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A man from Middletown in trouble with police after they say he shot a young black bear and he had no hunting tag to do so. The Lake County DA’s office has filed several charges against Matthew Outen including negligent discharge of a weapon and threatening witnesses. The DA’s office division investigating poaching cases charged the man with misdemeanors and felonies for the April 3rd killing of the bear which had originally been reported as a bear sighting. Then apparently several people on a nearby bridge who saw the bear and were videoing it saw that Outen went after the bear and shot it. On the video you could hear surprise in the witnesses voices and some shrieking. Black bears can be hunted during general bear hunting season which is in August.

A fundraiser for the Westside Community Park Committee. The two-mile and 5K Fun Walk & Run the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 28th. The race to bring in money for the future development of the park and to continue the committee’s work on the operation of the Jane Barnes Field. The run starts at the park where you will wind thru the future development of the park, across Forbes Creek and through the Puett property to Martin Street. The race ends at the Kiwanis Club of Lakeport’s Craft Fair in Lakeport on the grounds of Natural High. It’s $20 to participate. For more info, check www.westsidecommunitypark.org

Preparation’s begun for the Lakeport Sprint Boat Grand Prix and with that organizers searching for vendors and volunteers. The race at Library Park in Lakeport Saturday and Sunday, June 3rd and 4th. They need volunteers who have a boat so they can be part of the race course perimeter line in exchange for free general admission tickets. They need as many as 40 crafts and drivers. They also need people to be on the race management team to help ticket takers, gate monitors and for general support of the Sprint Boat Grand Prix management team. They need 20 people for that. They too will get a free ticket to get in. For more info, visit: www.sprintboatgrandprix.com then click the volunteer tab. Vendors also needed for a flat $100 per day fee. They can keep 100% of what they sell, check the same website, but click the vendor tab to apply.

An independent forensics team has come back with their findings on the cratering of the Oroville Dam emergency spillway. The California Department of Water Resources made the memo public yesterday which showed several contributing factors of the spillway failure on Feb. 7th which led to the evacuation of downstream residents. The memo says they are potential findings and they will be investigating further over the next few months. The dept. is using the findings so far in planning a fix for the dam. There were 2 dozen factors raised in the memo, including slab thickness to tension reinforcement, corrosion and failure of reinforcing bars where there were cracks, plus unfiltered drains, the groundwater pressure and some issues with the foundation. They also outlined 4 possible reasons for the damage to the emergency spillway: the depth of erodible rock and soil, the hillside’s topography, not enough energy dissipation at the base of the spillway and no erosion protection downstream.

Several hundred thousand fall-run Chinook Salmon are dead because of a pump failure at the Feather River Fish Hatchery. The Facility had a faulty wire which stopped the pump where two million salmon were supposed to be released next month. State Wildlife officials say they lost 2 to 300,000 fall-run Chinook overnight Wednesday after the pump failed which took water levels lower than they would otherwise be. The California Department of Water Resources was informed since they manage the wells and electricians were sent to make repairs and restart the pump. They say the early response probably saved thousands, maybe millions more of the fish at the facility.

Ted Stephens has resigned from the Mendocino County Retirement Board. A recognized and broadly experienced financial professional, Stephens is one of the minority of only three of the nine board members who do not receive benefits from the County retirement funds. He serving for six years and advocated for more responsible benefits, management and funding. However State mandated audits have now shown this county retirement fund is among the worst in the state, up to 90% underfunded. That means county residents will face higher taxes and severely lowered public services like roads, safety and law enforcement. Cuts in benefits to retirees and eventual county bankruptcy have been projected under the current system. Stephens finally quit when the Retirement Board would not reconsider projected return on its funds now standing at 7.5% when recent experience is very much less. It means the county should pay more into the fund. Stephens resigned abruptly Wednesday morning at the board meeting.

There could be a new way to detect drug use in impaired driving… Police in three counties are trying out a breathalyzer type of device they say they need since marijuana was legalized in Calif. The device was demonstrated at the Capitol Wednesday. A Sacramento cop demo’d it, by using a cheek swab to collect saliva from another officer pretending to be a suspect. They then took the swab and plugged into a walkie talkie looking device and would know in five minutes whether any of a half dozen drugs showed up in that saliva. The equipment being tested in Kern, Los Angeles and Sacramento counties. But the coordinator for the CHP’s drug recognition program says there’s too many variables to rely on the saliva test or a breath test since the science is still developing, saying the fact that the drug shows up doesn’t make the person impaired.

The Governor says the state’s been giving a lot of money to support some programs that may not be getting any more in the new budget…

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Governor Brown says there’s an improved fiscal outlook but things are uncertain in Washington so he’s using some caution. He says they can put about $1.5 billion more into the general spending fund after previously saying there would be cuts. He was planning to cut school spending and childcare for the needy, but reversed course…

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Democratic lawmakers weren’t thrilled with his first budget draft in January, which cut cash from college scholarships and child care providers. Republicans had mixed reviews, some saying it’s a bait and switch budget another saying it has responsible choices in it, like paying down part of the $200 billion of unfunded pension health care liabilities. The Legislature has about a month to approve the budget so it can start July 1st, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

Some legislators are blaming state water officials saying it’s their fault the Oroville Dam failed. At a hearing at the Capitol, some lawmakers saying the way the dam was originally built was wrong. The first analysis on the failure at Lake Oroville released yesterday. It showed concrete that was too thin and eroded. The two water release spillways crumbling in February. 188-thousand people had to leave their homes due to concern the water could escape out of the lake and inundate cities and towns below. Lawmakers pouring over technical reports from two different groups of experts. One Republican Assemblyman said the quote, “culture of monitor, watch, patch, and paint the crack, must be corrected". Officials with the state Department of Water Resources had previously said the dam was designed with looser standards than it would have today. It was build in the 1960’s.

A development company looking to put up a housing project on Lovers Lake in Ukiah wants a waiver for the affordable housing requirement. The Daily Journal reports the developer, Steve Honeycutt with Guillon Inc. saying if they have to include affordable housing units or pay associated fees they won’t be able to do the project. His lawyer says their plan for the 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes priced around $325,000 wouldn’t make sense with the affordable housing portion mandated. But after a meeting with the county CEO he said they’d meet with the county again. The newspaper reports at a meeting Monday to discuss the development, many locals spoke in favor of the affordable housing piece of the project. Apparently the developer has not requested a formal waiver yet.

The Gov. Jerry Brown is withholding as much as $50 million dollars to the University of Calif. after the audit from the state showed a bunch of money set aside. As part of the state’s new budget Brown said he’d release the money when the UC makes progress fixing its financial issues that came up in the audit, plus he’s come up with other conditions to be met too. The issue raised in the draft of his new budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. At a press conference on the new budget yesterday, Brown was asked if he’s still got confidence in the head of the University of Calif, Janet Napolitano, he didn’t answer directly but said most people think she’s doing a good job. The budget sets aside almost $3.7 billion for UC, which is more than $4 million more than the state put in this fiscal year.

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