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A design and engineering consultant has been hired by the city of Willits to help design the Willits Main Street Corridor Enhancement Plan. The firm out of San Francisco won the job having had worked in the past on main street planning, complete streets, and green streets. They also had transportation planning and engineering experience along with the consultant group that has experience working in communities like Cloverdale, Sebastopol, Petaluma and Hopland. The plan for main street in Willits will cover the three-mile stretch within City limits and will be developed with community members. April 18th designers and engineers will be in town working with the public on ideas for the future of Main Street. Another project to coincide is the Downtown Streets and Alleys Connectivity Study, which the city reports is also starting in coming weeks. For more info, visit www.willitsmainstreetplan.com.

A man from Ukiah has been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence after cops say he hit a woman in the head with a glass water bong. 19-year-old Kevin Quijada was in the Mendocino County Jail as of Monday. Police say they got a call to a home because a man refused to leave and when they arrived officers say they saw a man now ID’d as Quijada, jump the back fence and run. They chased him and caught him a short time later. Investigators say Quijada had been fighting with his girlfriend and when a friend tried to intervene, he hit the friend with the bong.

Mendocino County has ordered the stoppage of a temporary lumber operation at Hoberg’s Resort and Spa on Cobb Mountain so logs will no longer be brought in and logs on the property can be taken out. The Community Development Director says the lumber staging area went over several provisions and got too big, overwhelming the site which got materials too close to Highway 175, trucks making a mess to nearby roads, and possible threats to the nearby watershed from storm runoff. A PG& E contractor had been using the resort to process trees from the Valley Fire burn areas. They’d been sorted based on quality with some “less desirable” lumber being was sent to China thru the port of Oakland.

Preliminary numbers from the state show the Lake County unemployment rate was up a bit for December 2015. The state’s Employment Development Department releasing numbers last Friday showing Lake County’s unemployment at 7.3 percent last month, up from November’s 7.2. The agency reported almost every industry’s labor force grew except in information, leisure and hospitality and jobs in the category of other, which stayed the same with no change. The only industry down in its labor force was state government by 5.3 percent. Lake County came out at 35 out of 52 county’s with the highest unemployment.

A couple from Northern Calif, one a teenager, have been to court in the abuse death of 2 children and the attempted murder of another, pleading not guilty. 39 year old Tami Huntsman and her 17-year-old boyfriend have been accused of abusing the 6-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl then stuffing their bodies in a plastic bin and taking them to a rented storage unit in Redding. The couple also charged in the abuse and starving of a 9 year old girl, found with broken bones in the back of an SUV in Quincy, California. The kids were all siblings that Huntsman was caring for. They lived with the couple in Salinas. Investigators say they think the 2 found dead, died in Salinas from sustained physical abuse and neglect.

The state Senate’s voted to outlaw compassionate release from prison for anyone found guilty of killing cops. In a 35-1 vote, the measure now moves to the Assembly. The state allows dying inmates to be released if they don’t pose a threat to the public. It’s also meant to save the state money on expensive end-of-life care. A Democratic Senator from Stockton tells CBS TV in Sacramento, the so-called medical parole law was not meant for those who killed police officers. Apparently it’s in place because there had been a time in the 1970s when the state didn’t allow the death sentence or life without parole.

The Gov. Jerry Brown’s announced a new ballot initiative to change how long felons stay in prison and how many juveniles are tried as adults. The measure to give prison officials more authority to grant sentence credits for those behind bars who finish rehabilitation programs. It also would mean non-violent felons could go for parole after finishing base sentences, with no enhancements for gang involvement or firearms possession which could potentially add years to a prison term. It would allow judges, instead of prosecutors, to decide if juveniles should be tried in adult court.

Lowering his standards a tad, a man police have nicknamed the "Bordeaux Bandit" for stealing expensive bottles of wine around the Northeast got prison time in Rhode Island for stealing video game equipment. Scott Deluca, of Cohoes, New York is going to jail for 90 days for larceny, with credit for time served since Jan. 11. The rest of his six-year sentence was suspended. The man accused of taking rare wines from businesses in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, one even worth $4,800. He’s pleaded no contest for swiping a Nintendo Wii, games, a controller and jewelry. A warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court in June 2014.

A dad in Texas accused of theft after taking his 12-year-old daughter’s cellphone after an inappropriate text, was acquitted in court. A judge in Dallas finds Ronald Jackson not guilty, due to insufficient evidence. Grand Prairie police arrested the man after he took his kids phone and wouldn’t give it back saying he found a text on the phone to be rude. The girl’s mom says she’s actually the owner of the phone and reported the confiscation as theft. Dad had to post $1,500 bail to get out of jail, getting a citation for theft too, which he refused to pay, ending up in court. He won and got to keep the phone.

A new pool’s coming to the Lakeport Unified School District because of the high cost of replacing the Westshore pool. The money to come thru a 2014 voter-approved bond measure. The District Superintendent says they’re not sure where they’ll put the pool yet, the money from the Measure T bond which raised $17 million dollars to pay for new facilities to include a pool and fitness center at the high school; expand the current cafeteria and kitchen facilities; upgrade playgrounds and play structures; improve roads, utilities and grounds; Americans with Disabilities access projects; and total modernization of school facilities. The first round of the bonds have been sold, raising $6 million.

Those in south Lake County who are going to rebuild or repair homes after the Valley fire are invited to an open house. The After the Fire Rebuilding Summit and Open House for home and business owners plus farmers and ranchers. The event next Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Twin Pine Casino Event Center in Middletown.

CalRecycle is getting part of almost $143 million from a couple of grants from FEMA for reimbursement related to expenses from the Butte and Valley fires last fall. The money for the CalRecycle Public Assistance program comes from the Robert T. Stafford Act and includes nearly $85M for private property debris removal for the Butte Fire in Calaveras County. The Federal share is $63 million or so. Another $58M in private property debris removal for the Valley Fire in Lake County. The Federal share there, $43M. FEMA pays 75 percent of total costs through this PA program and the state of California is covering the rest which is that $143 million number.

A special meeting’s been called by the Ukiah City Council for ongoing Strategic Planning. This will be the first infrastructure workshop discussing the Electric Utility. They’re covering streets, water and sewer and other departments as discussed last fall. The first workshop was supposed to happen last week but was cancelled. The agenda simply states covering Ukiah’s Electric System and a review of system infrastructure, staffing, and resources. The city council will first have a closed door session with the City Attorney regarding the receivership of the Palace Hotel. The first mediation session on the matter is set for Monday. The special council meeting this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. in the Ukiah Valley Conference Center.

The case continues of area fire departments trying to get a cut of Prop 172 funds. Arguments in court tomorrow from the Mendocino County Acting County Counsel regarding a petition by area fire districts who want to qualify for this year’s election to ask voters if the Board of Supervisors should divvy up the Proposition 172 funding differently. The districts say it’s currently unconstitutional. They’ve filed a petition which has been challenged by the county. Fire districts say yes, they should get their portion of the half-cent sales tax measure especially now, while in a funding crisis for around-the-clock services to county residents. As much as $7 million has been distributed from the Proposition to the county general fund but only $121,000 was supposedly given to cities. If the fire districts get their way, they’d receive a 30 percent share.

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