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A man from Talmage gets almost 12 years behind bars for the rape of a child. Silviano Gonzalez was sentenced to 11 years and 10 months in state prison for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14, attempted forcible rape, oral copulation of a child under the age of 14, and unlawful penetration with a foreign object. He will have to serve 85 percent of the sentence unless it’s modified under the newly passed Proposition 57. After he’s released from prison, he’ll have to register as a sex offender in any community he lives in. The crimes he was found guilty of from 2012 and 2013, with a girl who was 8 and 9 years old.

A man from Lucerne has been killed in a crash on the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff. The CHP says a woman in the crash was also injured yesterday. The cars crashed after one drifted into the other’s lane, going in the opposite direction. The driver then overcorrected and tried to cross back over the double-yellow lines, hitting the other vehicle which rolled. The driver hit by the oncoming car died at the scene and his passenger had major injuries and was flown to a hospital. The second driver was not hurt. The CHP says all 3 people in the crash had on seat belts. Investigators have not figured out if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors agrees to a different way forward, removing trees that are burned out or dead after the Valley Fire. The Board Chair Rob Brown brought the idea to the board Tuesday that old trees need removal before any new building can start. Some of the trees that were dead or dying are further infested with bark beetles. The county needs $10 million in Community Development Block Grant funding to get the trees out of Cobb. So far there’s a small bit of money being used to take trees out of abandoned pear orchards. Apparently some want to see if the trees can recover, but Brown says the trees are becoming dangerous. Like last week in Cobb when a tree fell down in the wind and rain storm on a newly placed modular home which caused a lot of damage.

Lake County Board of Supervisors looks at the final update on the Clayton Fire cleanup. The Environmental Health Director along with the Lake County Public Health Officer went in front of the board to continue several local emergencies, which has to happen to get the money coming in for the disaster. The Clayton fire burned 300 structures in Lower Lake, 200 of those were homes. There are nearly 150 lots still needing to be registered for the state-led cleanup program with CalRecycle, the same agency that handled the Valley fire cleanup. 134 lots are done. As of last week there was almost 33,000 tons of debris and materials pulled from properties hit by the Clayton fire. Much went to the landfill and some to recycling. As of a couple weeks ago, the cost for all the cleanup had hit nearly $8M.

Someone busted by cops in their anti-mail theft program. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office working with United States Postal Inspectors and private citizens catching a thief last weekend in Ukiah. Sheriff’s dept. says they got a call with a description of possible suspects and their car. They arrested Amanda Delvalle for possession of stolen property, violation of probation, conspiracy and mail theft. Then deputies learned there was another suspect, Ryan Maxstadt who had felony warrants for his arrest from the Bay area. He was arrested after a chase that ended in Willits. A police dog finally nabbed the guy who was arrested on several charges including conspiracy, possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools. He’s held without bail.

Another mail theft arrest, this one a transient from Willits. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office reports arresting Katelyn Walker with a 17 year old . The Sheriff’s Dept. along with citizens and the US Postal Service working to get mail thieves off the street this holiday season. They got a report of mail stolen inRedwood Valley and identified a car connected to the crime. They found stolen mail in the car from various locations. They were eventually lead to Walker and the teenager who were both arrested for stealing packages, holiday cards and other items that might have had cash or valuables. Walker booked on conspiracy to commit a crime, theft, mail theft, possession of stolen property and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The minor went to Juvenile Hall on charges of conspiracy, theft, mail theft and possession of stolen property.

A jury trial for a man accused of murder in Lower Lake has been continued to March. Robert Hitchcock accused of several crimes including Murder, Two Counts of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter, DUI and Under The Influence Of Controlled Substance for the September incident where he hit a pickup. The CHP reports Hitchcock pinned another driver between the two cars, she died. Nichole Welborn was trying to get into her car when she was hit. Hitchcock had no injuries and was taken to see if he was under the influence. It’s back to court next month with the jury trial to follow in March.

Rural Californians to get better phone service. The California Public Utilities Commission moving a provision forward improving outage reporting requirements for rural residents. So there will be a change to the number of user minutes where phones are disconnected in an outage. The amount required right now for a data request is 900,000 mins., it will go way down, to 90,000. The commission says that should help rural areas with frequent outages get more attention from phone companies. The vote was split, 3 to 2. The rule also means law enforcement will have a direct line into the phone company to get quick answers if there’s an outage. So there couldn’t be another issue like during the blackout in 2014 in Mendocino and parts of Lake counties. The Mendocino sheriff’s office was unreachable and didn’t know it.

Toppled statues, broken windows and a ransacked office lead to the arrest of a man from Guerneville. Andrew Faulkner stood in court giving his name as Satan earlier this week after he was arrested in Santa Rosa Catholic school. Police say he vandalized the school to the tune of $100,000 in damage. While he was arraigned for burglary, vandalism and being under the influence of methamphetamine, he waved to the judge, said hi, then said, “by the way, I’m Satan”. Just a few minutes before that his lawyer said he doubted the guy’s mental state. The judge wouldn’t move the proceedings forward until after Faulkner see’s a doctor. He was ordered to be held without bail.

Congressman Jared Huffman visited community members in Ukiah, taking a ride on the holiday trolley and visiting the downtown ice rink. He met at Slam Dunk Pizza after that. The Daily Journal reports on many topics the Congressman discussed including marijuana and the passage of Prop. 64. They discussed how it will still be a federal crime and may become more difficult with the new president and his pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who Huffman says is “openly hostile to even medical marijuana,” and says his views on weed could “take us back to the 1950s". He reassured those in attendance they’d all make it through somehow. After the lunch, Huffman went to the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Clinic on Kings Court in Ukiah.

More commercial Dungeness crab fishing has opened on the Sonoma Coast and the first section of the Mendocino Coast. Recent tests by state health officials show crab in the area with no unsafe levels of Domoic Acid and safe to eat. Fish and wildlife officials announced an opening this Saturday from near Salt Point to the Mendocino County line. Then Monday it will open from the Mendocino County line to near Point Arena and, in Humboldt County, the fishery will open from near Shelter Cove to the north jetty of the entrance to Humboldt Bay. Still no commercial fishing between Point Arena and Shelter Cove until the acid levels go down.

A man from New Hampshire will go on trial for the murder of a fellow marijuana grower in Covelo. Joshua Ruoff is suspected of the baseball beating death of Timothy Sweeting. After the preliminary trial, the judge said there was enough evidence to move forward. One witness said Ruoff attacked Sweeting while the victim was laying on a couch where the three men were growing marijuana. Court papers say Ruoff was complaining Sweeting was lazy, messy and didn’t take good care of his dog. The judge decided after that testimony, and from others, that Ruoff should answer on a first-degree murder charge with a sentencing enhancement for use of a bat. He’s held without bail.

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