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The interim Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Chief is getting the thumbs up from the Ukiah City Council. The Daily Journal reports the city council heard from the city manager about the chief’s abilities and how he’ll be helpful in the potential merger of Ukiah Valley’s two distinct fire departments. The City Manager has appointed Kirk Thomsen who used to be the Division Chief for the City of Ukiah Fire Department and district. The new chief in place after the last one suddenly resigned last year. The new chief will not oversee the Hopland Fire Dept. as the last chief did. The mayor telling the city council he’s feeling more positive about the merger than he has before. The city council also approved managing the fire district’s finances and dismissing an administrative assistant in the district.

A group who wants to count how many steelhead and salmon there are in Mendocino County’s piece of the Russian River watershed are trying to get permission for access from some property owners. The Sonoma County Water Agency says a lot of the watershed’s on private property, so where they count will depend on where they get access. They’re hoping to do a random sampling. An environmentalist working with the agency says they hope property owners will want to be part of the effort. They’ve been looking south of Healdsburg, but have not moved north into Mendocino County yet, where they say they know there are definitely steelhead, but they’re unsure about Coho.

A state of the hospital presentation hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Mendocino Coast regarding Mendocino Coast District Hospital. The Hospital’s CEO and the Board President for the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District Board gave a presentation Tuesday at the Caspar Community Center regarding challenges the hospital’s been facing and how they can prop up crucial departments that are losing money such as the Emergency Room and Obstetrics. They also touched on finishing capital projects that were on hold because of the hospital’s recent bankruptcy and how to follow state requirements which mean they’ll have to replace much of the hospital by 2030.

A car crash on Highway 20 kills a pedestrian in front of the Robinson Rancheria Resort and Casino. Northshore Fire Protection District firefighters, the California Highway Patrol and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office were on the scene early this morning finding the pedestrian lying on the east side of the highway. Lake Co News reports at first emergency responders said a Toyota Tundra may have hit the victim. But details were sketchy.

The water in Clearlake is finally starting to come back down. Last week the lake was way over flood stage but as of last night, the United States Geological Survey’s gauge near Lakeport measured it at 9.55 feet Rumsey. Flood stage is 9 feet. The lake has been closed to motorized boats temporarily because of the level and possible boat wakes that could flood properties near the shore. More rain is on the way though, with the National Weather Service calling for rain all weekend long, possibly into Wednesday, but just totally about an inch altogether. Heavier rain is expected Sunday into Monday.

Library Park is still closed to the public due to flooding in Lakeport. City representatives say it’s closed for public safety and there’s no more damage. The city says some have been ignoring signs to stay out and have gone into flooded areas of the park, causing damage. They’ve got city workers at the park protecting the infrastructure, but are still encouraging the public to stay away. There’s now barrier-tape around the park between the signs. They’re also going to have police officers patrolling nearby and anyone found inside the park could be ticketed.

The outflow of water from Oroville Dam’s being reduced during the repairs of the emergency spillway which led to the evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents. The California Department of Water Resources says construction crews are on the dam working at the same time the water flow is being reduced. The reduction is helping crews so they can take out debris from the diversion pool under the spillway. They say that work will help them move toward re-starting the power plant. The level of the reservoir was down 36 feet so there would be more room for water from incoming storms. A couple of trails and launch ramps at the lake are closed to the public due to the damaged spillway.

Police in Lakeport looking to the public for help figuring out who broke into the Senior Center’s Meals on Wheels Thrift Shop storage warehouse. Cops say it happened overnight between Wednesday and early Thursday. Burglars got into the warehouse and stole a generator, air compressor, chop saw and a sump pump. They valued the stolen equipment at more than $1,000. Police asking anyone who may know anything about the crime to call the Lakeport police dept., send them a private Facebook message or send an text by using TIP LAKEPORT to 888777.

A group representing pot growers in Sonoma County is against the cannabis business tax to be voted on next month. Last week the Sonoma County Growers Alliance Board said they were neutral on the tax, but changed their position Monday to oppose it. There will be a special election March 7th on the tax, Measure A. The measure would mean a tax up to 10 percent of gross receipts for cannabis businesses that are not inside the county’s nine cities. The tax would be imposed on cultivators and manufacturers could bring in as much as $6.3 million a year. But if Measure A fails, the county say it will just table the business permit applications.

A man from Clearlake Oaks who didn’t re-register as a sex offender, has pleaded not guilty in court. Lawrence Jelks made bail and is currently not in jail. He was arrested after multiple tips from the public after a warrant was put out for his arrest for failing to register. He’s due back in court March 14th.

A man from Clearlake arrested on weapons charges after an accident gets a delay in court proceedings after his public defender says there’s a conflict of interest. Jesse Banda’s lawyer said there was a conflict and he couldn’t defend Banda and requested someone else take over for him who was not a public defender. Banda’s been charged with several crimes including Assault with Firearm, Robbery and being a Convict or a Person Prohibited to be in Possession of Ammunition. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. He’s arrested after a traffic accident where a pickup was found in Lower Lake and a man there with a gunshot wound. Cops found Banda crawling out of a truck that had rolled down an embankment with a gun nearby. They say they also found 19 pounds of processed marijuana in the truck. The court proceedings postponed so a new lawyer could be lined up for Banda.

An accolade for Lake County Department of Child Support Services. The state honored the local department for its efforts supporting families, getting the Director’s Excellence Silver award. The award goes to those who increase distributed child support payment collections, the percentages of current support due which gets paid, and for the percentage of cases paid in full each month. The Lake County division got their Silver recognition by having about a 3.65 percent increase across the award criteria.

If you plan to take some visitors to Lombard Street in San Francisco, be prepared, pretty soon, you may have to fork over some toll money. A proposal being floated by a city supervisor to bring in millions by asking the millions of yearly visitors to pay a toll to go down the famously crooked and winding street. Supervisor Mark Farrell brought up the idea after a report by the transportation authority which recommended the possible toll because of all of the cars that drive down the 600-foot street. Farrell lives in the district where he says people climb on roofs so they can get selfies, walk down the middle of the street and stand at the bottom and shoot selfies with the road behind them. Another plan would be to have travelers reserve their trip down the curvy road first and pay more if they don’t.

A rodent foils a burglary in Idaho. Joey the pet squirrel scratched the teenage suspect who police say tried breaking into a gun safe in Meridian. The teen told police the squirrel scared him, as he wasn’t expecting a squirrel to fly at him out of nowhere. But police say the kid still stole stuff, after the scratch attack, then took off. The squirrel’s owner says his pal Joey’s been living there about six months after being found in a flower pot when he was only about a week old. He says he’s like a cat and even uses a litter box. He also likes treats, chocolate Whoppers, which he got as a reward for his watchful eye.

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