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The Clayton Fire is now 60 percent contained with firefighters holding it at just under 4,000 acres and full containment expected Sunday. Damage Assessment teams now say the fire has destroyed 300 structures; including 190 single-family homes, 8 commercial structures, and 102 other structures such as sheds and smaller. 316 structures are still threatened.

Evacuations remain in effect for areas within the fire perimeter served by Morgan Valley Road. Main Street is still closed east of the Highway 29 and Highway 53 junction and Lake Street is closed south of Dam Road.

A Mandatory Boil Water Order is in effect for the Lower Lake County Water District. The District is struggling after the Clayton Fire with their office still without power and under evacuation. The Sheriff says the Water District folks have been working under extraordinary conditions to try to reestablish water levels but he reminds you it takes a long time to recover a public water system after such a devastating fire, as was experienced last year after the Valley Fire. They ask that you do the following: when you return home, bring bottled water so if your service is interrupted you’ll have drinking water; inspect your home to make sure there are no open hose bibs or broken lines and use water sparingly until the levels at restored, including not hosing down your house or car. And if you don’t have any water service at all, call them.

Superintendent of Konocti Unified School District Donna Becnel has announced the following schools will be open on Monday, Aug. 22: Burns Valley Elementary, East Lake Elementary, Pomo Elementary and the Konocti Education Center (including the School for the Arts and Health Magnet School). District Staff are currently cleaning schools in the Lower Lake area in anticipation of reopening. Schools in the Lower Lake area will reopen as soon as we can assure a safe learning environment for our students and staff.

The Lake County District Attorney’s Victim Witness division is offering assistance to victims of the Clayton Fire in filling out applications for the California Victim Compensation Program. If approved, applicants will be eligible for money to help cover mental health counseling. Victim Witness Advocates will be at the Twin Pines Casino shelter today, Friday, August 19th, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and again on Monday, August 22nd, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. to help residents fill out the applications.

The first in what could be a series of pledged perjury crackdown charges has been filed. The Lake County District Attorney’s new Perjury Investigation Unit has had Merissa L. James arrested for submitting fraudulent documents to the Probation Department earlier this year. She is charged with four felony counts including Perjury, Offering False Evidence, Preparing False Documentary Evidence, as well as a special allegation that she committed these new crimes while released on her own recognizance during the pendency of a felony charge. She was facing 30 days for that offense but could now face up to six years for the perjury.

A Ukiah restaurant owner has reportedly pleaded guilty to obstructing federal tax laws and harboring and underpaying people illegal workers. The U.S. Department of Justice says Yaowapha Ritdet admitted in federal court that she knowingly hired Thai nationals who were in the country illegally to work at her two restaurants, Ruen Tong Thai Cuisine and Walter Café. The Press Democrat reports she also admitted to underpaying the employees and telling them not to tell anyone about their immigration status. And she pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns from 2007 through 2011. She could face more than a decade in prison and fines of more than $500,000 when she is sentenced.

Mendocino County’s SWAT Team has helped with a 17-hour armed stand-off in Humboldt County. Sheriff Tom Allman says their SWAT team and its armored BearCat rescue vehicle were requested by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and state Office of Emergency Services because Humboldt doesn’t have an armored vehicle like the BearCat. The Sheriff tells the Ukiah Daily Journal they used it to extract eight people from an apartment complex in McKinleyville Wednesday after suspect David Fulton had fired shots at the apartment manager’s office after his car was towed from the parking lot and then barricaded himself inside with his girlfriend. Negotiations went into Thursday morning and after Fulton’s girlfriend voluntarily came out of the apartment Fulton engaged in a series of shootouts with police and was killed. No police officers were hurt.


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