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Ukiah Police looking for a man who reportedly tried to grab a girl outside her school Tuesday afternoon. The UPD’s School Resource Officer says the 10-year-old Accelerated Achievement Academy student was grabbed by an unidentified man near the corner of Scott and North State. The girl was able to kick the guy in the groin and run home where she told her mom what happened. She described the man as Hispanic, about 18 years old, about 5’2” and 120 pounds, with short black hair and no facial hair. Ukiah Police are working with the School District to investigate and they also plan to step up patrols. This is the second such attack within a week – last Friday a Ukiah High School student reported being grabbed from behind and assaulted around 6:30 a.m. as she waited for the school bus near the corner of South Orchard and Cindee. She was also able to fight the guy off and run away. In that case the only description police could get was a man wearing dark clothing so they can’t say whether it’s the same guy.

The family of a teenager from Cloverdale who was hit and killed by a car during a street race has filed a claim against the city and the CHP for not finding her body and realizing she’d been killed in the incident. 16-year-old Angelica Contreras was part of a big group of teens at the accident scene last June when a racing car lost control and hit her. The family claims officers failed to conduct a thorough investigation and as a result, her body was on the ground unnoticed until the next morning when someone riding a bike came across her. The Press Democrat reports the girl had been thrown about 150 feet from the point of impact and the family claims it was unknown if their daughter died instantly after being hit and suggests if she were still alive she might have been saved had she been found. The City Manager and a CHP spokesman have said that none of the people there that night came forward to say she was missing so officers would not have known to look for her. The paper reports the Cloverdale City Council has rejected the claim, which seeks unspecified damages.

A group of Mendocino County residents who want the county to change its form of government say they’ve have gathered enough signatures to get the idea on the June ballot. The state constitution recognizes two types of counties – general law, which follows state law as performed by elected officials, and is what Mendocino is now; or a charter county which supporters say gives local citizens more power. The Daily Journal reports the group “Charter Project of Mendocino County” has gathered about 4,000 signatures in support of their petition, and has delivered them to the Registrar of Voters. The Registrar requires at least 2,503 valid signatures for a petition to qualify for the ballot, so the group says with 4000 they’ve got plenty to spare cover if some are disqualified.

Ukiah Police are recognizing outstanding service. The department hosted their yearly awards dinner to recognize officers, dispatchers and staffers in serving and protecting citizens of Ukiah. Their Life Saving Award went to four officers and a dispatcher for help reviving a woman who stopped breathing in October. Dispatcher Tammy Ingle and officers Rick Pintane, Josh Cooper, Matt Edwards and Tom Corning won that award. Then Andrew Snyder was Officer of the Year for an officer demonstrating the highest levels of the department’s values of Safety, Professionalism and Community Service. Kelly Denham got Dispatcher of the Year. And Officer Ron Donohue won his award for helping to reduce injury traffic accidents and fatalities with top numbers in DUI arrests.

A sickly and too skinny baby northern fur seal is safe after being found in bushes at a San Francisco Bay Area business park. This is the second time the seal tried escaping across the highway. Police in Hayward say the little guy was dehydrated and malnourished. It was found by someone Wednesday morning. Police say it somehow got out of the water, crossed Interstate 880 and went to the bushes. Police called the Marine Mammal Center for a rescue. They say they’ll feed the seal, then send it back into the wild as soon as possible. The seal known as Pipester is tagged. He’s been in the center before after being rescued in November at Moss Landing Harbor by volunteers.

Strange but true, hundreds of people seen running through the streets in southwestern Spain, chasing a dressed up, beast-like figure, pelting it with turnips. It’s part of the tiny town of Piornal’s ‘Jarramplas’ festival held each Jan 19-20. After the annual tradition, one town volunteer wears a costume of multicolored ribbons and a protective devilish mask with horns then runs thru the streets beating a drum. Local farmers gave 18 tons of turnips for the festival.

More rain on the way, probably thru the end of the month and possible thru the Spring. The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center says above normal temperatures are also expected for the rest of the month in Northern California. As we reported, the Navarro River reached flood stage Monday, as did the Eel River at Fernbridge. This after heavy Sunday rain which closed several roadways because of major flooding in low lying sections, mostly near creeks and streams which had receded by Monday morning. Humboldt County still had many highways closed or restrictions because of flooding, rock and mud slides. Several roads closed in Mendocino County near the coast but most reopened by Monday night. A climatologist tells the Willits News it’s unlikely one winter of mass rain would eliminate the historic 4 year drought, but it could happen.

A meeting to discuss rubberized asphalt production at Grist Creek Aggregates plus the work has temporarily stopped because of winter weather. There’s a lawsuit about the plant’s compliance with permit conditions by an environmental group, and from the plant owners/operators. The public hearing’s set for next Friday, Jan. 29th at 10 a.m. at the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District (MCAQMD) in Ukiah. Input will be taken on whether the operations should continue until a full environmental review can be completed. The group Friends of Outlet Creek filing a request to stop operations until there’s a full environmental review.

Universal trash collection is being considered by Lake County Department of Public Services and an expansion of the Eastlake Landfill. The ideas to the Board of Supervisors by the Interim Public Services Director Kim Clymire . Clymire telling the board staffers have been considering the location for the trash program to start for Lucerne and Clearlake Oaks so they can make progress on a major amount of illegal dumping in the towns. A pilot program had been planned for Middletown but because the summer fires caused a loss to almost 600 customers, they had to change plans.

No reinstatement for a Lake County sheriff’s sergeant fired after accusations of hitting another officer, insubordination, willful disobedience and dishonesty. Former Lake County sheriff’s Sgt. James Beland now has to also pay the county for legal costs for the appeal. Lake County in San Francisco appeals court after deciding to fire Beland and a lower court ruling that upheld the termination. Beland challenged the firing, saying the conduct happened behind closed doors without notice and the Board of Supervisors should have listened to an independent reviewer who recommended discipline rather than dismissal.

The Lakeport City Council getting a financial update showing things in stable shape. Lake Co News reports the Finance Director reported to the council last night on the quarterly report and year-end financial report for the fiscal year that ended last June 30th. Almost $10.3 million in the bank and another one and a half or so in receivables. The city has an obligation for CalPERS of $6.82M even though the city’s just closed a deal to begin a restructuring of retirement obligations to save about 2 hundred thousand a year. The city council unanimously voted to assign the finance director fiscal reporting requirements that had been the work of the city clerk. They also voted on a zoning change for the proposed Lakeport AutoZone and adopted a mitigated negative declaration after the environmental review. That will be looked at a future meeting.

Looks like there’s nearly 130 million dollars available from federal and state agencies in disaster assistance and grants for survivors, cities and the counties after last summer’s fires. All told the fires in Lake and Calaveras counties burned thru almost 147,000 acres between Sept. 9th and Oct. 30th. Lake Co News reports as of yesterday the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), FEMA and the SBA approved more than $34 million in federal disaster assistance and FEMA and Cal OES came up with nearly $3.7 million in grants for hazard mitigation projects in the designated counties. There were also nearly $90 million in Public Assistance Grants for approved disaster-related emergency protective measures, debris removal and repair or restoration of public infrastructure.


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