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Phase one of the Valley Fire debris removal operations in Lake County is done. Cal Recycle reports the Debris Removal Operations Center in Middletown is closing tomorrow at 1 p.m. then Lake County’s Department of Environmental Health becomes the main point of contact for the Valley Fire debris removal operations. Phase 2 should begin in the spring, depending on the weather then CalRecycle crews finish up the complete debris removal at about thirty sites that are not accessible now because of weather-related issues. CalRecycle are going to also look for other sites where owners have not signed up for debris removal and have not begun the cleanup process. For more info, visit www.LakeCountyRecovers.com or at the County of Lake, California Facebook page.

Hazardous weather headed our way. The National Weather Service issuing a hazardous weather statement for the northern California region with storms today thru Monday and possible hazards for parts of the Mendocino Forest and in recently burned areas. The system expected to pour down rain and snow for higher elevations tonight into tomorrow above 6,000 feet. A stronger weather system to come in Sunday afternoon through Monday morning with periods of heavy rain and several inches of rain in the foothills and mountains and several inches of snow possible above 6,000 feet. A warning that there could be flash flooding and heavy mud and debris in recently burned areas.

The State Assembly has unanimously passed a bill removing the March 1st deadline for cities and counties to pass medical marijuana cultivation ordinances or face state pre-emption. The urgency ordinance was introduced right after the new year after about 3 weeks of work on the addendum to the group of bills signed by the governor last year, assigning all sorts of regulations of medical pot. Assembly Member Jim Wood of Healdsburg authored the bill with backing from the League of California Cities, the California Police Chiefs Association, patient advocates, industry and other stakeholders.

A group of wild ponies found running free near Highway 253 have been corralled on Boonville Road. The ponies part of Robinson Creek and have apparently been running around free for 4 decades. There are 6 of them seen grazing on a field near a pumpkin patch which is part of a bigger herd with dozens more. Rumor has it a doctor let a group of ponies free in Mendocino County in the 1970s which ended up in a pack of white ponies often seen roaming thru the hills. An animal control officer with Mendocino County says they received a bunch of calls recently that the animals were seen near the road. Sonoma Action for Equine Rescue is helping to find somewhere for them to go.

The first phase of soil removal in Lakeport after that P,G&E related mineral oil spill two weeks ago is done. The utility reports cleanup crews at the corner of South Main Street and Industrial Avenue for 2.5 weeks after a PG& E contractor tipped over three transformers, spilling 2 dozen gallons of mineral oil. They’ve now excavated the soil which was potentially contaminated. A PG& E spokesman says they’re waiting for test results taken from the soil at the site then they’ll find out if there’s any trace amounts of PCB, a synthetic chemical used in the mineral oils of old transformers. If it’s negative, they’ll be able to leave the area, but if not, they’ll have to excavate even more. The Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians is reported to be concerned about archaeological resources that could be found in the dirt.

Congressman Mike Thompson is endorsing Monica Rosenthal, a community leader in Middletown running for District 1 on the Lake County Board of Supervisors. Thompson says she’s effective and has dedicated service to the people of South Lake County. He says she was there helping residents after the Valley Fire at the Calistoga Fairgrounds during evacuations plus she served as a board member for the Team Lake County volunteer recovery organization. She’s also been endorsed by Supervisor Rob Brown of District 5, former District 1 Supervisor Ed Robey, Six Sigma Ranch and Winery owner Kaj Ahlmann, Beckstoffer Vineyards owner Andy Beckstoffer, former District 1 Planning Commissioner Frieda Camotta and several District 1 business owners.

A ballot measure asking for a parcel tax for Mendocino Coast District Hospital may end up on the general election ballot this year, not the presidential primary in June. The hospital district’s planning committee suggested the move at a meeting last week after presenting plans for the measure to local groups. There was agreement that more time was needed to prepare the measure. The hospital foundations board of governors saying the June timeline is unrealistic. The board’s president saying he thinks the district needs to capitalize on positive fiscal performance of late and quality reviews by regulators after a bankruptcy the last fiscal year.

A man in Clearlake’s been arrested after police find he’s connected to the shooting of another person in the city earlier this week. 57 year old William Mitchell arrested at his home yesterday after cops got a call to shots fired and medical help Wednesday night. Police went to the shooting but couldn’t find a victim, getting another call the victim was at the hospital. 24-year-old Anthony Monize of Clearlake found with an apparent gunshot wound to his torso. Witnesses fingering Mitchell as the shooter after an argument. Mitchell has been booked into Lake County Jail on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Monize listed last night in stable condition.

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