The Mendocino National Forest has a temporary closure due to a washout. The Forest Service reported closing Forest Service road M5 on the Grindstone Ranger District south of the Stonyford Recreation Area. They closed the road Sunday and it will stay that way until they can make repairs. There is a detour with signs in place too. They report the area is popular because of how close it is to the Off-Highway Vehicle trail system. The forest service concerned about safety for visitors and forest resources due to the severe weather conditions. The recent heavy rains drenched the area and the forest service warns it may not be the only time this happens this winter season.
A man has died after having a heart attack on the Russian River near Forestville just after he caught a fish. The Windsor Fire Dept. reports it happened near Riverfront Park, close to the Dry Creek inlet. He has not been identified yet. Fire dept. says he just caught a steelhead trout and collapsed on the shore. A rescue boat was launched in one direction and Forestville firefighters sent out one too. The man was found with friends trying to resuscitate him.
Thanks to recent rain and snow the water content for the Sierra Nevada snowpack was at 136 percent of normal for the winter’s first manual survey. The chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program for the Department of Water Resources says it’s a good start. He says after four years of drought, the measuring pole went in, followed by an electronic measurement, that came back with snowpack at 112 percent of normal. The snowpack turns into as much as 30 percent of California’s water supply after it melts into rivers and streams filling reservoirs that remain critically low. Last Jan. 1st, the snowpack was at 45 percent of the historical average and by April 1st, only at 5 percent, a record low.
If you wanna get out and get your party on but have no designated driver, fear not, there are some options. Lake Transit, the public bus service will operate like a Saturday for New Year’s Eve, operating routes throughout the county under normal operations on their Saturday schedule. Route options can go from Ukiah throughout Lake County, to Deer Park and Saint Helena Hospital in Napa. You can also transfer to other bus systems once outside the county. Maria’s Midnight Rides is also operating tonight. That’s a shuttle in Lakeport offering service to the entire county.. There’s also Riley’s Cabs which has an operation in Mendocino County and offers rides thruout. No reservations accepted, it’s first-come, first-serve. They go between Lakeport and the casinos, take cash and credit cards. There’s also Lake County Taxi & Shuttle and Lake County Limousine.
Things are slowing down in Walnut sales. The latest harvest showing a slowdown after years of increased popularity. The Lake County Agricultural Commissioner reported on the crop. The crop was up 22 percent in gross value in 2014 compared to the previous year. And prices peaked at a return of $4,500 per ton in 2014. But apparently this summer, China, one of the world’s largest buyers of walnuts, said it was no longer bringing the nut into the country. And the international demand followed. The first quarter fiscal of 2016’s financial results were released in early December showing international walnut sales down. The report also shows some Lake County growers reported getting about 70 cents per pound, or about $1,400 per ton, from this year’s harvest.
More than 400 kids in Willits had a Merry Xmas with Santa packing up gifts at the old Rexall with firefighters, longtime volunteers and new volunteers. The program brings Xmas to the needy or those who may not have a Christmas otherwise. The Willits Toy Run brought in more than 300 toys and $3,100 in donations from bikers, businesses and others. The money to Christmas trees set up around town for families that had kids’ names and wishes on them. Pick-ups, fire engines and other cars went to the old Rexall Xmas eve and brought the toys to Harrah’s Manor, Creekside Court and other locations. Brooktrails Fire Department also brought packages to their area.
The crop report in for Mendocino County in 2015 showing many local agricultural producers and ranchers had higher market prices even in a drought. The report actually covered production during 2014 as compared to years prior. The report showed gross returns for non-marijuana agriculture was nearly $215,000,000 down 4 percent compared to 2013. The downturn due to light production figures for wine grapes and pears. The highest valued crop, besides marijuana, has been wine grapes followed by timber. Not counting timber, all agricultural production was off 11 percent, but several sectors were up even though there was less production overall. Vegetable production, livestock production, and livestock and poultry products all were up in gross value in 2014 and livestock had “very favorable market prices.”
The first interim budget’s been approved by the Willits Unified School District (WUSD). One of two updates that had been scheduled on the budget was approved Dec. 16th. The director of fiscal services reported to the school trustees the district added $914,000 to its original 2015-2016 budget approved in June. The money will go to new buses, paving projects, textbooks and teacher training. The extra money from a grant and back payments from the state. They also have a new interim principal at one of the district’s elementary schools, just until the end of the school year. Nancy Runberg will run two elementaries and recruitment will start in February for one of the schools.
A pregnant woman in New Jersey delivered her new baby in the cab of a pickup truck while her husband drove to the hospital. Keshia Melchiorre was driving with her hubby to a hospital in Voorhees early Tuesday, but the little girl wasn’t waiting, Portia popped out in the front seat of the pickup. Apparently Portia’s daddy, didn’t even have time to pull over. The baby was due Jan. 23rd. The baby was wrapped up in her mama’s sweat shirt. She weighed just 4 pounds, 12 ounces. Mom says she’d gone thru 10 to 12 hard hours of labor with her other baby. Mom and Portia are said to be in good condition.
A man from Ohio who took video of himself with his phone while he was drinking and driving and posted it on Facebook, found himself under arrest pretty quick. The Franklin County Sheriff’s office reports someone tipped them to the video after it was posted Monday. The man was stopped south of Columbus. The 12-second video shows the man in his car, looking at the camera as music plays in the background. It shows him taking a swig from a partially covered bottle, it also looks like he’s driving with only one finger. 28 year old Dustin Rittgers in court on five misdemeanor charges, including operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and having an open container in a vehicle.
A woman in upstate New York’s charged with drunk-driving but had charges dismissed with an unusual defense: her body is a brewery. A judge in the Buffalo suburb of Hamurg dismissed charges against the woman after seeing a note from her doctor saying she had something called “auto-brewery syndrome”, a rare condition in which her digestive system converts food into alcohol. In other words she has high levels of yeast in her intestines which fermented high-carbohydrate foods into alcohol. It’s also known as gut fermentation syndrome.
Assemblyman Jim Wood says he’s looking to bring a bill to the legislature in the new year aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse-related deaths. There were about 100 more deaths in 2014 compared to 2013 due to drug overdoses. The CDC says more use of prescription opioid pain relievers and heroin were the biggest contributors to the drug overdose epidemic. Wood’s Assembly Bill 623 was proposed in this past year’s legislative session. It asks doctors to prescribe Abuse-Deterrent Formulations for commonly abused pain pills so they’re almost uncrushable, uncuttable or undissolvable for snorting and injecting. The bill died though, so Wood says he’ll reconsider it in the new session which starts next month.
A fall inspection of the Mendocino County community mental health facility shows some areas that need work. The Sept. inspection was ordered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showing a failure to maintain an accurate accounting of the center’s active clientele due to a breakdown in communication; provide documentation of inspection of a fire extinguisher; and practice effective infection control measures. The Ukiah Daily Journal outlines the entire report. It also shows the health center didn’t participate in a Partial Hospitalization Program, the report saying that puts the entire county at risk of not being recertified and a possible loss of receiving federal dollars for patient care if the county chooses to bill Medicare or Medicaid.