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California is keeping conservation measures in place even though there’s been a ton of rain. The State Water Resources Control Board says the rules should stay put at least thru May. They say at that time, they can be re-evaluated after the rain passes. But towns and municipalities that have dropped strict watering rules, fines and various penalties don’t have to pick them back up. Other regions that have kept tight restrictions in place because of a shortage of supplies may keep them in place but may drop them if they can prove recent rains have helped get their reservoirs back to normal.

Lake County considering changes to the transportation plan. The Lake County/City Area Planning Council is updating the Regional Transportation Plan to cover the next couple of decades. They’re considering better sidewalks, bike paths and road extensions so they’re connected to shopping centers and housing. A Senior Planner for the Council says both Measures “V” and “Z” that will bolster revenue for such projects will help as money has dwindled in recent years. There will be a series of public workshops on the projects and transportation issues so the public can get involved in future plans.

A new director of Lake County Water Resources. The Board of Supervisors put Philip Moy in charge of all things water. He’s most recently been working as the Chief Scientist for a biological research program in Washington. He’ll be overseeing Lakebed Management, Flood Corridor Property Maintenance, Flood Control and the Watershed Protection District. The Water Resources Dept became its own agency last year.

Flood warning continuing for several rivers including the Navarro River At Navarro in Mendocino COUNTY. The rain is dying down ahead of another storm, so water should drain but the river’s going to rise thru mid morning today with the Flood Warning extended until this afternoon…or until its canceled. The river was at 19.4 feet overnight with minor flooding forecast. Flood Stage is 23.0 feet. It was predicted to crest this morning then go back down to flood stage later. The National Weather Service says there will be flooding of Highway 128 about 5 miles from Highway 1 and the road will be closed. A warning to not drive cars across flooded roads.

Free guided hikes are being offered by the Bureau of Land Management to find wintering bald eagles in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The hikes start this Saturday and will continue thru the middle of next month. If you want to go, you have to call the BLM’s Ukiah Field Office. They’re asking for early reservations because of the popularity of the hikes, which are limited to 25 participants.

The Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association is following the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers to set the Cost of Living Adjustment. Before this they used the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Region, now it’s the entire Western Region. It means it’ll be based on an economic analysis by the Retirement Administrator for the Association. The latest analysis shows the Western Region as a better fit for inflation in Mendocino County. The Western Region is made up of Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

As of the beginning of the year it became illegal to hold or in any way use a phone while driving. They can be used if they’re stuck to a dash or corner of the windshield, without blocking the driver’s view. It’s a reminder out of Lake County where there’s been reports of people still on their smartphones as they drive. Drivers have to use hands free technology and if they have to use their screen, only one swipe of the phone is allowed. Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using the phone for any reason and could get a ticket starting at $20. It’s also considered a moving violation so you can get a point on your driving record and possibly higher insurance rates. In Clearlake, police will be patrolling specifically to look for distracted drivers.

Caltrans’ reporting they’re preparing for the latest round of winter weather, on roads 24/7 monitoring state routes and keeping roads open and clear. Since forecasters are predicting 3 more storms in the next several days, some foothill areas could get up to three inches alone in the next 2 days. Snow levels may also drop to 4,000 feet in Northern California during the next few days. Crews will be out plowing snow, clearing culverts and drains, pumping water from roads, cutting trees, removing boulders, and will be close to moving vehicles. In the last week, they’ve been out to 30 emergencies after some $122 million in storm damage. They’re anticipating more closures and warn drivers to frequently check road conditions. They also say to expect unexpected delays and closures.

The latest in this next series of storms tapering off, but forecasters say there’s several more days of rain on the way. But as the National Weather Service reports there will only be about half the rain we got last week. The latest models show as much as a half foot of rain thru the middle of next week. More rain and wind on the way with snow levels predicted in the 3,000 and 4,000 foot range.

Clearlake is gearing up to collect more tax money through Measure V, that’ll go to road improvements. The City Council discussed the Measure last week with the Finance Director talking to the council about an agreement with the State Board of Equalization about the Measure and how the money will be used and administered. The agreement makes a promise to the state for reimbursement for costs of the set up of the whole process of collecting the tax. The money to go to resurfacing streets.

Senator Mike McGuire along with Sen. Scott Weiner have introduced a bill that means any future presidential or vice presidential candidates have to release tax returns before they can be on California’s ballot. Senator McGuire says it comes after the latest presidential election where the winner never released his tax returns to the American public, even after other presidential candidates have done so voluntarily for decades. SB 149 is not the first of its kind in the country, as New York has proposed a similar measure… If it passes any presidential candidate will have to file his tax returns with the state which will then be posted online so they can appear on the ballot. It has to be sent to the Secretary of State’s Office at least 70 days before the election.

A couple from Contra Costa County has been arrested with a stolen car containing drugs and a weapon at the Graton Casino. Apparently a casino guard saw Justin Lynn of Oakley fixing the license plate on a BMW in the parking lot and became suspicious after seeing two different license plates and loose ammunition on a seat. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Dept. says they got a call and found Lynn had several arrest warrants for theft and drug cases in other counties. They also found methamphetamine and heroin in the man’s pockets and a loaded handgun and id’s and credit cards in the car. The woman with him, Kayla Tindall of Pittsburg also apparently had a bunch of IDs that were not hers. The two busted for felony possession of stolen property and other charges.

It’s back on the market, 267 acres in Cloverdale including the property’s permits for a resort hotel of up to 150 rooms, 40 bungalows, spa and restaurant, 130 homes, possible equestrian center, shops and stores. As we’ve reported, it was supposed to be a $200 million dollar project in the Alexander Valley. But apparently the project fell thru after a January 3rd deadline passed. The Mayor of the town says at the last minute the developer pulled out. He says they believe there will be another developer that will find the project to be right for them though. He says it could bring in $1.7 million in hotel and bed taxes and help bring tourists to Sonoma County’s northernmost city. No sale price has been publicized.

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