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Another workshop’s planned in Ukiah regarding downtown parking. At another workshop a year ago, the deputy city manager was on hand taking suggestions, and hearing complaints about the issue. The city was apparently considering changing things up. At the same meeting, it was noted merchants had been asking for free parking on School Street to encourage more shopping downtown. But apparently that hasn’t done the job, instead business owners and employees are using the free spots, while others are paying $20 to $25 a month to park in the permit lot, but park instead on School Street anyway. The next workshop is tomorrow night at 6:15 p.m. at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center at 200 S. School St.

An empty kayak has been found near Noyo Bay and a man who was thought to be in it, missing. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 64-year-old James Begley of Fort Bragg who they say hasn’t been seen since Sunday. A group of kayakers came upon the empty kayak just outside Noyo Bay, the Old Georgia Pacific Mill site and called the Coast Guard. The Guard in turn let the sheriff’s office know. The Guard and Fort Bragg Fire Department went out looking on boats with the help of a Coast Guard chopper. They didn’t see anyone. Witnesses say Begley went out late Saturday night, early Sunday morning because he couldn’t sleep. He was wearing a tan Carhartt jacket when he was last seen, but apparently he did not have on a wetsuit or life vest.

A crash on the 101 backed up traffic for miles. A big truck that had crushed grapes on board and a pickup with a camper attached crashed. The CHP reports the truck with the grapes was headed north near Hopland was stopped in traffic behind a car trying to turn left, so he turned into a southbound lane and hit the back of a car stopped on the northbound side, then crashed head on with the pick-up. The driver of the pickup had major injuries and his passenger had to be airlifted out. The driver of the truck with the grape mash got out and refused medical care. There was a third vehicle involved with the driver saying no to medical help. The CHP says they don’t think alcohol was a factor.

Blue Green algae is starting to appear in some water bodies of Mendocino, Humboldt and Lake counties. So state and local public health and environmental health officials say those who want to get into the water should avoid all contact with the algae which is usually seen in late summer/early August when the weather is warmer and there’s a slower flow of water. Health officials say most green algae is harmless, but they say to try to avoid contact because certain types of algae can produce toxins that are harmful to animals and humans. They say dogs and kids are more affected because they usually stay in the water longer, and their body size is of course smaller.

The old Redwood Empire Cleaners property is being cleaned up thanks to a state grant that pays to clean up areas with contaminated groundwater. The North Coast Regional Water Control Board says the grant program will be tapped to help with the old REMCO location at 69 West Mendocino Avenue. The grant program apparently gets as much as $19.5 million a year to remove human made contaminants. That includes soil and groundwater sampling, soil vapor and groundwater monitoring. The REMCO project has been allotted nearly $506,000. A copy of the cleanup plan is available at the Willits Public Library and a link has been placed on this radio station’s website and out Facebook page…

http://geotracker.waterboards.ca.gov/profile_report?global_id=SL0604593246

A brush fire’s started off Highway 29 in Lake County after a car crash. The fire yesterday blew up to 75 acres quickly with firefighters in the air and on the ground. More than 100 firefighters descended on the scene at Highway 29 and Bottle Rock Road. The fire, dubbed the Bottle Fire started after two cars in opposite directions crashed four miles south of Kelseyville. One of those cars was in a field after the crash and ignited grass. The highway was closed temporarily and a voluntary evacuation was announced, but has since been lifted along the Highway, Bottle Rock, and Soda Bay Road. One firefighter was injured, but no structures were reported damaged or destroyed as of late last night.

Translators across Northern Calif. are protesting after negotiations fell apart for a new contract, and in Sonoma County they’ve walked off the job. As we reported last week, the only foreign language interpreter in Mendocino County walked off the job for the same reasons, pay and benefits. In Sonoma County they’re looking for outside help now to fill the translation service needs. Some cases had to be postponed because of a strike with about six Spanish interpreters. The disagreement with as many as 15 coastal Northern California counties who are trying to negotiate new deals. Their contracts expired nearly a year ago. The state’s offering a 21 percent pay hike over three years, but workers say it’s not enough and doesn’t match up to others in their field. Some even say they’re being discriminated against by court officials who they say think they’re a low priority because they’re mostly females or minorities trying to help immigrants.

Looking for a new job? Caltrans has put out the word, they need to fill more than 1,100 openings this summer. The agency says they’re constantly hiring and right now there’s many different opportunities. They’re holding job fairs at universities and military bases to get the word out. Apparently the reason for all the openings is there’s an older crowd working there, over many other state departments, so loads of people are retiring. Plus they’ve got a lot of work right now with funding coming from the new state transportation tax, a 12 percent gasoline tax that’s supposed to bring in as much as $52 billion for projects over the next decade.

A murderer from Mendocino County asks for parole at San Quentin and gets it. The Mendocino County DA’s office reports Manuel Ceja Granados, went to prison in 1992 for the murder of Jose Enriquez, a caterer in Ukiah on Christmas, 1990. The two men apparently had an argument that night at the Vineyard Bar and Granados shot Enriquez in the face. At the time, Granados apologized in court, but got the stiffest sentence for the shooting death, 28 years to life. He was found guilty of the murder and for assaulting the bar owner after the shooting. He waived his right to a jury trial at the time. The D-A says if there’s anyone who wants to protest the parole, they can call, send a letter, or send an email to the Governor’s Office in Sacramento. They’re reviewing the case before Granados can be set free.

A van that looked like it was driving itself in Arlington, Virginia, was not driverless after all. A local TV reporter chased the van down after reports there was no driver and it turns out, indeed there was, it was a man wearing a costume made to look like a car seat. So creative… When folks passed it, it looked as though the front seat was empty, but closer up, the driver was in a beige and black costume covering his torso. Social media was all over it, commenting on the get up, like "this is a first". The whole thing a stunt by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute for a study on driverless cars.

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