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An Upper Lake man has died after crashing his SUV into a tree off Hwy 101 north of Valley Drive in Laytonville. The CHP says the driver, whose name has not been released, was heading south on Hwy 101 around 11 a.m. Sunday when, for reasons still under investigation, he suddenly turned into oncoming traffic, drove over the east shoulder, and went down the grass embankment and into the tree. The CHP says he was dead at the scene.

The Willits City Council has agreed to discuss sudden rent hikes and alleged intimidation of residents at the Wagon Wheel and Valley Oaks mobile home parks. Several residents came to the council meeting last week describing tactics by the new property owners at the communities that have mostly low-income and elderly renters. The residents say they want something like rent control to fend off sudden increases after they got notice of a $110 a month hike in November which some say could drive them into homelessness. They also allege the new owners have been posting threatening letters on residents’ doors, with threats of ‘legal action’ for various reasons like overgrown landscaping or having children’s toys in the yard. The Willits News reports the city has limited ability to intervene because mobile home parks are governed by the state, but the council agreed to have city staff look at the issue and bring it back to the council in January.

Habitat for Humanity helps a disabled local veteran after the Sulphur fire. Lake Co News reports the nonprofit worked with Home Depot Foundation’s Veteran Repair Program and put a 12-foot lift in Army vet Al Plyley’s home in Clearlake Park so he can more easily get in and out. The night of the fire Plyley woke up because an alarm went off on his C-PAP since he lost power at his house. So he had to get out of bed. When he decided to check things out, he found out about the fire on a police scanner and evacuated, using the lift. Then Habitat for Humanity called to make sure he used the lift and got out. He then spent two nights at the Habitat office before finding a hotel. Habitat also made sure his house was intact after the fire.

A cold front’s moving in with rain and mountain snow expected. The National Weather Service in Sacramento says there will be rain today and tomorrow with the heaviest blast expected tomorrow morning. The storm also brings wind with gusts of up to 30 miles per hour in some places. Snow is forecast for higher elevations. Mid to the end of the week should be clear and sunny and should last into the holiday weekend and as of now, Christmas Day too.

The Clearlake City Council gets an update on the Sulphur fire cleanup. The city manager gave the council the update after almost 170 structures burned in the October fire. The US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency are overseeing the public cleanup. The city manager says there were 151 rights-of-entry forms from property owners and eight were private. Five more are being done by the county. The Army Corp reported cleaning 85 sites and that they were waiting for test results to make sure they got all contaminated materials out. There were a total of 15 that were cleared as completed. The EPA also took out asbestos from more than 30 sites and there were still some that needed to be abated. The city manager reports more than 15,300 tons of debris was removed from the Sulphur fire area.

Concerns about possible taint on legal cannabis after the first batch is sold after the New Year. A chemistry professor at U-C Davis who tests marijuana for several states at Steel Hill Labs says any weed sold when recreational sales are officially legal Jan. 1st could have been grown without regulatory controls that have to eventually be in place. So that means there could be pesticides, molds and other contaminants on it. Donald Land says he oversaw the testing of 15 dispensaries in four Southern Calif. counties and 93 percent of them tested positive for pesticides. Next year there will be tight regulations and testing requirements, but there is a six month grace period.

Two marijuana businesses in Northern Calif, the first in the state to get licenses to sell legal marijuana. Both in the Bay Area, Buddy’s Cannabis in San Jose and KindPeoples in Santa Cruz. The owner of Buddy’s says it’s a life’s dream come true after he got the first “microbusiness” license, with the number “0000001”. As we’ve been reporting for more than a year now, possession, personal cultivation and consumption of recreational cannabis is legal as of January 1st for adults after Proposition 64 passed in November 2016. It’s been illegal to buy and sell it until about a week and a half from now. So far the Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued 20 licenses for retailers, distributors, microbusinesses and testing laboratories.

A man accused of shooting a Humboldt County sheriff’s deputy is reported to be a Mexican national in the states illegally. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reports Hugo Parral-Aguirre was sent back to Mexico in 2015 but was back. The deputy and Aguirre are in the hospital after a shoot out Sunday morning after a neighbor reported a dispute between two men. The injured deputy went to the scene with a sergeant and a woman ran out to them saying she was being held against her will by the guy and that he tried shooting her boyfriend. She told the officers Parral-Aguirre was armed, so they pulled out their guns and ordered the man to drop his weapon, a 12-gauge shotgun. A female deputy was hit in the left shoulder above her bullet-proof vest and they shot Parral-Aguirre. The D-A will have to come up with charges for the guy who’s in the hospital. All deputies on administrative leave and all injuries said to be non-life threatening.

A resolution approved by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors means several elected department heads are getting more money. The Supervisors also came up with a mechanism to determine future salary levels for the supervisors so they’re comparable to other counties’ average salaries. The salaries for several department heads and officials like the treasurer and assessor, auditor, Sheriff and District Attorney. Apparently in Mendocino County, elected officials have been making below average salaries compared to Lake, Napa, Humboldt and Sonoma Counties.

Garbage fees on the agenda for the Ukiah City Council. Tomorrow the council will once again take on new garbage rates that’ll reportedly triple some residents’ bills. There was a lengthy discussion on the matter at board meeting earlier this month which included public comment. So the council delayed a vote after residents said it was unfair to some who don’t have a lot of trash. There was discussion too about changing out the containers and to have a flat-rate to cover trash and recycling. Some residents who spoke out wanted a delay in the vote to look at alternatives, maybe per gallon waste fees. The council voted to continue the discussion to tomorrow at their meeting which starts at 6 PM at City Hall.

Police and fire crews in New Zealand rushing to help a man reportedly stuck in a ravine screaming for help. But when they got there they found a goat instead. Apparently someone walking by the area in Arthurs Point in Queenstown called for help after they heard, what they thought, were distress calls from someone who may have been trapped. Cops combing the area eventually found the calls were that of a goat. They say, we take all calls seriously…

It wasn’t a stop for the munchies at a TCBY in North Carolina. But was it a mistake that lead an employee to find a bunch of pot at the frozen yogurt shop in Matthews? Apparently someone left a five gallon bucket in a cardboard box at the shop. Police say $225,000 worth of it. The pot actually shipped to the shop, but nobody knows why or who sent it…

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