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A man in Mendocino County court found guilty of impropriety connected to abalone hunting. The jury found Quoc Minh Nguyen (winn) of San Jose, guilty of altering an abalone report card, but there was a mistrial on taking too many of the mollusks. Nguyen got a year of informal probation and he cannot fish or hunt during the term. Plus he has to pay about $1,700 and give up his fishing license and abalone card and all of the abalone caught.

Two people accused of starting the Valley Fire are not being charged. The Lake County D-A’s office investigated John Pinch and Parker Mills after reports they may have started the fire. There was a Grand Jury investigation and evidence was presented to the D-A afterward with the jury saying no charges should be filed. They found that Northern California was in the middle of a historic drought and that grass and trees were very dry with high winds the day the fire broke out September 12th, 2015. A hot tub on the property where Pinch and Mills live apparently started the fire. There were electrical problems with the wiring of the hot tub and Cal Fire reports this was the ignition point. But the D-A states they were looking at possible misdemeanors and that prevented going after felonies, but in either case, there didn’t appear to be enough evidence to prove mal-intent. The Valley Fire killed 5 people, burned more than 2,000 structures, including more than 1,300 homes and four firemen were seriously injured.

Cal Fire says they’re working on a year round schedule now because of constant fire danger in the state. The information as the Thomas Fire continues to burn in Southern Calif. Cal Fire expressing their condolences to those affected by the ongoing wildfires and for those who suffered losses in the Northern California fires in October. More than 1.3 million acres burned and over 10,000 structures destroyed across the state this fire season. And since they acknowledge there are changing conditions in the State’s fire season, they’re calling it a year-round fire season. The agency also says fires the last decade are more intense and damaging, calling it the new normal. So with this Cal Fire says they will be more aggressive with fire prevention and forest health measures. Cal Fire will work with public, private and academic organizations for even more prevention in the future.

Lake County has announced their Quagga Sticker program for the New Year. Stickers are required for all resident vessels on Clear Lake and the state Quagga sticker is also required. Resident and non-resident stickers are $20. There are screening stations for residents for those who take out of county trips with their boats too. Decontamination is free of charge. For more info, visit www.nomussels.com

After two weeks of waiting because of a lack of funds the warming center in Lake County is open. As we reported earlier this week, the Lake Ministerial Association has opened the shelter. The Association reports having just over $11,000 in the bank to run the center which was about​ ​
$1,300 less than needed. They were supposed to have about 25 percent of the total budget in the bank for sufficient services. The center needing $16,000 more to fund the center for the whole winter. The center managers say they’re “flying on faith”. This year they’re also part of the Homeless Management Information System to collect info on those who come to the center, which goes to the federal government about homelessness. If you’re interested in helping you can send donations to the Kelseyville United Methodist Church and write “Warming Center” on the memo line. They also have a go fund me account, . www.gofundme.com/lma-warming-shelterministry

The discussion continues with the Ukiah City Council on cannabis-related businesses in the city limits. The council was leaning towards the Planning Commission’s recommendations at their last meeting, but an ad-hoc committee was against it, saying it was almost like banning cannabis-related businesses in the city. The Daily Journal reports city staff noting for the meeting today that businesses will technically be allowed downtown, but they have to be located at least 250 feet from a residential area. Apparently the ad hoc committee found possible locations were too restrictive, and, the newspaper reports, thinks the city should come up with policies that regulate and license cannabis activities because if could bring jobs and revenue to the city. The meeting with the council tonight at 6.

A nearly 3 million dollar project has been approved by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors for the design of a new jail. The correctional facility won’t be open until 2022 and will have 64 beds to be used as a mental health and visitation center. The Sheriff Tom Allman requesting a funding match of more than 4.5 percent with the board approving $60,000 from the county for the new facility. The Sheriff telling the board it’s exciting for the county to have a separate building to care for the mentally ill who were accused or sentenced to a crime. He also says he’s hopeful they can work with mental health partners on rehabilitation for the prisoners. If all goes as planned, there will be about a year and a half of construction with the grand opening in October of 2022.

A man from Oakland seriously injured after a crash near Ukiah on Highway 253. The California Highway Patrol reports the 44-year-old man in a 1989 Mazda driving east at a high rate of speed and didn’t quite make it around a curve near mile marker 15, losing control of the car Monday. They report his car went off the road, down a steep embankment and hit a wire fence, then flipped several times, hitting a redwood tree and stopping after flipping on its roof. The driver was ejected during the crash, landing about 100 feet from the car. Cops say he did not have on his seat​ ​
belt.

Confusion about the job of a Willits Community Development Specialist and his work on Cannabis rules leads the city council to redefine the job description. The Willits News reports Specialist Jim Robbins of Ukiah had been helping City Planner Dusty Duley with the Cannabis application process, grant writing, helping to get funds after mass flooding this past winter and more. But one city council member wanted more info on Robbins role looking for grants and submitting grant proposals. Robbins getting nearly $60,000 a year for his work building relations with city staff, others, and helping to get the Cannabis permit program going. Part of his salary funded by grants. Human Resources says he’s doing various things because of limited staff. But apparently others thought he was just helping with grant writing.

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