste left behind. Mike Sweeney the GM of the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority tells the city council they’ve cleaned up more than 30 homeless camps, most along the Russian River. He says that’s a marginal improvement. Sweeney says his agency’s spent more than 100 man hours and $4300. Last October the council increased the penalties for camping and panhandling in the city after a request by the police chief.

A man in Willits is recovering after being shot in the belly. He’s expected to live after Saturday’s shooting and subsequent surgery. The Willits News reports the shooting victim was taken to the hospital early Saturday with at least one gunshot wound. He told police he was parked at the Willits Chevron station Friday night waiting to meet someone when 2 men approached, yanked him from his car, and abducted him. He says he was put into either black car or a truck and driven to a remote location, possibly near Highway 20 where he was beaten and shot. He walked to the hospital. Police still searching for the shooters and say their investigation is for attempted murder.

Grist Creek Aggregates on Covelo Road started putting asphalt into production to help with the Highway 101 repaving project to the north of the plant. Operations still don’t have a final greenlight and area residents are apparently concerned about the environmental and health impacts. Nuisance complaints about emissions, noise, dust, and odors have been filed with both local and state agencies since the plant started operations at the end of September. The plant producing rubberized asphalt for a contract with Caltrans.

Habitat for Humanity in Lake County has started fundraising so it can help low-income fire victims rebuild and repair homes. The administrator for the nonprofit says it’s hoping to raise as much as $1 million. They’re accepting donations thru PayPal at their website: You can also mail them to their P.O. Box in Lower Lake. For more information about donating, call 707-994-1100.

Police in Lakeport searching for a man they say tried luring a couple of kids. The first incident an 11 year old girl reported a man tried luring her at a bus stop Friday morning. She described him as a Black man in a white 4 door compact type vehicle, who she says passed her slowly and started staring at her. She says he circled back and drove by a couple more times and ordered her to get in the car. Her 8 year old brother told the guy to leave and he did. Then yesterday police say another 8 year old reported the same sort of incident happened Tuesday with a black man in a 4 door, but said when the bus came, the man drove off. Police say they think it’s the same guy.

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