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The Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to raise California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour has cleared its first legislative hurdle, passing through the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The measure is a deal reached earlier this week between state labor leaders and some democrats in the state legislature. It now heads to the full Assembly where it could be heard as soon as today. It would gradually raise California’s hourly minimum wage from the current of $10/hr up to $15 by 2022 for large businesses and by 2023 for smaller ones. Supporters say it’s needed to help low-paid workers stay out of poverty as wages stagnate but costs of living rise. Opponents say it puts a strain on businesses still trying to rebound from the recession.

Folks in Lucerne struggling with water shortages due to the drought. The Record Bee reports the California Water Service, or CalWater, charges more than any other service around the lake. The paper reports that’s a tough pill to swallow for many on fixed incomes in the tiny town. So District 3 Supervisor Jim Steele and some town residents are fighting the water rates, looking to own their own utility. But for the time being CalWater’s looking to raise their rates over the next three years. Their General Rate Case is being reviewed now by the California Public Utilities Commission. If it’s approved, Lucerne residents will get a more than 6 percent bump next year and 1.5 percent each year until the end of 2019.

A virtual call center for those who need mental health treatment in Lake County has been unanimously approved. The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission all said yes to the nearly one million dollar fund for the web-based virtual “call center” so those who need help can be more quickly connected to someone in mental health services in Lake County. Those who use the online service can track and share personal health information with providers of their choice. The 853-thousand dollars to cover the five year project comes from Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act approved by California voters in 2004 for stronger mental health services in the state. This specifically from so-called innovation funds, to be used for unique, untried, time-limited approaches to the mental health system.

Another step closer for Senator Mike McGuire’s bill to provide free access to transit for California veterans. The bill made it thru its first Senate committee with unanimous, bi-partisan support. McGuire says there’s 2 million veterans in California and not much affordable and reliable transportation for jobs, mental health services and medical care. McGuire says they launched the same sort of program in his district when he was on the County Board of Supervisors which he says has been incredibly successful. He says his bill, the Golden State Patriot Passes will help increase veterans’ access to care and employment, ultimately raising the quality of life for veterans in the state.

Prosecutors say they’re not going after the death penalty against three homeless people accused in the robbery and murder of two people days apart in Northern California. The Marin Independent Journal reports the Marin County District Attorney saying he’s instead going after the maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. 18-year-old Lili Alligood, 23-year-old Morrison Haze Lampley and 24-year-old Sean Angold all pleaded not guilty for the death of backpacker Audrey Carey, of Canada last October in San Francisco; and two days later the murder of yoga teacher Steve Carter on a hiking trail in Marin County. He had taught workshops at Harbin Hot Springs, which was destroyed by the Valley fire.

As Ukiah prepares for budget planning, the city announces it needs a new finance director. The Daily Journal reports the city manager saying they’ve been working without one. Karen Scalabrini was hired two years ago but is no longer employed by the city. There’s also apparently no assistant finance director on the books. The city manager says it could take three to six months to find a new finance director so they’ve hired a temp through Regional Government Services. Apparently it’s not the first time the city’s contracted out for such help. The newspaper reports before Scalabrini left Ukiah’s employ, another contractor was helping with budgeting and auditing due to a backlog. Jim McAdler will work as the interim director. He had been doing the same before Scalabrini was hired.

Mendocino College working with local law enforcement for their active shooter training on the Ukiah Campus. The exercise yesterday, led by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s office with the Ukiah Police Department, Ft. Bragg Police Department, Willits Police Department, Cal Fire, the Office of Emergency Services, the Ukiah High School SCRUBS program and other local emergency responders. There were more than sixty local law enforcement and paramedic officers who took part in the drill. They pretended the school had an active shooter inside, moving with unloaded guns drawn thru several of the buildings on the Mendocino College Ukiah Campus. Volunteer community members acted as victims of a campus shooting.

The Broadband Alliance announcing an important legislative meeting for anyone concerned about recent outages. Senator McGuire working on a bill so reporting requirements of broadband outages are more streamlined in rural areas. He’s introduced the Emergency Reliability and Public Safety Act with the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, Office of Emergency Services, and the Broadband Alliance all endorsed. The bill is headed to the Senate Energy committee next Tuesday which the county Office of Emergency Services Coordinator will testify at. McGuire’s looking for more county support though in the form of others willing to testify too.

A man in Lakeport’s been arrested in connection to a stabbing. Police report getting a call to the Seventh Day Adventist Church where they found Terry Rucks of Lower Lake who told police officers he was in an altercation and had called 911. The stabbing victim was across the street at the time being worked on by emergency medical personnel. Rucks told officers he acted in self defense saying the victim had kicked his car and yelled at him, then punched, kicked and forced him to drive the guy somewhere. He says he reached for his knife in the car and stabbed the victim. But the victim who told police he’d been having issues with the homeless trespassing on his property as they waited for a warming shelter to open at the church. He told folks to leave, but says Rucks stayed and argued with him. He says he walked away but Rucks followed and attacked him. He went to the hospital for treatment and Rucks was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and booked into county jail.

A new childcare center coming to Ukiah. The Planning Commission has approved a permit for the new daycare at the United Methodist Church on North Pine Street. The Daily Journal reports just a few concerns raised by the commission which had given approval to a different operator of a day care at the church in 2010. The building already has classrooms and an outdoor playground. The new center to be managed by Raise & Shine, a new nonprofit agency in Northern Calif.

A man headed to Japan from Hawaii busted for trying to do yoga and meditate instead of sit in his seat as requested. The FBI says the pilot turned the flight back to Honolulu International Airport when he heard Hyongtae Pae yelling at crew members and found he’d shoved his wife. The FBI reports the guy didn’t want to sit down at meal service, so he went to the back of the airplane to practice yoga and meditate and got angry when his wife and flight attendants told him sit down. He even tried to head-butt and bite Marines that were passengers on the flight. Pae recently started yoga to help with anxiety and his lawyer says he hadn’t been able to sleep for the last week and a half.

A campus lockdown in Arkansas before police found there were pest control employees chasing squirrels. A teacher at a Magnet School in Hot Springs says they saw men running around yesterday morning so he notified administrators he thought they had rifles. Officers found the men had pellet guns, and were employees of a pest control company hired to eradicate squirrels at a nearby apartment building. The employees fired a shot at a squirrel, missing then chased it onto school property. The school lockdown lifted after the situation was sorted.

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