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The Ukiah Planning Commission has moved the public hearing for the updated environmental impact report on the proposed Costco. After a family emergency tabled a meeting last week, the commission has continued the town hall until Wednesday, May 24th. It had been set for next week, but the commission moved it a couple more weeks out of concern there may not be a quorum. The commission will take public comment before they consider if they should recommend the report to the City Council for finalization and adoption to change the land use designation to allow retail commercial uses on Airport Park Boulevard. The new report will include energy use analysis after a decision by the Court of Appeals. The meeting will only discuss the new energy analysis because everything else in the report was approved by the court.

A woman has been accused of starting fire in Lakeport last summer that killed a resident of an apartment complex in the 500 block of Bevins Street. 53 year old Deborah Dowdy’s body was found in the apartment building last August. Police investigated the death with fire investigators and determined the fire started because of negligence by another resident, Tracey Morales. The Lake County D-A has filed charges of involuntary manslaughter and recklessly causing a fire against Morales who was given a notice to appear in court. She’s not been booked into jail yet due to a medical issue.

Clearlake’s getting bids on taking down buildings after receiving a grant from CalRecycle. The City Manager says they have enough money left over from the 2015 grant to demolish more buildings. The city’s reached out to CalRecylce and got approval for the demolition of 8 more buildings. There were five applicants for the work but apparently they had the wrong documentation or didn’t follow procedure covering subcontractors. The city manager says the buildings being destroyed are because of health and safety hazards and there are no plans to rebuild just yet. The Vice Mayor of the city says they’ve been red-tagged for some time and are a blight to their neighborhoods.

Police in Lakeport investigating after a resident reported finding a vintage rifle display case. Police say they got a call and found the wood case with a shattered glass door and a label inside of it, noted “Winchester model 1886.” Officers say that led them to believe there was a rifle in it that had been stolen. They say however there’ve been no reports of a stolen rifle. The Lakeport Police Chief says they think the case was taken during a burglary or theft and that it had not been discovered stolen or reported. They say they’re not sure if the stolen rifle was real, or a replica and are looking for any tips.

A top award goes to Lake Transit Authority. The transportation company wins Outstanding Rural Transportation Project during the California Association of Coordinated Transportation (CalACT) awards. The yearly awards honored Lake Transit for service to the community even though there’s been three years of disasters, including the Valley Fire, Clayton Fire, and recent flooding where hundreds of residents were evacuated. Routes were adjusted so Lake Transit could help victims. With all of that happening Transit still raised their ridership numbers ten percent. The General Manager says it’s an honor with the success due to hard work and dedication of their Board, management, drivers, dispatchers and maintenance staff.

It’s that time of year again, the annual burn ban starts in Lake County. Starting today, burn permits are no longer valid and there are burn restrictions for all of Lake County over concerns of fire hazard and air quality. The burn ban allows for quick fire agency response for fires from May 1st on because they are assumed to be uncontrolled unless there’s a permit for exemption for the fire. The burn ban covers all open waste burning with some exceptions for agricultural operations, essential control burns for fire hazard reduction projects, public safety burns, and others. If you’re caught burning during the ban without an exemption, you could get a ticket, be fined or have to pay firefighting costs to put the fire out.

A crash near Middletown ends in the death of a driver of one of the cars. The head on crash yesterday on Highway 29 before lunchtime near the Bar X Ranch blocked both lanes of the highway. The Cal Fire Battalion Chief on the scene says they had several law enforcement officers on the scene with 2 ambulances and several volunteers. Two people had to be flown out of the area and both cars had massive damage. No word on who was killed in the crash as more details were pending late last night as the roadway was cleared.

A woman has died after drowning near Cloverdale in a tributary of the Russian River. A man and woman said to be wading and playing in the area of Big Sulphur Creek when the woman got swept into a strong current near the intersection of Pine Mountain and Geysers Road. Apparently they were in a swimming hole in the creek which rescuers say follows Geysers Road in a deep canyon. The man with her was also swept into the current but grabbed a rock to get to shore and called for help after losing site of the woman. Her body was found a half-mile downstream. She was removed by a sheriff’s helicopter.

A federal judge in California says prisons have to give free undergarments to flatten the chest of transgender inmates at women’s prisons if they want and to allow them to wear all sorts of different accessories. The judge ordered prisons give the inmates access to bracelets, earrings, hair brushes and hair clips after a federal lawsuit was filed. It’s the first state to also provide taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgery for inmates too. This part of the suit by Shiloh Quine who had sex reassignment surgery in January on the taxpayers dime. She was then transferred out of a men’s facility to a women’s prison in Chowchilla where she’s serving time for murder, kidnapping and robbery.

Gas prices and car registration fees going up after the Governor signed a bill for a tax hike to fix highways. Drivers won’t feel the hurt until November on gas prices and registration fees are not going up until next January. This will allow $5 billion a year to fix highways badly in need of repair. The repaving won’t start until after engineering work, environmental assessments and other work to prepare for the tearing up of the pavement. The Governor saying the money was needing for pothole repair and for that of rutted roads which make it harder for commutes and can damage cars. He says "safe and smooth roads make California a better place to live" and it strengthens the economy.

The State Supreme Court poised for a decision after six years in court related to freight rail on the North Coast. Friends of the Eel River with another environmental group took the North Coast Railroad Authority to court to try to get them to look at the environmental impacts of running freight on more than 300 miles thru Mendocino, Sonoma and Humboldt counties and through the Eel River canyon. They are asking if public rail agencies have to follow state environmental laws or if they operate only under federal jurisdiction. The California Supreme Court is set for oral arguments in the case on Wednesday. The groups say if the railroad agency wants to roll north of Willits, they must do an environmental impact report under state environmental law.

State regulators looking to tighten up certain restrictions on medical marijuana. Draft regulations were released last Friday to establish new rules for the growing, testing, transporting and selling of medical pot in Calif. Rules are also being established to govern the same for recreational marijuana use, but there will be differences in restrictions. The legislature is considering a bill backed by the governor for recreational pot too, that one would have the same rules for medical marijuana. Those using medical marijuana will see no immediate changes.

A man seen as one of the leaders behind a nearly 19 million dollar maple syrup rip off got hard time. Richard Vallières in Quebec gets eight years and a fine of almost 9 and a half millio9n dollars for the crime. If he doesn’t hand over the cash, he gets six more years in prison. 3,000 tons of syrup stolen from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers which is a regulatory agency controlling and managing syrup. They found out about the ripoff during a routine inventory check in July 2012. Apparently there was an empty barrel which led them to discover dozens of barrels with water instead of syrup. 26 people in all were arrested.


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