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Not looking good for the 2019 abalone season. During a discussion Wednesday at the State Fish and Game Commission meeting in Fresno, it became clear abalone no longer have a rich food source to continue to thrive. The state’s chief regulator for the recreational fishery previously said abalone seasons may never be the same as the 2018 season was closed due to a kelp die-off and massive amount of purple sea urchins that eat the same food source, starving abalone. The closure may last a couple of years to monitor abalone populations and their habitat. Right now the population of adults is too weak to fish and it could take abalone hatchlings ten years to be legal size.

The rate increase for Waste Management in Fort Bragg has been approved by the City Council. The City Manager Tabatha Miller says they calculated the rate increase incorrectly this spring. They’ve approved a 3.5% increase instead of nearly 6% because there was an error in the calculation the cost of living index. There was also an amendment to 2013 Waste Management rates never applied. The city and Waste Management worked together to recalculate the rate structure over the last six years. So residential services will pay a little more than 2 percent, commercial services just under 2 percent, and roll off services will be about .73 percent on average.

The Ukiah Police Chief has chosen his second in command. The Daily Journal reports Chief Justin Wyatt introduced Captain Sean Kaeser to be his right hand man, dubbing him, “Capt. Grumpy”, but joked he’s like an M&M: hard on the outside but soft on the inside”. But joking aside said Kaeser will be a strong second. Kaeser’s a native who graduated from Ukiah High, got an associate’s degree from Mendocino College, then became a police officer. Sgt. Cedric Crook was also promoted to lieutenant, and commander of the dept.’s patrol division.

Three emergency medical staff positions will be created in support of EMS services in Mendocino County. The Daily Journal reports the positions won’t be filled until the board fleshes the idea out a little more. They will be an EMS administrator, EMS specialist, and a part-time EMS medical director. The County apparently started mulling the idea after 2017 wildfires strained the system. The County CEO says the current local EMS authority with Coastal Valleys expires next year so the county has to decide if they’ll continue or go in another direction or create its own EMS service.

Surplus money discussed by the Lakeport City Council along with their budget review. The city’s finance director says account balances were submitted to an independent auditor and that’s completed, showing just over $763,000 left over in the General Fund, $269,000 or so in water operations and maintenance funds and nearly $2 million for sewer operations and maintenance funds. The reason there’s money left over was from capital projects rolled in from the previous fiscal year, vacant positions in the police department, delayed capital projects and operational saving across all departments. So the city’s considering buying new police cars and the Tree Well Electric Project, which had been part of the downtown improvement project in 2016 but it was eliminated due to budget constraints.

More kids are graduating Cal State Universities. The university system says it’s due to more counseling and a major push to get students to take a full load of classes. The system says it’s on track to meet targets it set for higher completion by the middle of the next decade. Those entering as freshmen and finished within four years went up about three percent from 22.6 percent last year to 25.4 percent this year. And for freshmen graduating within six years or less, that went from 59.2 percent to 61.1 percent. Transfer student numbers also went up, with students finishing in two years going from about 35 percent last year to 37.6 percent this year.

Lake County trying to figure out a way to fill the registrar of voters position after the current registrar is set to retire. The Board of Supervisors gave staff the green light to research ways to permanently fill the position Diane Fridley is leaving after 41-years working in elections. The County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson asked the board for staff to work on the best way to fill the position, saying various counties handle such openings differently. She says due to financial challenges down the road, they may have to consider a major restructure of the elections office. Huthingson says for now, the board may want to consider appointing interested, qualified staff in the interim.

The two men from South Korea found guilty of stealing native plants off the Mendocino Coast have been ordered to leave the country. The two were accused of uprooting the succulents to ship to their clients in Asia. The Press Democrat reports Minguk Cho and Hyeong­jae Kim found guilty of felony grand theft after taking as much as 700 pounds of one plant found in rock crevices just above the ocean. They agreed to pay $20,000 each to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for habitat restoration. Also state wildlife wardens had previously intercepted at least three shipments of the plants poachers took from the Mendocino and Humboldt coastlines. The District Attorney’s Office says they generally sell the plants for about $50 each or more.

A new report says states that sell marijuana legally are seeing more car crashes. This after an investigation into a crash that killed twelve people on church bus in Texas in March 2017. The NTSB found the driver of a truck that hit the bus had taken marijuana and a sedative. The board, in the report on the bus crash, said there are more drug-impaired drivers across the country with a call to action to curb the problem. The report at the same time as another one released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute. But another report last year showed recreational cannabis had not increased the amount of fatal accidents. The findings of both studies were presented at the Combating Alcohol- and Drug-Impaired Driving summit at the insurance institute’s Vehicle Research Center.

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