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An invitation for the public to check out the mock trial competition for high schoolers. The Mendocino County Office of Education’s inviting the public to the semi final rounds the next two Saturdays, January 28th and February 4th at the Mendocino County Courthouse in downtown Ukiah where as many as 80 high school students from four local schools will argue their case to go for the big win, the Hon. Ron Brown County Mock Trial trophy. They would also move forward to the state competition in Riverside in March. Visit classroomlaw.org to learn more about Mock trials.

A Lucerne woman whose car crashed into Clear Lake last week, has died. The CHP says Jessica Smith died last Friday the day after the crash where she lost control on Hwy 20 then drifted off the edge of the road into the rocks and then into the Lake. The CHP says Smith was taken to Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport where she later died. They are still looking into what caused the crash including whether alcohol or drugs were involved.

Another murder suspect has been caught in connection with a November death at a Laytonville pot farm. Eight people have been named as suspects in the beating death of Jeffrey Settler. Mendocino County Investigators say the suspects worked for Settler as trimmers and had allegedly come to steal from him that night. Three of the seven were arrested in November and December and are currently being prosecuted for homicide and robbery. But last Sunday suspect Michael Kane surrendered to Customs and Border Patrol agents at the California- Mexico Border. Kane had been a fugitive in Mexico, but told his family he was "tired of running" and was going to surrender.

The highest point of construction or the old idea of “topping off” is being celebrated at Ukiah Valley Medical Center. The celebration at the construction site of the new emergency department and intensive care next Wednesday at 2:00 P.M. The celebration takes after the old practice of topping off believed to have first started in Scandinavia when the highest wooden beam of a structure is put on. Contractors, sub-contractors, donors and dignitaries are going to be there for a signing of the highest beam, something the project manager says is a big deal for the steelworkers and a milestone.

A Flood Warning is still in place for the Navarro River due to the latest round of storms and ahead of the next. The warning affecting Mendocino County for moderate to occasionally heavy rain last night into early this morning. Forecasters warned yesterday there could be a rapid and steep rise on the Navarro. The river was forecast to crest above flood stage this afternoon. Cal Trans warns, as always, in this type of weather not to drive across flooded roads. The latest Flood Warning thru this afternoon or until the Weather Service cancels it.

A woman from Ukiah’s been sent to jail after an employee at the County Social Services building was attacked. Ukiah Police say they got a call to the building in the 700 block of South State Street Tuesday morning for an assault on a staff member. The victim says the woman, now id’d as Ashley Ireland came in saying she had a knife. Police say she threatened to hurt people and when the employee tried reasoning with her, she became more irate. They say then when the employee started to walk away, she attacked them from behind, grabbing her hair and slamming the employee’s head into a wall. The woman was able to get away and Ireland was handcuffed by two other workers there. Ireland was found with a knife and booked on suspicion of threatening and battering a public official.

A man from Willits has been arrested after a convenience store clerk was hit in the head as the suspect tried to steal booze. Police in Ukiah say they got a call to the Quest Mart on North State Street last Sunday to reports of William Williams trying to steal some beer and when the clerk tried to stop the guy, he hit the clerk in the head, twice. He dropped a tall can of beer on his way out the door after the assault. Officers found him after looking at surveillance footage of the suspect. Williams was booked into Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of felony robbery, petty theft, battery and violating his probation.

Medical marijuana dispensaries may soon be allowed in Ukiah. The City Council has approved an ordinance for dispensaries in city limits, but that’s not all. They’ve been considering the idea for about a year after Council member Maureen Mulheren and Mayor Jim Brown brought a plan forward. Public input went into the final ordinance. There were a couple of hurdles left for the council to consider, how far each dispensary should be from one another and from any “youth-oriented facility”. They also considered if those wanting to run a dispensary should get a Planning Commission permit or go direct to the planning director. There still needs to be another vote before the ordinance is fully passed.

A makeover for the Rorabaugh Recreation Center in south Ukiah means more activities for the public. A new divider has been put in to the Beckstoffer Gym which they say doubles the capacity for play. So now there can be two games or classes at once. It was thru a donation that the curtain divider was made possible. So now there will be more offerings from youth sports leagues, City of Ukiah recreation classes, Boys and Girls Club of Ukiah and for Grace Hudson Elementary students.

Congressman Jared Huffman is going to be at Ukiah Valley Medical Center for a day of service. Huffman, as we reported, is not attending the inauguration today. He apparently contacted staff at the hospital to find out more about their Street Medicine Program and volunteered to serve the local homeless community. He will be there today with his wife preparing medicine packets, checking their inventory and sorting and inventorying donated goods for the emergency winter shelter. Afterwards they’ll all go to the Inland Valley Winter Shelter as part of the Congressman’s week of service.

Even though there’s been drought relief after all the heavy rains, it also has a detrimental effect on the wine industry. The Press Democrat reports work crews are behind on pruning due to the recent downpours. The paper reports the pruning of buds is important to the grape crop, which in Sonoma County accounted for nearly a half billion dollars last year, making it the most profitable of all agriculture in the county. The pruning apparently lets winemakers know about when they should harvest. Some vineyards apparently also concerned about erosion from all the soggy earth, trees falling on grapevines and slippery pruning conditions.

A man in Ukiah recovering after he was found wandering along Highway 101 after being beaten with a baseball bat. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call about a fight near the intersection of Highway 101 and Reeves Canyon Road earlier this week. Turns out it was a marijuana sale gone bad, the victim robbed of about a pound of pot. Police say at least two people had attacked the victim, a homeless man from Ukiah, Zachariah Barber. He was taken to Ukiah Valley Medical Center, treated and released. The suspects getting away in a green Suburban or Jeep like vehicle.

Money’s being raised by friends of the former Mendocino County Supervisor, Tom Woodhouse. An online fundraising drive for Woodhouse and his wife after Woodhouse ended up in the hospital for four months just before he resigned from office. A friend came up with the idea of the Gofundme drive as the family currently has no incoming source of income. The friend says even though Woodhouse is back at work, business has been slow. The goal on the fundraiser is $25,000. The page says Woodhouse is recovering well after he resigned earlier this month. He was in a psychiatric facility.

State police in New Hampshire say they arrested a driver going 91 mph during a snowstorm. The woman apparently late for her appointment to have a new car stereo installed. That’s what 21-year-old Anastacia Hocking told cops who stopped her on Interstate 93 in Concord Wednesday morning. Police say the highway was a slushy, snow covered mess. The speed limit is generally between 55 to 65 mph on I-93. But down to 45 mph because of the storm. Hocking was arrested for reckless driving.

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