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Monthly Archives: September 2018

A well known environmental crusader in Mendocino County to talk about PG&E and it’s alleged role in the October 2017 firestorm. Erin Brockovich was at the Redwood Valley Grange Friday. The Daily Journal reports a lot of the people there had lost property in the Redwood Valley fire and are apparently looking at potential lawsuits against PG&E. An investigation into what started the fires showed the fire in Mendocino County started in two locations with a tree coming down or parts of trees hitting the utility company’s lines. There were lawyers at the meeting answering questions about what residents might be able to sue for. Brokovich has taken on PG&E in the past for groundwater pollution in a Southern California town. That won her fame and a movie was named after her starring Julia Roberts. She’s continued her environmental work for years fighting large corporations across the country.

The Gov. has signed a couple dozen bills into law associated with wildfire prevention and recovery. One of them will create statewide emergency alert rules. A couple of the new laws by North Coast legislators. Senator Mike McGuire says his legislation for statewide emergency alert standards to be developed will save lives. He says it will mean a more proactive and effective mutual aid response system. Assemblyman Jim Wood had three bills signed into law to protect homeowners with better insurance coverage, new rules for prescribed burns, and protect folks from price gouging during wildfires. But another bill also passed to allow utility companies to bill customers for future legal settlements from the 2017 wildfires. Apparently it’s an effort to prevent PG&E from going bankrupt.

The yearly Coastal Cleanup was a success. The Mendocino Land Trust reports volunteers showed up this weekend and took out more than 1100 pounds of trash and another 150 pounds of recyclables from Elk to Westport. Volunteers went out on kayaks and took out about 600 pounds of debris — even finding a toilet. One of the groups on kayaks that goes out every year apparently finding less trash every year they go out.

It looks like California’s detention numbers are going down. A new report shows kids being suspended from school less in the state. The report by UCLA’s Center for Civil Rights Remedies says there’s still too many suspensions, especially in the African American communities and among Native Americans and students with disabilities. The report over a five year period shows 763,690 days of lost instruction because of suspensions in the 2016-17 school year, the most recent year in the report. That’s down about half though from the 2011-12 school year, when there was about 1.4 M lost days.

The union representing California’s corrections officers is spending big bucks to get an Assemblyman elected as the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The news comes out that the Calif. Correctional Peace Officers Association spent $500,000 on TV ads for Assemblyman Tony Thurmond to be the schools chief. His opponent Marshall Tuck is running an ad comparing state spending on prisoners to spending on kids in public school. The lobbyist for Thurmond says he supports more training and prison safety so that’s why they made the large expenditure.

Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry in Lakeport talking about possibly funding coming to help the school district. The Assemblywoman in town over the weekend speaking to the Lakeport Unified School District Board for an hour. The district trying to get money for a new pool after some in the community blamed the board of not making the old Westshore Pool a priority on its list of items to fund from Measure T which raised $17 million in 2014. There’s now only about $3 million leftover for projects. Lake Co News reports Aguiar-Curry asked the board to get a letter to her with a list of projects they want to fund.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors taking up their final recommended budget for the new fiscal year at their next meeting. The meeting tomorrow continued from two weeks ago with the budget at $242 million, with $12 million more than the last budget. They’re putting about 82 million dollars into salaries and benefits, 78 million into services and supplies, nearly 35 million for construction projects, and another 46 million or so in other miscellaneous spending.

A new report on state correctional officers shows they’re regularly exposed to traumatic events and suffer from depression, PTSD and suicidal thoughts. The report by UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, the first of its kind. The survey of more than 8,000 criminal justice staffers to hear their thoughts, attitudes and experiences. It covered mental and physical wellness; exposure to violence; attitudes towards rehabilitation and punishment; job training and management; work-life balance; and training and support. More than half had been exposed to violence regularly, many injured at work or have seen serious injuries or deaths. Many were dealing with stress related health problems and depression. And one in three had PTSD. 10 percent said they had felt suicidal at some point. And not many were using state-sponsored programs for their own well-being.

A man who was in an altercation last week at the Graton Casino has died. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Dept. reports Dondiego Andrade also known as Milo was a longtime employee of Santa Rosa Junior College. Andrade’s family is speaking out about how he died. The Press Democrat reports Morgan Lewis Jr. of Lake County had been arrested after the incident in the casino parking lot after an argument regarding the door of an SUV hitting his truck. Andrade apparently pushed to the ground and hit his head on concrete and ended up in the hospital Sept. 16th. Lewis went to jail that night for suspicion of felony assault causing great bodily injury. No word if the charges will change.

The DMV is being audited for long lines at several offices. The Gov. has approved an audit by the state finance dept. The director of the dept. says the long wait times don’t reflect the high standards of service Californians expect from state government. The order a day after a third of DMV offices across the state were down because of a computer outage that caused 70 offices problems. They were unable to process driver’s licenses, identification cards or vehicle registrations.

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A bill by State Senator Bill Dodd to add cyber terrorism to the list of state of emergencies has been signed into law. The California Emergency Services Act will now add the language to cover cyber-terrorism and assist in related recovery. The law to authorize the Governor to respond quickly and allocate state resources to protect the public and their property, like what happens after an earthquake, or during a wildfire or other natural disaster. It got bipartisan support. And comes as so-called “Hacktivists” nation-states, and other terrorist threat groups attack government networks trying to get a hold of sensitive information or make political or economic statements.

Two women busted after a tip to police about an illegal drug operation in Eureka. Narcotics detectives with the Specialized Investigations Division finding 17.5 pounds of illegal marijuana and nearly $114,000 in cash in two warehouses where police served a search warrant. 33 year old Kayla Hansen was reportedly living in one of the warehouses. She’s arrested and charged with felony marijuana possession and marijuana concentrate manufacturing. But she’s been freed on $25,000 bond. And 34 year old Jessie Wilkinson of Eureka’s charged with marijuana possession with intent to sell. And she’s also free, but on $15,000 bond.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office working with LexisNexis for a new on-line reporting system. It means when you log on to the system at lake sheriff dot com, you can file a report and print a copy without waiting for an officer to come to you to respond for the report. They will accept the reports on Misdemeanor Thefts, Forgeries, Lost Property, Vandalisms, Vehicle Burglaries, and Civil Complaints. You can also fill out the reports at the Sheriff’s office on a standalone computer in the lobby. The Sheriff’s office says they’re looking to hire a Deputy and Correctional Officer which has been a slow process because of pay and benefit disparities with neighboring counties.

The Hopland Band of Pomo is getting more than 265-thousand dollars from the federal government for public safety. The money comes from more than a hundred million from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to help violent crime and domestic violence survivors in tribal communities. The money helps Indian tribes develop, expand and improve services for violent crime victims for programming and technical assistance.

This weekend is the Adventist Health yearly Colors for Cancer Fun Run and Walk. On Sunday the walk starts at 9. You can get there at 7-30 for signups. The money goes to the Adventist Health Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center. You’re encouraged to wear white, so you can see all the colors sprayed around the path. That’s in honor of cancer survivors. After the walk’s over, there will be a bunch of family friendly events, like music, snacks, and activities in the Rural Health court yard in Ukiah. It’s $25 for youth (17 and under) and $40 for adults.

After the Mendocino Complex Fire the Cow Mountain Recreation area was closed due to fire danger. The north Cow Mountain area is opened now that the fire’s contained, but there’s still no target shooting. The Bureau of Land Management Ukiah Field Office says the Valley View Trail in Mendocino County and the Glen Eden Trail in Lake County are open to the public and so is the Mayacamas Trail.

More information’s released on a shooting in Phillipsville. The shooting yesterday morning, deputies found a man dead from an apparent gunshot wound and detained several people there. Several detectives reportedly responded to the scene and came up with a person of interest. The man was injured, but medically cleared then taken to the sheriff’s office for questioning. But the Red Headed Blackbelt news site reports the man was being cooperative and he was not arrested. They’ve not released the name of the man who died yet.

The trial between the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District and the city of Ukiah will not begin next week after all. The trial date reportedly vacated as the parties continue settlement discussions. The City Manager says no new trial date is set yet. The lawsuit filed by the District four years ago against the city saying it was owed as much as $30 million due to a breach of the joint operation agreement for the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant. The trial’s been pushed several times while all of the involved parties had their own closed door meetings on the litigation. The case is supposed to be in court in Sonoma County… we’ll keep you updated.

Mendocino County is using cannabis working groups for various issues, and last month approved a new non-cultivation working group. The new group to come up with recommendations for Cannabis Facilities and Businesses. They’re looking for members of the public and ask you to call the Executive Office with interest…

Cassandra Borgna with the Executive Office at 707-463-4441 or borgnac by Sunday, Sept. 30.

No more plastic straws at Calif. restaurants. Gov. Brown’s signed the first ever law against the straws in the country. The Gov. says the plastic’s “choking the planet” and says infatuation with the single use item has led to disastrous consequences. The new law doesn’t start until Jan. 1st. Fast food restaurants are exempt and full-service restaurants who don’t comply get a written warning two times, then it’s $25 a day for subsequent infractions.

A new digital tracking system on marijuana starts soon. It means the state will have one of the world’s most strictly regulated marijuana markets. The “seed-to-sale” tracking system being touted as a way to curb competition from the black market. Prop 64 had a rule attached it with a requirement that marijuana businesses have to tag every plant, plus they have to digitally monitor every gram of cannabis from farm to consumer. The state’s looking to have everything in place by the start of next year.

Restriping work starts in Clearlake. City officials say to expect some delays on the roads where they’re putting in new centerlines, bike lanes, fog lines, left turn lanes and crosswalks. The work is supposed to be complete by October 12th. Be on the lookout as you drive on Acacia Street, Arrowhead Road, Burns Valley Road, Rumsey Road, Olympic Drive, Lakeshore Drive, Old Highway 53, Dam Road Extension, Dam Road and Pine Street. The city says it’ll notify the public on Nixle if there’s delays on any of the streets so you can avoid them. They’re also doing the work overnight to minimize that.

Expedited quagga mussel inspections happening after the governor signs a bill by State Sen. Mike McGuire. The bill provides public agencies, such as Sonoma Water authority to receive funding from the state so they can have the invasive mussel programs at lakes controlled by the US Army Corps of Engineers. McGuire says the Corp never spent $600,000 in state grants awarded four years ago, to create an inspection program at Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino.

No late school days after the Governor vetoes legislation for middle and high schoolers to start school after 8:30 a.m. Those supporting the bill said it would mean better grades, attendance and graduation rates. The Assemblyman who authored the bill cited a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics saying it’s an important health issue for says teens who don’t get enough sleep. State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino trying to get school to start at 8:30 a.m. or later so students could get at least eight hours of sleep. That’s less than a half hour later as the average Calif. middle and high school starts around 8:07 a.m.

Those against the proposed geotechnical study of the Albion River Bridge say they’re suing to stop it. Caltrans says a replacement of the historical bridge is needed, but opponents have now filed for a restraining order after a soils study was unanimously approved by the Calif. Coastal Commission last week. That would mean earth-moving, tree-cutting and helicopter flights by the oceanfront village. The restraining order application even has its own Facebook page, “Save the Albion River Bridge”. That notes the appeal is being heard next week in court in San Francisco. The work on the bridge would also mean grading steep oceanfront slopes so they can install drilling rigs, take out trees and use a helicopter to bring equipment in and out of drill sites.

Just like wine grapes, those growing marijuana can apply for their very own appellations. Cannabis farmers can apply to the California Department of Food & Agriculture for cannabis “appellations,” that define specific geographic areas where farmers market their crop with a name. Applications should be available for appellations for 2021. The county of origin standards will start by January and then appellations standards, practices and varietals regarding cannabis in certain areas will go into effect by 2021. This per state legislation proposed by State Senator Mike McGuire and part of a bill in 2017.

A man in Phillipsville has been shot after an attempted burglary. Red headed blackbelt news site reports it happened early this morning, police get a call to the report which the news site says came over a scanner saying the shooter had surprised the man shot who was stealing some items and the victim was hit in the chest. The victim died at the scene and the person believed to have shot him went to the hospital with “severe head trauma”. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office confirming the shooting and one person dead. They didn’t reveal much else except to say it was a “complicated event.”

The Willits Relinquishment project is starting. The beginning stages of paving Main Street have begun overnight hours. That should last a week and be done by next Friday. It’s one of the last things to go into the Rehabilitation and Relinquishment of Old Highway 101 then the road will be turned over to the City of Willits and the County of Mendocino. The actual paving doesn’t start until October 1st and will happen in 12 hour shifts between 9 a.m. to midnight weekdays. It has to be done during the day because of temperature requirements. That work is expected to be done by October 15th. There will be one way traffic control during the construction and detours. There could be up to 15-minute delays. Striping should happen soon after the paving and that will take another two weeks.

The Governor has signed a couple of bills into law authored by Assemblyman Jim Wood to address the opioid problem in California and Mendocino County. One of the two requires health care practitioners prescribing the drugs to do it electronically by Jan. 1st of 2022. That should help curb any errors due to poor handwriting, which has apparently been an ongoing problem with phony prescriptions. The other bill requires whoever is prescribing the drug to also offer Narcan, a partial reversal of opioid depression under certain conditions. And the prescriber has to tell the patient about overdose prevention and how to use Narcan. Safe RX is also planning to supply Narcan to residents in Mendocino County.

A Red Flag warning has been issued for some areas of Northern Calif. Winds of up to 20 mph and gusts up to 35 mph are expected along the ridge tops in Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties, but the winds should die down late this morning or early this afternoon. The warning ends at 5 PM. The low humidity mixed with the winds could create critical fire weather conditions. Some fire agencies and emergency workers in Sonoma County are on call and others are out to monitor in case. Cal Fire is also beefing up staff and has a strike team of engines ready from their Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit.

It’s costing more to build in Lakeport. The City Council has awarded a bid to a company out of Watsonville for some sidewalk work at more than a quarter million dollars for one block. The $240,000 bill for street repair, culvert replacements, drainage replacements, and sidewalk repair on one block. The sidewalk repair is the last piece of work for the city’s Emergency Rehabilitation projects from the winter floods of 2016-2017. The construction company telling the City Council higher prices are now normal since many were working for cost right out of the great recession. They say construction costs are going up.

A report by Lakeport Police Department about July 4th at Library Park says there were way less calls to the department this year. The Police Chief, Brad Rasmussen delivered the report to the City Council, saying they had a lot of officers at the park and only had to take one person away for being under the influence. And they had a call for a lost child. The chief says they also had less calls for illegal fireworks too. He said even though there were fewer calls, there’s still a major problem with illegal fireworks and they’re trying to figure out how to eliminate them totally.

The biggest fire to ever burn in Calif. is 100% contained… finally. The stubborn Ranch fire was finally corralled this week, so that means the Mendocino Complex is 100% contained. The River fire had been 100% contained more than a month ago. The Ranch fire was the bigger of the two, the River fire burned just under 49,000 acres. The two fires together burned more than 459,000 acres, mostly in the national forest in Lake County. The two fires started July 27th an hour apart. Thousands had to evacuate at the peak of the fires, 280 structures burned, including 157 homes and a firefighter from Utah was killed in the Ranch fire. A forest service spokesperson says they don’t expect the fire to grow any further. The Press Democrat reports the fires have tallied as much as $56 million in insured losses.

It’s no longer a requirement for some to wear helmets when riding motorized scooters. The Gov signed a bill into law requiring only those under 18 have to wear helmets. The scooters were banned altogether in San Francisco earlier this year due to concerns about riders not wearing helmets and other violations. The new law goes into effect January 1st. A Republican Assemblyman authored the bill saying it should be up to adults to decide if they want to wear a helmet or not, adding the standup scooters can loosen traffic congestion in California and help the state meet its climate change goals by reducing car emissions. The bill will also let riders on scooters in areas with speed limits up to 35 mph. Right now its 25 mph.

Lake and Mendocino counties have North Coast Opportunities distribution centers after the Mendocino Complex fire. Lake Co News reports NCO has given out food and supplies to more than 400 families. The Lake County center is at 785 Bevins St. in Lakeport – open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. With some after-hour appointments available if pre-arranged. In Mendocino County, they’re located at 8465 East Road in Redwood Valley. They also have case managers available to help. And they’ve set up the Wildfire Relief Fund for survivors with financial hardships. They’ve received more than 1,000 applications for fire relief and will distribute until funds are gone.

A nationwide test of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission is set. The test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert is Oct. 3rd at 11:18 a.m. Pacific Time and 11:20 a.m. respectively. That will help assess if they’re set up in the case of a real emergency. It had been set as a backup date for the test set today, but that was moved. FEMA and the emergency management community have been working life-saving activities in North and South Carolina due to Hurricane Florence. This is the fourth nationwide EAS test and the first ever Wireless test. The emergency alert should last a minute on radio and TV, cable, satellite radio and wireline video. The wireless test will be similar to monthly tests already conducted.

A new law signed by the governor says California doctors have to tell patients they’re on probation for sexual misconduct or any other issue. The bill gives more info to patients who can search online now, but the doctor now has to tell the patient their probation status and some basic details of the terms of their probation. It doesn’t start until after July 1st of 2019. It applies to doctors accused of wrongdoing causing patient harm, including sexual misconduct, drug abuse, criminal convictions and inappropriate prescribing. Some Olympians had campaigned for the bill after the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar who admitted he sexually abused women and girls while they were in medical treatment.

Some in Florida jumping into the ocean for free weed. Massive bundles of marijuana, individually wrapped in five-kilo bricks are washing up on the shore after Hurricane Florence. The Volusia county sheriff got a call from a woman saying they were at a park at a huge bundle of drugs or something washed up, then people started physically fighting over it in the Daytona Beach area. One man was arrested for taking one of the bricks, which weighed about 11 pounds, wet. Medical weed’s legal, but not for recreational use. Cops say they found about 100- pounds of weed in two days.

SELENA GOMEZ – BACK TO YOU
ARIANA GRANDE – GOD IS A WOMAN
BEBE REXHA – I’M A MESS
KHALID & NORMANI – LOVE LIES
DJ KHALED – NO BRAINER
5 SECONDS OF SUMMER – YOUNGBLOOD
BAZZI – BEAUTIFUL
LOVELY THE BAND – BROKEN
BRYCE VINE – DREW BERRYMORE
BENNY BLANCO, HALSEY & KHALID – EASTSIDE
MARSHMELLO & BASTILLE – HAPPIER
TIESTO & DZEKO – JACKIE CHAN
NF – LIE
JUICE WRLD – LUCID DREAMS
IMAGINE DRAGONS – NATURAL
KYGO – REMIND ME TO FORGET
CHAINSMOKERS – SIDE EFFECTS
CHARLIE PUTH – THE WAY I AM
ANNE-MARIE – 2002
WEEZER – AFRICA
ELLA MAI – BOO’D UP
JASON DERULO & DAVID GUETTA – GOODBYE
ZEDD & ELLEY DUHE – HAPPY NOW
LOGIC & RYAN TEDDER – ONE DAY
CALVIN HARRIS & SAM SMITH – PROMISES
TYGA – TASTE
ARIANA GRANDE – BREATHIN
SILK CITY & DUA LIPA – ELECTRICITY
PANIC! AT THE DISCO – HIGH HOPES
MARTIN GARRIX – OCEAN
JONAS BLUE – RISE
LSD (LABRINTH, SIA, & DIPLO) – THUNDERCLOUDS

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.

A man accused in a bizarre rape of a woman in Vallejo faces 40 years in prison. Matthew Muller pleaded guilty to federal kidnapping and was accused of kidnapping for ransom, rape and first degree robbery and false imprisonment by violence. He pleaded not guilty to the rest. And represented himself in court Monday in the case which was continued until this afternoon at 130. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 25th and Muller was being held on $2.25 million in Solano County Jail. The story went viral when the victim and her boyfriend filed a defamation of character lawsuit against the Vallejo Police Department when police said the kidnapping was a hoax. They later apologized. Police say the victim was driven in the trunk of Muller’s car, held her hostage two days, made ransom demands, then released her by her Huntington Beach home. He was arrested 3 months later after video evidence showed he was with the victim.

A reward’s being offered in connection to an assault in Lakeport. Sheriff’s deputies are searching for two men they say assaulted another man last month. They got a call to Sutter Lakeside Hospital for the assault report Sunday, August 26th where the victim told them he was assaulted at his house in the area of Waldo Lane. The victim says the two men, one dark skinned Hispanic and the other a light skinned Hispanic, came into his home that night, assaulting him, one had a firearm and showed it to the victim, then the pair left with some cash. The victim did not know the men. There’s now a $2000.00 reward for any info leading to the arrest and conviction of the pair.

The old Georgia Pacific lumber mill in Fort Bragg may be getting some action. The owners of the Skunk Train are reportedly interested in buying part of the land. The Press Democrat reports the Mendocino Railway President announced they were in contract to buy 70 acres at the northernmost end of the 419-acre mill site across from the downtown train depot. The Skunk Train partners looking at potentially extending their railroad west to the headlands and north for about a half-mile along the coast. Some other options on the land being discussed include a high-end hotel, a public plaza, housing construction and possibly new production facilities for North Coast Brewing Co. The old mill closed in 2002 due to a downed timber industry. The land had been contaminated and there are protected Native American cultural sites there too.

A man on a bike killed after colliding with a dump truck in Ukiah is from Covelo. The Ukiah Police Department and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office identify the man as 34 year old Samuel (Xamuel) Lara. He was killed after being hit by the dump truck Friday afternoon at the intersection of Talmage Road and Hastings Frontage Road. The dump truck is owned and operated by Wipf Construction. Apparently the dump truck was cleared by a flagger directing traffic to turn onto Talmage Road when it hit the bicyclist. Officers say they’re not sure who’s at fault but they’re investigating since there were three parties involved including the flagger. The same construction company was involved in a dump truck crash into a bicyclist in 2012 at the intersection of South Orchard Avenue and East Gobbi Street. That bike rider was also killed. There’s a GoFundMe account in Lara’s name: https://www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-xamuel-lara

A high school teacher arrested for alleged misconduct may have to register as a sex offender if he’s found guilty. The Ukiah High teacher, Ben O’Neill was arrested earlier this month after allegations he acted inappropriately with a teen on campus. A spokesperson for the D-A’s office says the teen was a former student of the school and visited O’Neill at the school last September. He says the misconduct involved, hugging in a storage room. It wasn’t reported to police until May of this year when a third party told school district employees who then called police. O’Neill was arrested for a misdemeanor of “annoying or molesting a child under 18.” If convicted he faces a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, plus he could lose his teaching license and have to register as a sex offender. O’Neill’s arraignment’s set for October 4th.

The family of an 8 year old murder victim in Santa Cruz say a state Senate bill that could free some like her murderer by their 25th birthdays is unfair. Madyson Middleton’s murderer A.J. Gonzalez was 15 at the time of Middleton’s death. The Senate bill passed by the Assembly and Senate would mean 14- or 15-year-old juveniles accused of violent crimes, like murder and other serious felonies would not be able to be transferred to adult court. They would instead go thru rehab in the juvenile system where they can be held until they’re 25. Middleton’s murderer apparently pretended he knew nothing and even helped search for her. Her body found in a Santa Cruz apartment trash dumpster in July 2015. His case was sent to adult court in the end. Middleton’s family says its absolutely opposed to this bill and say they’ll do whatever they have to convince Gov. Brown to veto it.

A couple of Kelseyville High seniors are headed to Australia as high achieving seniors. In December Vanessa Gonzalez and Sayra Cachowill will address hundreds of teachers at the AVID Australia Summer Institute at Victoria University in Melbourne. The two recently were named Questbridge finalists. They both have 4.0 GPAs and qualify as migrant education students who used to be English Learner students then were re-designated as fluent English proficient. Neither of the two girls parents finished high school. The girls will be featured at the General Session of the conference for more than 300 Australian teachers and administrators then they’ll be on a student panel and participate in Q & A sessions.

A woman on probation has been arrested in Willits. When pulled over Miranda Mullins apparently told deputies she was wanted on a warrant. She was wanted for being an accessory to a crime in Mendocino County. Cops searched her car and found several methamphetamine pipes. They realized her license plates didn’t match the car she was in and say the woman knew they were the wrong plates. She was arrested for the warrant, displaying fake license plates, possessing drug paraphernalia and violating summary probation. Mullins was booked into the Mendocino County Jail and held on $30,000.00 bail.

A story map explaining the burn area from the Mendocino Complex is released by the BLM. Lake Co News reports the Bureau of Land Management Ukiah Field Office releasing the story map showing how the Department of the Interior’s Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response, BAER team came up with their damage estimates on BLM and trust lands. The news site reports more than 80,000 acres of BLM-managed land burned in the Pawnee, County, River and Ranch fires this year. The interactive maps that came out of the BAER assessment should be available to the public and a meeting for the community is also be scheduled to discuss damaged trail systems, including on the Cow Mountain Recreation Management Area which was seriously damaged by the River fire.

Improving conditions on Clear Lake after testing showed blue green algae. Lake Co News reports county officials saying their follow up tests showed cyanotoxin levels below the “caution” level. The last tests were last Thursday after another test earlier in the month showing blue-green algae at six of 18 sampling sites, those half dozen were below the caution threshold though this week. The Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Elem Indian Colony oversee water monitoring. If the levels of bacteria keep going down then all of the warning signs around the lake may be taken down soon.

The Governor’s signed one of State Sen. Mike McGuire’s bills, this one to preserve votes. The new law means election officials have to tell voters who vote by mail their signature doesn’t match what’s on file. Officials will have to do this at least eight days before they certify an election so the voters can verify their signature. The Secretary of State’s Office reports more than 25,000 residents didn’t get their vote counted in the November 2016 General Election because of this. The ballots were tossed due to a mismatching signature. McGuire says the new law means all votes are counted.

A man from Lake County’s been arrested after a violent assault at the Graton Resort and Casino. Lake Co News reports 44 year old Morgan Lewis Jr. was arrested Saturday after reports of a fight at the casino. When deputies got there they found Lewis was arguing with a group of men after their SUV truck door hit his truck. Deputies say Lewis’ girlfriend was pushed to the ground and Lewis got punched in the face. They apparently didn’t want to press charges, so there were no arrests. But then deputies were called back for a second fight, finding Lewis saw one of the people from the fight and shoved the guy who fell and hit his head. He was unresponsive and unconscious and went to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. He’s in the ICU and Lewis was arrested for felony assault causing great bodily injury, and held on a $35,000 bail bond.

A letter’s sent to the Governor by elected officials in five Northern California counties so he will stop approving permits for new oil and gas wells. About 250 elected officials across the state penning the letter for Gov. Brown to “walk his talk” on climate change after he hosted the Global Climate Action Summit last week in San Francisco. The group known as Elected Officials to Protect California challenging the Governor’s record because he had reportedly issued more than 20,000 permits for new wells. Officials from Marin, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties and others signed on to the letter.

A man at a Chuck E. Cheese in Washington state injured after he brought a gun to the restaurant and accidentally shot himself in the leg. Children ran panicking after hearing the gunshot at the Tacoma location. The restaurant was even evacuated, but nobody else was injured. The 22 year old who shot himself was rushed to a hospital but was expected to be fine. Police say he brought the weapon into the restaurant legally.

A man in Laytonville’s been arrested after a string of burglaries and thefts. Mendocino deputies patrolling downtown and saw a couple of cars in the Boomer’s Bar parking lot and found Ryan Padget on a bike looking into one of the cars, holding a flashlight in one hand and a tool in the other. Deputies say he was using the tool to try to force open the door on a parked car and when they approached he took off with a knife visible. The deputy who spotted him along with his k9 partner went after him, he crashed his bike and ran, but was caught. He was found with multiple tools and and arrested for several crimes including attempted second degree burglary, resist / delay officer and possession of burglary tools. He was held at the Mendocino County Jail in lieu of $10,000.00 bail.

One stubborn edge still burning in the Mendocino Complex. Firefighters still monitoring fire activity and repairing fire lines on the Ranch Fire. There’s still about 30 miles of fire line left to repair. Deer hunting season opened last weekend so part of the forest has been opened for outdoor activities and hunting season continues into next month. But forest visitors are told to use extreme caution near the fire closure due to heavy equipment and firefighting vehicles on area roads. The Ranch and River fires started July 27th with the River Fire contained for more than a month but one edge of the River Fire’s still burning and the fire’s 98 percent contained. The last two percent in extremely steep, rocky terrain and may stay uncontained until the rainy season with two or three-days of rain needed and no hot and dry weather conditions in the long-term weather forecast.

Harbin Hot Springs is testing its siren notification system this week. The evaluation Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s coming out of a sound truck that’ll be driven to several locations along Harbin Springs Road in Middletown. Middletown residents might hear the sirens sounding during the four-hour testing period.