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Monthly Archives: September 2018

The National Night Out Against Crime for Lakeport’s happening tonight. From 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM in Library Park the event to help bolster and improve police, city and government community partnerships. Local officials along with City of Lakeport Management and Staff, City Council Members, Police Officers and Staff, Lakeport Fire Protection, and others will be at the event. There will be entertainment and snacks, raffles and more. It’s free to attend.

A campaign to prevent crime called “Connecting the Dots to Reduce Crime” will help law enforcement across Northern California to reduce property theft. New technology to be introduced to the public at the event, DNA for Property to deter theft and increase the chance of recovering stolen property. It’s a special tape like product you put on valuables which is swabbed on an item and dries clear. But there are tiny dots that have a personal identification number. You can get the DNA for Property kit and set up an account for free online. The Lakeport Police Department is one of the first agencies in Northern California to have the program. The kickoff tonight at the National Night Out in Library Park in Lakeport. You can also get the kit by visiting and set up their free account, of go the Lakeport Police Department for additional details. (There will be a $5.00 fee for shipping)

More investigation has been promised by Caltrans after a letter to the editor of a local newspaper by the Middletown Area Town Hall Chairman. The chair, also, local writer Gene Paleno penning the letter for action on Highway 20 improvements, the so-called Highway 20 Proposal. Apparently the Caltrans Chief Traffic Safety Officer is promising to look into three of the ideas further. The Record Bee reports the letter back to Paleno said many of the proposed action items were either unfeasible or unnecessary. But the trio of items they’re looking at include installing “pedestrian- activated lights at all six of the crosswalks (Pine St., Acorn St., Foothill Blvd., High Valley Rd., Butler St., and Hoover St.)”, installing a “Crosswalk pedestrian sign at Hammond Avenue and Highway 20,” and the installation of “‘No Parking’ signs at various locations in Clearlake Oaks.”

A man on his bicycle has been hit by a dump truck and died. The Ukiah Police Department reports they got a call to the intersection of Talmage Road and Hastings Frontage Road Friday afternoon to a crash between the bike rider and the dump truck. The bicyclist who died has so far only been identified as a 34-year-old man believed to have been a resident of Mendocino County.

Multiple reports of car vandalism in Willits and a reminder to lock your items away. Willits police say nearly a dozen calls last week about the vandalism and objects taken from vehicles in the areas of North and Maple streets. One car window was broken with about $1,000 in valuables taken from one unlocked car. A neighbor in the area apparently had a private surveillance camera rolling which showed a white F-150 Ford pickup truck nearby at the time of the thefts.

A lease application has been submitted by a group of stakeholders to get the first big offshore windfarm on the West Coast. The Redwood Coast Energy Authority, Principle Power, Aker Solutions, and EDP Renewables have filled out a lease application with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. If the lease is approved it would give the group site control over 70 square miles of an ocean area where they could put up the project. The 70 miles would be the boundaries for the proposed wind farm which would have 10 to 15 wind turbines that could produce between 100-150 megawatts.

A shopping cart ordinance approved by the Fort Bragg City Council. The council considered the ordinance at their meeting last Monday. It means businesses have to mark each of their carts with a permanent sticker that shows where the cart came from with a phone number to call and an address so the cart can be returned or picked up. It comes in response to a federal law that says it’s illegal to be in possession of a cart away from the business where it originated from.

Willits police getting a new canine officer. The City Council unanimously approved buying a police and register for a narcotics academy and tracking training course for the K9 and its handler. The police department apparently talking to the council for a while about getting a police dog so they’re going to start looking for a German Shepherd dog in Europe. Most of the police dogs come from abroad since the dogs are bred different there and dogs in the U-S can get hip problems. The money for the dog and its training apparently already set aside in the police department budget and thru district attorney restitution funds awarded over the years.

Fort Bragg Police Department hiring due to a lean staff. They’ve got a dozen sworn officers and three vacancies. They’re looking to fill two officers and a sergeant position. One officer transferred to the Sheriff’s Dept. and another got a federal job, plus they have a couple of staffers on medical restriction. One lieutenant position was recently cut so that gave the department more money for other positions. They’ve been advertising the open officer positions across the state and have been interviewing but they’ve not selected anyone so they’re continuing to recruit.

A change for the Mendocino Complex lake county disaster resource center. The center will transition to a Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Outreach Center, effective on Monday. The change means representatives of the SBA will be on hand from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday though Friday to help people with questions about disaster relief loans and applications. FEMA will still have representatives at the location in the tribal center on Main Street in Upper Lake. Registration for FEMA programs will run through October 6th.

People with stories to tell about last year’s fires will have a chance to share them at the Lake County Library later this month. The library and the StoryCenter are joining up to gather resident’s 30 minute reflections about how the fires affected them on September 26th at the Redbud Library on Burns Valley Road in Clearlake. Participants will be interviewed and their stories will be saved for a collection in the California State Libraries You’ll need to sign up—and you can do that by visiting the website

The Lakeport Fire protection district board has approved a new budget that cuts the number of full time and part time, firefighters. The Lake County News reports the budget calls for laying off three full-timers and three part-timers to bring the budget into balance. The cuts come after failed negotiations with the union representing the firefighters. The board had voted last month to put off a final decision on the budget until after the negotiations were done. The firefighters union was scheduled to meet to talk about the issue on Thursday night. The fire protection board decided on several other cost-saving measures at a meeting this week before adopting the nearly 2 point 1 million dollar spending plan. No decision yet on how the layoffs called for will be handled.

Some Lake County offices are closed today—the first of a series of Friday closures aimed at giving county employees a chance to catch up on their work. The county budget has been strained and county officials have decided to limit the public hours to Monday through Thursday, from 8 am. to 5 pm County Administrator, Carol Hutchinson has released a video outlining the cutbacks which she says are needed because business as usual is no longer an option. She says while offices will be closed to the public, workers will be there handling jobs they aren’t able to when the officers are open. There is information about the closures at the website or on the county Facebook page.

The Sonoma Ecology Center is organizing and leading California Coastal Cleanup Day efforts. The annual beach and inland waterway cleanup takes place tomorrow and is the state’s largest volunteer event. Volunteers are invited to help clean up several locations throughout Sonoma Valley, including Sonoma Creek at Maxwell and Larson parks, and Fryer and Nathanson creeks. For more information or to register, visit the Sonoma Ecology Center’s website.

Governor Jerry Brown is calling President Donald Trump in his words a "liar" and a "fool" when it comes to the environment and climate change. Brown made his remarks at his Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco Trump announced last year that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. Meanwhile, a summit spokesman said he is not aware of any federal government officials attending the summit, which ends today.

Two Santa Rosa senior living centers are appealing a state decision to revoke their licenses. The state says Oakmont senior Living was negligent in abandoning nearly 100 residents at the facilities during last October’s fire. Oakmont says two administrators at the Varenna and Villa Capri were the victims of what the company calls regulatory overreach and are requesting a hearing on the penalty. The state says no decision on the appeal or what will happen next has been made.

We are learning more about the arrest of a Ukiah Unified school district teacher last week. The Ukiah Police department says 34-year-old Benjamin O’Neil is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old who was not a student last September. The allegation reportedly first came to light in may and O’ Neil was arrested on a warrant on September 4th. The school says he has been placed on administrative leave, and that the safety and well being of students remains its primary responsibility. According to the district, O’ Neil is a former firefighter who taught health occupation and emergency preparedness classes.

Willis police are telling residents about a series of car break-ins earlier this week. Nearly a dozen reports of burglaries and vandalism were reported to police in the areas of North and Maple Streets Tuesday evening into the early Wednesday morning. Police say in one instance, the thief or thieves stole more than $1,000 dollars in valuables from an unlocked vehicle and that at least one window was smashed. Police say they are reviewing surveillance video taken around the times of the thefts. They are reminding residents to keep vehicles locked—and asking that people report anything suspicious in their neighborhood.

Interstate Five in is back open after being shut down Thursday because of the Delta Fire. The fire raged through a stretch of unburned area within the containment line, forcing officials to shut down the highway for a few hours. The fire has burned over 59-thousand acres north of Redding since starting over a week ago. Thanks to aggressive firefighting, crews were able to push containment up to 24-percent. The fire is likely to continue to grow over the next few days as it moves through the timber.

A million-dollar-plus house in Oakland is being offered for free to anyone who can literally take it. The deed to the two-bedroom Victorian will be handed over to anyone who’s willing to relocate it at his or her own expense by October 27th. The "Free House, Must Be Moved" sign first appeared on Reddit on Monday. The lot that the property sits on is set to be demolished to make way for a new development. The home that dates back to 1900 sold last year for one-and-a-half-million-dollars

Make sure to use your inside voice wherever you go today because it’s National Quiet Day. The holiday was created to tell people to just stop and enjoy silence. Experts say peace and quiet are good for both mind and body and can lower blood pressure and stress.

The Wine Industry having another banner year. Info from the latest Mendocino County Crop Report presented this week to the Board of Supervisors. The agricultural commissioner at Tuesday’s Board meeting showing the wine industry keeps shining, but the timber industry is still declining. The latest report from 2016 shows the wine industry making 120 million as opposed to what used to be the biggest industry in the county, timber, which made $80 million. Production for wine grapes at about $88 million in 2015 and now $120 million in 2016. All of the county’s agriculture pulled in more than $165,837,000 dollars with fruit and nuts making most of that.

A man has been hurt in a fire that gutted his mobile home in Ukiah. The fire on Wabash Avenue reportedly destroyed the man’s home yesterday afternoon. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reports the home in flames when they got there after a neighbor apparently heard an explosion. They reported seeing one side of the trailer home ignite and called 911. Then several neighbors armed with fire extinguishers and hoses tried to help put the fire out. Neighbors say a man lived in the mobile home and he was reported to be outside the home with major injuries when firefighters arrived. The Fire Division chief says the fire was suspicious in nature, saying there were two propane tanks inside that they’re unsure of what they were being used for. There was also another fire yesterday afternoon west of Ukiah, but it was contained fast at an acre and no reports of injuries or damaged structures.

A man from Hopland is recovering after crashing his motorcycle into a tree off Highway 175. The California Highway Patrol reports the 66 year old man was on a 1999 Yamaha motorcycle driving westbound on the Hwy east of Buckman Drive Monday afternoon when he missed a right turn, went off the road and crashed into a big oak tree and came off the bike. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office also at the scene after the crash. They’ve not released the man’s name until his next of kin are notified. One lane of Highway 175 was closed for several hours after the accident.

A meeting with the Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response, or BAER, team after the assessment of federal lands after the Mendocino Complex fire. The meeting hosted by the Bureau of Land Management at the Ukiah Field Office. Lake Co News reports the BLM looking for public input from outdoor enthusiasts and others regarding burned land. The news site reports more than 80,000 acres of BLM-managed public lands are blackened after the Pawnee, County, River and Ranch fires this year. There’s also major damage to trails on the Cow Mountain Recreation Management Area from the River Fire. The BLM has a map on their website now showing the BAER team assessment and impacts from the Mendocino Complex fires on federal lands.

The Snell fire in Napa County is gaining containment and has not grown much more. The fire’s at just under 2,500 acres and now 75% contained. The fire started last Saturday southeast of Middletown by the Berryessa Estates subdivision, which had been evacuated after the fire started. Right now Cal Fire crews are patrolling the fire and mopping up.

A trio of outreach events by SafeRx in Lake County regarding the opioid crisis. Lake Co News reports the company’s also sending representatives to meet with state legislators to gain support. They’re focused on Medically-Assisted Treatments which they say has been proven to reduce OD’s. AmeriCorps has also assigned volunteers to help with the crisis. SafeRx is trying to bring awareness to the epidemic with youth education, with law enforcement, medically-assisted treatments, Naloxone distribution (an overdose reversal medicine), safe prescribing, data collection and analysis, community enrichment, partnerships and outreach. The events are September 15th at Austin Park, Clearlake; Sept. 19th and 20th at the Lake County Fairgrounds and again at the Fairgrounds for an event October 13th. For more info

The former acting chief of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority is back on the job after an extended leave. Kirk Thomsen reportedly back at work as a captain. He was the interim chief last year after the former chief John Bartlett suddenly retired. But then Thomsen went on leave last December for unknown reasons. The Daily Journal reports the city manager would not comment and wouldn’t confirm or deny if there was an internal investigation going on. The newspaper also reports an employee of the fire department said they were getting a bunch of Public Information Requests, including one asking for several text messages sent and received by Thomsen. In the meantime the department is still searching for a chief. Right now two division chiefs share the fire chief job.

Sonoma County had a dry run of their newly overhauled emergency alert system. Text messages sent out from the county yesterday to thousands of cellphones in five areas via the federal Wireless Emergency Alerts system, which is the same system not used for last October’s wildfires. The Press Democrat reports the test may be the first of its kind on the West Coast. The messages sent to cellphones in Guerneville, Glen Ellen, Kenwood, Healdsburg, Penngrove and Roseland. There were texts and TV and radio tests thru the federal Emergency Alert System. A report shows some spillover on the text messages in the areas they were sent to, received then in Rohnert Park and Petaluma and as far out as Graton and The Sea Ranch. And some in Guerneville never got it at all. Officials say it was still a success because now they’ve identified potential trouble spots.

After a traffic stop in Humboldt County, two people have been arrested with drugs. Deputies say Anthony Pollette of Redway gave them a phony name and when they told him to get out of the car he tried to run away but was quickly captured. He was booked into the Humboldt County Jail on three felonies including battery on an emergency responder, resisting arrest and criminal threats, all warrants. Plus he had a billy club on him and has been charged now with false identification to a peace officer, resisting arrest and possession of a controlled substance. The driver of the car Kayla Austin of Redway, cited and released for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Daily flyovers by Pacific Gas and Electric Company for possible fires in their service area. There are a couple of new areas of patrol this year too. All part of their work with the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE and local fire companies. The utility company says fires in the state have been growing with size and intensity so they have to adapt and try to help prevent more fires. The patrols have been ongoing since June 1st and go on thru about Halloween. The patrols in Redding, from Humboldt to Lake County, Redding to Auburn in the Northern Sierra, Auburn to Sonora in the Central Sierra, Sonora to Porterville in the Southern Sierra, Vacaville to Solvang near the coast, Redding to Hoopa to MacArthur (in Siskiyou County and northeastern Shasta County) and in Mendocino County.

A complaint’s been filed against the campaign to preserve the state’s recent gas tax hike. The Fair Political Practices Commission got a complaint from the competing campaign saying state employees gave out fliers to get voters to keep the tax increase in place. The workers reportedly private contractors who are employed by the California Transportation Department. Caltrans is investigating but says they think those involved were not Caltrans employees. Proposition 6 could repeal the recent gas tax. Some Republican lawmakers and other groups support Proposition 6, but construction companies and unions representing construction workers are trying to defeat the initiative saying it funds needed road repairs.

A record almond crop this year at nearly 2 and a half billion pounds and walnuts are not far behind. But almonds may sit in the state due to the President’s tariffs. China has a 50 percent tariff on almonds so if almonds are shipped there the Chinese government gets paid more money. The same could happen with walnuts but the California Walnut Commission reports they’re trying to negotiate a way around the issue. The harvest this year has reportedly yielded 10 percent more than last year at 690,000 tons.

A UC Berkeley staffer says donating a kidney to a stranger… no big deal. Katherine Walsh says she liked doing something people don’t normally do that’s desperately needed. She’s a fundraiser for the College of Chemistry and says donating a kidney’s not as bad as it sounds. No word on who she donated to.

There could be penalties or punishment on the way for several San Francisco cops after racist and homophobic text messages were sent. The matter ended up in the California Supreme Court which has said no to the officers appeal, upholding a lower court ruling that the Police dept. can discipline the officers who texted the messages during a 2011-2012 federal corruption investigation. A court had ruled the officers could not be disciplined because the department waited too long, but then another court overturned that in May. So now disciplinary hearings can be held in front of the police commission.

A new study shows an older generation are smoking more weed. The study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence shows middle age and older adults are partaking quite a bit. The data pulled from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2015 and 2016 of adults in the U-S between 50 and 64 years old. It showed 9 percent used a year before and 3 percent of those over 65 used weed during the time of the study. The survey a couple years before showed 7 percent of middle-aged Americans used marijuana with only 1.4 percent of people over 65.


The new budget’s been adopted by the Lakeport Fire District Board of Directors which cuts three full-time firefighters. The budget talk spurred questions and comments from audience members with ideas also brought forward. Only one of the directors reportedly against the new budget, and one was absent. The directors met first behind closed doors with a labor negotiator from the Firefighter’s Union ending with no deal. The union reportedly offering to accept a 10 percent cut in salaries with four people on staff and the board came back with three people and a 10 percent pay cut. But there was no agreement. No word on which firefighters will be let go.

The BLM, Cal Fire and local fire departments reportedly working with an agricultural engineer on fire prevention ideas. The Record Bee reports Jared Hendricks grew up in the area. He says gone are the days when controlled fires with Cal Fire for free can be done on private land. He says it could start happening again though as more grants will become available for private landowners for fuel reduction projects which can include controlled burns. Some government groups are also reportedly applying for similar grants. Local government, tribal organizations, fire and water districts and nonprofits can get their hands on grant funding. Cal Fire has millions available to do work like removing dead or dying trees.

A nearly one hundred year old state law to ban handgun ads at gun shops is no more. A judge has ruled the state has not shown the ads would prevent suicides or crime. The law from back in 1923 that there would be no handgun ads at gun shops visible from outside the store. State officials were saying they would create more impulsive people to purchase a gun and those types of people were more likely to commit suicides or crime. But the law didn’t forbid ads for other firearms. The judge saying the Government can’t restrict speech persuading adults, who are neither criminals nor suffer from mental illness, from purchasing a legal and constitutionally protected product due to a distrust of a personality trait and decisions that personality trait may lead them to make later down the road.

The latest fire burning in Shasta County, the Delta Fire is almost at 54,000 acres, larger than the River Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex. The Delta Fire started 10 miles north of Redding last weekend. It’s now 15 percent contained. The fire human caused is now burning near Lakehead with erratic behavior and windy conditions. The fire had closed several miles of Interstate 5 between Redding and Mount Shasta, but only one lane is open now for about 17 miles. It was closed for a 45-mile stretch for nearly a week. But flammable vehicles like gas tankers or trucks with lumber aboard are not allowed on the stretch. Some cars and big rigs were abandoned there and burned. There are also still evacuation orders in place throughout areas of Shasta and Trinity counties. Updated evacuation info’s on the Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity County sheriff’s offices’ Facebook pages.

A private contractor who was headed to a fire in the Tahoe National Forest has been killed in a car crash. The Tahoe National Forest reports Tony Flores of Kent Siller Trucking, a bulldozer operator assigned to the fire died in a crash yesterday on the way to an incident command post at Blue Canyon Airport. Flores had worked for the trucking company for more than 20 years. The fire in the Tahoe National Forest has burned more than 1100 acres. The North Fire is 85 percent contained. The trucking company’s owner told U.S. Forest Service officials Flores had an “outstanding work ethic”

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.

A man has been arrested in Washington state on a one million dollar warrant out of Lake County. Clearlake police had been investigating Harry Vandyke of Las Vegas for the sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 18. Police asked the U-S Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force to help find the man who’s now in custody. He’s also reportedly waived extradition and was taken to Clearlake last Thursday and booked into the Lake County Jail. Police asking the public if they have any info on the case to call the police department and are reminding the public that sexual assault survivors can get crisis intervention counseling for free, including legal and medical help or to get referrals on other resources.

A project to add parking spots and help traffic flow better has begun at the Elk River Trailhead in the Headwaters Forest Reserve. That means there may be traffic snarls or less access to the area while the project gets underway. The BLM reports they’re trying to minimize interruptions to access but there may be times it’s limited for public safety. There will be a bigger parking lot so that 25 vehicles can fit along with vans and school buses. Plus it’ll be easier to maneuver in the area which provides the primary access into the 7,400-acre forest reserve. There will also be a paved section for accessibility with signs going up about the natural history of the reserve. The project continues thru next month.

A public alert and warning test in Sonoma County. The Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services reports on the test tomorrow between 10am-12pm where notifications will be sent out via cell phones, and on radio and TV. Those close to the alerting area could see an alert on their cell phone with a special tone and vibration, along with a brief text. So since it’s so close to Mendocino County, some residents there may also get a notification since Sonoma and Mendocino Counties share local radio and TV stations and have cell towers serving residents in both counties.

A man from Richmond who used to be employed by the Contra Costa County public defenders office has been arrested for a conspiracy to prevent a police informant from testifying. It was a murder for hire that ended up with the death of the wrong person. William Edwards Jr. had previously pleaded no contest to a similar crime 12 years ago. In that case the key witness to an Oakland murder was killed. Family members of that victim complained his sentence was too lenient and he’d do it again. Now Edwards is charged with the murder in June of Taison Calderon-Lopez in a case of mistaken identity, he was not the witness in an attempted murder, but apparently looked similar and drove a similar car.

A man’s been killed in a car crash in Calpella. The California Highway Patrol reports the unidentified man was driving west on Eastside Calpella Road and went off the road in his 2002 BMW south of Highway 20 eastbound and rolled. The car stopped on its roof and the driver died on the scene. CHP officers say he did not use safety equipment. There was a 52-year-old woman with him who was taken to the hospital with moderate injuries. The two both from Lakeport.

A warning in Calif. to say away from recreationally harvested mussels until the end of October. Officials warning of dangerous levels of domoic acid which is also known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning or ASP. It can get people sick and even cause death. There’s also a warning to stay away from sport-harvested razor clams from Del Norte and Humboldt counties for the same reason, too high of levels of domoic acid. The FDA says “biotoxins may increase to unsafe levels in the shellfish that feed on the micro-algae.” Commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters are safe to eat since they go thru a lot of testing regularly.

Dozens of fire rescue animals from the Mendocino Complex have been up for adoption. The Lake County Animal Care & Control center in Lakeport says the pets are available to a forever home after they were evacuated from their previous homes during the recent fires. The Record Bee reports the shelter manager saying most people are able to come back for their pets, but some cannot. They have a 30 day “hold period” after the final evacuation order is lifted after a fire, then animals are put up to the public for adoption. There was a stream of folks at the shelter yesterday. The shelter had about a dozen cats, a dozen dogs, and a goat. There had been almost 400 animals when the Mendocino Complex evacuations first happened.

The 100th weather station has been installed by PG&E. The stations gather meteorological data to help predict extreme wildfire danger. The weather stations installed as further safety precautions after the 2017 wildfires. So PG& E is part of a Community Wildfire Safety Program to help reduce wildfire threats and help keep their customers, families and communities informed. A spokesperson for the company says the giant utility has installed more than 100 new weather stations since the beginning of the year. Four are in Lake County and another 200 in high firethreat areas will be put in. Some counties already have them including Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Mendocino, Napa, Shasta and Sierra. The data shared in real time with sources like the National Weather Service.

Still not 100%, but almost for the Mendocino Complex after nearly six weeks burning. The fire’s charred more than 459,120-acres and is 98-percent contained with one area still burning out of the containment lines in the Ranch Fire. The River Fire was contained almost a month ago. The area of the Mendocino Forest which is burning remains closed. So there’s no public use allowed including hunting, using firearms and off-road vehicles.

There’s two confirmed deaths due to the West Nile virus in Calif. The deaths happened in Glenn and Yuba counties. Lake Co News reports the state Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith says it’s still the peak period for the virus in Calif. so they’re urging residents to take all precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites. There’s been 56 human cases of the virus in 21 California counties this year. There’s also been more than 420 dead birds found from 18 counties that tested positive this year and another 1,600 or so positive mosquito samples from 28 counties.

An ambitious goal in Calif to slowly phase out all fossil fuels. The Governor signing new legislation yesterday as part of his push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The bill signing ahead of a summit in San Francisco hosted by Gov. Brown with climate change leaders from around the world this week. The new law to ensure California utility companies generate 60 percent of energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources by 2030 and that they use only carbon-free sources for electricity by 2045. There’s nothing that says it will be illegal or there will be a penalty for not meeting the goal. Brown says it won’t be easy, but it has to be done.

More than 30 suspected gang members have been arrested for a massive credit card fraud scheme. The Calif. Atty. General announced yesterday 32 people arrested for stealing as much as $1 million by hacking credit card terminals and merchant accounts at medical and dental businesses. The announcement of a 240-count indictment against members of the BullyBoys and CoCo Boys including conspiracy to commit grand theft; hacking, computer access and fraud; burglary; and eight counts of identity theft. Cops also found laptops and personal files with social security numbers and bank information. All across Northern Cali.

People have been sent from their homes in Marin County after a vegetation fire breaks out and burns out of control. The fire at Samuel P. Taylor State Park had burned 100 acres across steep terrain this morning. It started under a local fire lookout last night and was said to be threatening nearly 3 dozen structures. The fire was about 10 percent contained late last night with fire officials saying they were making good progress using bulldozers, hand crews, water tenders and engines. Residents located near the fire area who were not evacuated were being told to monitor local news media and follow any instructions they got from Marin County Fire or Sheriff officials.

A new report shows almost 20 percent of cannabis products to be sold in California had failed potency and purity tests since requirements went into effect July 1st. The worst of the testing on cannabis-infused cookies, candies and tinctures: about a-third tested cannot be sold. And separately testing companies also found unacceptable levels of pesticides, solvents and bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. The Associated Press reports in the first two months almost 11,000 samples had been tested with about 2,000 failing. The state Bureau of Cannabis Control reports the testing is new and will take time for it to go smoothly, but they’re happy so far with the way things are progressing.

A $15,000 reward for any information on the shooting death of an endangered Calif. Condor. Officials report the bird was shot in July on private property near the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Kern County. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was offering a $5,000 reward but then yesterday the Center for Biological Diversity tripled it.

A man in Massachusetts is celebrating a big anniversary… 50 years of employment… at McDonalds. Alfred Caproni started out flipping burgers at their Pittsfield location before there ever was a Big Mac. Then moved to their North Adams location, where he’s been since. The now 73 year old celebrated his 50th anniversary with the fast-food joint last week. He joked in a local newspaper report that he has cooked so many burgers over the years, he ended up with carpal tunnel syndrome. He says he never left because the working environment was really fun and keeps him young. He even met his wife there…