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A consultant’s being hired so the city of Ukiah can start an environmental review for a possible housing development for the homeless mentally ill. The company looking to put the development up was listed on the city council’s calendar this week as Rural Communities Housing Development Corp. They’re proposing a 38-unit, multi-family housing facility for the seriously mentally ill who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. But the California Environmental Quality Act calls for a review. It’s the same for any project. Whoever applies has to pay for the analysis. The project will also be reviewed by the Ukiah Planning Commission after the Memorial Day Holiday weekend.

Faculty and students none too happy about new space planning proposed at Mendocino College. The Daily Journal reports the some faculty will move to different offices and a welcome center will be put together, plus there will be a more centralized location for all services, including counseling. But the newspaper reports a lot of the plan uses space that’s already occupied. And it reports the library building’s will get a president’s office which we’ve reported on, as being what some are up in arms about. But the president’s office would move out of the Library building and make more space behind the circulation desk. The current office of the president would be a Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant student center and there would be more classroom space over at MacMillan Hall. There are other changes being proposed too. The president says they couldn’t show it to faculty in planning stages, but did as soon as they could.

The makeover of the downtown core of Willits has been recognized and honored by a regional professional planners’ association. The Willits News reports the Northern California chapter of the American Planners’ Association picked Willits for its Award of Excellence. The recognition for the proposed changes after the Willits Bypass was finished to make downtown more walkable, safer, and inviting. The Willits Main Street Corridor Enhancement Plan will include new landscaping, gathering areas, and pedestrian-and-cyclist-friendly streets which the city says will bring in more business. The city wins the award for the plan itself and the enthusiastic and harmonious response by residents.

Looking for something to do this weekend… Navarro-by-the-Sea is having its yearly Earth Day Cleanup and Volunteer BBQ. The event tomorrow and the Navarro-by-the-Sea Day is in a couple weeks too. The president of the Navarro-by-the-Sea Board says they’re working on the inn, making progress but still have a ways to go. They’ve been able to restore the upstairs windows and this month will finish up on the porch covering in one spot and putting up a woodshed to store firewood, which is the source of heat for the inn. They’re still in the process of raising money for a permanent roof which they say is the top priority. So the cleanup is tomorrow at 9 am at Captain Fletcher’s Inn with a work party until noon and a free barbecued lunch at noon for volunteers. Then June 10th, the Navarro-by-the-Sea Day will include free tours of the historic Captain Fletcher’s Inn where a fundraising silent auction will happen along with barbecuing all afternoon, homemade treats and dessert. For more info on the events, call 707-877-3477 or email beach127

Things are up in the air at the one-room school near Albion. The tiny town has one teacher working with K-3rd grade kids. The school’s been in danger of closing because there’s not many kids left to attend and they may only have three to five students next year. Some of the residents are working to keep the school open and won something of a reprieve last week after the Mendocino Unified School Board voted 3-2 to keep the school open next year. But apparently since the school board’s vote they’ve received emails and letters to close it down. The Mendocino Unified School District Superintendent proposed closing the school for a year until they could get more students. There’s another tiny school in the district with 14 students in Comptche. One other in the district, in Elk, closed in 2010.

The first home to be finished in the Valley Fire area by Habitat for Humanity. The new home dedicated by the nonprofit two weeks ago for the Carreker family on Big Valley Road in Middletown. Lake Co News reports it’s the second new home for fire victims, but the first in the footprint of the fire. The celebration May 6th, welcomed the family into their new home with a lunch and blessing by community members. Habitat for Humanity Lake County working with other organizations for low-income affordable family housing. The nonprofit is also helping with recovery and helping fire survivors get new homes. Habitat itself had to move its offices after it was hit by the Clayton Fire.

Part of Hill Road has reopened after being closed for several months due to a landslide. Lake Co News reports Lake County Public Works crews reopened part of the road yesterday. It was closed in December between Sutter Lakeside Hospital and Lakeshore Drive. The news site reports it’s the third winter in a row for a closure. Several homes were destroyed by the slide in the Lakeside Heights subdivision above the road. The slide was over two lanes of the highway, one lane was cleared and the road reopened a few weeks ago, but then it slid again. There are signs up on each end of the slide directing drivers to heed direction. The Lake County Board of Supervisors has approved a couple hundred thousand dollars for permanent repairs to the hillside.

A bill’s been passed by the California Senate so drug companies can no longer gift doctors. Sen. Mike McGuire authored the bill which he says will ban perks like airline tickets or fancy meals. He says it’ll lower drug costs because doctors getting the gifts wouldn’t feel they had to prescribe expensive drugs anymore. McGuire claims drug companies pay out almost one and a half billion a year in gifts, just to docs in Calif. He says not only has the cost of drugs gone up over the last ten years, so has the industry profits. McGuire’s bill passed the Senate 23-13, it now moves to the Assembly.

An Ad Hoc committee’s been formed by the Clearlake City Council to look at the needs of the homeless and other issues. The Record Bee reports the committee is going to have two representatives from the city council and another two from the Planning Commission, as well as up to two members at large. Those two would be city residents who have an interest in homelessness. The two city council and planning commission members have been chosen already. The mayor and the city manager have also apparently been working already on the issue, visiting other counties to learn about similar ideas for homelessness and helping the needy.

A new report by the state of Calif. shows more than 140 courthouses including in Lake County, are seismically unsafe. The study commissioned by the state showing the cost at more than $300 million for some of the fixes. The study presented this week to a Judicial Council which sets policy issues for the state courts. It says if there was a serious earthquake, there are 145 courthouses that might face “substantial” structural damage, “extensive” nonstructural damage and “substantial” risk to anyone inside the building at the time. The seismic-risk ratings were developed by FEMA. On the low side to just retrofit the highest risk facilities the would cost between three to $400 million and the cost of retrofitting the 44 highest risk facilities into the $1.3 to $1.7 billion dollar range.

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