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The fundraiser for the victims of the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire is coming together. “Mendocino Strong Together” is this Saturday, Nov. 4th at 4 p.m. at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. It’s the second such fundraiser, the last one, for Valley Fire survivors. The same group of folks behind the fundraiser this time around, with some new additions too including our own Mary Chadwick. There will be dinner, drinks and dessert, and a full bar. There will be an auction with more than 100 items donated so far. The Sheriff is the auctioneer. There’s also a silent auction too, “Fund-A-Need” for anyone wanting to make donations, or purchase items at bid. If you cannot make it to the event, you can drop off a cash donation to any Savings Bank of Mendocino County branch. Tickets are available at all Mendo Mill locations, Mendocino Book Company, Chavez Market, JD Redhouse in Willits and Geiger’s Market in Laytonville. You can get more info at www.MendocinoStrongTogether.com.

The state Insurance Commissioner says the recent wildfires in Northern Calif are the most expensive in American history, of insured loss. Commissioner Dave Jones says the total for Sonoma County alone is already at $2.8 billion dollars, far above the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, which was $1.7 billion. Even with inflation, it would be at about 2.7 bil. The Valley Fire in 2015 was $921 million in damages. If you add in the fires in Mendocino, Lake, Napa and Solano counties, the total in Northern Calif is currently at $3.2 billion. That is according to the fifteen major insurers who have provided claims data. Jones says the region will feel the effects of the fires that started the first weekend of October for years.

Halloween night time car crashes had police officers and firefighters busy in Lake County. The first reported just after dark at 7:15 p.m. last night on Highway 20 at Lucerne Harbor Park, one car headed into the park. Firefighters had to pull the victim out of one of the vehicles. Many different emergency responders on the scene including Lakeport Fire, Cal Fire and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Eventually a REACH air ambulance took the victim to Sutter Lakeside with major injuries. Then another crash a few hours after on Highway 175 near Red Hills Road, a solo crash into a pole. That one knocked utility lines and a pole down. One person with minor injuries in that crash. Then one more about 15 minutes later, reported on Highway 175 at Harrington Flat Road, with a car 50 feet down an embankment.

Money still being raised by North Coast Opportunities for those impacted by the Sulphur fire. The nonprofit says they’ll continue taking donations thru the month. The fire was fully contained last week after burning 2.207 acres in Clearlake and Clearlake Oaks and burning 136 homes. It’s the third year North Coast Opportunities has had the Fund for fire survivors. The other two for the Valley and Clayton Fires. The money goes out to qualified applicants with immediate and long-term needs. So far the fund has about $55,000 for the Sulphur fire. Administrative fees are covered by business and private sponsorships so that 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to those affected by the fire.

Cal Fire says the last of the devastating October fires is fully contained. As of yesterday the fire that actually consisted of three fires, which came to be known as the Central LNU Complex was contained. The Tubbs, Pocket and Nuns fires charred 110,720 acres. The fires started Oct. 8th, burning in both Sonoma and Napa counties. The fire ignited within hours of the Sulphur fire in Lake County and the Redwood fire in Mendocino County, plus the Southern LNU Complex in Napa and Solano counties. Those fires were all contained last week. The Tubbs fire alone considered to be the most destructive in state history. There is no word so far on the cause of any of the fires.

Almost $15 million of highway projects for Lake County has been approved by the state. The California Transportation Commission says yes to about 90 “fix-it-first” projects in California, at a cost of almost $3.4 billion. Caltrans submitted the projects which the agency says adds about 1,200 lane miles of pavement repair and 66 bridges. The money comes from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, passed by lawmakers this past spring. The Caltrans director says there’s been years of maintenance projects that have piled up so now they’re moving the projects along quickly. The fuel tax that pays for the legislation starts today. The 12 cents a gallon tax combined with vehicle registration fee increases will cover all of the work for the next two and a half years.

P, G and E is donating several thousand dollars to the Potter Valley Fire Dept. after the October fires. The utility announced a $25,000 donation to the volunteer fire department as part of its $3 million PG&E Corporation which gives money to community groups and nonprofits after devastating wildfires. Apparently the President of PG&E met with Potter Valley volunteer firefighters and their chief. The utility says the money is in appreciation of quick actions taken by the fire department, saying that not only prevented a loss of life but also prevented many structures from burning, including PG&E’s Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project facilities.

Permits are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis to cut your own Christmas tree down out of the Mendocino National Forest. You can make the permit purchase by mail, by sending in your $10 fee to “USDA Forest Service”, and send it to the Willows, Stonyford, Covelo or Upper Lake office and make sure you notate “Christmas Tree Permit” on the envelope. The trees can be taken any day until Christmas Eve and are only valid in certain areas. After applying, you will receive a map of the forest along with a tree tag. Those have to be on you, when you go to cut your tree. There are still Federal and State quarantines to prevent the spread of Sudden Oak Death in Lake and Mendocino Counties.

500 people have reportedly already applied for help from FEMA after the devastating October wildfires. A FEMA spokesman in Ukiah reminds of the 60-day deadline for assistance. If an illegal immigrant wants to apply for help, they must have children who are American citizens to be eligible. They also say that there should be no fear from illegal immigrants to come to the local assistance center for help. There are no immigration agents at the center and FEMA says they don’t share information with federal immigration authorities. FEMA also letting folks with RVs know if you paid for local campgrounds after the fires, you could be reimbursed for your costs. And many homeowners who are underinsured – can also get FEMA help.

A school in San Francisco delivers a truck load of supplies to Mendocino County after a Mendocino County Office of Education employee posted a need for help on social media for local foster and homeless students. A relative of the employee reportedly reached out to the San Francisco School in San Francisco and they had a 48-hour collection drive. A U-Haul was brought to the Mendocino Office of Education filled with books, art kits, backpacks, lunch boxes, makeup, hygiene items, clothing, and baby supplies. The donations have already been sorted and taken to the Mendocino County Youth Project in Willits, Mendo Baby, and to schools. The county had more than 800 homeless students and now after the fires, the education office says there are probably 150 more.

As expected, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors says yes to the urgency ordinance against price gouging by local hotels and others after the Redwood Complex fire. So now it’s a crime for anyone to offer a rental or any lease at more than 10 percent above the units’ previous price. Those found breaking the new law could face a misdemeanor charge, punishable with jail time and a fee of as much as $20,000, or both. The board also recommending an urgency ordinance so trailer coaches can be used temporarily. Right now, there’s one in place for temporary use in a fire burn for up to a year, now they’re considering three years. Some residents were against it because they said they were worried about looters and other security issues.

City of Ukiah considering an urgency ordinance so the winter homeless shelter can open on South State Street. The Staff report for the city council meeting today to allow Redwood Community Services to open the shelter after an appeal was filed against Redwood Community. The appeal effectively shut down any improvements they could make on the space they purchased for the shelter. So staff looking for that urgency ordinance so RCS could op0en the shelter using a Use Permit they had approved last year.

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