Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: August 2018

[title News 8/27/18

A new fire breaks out as crews continue their work on the Ranch Fire. The Cache Fire in Lake County east of Clearlake Oaks reported over the weekend by Highway 20 and New Long Valley Road. The fire’s charred 105 acres and is 20% contained. Firefighters moved to the fire which was said to be burning with moderate speed. The Ranch Fire grew another 23,000 acres overnight to hit 402,065 acres. Some of the growth due to backfiring operations in the northeastern flank of the Mendocino National Forest. The fire is sitting at 67% containment. Officials say the weather was in their favor but they’re still not out of the woods. The Ranch with the River Fire make up the nearly 451,000-acre Mendocino Complex, which both started July 27th. Officials say they still expect the Ranch Fire to be fully contained by September 1st.

State lawmakers are working on a fire related bill so utility companies like PG&E can sell state-authorized bonds to cover damage from wildfires, essentially leaving ratepayers with the debt. The bill revealed Friday further says the bonds could only be used for damages utilities couldn’t afford before they went bankrupt and there would be strict rules to follow from the Public Utilities Commission. The proposal also had other provisions whereby power companies have to come up with fire prevention plans the commission would review with other experts. And a provision for multi-year forest management funding that could come out of the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

There could be a lawsuit coming after massive traffic stops for cars headed to the Burning Man festival. Organizers lawyer sent a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to immediately stop the "unconstitutional" stops and to preserve all records related to the traffic stops and searches on the state highway that goes through Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal land. The event started last night and was expected to bring as many as 80,000 people to the Black Rock Desert. The organizer’s lawyer says a lot of the traffic stops were to intimidate or harass travelers.

A man from San Francisco’s been arrested in connection to a fatal fire that started last month in Siskiyou County. Cal Fire says John Colin Eagle Skoda was arrested after investigators found a debris fire the man started exploded in size to char 60-square-miles and kill one person and destroy 35 homes. The man lost control of his unpermitted debris fire July 5th which forced the evacuation of thousands of people and closed the 5 highway. Skoda charged with suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and other fire-related charges.

The Clearlake City Council consider ways to deter squatters in vacant homes. The council looking at the matter after two residents, Sandra Tyson and Roberta Copeland brought up homelessness. Copeland telling the council she’s tried to stop squatters from breaking into homes where there have been several house fires. They’re concerned about fires after all the fires in the County. The Lake County Fire Chaplain told the council it’s something homeowners themselves are responsible for, but the council still considered ways to stop the practice. Perhaps an ad hoc committee. The Mayor says they’re working with some organizations for ways to clean up the city and get squatters help.

Due to money issues the Lake County Administrative Officer reportedly going to the Board of Supervisors to temporarily reduce public office hours at some county offices to save money. The board meets tomorrow for their regular meeting. And County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson is reportedly asking for alternative office hours due to dire financial conditions and no luck in finding new revenue streams. She blames higher a Minimum Wage and but lower employee salaries, continued slow recovery from taxes and other royalties, plus a terrible fire season, which is early into the season.

A man from Lakeport has been arrested after a string of thefts and drug-related cases. 23 year old Gene Gard arrested Saturday after reports of stolen credit/debit cards at O’Reilly Auto Parts and Kmart. Apparently the bank told the card owner of fraudulent activity on the card after they reported their wallet lost or stolen the same day. Cops went to the two businesses and had a description of the culprit and went over video surveillance of the suspect, identifying Gard. He was arrested at Sutter Lakeside Hospital in possession of the victim’s wallet, credit card and ID. Plus they say he had stolen items from the hospital, so he’s charged with burglary and forgery and some misdemeanors. He’d previously been arrested this month and last on a host of drug charges, stolen property and destruction of property charges.

The Mendocino Complex Disaster Recovery Center in Upper Lake is staying open with new hours this week. The center at the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake Tribal Community Center open from 9 AM – 6 PM Monday thru Saturday, closed Sundays. They’re offering support for victims of the latest fires in Lake County with recovery specialists from FEMA, the Small Business Administration, and state and local agencies. They’re working with anyone with losses from the wildfires and winds from July 23rd in Lake and Shasta counties. So far they’re had more than 3,100 registrations.

The Governor’s looking at new changes to logging in the state. One proposal to allow landowners to cut down big trees and build temporary roads without permits to help thin forests in Calif. The timber industry supports the proposal, but some environmental groups do not. Friday’s the last day for the legislative session and details were still sketchy as we get closer to the close. The Gov. proposing allowing private landowners to cut trees up to 36 inches in diameter, right now it’s 26 inches, on property of 300 acres or less, without a timber harvest permit, if indeed it’s to thin forests against fires. And the roads could be up to 600 feet long if they’re repaired and replanted.

The State Senate considering a bill so some appointed offices could be filled by immigrants living in the state without full legal status. The Gov. considering the bill to allow people without authorization to live in Calif. to be appointed to boards and commissions. The author of the bill, Sen. Ricardo Lara says it’s so immigrants cannot be excluded from civic life. Those without work authorization could not hold paid appointments though. DACA recipients have that authorization but are not considered legal residents.

A man in Southern Calif. has been arrested after he’s found with about 800 pounds of stolen lemons in his car. Dionicio Fierros busted last Friday by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office for theft of agricultural products. It came as deputies investigated recent farm thefts and the man was stopped in the town of Thermal, where cops found a bunch of big bags of freshly picked lemons, stolen they say, from a nearby farm.

No change in the containment of the Ranch fire. It’s still at 67 percent, with crews still working most actively on the north and northeast fire lines. Cal Fire says the main fire progression will be fuel and topography driven and that fire activity will continue to become more active around 4:00 pm. The fire threatens more than 1,000 structures in addition to the 380 buildings it has already destroyed and the 38 strictures it has already damaged. Full containment is still said to be about a week away on September 1st.

Its only been open a few days but its already busy at a disaster relief center set up to help fire victims in Lake County. The resource center is a kind of “one stop shop” for everything needed by fire victims, and the state Office of Emergency services says it is a good way to connect with agencies like the Red Cross and other state and national offices like the DMV and Small Business Administration who can offer help. The center is on On Main Street in Upper Lake, just north of Clear Lake. It will be open daily through September but you’ll have first part of October to register and take advantage of the programs being offered.

State lawmakers are holding a hearing to find out why Verizon throttled data to a group of firefighters battling the Mendocino Complex fire. The Select Committee on Natural Disaster Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding is trying to get to the bottom of the issue which Verizon admits, but blames a customer service issue. The Santa Clara fire department says it hit its data cap last month when Verizon slowed its speed to a crawl, something the firefighters say put their lives in danger. Today’s hearing could lead to legislation that would prevent service providers from reducing internet connection speeds, especially to emergency personnel.
California is lending a hand to those being hit by Hurricane Lane in Hawaii. Two of the states urban search and rescue teams are headed to the islands as the request of FEMA under orders from Governor Brown. The teams will do what they can to help people of Hawaii recover from the effects of the biggest storm to hit there in more than 20 years, that has dropped as much as three feet of rain and brought pounding surf and high winds.

The Mendocino Complex fire remains about three quarters contained this morning. The latest from Cal Fire says The fire growth has been slowing a bit and will continue move north to northeast with a slower rate of spread due to more favorable weather conditions. The southern portion of the fire remains in patrol status as crews continue with suppression repair and mop up. All of the current fire closure orders remain in effect. The projections are holding for a full containment of the Ranch fire by next Saturday.

Tourism officials are telling potential visitors that the state is open for business in spite of the fires. California is teaming up with Washington and Oregon to spread the word that the fires that have been in the news likely won’t effect vacation plans. A recent survey showed that 11 percent of 1,000 travelers said the conditions had caused them to rethink vacation plans to the state, resulting in a 20 million dollar economic loss. The head of Visit California says the idea is to make people know that most of the fires are far away from tourist areas and should have no impact on any visitors.

A Sonoma County landlord has been accused of price gouging after last fall’s wildfires. Prosecutors say 55 year old Stacy Holland raised the rent at one of his properties by 35 percent shortly after the fires a couple weeks after they started. The attorney generals office says price gouging of any kind won’t be tolerated after a disaster. If you’d like to report suspected unfair price hikes in Sonoma County, you can contact the D A’s office through its website.

Smoke and haze from the fires around here continues to impact air quality far away. In the Bay area, officials say today’s air will be unhealthy, and hazy conditions have been reported as far east as Wisconsin, drifting toward the northeast by the weekend.

The Lake County Fair is hoping to bring people together in the wake of the fires. The fair starts next Thursday and runs though Labor day, September 2nd. Fair goers will see the usual array of rides, live music, and other activities with the theme of “The Great Escape”. It all starts with a parade from Main Street to the fairgrounds on Martin Street at 5:30 on Thursday evening. You can get the full lineup at the website

Residents of Clearlake will get a chance to hear about the state of their city at a special meeting set for early next month. The Clearlake City Council and the Chamber of Commerce will host a “State of the City” meeting on September 5th at the Clear lake Community Center. Chamber officials say there are a lot of good things happening in the city and wants to share them with residents and business leaders. The presentation runs from 5 to 8 PM. The meeting had been postponed in early August because of the fires.

Plans are underway for a second legal marijuana business in Ukiah. The proposal would turn a vacant building on Cunningham Street into a micro-business called Heritage Mendocino. The head of the city’s design review board likes the concept of the new facility and says it will improve the area around it. The owner says the business will have what he calls a “rustic modem” feel with the look of an old barn, complete with reused metal and wood. The other permitted marijuana business in the city, called Cannavine, is expected to open up shop in October.

Police have arrested a man from Ukiah and charged him with breaking into a home earlier this week. Cops say 32 year old Jose Morales who has no fixed address, may also be responsible for several other break-ins or attempted break-ins in the city since Tuesday. Morales was picked up on Thursday as he tried to hide from police between two houses on Magnolia street. He is facing suspicion of burglary and resisting arrest charges and is being held on $50,000 bail.

An unidentified suicidal person is alive thanks to Petaluma police officers. The attempted suicide happened early Thursday morning at the C Street parking garage, where officers found the person standing on a ledge of the top floor. The person attempted to jump, but officers were able to pull the person up and off the ledge. The person was placed on a psychiatric hold for a mental health evaluation at a local hospital.

Congressman Jared Huffman has paid a visit to Fort Bragg. The congressman held a town hall and spoke to high school students about a variety of topics earlier this week. The congressman also recognized two local businesses with the Sustainable North Coast award for their plans to reduce carbon emissions.

School is back in session and school officials in Mendocino county are out with the usual back-to-school advisory for drivers: be careful, especially in school zones. They also want parents to become familiar with the procedures for dropping off and picking up kids in the first few days of the new year. A concern that may not have been such a big deal not long ago—kids may be extra distracted in school zones looking down at their phones or sending those last minute text messages to friends before the school bell rings

A bill limiting plastic straws across California is headed to Governor Brown’s desk. The measure would make California the first state to prohibit full-service restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws unless customers ask for them. The bill doesn’t to ban straws altogether Restaurants would receive warnings for first and second violations and fined 25 dollars per day for future violations, up to 300 dollars a year.

A net neutrality bill is moving forward after it was approved by a key legislative committee this week. S-B-8-22 would enact the strongest net neutrality protections in the country. The bill is aimed at stopping Internet service providers form blocking or slowing service. Supporters say the measure would keep California at the front of technological innovation as well as protect consumers.

Here’s a thought for an unusual vacation. What is being called the country’s first Beer Hotel is opening up in Columbus Ohio next week. It features a beer tap in every room and a beer fridge in every shower. When you check in, you even get a free brew. Seems like a popular idea—over 500 people have already booked their stays.

The Ranch fire has grown 4,500 more acres, with containment holding. The fire, the largest in California history has blackened nearly 366,100 acres and is 67 percent contained. The fire’s most active spot is on its north side, moving farther into the Mendocino National Forest. Cooler temperatures were reported last night but crews were expecting to have more activity during daytime hours as smoke cleared and temperatures got warmer. The River Fire, the twin fire in the Mendocino Complex stopped forward movement last week and is 100% contained. The two together have burned 157 homes and killed one firefighter. They’ve charred 415,000 acres together. Crews are still saying the fires will be contained by Sept. 1st. They’re 74 percent contained together.

California’s tourism officials working with Washington and Oregon to get tourists to come to the state, saying it’s safe for a visit. California reportedly lost as much as $20 million in tourism revenue last month alone because of visitors’ fears of wildfires. So the three states have formed the West Coast Tourism Recovery Coalition after massive wildfires and smoky skies this summer. They say less than 1 percent of the states’ together were actually affected by fires this year.

Major cuts coming to Fort Bragg schools. The Fort Bragg Unified School District Board of Trustees discussing potential cuts at their budget workshop last week. A report presented by the school district’s business services director with suggestions on what could be done including cuts to the KUDOS after school program which has a huge grant to pay for it, but there’s still about $46,000 from the general fund too. They’re also apparently considering cuts to the school’s nutrition program which is getting almost a quarter million the upcoming school year. The Vice Principal position is also apparently on the chopping block, as well as the garden program, athletics program, chorus and band, and an enrichment teacher position.

Another business looking to sell marijuana in the City of Ukiah. The business, Heritage Mendocino has applied for their cannabis microbusiness Major Use Permit. The permit for “distribution, dispensary/retail, manufacturing, and processing of recreational and medicinal products” in a nearly 2,500-square-foot metal building that already exists, with no new construction proposed. The owner looking to make the business have a barn like look and old, Western feel. He says he wants it to represent the roots of cannabis culture in Mendocino County. They will get their product from local, licensed farmers. City staff was told to work with the Heritage to meet requirements for landscaping, parking and accessibility. Another dispensary in Ukiah by the new Costco is set to open in October.

Viral reports that Verizon slowed some Bay Area firefighters data plans while they were on the Mendocino Complex Fire. The Santa Clara County Fire Dept. Chief has written a note to the Court of Appeals in D-C saying the throttling had a huge impact on their ability to work on the fire and they apparently had to use other area firefighters internet signal or personal cell phones to communicate with each other. The Chief says he called Verizon and was told they had to pay almost three times as much to up their plan. He further says the cell phone giant knew it was throttling firefighters’ crisis response and essential emergency services. The company says the data speed restrictions should have been lifted since it was an emergency, saying it was a customer support mistake they’re reviewing.

There won’t be another election after all. Lakeport City Council Member Stacey Mattina and Mayor Mireya Turner have each been appointed for another term so the city saves several thousand dollars. As we reported earlier this week neither of the two had anyone running against them for the upcoming election in November by the deadline of August 10th. So under the election code, the city council can decide to re-appoint the two. The city saving on printing costs and the motion to re-appoint the two was unanimous. And after the city council got on to other business.

Lawmakers still working on fire related legislation ahead of the end of the current session. Some survivors looking for upgraded communications since the October firestorm in wine country and utility companies are fighting so they’re not solely financially liable. The State Dept. of Insurance has been trying to get legislation thru so it’s more difficult for insurance companies to raise rates or cancel coverage in high-risk areas. There are still some ideas out there, like a fire fund for victims, like flood victims of the past. There’s been nearly a dozen bills proposed with at least half no longer viable. They could have helped get fire victims claims thru faster or with an advanced payment, regulate adjustors or let victims with total loss rebuild elsewhere. Others are still in the mix, but weaker versions of first drafts.

A woman from Covelo has been arrested in connection to the disappearance of another woman earlier this year. 20 year old Antonia Bautista-Dalson arrested while at the Sheriff’s Office substation in Covelo on an unrelated matter. Bautista-Daulson now accused of suspicion of harboring or concealing a wanted felon for the disappearance of Khadijah Britton. Britton disappeared in February with her boyfriend, Negie Fallis IV named a suspect in her case. At the time witnesses said they saw him with a gun to her, take her from a home. She had previously reported he attacked her with a hammer. Bautista-Dalson was found with Fallis when he was arrested and cops say they were having a romantic relationship and she was thought to be aiding and abetting him.

The governor set to sign a bill into law to erase or reduce several thousand marijuana criminal convictions. It comes after Proposition 64 was approved by voters in 2016 which eliminated several pot-related crimes and retroactively applies to those convictions, but didn’t spell out how. So now the State Senate passed a bill outlining how. It orders the state Department of Justice to identify eligible cases between 1975 and 2016 with those being sent to a prosecutor. The State says there could be more than 200-thousand eligible cases. The state DOJ has until July 1st of 2019 to put together a list of eligible cases. Then it’s up to prosecutors to decide which they might challenge.

The DMV in Woodland is going to join other offices across the state opening Saturday hours due to long lines because of the switch to REAL IDs. Woodland and San Diego-Claremont added to the 60 other field offices serving on Saturdays. The only thing they’re not doing is behind-the-wheel exams. Others open on Saturdays include Fairfield, Folsom, Lodi, Modesto, Roseville, Sacramento, Tracy, and Yuba City. They’ve hired as many as 500 new employees since the federal REAL ID driver’s license was introduced. There are also more self-serve kiosks at offices and in grocery stores now too.

Kids in Lake County getting back to school, with only a couple districts out until after the Labor Day holiday. Lakeport Unified, Lucerne Elementary and Upper Lake Unified all started yesterday, a delayed start due to the Mendocino Complex fire. All of Lakeport had been evacuated due to the River Fire, and thousands were evacuated in the Ranch fire burn area in the Northshore. As we reported State Sen. Mike McGuire working with North Coast Opportunities and Redwood Credit Union to create the Lake County Students Fire Relief Fund. They’re organized a welcome back at schools in Lakeport, Lucerne and Upper Lake. Konocti Unified and Middletown Unified started class Monday and Kelseyville Unified starts Sept. 4th.

Squatters at abandoned homes in Clearlake on the city council agenda. The council meeting tonight and will discuss homelessness, especially, squatters in abandoned homes. The council also considering giving the city manager another raise. It’s part of Greg Folsom’s contract, to raise his base salary 3 percent, retroactive to July 1st so he adds on nearly $4,000 more a year. He’s been with the city since June of 2015. He had been making $110,000 a year, plus benefits.

A new Planning Commissioner in Clearlake. Robert Coher was appointed after Carl Webb retired after nearly 2 decades on the commission. Then after the swearing in the Chair called for a motion for vice chair, which went to Kathy Fitts, unanimously. Then the commission got down to business, hearing a conditional use permit application for the expansion of the Clearlake Cottages and Marina with six more units. That too was unanimously approved.

A little more growth on the Ranch Fire in the Mendocino Complex. The River and Ranch fires now 74% contained. The Complex had burned more than 410-thousand acres and the Ranch Fire is most of that… the largest fire to ever burn in the state at 361,562 acres and 67 percent contained. The River fire 100% contained last week at 48,920 acres. There is an adjustment in the amount of structures burned, 157 homes and 123 other buildings with 38 others damaged, including 13 homes. The Ranch Fire grew another 4,000 acres the last 24 hours. The Mandatory Evacuation Order for Eel River Road in Mendocino County, including all areas west of the Mendocino-Lake County line, south and east of Eel River Road and north of the 16000 block of Mid Mountain Road. Has been lifted as has the advisory evacuation in Potter Valley area.

A community meeting’s being held by Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service in Elk Creek in Glenn County due to the Mendocino Complex at 6:30 at Elk Creek High School.

A man from Finley killed in a motorcycle crash Tuesday has been identified. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office says 66 year old Richard Salkeld died after a Ford F-250 crashed into his 2016 Harley Davidson. The CHP reports the pickup hit the Harley head on and Salkeld died at the scene. They say he did have on safety equipment at the time of the crash.

Lesley Lotto
P lesley
facebook.png linkedin.png twitter.png

Get your own envelope_colored.png email signature

The U-S Forest Service and Dept. of Interior sending their Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) specialists to the Ranch Fire burn area to finalize the soil burn severity map. The team only on the southern area of the fire, since it’s still burning on the north. What they looked at was more than 191,000 acres, with the rest to be mapped later. So far, it shows about seven percent of the fire perimeter was considered unburned or very low, 27% was low, 59% moderate burn and another 6% was high severity. The assessment teams use the data to show areas where there could be future erosion and water runoff. The teams usually include scientists and specialists who consider emergency stabilization options for critical resources.

The Ukiah Planning Commission will once again take up the proposed construction of a tractor company on Talmage Road. The Daily Journal reports the commission will consider Garton Tractor’s construction permit at their meeting today. The review had been postponed at the last meeting after they approved a Major Site Development Permit last October. But there had been an appeal by a City Council member due to its proximity to the airport. So the size of the building has been reconfigured. The City Council referred the project to the Airport Land Use Commission which ended up being acceptable. The project will be considered tonight at 6 in City Council chambers.

The Mendocino Complex has once again gained acreage and dropped containment. The Ranch Fire’s grown another 6,000 acres, and is 67% contained. The fire’s burned about 357,600 acres. The River Fire stands at just under 49,000 acres and has been totally contained for several days. The complex together is 75% contained and is still expected to be totally contained by Labor Day weekend. The Ranch Fire was growing mostly northeast of Lake Pillsbury and into Glenn County, and in steep, rugged terrain in the north and northeastern areas of the fire area. 157 homes and 120 other structures have burned and another 1,050 structures are threatened. One firefighter was killed last week and a couple others have been injured.

Multiple grants are being applied for in Mendocino County to help with a new hazard mitigation plan and more. The Daily Journal reports the Fire Recovery Director told the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors they were applying for several grants that would also update safety elements and a grant for the Redwood Valley Water Infrastructure Project after the 2017 fires. The money could go to pay for two new staffers that would only be working on fire recovery, so other employees could do their regular jobs.

The latest Mendocino County CEO report to the Board of Supervisors says there were nearly 70 animals that had to be evacuated due to the Mendocino Complex between July 27 and Aug. 15. The report says the animals were from Lake County too and most of the Mendocino County animals were from Potter Valley. 33 cats, 32 dogs, three birds and a lizard were evacuated. There are still three dogs and three cats in Mendocino County not home. Besides that there were also 35 large animals evacuated to the Redwood Riders Arena. 13 horses, 15 goats, two cows, four chickens and a tortoise. There’s still one horse, two pigs and two goats there.

The Clearlake City Council is going to respond to the 2018 Grand Jury Report and will also speak on their own “Nepotism Policy.” The meeting this Thursday will also look at some local appointments to ad hoc committees and development agreements for three marijuana businesses. The Grand Jury report on various topics has to be done by state law within 90 days of getting the Grand Jury Report. The report this time was in the middle of June, so they have until the middle of September.

Retardant dropped after the fires in Lake County may create more weeds and algae. The retardant stops a fire’s growth, but when it rains this winter it could runoff into streams and Clearlake itself. Thousands of gallons of the red stuff dropped by Blue Lakes and Lake Pillsbury. Ash could also bring more invasive weeds. The Big Valley Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians is taking water samples and sending them to a lab and will reportedly be doing this for months to come. Apparently there’s also concern about fish die-offs after the same has happened from retardant in other lakes after fires.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors says yes, the Lucerne Hotel can be sold. A purchase offer’s been made by the Romero Institute, looking to put a school in the building.  The New Paradigm University was the only bidder at $2.5 million which the Supervisors have given the thumbs up for at their Tuesday meeting. The County Administrative Officer says county staff have to verify the sale conditions before the County moves forward with the sale.  A representative with the Institute at the meeting and thanks the board and others for allowing the university to make its home in Lake County.

Orchard Supply Hardware, the do-it-yourself franchise across the state is closing all stores before the end of the year. A spokesperson for its parent company Lowe’s has confirmed the closures. That means as many as 4,000 people will be without a job and store liquidations are beginning next week. There are more than 40 locations in the Bay Area alone, out of Orchard’s 98 locations. There are others across the state and in Oregon and Florida.

An ex cop accused of being the notorious Golden State Killer is going to trial in Sacramento County. The Orange County D-A says they picked the area because the case is so complex, and taking into consideration Joseph D’Angelo’s rights, location of the crimes and hardship for witnesses and victims. He’s accused of more than a dozen murders across the state in the 1970s and ’80s. They were deciding between six jurisdictions. DeAngelo is facing multiple other charges too including 13 counts of kidnapping and robbery. He had been arrested this spring in Citrus Heights which is of course in Sacramento County. There’s no trial date yet.

A protest at the State Capitol by hundreds of farmers against a proposal to bolster water flows in a major California river, which they say will actually mean less water for farms in the Central Valley. But environmentalists say it’s a good thing, especially as it relates to Salmon fisheries. The State Water Resources Control Board is preparing to discuss a proposal to double the amount of water flowing to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. But it means there would be less water diverted to farms and it would protect the state’s lower salmon population. There were estimates of only 10,000 fall-run salmon in 2017, compared to 70,000 in 1985.

The Governor about to sign a bill the legislature’s approved to stop bail for criminals and instead replace it with a risk-assessment system. That makes Calif. the first state to end a bail system for anyone waiting for trial. So there would no longer be bail set which some state senators say discriminates against low-income people. The author of the bill, Sen Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys, says the current system is unfair to the poor and that money bail doesn’t make anyone safer or ensure suspects come to court.

Ukiah Police Dog Bugsy has died. The police department announced Bugsy had been sick and having troubles with his legs and found to have a brain infection. They say he wasn’t strong enough to fight the infection and died peacefully surrounded by his family, and handler. He had been a narcotics K9 with the Police Department since 2010. They report over the 7 years with the department he helped bring in multiple drugs and more than $200,000. As of late he was a serving with School Resource Officer De Lapo in the Ukiah Unified School District.

For those impacted by the wildfires in Lake County, the California Department of Social Services has announced help from Disaster CalFresh food assistance. For a family of four that brings in a monthly income of $2,755 a month, they may be able to get as much as $640 in food assistance through the program. Applications are being accepted thru the end of the week and thru Wednesday of next week. The USDA approving the state of California’s request for Disaster CalFresh food assistance as part of the recovery effort in Lake County. The program nationally is known as the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or D-SNAP. Apply thru the Dept. of Social Services in Lake County for your Disaster CalFresh benefits which are distributed thru an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.


Individuals and families who lived or worked in Lake County may be eligible for Disaster CalFresh food assistance if the household experienced at least one of the following as a direct result of the wildfires:

Damage to, or destruction of the home or self-employment business;
Loss or inaccessibility of income, including a reduction or termination of earnedincome or a significant delay in receiving income due to disaster related problems; or
Disaster-related expenses (e.g., home or business repairs, temporary shelter,evacuation, food loss, etc.) that are not expected to be reimbursed during the disaster benefit period.

Households already participating in CalFresh are not eligible to receive Disaster CalFresh food assistance, but may be eligible to receive supplemental benefits, which brings a household up to the maximum allotment level based on their household size. Households already participating in CalFresh may contact their local agency to request supplemental benefits by phone or in person. CalFresh households residing in the following zip codes at the time of the disaster- 95458, 95464, 95485, 95493, 95453, 95423, 95451, 95443, and 95435 will automatically receive supplemental benefits on their EBT card. They will not need to contact Lake County Department of Social Services or visit the Disaster CalFresh site in person to receive this benefit.


Individuals and families affected by the wildfires who are seeking food assistance may apply for Disaster CalFresh beginning August 22, 2018, by visiting Lake County Department of Social Services offices. Additional application sites and more information is available at

In addition, individuals or families with new needs for assistance due to the wildfires may always apply for regular CalFresh benefits and CalWORKs cash aid at their local Social Services Department or online at


Lake County: (800) 628-5288

The Mendocino Complex fires well over the 400-thousand acre mark. The two fires, at almost 410,500 acres with 7,950 acres tacked onto the total overnight last night into today. The Ranch Fire is the one in the complex still burning with the River fire totally contained. The fires started burning the end of last month burning thru Lake County and gutting 157 homes and 120 other structures. As we’ve been reporting one firefighter from Utah was killed last week, it happened during a retardant drop operation with a tree coming down on him and several others.  The new acreage on the Ranch fire on its north and northeastern sections, apparently some of it though from backfiring operations by firefighters.  The Ranch Fire now has blackened 361,562 acres, and is 67 percent contained with full containment expected September 1st.

There will be no grand jury indictment, instead it’ll be a preliminary hearing in the Golden State Killer and East Area Rapist case. The D-A on the case told CBS Sacramento she’s not going for a grand jury indictment which prosecutors can do so cases go to trial quicker. But instead to a court where witnesses can speak out too. Witnesses will be in the court and speak with the suspect in the room. The prosecutor saying when a grand jury is used the defense cannot cross examine witnesses because they’re not present. She also told the TV station she’s not decided if she will try for a plea deal in the case, saying that’s premature. Several cases against Joseph De Angelo will all be rolled into one case with a trial expected next year or thereafter.


Two Lakeport City Councilmembers without competitors for their seats could just have their terms renewed without having an election. The City Council to decide at their meeting today if Stacey Mattina and Mayor Mireya Turner will be re-appointed or if there should be an election even though they’re the only candidates who filed to run for their seat’s by the end of the general election nomination period. So by state law, the council could reappoint them, then no election for their seats would be held and no write in candidates would be considered either. Apparently it’s the first time this has happened. If the city decides against an election, it could save them as much as $4,000.

Since a major disaster declaration has been declared by the federal government connected to the Mendocino Complex fires, FEMA can start to help fund those impacted by the fires. Congressman Mike Thompson in town over the weekend, announcing the declaration which means federal funds will be available for those needing to rebuild or repair after the fires. As of yesterday there were about 177 structures that burned and more than 1,000 are still threatened. Residents and business owners with damage or loss can register with FEMA now. Last night a FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance team was set up at the Lake County Superior Court answering questions. For more info, http://www.

By smartphone or tablet, use

3 people in Lakeport have filed paperwork to be on the School Board. The Record Bee reports due to concerns over student safety, fiscal management of a recent $17 million school bond, and a loss of several teachers, Carly Alvord, Dan Buffalo, and Jen Hanson are trying to get on the school board as a team to fill three vacancies. They say the school system is struggling and they want to help bring qualified professionals to the area. They say they’re concerned about teachers leaving and the school district not being what it used to be so they want to help. The three are endorsed by several parents, teachers and other concerned citizens. For more info, visit

Lawmakers have been tackling wildfire related bills for almost a year. The latest effort that was being lobbied by PG&E so they wouldn’t be solely responsible for last October’s fire storm has died. There had been a proposal to decide if utilities and their shareholders would be held responsible for the costs, something known as inverse condemnation, if the companies equipment is found to be associated with the fires. A spokesperson for State Senator Bill Dodd’s office says the provisions of inverse condemnation are not moving forward. Apparently other provisions are being considered including reducing long terms costs for ratepayers instead of having ratepayers on the hook.

Assemblyman Jim Wood upset because there’s been no real movement at the capitol on funding for fire prevention and preparedness even as wildfires burn across the state another season. Wood holding a news conference last week saying the state has historically spent about 2 percent of funding on fire prevention and he wants to see more money coming in for the fight. He’s on the Wildfire Preparedness and Response Legislative Conference Committee which is looking at long term fuel reduction. His co-chair Bill Dodd agreeing that fires need to be stopped before they start. The two agree there has to be more money set aside with Wood saying that should be as much as $300 million a year, guaranteed for fuel reduction.

A man from Clearlake finally sentenced to life in prison for a murder and the injury of two others. Lake Co News reports it’s been thirteen months since Joshua Beavers was found guilty and since then had a motion for a new trial denied for the September 2013 shooting. He got two life sentences for the murder of David Ferrell and the shooting and wounding of Paul Cressy and Rachel Patterson. He was found guilty last June. He got about 102 years to life for several crimes along with the two life terms. The shootings related to a marijuana garden. The motion for a new trial just a couple of weeks ago and denied.

The Mendocino Complex has now burned an unprecedented 400,000 acres. The fire easily the largest to ever burn in the state now at 79% containment. The fire started August 10th and killed a firefighter from Utah, Draper City Fire Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett who died after being hit by a falling tree near Lake Pillsbury. He was remembered yesterday at a funeral in his home state with hundreds at the service. Both the Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin and Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman were there.  The complex is reportedly burning more into the National Forest toward Lake County’s northern border. It’s still supposed to be fully contained by Sept. 1st. The fire has burned 157 homes and 120 other structures.

A food pantry is opening in Lucerne. The Food Cupboard tomorrow at the First Lutheran Church from 1 to 2 p.m. with not only food, but clothing, toiletries and cleaning supplies for anyone in need. They will also give out pet food in the morning at 10 thanks to donations by those including Orphan Dog, a Lake County-based animal rescue group. The pastor of the church says they care for all of God’s creation. Anyone who is interested in donating can visit the church website

Divers have recovered the body of a man from San Francisco out of the Russian River near Guerneville. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office reports the man’s body was found yesterday near a vacation rental home where he was staying with friends last weekend. The body in 12 to 15 feet of water near docks. He had been reported missing Sunday night after not showing up for dinner. His personal belongings found on a dock at the edge of the river. A search and rescued dive team and the Russian River and Monte Rio fire departments went searching, finding the body within about an hour. The Coroner’s Office is investigating.

A man from Alabama found guilty of domestic violence, his son shot, over some chicken wings. John Caver found guilty of first-degree domestic violence two years after the attack on his son during a football game they were watching at home in Selma. The two in an argument over the food, Caver’s wife tried to separate the two, but it ended up with the son being shot in the chest. The D-A telling a local news site, it “must have been some really good chicken”. Caver facing 20 years in prison.


The body of a missing hiker has been found in Yosemite National Park. 48 year old Scott Tenczar of San Jose’s body was found Saturday in the north east end of the park. No word on how the man may have died, but he was described as an experienced backpacker, who was last seen at a ranger station outside of the park at the end of July. It’s the second body found in Yosemite in less than a week. A park ranger was found dead Friday. He disappeared a few days before that.

The state legislature looking to change the way convicts are sentenced, putting caps on the length of stays behind bars. Thousands of offenses with various term lengths depending on various other pieces of the crime. A Senate Bill being considered would limit the maximum amount of time in prison for felonies to twice the amount of the time convicts get for a base term. There was a similar law in 1976 but it was repealed in 1997. Those who support the new bill say it’ll “refine” the system, those against say it’s arbitrary and doesn’t allow a judge the ability to sentence someone appropriately for crimes.

Two people have been arrested in Chico in connection to a ripoff of gear from a Redding Firefighter who was resting from the fight. Last Monday the firefighter who had been on the Carr Fire had his fire vehicle from the City of Redding burglarized at home. The thieves took his personal backpack that had more than $5,000 worth of items in it, including a laptop, hard drive with irreplaceable personal family photos and more. Chico police got a call for a possible shoplifting incident Wednesday at a Sportsman’s Warehouse and found Brian Martinson who they say had multiple warrants for his arrest in Shasta County and Jennifer Estes was waiting in a car in the parking lot. She was on probation. The two searched as part of their probation, and arrested for possession of stolen property, apparently they had that firefighter’s stolen backpack.

State Sen. Mike McGuire working with North Coast Opportunities so Lake County students affected by the Mendocino Complex Fire get a helping hand. The Lake County Students Fire Relief Fund and Redwood Credit Union are raising money for victims of the Ranch and River Fires. McGuire says families in the county have faced unprecedented disasters year after year with a physical and emotional toll sometimes being overwhelming, especially for kids. So now money will be directed to kids without a home, for medical and mental health services and to replace music and sports equipment or other material losses due to the fire emergencies. There will be delayed school starts for many in Lake County but McGuire says there’s going to be a welcome back celebration on the first day of school at all schools so kids can transition back into a normal school schedule and routine. To donate or get more info, visit:

A use permit has been approved by the Mendocino County Planning Commission for a multi-use cannabis facility. Flow Kana will be able to set up at the old Bel Arbres Fetzer Winery in Redwood Valley. The planning commission staff drafted the report on the project saying there will be manufacturing facilities with offices, storage, an intake room, a space for non-volatile manufacturing, a space for volatile manufacturing, a packaging room, an employee break room, and many other small rooms. There will also be laboratory space with an office and reception area as well as a warehouse. Road work will happen on the street outside with a mitigated negative declaration for the use permit.

The Board of Directors for the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District and the Ukiah City Council are meeting this week in closed sessions separately regarding their lawsuits about the wastewater treatment plant. The Sanitation District’s meeting is today at 12:30 p.m. plus they’ll take public comments before a closed session with lawyers. Then tomorrow the City Council will have a special meeting with public comment too before their own meeting with legal counsel on the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims the city owes the district as much as $30 million as part of the participation agreement for the joint operation of the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.

A couple of mosquito samples gathered in Lake County have tested positive for West Nile virus. The samples collected near Upper Lake August 9th and August 14th. The Lake County Vector District warns smoke from fires doesn’t affect mosquitoes, which still bite and say to make sure to take precautions like using insect repellent, wear long pants and long sleeves, sleep under a mosquito net or screened room if outdoors. Also not to forget to dump or drain any standing water. Symptoms include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and muscle weakness or vision loss.

A bill’s been passed related to garage door safety and wildfires. State Senator Bill Dodd’s wildfire- related garage door safety bill requires any new electric garage door openers to include backup batteries so those in a fire path are not trapped in their garages if there’s a power failure. The bill has passed the Assembly 53-6 and heads to the Senate next. It comes after last October’s widespread fires where many evacuees had no power and no way to open their garage as flames approached. At least five victims bodies found where garages once stood.

A man from Ukiah believed to be part of the notorious Norteno gang is going to prison for 6 years. Marcos Abel Vasquez arrested with four other gang members in a vandalism case to a car last month. The Sheriff’s dept. reports the group went to what they thought was a rival gang’s turf in Ukiah and used a baseball bat to break out all the windows and cause body damage to a car sitting in front of a house, but a neighbor saw the whole thing and called cops. They were found and arrested. Vasquez found guilty of felony vandalism and since he used a weapon and had a criminal history he got more time. Any credit received will be limited to no more than 20% of the six year term.

The Ranch Fire part of what’s been called the Mendocino Complex fire is still burning, but is almost contained, standing now at 76 percent contained after burning another 6,000 acres. The fires together are 79% contained. The River Fire has been 100% contained for some time now. The Ranch Fire is burning in Mendocino, Lake, Colusa and Glenn counties with fresh evacuation orders in Glenn County. The fire burning in steep, inaccessible terrain, spurred by afternoon winds and low humidity. The Ranch fire has blackened more than 341,000 acres. The largest ever in state history. The two fires have burned nearly 160 homes and 120 other structures. They still threaten about 1,000 more. Full containment is still expected by Sept. 1st.

Mandatory Evacuation Order for Glenn County: The evacuation order includes all areas: North of Glenn-Colusa County Line, east of the Mendocino National Forest boundary, south of County Road 308, and west of County Road 306

A man killed over the weekend in a truck crash outside Ukiah has been identified. The CHP reports 30 year old Thomas Bendinelli of Sebastopol went off the side of Highway 253 onto a narrow dirt road and was ejected from the truck, rolled several times and went 350 feet down a steep embankment. Apparently a resident nearby heard the crash but couldn’t see anything at night so the next day fire officials climbed down to find the man by the pickup halfway down the mountain. They’re still investigating and say they don’t know yet if alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.

A so called Burned Area Emergency Response is starting in Upper Lake in response to the Ranch Fire. The BAER team will start to go over charred land and make recommendations in case of immediate hazards to public resources. The team with various specialists like soil scientists, geologists, road engineers, ecologists, botanists and archaeologists. They’re looking for possible risks to life or property, water quality and critical plant and wildlife habitat. They look for the fire effects and come up with treatments. They try to contain possible debris flows if there’s a flood.