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Monthly Archives: April 2019

It’s been more than two years since the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland where 36 concert goers died and the jury has been seated in their case. Derick Almena and Max Harris are in jail, the two locked up since they were arrested in June of 2017 for the December 2016 inferno. Court papers say prosecutors blame Almena for illegally converting the old building into an entertainment and art space that was not licensed for that. Opening statements are expected next week. The two pleaded no contest last summer as part of a deal, but the judge said no after objections from the families of the victims. Plus the judge didn’t feel Almena showed remorse.

The Mendocino County Executive office reminding as many as 2 million people have some kind of serious mental illness and are in prison in the country. In Mendocino County, it happens, but the county says it’s trying to reduce the amount of people with mental illness in local jails. They’re reporting working with the Mendocino County National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), for their first ever community forums to discuss local efforts. There are two, the first, next Wednesday, May 8, at the Ukiah Veterans Hall, and the following day, May 9 in Fort Bragg at the Veterans Hall there. They start both days with an Educational Session at 1:00 pm and go to 5, then there’s a Public Forum from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

If you would like to learn more about this issue, and what is being done locally, please join us at one of the events above. To RSVP, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MendocinoSteppingUp. For more information on the National Stepping Up Initiative, please visit https://stepuptogether.org.

For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441

A housing project long planned for the north end of Ukiah on Lovers Lane has moved another step closer. The developer on the project has reportedly received confirmation from the Sanitation District there can be sewer service for the more than 120 new homes. The project manager for the developer went before the Sanitation District’s board of directors to get permission so they can move ahead with their environmental impact report. The Daily Journal reports the developer confirmed they got permission for 160 Equivalent Sewer Service Units. The developer, Vineyard Crossing has 123 lots, but they’ve still not figured out how many bedrooms there will be in the units.

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The homeless shelter open for the winter in Ukiah has closed. The South State Street location is closing tomorrow with no word on daytime services returning to the new Redwood Community Services facility in the same location. The Daily Journal reporting an announcement recently at a City Council meeting was just that the daytime services would start sometime after the winter shelter closed, but they’ve not said when, or what services they will offer. Apparently there’s still some construction going on for the new facility, which started April 1st. It’s previously been described as a year-round hub for the homeless to have restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a resource room, and non-commercial food preparation area and more.

Measles is spreading into an epidemic with schools crossing across the country. And now a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are more than 700 reported cases of the virus in the country, and 78 in the last week. There are some reported in California too, after it was believed the disease was completely wiped out in the year 2000. California has had four outbreaks from folks who reportedly traveled outside the United States. There are nine jurisdictions with outbreaks in the United States, three are in California, in 11 counties.

A little rockin’ and rollin’ in Mendocino County. An earthquake reported yesterday, very early in the morning. The 4.3 on the Richter scale hit just after midnight Monday morning. The United States Geological Survey reports the earthquake was centered around six miles north-northwest of Redwood Valley. There were no reports of injuries or major damage anywhere. But there were shake reports out of Mendocino County, and in northern Sonoma County.

A new Superintendent of Schools has been named in Kelseyville. The School District Board agreed to hire Rebecca Salato who will start the job in Donna Becnel’s place July 1st. Becnel is retiring at the end of this school year. The school board president announced at their last meeting that they had a search firm help them find Becnel’s replacement, then some community members, staff and students helped decide out of 14 candidates, who was the best fit. Salato’s hire was unanimous.

A mountain lion wandering around a shopping mall in Santa Rosa has been caught. The animal near the Santa Rosa Plaza shopping mall Monday morning around dawn. It took several hours to corner the animal and use tranquilizer darts on it to remove it from the area. Wildlife officials say it probably found its way to the area from the nearby Santa Rosa Creek, hanging out in some bushes near Macy’s.

Those affected by the early closure of the Dungeness Crab season a couple years ago finally getting help from the federal government. About 25.6 million in federal disaster aid for the 2015-16 commercial season for North Coast fishing communities is coming by June 1st. That according to Reps. Jared Huffman and Jackie Speier. About 23 million directly to crabbers and seafood processors. It comes as there’s an early closure this year too after a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity.

A woman from Ukiah’s been arrested after a head on crash on Highway 20. CHP officers say Gabriela Garcia was driving a Nissan Altima westbound on Hwy 20 near Scotts Valley Road and because she was drunk, she let her car go over the center yellow lines and into the path of a 2006 Dodge Dakota on the other side of the highway and they crashed head on. The other driver was able to get out of his car but complained of body pain. Garcia was said to be “unresponsive”. The two drivers taken to a hospital and Garcia charged with felony driving under the influence. The other driver had moderate injuries, and Garcia’s injuries were described as major.

The yearly burn ban in Lake County is starting ahead of the next wildfire season. The burn ban starts tomorrow for all open waste burning, there are some exemptions though for agricultural operations, essential control burns for fire hazard reduction, public safety burns, and more. For those who need an extension, they have to call the Lake County Air Quality Management District and local Fire Agency for an inspection of where the burn will occur. Those without an exemption who burn could get a ticket, be fined, and pay costs if a fire gets out of control.

Getting strict on those with overgrown brush or vegetation in the city of Clearlake. It’s fire season again and with that, the city is looking to property owners to pitch in and make sure their properties are free of overgrown vegetation and fire hazards. Starting tomorrow the Police Department Code Enforcement Bureau is starting their strict enforcement. And those who fail to abide, will be cited for a violation. The vegetation or brush has to be cut to 4 inches or less. Any overhanging trees have to have a minimum clearance of 4 feet or greater from the ground. Then all of the cut vegetation has to be taken off the property. They’ll also be watching for any firewood or ignition sources and combustible materials to be stored properly as well.

For additional information or to file a request for investigation, please contact Code Enforcement Technician Jan Brejska at 707-995-8251, Extension 309, or by email at jbrejska .

The governor of Calif signing an executive order so staffers start to come up with a new program for a state-wide climate-resilient water system. The order to cover unsafe drinking water, flood risks threatening public safety, groundwater aquifers, sketchy water supplies in agricultural communities and native fish populations threatened with extinction. The governor says for the work, they’ll need to reach out to those the best in their field, in science, engineering and innovators to help ensure long-term water resilience and ecosystem health.

A man from Mexico busted after he gets trapped in a hole he dug to spy on his ex-girlfriend. That was against a court order he stay away from the woman. The Sonora state attorney general’s office reported the 50-year-old man was digging the hole in the Gulf of California, outside Mexico City, then got stuck and needed help getting out. The tunnel to the woman’s home. She told cops she heard scratching noises but thought it was from cats, then investigated and found her ex trapped. The man found intoxicated and severely dehydrated.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in Lakeport a success. Lake Co News reports on the event. The police chief telling the news site there was a steady stream of community members dumping nearly 100 pounds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs with the agency. He says a lot of the drugs were dangerous controlled substances including opioids. If the drugs are just flushed or otherwise, not disposed of correctly, they can be dangerous to children and the environment. The chief goes on to say over the last four months, they’ve collected more than 248 pounds of prescription drugs from the community.

A cause has finally been reported for the 2018 Pawnee Fire in Lake County last summer. Cal Fire reports it was target shooting that caused the fire last June in eastern Lake County that destroyed 22 structures and burned 15,000 acres. One person was also injured in the fire. Cal Fire investigators working with the Lake County Sheriff’s office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, and Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety for the determination. As part of their public statement on the Pawnee Fire, Cal Fire also reminds the public to stay safe while shooting targets, putting targets on dirt or gravel, shoot in areas free of dry vegetation—and avoid shooting on hot windy days.

Three miles along Highway 29 in Lake and Napa counties is reopened after an accident closed it for almost an entire day. Last Thursday morning a fuel tanker with gasoline on board rolled on Highway 29 just north of Calistoga which ended in the highway being closed in both directions, backing up traffic for nearly the whole day. The driver of the tanker wasn’t hurt and the gasoline was siphoned out of the tanker so it could be moved. The highway didn’t open again until Friday.

The Mt. Konocti fire lookout tower is about to open again. Local volunteers will man the tower with a training day set for new volunteers and to remind those who’ve worked it before, what the procedures are. Volunteers will set their schedule for either five or eight hour shifts and watch for smoke in the air. If so, they then radio Cal Fire dispatch directly.

Those interested in volunteering to serve at least one day a month are encouraged to call tower leader Ric Abrams, 245-4171, or chairman Jim Adams, 245-3771.

A man wanted for a couple of shootings in No. Cal. has been caught in Nevada. Police say they also suspect Stefon Jefferson was to blame for a third murder Friday in People’s Park in Berkeley. The man was arrested Friday night in connection with a morning shooting in Oakland, another in the afternoon in San Francisco and now police at Cal Berkeley say he’s a suspect in the People’s Park shooting too. He was arrested near South Lake Tahoe Friday night after a high-speed chase and shootout with cops.

A busy day for the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority. More than a dozen calls last Friday, two inside homes. Lake Co News reports crews responded to one home, half on fire, and by the time they started their response, ¾’s of it had burned. They saved a dog, but nobody else was there. Another fire around the corner from that one in the Costco parking lot where the owner of the vehicle had several electrical items plugged into the vehicle’s battery and it overheated, melted and caused a fire. A dog in the van was pulled to safety by a bystander. Another house fire that evening in someone’s kitchen, but it was out before firefighters got there.

A special meeting for the Ukiah City Council regarding “emergency repairs” for infrastructure hit hard at the water treatment facility in the heavy winter rains. The meeting tonight to discuss what they’re referring to as time-sensitive needed repairs on the backwash basins at the water plant. The city’s director of water and sewer says pressure relief valves were working properly so they’re not sure why the basins cracked during the storms. He also says they can’t run the water treatment facility without them. The special meeting at 5 p.m. tonight in council’s chambers.

A new report by the USA Today Network in Calif. says there needs to be work done on evacuation routes due to wildfires. The report after the Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise where more than 27,000 residents tried escaping creating a major traffic backup. The report says the fire brought to light that roads in Calif have not been designed for an abrupt, mass evacuation. It goes on to say as many as 350,000 Californians are living in places with the highest wildfire risk designation, plus have the same number or fewer exit routes per person as Paradise.

Water diverted for people in Paradise has become a problem since the Camp Fire. 9 miles of PG&E’s Upper Miocene Canal was either destroyed or damaged. About two dozen residents taking water directly out of local sources are affected. But there may be a thousand parcels also affected. So the county Department of Water and Resource Conservation is applying for grants to see how many were actually affected by the fire’s damage on the Canal.

A trial set for a high school principal in Willits now isn’t happening due to a settlement. Michael Colvig pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of being a mandated child abuse reporter who failed to make mandated reports as required by law. So for the next three years he has to comply with terms of the settlement which includes preparing reports for the school, the D-A and school employees on the duties and obligations of mandated reporters and what happens for non-compliance. He also has to donate $800 a year, for three years to the Willits Center for the Arts Kids’ Art Camp.

Someone selling a Vietnam era military ordnance from Fort Bragg on Craigslist gets the attention of the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies investigated last week, finding it was an inert explosive. The seller apparently got two pieces from a relative who had died and was a veteran. The seller thought they were inert. Deputies reached out to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office EOD Unit and the Beale U.S. Airforce Base EOD Unit. One piece could not be confirmed for sure as being inert so the area was evacuated and personnel from Beale came to the area, finding it was not inert so they took it away, it was turned into an unusable and unrepairable device.

A prescribed burn has been planned on the Covelo Ranger District, so that means smoke will be seen in the air in the area. The burn will be part of the Baseball wildlife habitat improvement and fuels reduction project initiated in 2017 in partnership with the Mendocino County Blacktail Association and the Mule Deer Foundation today. They’ll burn about 140 acres, about 15 miles east of Covelo and warn smoke may be seen around Mendocino Pass, Eel River and Atchison campgrounds.

Progress continues on the cleanup of the Camp Fire in Northern Calif. and a couple of other fires that started around the same time in Southern Calif., the Woolsey and Hill Fires. The State’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program reports pulling more than 700,000 tons of debris from damaged properties. They’ve hit nearly 1,400 home sites in the Camp Fire zone, clearing more than 450,000 tons of debris removed from the fire impacted area. They’ve finished phase I with Household Hazardous Waste removal done on more than 13,000 parcels, and 8,350 home sites were assessed in Phase II. They continue to monitor air quality at several areas around Paradise.

The Quebec hamburglar is at it again. Cops in Montreal say the thief has stolen more than $2,000 worth of meals at various McDonald’s in the city. Another man in Toronto apparently got stuck with the bill because the burger burglar somehow got access to his app. More than 100 meals ordered for pick-up between April 12 and 18, including McFlurries, Big Macs, Chicken McNuggets and poutine, a French fry dish. There were apparently other victims too, and possibly other crooks. Nobody caught and no word if the hamburglar showed up to get the food.

A man traveling thru Ukiah reportedly gets into an argument with his partner and ends up arrested for domestic violence. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept. reports Brian Gard and a female were headed north on the 101 near Ukiah when they got into a fight. The woman asked Gard to stop so she could get out, but says he threatened to kill her if she got out of the car. She called 911 to report the incident. Gard was arrested for criminal threats and he was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was being held on $20,000.00 bail.

A man’s been arrested in Covelo after a car was reported driving recklessly. A traffic stop by a Mendocino deputy and the driver gets out and starts walking to a house. He’s identified as Colter Reynolds who police say was acting defiantly towards them. The deputy went after Reynolds, forcing entry into the home. The deputy says Reynolds threw a piece of wood from the back door of the home at him, hitting him in the legs, he was not injured though. The deputy caught up to Reynolds and found suspected cocaine in Reynolds clothing. He was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on $15,000.00 bail for felony resisting or threatening officer and possession of controlled substance.

A bill being considered by California lawmakers to force cities into making sure there’s more homes around public transit moves another step forward. Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco drafted the legislation which passed thru the Senate Governance and Finance committee Wednesday. But Senator Mike McGuire, the chair of the committee says a one size fits all approach across the state won’t really work. Some of the wording was changed by Wiener ahead of the vote so that counties with less than 600,000 people didn’t have to strictly follow the guidelines set out here. The bill has an uphill battle though, with some cities calling it an encroachment on local control.

Fort Bragg Police reaching out to the public for help finding a missing man. Duane Lawrence vanished in January, after calling his family. He’s considered homeless and was thought to be camping in Fort Bragg before he disappeared. He’s described as being about 5 foot, 9, 180 pounds. Police say the last time he was seen, he had short brown thinning hair and a full grey beard. They go on to say he may or may not be wearing glasses. Anyone with information about where Lawrence may have been camping, or where he is now is asked to call the police dept.

Contact Sergeant O’Neal at (707) 961- 2800 ext. 120 or by e-mail at toneal. Anonymous tips may be left at anonymous Crime Tip Hotline at (707) 961-3049.

Police arrest a man from Vacaville after a stolen car turns up in Laytonville. Mendocino Deputies got a call Wednesday to suspicious circumstances at a fast food restaurant and get reports Billy Nelson was trying to get into car doors. They then got a “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) for a stolen 2014 white Toyota Tacoma pickup which was just stolen from the fast food joint. Cops saw cell phone video of Nelson trying to get into cars in the parking lot. Turns out it was his friend’s truck, they left it running outside the restaurant and Nelson took off in it. It was found nearby, and Nelson was arrested at a bar close to it. He’s charged with car theft and was being held in jail on $15,000.00 bail

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports having Narcan on hand now. That’s the drug known as an antidote to an overdose. It’s a nasal spray to protect those who O-D on opioids. The Sheriff’s office reports dosage units have been given to employees as part of their assigned personal protective equipment. A state report on Opioid Overdoses shows Mendocino County 3rd per capita in all opioid overdose deaths. The nose spray is known for reversing opioid overdose situations in adults and children.

A driver pulled over for shining their brights into a Lake County Sheriff’s patrol car on Highway 20 in Nice. The deputy found Jose Villela of Kelseyville behind the wheel, was on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) for sales of a controlled substance. So they searched his car and found a couple ounces of meth and another half ounce of heroin on him. Plus they say there was a tiny bit of suspected cocaine hidden behind an air vent in the vehicle. He’s arrested for Possession of Controlled Substance and Narcotics for Sale, Transportation of Controlled Substance and Narcotics, and Violation of Post Release Community Supervision. Villela remains in custody on a no bail hold.

Trying to get a new apartment building in Ukiah filled up with tenants. The property management company says they’ve been getting great support from the City of Ukiah and Mendocino County to fill the 72-unit apartment complex on Brush Street near Orr Street. The Daily Journal reports winter weather stopped construction a bit, but they’re hoping to fill the building this summer. The project part of the Corp. for Better Housing are a mixture of two, three and four bedroom units. They’re funded by tax credits and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for farmworkers and their families.

For more information on how to apply, contact Marie Espinoza at 707-530-9735, or Rojas at 530781-3839.

A man in Ukiah, visiting the area from New York says he was stabbed in the Home Depot parking lot. Police say the 23-year-old in the parking lot of the store in a White Jeep Grand Cherokee rental with a couple of friends Wednesday, recording a rap video on their cell phones. They say the men were smoking pot and flashing cash in the video when they were rammed by another truck with nearly a dozen Hispanic males inside. The victim got out of his rental and was reportedly stabbed multiple times and his friends drove off, leaving him there. He ran to the Home Depot for help. His friends went to get help. Police say none of them or the victim were helpful giving a description of what happened. The victim treated and released from the hospital and cops still seeking answers.

Anyone with additional information about this incident is urged to contact the UPD at 707-463-6262.

An update from the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council to the Board of Supervisors on their work last year and ahead of the next fire season. The council’s goal is to have everyone, including residents and businesses prepared for wildfires in Mendocino County. They’ve been busy too, hiring a part time coordinator, elected a new board of directors, trying to get new members and reactivate former members and volunteers and work with other Fire Safe Councils. Plus they’re trying to get grants to pay to reduce fuels in Willits and Ukiah. They’re working on other items ahead of this fire season including helping underserved communities, hazardous tree removal and vegetation management.

Public comment being accepted in Fort Bragg on underwater naval testing and training exercises. The U.S. Navy will have representatives at Dana Gray Elementary School next Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. for a Q&A on the matter. It’ll be noted in the 2015 Northwest Training and Testing Final Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement. The Navy’s comment period on the plan was extended until the middle of June. You can find the report at the Fort Bragg Library and Redwood Coast Senior Center, or online at www.NWTTEIS.com. Comments can be submitted through the website or by mail to:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
Attention: NWTT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager
3730 N. Charles Porter Ave.
Building 385, Admin, Room 216
Oak Harbor, WA 98278-3500

Dana Gray Elementary School is located at 1197 E. Chestnut St., Fort Bragg.

More money for staffers in the Lakeport Unified School District. The governing board says yes for salary increases, plus they also started their negotiations for the sale of the district’s North Main property, the old Natural High. The property closed for several years on North St. The interim Superintendent of Schools will take care of the deal. The board also approved the 2.75 percent retroactive increase for their salaries this year and another 2.75 percent increase next year.

Scrutiny for inmate fire crews from Lake and Solano counties to make sure they’re ready for the next wildfire season. A two-day “readiness exercise” in Lower Lake next Tuesday and Wednesday with Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit fire crews from Konocti Conservation Camp in Lower Lake and Delta Conservation Camp in Suisun City with Cal Fire. The nine fire crews from a couple of conservation camps to be tested on physical conditioning, firefighting knowledge, fire safety and personal protective gear. There’s more than 150 firefighters involved.

An old solar garden in Hopland will feature a marijuana museum now. Real Goods Solar Living Center is being sold to Flow Kana. The 12-acres along Highway 101 has long been a stop off for folks to wander thru sustainable gardens and solar demonstrations and learn about off-the-grid living, with as many as 200,000 visitors a year. Flow Kana says they’re hoping to have even more visitors after they revitalize some of the property, adding a cannabis museum but stay with the original mission to teach people about sustainable living.

Another workshop for the public to help the city of Ukiah figure out what kind of housing should be developed. The Daily Journal reports the workshop today to gather public comment on the plan. The city’s Community Development Director says they’re hoping the public will drive the process, especially the implementation of the Housing Element. Last month’s workshop had a good turnout. Some of the items discussed included how to conserve, rehabilitate, and improve existing housing so there’s adequate, safe, sustainable, and decent housing for all Ukiah residents. The meeting tonight at 5:30 at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center at 200 S. School Street.

More money for several agencies in Mendocino County. The Board of Supervisors said yes to fee increases at the Cultural Service Agency, Environmental Health, Department of Planning and Building Services, the Cannabis Management Unit, and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. It barely passed the supervisors, but the changes are being added to the county Master Fee Schedule. It comes after the Executive Office of the County said the agency fees had not reached full cost recovery levels so the General Fund had been subsidizing them, especially in the area of Cannabis, where proposed fee changes are being discussed for permits, licenses, and applications.

Repairs continue after the massive rains this winter. The City of Ukiah working at the water plant and wastewater treatment plant which were damaged in the winter rains. The city’s director of water and sewer says the most urgent need was a fix for the back wash basins at the water plant, which he says both cracked because they had water in them. He says their pressure-relief valves were working properly but broke anyway. They also need to find someone to repair them after gathering estimates.

Prescribed burn happening on privately owned land by Cal Fire’s Mendocino Unit, so you may see some smoke in the sky. The prescribed burn about 6 miles west of the City of Ukiah, between Robinson Creek Road and Low Gap Roads. They’re starting this morning at about 10 a.m. and will work thru approximately 5 p.m. It’s part of the Vegetation Management Program (VMP) project during certain climatic conditions to make sure they can control the burn and minimize air quality and other impacts. The burn will be canceled if weather is not favorable.

Five hospital operators including Sutter Health and Adventist have been approached to buy in or completely take over Mendocino Coast District Hospital. The Press Democrat says the board approached five hospital operators, including Sutter and Adventist due to financial hardship on the hospital in Fort Bragg. The interim CEO says small standalone rural hospitals across the country and California are struggling and having difficult financial times which will only get worse. The CEO going back to the board for an extension on getting possible buyer interest from May 10th to May 17th instead.

A settlement’s been reached in the 2014 murder of a Clearlake man who may have been killed because of illegal cannabis. The state attorney general’s office agreed to a plea deal with Gary Williams, copping a plea to voluntary manslaughter with a gun for the murder of Guillermo Figueroa. With that agreement, several other counts are dismissed. Williams will be sentenced May 6th in the case. The reason the Calif. Atty. General was handling the case was because the former County D-A, Don Anderson’s family members had been named as possible witnesses. Jury selection and motions in the case started last month, but days before the trial itself was to start, Williams agreed to a deal. He faces a 16-year sentence and has already been in jail 2 and a half years.

The latest State of the Air Report by the American Lung Association has been released and it’s looking good again for Lake County, even after massive wildfires. The grades are like a report card, A thru F, with many Calif. regions getting F’s. But Lake County got an “A” grade for ozone and a “C” for short-term particulate pollution. The County was also noted as the 15th Cleanest County in the Country for yearly particulate average concentrations. The “C” grade was due to wildfires in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The report does not include the 2018 Mendocino Complex or the Camp fires.

Lakeport police reaching out to the public to get help finding who’s responsible for all of the graffiti popping up in the downtown area. Between 3 and 4 a.m. yesterday, the city got hit again. They say those responsible have been repeatedly vandalizing the same buildings and businesses after they were already cleaned up. They’re asking anyone with info to call the police station, send a private Facebook message or a text to “TIP LAKEPORT” with a message to the number “888777.”

The deadline’s been announced in Clearlake for outdoor cannabis cultivation permits. The city’s not allowing any outdoor growing without permits which you can get at the Clearlake Police Department through the end of the business day next Tuesday, April 30th. It’s $250 for the yearly permit to allow outdoor cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at a time. Cities can determine their own regulations, so Clearlake says due to increasing fees to cultivate indoors and health and safety risk factors, they are allowing up to six marijuana plants to be grown outside with certain restrictions and guidelines.

The Mendocino County DA’s office reporting on a man accused locally of crimes going down in New Jersey for murder. On the DA’s Facebook page, the story of Caleb or Kai Lawrence McGillvary who’s been found guilty of murder. He had been known as Kai the Hitchhiker at one time. Now it’s as a convicted murderer for the beating death of 73-year old Joseph Gafly. He says it was self defense and says he was drugged and sexually assaulted and didn’t call police because he was afraid of being deported.

The City of Lakeport reports on road fixes on 2nd Street between Main and Park, using SB1 funds. The money from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 from the state gasoline and diesel fuel tax and increased vehicle registration fees. The money gets divvied up between cities and counties to fix roads. The Public Works Director in Lakeport says the city’s getting about $85,000 from the tax this year, added to the current estimated gas tax fund of $79,000 gets the city just under $164,000.

PG&E gets permission to dole out $235 million in bonuses to around 10,000 employees during bankruptcy, against the wishes of wildfire survivors. The bonuses have been a source of contention during bankruptcy proceedings as the utility company tries to wind its way thru court proceedings. The US Bankruptcy Judge said it would be unfair for thousands of employees to suddenly not be compensated. The company filed for bankruptcy in January and listed $51.69 billion in debts due to climbing liabilities and wildfire related claims from fires in 2015, 2017 and 2018. The utility company already convicted criminally related to the San Bruno explosion that killed eight people nearly a decade ago.

A man in Lake County wanted for sex abuse of a minor in Newark has a court appearance. David Calvin Johnson’s lawyer asking for a continuance on the preliminary hearing date by one week because of outstanding discovery. The deputy D-A on the case agreeing to provide the discovery. Besides two counts of oral copulation with a minor, Johnson’s charged with harmful material sent to a minor, lewd acts (with victim under 14 years), annoy/molest child under 18 years and indecent exposure after reports in January of the assault. He’s pleaded not guilty in the case and denied special allegations. The preliminary hearing now set for April 29th.

A man and woman in Willits are arrested after a traffic stop turns up meth. Willits police report pulling over John Denny who had a warrant out for his arrest, when they were detaining Denny, they say they uncovered a ½ pound of methamphetamine in the car. The arresting officer noted the way the meth was packaged showed it was for sale. A woman with Denny, Latoya Hoaglen was also arrested for possession of meth, possession of a meth pipe and violation of probation, but she was cited and released. Denny was booked into jail for possession of meth for sale and for an outstanding warrant.

A parrot has been arrested in Brazil after a police raid to find crack dealers. Police say the bird was taught to tell the dealers if cops were coming. The parrot was taken on Monday after cops came into a drug den in a low income community. Cops say as soon as they got close, the parrot started screaming. A reporter on the story went to visit the bird behind bars, saying it kept its beak shut after its arrest. The drug trafficking parrot, as they’re calling it has been turned over to a local zoo for three months to learn to fly, then will be released.

A family floating down the Russian River gets stuck in some brush in hot weather and has to be rescued. A nun in a full-length habit jumped into the river to help the family of four. Mom, dad and their two sons, 8, and 10. They went in on a kayak and some tubes west of Guerneville near Vacation Beach, and one of them overturned. The Press Democrat reports they called for help as the river was moving very fast and the four had no life vests on. Three nuns from Turlock saw them and one jumped into help, but then got stuck herself. All five were saved after a chopper with a 100‑foot rescue line hooked up.

A trip to the emergency room may not allow you a choice of hospital and if your insurance will cover out-of-network providers. But Tuesday, the State Assembly Committee on Health passed legislation to change that, making sure patients only pay their co-pay and deductible, even at an out-of-network facility, and cap the amount hospitals can charge out-of-network. Nicki Pogue ended up at an emergency room with bronchitis and says she had a massive bill, calling it “balance billing”, and says that’s unconscionable.

"When you are suffering from life-threatening symptoms, the last thing you should be thinking about is whether or not your hospital is considered in-network. To receive a bill for $13,000 – that, you know I was responsible for $10,000 of – was stunning."

Pogue gave input for the legislation. Hospital networks have said the changes outlined in A-B 1611 would be a major blow to their finances.

After five months of fighting, Pogue’s insurance company paid her bill. But she says many other patients face financial ruin for something they couldn’t control. Pogue hopes changing the law would spur insurance companies and hospitals to negotiate lower rates.

"It gives room for the insurance companies and the hospitals to meet somewhere in the middle, and to cut the patient out of it. I mean, that’s the problem, right now – the patient is in the middle, and if you don’t have the resources to fight it, you get left holding the bill."

Tag: A-B 1611 now goes to the Appropriations Committee.

Two men accused of robbing a Subway sandwich shop in Ukiah late last year have been arrested. Ukiah police say 20-year-old Dorian Coon of Willits went to the Subway with a bunch of teenagers, demanded cash and threatened two employees with a possible firearm. The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office says it was actually a BB gun but Coon was still charged with robbery, kidnap for robbery and false imprisonment. They say his accomplice, 19-year-old Alexander Romero, also from Willits is charged in the case too. A customer in the restaurant shot Coon, but they’re not identified or charged in the case. They had 3 teens in the car waiting for them. The duo finally arrested for the December caper and held on $450,000 bail each.

A man from Laytonville who died in a solo car crash on the 101 has been identified. The California Highway Patrol reports Kristopher Linsdau was killed after his Chevy Tahoe, which witnesses say was traveling at a high rate of speed Saturday morning missed a curve and went off the highway. His Tahoe overturned and Linsdau was ejected from the vehicle. Officers say he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and died from his injuries.

A homeless man from Ukiah’s been arrested after police say he hit a woman in the head with a rock. Police say they got a call Saturday morning near Safeway on Main Street after reports a white Mercedes tried running down a man with red hair. When officers were on their way there were more calls about a woman being attacked nearby. They found the red-haired man, identified as David Maupin and arrested him for assault with a deadly weapon, mayhem, and violating his probation. Witnesses say a woman was trying to walk across the street when Maupin hit her, then another man came up and hit Maupin with a rock and knocked him down, ripping part of his ear off and fracturing his rib. The woman had a major injury to the back of her head, but was treated at the scene and released.

A busy weekend for Lake County law enforcement. The Easter holiday weekend featured some arrests in Clearlake and Clearlake Oaks for driving and gun-related incidents. The Record Bee reports while a patrolling deputy was out Sunday afternoon he saw a black BMW in Clearlake Oaks on Highway 20 passing a tractor trailer over double yellow lines, driving about 100 miles per hour and took chase, the BMW reported stolen then crashed after the driver lost control. Austin Schweitzer of Lakeport seen running from the car was on probation and arrested here again. This time for felony evading and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Elsewhere, Clearlake Police arrested a man for having a partially concealed gun while a convicted felon. That guy was arrested for the concealed firearm and resisting arrest.

The final tournament of the year at Clear Lake for Crappie fishermen. The Clear Lake Crappie Association with the tournament Saturday at Redbud Park in Clearlake. The winners get $1,000 if the field reaches 75 teams. Over the last month several anglers report catching pretty big crappie, around 3 pounds or more. There are also family friendly events the day of the tournament, a free kids fishing derby.

Volunteers are invited to come help repair fire damaged recreation facilities and trails in Cow Mountain. The Bureau of Land Management Ukiah Field Office with Friends of Cow Mountain working this weekend in the South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area all day Saturday and Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. The area’s been closed ever since the Mendocino Complex fires. They’re putting in new trail markers, signs, digging new culverts and erosion control features; constructing barriers; repairing and working on trail maintenance and completing trail surveys. It means some hiking, digging, hauling and moving rocks and other heavy items. Those who want to stay over night can camp there.

A Senate committee has voted to move a measure forward to require those building homes to make it tougher to get them approved in high risk fire areas. If it is approved, it would mean developers have to increase fire protections, plan for evacuations, and local governments would be required to build homes with materials less likely to catch fire. It comes after the Camp Fire last year and the October firestorm of 2017. Some developers are against the legislation saying it would make housing production too expensive, and that fewer homes would end up being built. But lawmakers are trying to move legislation forward to protect vulnerable homes and meet housing construction needs. Last year the state’s retiring chief firefighter said homes shouldn’t be built in high risk areas, but Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said he’s against that.

Rent control advocates at it again. The initiative the Rental Affordability Act could go to voters next year. Something similar failed last year. Now some argue again it would discourage producing new rentals and make the housing shortage worse, but those supporting the idea say more rent control would help the state’s most vulnerable tenants so they don’t get priced out of their homes.

A proposed bill to keep bars open until 4 AM in some Calif. cities another step closer. It would give the cities including Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and West Hollywood the ability to extend last call hours from 2 a.m., where it is now, to 4 a.m. instead. It wouldn’t mean these cities automatically change the last call time, but they’d have the ability to, if they wanted to. There are many other cities across the U-S with similar laws including Chicago, Washington, DC, New York City and Las Vegas.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has given unanimous approval to the Habematolel Pomo Tribe’s proposal for a community center in downtown Upper Lake to be in federal trust. The tribe applied with the Bureau of Indian Affairs for a transfer to a trust so the US federal government will act as a trustee and hold the legal title on behalf of the tribe. The community center would be in the old Westamerica Bank Upper Lake branch. The tribe bought the building from Hospice Services of Lake County in 2016.

A short list of proposed road improvement in the City of Clearlake is going to the state. The City Council is considering which projects to sent to the send for approval. Plus they’ll discuss city staff’s road maintenance plan for the coming season. The meeting tomorrow night starts with a closed session to talk over proposed and current litigation against Pacific Gas and Electric and for a conference with labor negotiators. During the regular meeting, which starts at 6 PM, there will be a list of road projects to be funded from the state out of a 54 billion dollar state fund.

Jeopardy Host Alex Trabeck is selling his lakefront vacation home in Paso Robles for a cool $1.3 million dollars. The home features three bedrooms and two baths along with a private ramp and boat dock. Trabeck has been fighting pancreatic cancer and told viewers on the final day of taping the current season that he would return for another.

He had originally entered a not guilty plea and was about to undergo a jury trial this week when 67-year-old Benjamin Hanna Meyer of Potter Valley changed course, instead of waiving his right to a jury trial and pleading guilty to two felony counts of killing a neighbor’s dog and maiming another. The dogs had been shot while they were in separate locked doghouses. The cardiologist apparently suspected they had been involved in the death of his horse found dead after getting trapped in a cattle guard. Meyer receives his sentence on June 12th at 9 am in the Department H of the Ukiah Courthouse.

A meeting scheduled by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will discuss ongoing implementation issues and other policy matters with the director of CalFire and the board. The meeting will be held on May 7th at the Fort Bragg Library at 499 East Laurel Street, 8:30 am to 4 pm.

The Lake County Health Services Department has released an advisory about Syphilis, which was diagnosed over 30,000 times in 2017. So many new cases have been confirmed, they have reached a 24 year high across the country. In Lake County, there were 15 cases in 2017, and numbers for 2018and 2019 are expected to be even higher. April is STD awareness month, and experts recommend open dialogue with medical providers about STD’s and testing.

The Mesure T Bond Prioritization Committee will once again be up for discussion at tomorrow’s board meeting with an eye towards prioritizing projects can still be undertaken with $2 million dollars in bond funds. An agreement for dual enrollment for students attending clear lake high school earning credit at Mendocino-Lake Community College District is on the agenda along with the discipline and transfer of public employees. The meeting gets underway at 6 pm.

They didn’t get their proposal across the finish line in November, so they’ll try again in 2020. Supporters of the failed Proposition 10 will try once again to get rent controls on the ballot. The newly revised measure called the rental affordability act would allow cities and counties to impose rent controls on residential properties that are at least 15 years old- and only for landlords who own three or more homes. Proposition 10, rejected by voters in November would have allowed cities to impose far-reaching rent controls. Supporters of the updated measure will start gathering signatures as soon as the State gives the go ahead.

A bill requiring developers to better protect against fires, plan for evacuations and plan safe areas for residents who may need to ride out fires advanced yesterday by a State Senate Committee. The tougher standards would apply to areas that are a high fire risk. The proposal also requires local governments to make existing buildings less likely to burn. The bill’s opponents say it would make building homes more expensive, resulting in fewer homes during a housing crisis, while supporters say the measures are needed in the wake of recent wildfires plaguing the state.

Two solar installations along with several other projects will be discussed during a special meeting by the Lakeport Planning Commission tomorrow. A proposal concerning the Former Fireside Lounge will be considered as well. The meeting will be held in the council chambers at Clearlake city hall on 225 Park Street, 5:30 pm

The regular board meeting of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors got underway today at 9 am. A recap of 2018 presented by the Mendocino Fire Safe Council highlighting their accomplishments last year, and plans for tree removal this year, FEMA fire-resistant construction, the hire of a full-time coordinator and new project were all on the agenda. Also up for discussion during the meeting: The consideration of an ordinance governing cannabis cultivation including dispensing, distribution and testing along with an update from the department of planning and building services.

A Mendocino College Art show opened yesterday at Mendocino College. The voluntary gallery features over 120 pieces by 60 students and is a fun way to close out the school year as students display their work and achievements for the year. A reception is planned for Thursday inside the gallery from 4:30 to 6:30[m.

Speed may have been a factor in an accident on Highway 101 in Mendocino County on Sunday that killed a 32-year-old man who was thrown from his vehicle after missing a curve, driving off the side of the road. He was not wearing a restraint. The victim’s name has been withheld by authorities pending notification of next of kin. CHP is still investigating whether drugs or alcohol were involved.

California lawmakers are considering legislation that would create statewide guidelines on when police can use deadly force and require additional training to avoid having to open fire. The second round of discussions on the proposal got underway today in Sacramento.