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Ukiah Valley Fire Authority responded to reports of smoke in a closed shuttered shop last week after a California highway patrol officer spotted what appeared to be a building fire. When crews arrived at the building in the 1200 block of North State Street, they found a 56 year old Ukiah man sleeping inside. He had been staying there for a couple of days and likely started the fire with a candle. He was arrested Saturday, and may face arson charges once an investigation determines the cause of the fire.

The merger of Visit Ukiah, The Ukiah Main Street Program and the Greater Ukiah Chamber of Commerce has been up for discussion for months now, and the merger has now gotten the thumbs up by the City of Ukiah. The organizations have similar missions along with overlapping board members, and have been looking at ways to merge while holding onto the most effective programs of each organization.

Lake County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 17,000 block of Morgan Valley Road in Lower lake on Saturday to find two bail bonds agents had fired shots at 40 year old Gregory Crumpler, who was wanted in Mendocino County on charges related to illegal drug sales. Crumpler had allegedly skipped out on bail and the bail bond agents had tracked him down. The shots were fired when the suspect jumped into the vehicle of one of the bail bond agents, and fled. Crumpler is still on the run, but the bail bond’s agents car was found about three miles away . Anyone with information in the case is asked to call central dispatch.

A decision is expected by March on the Mendocino College Student Housing Site Master Plan for on campus housing. The team has plans to visit the Ukiah Campus before the next board meeting on Feb 13th to provide more information and to get feedback. Three housing sites are currently being considered are the Campus Hilltop, the student center/baseball field option, and one near the solar field/entry road. The housing is expected to cost anywhere between $650 to 950 for two semesters.

Mass shootings like the one in November at Thousand Oaks Country bar are usually followed by rallies for tighter gun control, including laws like ones passed in California to raise the legal limit to buy a rifle to 21, initiatives to ban all high capacity magazines and require background checks. A new report out today may throw cold water on those efforts. According to the US Department of Justices Bureau of Justice statistics, nine out of every ten state and federal prisoners convicted of crimes using a firearm got their guns outside of legal avenues, reinforcing the idea that criminals don’t usually observe the law. The study says 43% of prisoners surveyed got their gun on the black market, 25% said they got their gun from a friend or family member, 10.1% said they got their weapon from a gun retailer, 7.5% from a store, 2% at a pawnshop and 1% from a gun show.

Lake and Mendocino county grape growers may be getting some extra help after the U.S. house passed a bill that would allow North Coast grape growers who had their grapes rejected by wineries last year, to tap emergency funds to compensate for losses from smoke taint. Losses total over $37 million in Lake county, according to the Lake County Wine grape Commission.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a shooting early Saturday morning in the 100 block of Concow Blvd in Covelo and were told by a woman that she had heard shots outside her home, and said that 24 year old Jessica Durazo of Covelo, had entered the home and threatened to kill a female family member. She left after residents told her to get out, breaking windows on a vehicle on her way. Deputies found shell casings outside of the home, and the suspect a a different home in the 76,000 block of Main in Covelo. Durazo was taken to the Mendocino County Jail on an outstanding warrant.

Cannabis is legal in the state of California, but California Highway patrol officers are still making arrests. About eight tons of cannabis was seized by troopers in 2018. A spokesperson for CHP said last week that anyone transporting cannabis in the state for commercial purposes must carry a license, and comply with regulations. State officers are still on the hunt for black market operators.

Alcohol and drugs don’t appear to be a factor in a crash that killed a 51 year old man on highway 101 in Willits on Friday. California Highway Patrol is investigating after 71 year old Ramon Machado drifted into the southbound lanes and hit a van driven by the 51 year old victim. Machado was also seriously injured and taken to Howard Memorial Hospital for treatment.

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