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2 members have been chosen by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors for the Retirement Board, both from the private sector. Investment expert Ted Stephens has been re-appointed. He’s been vocal about the reported under-funding of pension obligations and county debt increases. New appointee Lee Parker is a mortgage finance company executive with extensive experience in borrowing. Neither of the appointees are getting retirement payments so they can avoid conflict of interest problems that have led to allegations of exorbitant pension benefits. It’s reported the benefits have ballooned county debt levels leading to potential budget problems.

A forum in Willits about how to get more interest in local food had some guests to bolster the cause. The Mendocino Food Policy Council was the host of the town hall Monday for foodies across the county who want more offerings now that the bypass is totally finished. The council says they wanted to get the conversation going on ways to help local food vendors after the construction and to bring in new ones too. The council is a nonprofit organization promoting food producers and agriculture in Mendocino County. The forum was attended by local food proprietors and food and health professionals where they covered revitalizing downtown, online habits of consumers and in person, plus ideas for farmers and how to attract new business in Willits and elsewhere in the county.

A bomb threat at a local elementary school had officials evacuating kids. The Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office got a call yesterday morning to Calpella Elementary School around 10 a.m. after the bomb threat was left on the voicemail of the school’s cafeteria. The Ukiah Unified School District reports staff checking the voicemail heard a message saying there was a bomb, quote “under the restaurant”. The district superintendent says the sheriff’s office was called and the students were taken to a safe location until the school was cleared.

The nearly 200,000 people under mandatory evacuation by Lake Oroville got to return home. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday the threat of the concrete wall collapsing on the emergency spillway was minimized, but there’s still an evacuation warning for residents who they say should be prepared to leave again if need be. The residents who were evacuated were in Oroville, Gridley and cities along the Feather River corridor in Butte, Yuba and Sutter counties. Giant boulders were being used to plug a massive hole was revealed over the weekend. Schools are still closed though in Butte County for the rest of the week and all County offices are also closed.

A fire starts after a propane tank explodes at a homeless camp under a Highway 101 overpass near Ukiah. Flames and smoke were seen from the highway yesterday from people who called in the fire around 9-30 in the morning. Some told dispatchers they first heard an explosion. The Interim Fire Chief reports a man living at the encampment under the Norgard Lane overpass said he was burning a candle and told a friend to put it out, but it was sitting on the propane cylinder. They say nobody was at the camp at the time of the blast and no injuries were reported.

Lake County’s infrastructure’s been challenged due to the heavy rain, but the Special District Administrator says they’ve got their employees working overtime to avoid a sewage spill. They’ve hired septic haulers to help move sewage from their system and take it to 24/7 sewage treatment plants at a cost of about $150,000. The Record Bee reports all service districts have been staying on top of the soggy conditions, but they have also recognized some of the systems are old and may be in disrepair. Some districts have also hired contractors to monitor groundwater and watch for possible leaky spots.

A new report on the crime in Clearlake shows it notched up quite a bit. The report by the police department has crime up 8 percent for 2016 as the state average went up 14 percent. The Record Bee reports that’s the highest California’s been in 2 decades. The newspaper also reports average crime rates measured in cities about the size of Clearlake were also up, a whopping 16 percent. Clearlake was below the comparable city average. The Clearlake Police Dept. says they’ve increased staff since 2015 after not working at full staff for close to seven years. The report says they brought down crime from 2015 by going after large scale marijuana operations.

A man charged with a mass shooting in Clearlake Oaks at the Elem Colony has his preliminary hearing postponed as more discovery is needed. Ezequiel Junior Bravo faces four counts of murder and several other charges for the November shooting where one person died and 3 others were wounded. The Lake County DA says they needed more discovery in the case and Bravo’s lawyer agreed to the postponement. The preliminary hearing will happen instead in April. Bravo in jail after going into a home in the Elem Colony armed with a shotgun where he started shooting, then left. His wife was there under a bed hiding. Her aunt was killed and relatives were shot, including a 6 year old child.

Santa Rosa Junior College has proclaimed itself a “safe haven” for undocumented students. A unanimous vote by college administrators to keep students personal records safe and private from authorities and they say they will limit cooperation with federal immigration agents. The officials only discussed the matter for ten minutes before moving to vote. Applause erupted where about 50 faculty, staff and students were in the audience at the library on the Petaluma campus.

Federal officials checking on two dams in Sonoma and Mendocino counties were more than 100 billion of gallons of water are held, saying they appear safe with no safety concerns detected. The Army Corps of Engineers’ South Pacific Division was at Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino to make sure they were safe after heavy rains for several weeks. The division covers about 60 to 70 dams and other projects. The visit after the failure of the emergency spillway at Lake Oroville’s dam and the evacuation of 188,000 people. The Army Corps’ rates the systems from one — considered “critically near failure” — to a five which says it has, quote “residual risk considered tolerable”. Lake Sonoma is a 4 and Coyote Valley Dam at Lake Mendocino was a three. They said it could be upgraded to a four though as there’s continued maintenance and upkeep.

Clear Lake is temporarily closed to boat traffic after all the heavy rain. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for the urgency ordinance to immediately close the Lake to all motorized vessels and motorized vehicles besides the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It will stay in place 2 months or until the board decides to change that. They are allowing kayaks, paddled craft, wind-powered vessels and other non-motorized boats though. Swimming is also still allowed. Lake Co News reports the county couldn’t say when this action may have been taken before as Clear Lake brings in a lot of tourism dollars and is a renowned bass fishing lake.

Clayton Fire cleanup is done. According to the Lake County Environmental Health Director Ray Ruminski. He says the CalRecycle part of the cleanup is complete. The fire last August charred more than 3,900 acres and burned 300 structures, including 200 homes. Ruminski says they cleaned up 152 properties as of last week. They also cleared others included as part of the county’s nuisance abatement process. They’re taking their portable bridge down that was strung over Herndon Creek with that to be finished by next Tuesday. Thousands of tons of debris have been taken out of the county and put into recycle and disposal streams.

A Mississippi high schooler has been suspended… for dying his hair pink. Apparently Timothy Jenkins violated the dress code policy at Gulfport High School where he’s a freshman. He says 250 students have signed a petition to change a requirement saying student’s must keep their hair a natural-looking color. The school district says they review their dress code policies yearly with business leaders, parents, students and educators. They also say they warned Jenkins several times before he was suspended, saying he was distracting other students. His mom says the policy infringes on her son’s rights and hers as a parent to decide what’s best for her child. Nevertheless he changed his hair back to black.

A man in Riverside’s been arrested for stealing a van from a mortuary and discovering a dead body inside. Police say he returned that van, then took another. Apparently a mortuary employee was nearly run over by the guy as they tried stopping his as he drove away with the second van. Police chased after the man on his second run and arrested him. He faces vehicle theft and possibly more charges. Stealing a dead body, apparently not included in the list of charges, police saying they don’t think he meant to do that.

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