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A shootout in Covelo leads to the arrest of two people. Mendocino County Deputies got a call to the shooting where Round Valley Tribal Police had already responded and ordered one of two people shooting to stop, they dropped their shotgun and the man was detained. Multiple Wardens from the Department of Fish and Wildlife also came to the scene and the second person was found but didn’t listen to police commands and ran. That man Isaac Islas lived on the same property as the other man, Loren Riley. The two men in different gangs and had been in an earlier altercation. Riley on probation and not allowed to have a weapon, and Islas also cannot have one because of prior criminal convictions. The two arrested on several crimes with Riley held on no bail and Islas held on $55,000.00 bail.

Preparation for repair and restoration work ongoing on the Mendocino Complex fire which is still not entirely contained. The fires have burned 459,123 acres on federal, state, tribal and private lands. The Ranch Fire is 98 percent contained, the largest fire to ever burn in Calif. Alone it’s burned more than 410,200 acres, it’s twin, the River Fire was fully contained nearly a month ago at 48,920 acres. Suppression work is being done still with about 30% left to cover of 672 miles of fireline constructed. The Burned Area Emergency Response team reports the Snow Mountain Wilderness has not been assessed yet, but noted the fire burned thru the whole off highway vehicle trail system, damaged trail segments, burned or compromised culverts and bridges and impacted campgrounds, day use areas, trailheads, and signs. The team will now focus on hazard trees before reopening to the public.

The Mendocino County Planning and Building Services representatives at the Board of Supervisors meeting talking fire recovery from last year’s fall fires. The department reports getting a $1 million Cal Fire grant to remove hazardous trees on private property and says they’ve applied for more than $13 million more in grants for fire recovery. That doesn’t include FEMA and Cal OES money already received. There was also a Fish and Wildlife grant of $754,000. They also reported working on a couple of fire recovery projects in Redwood Valley which should be done by next year.

A reminder as the latest wildfires in our area wind down to be mindful of possible scammers. The National Center for Disaster Fraud, part of the Department’s Criminal Division, with a call center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge gets disaster fraud complaints and reminds the public to watch out for someone pretending to be a cop, saying they can help with claims to insurance companies, try to get charitable donations, promising high investment returns on money folks have left over from recovery and cleanup efforts. Also to look out for price gouging, contractor fraud, debris removal fraud and of course theft, looting, and other violent crimes. Report fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-7205721 or disaster.

A hike in construction costs has Lakeport community members complaining that certain projects should have been done by now related to Measure T. The Lakeport Unified School District and board of trustees criticized last week as parents and community members filed in to the meeting and complained about the district’s prioritization of bond-funded projects, especially building a new swimming pool. Lake Co News reports there were dozens at the meeting last Thursday, where they usually only get a handful. Most of the four hours spent talking about the pool which was deemed seismically unsafe and built wrong to begin with. Now there are leaks, but there’s only 3 million of 17 million dollars of the 2014 bond money left. The board and district officials blamed rising construction costs after wildfires.

A virtual Mendocino Complex Recovery meeting’s set. As the final stretch of containment looks sure on the Ranch Fire and cleanup is starting after land assessment. The meeting tonight at 6 on Facebook at the Lake County Government page. The meeting is live and questions will be responded to in real time. Anyone with seriously damaged properties should already be having their properties cleared in phase one by the Department of Toxic Substances Control which started Monday and will continue thru Friday, Sept. 21st. The next phase is hazardous wildfire debris removal off private properties run by CalRecycle.

A man from Lakeport who was killed in a car crash last weekend has been id’d. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says 52 year old Reynaldo Castillo Esquivel died in the Sunday crash. He was in a 2002 BMW sedan northbound on Eastside Calpella Road south of Highway 20 and went off the road, then rolled, and stopped on its roof. He died at the scene. The CHP reported he was not using safety equipment in the crash and that he had a passenger aboard who was taken to a hospital. She’s only identified as a 52-year-old Lakeport woman.


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