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Mendocino County is paying less towards its public pension investments. The Daily Journal reports an expansion of government staff offset some recent losses toward public-pension investments last fiscal year so the Board of Supervisors voted to slightly lower the contribution rate for employees’ retirement plans. Apparently the supervisors learned more about their fund and its long term durability too. The County Employees Retirement Association assuring supervisors the fund would grow nicely over the long term. The accrued liability of retirement benefits has nearly doubled since 2007 though.

The crazy rain over the last several days waning, and low lying areas of the Ukiah Valley have not reported sustaining damage. The Russian River crested lower than the National Weather Service had predicted. This according to the Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Services. The river got to about 22 ½ feet, which was four feet lower than what was prepared for. Many roads and parts of highways were closed down due to mudslides and heavy downpour. The Oak Manor neighborhood was evacuated voluntarily and electricity shut down. 3 people went to one city set up shelter, while the other was vacant. The County’s transportation director says it’s going to take weeks or months to fix all of the roads damaged by the storms.

In other parts of Northern Calif, homes were flooded and the Russian River surged to its highest level in ten years. The River was higher and moving swiftly in Sonoma County. The river was just under 38 feet, the highest since 2006. Back then it went up to 42 feet. The river was swollen then hit Sunday by the first major surge of storms this week, getting to 32 feet late in the day then crested Monday at 35 feet. The river was supposed to stay at flood stage until later today. There were 650 homes potentially affected by the storm yesterday. At one point as many as 1,900 households were under an advisory evacuation, but many people stayed. An assessment to be done after the river settles back down. 30 roads in the county were closed yesterday.

Two men arrested for an armored car robbery and shootout with police in Windsor and Calistoga are going to trial for attempted murder and other charges. A judge found enough evidence against Ivan Morales of Lakeport and Sergey Gutsu of Antelope to proceed. The pair face 30 years to life in prison if they’re found guilty for the July heist outside Chase Bank in Windsor. The judge ruled there was enough evidence to show Morales shot the armored car guard using an automatic rifle. She also approved a 25 year potential enhancement for any sentence because a gun was used. Both men are also accused of a half dozen other charges that include a couple counts of armed robbery, assault and possession of a stolen vehicle. They’re due back in court Jan. 23rd.

30 people living on farms in Northern California had to be rescued from their homes in the latest storms that brought a foot of snow to Portland, Oregon. As many as 20,000 people were in the dark in Lake Tahoe too as the Pineapple Express took down trees, left dirty debris and downed power lines. More than two dozen homes inundated by creek water in San Benito County. There was still trickling and drizzling over parts of Northern Calif predicted for today, but the biggest surge happened over the last 48 hours. Areas of the Northern Calif. wine country hit hard with more than a dozen inches of rain in 3 days and a blizzard warning in the Sierras. 33 billion gallons of water added to Lake Tahoe since January 1st alone. The storm moved on but damage is still being assessed. A small tornado even touched down in Sacramento Tuesday…

A couple thousand people near Sacramento had to leave their homes because a river levee was in danger after the storms. An avalanche was reported near the Alpine Meadows ski resort slid into homes, but no major damage or injuries were reported. Two popular ski resorts Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows closed for two days and had no power.

State Senator Bill Dodd looking to stop the bleed of fake news. Dodd’s introduced a bill for media literacy education in school curriculums. He says there’s too much fake or misleading news out there and no real education for people to know how to distinguish fact from fiction. Fake news prevalent during the last presidential election where reports of phony or partly fake stories and hoax websites were outperforming real news of the day posted on social media sites. Dodd’s bill calls for the California Board of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission would have to come up with the curriculum for schools to follow. It would provide media literacy training for teachers in California as well.

California’s below average when it comes to K-12 education. That accorded to a new report by the magazine Education Week. It gives Calif. a C-minus which is in the bottom 10 of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. In several categories, the magazine scored Calif. fairly low with a total of about 70 points out of 100, Massachusetts was at the top, then New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maryland and Connecticut; which still all got B’s. Calif. was 41st in conditions that help children succeed, 39th in school finance, and 30th in achievement. The Education Week report measured how states educate and prepare kids.

A California lawmaker working to fight the epidemic of fake news. Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez from Los Angeles wants teachers in high school to help figure out what’s real or phony. Gomez says kids should be taught reasoning skills to assess what they’re reading online thru the use of new curriculum. Gomez says bogus news stories are a quote, “direct threat to our democracy.”

A teenager who snuck into an abandoned prison in Illinois got a little more than she bargained for. State police say two teens snuck into the Joliet Correctional Center through a hole in a fence but one accidentally locked herself in a cell. The Joliet Fire Department went to the prison to help. They used a sledgehammer to free the girl, who will face trespassing charges with her friend. The prison outside Chicago has been closed since 2002. The girl stuck inside 45 minutes.

Police get a call from a train conductor in Germany after a naked man with a knife is found in a train bathroom. Reporters from Public broadcaster ZDF say the 22-year-old man was man-scaping or as they reported it, engaging in a quote, “intimate shave”, when police stopped him at Duesseldorf’s main train station. A police spokesperson says the man was annoyed when he was interrupted and put his close back on, reluctantly. He was not arrested, but he didn’t have a valid train ticket, so he was removed. He told cops he was shaving onboard, because he wasn’t welcome at home.


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