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Monthly Archives: November 2018

The first lawsuits against PG&E have been filed by 35 families who lost everything in the deadly Camp Fire. The families accuse the utility of failing to safely and properly maintain power lines and equipment. Among the allegations are claims that lines had ben throwing sparks in the area where the fire started, a problem PG&E had said would be fixed on Nov 7th, but the repairs never happened. PG&E is aware of the lawsuits, but said their main focus right now is assisting first responders and rebuilding infrastructure.

Three weeks after the Camp Fire started, more misery as flooding closed part of Route 99 in Butte County yesterday, stranding drivers and causing evacuations. Just under two inches of rain fell in burn areas causing debris flows and flash floods. CalFire Butte County Swift Water Rescue Team deployed to Butte Creek canyon to evacuate residents from three homes in the area. The National weather service says more heavy rain could fall in the region through Sunday.

California regulators have given PG&E until July 1st to make changes recommended after an independent firm was consulted about the company’s safety practices. Sixty suggestions were made by the firm after reaching the conclusion that the utility company lacks vision for safety programs, and that the company puts programs in place without thought as to how the programs will all work together. The California Public Utilities Commission says they want to see PG&E improve safety culture, and not just give outward appearances they are improving safety . PG&E says they have already adopted some of the regulations,and will implement more.

PG&E is testing a a new way to curb wildfires sparked by power lines. Burying them. A pilot project has been rolled out in Western Sonoma County to test the idea. The cables should be installed within then next month. PG&E estimates costs of burying the lines at $3 million per mile, compared to $800,000 for overhead lines. If successful, the company will look at burying the lines in high risk areas.

The more than 800 students in Paradise charter schools will be able to return to class on Monday. There were six charters schools in Paradise, two were destroyed, one badly damaged.

Final election results were released yesterday afternoon, confirming Gavin Newsom’s victory in the governor’s race. For US Senator, Kevin De Leon beats out Dianne Feinstein. For propositions one, two, four, seven eleven and twelve, it’s a yes. Propositions three, five, six, eight and ten all given the thumbs down by voters. Measure H is a no for Fort Bragg, Measure I for Willits gets the thumbs up.

The City of Clearlake may change how they budget and track spending if Clear Lake City Council gives City Manager Greg Folsom the green light on Dec 6th. A contract with a California company called OpenGov is on the docket for the meeting on Thursday at a cost of $160,000.00 over a five year contract. OpenGov provides resources and tools to help with budgets while cutting administration efforts in tracking them.

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A Ukiah man lost control of his car on highway 175 late last night and was transported to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley where he later died. According to California Highway Patrol, 24 year old Jonathan Pejana was driving westbound, just east of highway 101, when he left the road and hit a power pole, becoming trapped inside the vehicle. They say drugs and alcohol were likely not a factor, but high speeds and heavy rains may have been.

The Butte Humane Society has a pet food and supply pantry, and the need among wildfire evacuees has outpaced supplies. Pet beds, crates, toys cat scratchers, litter, grain free foods for both dogs and cats are all in short supply. The pantry will take whatever you can donate, but the items must be new. Find out more at www.buttehumane.org.

The Camp Fire destruction has made a bad housing crisis in Northern California even worse. About 17,000 applications have been received by FEMA for housing assistance, but there just aren’t enough apartments and motel rooms for all the evacuees. Even those with FEMA vouchers are having trouble finding places to spend them. FEMA is currently working with state and local officials for solutions, but it is going to take some time.

California Assemblyman Marc Levine is pushing for a new tax on the sales of semi-automatic weapons. If approved, the new tax would support community gun violence prevention programs. In a statement announcing his measure, Levine said “the gun tax will support the kinds of interventions that make gun violence less likely”. The tax will likely mirror ones is Seattle and Chicago that charge a $25.00 tax on gun purchases.

For the third day in a row, searchers reported no new remains in areas burned by the Camp Fire, giving hope the number of dead will remain at 88. The number of missing in the latest update yesterday was 196. Paradise residents may be allowed to return home as soon as the end of next week, according to Butte county officials.

Vandals are about to spoil it for everyone. Park officials are considering and extended closure of recreational facilities at Lake Mendocino. Everything from raw sewage dumped on roadways, to graffiti, and broken light fixtures have been seen by rangers. The point of the closure would be to make the areas harder for vandals to access, therefore cutting down on destruction. Park rangers are asking anyone with info to call park headquarters.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies were out on patrol this week when they heard an alarm coming from Sherwood School in Willits. While searching the school, they noticed footprints, a broken window pain, and saw a man trying to hide. The deputies were able to arrest 58 year old Patrick Haffner of Colorado without incident. As it turns out, Haffner is also a person of interest in residential burglaries being investigated by the Sheriff’s office. He was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on vandalism and felony burglary charges.

It’s time for third through twelfth graders to start getting ready for the Mendocino County Science Fair. Student registrations are due by March 8th, the fair will be on March 30th at the Mendocino College gym in Ukiah. Students can submit solo or team projects on everything from physical sciences to space and engineering.

ARIANA GRANDE – BREATHIN
BENNY BLANCO, HALSEY, & KHALID – EASTSIDE
MARSHMELLO & BASTILLE – HAPPIER
PANIC! AT THE DISCO – HIGH HOPES
NF – LIE
HALSEY – WITHOUT ME
BAZZI – BEAUTIFUL
KHALID – BETTER
LOVELY THE BAND – BROKEN
CAMILA CABELLO – CONSEQUENCES
SILK CITY & DUA LIPA – ELECTRICITY
LADY GAGA & BRADLEY COOPER – SHALLOW
TRAVIS SCOTT – SICKO MODE
POST MALONE – SUNFLOWER
DJ SNAKE – TAKI TAKI
ARIANA GRANDE – THANK U, NEXT
CHAINSMOKERS – THIS FEELING
LSD – THUNDERCLOUDS
WHY DON’T WE – 8 LETTERS
DEAN LEWIS – BE ALRIGHT
ELLIE GOULDING & DIPLO – CLOSE TO ME
DRAKE – DON’T MATTER TO ME
ZARA LARSSON – RUIN MY LIFE
DAN + SHAY – TEQUILA
ALESSIA CARA – TRUST ME LONELY
STEVE AOKI – WASTE IT ON ME
LOUD LUXURY – BODY
AJ MITCHELL – GIRLS
LUKAS GRAHAM – LOVE SOMEONE
TWENTY ONE PILOTS – MY BLOOD
LAUV – THERE’S NO WAY

Ukiah’s electric company has asked the Ukiah Planning Commission for permission to renovate a property at 1350 Hasting’s road, and has plans relocate administration, operations and technical services to the location. The Daily Journal reports that if approved, the building would also have solar panels on the roof and be fenced in by by and 8 foot steel perimeter. The request will be considered at a meeting today at 6pm in the City Council Chambers.

PG&E has released a new report that gives insight into their decision not to shut power down before the Camp Fire sparked. The utility says winds were dying down, and no longer fell under emergency benchmarks observed by the company, which would include “forecast sustained winds above approximately 25 mph and wind gusts in excess of approximately 45 mph”. Since forecasts did not reach those levels, PG&E opted to keep the power on.

A federal judge yesterday gave PG&E until Dec 31 to answer questions about the utility company’s role in California Wildfires. The order issued by the judge demands answers about “any wildfire started by reckless maintenance of PG&E power lines”, and demands information on about any “inaccurate, slow, or failed reporting of information about any wildfire by PG&E.” The judge has been supervising PG&E’s probation following their conviction relating to an explosion in San Bruno back in 2010.

A new Facebook page, Paradise Fire Adopt A Family, aims to help one family at at time recover from the Camp Fire by connecting volunteers who would like to adopt a family. In an update posted to the page last night, the administrators said the effort is already seeing results. There have been offers of donations, jobs and offers of temporary housing. If you still want to help by making a donation, they are being accepted by United way, The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, the North Valley Community Foundation and North Valley Animal Disasters group.

Authorities are trying to find the source of an oil spill in Clear Lake behind the Del Lago HOA building in LakePort. The mess has been cleaned up, and didn’t cause a lot of damage, but where the oil came from is still a mystery to Lakeport Police, Lakeport County Environment Health, Lakeport County Water Resources and Lakeport Fire Department, the agencies investigating the spill.

The FDA says Romaine lettuce is safe to eat, as long as it didn’t come from the California growing region, and now farmers along California’s Central Coast are bracing for softer sales. An E. coli outbreak last week was tied to contamination at the same farms affected by a large spinach recall in 2006. The FDA is working with the food industry to find better ways to label the origin of lettuce and other fresh produce.

As the Camp Fire has become fully contained and the death count slows, the full cost of the fire is now coming into focus. So Far, FEMA says they have paid out more than $20 million in aid for those displaced by the fire. Nearly 14,00 homes were destroyed, over 80 are dead, and over 200 are still missing. US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was back in Paradise yesterday, and said the costs associated with the fire will likely be in the Billions of dollars, and that building restrictions in fire prone areas should be part of the discussion moving forward about wildfire protections. He says he’s never witnessed such devastation.

As of yesterday, recreation sites on the Covelo Ranger District were closed for winter, no services available until spring. The Oak Flat and Middle Creek campgrounds will stay open, wether permitting, but it’s a good idea to call ahead and check conditions. A reminder from the forest service to tell a friend where you will be and when you plan on returning. Also, bring maps, along with plenty of food and gas.

Cal Fire has lifted the burn permit suspension in the state response area of Mendocino County, effective today. Those planning on doing agricultural or debris burns are advised to use caution, and always verify that it’s a burn day before doing so. Permits and more information available at www.fire.ca.gov.

You might notice a few things missing from your hotel on your next visit to Santa Cruz. The County Board of Supervisors has just signaled support for a ban on plastic bottles of shampoo, body wash, lotion and other small disposable plastic items usually supplied by hotels. The ban would affect all hotels and vacation rentals, which would be mandated to stock rooms with dispensers, larger bottles or some other alternative. The ordinance is one vote away from becoming a reality, expected on Dec 4th.

Police need help finding a driver involved in a hit and run last week North of Upper Lake that killed 57 year old James Carpenter of Potter Valley. Authorities believe he had been hit by a large truck on Elk Mountain Road. Anyone with information is being asked to call the California Highway Patrol Clear Lake office.

A new Library Park Seawall has been given the thumbs up by the Lake Port City Council. According to local media reports, over 500 feet of seawall are set to be replaced by one of two companies vying for the contract. No deal has been reached, but things are moving in that direction. Next step will be to work on design.

Police are still investigating after a vehicle headed southbound on SR 29 in Clear Lake crossed over the double yellow lines hitting another vehicle head on Saturday evening. Drivers of both vehicles were pronounced dead on the scene. Authorities have withheld their names while next of kin are notified.

A man’s been arrested in connection to the burglary of several Cupertino Electric vehicles. Cops say it happened November 17th in Albion. The burglary discovered by an employee of Cupertino Electric who deputies say were hiding in bushes near the location of the crime. They say before they got there one suspect had run away. But they found Aron Hernandez and arrested him, he was held by the tipster to police. But another man linked to the rip off has not been found. Police say about $11,500.00 worth of tools and equipment were ripped off, and say the forced entry into the vehicles was about $5,300.00 in damage.

Police go to a house in Ukiah after they receive multiple hang up calls. Deputies apparently familiar with the home from calls in the past. Bodhi Idarius wasn’t allowed to be within 100 yards of an adult female who lived at the home. The woman in front of the home when police arrived and they found out they had dated in the past. They say the woman left for a time and came back to find the guy inside and they had a physical altercation as she tried calling police. She tried to call 911 and says Idarius choked her with the phone cord, hit her with a drill, which she got away from him and hit him. Idarius arrested on several charges including domestic violence battery, damaging phone lines and for a violation of a domestic violence restraining order and held on $25,000.00 bail.

4 teenagers have been arrested after a gun incident in Redwood Valley. Police say an 18 year old and 4 underage teens were arrested after a call from Lions Park that a juvenile had pointed a gun at the caller. That person said that kid and the four others got into a Ford SUV and left the scene. The victims and a witness followed the SUV and called police. Then the CHP found them and along with the Sheriff’s Office and Ukiah Police Department stopped them and detained all five suspects. The driver, the 18 year old id’d as Robert Thing and the other passengers being identified as juvenile males. Apparently the victims were meeting the teens for a marijuana deal when a gun was pulled on the victims/sellers. Police found marijuana in the teens SUV, a pound bag of bud marijuana, knives, a billyclub, two baseball bats and carpet cutters. The five found to be gang members and have been charged with multiple crimes including robbery, conspiracy to commit crime and violating probation.

2 people killed and a man from Fort Bragg’s been arrested on suspicion of DUI after a crash Black Friday. The crash on Highway 20 between Willits and Fort Bragg. The CHP reports 62 year old Timothy Beltram in a 2002 Ford Focus on Highway 20 headed west when he turned on the highway, then went over an embankment in the rain. The car rolled and his passengers, a 51-year-old woman from Fort Bragg and a 52 year old woman from Sacramento died. The 51 year old was ejected and died at the scene, the other woman died at a hospital. Beltram arrested on suspicion of DUI causing the death or injury of another.

Police in Leggett looking for a man they say is connected to the death of another man over the holiday weekend. Police say someone reported a car on North Highway 1, just south of Leggett and a man, possibly in his 50’s, wearing a white jump suit and heavy logging style boots running from the scene with his legs on fire. The CHP, Leggett Valley Fire Dept. and Cal Fire went to the scene and put out the fire with the dead man inside the car with multiple bullet holes inside the van he was in. They say they also found a gun on the ground nearby. They’re investigating it as a possible murder and called SWAT out to help find the suspect seen running onto a private logging road. The man in the van’s family reported him missing.

The Ukiah City Council says yes to a possible merger of three agencies for more tourism. They’re interested in merging Visit Ukiah, the Ukiah Main Street Program and the Greater Ukiah Chamber of Commerce. The Daily Journal reports the Deputy City Manager asked the City Council for authorization to “continue the negotiations” between the trio of agencies. After that a formal proposal will be brought back to the City Council. The idea is to get rid of any redundancies and strengthen core missions. The City Council voted unanimously for staff to move forward with negotiations.

A local group has pitched in to rescue animals abandoned due to the Camp Fire. The North Valley Animal Disaster Group a nonprofit out of Butte County send volunteers to help shelter or evacuate animals caught in fires or other emergencies. Many from Sonoma County are searching for animals, putting out food and water for pets lost or scared. More than 2,000 animals sheltered or fostered after the fire. And the nonprofit had volunteers in Butte County to set up emergency shelters.

The Camp Fire is finally contained more than two weeks after it started. The deadliest and most destructive fire in Calif. history killed at least 85 people and destroyed 14,000 homes. The fire was declared 100% contained Sunday after starting Nov. 8th and burning more than 153,000 acres. Cal Fire reports more than 18,000 structures in total were destroyed. There are also still about 250 people reporting missing and thousands are without homes. Crews now in mop up phase, taking out any hazardous trees or other items before residents can go back in to burned out areas. No word when that will happen. There are a couple of storms lining up too, one expected tonight or tomorrow, another apparently stronger one by Thursday with fast moving winds and a heavier downpour.

More rain is forecasted for the week. The National Weather Service reports a series of storms lining up to start tonight into tomorrow. The first storm to last into Wednesday, then another from Thursday through Sunday, dousing dry land, but also bringing the threat of mud slides in burn areas. The temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s during the day and 30’s and 40’s overnight. There are also winds predicted, that could pack 35 mph gusts later in the week.

Fire victims from Santa Rosa have gifted the town of Paradise with a Christmas Tree. The town’s Welcome sign accompanied by the 12-foot noble fir adorned with solar-powered white lights. The gift from fire survivors of Coffey Park who lost their entire neighborhood in the October 2017 Tubbs Fire. More than 5,600 homes and buildings burned in the fire, which at that time was the most destructive in Calif. history. The Camp Fire has trumped it now. The same happened for the Coffey Park survivors from Valley Fire survivors. Last year the 2015 survivors brought a homemade Christmas sign to Coffey Park. 22 people died in the Tubbs Fire. 85 dead from the Camp Fire just over a year later.

A map by PG&E of the Camp Fire area apparently shows where the utility was planning to shut down power lines ahead of the deadly and destructive blaze. The map shows red lines over the towns of Paradise, Magalia and others showing distribution lines PG&E was planning to de-energize ahead of a high wind incident and dangerous fire conditions forecast for Nov. 8th. But it doesn’t show a power line that’s believed by some to have possibly gone off line or sparked at the time of the fire. Local media reports say the energy company was considering de-energizing a line near Concow which was out 17 minutes after the first reported fire. Then a second fire apparently started near that line.

Lakeport looking for two people to fill seats on the Lakeport Fire District Board of Directors. The City Council with a call for applicants so they can choose two people to sit on the board. You have to live in Lakeport city limits to apply. There are new procedures in the City of Lakeport so the City Council can approve two seats for appointment and the Board of Supervisors can appoint the remaining three from the unincorporated areas of the Lakeport Fire District.

(www.cityoflakeport. com). For additional information, please contact Hilary Britton, Deputy City Clerk, at 263-5615, Ext. 102, or by e-mail at hbritton@cityoflakeport.com.”

Correctional deputies doing a Thanksgiving Day headcount came up one short at the Mendocino County Jail. 26 year old Alexander Ramirez of Fort Bragg had climbed a fence, entering the interior perimeter of the jail. He had been missing for about 50 minutes when he was spotted on a rooftop around 7:20pm. The Mendocino County sheriff’s office along with the Ukiah Police Department secured a perimeter around the jail, and Ramirez surrendered. He was booked on additional charges of escape.

The official cause of the Camp Fire has not been announced, but California legislators are already drawing up legislation that would protect PG&E from liabilities related to the fire by passing costs along to customers. Some are criticizing the move, but Lawmakers say the legislation is needed to prevent lawsuits from destabilizing and bankrupting a large utility. When asked for comment, a PG&E spokesperson said that for now, their only focus is helping first responders and customers in the area rebuild. The bill could be introduced as early as December 3rd.

Residents impacted by wildfires have more help being connected to state and federal resources, as a second Disaster Recovery Center in Butte County is now open at 2140 Feather River Boulevard in Oroville. Hours of operation will be 9am to 7pm, seven days a week. FEMA will be on site, along with representatives from the State of California, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, providing information about services available. Residents who have suffered losses can register at www.disasterassistance.gov before heading to the center.

Aaron Rodgers was born and raised in Northern California, and has launched an effort to raise money to help in recovery efforts, donating $1 million dollars of his own money towards the recovery fund. He posted a video to twitter with the details. Meanwhile, the Butte County Emergency Operations Center has asked that material donations no longer be sent to them, as they have run out of space to store the donated items. The best way to help out now is by making monetary donations, which are being accepted by United way, The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, the North Valley Community Foundation and North Valley Animal Disasters group.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Registration says that taxes on marijuana have increased revenue to the state. The findings are based on returns through the end of last month, totaling over $93 million dollars. Growth was slower in Mendocino county. The Ukiah Daily Journal reports that based on taxable sales, returns for the county were $2,364,007.00. Much slower than projected, and growers are blaming regulations making cultivation difficult for the disappointing numbers.

The Emergency Prescription Assistance Program, managed by the US Department of Health and Human Services, is ready to help uninsured citizens affected by wildfires replace medications lost or damaged in fires, at no cost. A thirty day supply is available through the program, along with certain medical supplies and durable medical equipment. More information is available at www.phe.gov/epap

The Lake County Registrar of Voters office will be conducting a manual tally of 1% of randomly selected precincts starting on Monday at the Registrar of Voters office, starting at 9am. The public is welcome to observe, but will be asked not to interfere with the process.

A man returning home from work this week arrived to find a broken window, some of his belongings missing, and his front door wide open. The inside of the home on the 2400 block of Mill Creek Road in Talmage had been vandalized, and there was a stranger asleep on his couch. The homeowner, who was armed, called 911 and started going from room to room inspecting the house. When the homeowner returned to the living room, he was ambushed by the man on the couch, identified at 37 year old Marcus D Angelo Davis of Oakland. In the struggle, the homeowner shot Davis twice, holding him at gunpoint until the authorities arrived. Davis was arrested, and authorities are still investigating.

The holiday shopping season is officially underway as eager shoppers flock to local stores looking for Black Friday deals. Today also marks the launch of Mendocino Transit Authority’s Holiday Trolley, offering free rides through December 23rd. The antique trolley takes shoppers on an hour long trip from El Azteca Restaurant, to the Alex R Thomas Jr Plaza Downtown, and Raley’s on the north side. The trolley leaves hourly from noon until 6:45pm every Saturday and Sunday, and 3 p.m. to 5:45pm on Thursdays and Fridays.

Construction got underway this week on the “Ukiah On Ice” downtown skating rink which opens on December 1st, festively timed with the Parade of Lights. The rink will be open daily right up until it closes on January 6th. Hours of operation will be 3pm to 8pm Monday through Friday, 11am to 8pm Saturdays and 12pm to 5pm on Sundays. More info at www.cityofukiah.com/ukiah-on-ice

ARIANA GRANDE – BREATHIN
BENNY BLANCO, HALSEY & KHALID – EASTSIDE
MARSHMELLO & BASTILLE – HAPPIER
PANIC! AT THE DISCO – HIGH HOPES
NF – LIE
HALSEY – WITHOUT ME
BAZZI – BEAUTIFUL
KHALID – BETTER
LOVELY THE BAND – BROKEN
CAMILA CABELLO – CONSEQUENCES
DRAKE – DON’T MATTER TO ME
SILK CITY & DUA LIPA – ELECTRICITY
SHAWN MENDES & ZEDD – LOST IN JAPAN
LADY GAGA & BRADLEY COOPER – SHALLOW
TRAVIS SCOTT – SICKO MODE
POST MALONE – SUNFLOWER
ARIANA GRANDE – THANK U, NEXT
LSD – THUNDERCLOUDS
WHY DON’T WE – 8 LETTERS
DEAN LEWIS – BE ALRIGHT
LOUD LUXURY – BODY
ELLIE GOULDING & DIPLO – CLOSE TO ME
ZARA LARSSON – RUIN MY LIFE
DJ SNAKE – TAKI TAKI
CHAINSMOKERS – THIS FEELING
ALESSIA CARA – TRUST ME LONELY
AJ MITCHELL – GIRLS
LUKAS GRAHAM – LOVE SOMEONE
TWENTY ONE PILOTS – MY BLOOD
DAN + SHAY – TEQUILA
LAUV – THERE’S NO WAY
STEVE AOKI – WASTE IT ON ME