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A couple of public hearings to be held by the Ukiah City Council on the new draft Housing Element. One’s happened already covering the city’s vacancy rate which the city’s planner says is currently at 1.5 percent, one of the lowest in the state. Ukiah Principal Planner Kevin Thompson says the low rate means rents are going up. The new Housing Element Plan went to the Planning Commission first. The city manager says staff’s considering suggestions that have come in already. Nobody from the pubic came forward to speak so far on the 150-page plan which goes before the council when it’s done around April. The public is welcome to comment again at that meeting.

An improvement for the city of Ukiah’s water conservation rate. The Daily Journal reports the city has to use 20% less water than in 2013. So far this month is getting closer than January when it was off by more than 50 percent. The conservation rate was only 8 percent but the cumulative rate is apparently more important. The water shortage is almost nil at Lake Mendocino, currently sitting at 73,000 acre-feet. Water can be stored again after next month and the project over at Potter Valley by PG&E should be done too so more water will flow from Lake Pillsbury to Lake Mendocino.

A man from Butte County’s been arrested on suspicion of robbery for a hold up at a salon. The Ukiah Police Department reports getting a call Friday afternoon to the Bella Vita Salon in the 400 block of Talmage Road for a robbery. The victims say a man in a hoodie with a bandana partially covering his face came in with a knife, demanding money. They report the man also took personal items from those in the salon and he got some cash. He told the victims not to call police and ran off. The CHP found the guy near a restaurant on Airport Park Boulevard. Officers linked the man, identified as Michael Balmer of Oroville to the robbery and say they found stolen property on him. He’s charged with suspicion of robbery and preventing a victim from reporting a crime.

A man from Santa Rosa has been taken to jail after police say they found as much as 8,500 marijuana plants and a hash oil lab at a home. Cops got a tip about two armed men last Monday who were supposedly taking pot from the home. Cops went to the house and found Gary Labriola who they say looked like he was walking out of a pot cultivation setup inside the home. They found 2,700 pounds of processed pot, packaging materials, scales and lab equipment, plus magic mushrooms, testosterone and syringes. He’s been booked into jail on suspicion of pot cultivation, possession of marijuana for sale and possession of a controlled substance. But he posted bond on $20,000 bail and was released.

An empty cliffside apartment building in Pacifica has been demolished before it could tumble into the Pacific Ocean. The San Francisco Chronicle reports ( ) the two-story building was taken down last Thursday after being vacant since 2010 when it was red-tagged after a storm. 3 apartment buildings sit on an eroding bluff. After a wind storm last month, the balcony of another of the apartment buildings fell into the ocean 80 feet below. City inspectors put up yellow tags, so residents could get inside just to remove their possessions. The buildings were constructed in 1962 with a big enough bluff for playgrounds and one had a swimming pool in a space between the apartments and the edge of the cliff.

Police from San Francisco on the lookout for the gun of a federal agent who lost it after leaving it on top of a car and driving away. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent’s loaded service weapon had been reported lost Friday. Police say it’s an H&K P200sk .40 caliber handgun. Handguns have been stolen from federal agents and used in high-profile murders the last several months, one in San Francisco in July and one in Oakland in September.

Still a lot of donations at the Valley Fire Work Right Warehouse Distribution Center which is closing this month. Clothes, toiletries household items and other donations still not given out. There was a community service day over the weekend for folks to come out and help go thru and sort the items and take stuff too. It’s closing permanently Friday. The warehouse manager has been volunteering there since the Monday after the fire started, Sept. 12th. The Record Bee reports just a handful are still visiting the center which has served hundreds of families a week at its peak with emergency items like sleeping bags, tents, water and paper plates. There will still be items available at the Little Red School House in Cobb and the Seventh Day Adventist Relief Supply Center in Lakeport.

A new Energy Reduction Plan has been made public by the Lake Transit Authority. The work to be paid for with federal money after a consultant investigated the agency’s fuel use for power. The plan looking to bring down energy costs by about $50,000 a year. That would be a savings of about 10 percent compared to the same amount of spending in 2012. The GM of LTA says if they can achieve those savings, that would pay for the project and save more than $200,000 a year. The consultant, ICF International suggests the governing board take small steps right away like changing light bulbs inside and outside its facility near Lower Lake to LED’s; put UV coatings on some windows and other recommendations that will have to wait for the federal funding.

The Lake County DA not moving further after an appellate court tossed the first-degree murder convictions of a couple of men who killed a 4-year-old boy and injured five others during a 2011 shooting. The DA, Don Anderson says he’s not going after a retrial so the men can now be resentenced to a lesser murder charge. Lake Co News reports this comes after the appeals court handed down the decision last Wednesday in the case of Paul Braden and Orlando Lopez who were sent to prison in August 2012 for killing Skyler Rapp and injuring his mom, stepdad and three family friends in June of 2011, in Clearlake. The two challenged the findings in their first-degree murder case, citing a 2014 California Supreme Court case, People v. Chiu which established someone who aided and abetted couldn’t be convicted of first-degree premeditated murder under the doctrine of natural and probable consequences.

A bill introduced in the California legislature says any gun sales would have to be videotaped. The requirement part of a new ordinance San Francisco adopted last November which ended with most gun stores closing. The new bill by Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty of Sacramento who says it would help keep guns out of the wrong hands and ban sales by licensed dealers from their homes. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says video recordings would stop those from buying guns for others who can’t pass background checks.

Travelers going to Latin America are now being warned to be careful of the Zika virus. It had just been associated Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, but now Latin American too. They say the illness is usually mild and symptoms start about three days to a week after you’re bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and redness of the eyes and so far there’s no specific treatment. They’re warning of serious birth defects like abnormally small heads and brains in newborns to women infected with Zika while pregnant.

A teenager gets into a local high school in Marion, OH for a tour, then speaks to a class, disguised as a state legislator. Mohawk Local School District officials say Izaha Akins went to the school last December saying he was a state senator, replacing another. They say they figured they’d been duped when Sen. David Burke, of Marysville, showed up to speak weeks later, as scheduled.

A food distributor in Oregon stops some shipments of canned green beans after a woman in Utah claimed she found a severed snake head in a can. She says she found the head as she prepared a meal at the Mormon church in Farmington, Utah last week. She says she took the beans out of a slow cooker and saw what she thought was a burnt bean, but when she got closer, she saw eyes and screamed. Another woman cooking with her that night says it was a very small snake that had clearly been cut up. They say they threw out several other large pots of string beans, but first let youngsters into the church kitchen to see the odd bean.


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