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There’s been another death connected to October fires, this one in Sonoma County. Officials say Michel Azarian of Santa Rosa, died Sunday at UC Davis Medical Center from extensive burns received during the Tubbs fire. His death makes the 24th in Sonoma County and the 22nd attributable to the Tubbs fire. Officials say the flames trapped the 41-year-old Keysight Technologies employee outside his home.

Seven California counties are getting more federal money to help recover from the October fires. FEMA says an amendment to the President’s original major disaster declaration expands FEMA’s Public Assistance program for Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma and other counties. This is not the individual homeowner or business help, but rather it’s for governments and agencies to helpwith things like debris removal, emergency protective measures, and overtime for first responders. It also allows reimbursement for work on roads, bridges and public buildings, including fire stations, schools, public utilities, and parks and recreational facilities. Public assistance is a cost-sharing plan, though – FEMA pays about 75 percent of the costs.

Mendocino Coast District Hospital and North Coast Family Health Center have won the Gold Award for their PRIME Project called “Cancer Screening and Follow Up.” They competed against 48 District Hospitals throughout California and ended up winning first place for the PRIME program in which public health care systems and hospitals focus on specific quality improvement projects to get overall better patient outcomes. And they say federal and state funding depends on meeting certain targets and continuing to improve. North Coast Family Health Center says recent achievements that got them the honor include breast cancer screening rates increasing by 44% and cervical cancer screening rates improving by 67%.

The annual “Christmas in Middletown” sponsored by Middletown Area Merchants Association is set for Saturday, Dec. 9, from 4 to 8 p.m. Several nonprofit organizations will set up booths with goodies, crafts, and gift-wrapping services on the streets and at the high school cafeteria, all to raise money for their missions. Storefronts are decked out with business-sponsored Christmas trees that are decorated by local school kids and will be donated to local families in need through Spirit of the Season. Santa Claus is set to arrive at 5:15 p.m. at Middletown Park on an old-fashioned fire truck and he and Mrs. Claus will give stuffed animals to kids, courtesy of Hospice Services. There are also chances to win some prizes donated by area businesses.
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