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Monthly Archives: December 2017

Mendocino County says fire survivors who get a California Preliminary Notice from a subcontractor working on fire debris cleanup should not pay any contractor directly. The County Executive Office says this type of notice is typically filed as part of the California Civil Code to preserve the contractor’s right to file what’s called a “mechanic’s lien” against a property if they don’t get paid. But for the fire cleanup, this notice is not a lien or a bill, and there is no reason to anticipate any liens will be filed on any properties being cleaned up by the US Army Corps of Engineers, as the Corps will directly pay the contractors. If you have questions or get more of these notices, contact the Mendocino County Fire Recovery Team in the Executive Office at 707-463-4441 or by email ceo.

There’s been an arrest on drugs and weapons charges after a fight between a man and woman last weekend in Laytonville. The two were seen fighting along Hwy 101 Saturday afternoon with a witness calling police describing them both and saying they were walking off in different directions. A CHP officer spotted the man at Branscomb Road and ID’s him as Martin Curran. The officer found on him a loaded gun that had been reported stolen 8 years ago in Bakersfield, as well as a knife and a small bag of meth. Mendocino Deputies arrived and took custody of Curran but didn’t find the woman and she has not contacted them.

California is Opting In to a nationwide public-safety broadband network deployment plan offered by the First Responders Network Authority, called FirstNet, to deliver a wireless broadband network to California’s public safety communities. The Cal OES Director announced today that Governor Jerry Brown approved the Opt In, saying, though, while significant progress has been made on it, more work is needed for FirstNet to ultimately be successful in providing a durable public safety communications network. Under the law that established FirstNet, governors in all 56 states and territories had the choice to Opt In, which means allowing FirstNet provider AT&T to build an LTE radio access network across the state, or Opt Out, which would require the state to build and maintain the network itself.

A Las Vegas man has been charged with murder for the shooting death of his wife during a police standoff at a Ukiah hotel last week, even though the investigation indicates she was shot by police. Mary Mantynen was killed December 21 at the Sunrise Inn where she and her husband Joseph Mantynen were tracked by Sonoma County Deputies who suspected them of stealing several weapons from a family member. Ukiah police and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s SWAT unit joined the standoff and while they are still investigating, according to the Mendocino County District’s Attorney’s Office the “presumed” fatal shot was fired by a member of the Mendocino SWAT unit. But prosecutors are charging Joseph Mantynen with murder for his wife’s death because they say he pointed a gun toward an officer thereby provoking him and under California Law a person can be charged with murder if his “provocative act” leads to the death of a bystander in a police shooting. Mantynen is in Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $825,000.

Campos Casuals is back in businesses following Monday’s incident in which Lakeport police say a man intentionally drove his pickup truck through the store. No one was hurt when Jason Fugit of Nice gunned his truck through the storefront Christmas Night. Fugit was arraigned Wednesday on charges of felony vandalism, burglary and reckless driving. He remains in the Lake County Jail on an enhanced bail of $500,000 and is due back on court January 3. Police tell Lake County News it looked as though Fugit lined up his truck and accelerated through the front of the store with no signs of any skid marks and he smashed not just through the glass storefront but also counters and merchandise displays. Fugit has a long history of criminal activity attributed to mental illness and reportedly told police he thought the Campos’, who he’d apparently worked for about 20 years ago, were part of a government conspiracy.

No is seriously hurt after a small plane crashed at the Gravelly Valley Airport in Upper Lake early Thursday morning. The Federal Aviation Administration around 12 a.m. the single-engine two-seat Aeropro Eurofox, made a hard landing on Runway 33. The pilot of the plane is registered in Sacramento was able to get out and walk away but the plane was damaged to the point where it couldn’t be moved for a while.

The annual Willits Children’s Christmas Program was reportedly able to bring Christmas gifts to about 350 kids this year. Organized by the Willits Wild Bunch and Willits Rotary the community program serves local underprivileged families with children in and around Willits. A spokesman for WWB tells the Willits news they served about 178 families this year with their five “Secret Santas”, the Little Lake Fire Department, Willits Rotary, the Brooktrails Fire Department, Wild Bunch members, folks from Adam’s Restaurant, and numerous other volunteers delivering the gifts on December 24th to different neighborhoods in Willits and Brooktrails.

Starting next week, Californians age 21 and older will legally be able to buy marijuana for recreational purposes – no medical marijuana card required. The state will begin licensing the producers, distributors and storefronts – but with cities and counties having their own set of rules Dale Geiringer with Cal NORML says prices will be high at first, because recreational marijuana is much more highly regulated than medical pot. "So now we’re going to have very tight regulations over every phase of the market from seed to sale. Every gram is going to be traced, taxed, tested, and this is going to pose a lot of costs on the market." Geiringer says he expects the black market to continue to flourish as long as legal marijuana costs significantly more that street value.

Fair warning about a California Highway Patrol traffic safety checkpoint somewhere in Lake County Saturday. In addition to enhanced patrols looking for impaired drivers all weekend, the CHP Clear Lake Area office will conduct a DUI and driver’s license safety checkpoint on Saturday somewhere within the unincorporated area of the County but targeting roads where there is a high frequency of intoxicated or unlicensed drivers. The CHP said a sobriety/driver’s license checkpoint has been a proven effective tool for getting these drivers off the road. All vehicles will be checked for drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or driving unlicensed if caught they will be arrested and their vehicle towed. The checkpoint is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

A Clearlake man has been arrested for allegedly stealing mail in Mendocino County and then leading deputies on a car chase. The Sheriff’s Office began working with citizens on an intensive surveillance program targeting thefts from rural mailboxes and on Wednesday learned about someone taking mail from Oak Knoll Road. Deputies spotted the suspect but he drove off, leading them on a chase to Poulos Court where he jumped from the moving vehicle and ran. Ukiah Police joined in and caught the guy, Javier Mejia. Deputies found a bunch of stolen mail and packages in his vehicle that, as it turns out, was reported stolen out of Napa County. Mejia was on probation after recently being released from state prison so he is now being held with no bail on several charges including mail theft, grand theft, and reckless evasion.

If you’ve considered a career as an Emergency Medical Technician, beginning January 23, the Mendocino County Office of Education is offering an EMT course at the Coast Life Support ambulance headquarters. EMTs are clinicians trained to respond to emergency situations involving medical issues, traumatic injuries and accident scenes. Many EMTs go on to become paramedics, firefighters, nurses, and other emergency first responders. Course dates run from January 23 through June 9, and the cost is $695. Coast Life Support offers a $300 rebate unless the fee was paid by a sponsoring agency. You can get more information and register online at Click on the Schools tab, select Institute of Career Education, and EMT.

California abalone fishermen denied a 2018 season due to low numbers of the creatures might be out of luck if they were hoping to dive in Oregon instead. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has postponed their 2018 season until at least March while they weight concerns over the health of the abalone population as environmental conditions have reduced their food sources. Oregon officials say they’ve seen a spike interest from California abalone fishermen regarding permits, but while California typically issues around 25,000 abalone permits a year, Oregon only issues about 300 a year.

A man reported missing by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office earlier this week has been found dead. The Sheriff’s Office says Alexander Vance’s body was found Wednesday in the Travelers Home Trail area of the Mendocino National Forest. He had last been seen in that area on December 20. His body was found with the assistance of a helicopter crew from the Redding Air Unit of the California Highway Patrol. His cause of his death is under investigation.

The Ukiah City Council has reportedly lessened some of the distance restrictions on cannabis-related businesses. When the Assistant City Attorney told the council at their December 20 meeting the zoning restrictions they’d agreed to at their previous meeting would have effectively banned cannabis businesses from the city they revisited some of those distance requirements. The Ukiah Daily Journal reports it was suggested they go by the same distance restrictions as medical marijuana dispensaries, which is 650 feet from a school and 250 feet from where youth might gather like a library or park. They settled on an ordinance that would ban volatile manufacturing of cannabis products in Neighborhood Commercial zones, and not allow cannabis-related businesses within 600 feet of a school and 250 feet from a youth-oriented facility in most other zones. They will likely vote to adopt it at their next meeting.

Several ducks have recently died at Clear Lake and state officials are trying to figure out why. A California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman told Lake County News they are looking into the die-off of the large number of ruddy ducks at Lucerne’s south end. He says they are collecting and testing samples but so far based on the symptoms and conditions, it is suspected to be avian cholera. He says there is no risk to people. There were similar die-offs in 2004 near Lakeport and 2007 on the Northshore.

No sign of a mountain lion reported near the edge of the Lakeport Unified School District campus. During the school Christmas closure someone called the District Office and Lakeport Police saying a mountain lion was seen in the brushy area along the northern boundary of the campuses. The sighting was not reported to the school and police until two days after it happened. Officers started looking around and California Department of Fish & Wildlife officials were also brought in. They didn’t find any evidence a mountain lion being in the area but this is the second unconfirmed mountain lion report by the schools this year, with the first being in September. Two mountain lion sightings were reported in the City of Lakeport this year: one in June and the other in October.

In an effort to crack down on impaired driving, the CHP will start their New Year maximum enforcement period Friday at 6pm and continue it through Monday night. They say all available personnel will be on duty watching for impaired drivers, distracted drivers, speeding, and seat belt violations. During last year’s New Year’s Day maximum enforcement period, 29 people died in crashes in California roadways and the CHP made more than 750 arrests for driving under the influence during just those 78 hours. And they remind you that although recreational cannabis use becomes legal Monday driving under the influence of it is not.

Pacific Gas and Electric has been doing aerial patrols in Mendocino County looking for dead trees that could pose a wildfire or other public safety risk. Officials say even with the wet winter last year, five years of drought in California have caused millions of trees to die or become structurally compromised and since the tree mortality crisis began, PGE has increased foot and aerial patrols in high fire-risk areas up to four times a year in some locations. PG&E is using a contract helicopter service to fly foresters over the area to inspect trees.


Ukiah Police are asking your help in finding a missing man. Alexander Vance was last seen December 20 in the Travelers Home Trail area of the Mendocino National Forest. Alex is white, 6’01”, 180 lbs, with brown hair and blue eyes. He is known to drive a gray 2001 Kia Optima with a Massachusetts License plate 7HH647. If you have any information on his whereabouts you should contact the Mendocino County Dispatch Center at (707) 463-4086.

No sign of a mountain lion reported to have been spotted near the edge of the Lakeport Unified School District campus. During the school Christmas closure someone called Lakeport Police saying a mountain lion was seen in the brushy area along the northern boundary of the campuses. The sighting was not reported to the school and police until two days after it happened. Patrol officers started looking around and California Department of Fish & Wildlife officials were also brought in. They didn’t find any evidence a mountain lion being in the area but this is the second unconfirmed mountain lion report by the schools this year, with the first being in September. Additionally, two mountain lion sightings were reported in the City of Lakeport this year: one in June and the other in October.

Mendocino investigators are looking into why an explosive device ended up in someone’s driveway. The Willits homeowner says he found the object in his driveway on Bear Canyon Road on December 17 and thinking it looked like an explosive, called the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies sent pictures of it to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s bomb squad and they decided they needed to come down and neutralize it. If you have information, call the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line (707) 234-2100.

A Fort Bragg man’s been busted for allegedly stealing mail. Deputies were doing surveillance on Boice Lane after getting a lot of calls about package theft around the area and on the night of December 20 found Jonathon Sanchez had allegedly stolen a delivered package from someone’s mailbox. They have not said if he was responsible for any others in the area.

The fate of about 1900 pounds of cannabis, and the Ukiah company distributing it, are in limbo after two drivers carrying what was believed all the required Mendocino County legal documentation for it were pulled over Friday by the CHP who took the truck and marijuana and cited the driver and passenger with misdemeanor possession of cannabis for sale and unlawful transportation of cannabis saying it is still against state law until January 1. The Founders of the Company Old Kai told the Press Democrat they have all their County paperwork including a signed business license and a spokesman for the California Bureau of Cannabis Control says medical marijuana businesses with local licenses and permits can operate before the state law starts in January. But a spokesman for the CHP says it was commercial and cannot yet be lawfully transported. The case was referred to Mendocino County Law Enforcement. Old Kai’s attorney has asked them to preserve the evidence while they investigate.

The Lake County Winegrape Commission and Lake County Winery Association will be hosting an international Sauvignon Blanc event this spring. The Sauvignon Blanc Experience will be May 4 and 5 at the Chacewater Winery in Kelseyville. The event will include an International Symposium and a Grand Tasting and is expected to bring in winemakers, sommeliers, grape growers, buyers and wine enthusiasts. The Lake County Winegrape Commission previously hosted two International Sauvignon Blanc Symposia in 2002 and 2005. Lake County makes up about 14 percent of California’s Sauvignon Blanc acreage. Registration and online ticket sales starts in February but you can get information now at

Former Ukiah City Councilman Phil Baldwin is once again taking a stand against leaf blowers. An issue he brought up while on the council, Baldwin as a private citizen is now collecting petition signatures for an initiative he hopes to get on local ballots next November. The Daily Journal reports Baldwin’s proposal suggests that use of the tools, either gas or electric, be banned on Sundays and federal holidays; on weekdays, they could only be used from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Saturdays only from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. These rules would only apply in residential neighborhoods. Baldwin is also proposing a maximum decibel requirement and that debris not be blown into a neighbor’s property or a public right of way.

A Ukiah man’s been arrested for a Christmas Eve incident in which police say he threatened to kill a family member and bit off a portion of that man’s ear. Police say both men were drinking when they started arguing about a “marijuana product” and at some point Samuel Galindo forced the victim the ground and shoved his fingers into the victim’s eyes. He then allegedly threatened to kill the other man before biting off a piece of his ear. Galindo was on probation for robbery, and was arrested on suspicion of mayhem, assault with a dangerous weapon, making criminal threats and violating parole. The victim was treated at a local hospital.

As you’re watching the Rose Parade on Monday, look out for Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin. The theme for this year’s parade is “Making a Difference” and Sheriff Martin has been chosen to ride on the Farmers Insurance Company’s “Hometown Heroes” float. He told Lake County News Farmers had asked the State Fire Council for suggestions on who should be featured on the float and when the council asked Cal Fire, Cal Fire suggested Sheriff Martin. Martin who has been Sheriff’s for three years and also heads up Lake County’s Office of Emergency Services, has dealt with fires and other disasters in each of his three years, including the Rocky, Jerusalem, Valley, and Sulphur fires, and last winter’s severe flooding.

Some good November Real Estate numbers for Lake County. The Lake County Association of Realtors reports the number of sales in November increased 10 percent over October and 8.5 percent over November 2016. The November median sales price was virtually unchanged: in November the median for Lake County was $249,950 and the October it was $250,000. The California Association of Realtors says the November statewide median price was $546,820.

Hospice Services of Lake County says this year’s “Dine Out for Hospice” fundraiser was a great success. This year’s participating eateries included the Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, Giovanni’s Skyroom near Lampson Airport, Howard’s Grotto in Clearlake, Main Street Bar & Grill in Clearlake, Park Place and Renee’s Cafe, both in Lakeport, and the Saw Shop Bistro in Kelseyville. The CEO of Hospice Services of Lake County says they anticipate the total funds raised will be about $8,500 in sponsorships, a percentage of sales from each of the seven participating restaurants, and donations from individual diners. Funds go to helping the agency provide quality medical, emotional and spiritual services to hundreds of Lake County residents.

A Clearlake family is getting help with a place to stay after a fire heavily damaged their home on Christmas Eve. The fire was reported around 10pm Sunday on Oak Drive as flames coming from the roof. The family inside and the adjacent neighbors all evacuated. The Lake County Fire Protection District Chief told Lake County News that several crews from Lake County Fire and Cal Fire responded while returning from a call near Hidden Valley Lake and they reported being able to see the fire from the gooseneck area of Lakeshore Drive. Firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to the home where it started. They say while heavily damaged it was not completely destroyed. The cause is not yet known.

No one was hurt after a Nice man drove his pickup through a downtown Lakeport store last night. Police say Jason Fugit intentionally slammed the truck through the front of Campos Casuals on North Main around 7pm Monday. He was taken into custody for felony burglary, vandalism and reckless driving with other charges likely. So far his motive is not known, and as of this afternoon there was no indication he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Lake County News reports Fugit has a long criminal and mental health history including an arrest several years ago for the attempted murder of his grandmother during a paranoid delusion. He pleaded guilty to elder abuse and was sent to Napa State Hospital for treatment.

Flags on state grounds are being flown at half-staff with Governor Jerry Brown ordering that in honor of a California Highway Patrol officer who died in the line of duty on Christmas Eve. Officers Andrew Camilleri and Jonathan Velasquez had parked their patrol SUV on the right shoulder of an I-880 ramp near Hayward to monitor traffic with a radar gun. Around 1130pm a suspected drunk driver slammed into them. Camilleri died at a hospital Velasquez was treated and released. The suspect is in serious condition. Officer Camilleri was 33 and leaves behind a wife and three kids ages 12, 6 and 2.

No one is hurt after a Nice man drove his pickup truck through a downtown Lakeport store last night. Lakeport Police say Jason Fugit intentionally slammed his truck through the front of Campos Casuals on North Main around 7pm Monday. He was taken into custody for felony burglary, vandalism, and reckless driving. Lake County News reports the damage to the building is estimated to be at least $100,000. So far his motive is not known, and as of last night there was no indication he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol but hadn’t yet been tested. However Lake County News reports Fugit has a long criminal and mental health history including an arrest several years ago for the attempted murder of his grandmother during a paranoid delusion. He pleaded guilty to elder abuse and was sent to Napa State Hospital for treatment.

There could soon be a settlement in the four-year long legal dispute between the City of Ukiah and the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District. In 2014, the Sanitation District filed a lawsuit alleging the City had been violating its participation agreement with the District and owed it nearly $30 million in back payments covering about 40 years. The Ukiah Daily Journal reports City officials crafted a settlement agreement at a special two-hour-long closed-door meeting Friday. After the meeting the City Council reportedly approved the settlement agreement unanimously and ordered it sent to the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District board members for their consideration. That reportedly followed a meeting earlier last week the Sanitation District board held and then gave the city a presentation and asked their attorneys to negotiate a settlement. Both sides are said to be eager to get a deal done in time to refinance some bonds.

A Bay Area CHP officer has been killed by an apparent drunk driver. It happened Christmas Eve as the officer was parked on the side of Interstate 880 in Hayward. Officer Andrew Camilleri and his partner, Jonathan Velasquez, had stopped their patrol SUV on the right shoulder near an exit to monitor traffic with a radar gun. Around 11:30 p.m., a car slammed into them from behind. The 22-year-old driver, who is from Hayward, is suspected of smoking marijuana as well as drinking before the crash. Officer Camilleri died at a hospital. Officer Velasquez was treated and released from the hospital. The suspected is in serious condition.

An elderly Clearlake Oaks couple is facing charges after being arrested for allegedly trying to transport about 60 pounds of marijuana across the country. 80-year-old Patrick Jiron and his 70-year-old wife, Barbara, were pulled over December 19 in Eastern Nebraska for not using a turn signal. The deputy who pulled them over smelled the pot, and a search turned up the several small bags valued at around $300,000 dollars. The Jirons told the deputy they were Christmas gifts for friends and family in Boston and Vermont. Patrick Jiron was cited on suspicion of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and a drug tax charge. He was booked and released. Barbara Jiron was given a citation to appear in court.

A man killed when a logging truck slammed into a power pole and tree and closed Hwy 101 in Northern Mendocino County has been identified as being from Humboldt County. The CHP has not released his name, only saying he was from Ferndale. He was killed Thursday when his logging truck swerved into oncoming traffic on Hwy 101 and then crashed into a redwood tree and power pole. He sideswiped a pickup truck, which spun out of control and hit a car but those two drivers were not hurt. But after the logging truck hit the power pole, power and phone lines were dropped onto the roadway and another truck hit those and caused a separate crash. Hwy 101 was closed for more than two hours while the lines were removed and a fuel spill cleaned. The cause of the crash is under investigation, but impairment is not believed to have been a factor.

Ukiah Police have confirmed one person was found dead after a shoot out with police Thursday night at a motel. It reportedly began as a hostage situation that turned into a standoff between police and armed suspects around 8:00pm at the Sunrise Inn. The Press Democrat reports SWAT and officers from different law enforcement agencies responded including a Sonoma County detective who was reportedly involved in the shooting. Officials say police started firing after a man leveled a gun at officers. The man was captured; a woman was found dead in the motel. The incident is being investigated by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.

A Willits man has been arrested for DUI in relation to a Thursday accident that closed Main Street from Mendocino Avenue to Commercial Street. Willits Police say around 8:30pm they got several calls regarding a collision between a car and a pick-up truck. Police determined the driver of the car, Brandon Ray Johnson, was driving under the influence of alcohol. He was also charged with driving on a suspended license and probation violation.

If you own a small business that was shut down due to damage from the October fires, your local Rotary Club wants to help. They have a fund to grant up to $5,000 to help almost any small business get back up and running again. It’s a joint effort of Rotary Clubs in our North State counties and of hundreds of local Rotary members. You can apply by email to larca5310 And if you’d like to help, they are also seeking donations.

The Manager of Lake Mendocino Mobile Estates has met with residents who’d been complaining to local government officials about hikes in rent and fees. Robert Ridino, president and CEO of SAR Enterprises, recently announced rent increases of as much 17 percent and that water and sewage payments, which used to be part of the rent, would now be separate and paid by residents. The Ukiah Daily Journal reports more than 60 residents came to the meeting Wednesday concerned also about a lack of maintenance to the property. Redino acknowledged he could have announced the rent news better, and also pledged maintenance improvements.

The Lake County sheriff has finalized the findings in the August death of deputy Rob Rumfelt, who was killed after crashing his patrol SUV after responding to a domestic violence call in Lakeport. Sheriff Brian Martin told Lake County News that a medical examiner concluded that Deputy Rumfelt suffered sudden cardiac death 30 minutes after a stressful physical encounter, subduing suspect Alex Castillo. The autopsy found Rumfelt had a broken neck, likely from the crash, which was caused by the heart attack. As for whether it was accidental or could be considered homicide if the heart attack was the result of the arrest, Martin said he had to settle on a finding of “could not be determined.” The DA announced earlier this month that he’d ultimately decided not to charge Castillo with manslaughter because he didn’t believe he could convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Castillo was directly responsible.