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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.

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