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Monthly Archives: July 2017

We are under an excessive heat warning until Wednesday night. The Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services says they will be monitoring the temperatures this week with Ukiah Temps expected to be 108 Tues and 103 Wednesday and Covelo 110 Tuesday and 108 Wednesday. Lakeport could see 109 Tuesday and 104 Wednesday and stay in triple digits through Friday.

Marijuana cultivation back on the agenda for the Lake County Board of Supervisors. The board meets beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Lake County Courthouse. According to the agenda, 10am is the time for continuation of a public hearing held over from June 27 regarding an ordinance amending Article 72 of the Lake County Code to allow the outdoor collective cultivation of medical cannabis in Rural Lands and to create a certification of compliance process for cannabis cultivation. If you cannot attend the meeting you can watch it on the county website.

Cal Fire Mendocino crews have been helping with a series of fires along Highway 101 in Sonoma County. Several calls for help started coming in around 11am this (Monday) morning from different homes in Geyserville. The Healdsburg Fire Chief tells the Press Democrat it could be as many as six fires that were threatening seven homes, including one in which the people were temporarily trapped in the home by the flames outside. At last check (5pm) the fires were about 50 percent contained. No homes have actually been damaged and no one has been hurt. In addition to Geyserville, Healdsburg, and Cal Fire, firefighters have also come over from Cloverdale and Windsor. No word yet on what may have started the fires.

Universal garbage collection could soon be a reality in Clearlake. Last week the City Council approved the final reading of an ordinance to institute universal garbage collection. Lake County News reports all homes will be required to have the service, with exceptions for vacation residences that are not used as rentals, and home where no solid waste is generated, there are no water or power connections, or food is eaten. As for businesses, the City says commercial properties will have to give the city quarterly receipts to prove their waste is being properly handled.

A couple in Ukiah is donating money so that all of the adoptions from the Humane Society for Inland Mendocino County in Redwood Valley are covered. Johnny and Gloria Keyes have apparently offered to pay for adoptions this month naming it August Animal Adoptions, with a starter of $1,000 to cover it but they will cover all adoptions this month. The couple at the shelter last week, delivering the money which they say they want to make sure every animal can be adopted for people who qualify. The Humane Society says the money will go a long way to help keep a sanitary environment for the animals and to help with any medical care too.

Mendocino County is going after people with vacation rentals who aren’t paying their fair share. The Daily Journal reports the treasurer-tax collector is tracking down properties that have not been reporting rental income to enforce payment of the transient occupancy tax. The county first started to track Air BNB type rentals finding there was as much as $1 million in possible taxes that were not being collected. Then a couple of months ago, the Board of Supervisors pledged to start working on an ordinance against vacation rentals, instead telling folks they had to have a business license and there would be a limit for new vacation rentals for one per person, per parcel. As of July 11th, nearly 170 letters have been sent out with confirmation there are 69 unregistered properties hosting vacation rentals. 61 people responded to the county and a little more than half filled out applications and several thousand dollars was paid into the general fund.

Cloverdale’s getting fancy… there’s plans for a new $16 million wellness center for Alexander Valley Healthcare. The project moved forward last week with the City Council saying yes to an agreement to sell some city owned land to the nonprofit. They’re planning a new home for the health center which should be ready for business by early 2019. The city purchased Thyme Square with redevelopment funds that was supposed to be a supermarket, retail space and housing, but it never happened. Now the city is planning a new police station, skate park and retail and office space. There is room there for the health center, and maybe a boutique hotel one day too. The healthcare center should be three stories high, 40,000-square-feet and include primary care, alternative wellness programs, and dental and oral health care. Alexander Valley Healthcare is the only primary care provider between Healdsburg and Ukiah.

Temperatures expected to scorch this week in parts of Northern California with a hazardous weather outlook for part of the San Francisco Bay and an excessive heat watch in other areas. Tomorrow is supposed to be the hottest. It may get up to 110 in parts of Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. The excessive heat stays in effect in the counties thru Wednesday, but it will only get a little bit cooler. It could stay pretty hot thru next weekend. Forecasters say it’s due to a ridge of high pressure building over Northern California and northeast Nevada. They also warn of fire danger because of the low humidity, although they say it won’t be critically low and there are no gusty winds expected.

The Fort Bragg Skate Park is closed until further notice because of multiple park rules violations. Police say there’s been trash thrown around and vandalism on fencing. They also say they’ve found tagging on the cement. The park is closed for maintenance to clean up the spray painting, trash and vandalism. Any questions can be directed to Sergeant Lopez at the Fort Bragg Police Department.

Evacuations called in part of Clearlake after a fire breaks out. Lake Co News reports two structures burned in the fire last Friday in the area of Snook and Davis avenues. Some of the area was closed off to traffic and evacuations were called for homes in the area and a medical clinic nearby. It took firefighters only about 45 minutes to stop the fire from moving, but two structures were gutted. One of those was an abandoned, red-tagged home and another home next door. They say they’re not sure if anyone lived in that home. They also call the fire suspicious in nature. 3 to 5 acres of nearby vegetation was charred and the evacuations were called off after a few hours. No injuries were reported. It’s the second fire in the area in less than 24 hours after a barbeque started another fire in Lucerne which destroyed two homes and damaged a third.

Outback Steakhouse had to answer to folks who started a conspiracy theory they are associated with Satanism. A twitter user homed in on some graphics of American cities where many Outback Steakhouses made a pattern of the five-sided star, or pentagram… so others immediately started to tweet what they thought too. The diagram showing Outback locations in New York, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Atlanta. Outback says it’s because they cater to suburban families outside of major metro areas, and tweeted a picture over one of the drawn on pentagram’s with a Bloomin’ Onion, their famous appetizer. The restaurant telling the Daily Dot there’s no plans, quote, “other than to bring bold steaks and Bloomin’ Onions to our guests!”

One home has been destroyed after a fire blows up in Tuolumne County. The fire started over the weekend and is only 10 percent contained. Some nearby homes have been evacuated with other homes being threatened and an advisory evacuation order was issued for another area near the fire. There’s a shelter set up for locals that is also taking in animals. Another fire started Saturday that has burned almost 700 acres and is only 7 percent surrounded.

A San Diego man’s been arrested for two car chases Lake to Mendocino Counties The CHP in Clearlake reports Kacy Perry eventually arrested after Lakeport police chased him for driving erratically but they and the CHP broke off the chase for public safety. Later in Ukiah, CHP officers got calls from residents saying they saw him recklessly careening down Highway 29 near Soda Bay Road. After about an hour the chase started up again, with Perry being busted after going over the Hopland Grade into Mendocino County and hitting spikes in the road Perry facing several charges including DUI, felony evading and resisting or delaying a peace officer.

A barbecue said to have started a brush fire that destroyed two homes and damaged a third in Lucerne yesterday. Northshore Fire, Cal Fire, and a crew from the Mendocino National Forest all responded to Foothill Drive around 5:30pm with Cal Fire bringing an air attack with both water and retardant dumped on the hills. Some residents had to evacuate for a few hours. There were no reports of anyone seriously hurt. Firefighters had the fire’s forward progress stopped within 90 minutes but stayed on scene much of the night watching and cleaning. In all about 3-and-a-half acres burned. The Northshore Fire Chief told Lake County News the homes there had no defensible space around them and if they had they might have been saved.

Several Ukiah and Willits businesses are in the crosshairs of an attorney who’s been all around the state suing for alleged violations of federal disability laws. Thomas Frankovich has filed eight federal discrimination lawsuits against more than two-dozen Mendocino County businesses on behalf of a client in Willits, alleging failure to provide adequate access under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Press Democrat reports the filings started last December and some of the businesses have since made efforts to come into compliance to the tune of thousands of dollars. Some in the disability community call Frankovich, who’s filed nearly 2000 suits, a dogged activist; some in the business world says he’s just in it for money.

Another inch forward in the lengthy discussion about putting a Costco warehouse store in Ukiah. The Planning Commission has now said yes to the updated site development permit for the proposed big box store. The Daily Journal reports the city’s planning department saying the project is now, quote “out of the woods” as far as legal challenges go. The paper reports the planning director saying the City Attorney called the revised environmental impact report ‘bullet-proof’. The energy use section of the report had to be re-done, now that’s been determined to be acceptable. All appeal deadlines have passed so the planning department says they don’t expect any more legal challenges. The next step is for the city to approve the building permits, which are still in process.

The North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman along with another Democratic rep are introducing legislation to end an old FCC rule that favors larger media companies. Huffman and colleague David Price of NC say they’re trying to end the UHF discount. Huffman says in Eureka alone, a recent FCC decision to reinstate the old UHF discount means one media owner, which he says is right wing and doesn’t provide variety, or a good choice for local news. He and Price’s Local and Independent Television Protection Act could ensure Americans have access to multiple local and national news sources. The FCC recently voted to reinstate the UHF discount giving the company Huffman refers to four of seven television stations in Eureka.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors isn’t having the latest Grand Jury Report, saying it doesn’t take into account a lot of the county’s challenges. The Grand Jury’s recent report looked at the county’s abatement services, road management, public safety, real estate taxes, property management, and Behavioral Health staffing. The supervisors responded this week saying there were challenges for county staff not considered, like staffing shortages for one. Others felt the report was important because it gives independent oversight, but said it wasn’t balanced. The County Administrative Officer also said some of the report was discouraging and also commented that staffing is a problem.

One neighborhood in Windsor got fire retardant stains on sidewalks, streets and some cars. The pink sprinkles came down by accident after a Cal Fire air tanker accidentally dropped retardant on a landing approach to the Sonoma County Airport. The tanker was on its way back from a grass fire in Penngrove yesterday when about 100 gallons of water mixed with Phos-Chek got dumped. The liquid also has fertilizer in it to encourage regrowth after a fire. It apparently hit nine homes, 13 vehicles, a travel trailer, a street, some sidewalks, grass, bushes and trees. Firefighters came out and washed cars and cleaned the road.

Two homes have been destroyed by a fire in Lucerne and third was severely damaged. Several outbuildings were also burned in the fire yesterday started by a barbeque in the 4200 block of Foothill Drive. Several firefighters on the scene last night after the fire broke out. They stayed on scene a few hours fighting the flames back and mopping up. Cal Fire was in the air dumping water from Clear Lake and using retardant on the hills. Some homes were evacuated by sheriff’s deputies and CHP officers were nearby for traffic control. PG&E was also there because power lines were reported down. Firefighters had the fire surrounded in about an hour and a half. About 3 and a half acres burned and there were reports of minor injuries but nobody went to the hospital. A dog was also rescued from one of the homes after it ran back into a burning home. The evacuations were lifted after a couple hours.

A man from Lakeport arrested for killing his dog with a machete has appeared in court related to the case. 27 year old William Gatlyn was charged for felony animal cruelty, but was found to be incompetent to stand trial at the time. Now the clinical staff and Director of the Jail-Based Competency Program told the court Gatlyn is able to understand the criminal proceedings and help his lawyer in his own defense in a rational manner. He was admitted to the competency program in May in San Bernardino County. His Certificate of Restoration to Mental Competence report has now been entered as evidence in the case against him and the criminal proceedings were reinstated. He’s pleaded not guilty and denied special allegations.

A man from San Diego has been arrested after two car chases from Lake to Mendocino County. Kacy Perry busted as he entered the Hopland Sho-Kah-Wah Casino. The CHP in Clearlake reports he was arrested after Lakeport police chased the guy for driving erratically yesterday morning. They chased him a while then Lakeport police took over and the CHP joined in, but once they figured out the guy’s identity the chase stopped. Then in Ukiah, CHP officers got calls from residents saying they saw the same car recklessly careening down Highway 29 near Soda Bay Road. After about an hour the chase started again, with Perry being busted after going over the Hopland Grade into Mendocino County, hitting spikes in the road and continuing a bit further. He’s charged with several crimes including DUI, felony evading and resisting or delaying a peace officer.

Surveillance video has been released of two subjects the Lake County Sheriff’s Dept. says they think were involved in a murder in Kelseyville last week. The murder of David Shalett during a home invasion robbery at his house last Wednesday. Pictures of the disguised men are posted at Lake Co News and the Record Bee Newspapers. Cops say one of the suspects shot the victim in front of his two young children they took off with a minor amount of marijuana. The sheriff’s office is looking to the public to possibly identify the men and ask anyone who may recognize them or could help with the investigation to call the sheriff’s dept.

Citizens in Fort Bragg against the idea of turning national marine sanctuaries into possible drilling grounds. Community members showed up for a vote against the Trump Administration’s “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” which is basically an executive order to allow offshore oil and gas exploration. The order looks at national marine sanctuaries from the Obama years and they include Sanctuaries off the coast of Marin, Sonoma and southern Mendocino counties. A local business owner brought the order up to the city council and asked for other opinions. Several people spoke out for the council to pass a resolution against the order that could revoke the marine sanctuary status.

Videos have been made public of two persons of interest in last week’s home invasion homicide in Kelseyville. Lake County Sheriff’s Detectives are still investigating the murder of David Shalett who was shot by an intruder in front of his kids at his home on State Street July 19th. The videos were captured on surveillance and the Sheriff’s Office is asking you to take a look at them and see if you can help identify the people. You can see the videos at the Sherriff’s Office website

Charges have been detailed against six people arrested after a raid on several illegal marijuana gardens on Sherwood Valley Rancheria land in Willits. The Sherwood Valley Tribal Counsel had asked the Mendocino County Sherriff to shut them down and on Tuesday the Marijuana Eradication Team raided the property along with the CHP, DEA, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cal Fire and Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force. Arrested were Rudolph Esquivel for parole violation, Dennis Hoaglin for felon with a firearm, Gary Robinson for cultivation of marijuana by a sex offender, Robin Phillips for cultivation of marijuana by a sex offender as well as felon with a firearm and being armed during a felony, Patrick Welsh for resisting, and Gregorio Guzman for cocaine possession. As we reported yesterday, agents found nearly 25 separate gardens with thousands of marijuana plants, hundreds of pounds of processed pot and eight firearms.

Grinding and repaving work on part of Perkins Street. The work in the evening and early morning hours between State Street and Highway 101. The city says the work should not impact the morning or evening commute and that local businesses in the area will be open during construction. The work is to fix trenches for the Electric Department’s Perkins Street Underground Project. The Electric Department and Comcast are done with their work on Perkins but there are wires and poles that need to be taken out by AT&T crews after customers are reconnected to the underground system. The work should be all done by the 1st of October.

About two-dozen marijuana gardens have been raided on some Sherwood Valley tribal land in Willits. The County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team, or COMMET, led the raid with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and ended up arresting six people. They found more than 2,400 plants, more than 700 pounds of processed marijuana in various stages, and eight firearms. There was also water diversion and sediment disruption into the waterways, with those environmental violations, raising what would have been misdemeanor cultivation charges to the felony level. COMMET had reportedly been working on the raid for nearly two months, after the Sherwood Valley tribal chairman brought the issue to the Sheriff.

The Willits City Council is considering water and sewer rate increases due to needed maintenance and higher capital and operations costs. The city council is setting a public hearing on the matter at their regular council meeting next month so staff can research more. The city will have to notify all property owners of record if the rate increases go thru.

The city of Willits is still working on a cannabis ordinance which is set to be introduced to those interested the middle of September. At the last city council meeting this week, the council got an update from the city planner who says they still have to have environmental reviews for the ordinance the city’s considering which will all be released September 13th with possible adoption of the new law by September 27th. It would go into effect a month after that. At that time those interested in opening a marijuana business could apply with the city.

There’s a new name for Mendo Lake Credit Union after its merger with Community First Credit Union. The deal was complete July 1st, so now the credit union is going by the name Community First. There are nearly 51,000 members of the co-op with 126 employees in 10 branches. The branches are in Mendocino, Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties. The Community First CEO is running the newly merged banks from Santa Rosa. Those who were members of Mendo Lake still have access, but with a new checking account which the bank says will earn them money with a debit card swipe. They also have access to 0 percent loans for local agricultural students, second mortgages, in-house technology for remote deposits and deposit rates that nearly double.

A special meeting’s being held on the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District lawsuit by the City Council. The meeting described as “conference with legal counsel”, with the city manager telling the Daily Journal only that it was a closed session. The city manager told the city council last week that city and sanitation district representatives met for a second mediation session about the lawsuits filed by both sides, but didn’t give any nuggets of where they were at in the mediation process. During public comment some community members were asking how the city intended to pay the district, with the city attorney responding saying the lawsuit had not been settled or won. If this continues, there could be a trial next year. As a side note, three board members on the sanitation district are up for re-election in November.

A new plan’s being implemented in Lakeport to bring in more economic development. Lake Co News reports the City Council has unanimously approved its Economic Development Strategic Plan for 2017 thru 2022. The plan was presented to the city council by the Community Development Director. The plan came together with the help of the Lakeport Economic Development Advisory Committee. Apparently the plan was put in place after the end of redevelopment agencies across the state. The director said without the guidelines from the redevelopment agency the city was quote, “sort of floundering” in some of its efforts. The study shows the city’s unemployment rate as opposed to other cities in the state, the median household income and what was coming into the city since the great recession and showed goals for reversing negative trends. You can review the report in its entirety at Lake Co News dot com.

The Pink Patch Project is coming to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The project to bring awareness to breast cancer is a nationwide effort for law enforcement and public safety agencies. The pink patches for the department were purchased by the Deputy Sheriff’s Association featuring breast cancer awareness ribbons with pink backgrounds. If you’d like to buy one, they’re also available to the public at the National Night Out in Middletown next Tuesday. The sale proceeds go to the Sutter Lakeside Hospital Foundation for the new breast cancer navigator position. That person would talk to patients who get abnormal mammogram results. That position would be held by a cancer survivor. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, uniformed Lake County Sheriff’s Office personnel are allowed to wear the pink patch while on duty.

Goals have been set to improve Mendocino County’s access to Broadband Internet. According to a recent report by UC Berkeley, 39 percent of Mendocino households have download speeds lower than the Public Utilities Commission’s minimum standard and 24 percent had none, putting Mendocino in the bottom 10 of all California counties. The Daily Journal reported the latest info to the Board of Supervisors, with one supervisor pointing out it’s not just a barrier for residents but also businesses, because it hinders operation in a technologically evolving world. Supervisors adopted some goals to establish more reliable telecommunication services, have affordable, high-speed broadband in all homes, improve infrastructure, and develop a countywide comprehensive broadband plan by 2019.

It’s a bumper crop for this year’s California’s Almonds. The harvest hit 1 million acres. The Record News in Stockton reporting we could hit 2.2 billion pounds (1 billion kilograms) this year, a new record. Apparently there’s high demand for Calif. almonds in Asia, making almonds the state’s richest agricultural export, beyond wine grapes and other crops.

A woman from North Carolina says she had no idea she was in a video with illegal material in it, linked to potential crimes in Canada. Samantha Field told CTV News she was hired on the $5 dollar site called Fiverr and helped create a video for a customer to sell creative services, which included a reading from a book the person who hired her had supposedly written and wanted to promote. It showed suspicious packages with cookies and rockets and tissue paper being delivered in Saskatoon. With some who received them thinking they got anthrax. The woman was charged for the suspicious package deliveries after the video was sent to media and there was really no book launch. Field says she charged $35 for the clip and immediately went to police after finding out it the whole thing was phony. She says Crime Stoppers said their lead investigator was on vacation.

About two-dozen marijuana gardens have been raided on some Sherwood Valley tribal land in Willits. The County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team, or COMMET, led the raid with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and ended up arresting six people. They found more than 2,400 plants, more than 700 pounds of processed marijuana in various stages, and eight firearms. There was also water diversion and sediment disruption into the waterways, with those environmental violations, raising what would have been misdemeanor cultivation charges to the felony level. COMMET had reportedly been working on the raid for nearly two months, after the Sherwood Valley tribal chairman brought the issue to the Sheriff.

Goals have been set to improve Mendocino County’s access to Broadband Internet. According to a recent report by UC Berkeley, 39 percent of Mendocino households have download speeds lower than the Public Utilities Commission’s minimum standard and 24 percent had none, putting Mendocino in the bottom 10 of all California counties. The Daily Journal reports at the July 11 Board of Supervisors meeting, one supervisor pointed out it’s not just a barrier for residents but also businesses, hindering operation in a technologically evolving world. Supervisors adopted some goals to establish more reliable telecommunication services, have affordable, high-speed broadband in all homes, improve infrastructure, and develop a countywide comprehensive broadband plan by 2019.

Four Australians are busted after one of them tried to use a small plane to fly $200 million worth of methamphetamine out of the US from the Sonoma County airport. The Press Democrat reports the guy arranged to buy the plane last fall from PropJet Aviation at the Schulz airport while still in Australia. He spent the last several months learning to fly it, which is when PropJet’s owner got worried because the guy bought the plane in an odd way, and then was a bad pilot, with a convoluted plan to fly to Australia. Meanwhile Australian and U.S. drug agents were investigating and last week arrested the guy along with three others in Australia. Agents found 560 pounds of meth in a Santa Rosa storage facility. The US DEA has cleared PropJet of any involvement or wrongdoing.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office is on the lookout for a man they say is wanted for embezzling money. On the sheriff’s dept. Facebook page is a picture of Clarence Wright with the charge against him. They say the 39 year old’s bail is set for $40,000. He’s described as 6 feet tall, 235 lbs with black hair and brown eyes. They’re asking anyone who knows him or knows where he may be to call the sheriff’s office.

The Gov. with the former Governor before him watching as he signs an extension to the state’s Cap and Trade program. Governor Jerry Brown with Arnold Schwarzenegger together as a crowd cheered in San Francisco where Brown signed the extension until 2030 for a program that limits emissions of climate-changing carbons the two have been campaigning for from opposites sides of the political aisle. The Governors at Treasure Island, the man-made island threatened by the rising ocean due to climate change. Schwarzenegger also spoke and got in a few digs at the Trump administration and its withdrawal from the Paris accord. He also praised the bipartisan support lawmakers had to extending the cap-and-trade program for another decade.

Clearlake considering garbage collection at the next city council meeting. The council to discuss universal garbage collection and upgrading the community center at their meeting tomorrow. The council will have their second reading of the universal garbage collection ordinance after approving the move in June. Lake Co News reports city officials say the ordinance would make Clearlake cleaner and more attractive. The council will also discuss working with Adventist Health for upgrades to the city’s community center. The agenda also shows the Rotary is also interested in being involved in possible upgrades.

It’s a unanimous yes from the Lake County Board of Supervisors for the power purchase agreement with Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. The joint powers agreement was presented to the board yesterday for Yolo Flood to use a special metering program from PG&E to power part of the city. The program called the Renewable Energy Self-Generation Bill Credit Transfer is for government agencies for renewable power to be generated so the agency can then offset power costs. There can be up to 50 meters in the program and if power is not used it can be held for another month, kind of like unused cell phone minutes. The program agreed to after Yolo Flood calculated Lake County power data from a ten year period and showed a cost savings of several thousand dollars.

Heads up… the Lake County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services is testing their new CodeRED system. The emergency notification thru phone service, text message and email. The Lake County Sheriff says they can now streamline and be more efficient in how they notify residents when there’s an actual emergency. They’re encouraging residents and businesses to sign up for the service at the Sheriff’s office website, then click on the CodeRED logo link. They’re asking residents to enter their landline, cell phone line and email address so they’re assured they will be somehow notified in case of a real emergency.

Four men have been arrested and cops yanked thousands of pot plants after serving search warrants on the Lake/Mendocino County line. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit working with the Bureau of Land Management and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office served the search warrant after 4 months of watching the drug dealers in Santa Rosa. The site in a canyon that could barely be seen in brush off Hopland 175. There cops found a man with a semi-automatic pistol who tried running, but a police dog nabbed him. They found 3 other people who they detained and 3,000 mature marijuana plants and illegally diverted water and pesticides. One of the men was treated at a hospital after the police dog bit him.

Pacific Gas and Electric conducting their flyovers of Lake and Mendocino counties looking for dead or dying trees which could be a problem in a wildfire. The manager of the utility’s vegetation management department says even though there’s been a ton of rain this winter, millions of trees have died or are now structurally compromised after 5 years of severe drought. PG&E patrols and inspects all overhead electric lines yearly. They also inspect trees near their power lines in high fire-danger areas every six months because they say weakened trees can die quickly. The patrols today from 8 to 4.

More wildfires have been reported in Calif. this year. Cal Fire reports more fires have occurred between Jan. 1st to July 16th compared to the same time last year. They say there have been 30 percent more fires due to the severe drought, the four driest consecutive years in California history. Then we had the wettest winter and spring we’ve had in years, followed by hot weather. The agency reports the grass keeps growing and dries out and with sun and wind, it makes for the perfect fuel. Cal Fire in Sacramento says there’s been a dramatic increase in fires the last decade after they tracked the top 20 fires dating back to the 1930s.

A man from Santa Rosa has died after a solo car crash off Highway 101 near Calpella. As we reported yesterday there was an accident Monday night, but now more details have emerged with the California Highway Patrol reporting the driver went down an embankment south of Central Avenue in a 2010 Toyota Prius. He was found unresponsive at the time and emergency responders tried to revive him but he was declared dead at the scene. He’s been identified as 62 year old David Lopez of Santa Rosa.

Tickets for the Gala Wine Festival in Mendocino County are on sale. The festival Aug. 12th at Mendocino College in Ukiah. For $50 admission, you get into the yearly fundraiser to provide scholarships for students at the college. The school says they awarded nearly a quarter million dollars to more than 180 students this year alone. There will be an auction at the event too. All proceeds go to the Mendocino College Foundation. For more info, visit at

A little sticky and gooey on the road in Washington state after a dump truck with dough inside heats up. A State Trooper even tweeted after responding to the event and posting a photo, saying “when you think you’ve seen it all…. dough! The heat is making it rise!” It didn’t take long for others to tweet back all sorts of jabs and jokes with the hashtag #thegreatdoughrising. Even Washington State’s Department of Transportation tweeted out some fun and offered up some of the the best puns of the day, like tweating back to the Trooper, “Too Funny… you KNEAD to be serious.”

Several snakes and an arrest after a man is busted for trying to smuggle reptiles in snack containers. Customs officers stopped the shipment that had three live king cobras inside potato chip canisters. Rodrigo Franco trying to send the snakes to his California home. He’s charged with illegally importing merchandise for trying to get the trio of king cobras – each around two feet long — through Customs from Hong Kong. They also apparently found three albino Chinese soft-shelled turtles. The turtles made it to his house though. But agents went to his house and found a live baby Morelet’s crocodile, alligator snapping turtles and five diamond back terrapins. He faces up to 20 years in prison for the snake smuggling.

A four-month-long investigation has led to a big drug bust by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit. After working with the Bureau of Land Management and Sonoma County detectives, on Monday they served a warrant for a home on Todd Road in Santa Rosa as well as near a large trespass marijuana cultivation site in a canyon off Hopland’s Hwy 175 near the Lake/Mendocino County line, and arrested four men. The first guy they found had a semi-automatic pistol and tried to run but was caught by a police dog. Three other men were then found, each also with loaded semi-automatics. Agents found about 3000 mature pot plants, a long system of water diversion and several pesticides with potential environmental damage.

A man killed when his car went down an embankment on Hwy 101 near Calpella Monday night has been identified as David Lopez of Santa Rosa. The CHP says they are still looking into why Lopez lost control his car while heading south near Central Avenue and ended up going off the road. Redwood Valley Fire personnel say he was unresponsive when they got to him. They tried to help him with what the CHP calls “extensive aid” but Lopez was declared dead at the scene.

Pacific Gas and Electric crews may need to access your property in the next few weeks as they inspect transmission lines. PG&E is doing routine studies, on foot and ATV, along two electric transmission lines that run from Laytonville east to Covelo along Laytonville Dos Rios Road and also from Laytonville south to Willits along Highway 101. The crews may have photography and recording equipment with them and will be working seven days a week between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Whenever possible, they will introduce themselves and answer your questions about the work. Keep in mind they are PG&E contractors, not PG&E employees, but will be wearing safety vests and have photo identification cards.

Some Lake County residents have been getting together to discuss issues surrounding death and end-of-life planning. They call their meetings “Death Cafés” and they meet each month in two cafes to talk not just about dying but also living life to the fullest. Facilitators are volunteers with professional experience in end-of-life issues and their goal is to help you relax with the topic so you can plan better. They meet the first Wednesday of the month at the new Lower Lake Coffee n Cream Café and the third Wednesday of each month at the Riviera Common Grounds Coffee House in Kelseyville, both from 4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. The group discussions are open to the public, and there is no charge to join. Go more information visit

A man from Humboldt County had major injuries and had to be airlifted to a hospital after crashing his motorcycle on the 101 north of Cloverdale. The California Highway Patrol reports the 37 year old from Fortuna on a 2007 Yamaha headed south on Hwy. 101 and crashed into a guardrail early Sunday morning. Officers say he made an unsafe turn for some unknown reason, then crashed and came off the bike.

A public hearing’s being held by the Ukiah Planning Commission to consider a permanent winter homeless shelter and a year-round daytime shelter on South State Street. The Daily Journal reports Redwood Community Services wants to overhaul a 7,000-square-foot building at 1045 S. State St. where they hosted the last emergency winter shelter. They’re talking about adding covered entryways, a place to sit and hang out and fencing, plus there would be a parking lot and community garden. The daytime shelter would be open from 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days a week with bathrooms, showers and laundry, counseling, education services, wifi and clothing. There will also be some food, but minimal. They’re hoping it would be the same place for a 24/7 winter shelter and staff is recommending approval. The public hearing tomorrow with the Planning Commission at 6 p.m. at the Ukiah Civic Center. A public hearing on the new Costco is being held prior to this.

A “Medication Take Back” booth is being put up at the Redwood Empire Fair in Ukiah. Safe Rx Mendocino: Opioid Safety Coalition members will be at the fair August 3-6, inviting residents to dump unwanted over the counter or prescription meds. They have to be put into clear, resealable bags. They say there will be “no questions asked” for those turning drugs in. They will also have free medication lock bags for anyone who needs them to help keep prescriptions safely away from children or anyone else who shouldn’t be in a medicine cabinet. If you can’t make it to the fair, you can still drop your meds off at the Mendocino Sheriff’s Dept., Hazmobile Collections in Ukiah, the Ukiah or Willits police dept. or Ukiah Senior Center.

Three nursing grads from Mendocino College have won scholarships so they can go after bachelor degrees. Those who won the $5,000 scholarships are Amber McQueen, Nathan Beall and Lucia Pulido. The three all passed their board exams on the first try and already have jobs and have been accepted into an accredited bachelor’s of science nursing program through Sonoma State University. The money from a rock concert with Michael McDonald of Doobie Bros. fame back in April put on by Family Medicine Education for Mendocino County (FMEMC) and the Rural Health Rocks committee with the Mendocino College Foundation, the concert in Fort Bragg.

More fires to report in Lake County. Yesterday a grass fire started in Lower Lake that threatened several homes. The Bryant Fire started after lunch time between Pebble and Bryant Roads. It was announced right away that the fire had charred almost 10 acres minutes after starting. Firefighters surrounded half of the fire quickly and got back up with air tankers and a Cal Fire helicopter. Apparently a nearby canal helped because the fire ran right into it and forward momentum stopped. The fire was totally contained within an hour and totally out in 2.

A man from Clearlake who police say had two loaded handguns caught in a sting operation in Santa Rosa. The Sonoma County sheriff’s office inside a home in west Santa Rosa doing a search related to someone on probation, when someone else came to the door. They identified the armed man as 30 year old Johnny Perez who deputies say knocked, and admitted he had weapons on him. But the man’s not allowed to have weapons or ammo due to a previous felony conviction. He was booked at Sonoma County Jail on $30,000 bail for suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, being a felon in possession of ammunition and being a felon with a loaded gun in public.

Lake County representatives asking the community to sign a petition to stop a measure that could cut federal benefits. The county’s Veterans Service Office has the petition after the latest federal budget was released with offsets to the cost of the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) by dropping some veterans off Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits who are over 62 years old. The Record Bee reports that could affect more than 200 vets who live in Lake County. The benefit put in place during the Obama Administration to help Veterans covered by VA health benefits so they could go to local providers if they live 40 miles away from the closest VA facility.

Another fire in Lake County, this one in Clearlake, destroys a mobile home and a couple of nearby buildings and killed some family pets. The fire last night in the Cache Creek Mobile Home Park on Dam Road. Firefighters went out after several calls to Central Dispatch about a fire in one of the mobile units. When firefighters arrived, they say there was one mobile home totally engulfed in flames, that was threatening others. The fire was quickly contained, but two dogs were killed, the mobile unit itself destroyed and two outbuildings were also gutted. The roof of a nearby structure was also damaged, but the two men living in the main building that burned got out safely. Red Cross was helping the two residents.

A fatal crash near Calpella on Highway 101 to report. The crash last night on the 101 at the junction with Highway 20. The CHP, Redwood Valley Fire and two ambulances were on the scene, but no other details were made available late last night.

3 items of business the subject of a special Lakeport City Council meeting. As we reported yesterday, the council was going to be asked to give the title of assistant city manager along with $500 a month for a staffer in the city manager’s office. The city manager presented her request as part of the city’s goal to establish succession planning for leadership. The council said yes to that and to a contract for restriping some of 20th Street. The thermoplastic striping is one way to help slow traffic and make the road appear more narrow. In other business the city has decided not to upgrade and reopen Carnegie Library. The city trying to get bids to help make part of the 99 year old library accessible to the second floor to adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, plus other updates. The estimates came in at between 3 and 6-hundred thousand dollars. So staff has put the idea on the back burner for now.

Steve the Tortoise is back. The massive turtle from Massachusetts was missing for 3 years and suddenly appears. A woman in Waltham says Steve the tortoise was her son’s pet and had lived with them for 5 years when he vanished. They even put up fliers to find the Russian tortoise, saying he wasn’t dangerous at 5 inches long and 4 inches wide. Local animal control even posted on Facebook looking for help finding Steve. Finally after the family moved to Calif., Steve was found about a mile from their old home, found by a local couple in their backyard. Family friends are apparently setting up a reunion with Steve and his family.