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The Ranch Fire burn area is still closed as forest officials say it’s too dangerous after recent rains. The Forest Order says the gates will stay locked to enforce the closure until July 1st. There’s a lot of work to do in the area so it’s safe. The order calls the area immense. The Forest Supervisor says the wet winter is delaying efforts to start hazard tree management work so they can drive around in the fire area. There’s flooding, debris flows, hazard trees and loss of ingress and egress along roads, trails, recreation areas, and facilities. Those who violate the order face a $5,000 fine, six months in jail or both.

There’s a new city manager in Clearlake. As Greg Folsom prepares to leave at the end of the month, his right hand person, Alan Flora will take over. The City Council and public members said goodbye to Folsom yesterday, then later in the night, the council voted unanimously for Flora to be the next city manager, effective March 28th. Flora’s been the assistant city manager and finance director and has been a deputy administrative officer for Lake County and worked in Mendocino County as assistant CEO. Folsom is headed to Suisun City to be their new City Manager. Flora’s getting a three-year deal with a possible extension of two more years.

Some Lake County offices are staying closed Fridays after the Board of Supervisors extended the policy for six months more. The vote was unanimous to continue the closures requested by County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson. She first requested the action last summer as a pilot program for six months so county departments could work on backlogs because of the job vacancy rate. There will be some days where the offices are open, the first, June 28th. The County’s job vacancy rate is at 22 percent currently. It was at 20 percent when the board first approved the closure pilot program.

The new Clearlake Animal Control Officer and a promoted cop take the oath of office. Sgt. Ryan Peterson and Animal Control Officer Willow Goldtooth sworn in to their positions. Sgt. Peterson’s been with Clearlake Police for 12 years or so. Lake Co News reports he’s gained a reputation of being one of the top detectives in Lake County. And Goldtooth was a part time Animal Control Division kennel technician until now.

Massive fire cut work being done by Cal Fire. Several areas have been identified as needing fire breaks in Lake County. One in the Rivieras said to be one of the most dangerous if a wildfire breaks out, because of limited evacuation routes. There are four fire breaks, of around 300-feet each being built in the Rivieras. They’re also constructing another to run the entire 11-mile length of Bottle Rock Road. The Record Bee reports there are now permanent professional firefighters year-round for fuel reduction work. As many as 4 dozen firefighters working on projects around the county.

A man from Potter valley accused in a fatal hit and run last November in court. Kirk Hamilton appeared for dates to be set in his trial. And he requested a new lawyer who filed and got a continuance. A second man charged with Hamilton, Phillip Harrison also charged with hit and run with death, vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, destroying evidence and providing false information to an officer. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Hamilton accused of driving his water truck into Carpenter’s car, and cops say then he and Harrison conspired to make the story different than fact. Harrison’s preliminary hearing is tentatively set for April 24th.

An approval for food trucks in Fort Bragg. The City Council adjusted some of the wording in the recently passed food truck ordinance. The Advocate reports the Community Development Director telling council members a couple of food truck businesses wanted to open immediately and there were members of the public and business owners who spoke at Monday night’s meeting, some concerned about downtown parking, others looking at relaxing some of the rules of the current food truck ordinance, like closing time. So now food trucks can stay open thru 2:30 AM to capture the bar crowd at closing, new locations are opened up and there’s a limit on loud music. It still needs a final vote.

The latest budget being worked on in the city of Fort Bragg showing rising pension payments. The mid-year budget review and work session held last week with a focus on the three major operating funds – general, water and wastewater enterprise. The workshop revealing just over 3 million in the general fund balance. There was about $9.2 in revenue and expenditures at $9.5 million with the ending balance in June at just under $3 million. The amount on pensions for employees to be spent in the new budget at $707,000 but next year it will jump to more than $931,000, then more than $1 million by fiscal year 2020/21. The City Manager has previously said they’re working on ways to reduce the budget and help with rising pension costs.

School may start late on Wednesdays in Fort Bragg. The School District is considering changing from early release to late start. The item first considered in January. Now the Schools Superintendent Becky Walker says they’re investigating further. There are currently 39 early release Wednesdays, and school staff says if they instead switch to a late start it would help their budget, namely the Kudos after-school program and nutrition services. The Kudos budget is going over the grant money they get by $60,000, but a late start would cut 70 to 80 hours of staff time so they wouldn’t have to cut into the general fund. And since kids would not leave early, the lunch program sales would rise. Some parents are against the idea though, but there wasn’t a lot of public comment at the last school board meeting.

A man in Fortuna busted for an attempted murder in Oregon. Derek Ray Johnson arrested Tuesday where he was hiding at a house. Police say he tried to run out a back door but police were waiting outside. He was taken to the Jackson County jail on a no-bail fugitive warrant for the attempted murder in Medford. Medford Police helped with his arrest along with the United States Marshals Service, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, and Central Point Police Department. Kym Kemp dot com reports this task force specializes in finding and arresting fugitives wanted for offenses including, but not limited to, murder, assault, sex crimes, failure to register as a sex offender, firearm violations, and probation violations.

Plowshares is expanding feeding the needy on Saturdays. The nonprofit feeding those less fortunate in their Community Dining Room. They also take out the daily Meals-on-Wheels for disabled seniors, delivering more than 200 free, hot, nutritious meals a day. The Saturday lunches will also be in their dining room and Meals on Wheels will also go out on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s the first time in their history they’ve provided Meals on Wheels seven days a week. They’re working now to provide meals in the dining room on Sundays too. The nonprofit has new leadership after going through five directors in eight years. Former Director Mary Buckley is the interim director. She’s been a Plowshares board member and executive director over 14 years total.

For more information about the executive director job opening, or to donate or volunteer for Plowshares, contact Mary Buckley at PlowsharesED or 707-462-8582.

A town in Australia graced with a giant bong, but some don’t want to see it. A local resident who makes bongs, you know the thing to smoke weed out of, says he just loves making bongs, using such things as dolls, plastic lobsters, vases and even exhaust pipes. Then he moved to the town of Woodenbong, south of Queensland and started making wooden bongs. He built one at just under five feet tall, saying it would bring a ton of tourists to town. But he’s got mixed response so he’s started a petition to get more support to display it out in the open. Those against say it goes against the culture of the town, Woodenbong, not the literal meaning apparently.

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