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Bad grades for Lake County and mediocre ones for Mendocino in the latest American Lung Association State of Tobacco Control report card. Lake County and it’s cities scored F’s in the 14th annual report on four policy areas: tobacco control and prevention spending; smoke-free air; tobacco taxes; and cessation coverage. A spokesman tells the Record Bee the point of the report is to highlight where they think elected officials can improve policy. Clearlake and Lakeport earned some points for having parks that prohibit smoking, but that was pretty much it for Lake County. Mendocino as a whole got a C as did the cities of Ukiah and Fort Bragg for having limits on smoking for some public areas and events. Willits got a D and Point Arena an F.

Californians need to keep up water conservation, but can back off a bit. The chair of the State Water Board Felicia Marcus, says if the rain and snow continue thru March, we might be able to ease up on the tough requirements or even drop them altogether. Since the drought’s lasted so long many of the state’s reservoirs and groundwater basins are still depleted so further water conservation is needed. This is the fourth time the state has mandated residents continue conserving. The board is going to continue to track water conservation for all of the urban water suppliers each month. Those who comply with individual water supplier conservation requirements will have their mandates based on savings since June of 2015. Marcus says she thinks the state’s rate will hit the 20 percent mark but not getting the prior call for 25 percent so some areas can back off to 23%. The state could save more than 1 million acre-feet of water through October 2016 that way.

State lawmakers are asking the Gov. Jerry Brown to immediately take action due to the dismal, if none, crab season for fisheries on the North Coast. Sen. Mike McGuire of Healdsburg, the chair of the state Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture says he wants the governor to declare a fishery disaster due to unsafe levels of domoic acid in California Dungeness crabs which forced a delay of the crab season in November, missing the peak holiday season. Losses are projected in the millions of dollars. Yearly crab revenues usually average $60 million in California and the peak season brings in more than $95 million in direct revenue. Levels of the toxin are tapering, but McGuire says it may be until mid-February, or even much later in the year for the season.

The first of several upcoming workshops for those looking to rebuild or repair after the Valley Fire has taken place. The Record Bee reports more than 30 private and public entities, from the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to Kelseyville Lumber had booths set up with informational handouts at the After the Fire summit. It was an open house regarding hazard mitigation and a housing summit too. The event was hosted by the Valley Fire Recovery Task Force at Twin Pine Casino in Middletown on Tuesday. Calfire, FEMA and several area businesses helping in recovery and rebuilding.

(Another version of above) It’s been nine months since Calif. had to start some serious water conservation, and this week dozens of water agency head’s pleaded with the Gov. to relax the mandate. But the State Water Resources Control Board voted for adjustments instead. So places where it’s hot like the Southern California desert and the Central Valley stay at 25% from 2013 levels. The state agency says the rules needed to be adjusted so it’s more fair across the state. Now, California cities and water agencies have to reduce consumption 23 percent overall instead. The board has also said yes to cities with extremely hot weather or high levels of population growth to reduce their mandatory state conservation targets up to 8 percentage points. Those range from 8 percent to 36 percent, based on per capita use.

Three people in a car crash had major injuries after a head-on crash near Rio Nido. The CHP reports the accident last Saturday when driver Alexander Vassar of Guerneville lost control of his car as he drove too fast in a 25 mph zone just before midnight. Officers say the man went into the opposite lane and hit a car headed in the other direction. Vassar, the other driver, Patricia Klemme of Monte Rio and Vassar’s passenger Kaitlynne Watson of Rio Nido all had to be taken to the hospital. Russian River firefighters had to cut Vassar out of his totaled car. Vassar reported earlier in the week in stable condition and Klemme was in the ICU in critical condition. Watson not listed as a patient at the same hospital. The crash is being investigated but the CHP says they don’t believe alcohol was a factor.

A police dog coming to the Fort Bragg Police Department. Jerry, the canine unit will have Officer Brandon McGregor as his handler. The team will train for a month and a half together with Jerry learning how to catch suspects, learn narcotics detection then work with McGregor. The dog, just a puppy really, at about 20 months old. He will live with his handler and is expected to start his training in the next few weeks. The money for Jerry, who’s name may change once he gets here, came from the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation.

Firefighters in Fort Bragg made quick work of a fire at an apartment building. It happened last Thursday, Jan. 28th and damaged a downstairs unit but firefighters stopped it from spreading further. 20 Fort Bragg volunteer firefighters in three engines and the department’s aerial truck went to the scene. No injuries were reported but a family lost their home. The fire under investigation.

A former Ohio police officer who just retired gets to buy his K-9 partner for $1. It caused quite the controversy when Marietta officials said Matt Hickey’s police dog, Ajax, had to be sold at auction since it was technically city property and could still work. But Ajax and handler Hickey worked together for three years, and the dog lived with him so officials said Hickey could buy Ajax from the city. This after earlier in the week the city said he could keep the dog if he stayed on the police force on a volunteer basis after his retirement. He said no, he was retiring due to health concerns. He says now he’s "speechless and very grateful" he gets to keep his partner Ajax.

An ape at the Salt Lake City zoo apparently got the memo early about which team will win the Super Bowl. A zoo spokesperson says the 1 year old Orangutan named Tuah has predicted the Carolina Panthers are going to win. He chewed up a cardboard Panthers sign then kissed a papier-mache Panthers helmet. The zoo says he didn’t even go near the Denver Broncos sign or helmet. Apparently it’s an annual event at the zoo, animals have correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner eight straight years. This was Tuah’s first time though.


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