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More proactive work is wanted in wildlands ahead of the next fire season. California wildland managers looking to expedite the process for logging and prescribed burns. The goal is to cover a half million acres of land, not owned by the federal government, every year. There still may be roadblocks in the way of this sort of work though. There have to be reviews of projects in Calif to see if they’re harmful, but politicians of both parties say laws are sometimes getting in the way of necessary improvements. CalFire, the California Conservation Corps, and others who do management projects already have to first have an environmental review. The Cal Fire Director says it’s a more comprehensive approach.

The search is on for a new superintendent in the Konocti Unified School District. The current super, Donna Becnel is retiring the end of this school year. Lake Co News reports the district’s board of trustees is hiring an outside firm to help with the search, which could cost up to $12,000. There will be meetings with the board, community members and school employees for input on what everyone is hoping for in the next superintendent. Becnel is working with the recruitment firm too. They’re hoping to have a new superintendent chosen by May.

Five dams in the state are listed as needing removal. This from an advocacy group who want to preserve habitat for native salmon and steelhead and stem their extinction. Calif. Trout, a state nonprofit says 74 percent of California’s native salmon, steelhead and trout could be extinct in the next century. A new report outlines why the dams should be removed and which ones, including Scott Dam in Lake County, which forms Lake Pillsbury and part of the Potter Valley Project which PG&E had on the market, but just removed. The dam provides hydroelectricity, water storage and sends water into the Russian River too. They’ve also listed Cape Horn in Mendocino County.

A man from Newark has been arrested in Clearlake for the sexual assault of a child. Police say 31 year old David Johnson was arrested Saturday in Newark. He was in the Santa Rita Jail then taken to Lake County where he was being held yesterday on $1 million and he’s not due in court until Feb. 5th. Not a lot more information except that it involved a child under 10 years old.

Fire safety benefit zones are being created in the Rivieras area of Lake County. This means money will be raised from property owners in Clear Lake Riviera, Buckingham, Riviera West, and Riviera Heights to go to hazardous vegetation abatement and fire risk reduction. The property owners have to approve the move after the Lake County Board of Supervisors approval. There will be a simple majority of votes and a one-time assessment to create the safety zones. District 5 Supervisor Rob Brown says it could bring in about a half million dollars with the $100–$300 per-property fees to fund abatements. Property owners will get the ballots that have to be turned in by March 26th.

A group chat on the impacts of wildfires is being held at the Upper Lake Senior Support Center. The Lake Family Resource Center’s (Lake FRC) California HOPE project, and the Upper Lake Senior Support Center are hosting the Conversations for Community Resilience group chats the first and third Wednesdays of the month, so that would be next Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to noon. The talks are free and open to the public. The talks to share individual experiences along with resources, and learn how various community members handle disasters. It’s also to brainstorm what’s next and to learn self care approaches to support natural resilience. Services are provided thru a grant from Lake County Behavioral Health Services. For more information on Lake FRC California HOPE, visit www.lakefrc.org/calhope or www.Facebook.com/Lake FRC: California Hope or call 707-349-5203.

The governor has outlined ideas to get more housing in the state, calling it California’s most important issue. Newsom says he’ll find ways to move fast on new housing, but with realistic regional goals. He says it might mean no transportation help from the state’s new gas tax increase for areas needing more housing and said he’s considering reducing giant “impact fees” from local governments for housing construction and find ways for more housing especially in Silicon Valley, where the local government has already pledged a half-billion dollars for new housing. He’s also considering punishment for cities who don’t comply, the attorney general already suing Huntington Beach for not complying.

The University of California President going against the Trump administration’s changes to the way campuses are supposed to respond to sexual harassment and assault allegations. President Janet Napolitano responding to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent redo of the federal Title 9 law which they say would discourage victims from reporting abuse, limit what a school can do to prevent sexual misconduct and pretty much let students get away with assault. This all outlined in a letter Napolitano and the UC Title IX Coordinator wrote in a 14 page document to the fed calling the new rules unworkable. 90,000 public comments have been logged against the new rules, including the Cal. State University Chancellor who called it draconian.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has filed for bankruptcy and will head back to court on another matter, related to their equipment failures and the possible connection to massive, deadly wildfires across the state. A judge in the case is set to hear arguments today after he told the utility company to trim all trees around power lines and examine all lines and shut down power in high wind conditions. The judge is overseeing the case of the criminal conviction against the utility after the San Bruno gas line explosion in 2010. The work the judge says would be like a probationary period for the company and to prevent more wildfires.

The Lakeport Fire District Chief says he’s out… Doug Hutchison has been offered the job as the chief of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and is leaving Lakeport next month. He said there were rumors for a while and even though the formal offer wasn’t done, he was leaving to actively pursue other options. He did say however that he wasn’t actively pursuing other positions, but said he has to do what’s best for his family. He’s been with the Lakeport dept. since 2014 after leaving a position in Washington State. The Lakeport Dept. has major changes over the last few years with only a couple full time firefighters on staff. In Ukiah, there’s been a temporary Fire Authority Administrator. The dept. shares joint powers authority with the City of Ukiah’s fire department.

A local kidney doctor in Lakeport, is accused of sex assault of a coworker. Mohamad Moutaz Almawaldi was in court but has not in jail after his lawyer asked for a continuance. Almawaldi has pleaded not guilty to charges from more than a year ago, accusing him of an assault from Aug. of 2017. A woman working in his Lakeport office saying he had tried to kiss her, forcefully and pulled at her shirt. He was arrested in the case in November of 2017 with bail set at $20,000 which he paid and got out of jail. He’s due back in court in March with a jury trial set for April.

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