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City leaders in Ukiah deciding once again if they should give local businesses a percentage back for bidding on certain work. The City Council will consider a renewal of the 2016 policy tonight to give vendors “a 5% allowance on bid supplies, equipment and/or materials”. City staff says the policy’s been working well and cost the city about $2,400 in extra costs since it started. Local businesses that got a slight bidding advantage cost the city about $159 over the last year on four purchases. The council is also taking up the new building for Garton Tractor on Talmage Road which was approved by the Planning Commission almost a year ago, but appealed by City Council Member Doug Crane.

The Palace Hotel in downtown Ukiah is in foreclosure with no buyers interested so far. The Daily Journal reports there’s been no offers so far and the receiver reports only a few nibbles. The hotel which has been empty for years and put into receivership months ago went into foreclosure Aug. 17th. The owner has a more than $670,000 lien against the property. Those are costs the owner has racked up including a receivership fee, architectural and engineering plans for needed seismic repairs. She has until November 17th to make the payment or there will be a foreclosure sale.

Beefed up patrols by the CHP near crosswalks and school buses in Mendocino County. Today and tomorrow officers will be in Hopland in plain clothes in crosswalks due to areas that have been described as having a “high potential for pedestrian fatalities and injuries.” Cops in crosswalks as well as uniformed officers watching cars and other pedestrians in areas and issuing warnings and potentially writing citations for pedestrians and motorists who “fail to yield right-of-way.” Friday they’ll turn their attention to cars that don’t stop for school buses in Ukiah and Willits.

Helicopter patrols by PG&E to check out their electric lines in Mendocino and Lake Counties. The patrols this week for vegetation and safety work. The patrols take off from the Ukiah Municipal Airport and fly all day long, flying low looking for vegetation near electric lines in high fire-threat areas along power lines yesterday and today in Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Calpella, Potter Valley, Laytonville, Willits, Middletown, Konocti, Upper Lake, Lower Lake, Cobb and Kelseyville. It’s all part of their Community Wildfire Safety Program to help reduce trees touching lines.

The mom of one of two girls she crashed into in a drunk driving hit and run has been sent to prison. It’s been more than two years since 14-year-olds Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas were killed in the hit and run while they skateboarded in a rural area near Fortuna. Marci Kitchen had said she thought she hit a deer when she left the scene. She got 8 years in prison for the drunk driving crash. The Judge said he didn’t believe Kitchen’s story. Her ex husband, and the dad of Kiya, Joe Kitchen said his ex “left Kiya to die alone, confused and suffering in pain.” He said her actions were unforgivable.

Next Friday, September 28th is Native American Day in Lake County. The Board of Supervisors approved the proclamation, read yesterday by District 1 Supervisor Moke Simon. It speaks to Native American peoples’ more than 12,000 year history in Lake County and stressed the importance of “Native American sovereignty” and talks about the community’s close relationship to the other communities in Lake County. There will also be an “Indian Days” event the same day at the Robinson Rancheria.

The CEO of Sutter Lakeside Hospital speaking to the Lakeport City Council on the Mendocino Complex fire and their evacuation and reopening. The hospital closed for almost two weeks during the River Fire, but reopened August 10th. The Chief Administrative Officer says staff was also helping at other Sutter Health facilities during the closure. The hospital reopened about a week after the mandatory evacuations were lifted. They moved patients to other facilities July 28th. They still had employees on site including maintenance staff to make sure nothing was damaged. There was temperature damage inside the hospital and apparently a lot of pharmaceuticals had to be replaced. Damage and refurnishing those supplies not tallied yet, but somewhere in the several million dollar range.

The state unemployment dept says business owners and those who are self-employed who lost work due to the Carr Fire in Shasta County or the Mendocino Complex in Lake County can file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits for about 3 ½ more weeks. The previous Disaster Unemployment Assistance deadline was Sept. 10th for the Carr fire and Sept. 21st for the Mendocino Complex fire, but that’s moved to October 12th now. The amended disaster declarations by the federal government affected the dates. The assistance helps people who totally lost their jobs or had work hour losses due to a disaster, but they may not qualify for regular state unemployment insurance benefits.
Claimants can also apply for DUA by phone between 8 a.m. and 12 noon, Monday through Friday:

English: 1-800-300-5616
Spanish: 1-800-326-8937
Chinese (Cantonese): 1-800-547-3506
Chinese (Mandarin): 1-866-303-0706
Vietnamese: 1-800-547-2058
TTY: 1-800-815-9387

You can also visit the Disaster-Related Services Web page.

Finally… the Ranch Fire now 100 percent contained. Joining it’s twin, the River Fire so the Mendocino Complex is now 100 percent contained. Crews will stay on to monitor fire activity and repair fire lines on the Ranch Fire with about 22 miles left to repair. That’s to reduce erosion and other impacts from suppression efforts. The Forest is trying to reopen areas to the public but a spokesperson says they’ve still got a ton of restoration work left to do. There are still hazards in the closed area like burned standing trees or snags, exposed rebar stakes, logs and rocks they say can become loose, and burned-out stump holes. All of the repair work must be complete before areas can be reopened to the public. The northern half of the forest is open for outdoor activities.

There are major reforms coming to the way the state pays for public schools which already looks like it could help student achievement. That’s the word from a major study revealed this week thru a ten year policy effort by California education scholars. The Record Bee reports the study entitled "Getting Down To Facts II" is a group of 3 dozen studies and 19 briefs by more than 100 authors. It doesn’t have an opinion yet on Calif.’s Local Control Funding Formula which the Governor has called a landmark education reform when it was signed into law in 2013. It gives more money to schools with needier students. Researchers do say it’s showing promise with a major rise in high school graduation rates and academic achievement, particularly among poor and minority students.

A major pharmaceutical company is accused by the state of Calif. of giving doctors gifts and cash in order to get them to prescribe their drugs. AbbVie accused by the state insurance commissioner in a lawsuit saying the company would kickback perks if docs would prescribe more Humira. And that, the commissioner claims, is jacking up prices. Humira’s an injectable drug for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions which sold more than 12 billion dollars worth in 2017 alone. But it also has dire side effects, like cancer and serious infections. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says insurance companies paid out more than $1.2 billion for Humira. It’s the biggest lawsuit ever for health care fraud.

Two women in GA arrested after apparently bringing marijuana edibles to a church event. Police say Ebony Cooper and Leah Pressley were selling the baked goodies at an event last week in Savannah for local entrepreneurs. That included cereal bars, brownies and puddings. Agents bought some of it, then followed the pair to another location and searched one of their cars finding, not only more marijuana edibles, but more than $1,000 in cash and a loaded gun. The two now face felony drug charges and were booked into the local jail. One parishioner says the church and community don’t condone the behavior and say it shows lack of faith in how people feel about God.

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