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Fire debris removal stopped by government contractors after challenges were filed against two federal contracts for work in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties. The Army Corps of Engineers reports there were some protests to two agreements for the rest of the public fire cleanup programs in Northern California. ECC for the work in Sonoma County and Ceres Environmental Services for the other three counties, suspended their work after a company out of Florida disputed if crews could meet target dates. It comes as the companies were ramping up their final effort to clear all of the debris out from the October fires. The work was supposed to be done by the end of February.

The governor’s announced his new budget and the state’s got one of the biggest budget surpluses its had in years. Governor Brown says the state will be about $6 billion in the black and wants to spend only about $300 million and have the rest held in reserves. The general fund proposal spends about $131.7 billion and $59 billion more in special funds and bonds. The governor warning there could be another recession and a massive drop in revenue would come with that so saving money protects jobs and potential college tuition hikes. Brown’s in his last year in office. He’s done after the election in November. He’s served four terms as governor, but spread apart. He was governor in the 1970s and 1980s and again since 2011.

A pickup truck that had been stolen from a local business has been found. Now Lakeport Police are looking for possible leads about how the Cramer Enterprises truck was taken to begin with. A Nixle alert was sent out to look for the 2015 white Chevrolet 3500 work pickup which cops say they think was taken sometime between 6:30 a.m. Dec. 21st and 7:50 a.m. Dec. 22nd. They also believe the pickup was seen between Dec. 21st and 25th possibly hauling two large gun safes in the Lakeport and Kelseyville area. The truck was found last night in a rural forested area southwest of Lakeport, but they have no clue who took it. The police dept. asking anyone with any possible info on the matter to call, contact them thru Facebook or text Tip Lakeport to 888777 which is anonymous.

Lake County still dealing with illegal dumping. The Record Bee reports there’s still complaints coming in to the county and recently someone finding a dump site off Robin Hill Road outside Lakeport near the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff. There’s also reports of people cutting down trees to take as firewood. The Sheriff’s office has reportedly been notified. But the newspaper reports the District 4 Supervisor Tina Scott saying she didn’t know about this specific instance but realizes it’s a rampant problem all over the county. She says there are also dumped vehicles around the county too.

Changes could be coming to the way low performing state schools get federal money. The U.S. Department of Education reports problems with California’s plan to improve the low performing schools with billions in federal education aid as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act. A letter sent to the state regarding its 100 page funding application. The act approved by Congress in 2015 means every state has to submit a detailed education plan to the federal government. California’s was sent in September, and just got the first official response. The letter criticizes the state’s lack of setting out precise goals to improve schools and how they’d be held accountable for making progress.

Another special meeting’s set for the Ukiah City Council regarding the lawsuit the Sanitation District filed against the city. The closed door session set for this morning with county counsel. As we reported the city council had previously approved, then sent in a settlement agreement for the lawsuit. The Sanitation District also had a closed door session and the City Council had another and fixed some items in the agreement, but the city’s not publicly said if those were specific requests from the district. The city manager tells the Daily Journal discussions are continuing on the matter. Last night the Sanitation District had a regularly scheduled meeting and another closed session about the lawsuit was on the agenda.

Some locals part of the legal cannabis industry have appeared in front of the Board of Supervisors again about a seizure of nearly 1,900 pounds of pot from a Ukiah company permitted to deliver the product. There are also reports of alleged raids at Kai Distribution this week. The vice chairman of development for the California Growers Association at the meeting saying, he thinks it might have been related to a probations search, but he wasn’t sure and requested the board look into the matter, saying it’s a serious issue that could affect many other farmers and that it could affect the regulated market in the future. It comes after another meeting of the board last week where others spoke out about the raid of a distribution truck and citing of some workers, even though they had all the proper paperwork in place.

PG&E says it’s removed more dead and dying trees after the October wildfires that were standing along power lines. State law requires the dead, dying or diseased trees that could come into contact with power lines be removed. Foresters and arborists went thru the burn areas and marked fire-damaged trees, then inspected and will remove the trees. The utility says they expect to fell up to 25,000 hazard trees in fire-impacted areas and should be done with the work early this year. They say they’ll make reasonable efforts to notify property owners, saying the fire-damaged trees are clearly marked and notices are being left at properties. They’re also offering whatever debris from the tree removal to be taken out for free, but customers have to opt-in to the Wildfire Wood Management program by calling PG&E directly.

A man who used to be the attorney general for California is starting a marijuana distribution business. Bill Lockyer, the state Atty. General from 1999 to 2007 had co-founded C4 Distro, out of Newport Beach. The other partner is Eric Spitz who was president and co-owner of the Orange County Register until 2016. The company says they’ll distribute marijuana products in the Los Angeles area to start. They say they’ll pickup manufactured marijuana products, like edibles and tinctures, then deliver them to retailers.

A man with a book by the same name as one critical of President Trump, says his book’s picking up steam again. Randall Hansen’s book, Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-45 came out in 2008. But the Canadian professor says it’s taken off again with the release of Michael Wolff’s expose by nearly the same name, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, which the president calls a work of fiction. The professor from the Univ. of Toronto says he’s not seen that much interest in his book since it first came out. He says the day the Wolff book came out, his book hit three best seller lists. But obviously, he says people just bought the wrong book.

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