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Toys, food and money donated by bikers for needy families have been distributed in Ukiah Valley’s Toy Run charity motorcycle ride. The ride this year, in memory of Bill Nash, who first organized the annual event. He died of a heart attack over the summer. He started the run in 1979. More than 100 people met Sunday at Bayley’s Coffee and drove by motorcycle or other vehicles to the Lake Mendocino Clubhouse. Nash’s 1979 Harley-Davidson motorcycle was retired at the event. He rode it at the start of the ride every year. The toys and other gathered items are donated to about 400 families for about 1,300 kids every year. Everything is officially given out Christmas Eve morning.

A man from Montana that broke into a home where he stabbed a woman got nearly 14 ½ years in prison. Nicholas Merrell arrested in January and found guilty of attempted murder with great bodily injury by means of a knife and residential burglary. Police say he went into the woman’s home in Fort Bragg, took two kitchen knives and attacked the woman. She got away, but he chased her to a neighbor’s house who shielded her from Merrell who ran into nearby brush. He was found in bushes where he hid after the attack. The victim had multiple stab wounds to her chest. She didn’t know her attacker. He had been in prison in Montana for five years for criminal mischief, then became a fugitive on Montana’s “most wanted” list. He’s expected to have to serve time in Montana once he finishes his Calif. sentence.

A teenager and a 22-year-old woman have been arrested in Ukiah after mail and packages were stolen from rural mailboxes in Willits and Redwood Valley. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office says the mail items were found with the two. Katelyn Walker and a 17 year old girl were arrested. Police say they’re both homeless and were stealing items like packages, holiday cards, and other stuff which might have contained cash or valuables. Walker was booked on charges including conspiracy to commit a crime, theft and possession of stolen property. The teen on conspiracy, theft, mail theft, and possession of stolen property.

Police say a woman in Fort Bragg who was bedridden could have been dead weeks or months before being found. The caretaker for the woman, Lori Fiorentino, also of Fort Bragg, has been charged with felony elder abuse causing death and false imprisonment. The police chief says they were investigating what looked to be dire neglect of the woman. He says the dead woman’s body looked to be emaciated and “mummified.” Her body was found December 14th. Police say they’re waiting for the forensic exam to see how she actually died. She was found on the couch of her living room. She’s identified as Arlene Potts. Police say the woman arrested, got the job through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program. Police are investigating neglect and possible financial abuse.

A restaurant in Healdsburg, run by a Gallo wine family member has been ripped off. It happened at Dry Creek General Store. Police say ex-bookkeeper, Elizabeth Lundy of Windsor made off with nearly a half million dollars to pay her own bills, between May 2009 to May 2015. Lundy’s charged with two counts of grand theft with enhancements for stealing more than $100,000. She faces nearly five years in prison if convicted. Store managers were suspicious last year, thinking they should have been making more money. They did an audit and found they had lost more than $416,000 over 6 years. Lundy was fired then arrested. She’s released on $10,000 bail and is due in court after the holidays.

The 55 Electoral College voters at the state Capitol casting their ballots for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Clinton won the votes in the November election. This was the end of the presidential election season with all of the California Democratic officeholders or Democratic candidates for office meeting at the Capitol. Protestors of all ages and groups showed up too. Hillary Clinton won about 62 percent of the vote in Calif. in November. The electors were not required to say out loud who they voted for, they just marked a ballot and heard the count read aloud. Clinton also won the national popular vote by almost 3 million votes, but Republican Donald Trump won the formal electoral vote yesterday, certifying he will become president.

A mom and her son lost their home in a fire in Monte Rio. The fire on a hill near Highway 116 and the Summer Bridge area. The Monte Rio Fire Chief says the two-story wood house ignited on the first floor then spread thru a crawl space throughout the home. The mom and her adult son were renting the first floor of the home. Firefighters from Monte Rio, Russian River, Forestville, Cazadero and Cal Fire were on the scene. It caused several hundred thousand dollars in damage and its cause is being investigated.

California State Senators Scott Wiener and Mike McGuire say they’re writing a bill together so that any future presidential or vice presidential candidate has to show their tax returns to the public before they can be on the California ballot. Wiener and McGuire say they’re doing this after President-Elect Donald Trump refused for months to release his tax returns to the American public, even though presidential candidates have been doing it voluntarily for decades. The two say it’ll be modeled on similar legislation proposed in New York by State Senator Brad Hoylman.

The unemployment rate in Lake County was up again. The California Employment Development Department’s has County’s November jobless number at 6.6 percent, up from the 6.4 percent the month before. It was up more than a point from a year ago though, when it was 7.7 percent. The state unemployment was down to 5.3 percent after sitting at 5.5 percent for the previous three months in a row. In November of last year, the rate was up nearly a half point, at 5.9 percent. Mendocino County’s jobless rate in November was 5.1%. Lake County ranked No. 39 statewide out of 58 counties. The lowest at 2.8 percent, San Mateo County, and the highest, 20.3 percent, was in Imperial County.

A California judge who sentenced a former Stanford student to six months in prison for rape has been cleared of misconduct charges. The Calif. Commission on Judicial Performance cleared Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky after thousands of complaints demanding he be punished for the too lenient sentence of Brock Turner, a former college swimmer. Those who wanted Persky to be disciplined said a less privileged defendant would have been given a much harsher sentence. But the commission said there was no clear and convincing evidence of bias, abuse of authority, or other basis showing the judge was engaged in judicial misconduct warranting discipline.

A live bomb disabled by Sacramento police who say the pipe bomb dropped during a hit-and-run crash. Police say it looks like the bomb fell off a car that hit another car then left the scene over the weekend. They say it was in what was described as a white Chevy “camper style” van with ladders and blue stripes. They also say, besides the bomb, they left power tools, syringes, camouflage clothing and fishnet stockings behind. A couple local streets were closed for more than 2 hours while the bomb was removed. There were businesses evacuated, but no injuries or arrests.

An ordained Pagan priest got his way, after the state allowed him to wear goat horns in his Maine driver’s license photo. Phelan Moonsong says he wears the horns at all times, unless he’s asleep or in the shower. He says they’re like his spiritual antennae and help him educate others about Paganism. He wonders though why he had to appeal his driver license’s photo to the state and says the horns were not in the way of his face. So the Secretary of State’s office finally said it was fine, citing his religious beliefs.


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