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Congressman Jared Huffman in Ukiah with an update for constituents. The Congressman chairs the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee and says there’s some movement in the House now that Republicans are no longer in charge but acknowledges there are still things that won’t pass the Senate. Huffman here yesterday for a meeting of stakeholders of the Potter Valley Project, which was up for sale, then canceled as PG&E works its way thru bankruptcy. The utility was looking to stop operating the Project which sends water from the Eel River to thousands of users in Mendocino County and to the south. Huffman told those in attendance they’re still working on a solution. He also spoke on other topics including the Mueller report into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election, the upcoming 2020 presidential election, infrastructure, net neutrality, criminal justice reform and cannabis de-scheduling and banking access.

California’s struggling to hire enough teachers with the shortage getting worse. A new report says there’s a need for about 110-thousand more teachers nationwide, primarily because more teachers are quitting or switching schools, and fewer people are entering the profession. Emma Garcia, the coauthor of the report from the Economic Policy Institute says a lot of the problems could be fixed with more investment to raise salaries, lower classroom sizes and better fund schools overall.

:06 "Working conditions, including pay, school climate and professional development, need to be improved."

California’s in the bottom ten nationwide – 44th for per-pupil spending. But the state’s spent 200 million dollars the past few years to attract, train and retain more teachers. A 2018 study by the Learning Policy Institute found the shortages were worse in math, special education, science and bilingual education and even more severe in high-poverty school districts. It also found that school districts are increasingly hiring under-qualified applicants.

Garcia says to reverse the slide and attract bright young people to the profession – the country needs to give teachers the same respect – and earning potential – as other professionals like doctors and lawyers.

:12 "It’s also a matter of societal changes, that we see teachers more like we see other professions, that we value teachers, that we appreciate the work that they do."

Some experts say years of layoffs and cost-cutting during the recession discouraged people from becoming teachers and created so much stress on teachers that many opted to leave the profession. The E-P-I report also found that from 2008 to 2016, the U-S saw more than a 27 percent drop in people completing teacher preparation programs and 15 percent drop in people receiving an education degree.

A new food court and wine tasting garden is being added to the Lakeport summer Concert in the Park series. The City Council approved the idea for this year only. There would have to be a new contract for next summer. For this year, those 21 and older can head into a roped off area for wine. There will be a couple of food vendors, but no definitive idea yet who. There’s some red tape still, like permits to sell booze in Library Park and insurance coverage. It’s the 40th year for the concert series.

The Ukiah Valley Sanitation District board of directors scheduling another meeting to figure out if the city of Ukiah will operate the sewer facilities like it’s one big system. The Daily Journal reports the chairwoman declared they wouldn’t vote on the matter at their last meeting last week and fellow board members asked to see the proposal for the sewer facilities. The city manager saying the city would be served best if the sewer facilities were operated as one, and one set of customers and one set of rates which he says can be done with a simple Memo of Understanding (MOU) signed by both boards. The proposal reportedly being drawn up and will be brought to the Sanitation Board for consideration.

The first proposal to put together a Climate Action Advisory Committee in Mendocino County has been presented to the public. The Daily Journal reports the Board of Supervisors released the proposal earlier this week after they voted to form the committee about a month ago. The committee to come up with recommendations and set goals for the Mendocino County Sustainability and Climate Change Program which looks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon storage, and help the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services and the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council be ready for natural disasters and climate change. The idea is for 15 members to focus on Energy, Solid Waste, Land Use and Development, Transportation, Forests, Agriculture, Education, and Community Awareness.

Nearly 400,000 dollars going to Mendocino County from the Federal Government for fire recovery. Congressman Jared Huffman’s office announced yesterday the Economic Development Agency awarded $397,000 to the county after damage from the Redwood Valley Fire. Hundreds of structures were destroyed by the 2017 wildfire. The money will go to hire a disaster recovery coordinator, develop Mendocino County’s Economic Recovery and Resiliency Plan, broadband plan, and support long-term disaster recovery; and create 30 jobs, save 10 jobs, and leverage $500,000 in private investments.

Proactive measures taken ahead of the next wildfire season in the Western Hills of Ukiah. The Cal Fire inmate crews are working to re-establish an existing shaded fuel break. They’re working with local Cal Fire Engine crews. The sole purpose of one of the crews is fire fuels management. They go out cutting and removing hazardous vegetation. It’s also a reminder for those with fuels on their properties to remove them after more than 40 inches of rain this year so far, which means a load of grass and weeds. The Fire Authority asking for help keeping properties mowed and maintained to help reduce yearly fire danger. The Fire Marshall’s office is sending reminders out about mowing to residents.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the Fire Marshal’s office at 4636271 or email kjennings; M-Th., 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday mornings by appointment only.

The Gov. says the state’s working with Los Angeles County to try to lower prescription drugs prices. Governor Newsom directing state agencies to start to buy drugs in bulk to use that as a leverage to negotiate lower prices, adding, state agencies, including the prison system and health care for the needy, or Medi-Cal, spend up to $13 billion a year on drugs together. Medi-Cal at $8 billion alone. The governor’s plan is still preliminary, but he says he thinks a change in purchasing habits could save billions. And working with Los Angeles County will help get even better deals. The county spends about $250 million a year on drugs for hospitals and clinics.

There’s a new school superintendent in the Konocti Unified School District. The announcement at a quick meeting at the district office last night. The Board of Trustees President announcing Dr. Rebecca Salato is the new head of the school district. She’ll be formally confirmed during the board’s next meeting, next month. She’s taking over for Superintendent Donna Becnel, who is retiring at the end of this school year. Right now Dr. Salato is the chief operating officer of Action Learning Systems. 14 people applied for the position, 13 from Calif. and one from Montana.

Lake County’s looking for a new Registrar of Voters and has some candidates lined up after a second recruitment. Lake Co News reporting Diane Fridley, who led the office for years, retired and her deputy left for a position elsewhere a couple months later. Right now the County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson is the interim Registrar. Lake Co News reports Huchingson tried to get Fridley’s deputy disqualified to take over due to educational requirements. But the Board of Supervisors had other ideas. There are now 19 new applicants for the job, for which interviews will begin next week. The county still recruiting for the deputy position too. No word if the new Registrar could be in place before the May 7th special election for the Lakeport Fire Protection District.

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