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Monthly Archives: May 2019

The Mendocino County Office of Education along with the county elections dept. launching a campaign to get younger voters to participate. The countywide youth voter registration project is paid for by the League of Women Voters of Mendocino County. Nearly 2 dozen volunteers have put together 1,000 voter information packets and handed them out at high school civics classrooms and public events. They visited 14 schools in all and Mendocino College, getting students registered to vote. The Youth Voter Registration Project is non-partisan with no support for any political campaigns or specific legislation, only to encourage students’ civic engagement.

Updates at the latest Measure B meeting. The Mental Health Treatment Act Citizen’s Oversight Committee put together after the Mental Health initiative passed. The meeting this month, the first in two months after April’s meeting was canceled. They saw a spending report on the Measure’s funding showing since February of 2018, there’s nearly $7.5M. This is after just under a year of collecting taxes. They’ve now decided to bring in a Project Manager to get organized and manage the entire project. So far 24 applications have come in and they’re reviewing them. They’re also looking at buildings where Residential Unit(s), Crisis Stabilization Unit(s), and a 24 Hour Psychiatric Inpatient Health Facility could go.

A woman killed in a crash off the 101 near Frog Woman Rock has been identified. The CHP says 69 year old Suzanne Bentley was driving the car that somehow ended up in the Russian River. Someone walking their dog Tuesday afternoon saw the car on its roof in the river south of Hopland. The CHP says the woman was headed south and hit an embankment near mile marker 5, rolled and her car landed on its roof. They’ve not figured out how long before the crash scene was found that the woman crashed. An autopsy will be done to determine more.

Firefighters needed across the state and in Sonoma County, job postings are popping up. PG&E is hiring their own firefighters for the first time. They’re reportedly looking for at least 50 firefighters in high fire danger areas, including the North Bay. There’s also concern it may create a competitive job market, with pay rates unaffordable for some of the smaller fire companies. The money for hires becomes available after fire district tax measures like we just saw in Lakeport. In Sonoma County the Board of Supervisors also added cash for that area’s struggling firefighting agencies.

After the October 2017 firestorm in Sonoma County, the owner of a luxury apartment complex in Santa Rosa found guilty of price gouging, which is illegal in Calif. Now the Fountaingrove apartments owner has been ordered pay almost $60,000 in penalties and restitution. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office says rents were hiked up over the 10% cap allowed by the state for about 20 tenants. The rules are in place in Calif during a state of emergency. The owner said it was the last management company who was to blame for the mistake, then they apparently cooperated with prosecutors after a formal complaint by a former tenant.

A man from Forestville accused of killing three people, including his brother going to trial. Shaun Gallon’s lawyer had asked for more time to prepare for the case. The man’s accused of killing his brother in their home in Forestville in 2017 and a couple from the Midwest who were camping on Fish Head Beach back in 2004. But the judge ordered the cases to move forward. Gallon was arrested for his brother’s death and court documents say he wrote a letter to investigators saying he’d talk to them about the Jenner beach case. He was then fingered as the only suspect in the case. The death penalty off the table after the Governor put a moratorium on it while he’s in office.

More thunderstorms could be headed to Lake County. Lake Co News reports the latest forecast has a possibility of afternoon thunderstorms today into Saturday and Sunday, but fear not, it should be back to sunny and warm temps next week. Light winds are expected over the weekend with highs in the upper 80s and into the low 90s next week. There was a flash flood warning last night due to the forecast. And the news site reports they had reports of torrential rain, hail, thunder and lightning in some areas of Lake County.

A man from Kelseyville arrested after a traffic stop found with a bunch of drugs and cash.  25 year old Leopoldo Bravo arrested last week for a vehicle equipment violation and was searched since he’s on probation out of Los Angeles County for selling heroin. The search turned up more than one ounce of cocaine, 100 opioid pills and almost $2,000 in cash. He was arrested on possession or purchase for sale of narcotics of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, sale or transfer of non-narcotic controlled substance, and transportation or sales of narcotics and controlled substances, with bail set at $35,000.

An inmate’s been killed at a prison in Northern Calif and two other prisoners are suspected in his murder. The 63 year old stabbed to death in the exercise yard at California State Prison, Sacramento yesterday. Corrections officers say two inmates were fighting with the victim so they used pepper spray and a blast grenade to stop the altercation. The man who was killed was behind bars for life without chance of parole. One of the two suspects is serving time for a murder in Sacramento County and the other’s serving 22-years for an attempted murder in Orange County.

A couple of schools on lock down in Northern Calif. This morning Santa Rosa High School was put on lockdown. Police say it was only a precaution as officers investigated an incident. That’s the only statement that went out to parents. They only said the lockdown and shelter in place order were precautionary as graduation ceremonies are set for tonight at the school.  And yesterday in Crescent City, another lockdown after reports a student on the Castle Rock campus had a firearm. On the Del Norte County Unified School District’s Facebook page it said they found a kid with a BB gun and they were arrested. Then the lockdown was lifted and classes were back in session. The Sheriff’s office was still investigating.

The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department, noting that this was a “difficult call,” thanked the Crescent City Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Del Norte County Probation for their assistance.

A man who attended the BottleRock Music Festival in Napa has been arrested after a woman says she was assaulted in a porta potty. Peterson Fontes of Richmond seen acting suspiciously behind a portable restroom last Sunday. He was confronted by a festival staff member after several restrooms at the festival site were tampered with. Police say the festival had been on alert, working with Napa police and additional security measures were taken after the woman called 911 saying she was touched inappropriately in a restroom. Apparently a wall to the restroom was compromised somehow so a suspect got inside. Surveillance footage and other evidence found Fontes was near the area at the time, so he’s charged with suspicion of felony penetration by a foreign object, burglary, felony vandalism and misdemeanor peeking while loitering.

The State Assembly has passed a bill so folks working side jobs have the same rights as those getting minimum wage and workers compensation. The bill heading to the senate next would outline whether workers are employees or independent contractors. So those working for companies like Uber or Lyft could be classified differently if they’re controlled by their employer unless they’re free from their direction or control to work outside a company’s usual course of business. Some industries would be exempt though. Lyft has released a statement saying they’re against the legislation and the California News Publishers Association is already asking for an exemption to cover freelance journalists and newspaper carriers.

 

 

 

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Lawmakers in the California Assembly barely pass a tenants rights bill. It puts a cap on rent as the state is at a near crisis for affordable housing. The bill heads to the Senate and if it passes there it would mean California would be the second state in the US to limit yearly rent increases. That means millions of properties currently not covered by local rent control rules would be now. The bill’s author says it would protect the state’s most vulnerable. The bill applies to the majority of properties without local rent control ordinances, but was amended so properties less than ten years old are excluded.

A murderer in Fortuna from back in the early 1990s faces new manslaughter charges in connection to the death of a Humboldt County investigator. Stephen Chiara of Fairfield was convicted before for murder for hire plot, now faces four charges, including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving without a license and DUI causing bodily injury. He’s accused of driving a Harley Davidson motorcycle that crashed on a highway in Fairfield and lost control. He had a passenger who was ejected and died at a hospital. She worked in the Humboldt County Public Defender’s Office. Chiara accused of being drunk and on drugs at the time of the crash. He’s also on parole and was not allowed to drink or drive without a license.

An interim CFO has been hired at Mendocino Coast District Hospital. The hospital’s board of directors voted on the hire last week at the same time the board’s finance committee hears from some doctors they’re concerned the new electronic health records system isn’t ready yet. Doran Hammett is the new interim CFO. The interim CEO, Wayne Allen had been filling that position too. He filled the board in on the finances. With the budget yet to even be discussed, Allen said all dollars were already being spent. Allen says the hospital needs more cash and is getting calls from creditors. So far no agreements on possible partnerships or a buyout. And a new electronic health records system by Meditech may not be ready, as promised by July 1st.

An open house held for Redwood Elementary for the school’s 65th anniversary. Last Thursday there was a book fair and silent auction as well as visits by several former staffers and teachers who created a 65th Anniversary Photo Museum. The Advocate newspaper reports there were displays all around one classroom showcasing some of the schools major milestones, including the playground which was built out of a trust fund that was started by the school’s first principal. Some of the other photos included the construction of the school’s Rainbow Farm, volunteer Saturday work parties and more. 

Labels on wine bottles that say Mendocino on it unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors. The board said yes to a letter of support for Mendocino Winegrowers, Inc. for the conjunctive labeling on wine bottles to hopefully bring the grape value up. The Daily Journal reports this sort of labeling shows the wine’s county of origin and its sub-regions. There are other counties in the state with this type of labeling, including: Napa, Sonoma and Monterey. The newspaper reports studies show the conjunctive labeling there raised awareness of the county besides the wine growing sub-regions of the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Green Valley. If the local wine industry also approves the labeling, Sen. Mike McGuire could introduce legislation on the matter.

Applause all around as lawmakers approve a bill regarding police force standards. The Assembly approved the bill to make it harder for cops to legally justify killing someone. The bill passed 67 to 0, 13 members abstained. If the bill makes it to the floor and the senate and finally to the governor, it would mean police could only use lethal force if “necessary” to defend human life. Right now it’s allowed if reasonable. The ACLU argues the current law allows cops to justify their reasoning except the most flagrant misconduct. Some police groups were against it, but after wording was changed, most came around to support it.

After a 4 year closure, the public’s invited to the Middletown Art Center for the Sculpture Walk. It’s the 14th season of the EcoArts Sculpture Walk at the Middletown Trailside Park. The park had been closed after the Valley Fire burned the area. The Program Director at the park says they’re seeing a lot of regrowth there of trees, shrubs, grass and wildflowers. The Sculpture Walk was very popular before the fire devastated the area. It’s being held at a new location at the park, on the South East side. They’re calling the exhibit this year, LOCUS in honor of the park’s recovery after the fire. For more info visit http://www.middletownartcenter. org.

The Calif. Insurance Commissioner asking insurance companies to extend temporary living expenses given to wildfire survivors after the massive October 2017 firestorm. Commissioner Ricardo Lara apparently pressuring insurance companies to allow for a third year of temporary living expenses due to rebuilding construction delays. He apparently had a closed-door session with more than 3 dozen Sonoma County fire survivors who lived thru the Tubbs fire. Only 10% have rebuilt. State law says insurance companies only have to pay up to two years of living expenses, that’ll end in October.

Former Mendocino Deputy Derek Paoli is retiring. The Sheriff’s Dept. put out a statement to congratulate him. He started as a reservist for the Ukiah Police Department after graduating the Police Academy in 1985. Then he worked in Corrections for the Sheriff’s Office as a Corrections Deputy, Corrections Corporal, and Jail Training Officer. Then he was promoted to work in the field and was a Patrol Deputy, Field Training Officer, Court Security, Team Leader of the Crisis Negotiations Team, and Search and Rescue Liaison on missing/lost persons cases.

A woman from Covelo already in prison related to a missing person’s case, is found guilty of welfare fraud. The Mendocino County DA’s office reports 21 year old Antonia Dulce Bautista Dalson already in prison for being an accessory to a felony gun charge by defendant Negie Fallis. Fallis in prison related on gun charges connected to the disappearance of Khadijah Britton. Dalson was set to go to preliminary hearing on the fraud charges, then admitted guilt as part of a plea deal with the DA for eight more months in jail on top of the 18 mos. she’s serving for the Fallis case. She will just have to serve 13 months in all, then she will have 18 additional months of mandatory supervision. For the plea agreement, she had charges of perjury and a special allegation tossed. It all happened after she was getting welfare for two children she gave up custody of.

A big helicopter that does water drops on fires in Lake County is primed and ready to go. Lake Co News reports Boggs Mountain Copter 104 is staffed for the 2019 fire season. The chopper will start training in Lake County the next few weeks. Cal Fire with the info so community members don’t think there’s a real fire, and that’s it’s just a normal training exercise to prepare for this fire season. They say it’s vital for their mission success that crews are trained properly so they can be efficient and safe during fires, rescues, and helping with prescribed burns.

Lakeport getting ahead of July 4th celebrations with the police chief telling the City Council about his plans on illegal fireworks. Chief Brad Rasmussen updating the City Council this week on his plan for fireworks, patrol and enforcement during a 30-day period around the holiday. That starts in about 2 and a half weeks, going from June 17 to July 16. Rasmussen says the city’s parklands and Will-O-Point are where they find the most illegal fireworks. So they’ll be conducting patrols in those areas every day as staffing levels permit and as deemed necessary. They will also set up a command post at City Hall during the enforcement period. The chief says they’ll also work closely with firefighters and says he’s expecting similar issues to last year where there were a lot of illegal fireworks.

A small paint spill had to be cleaned up after a semi has a leak. Lake Co News reports the CHP said it wasn’t a major hazard though. It happened last Wednesday on Highway 20 east of Old Long Valley Rd. the semi was leaking red paint, then stopped on the shoulder. Northshore Fire Protection District, the CHP and Caltrans were on the scene. Caltrans did the cleanup.

State lawmakers have been going back and forth about whether utility companies can be held liable for wildfires and decide to table the issue. The Gov. Gavin Newsom and the two leaders in the legislature say instead they will move to get other changes made if regulators find the companies acted responsibly. It comes after PG&E is accused of causing several fires across Northern Calif. in October of 2017 and the Camp Fire in Butte County last year. The commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery created last year after the 2017 wildfire season.

 

A woman from Ukiah has been killed after a crash on the 101 in Hopland. The Hopland Fire Protection District reports someone saw the car on its roof in the Russian River near Frog Woman or Squaw Rock. The Hopland Fire Chief at the scene first near mile marker 5 on Hwy 101 finding the woman in her car. They’re not sure how long it had been since the crash, the car was about 50 feet from the highway. They say the 69-year-old woman was driving south on the Hwy and came off the road, hit an embankment and rolled into the river, landing on her roof.  Several emergency responders on the scene last night. They lifted the woman’s body out of the river in a helicopter.

A worldwide movement to bring awareness to hunger comes to Ukiah. Plowshares Peace and Justice Center in Ukiah is holding the Empty Bowls event June 1st, the 13th time they’re hosting the yearly event. The interim director for Plowshares telling the Daily Journal, the event is at the same time they’ve expanded Meals-on-Wheels after a grant from the Community Foundation. Empty Bowls has historically raised as much as $40,000 for the nonprofit. There are about 200 bowls from local art studios donated this year. Those who buy a ticket get to choose one to bring home after they have some gourmet soup. It’s $75 to attend. That includes food, soup and wine or beer.

For more information about Plowshares or the Empty Bowls event, call 462-8582.

A woman from Ukiah’s been arrested after it’s found five children she was caring for were being abused. Police say 74-year-old Audrey Hernandez was arrested after a report about a girl with several significant and suspicious injuries from abuse. Hernandez her guardian, and of four other children between four and 15 years old. The five now in the care of Child Protective Services personnel. Hernandez charged with felony injury to a child and four counts of misdemeanor child abuse and held on $65,000 bail. Cops served a search warrant at the woman’s house and say they found evidence of suspected child abuse.

Candidates are being interviewed for a seat on the board of the Ukiah Valley Fire District. At a special meeting tonight, the board will interview Pete Bushby and Cheryl Edgar, the only two candidates. The seat needs to be filled by June 9th. Bushby is a recently retired captain of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority who spent nearly 4 decades as a firefighter and is still a volunteer. And Edgar says she’s the “first female volunteer for Ukiah Valley Fire”. She also volunteers with 4-H, several school organizations and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team.

A couple of batting cages are coming to ball fields in Willits. At the City Council meeting last week, the subject came up for two batting cages to be built at Lofling and Gallups-Seaton ball fields. The payment thru a donation, and the Council gave the idea unanimous approval. Local vendors will build the cages so teams can practice in them as games are being held. Much of the work will also be done by neighborhood volunteers. The City Manager remarked they’d look at the plans to make sure it’s safe. The Willits Redwood Local League serves kids between 4 and 15 years old in Willits, Laytonville and the surrounding area.

Congressman Jared Huffman adding his name to a list of those in the House of Representatives calling for impeachment proceedings against Pres. Trump. Huffman says the word ‘inquiry’ comes up a lot and says many believe that should start. He says there are so far no calls to go directly to vote on the house floor like back in 1998 against President Clinton. But he did say, hearings should begin so it can be put into proper context for the American people and to dispel, quote “frivolous legal arguments from the White House” saying Congress doesn’t have a legitimate legislative purpose for impeachment.

Beefed up patrols in Lake County over the long holiday weekend garner some arrests. The California Highway Patrol reporting many arrested across the state and more than 20 died on state highways last weekend. There were over 740 DUI arrests the first 30 hours of the statewide campaign and nearly 350 of those were in the first six hours of the enforcement period. For Lake County, there were at least six drunk driving incidents. Three in Clearlake and two arrests, only one in Lakeport over the weekend. And the CHP in Clearlake made one DUI arrest.

Two men from Kelseyville have been arrested related to a shooting over the weekend.  Lake Co News reports 23 year old Sergio Alberto Fuentes and 29 year old Juan Manuel Renteria were arrested Sunday after they were identified as suspects after a man was shot in the leg and critically injured. Cops say the men confronted the victim and the friends he was walking with Sunday night, shooting the victim in his thigh. The victim still in critical condition. Cops say they have reason to believe Fuentes was the shooter, and that both suspects are thought to be gang members. The two in Lake County Jail on several charges including assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury. They’re both due in court tomorrow.

A woman from Clearlake one of the arrests over the long holiday weekend in Lake County. Cops say 42 year old Shana Lee Smith was arrested after a solo car crash that injured her and her passenger. They say she was headed east on Highway 20 in her SUV and crossed over the double yellow lines, then off the highway into a dirt embankment on the north side of the road, blocking part of the highway. She was then trapped in the SUV and had to be removed by Northshore Fire Protection personnel. She had moderate injuries and her passenger was also injured and taken to the hospital. Smith arrested where the crash happened for DUI.

A new report says the federal government’s not doing what it can to stop wildfires. The President previously blamed California wildfires on “gross mismanagement” of forests. But the study by a Univ. of Idaho researcher in the journal “Fire” says controlled burns, which are successful at clearing brush and restoring ecosystems, has been declining by federal agencies over the last 20 years in the west. It says that could mean more catastrophic wildfires could come. The study looking at prescribed burns set between 1998 and 2018 by asome agencies under the Interior Department umbrella and by state fire agencies showing every year there was a 5% increase in the amount of land that burned, mostly in the southeastern U.S. And in the west, including Northern and Southern California, prescribed burns were down or plateaued. The study shows instead of controlled burns, more money was spent on personnel and equipment to put fires out and there wasn’t a lot of money left for controlled burns.

Three people found dead in Butte County. The Sheriff’s office says deputies went to a woman’s home in Oroville last night after her brother said he had not seen her for more than a week and went to her house. He reported a smell coming from the home, then after opening a window, he saw her on the floor. The Sheriff’s Dept. says three people were dead in the house and they’re investigating the deaths as “suspicious.” They’ve not said how any of the victims died but are reaching out to the public for help regarding possible suspicious circumstances related to the case.

 

It’s a first, fire officials in Sonoma County going out to thousands of rural homes to inspect them to be sure they’re in compliance with tree trimming, grass cutting and other fire safety reasons. They’re looking for “defensible space” around homes so they are easier to protect from wildfires. Cal Fire’s been doing these sorts of inspections for a while, but they’re voluntary. Now with the support of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors inspections will begin next month. Those who don’t comply with assessments will be fined as much as $1,000 or more if they don’t comply within 45 days. And if the county has to clear trees or brush, the owner will be billed for the cost.

A powerless explosive device found near Redway. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s dept. reports getting a call for a possible explosive device, seeing what looked like an oxygen tank with a fuse wire. The device was rendered safe by the Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. They say there was an explosive material in the tank, but also say it didn’t seem it had been placed where it was found intentionally and probably washed downriver from an unknown location. They ask anyone who may see a suspicious object in their community, to call 911.

 

A man from Mendocino County is dead after a crash over the long holiday weekend along coastal Highway 1. The California Highway Patrol reports the driver in a 1991 Honda headed north on Hwy. 1 and made a left turn in front of another car by the Jack Peters bridge near the Village of Mendocino. Officers say the cars hit broadside then the Honda driver died. He’s described as a 48-year-old man. Cops are investigating if alcohol was a factor. The other driver, a man from Portland OR had minor injuries and his female passenger was not injured.

Six people in Clearlake have been arrested after a special law enforcement operation to crack down on high risk offenders on parole and probation. Police had officers out at more than a dozen locations working with probation and parole officers. Those arrested were for parole violations, warrants and narcotics offenses. Ten people cited or arrested in all. Four for warrants and five for parole violations. One of those, Douglas Anderson also charged for suspicion of possession of drug paraphernalia. The Record Bee reports at least two people arrested were registered sex offenders. All of the arrests at the end of April.

Emergency responders say a man who crashed his pickup off a rural road on the Sonoma Coast near Mendocino County is lucky to be alive. The CHP says Samuel Coria’s car rolled 100 feet down an embankment and overturned in the Gualala River. They say then he got out of the partially submerged truck and climbed back up the steep embankment, walked a mile in the rain and got help. The man was taken to Stanford Medical Center after the crash Sunday afternoon and is said to be in stable condition. He apparently told police he fell asleep and thinks he was tossed out of the truck as it rolled. Firefighters who went to the crash scene used a rope to rappel down to the man’s truck and say they’re not sure how he climbed his way out of the remote area.

A black bear has been returned to the wilderness after climbing up a tree in a Lakeport neighborhood. Lake Co News reports the bear was spotted Monday morning and Lakeport police got a bunch of calls about the animal around N. Main Street and Rose Avenue. One resident posted video on Facebook of the bear wondering around her yard. Police and Fish and Wildlife officers came to the area and say the bear was not aggressive and didn’t pose any danger. They told residents to stay inside anyway as a precaution. Eventually the animal was shot with a tranquilizer, put into a vehicle for transport and taken to South Cow Mountain.

One person is dead after a motorcycle crashes with a car on Highway 20. The accident late last night west of Nice. The California Highway Patrol reports it was a Harley Davidson and at least one car, maybe two. Northshore Fire were out at the scene after reports there was a fatality. And both lanes of the highway were closed for a while for the investigation.

A shooting reported in the Kelseyville area over the holiday weekend. One man reported in critical condition after the Sunday night shooting in the 6300 block of Soda Bay Road. Police say the man shot had been walking near a market with two friends and was confronted by two other men, then the victim was shot in the leg. He’s reported in critical condition. And the Lake County Sheriff’s Major Crimes unit is investigating. They say, so far, they have no suspect.

Unemployment rate going down in Lake County. Lake Co News reports a major improvement for the month of April in line with the nationwide jobless rate, which is also improving. But the California Employment Development Department report shows the state’s unemployment rate didn’t change much. In Lake County, April’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in March and 5.3 percent the same time last year. The state’s unemployment rate still at 4.3 percent from a month before and a year before. Mendocino’s rate at 4.1 percent, a whopping 15.7 percent though for Colusa County and way down to 2.6 percent in Sonoma.

A man from Ukiah accused of taking a bail bond agents car and for stealing two other cars and thousands worth of tools and equipment has been arrested in New Mexico.
Gregory Crumple arrested last week at a motel in Moriarty. He was also found with a stolen Jeep. The California Highway Patrol’s Clear Lake Area office also reports he was involved in multiple thefts and a car chase with a CHP officer May 16th. The pickup he was in was stolen and found with several thousand dollars’ worth of stolen property in it. Lake Co News reports he was also wanted for drug sales and criminal threats and stealing a Sacramento area bail bond agent’s car in Lower Lake in January. No word when he might be extradited back to Lake County.

A man from Washington state on the run from cops, runs out of gas and gets arrested. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office reports Jeremy Thomas of Shoreline, Wash., arrested after his stolen SUV stopped running. He apparently put diesel in it, it takes gas. It happened as cops were responding to a domestic disturbance after his stepdad said he threatened him with a gun and fired it. He apparently left the home with his girlfriend and their 3-year-old, launching a search for several hours. But when a woman called a tow truck for a dead battery, Thomas was arrested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affordable Housing on the agenda for city leaders in Fort Bragg as they start the next General Plan. The Housing Element will be part of the work the City Council does towards the community work plan. The Advocate Newspaper reports there’s only been 33 affordable housing units added in Fort Bragg since 2014, including 27 senior cottages. The city’s recently approved a 69-unit affordable housing development with $3 million in grant funds raised for the project. The newspaper reports the city’s had meetings the last three months with contractors, developers, social service organizations and housing advocacy groups to address the housing crisis in Fort Bragg.

More controversy in Ukiah with the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District’s board of directors. The Daily Journal reports at the last City Council meeting, the topic of the money still being paid out to lawyers for the lawsuit settled between the District and the City. The City Manager says it’s all settled, but lawyers are still being paid. It’s already hit the $9 million dollar mark and he says that’s got to stop. The council discussing the matter and who will run the wastewater treatment plant. The city manager says the city is interested in continuing their discussions with the district so the attorney fees can stop and a Joint Power Agreement with possible changes are agreed to.

A woman from Ukiah accused stealing clothes and a cell phone at the Food Maxx now also accused of stealing laptops at a school. Police say they got a call to the grocery store Monday after reports a woman was seen stealing a jacket and phone from the break room, then running away. Now cops say they think the same woman, Dayniece Schillings took some laptops from a classroom at Ukiah High last month. She’s charged with resisting arrest and violating probation, but so far, not for these thefts because the victims are not pressing charges. She’s also previously been arrested for petty theft, possession of drug paraphernalia and violating probation.

No go for Verizon turning back on an old cell phone tower in downtown Middletown. The Lake County Planning Commission voted unanimously against the proposal for telecommunications project which had a group at the meeting cheering. There would have had to be adjustments and variances to the existing AT&T tower off Highway 175. Verizon had applied to add equipment instead of building an entirely new tower. It also required two variances, no 100-foot setback from the current tower base and homes nearby and no 20-foot easement, instead, making it a 10-foot easement. The Planning Commission voted no on the variances, calling the project detrimental to the “comfort, safety and general welfare” of the public.

Several elephant seals restrict the beach at Point Reyes National Seashore. The National Park Service has closed off the entrance to the Drakes Beach area after 200 elephant seals came ashore after storms and high tides. Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends and federal holidays when there are park staff members present, the park will be open. When no staff is there, they say it’s unsafe to go from the parking lot to the beach. The animals can be up to 16 feet long and weigh as much as 5,000 pounds.

A reminder for those taking watercraft out this holiday weekend to help fight the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels. The freshwater mussels that are native to Europe and Asia are invaders in our local waters and can multiply quickly and get tangled up in watercraft and infrastructure, change water quality and aquatic food. They move from waterbodies and attach to boats and equipment. They cannot be easily seen, and babies can be microscopic and infest water. Nearly 3 dozen waterbodies have been invaded by quagga mussels in Southern California and zebra mussels have gotten into two waterways in San Benito County.

A man from Lakeport accused of stabbing his father to death for the attempted murder of his mother in court and the judge doubting he was competent to stand trial. Two doctors have been appointed to evaluate Steven Michael Fredericks mental competency. He’s charged with murder, attempted murder, causing injury to an elder and assault with a deadly weapon after the attack last March near the Nice-Lucerne cutoff exit from Highway 29. Frederick’s dad was dead when police arrived, and his mom had cuts on her neck but survived. Witnesses accused Fredericks at the time. He’s now ordered back in court June 18th for a review of his mental competency examinations.

Ahead of the big holiday weekend to officially welcome summer, a nationwide beef recall. More than 62,000 pounds of raw beef could be tainted by E. coli is recalled from Aurora Packing Co based in North Aurora, Illinois. The company recalling some meat products packaged April 19th because they may have a strain of E Coli. It includes several different cuts, including short ribs, ribeyes and briskets. Consumers being told to toss the products or return them to where they bought them.

The nonprofit California Strong, has given out the last bit of grant money for Camp Fire survivors. The nonprofit is a partnership with the Southeast Ventura County YMCA. The YMCA of Superior California reports more than 200 families from Paradise who applied got grants from California Strong this week at the Oroville YMCA. And more than $1 million was handed out to victims affected by the recent tragedies throughout California. California Strong has had requests for help from residents impacted by the Thousand Oaks Borderline club shooting, the Camp Fire in Northern California, and the Woolsey and Hill Fires in Southern California.

At the trial for the two men accused in the massive Ghost Ship fire, dispatcher recordings replayed. One of those with a caller screaming, “people are dying!”. The jury hearing some of the tapes yesterday urging rescuers to get there and help in December of 2016 during a concert at the illegal venue. Derick Almena and Max Harris on trial for 36 counts each of involuntary manslaughter after 36 people died. One former resident of the old warehouse also testified yesterday, saying she was sleeping and woke up to find the fire on the first floor and called 911. An assistant fire marshal also testified yesterday saying they couldn’t rule out arson, or even Molotov cocktails causing the fire, but no cause was ever found.

More people in Calif. can afford a home now according to the California Association of Realtors. The latest report by the group says more Californians could afford to buy a home the first quarter of this year because of lower mortgage interest rates, lower home prices and higher income levels. The report shows the amount of homebuyers in the first quarter for a median-priced, existing single-family home was up to 32 percent from 28 percent the last quarter of 2018, and a bit more than the 31 percent from one year ago. Those buying a home had to have a minimum annual income of $114,5,000 to get a $545,000 home That would get them about a $3,000 monthly mortgage with a 20 percent down payment and interest rate of about 4.5 percent.

The Summer Food Program for the Ukiah Unified School District is on for the Summer. The Seamless Summer Food Program has FREE meals for children when school is not in session. Any child 18 years old or younger can take part regardless of income. They also do not need to be going to Summer School or any other program to get free meals. Breakfast and lunch are provided Monday – Friday, except at Todd Grove Park, where there will only be lunch served.  It’s happening otherwise at Ukiah High, Grace Hudson Elementary and Yokayo Elementary except for July 4th.

Legislators put tougher rules on vaccinating kids in the state, so parents have to comply. The Senate Bill sent to the Assembly after months of measles cases rising. It would mean Calif. public health officials have the authority to decide, not local doctors about which students can skip their shots before attending school. The proposal by Democratic Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento. He says it’s warranted due to there being “unscrupulous physicians” selling medical immunization exemptions. If the bill moves to the governor and he signs it, it would mean doctors have to certify they examined a child, then they send that to the state health department. Then it could later be revoked if found to be fraudulent.

The latest state budget gives benefits to illegal immigrants. State lawmakers working on the 214 billion dollar proposal that includes expanding health care coverage and tax credits for immigrants. Right now state Senators are considering the bill to allow low-income immigrants in the country illegally to get government-funded health care if they’re older than 65 or between 19 and 25 years old. The Senate also adding some people who don’t have Social Security numbers to be able to qualify for the state’s earned income tax credit, but only if they have an individual tax identification number, including immigrants in the country legally and illegally.

After the North Bay Firestorm some sidewalks cracked and now word is some homeowners in the fire-zone may have to pay for repairs out of their own pockets. The cost about one million dollars to repair the sidewalks in Santa Rosa due to a city ordinance saying the homeowners also, own the sidewalks. ABC 7 reporting, that’s even if FEMA’s debris removal crews damaged the sidewalks during the clean-up effort. FEMA is not going to pay for the damage, but the Santa Rosa Public Works department says they’re appealing that finding. New sidewalks in one neighborhood estimated to cost about $6,000 per house.

A study commissioned by Mendocino County is being criticized by a local union. SEIU Local 1021 dissing the Koff and Associates report that came out last month on compensation saying there’s inconsistent and incomplete data and comparisons. The union which represents about 800 county employees says the Koff and Associates Total Compensation Study used selective information to come to conclusions. The Board of Supervisors commissioned the report in 2017 to study pay for Mendocino County as compared to other counties. But the union says certain benefits were not studied including paid sick days, tuition reimbursements, payouts for opting out of health coverage and retiree health coverage.

A warning from Fort Bragg police about a telephone scam. People calling cops to say someone’s calling them saying a friend or family member was supposedly in trouble, either kidnapped or in a car crash, or even being held against their will and needed help. They say the caller is distraught so they can’t really understand them or tell who it is. Then another person hops on the call to explain and gives instructions for the call receiver. Then they hand it back to the supposed victim who cries some more and demands payment be made thru western union. And when money’s sent, the supposed victim will be returned, but that doesn’t happen. Police asking the public to be careful of this sort of scam, immediately call the victim to make sure they’re alright and call police before making any payment.

Calif. Dept. of Motor Vehicles changing the rules for REAL ID cards. It used to be you only needed one form of residency, then it changed to two. Now they’re sending letters to about 3 million cardholders they can provide the second residency request by mail and don’t need to go back to a DMV office where there are typically long lines which can take hours to get thru. A revision by the Department of Homeland Security on its approved method to get the two residency documents which also applies to those who want identification cards. Residents need to get their REAL ID card by Oct. 1st, 2020 in order to fly in the United States or enter federal buildings. They can also use a passport or other federally approved document.

Changes to the cannabis ordinance in Lake County approved by the Board of Supervisors. A list of revisions approved Tuesday to allow retailers and growers more leeway in where they cultivate weed. Those growing can now have all of their permits for one location and grow marijuana along several boundary lines if they own all of the parcels. This to apply to parts of the unincorporated area of Lake County too. It also allows for non-volatile cannabis manufacturing in rural and rural residential areas and allows permits for “microbusinesses” and personal use cultivators. Finally it allows those who haven’t gotten their state permit to cultivate anyway if they’ve applied but are waiting.

A man accused of a highspeed chase in Lakeport officially charged in the incident. 26 year old Austin Schweitzer in court and pleaded no contest to stealing a car, tailgating a trailer and driving more than 100 mph among other things. He’s not denying what happened last month and is charged with vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, hit and run with property damage, reckless driving and resisting a public officer. For his plea agreement, he avoids a jury proceeding. But now it’s up to the Lake County Probation Department to come up with a sentencing recommendation. He’s not allowed to own or have any firearm or ammo and has to give up his weapons.

PG& E warning their Lake County customers of a telephone scam where someone threatens to shut down their power if they don’t make a payment. The utility company’s Corporate Security department says it’s received multiple reports of someone calling the ratepayer saying they needed to make payment on a past due utility bills immediately thru a Green Dot or Money Pack card. The latest happened in Lakeport. There were more too, where the scammer told the resident they could get a federal tax refund related to their utility bill, or they tried to sell solar services and needed to get access to their home. They say to always check for ID if someone comes to your house and their credit dept. never asks for personal information or a credit card number over the phone.

The federal government withholding millions in reimbursement money to local fire companies ahead of the next fire season for payments for firefighting for the last fire season. The money for fighting fires on federal lands. Calif. supposed to get $72 million for firefighting after the most destructive and expensive season ever. But the US forest service is reportedly withholding $9m. Firefighters go out and fight, they don’t get paid up front, they get reimbursed after. The withholding of the money comes after the director of the state office of emergency services criticized the forest service’s reimbursement practices.

A woman from Cobb says she’s running to be a country supervisor. District 5 Lake County Supe Rob Brown says he’s not running again, so Jessica Pyska, one of the founders of the Cobb Area Council is running for his spot next year. District 5 covers Kelseyville, the Clear Lake Rivieras, Buckingham, Loch Lomond and parts of Cobb Mountain. Lake Co News reports Pyska is the co-owner of a web and mobile app development consulting firm and is also a part time teacher at Cobb Mountain Elementary School who’s also been on the board of the Friends of Cobb Mountain and she helped with the Valley Fire Rebuild Expo. She and her family lost their home in the massive fire.

Northern California Racing Association is back for the 2019 auto racing season. Starting this Saturday at the Lakeport Speedway with new management too. They begin with a Memorial Day parade Saturday morning at 11 a.m. There will be modifieds, bombers, jammers and legend cars at the track again on the one-quarter mile paved oval at the Lake County Fairgrounds. They’re also having “Fiberglass 500” boat races at night. It’s $10 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 11, and kids 5 and younger are free.

For more information on the 2019 racing season, visit NCRA – Lakeport Speedway on Facebook or call the business office at 707-274-1662.

Just like most years, the CHP is beefing up patrols for the holiday weekend. The California Highway Patrol maximum enforcement period, or MEP from 6 p.m. Friday, May 24th, to 11:59 p.m. Monday, May 27th.  Officers looking for distracted or impaired drivers. They’re also watching for those not wearing seat belts. They report almost half of those killed in holiday crashes are not wearing seatbelts.

The judge in Pacific Gas and Electric’s bankruptcy case has given the utility the go-ahead for a plan to create a $105 million housing assistance fund for people who lost their homes in the October 2017 Northern California wildfires and the 2018 Camp fire. PG&E says the fund is for those who had no insurance or need help with alternative living expenses or other urgent needs, but there’s no formal plan on how the money will be distributed. This comes after investigators found the majority of the 18 Northern California fires started due to PG&E lines that sparked in windy conditions. They’ve not been blamed for one of the largest October 2017 fires in Sonoma County though, the Tubbs fire which destroyed more than 5,600 homes and structures and killed 22 people.

The state Senate votes yes to create banks and credit unions for the marijuana business, even though it’s still illegal as far as the federal government is concerned. The bill passed to allow people to start banks and credit unions who would take cash deposits from marijuana retailers then issue special checks back to the businesses they could use for things like paying taxes and California-based vendors. Federal law says no bank can handle money coming from criminal activity and those who knowingly accept money from licensed marijuana retailers apparently cannot get federal deposit insurance. And marijuana businesses aren’t allowed to have debit or business credit cards or checks. Lawmakers and others say that puts businesses at risk of robbery. Not to mention a loss to the state in tax money.

 

17 counties in California including Lake County are included in a federal disaster declaration for this winter’s severe storms. The Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in 33 counties just after he took office after record-breaking rain and damaging winds blanketed the state. There was more than $100 million in flood damage with Lake County claiming $3.75 million in damage. Lake County has to use claims submitted to the state office of emergency services in order to be reimbursed for what it put out. The County Administrative Officer however hopefully they can secure any funding, saying President Trump’s recent Disaster Declaration makes funds available for damage to government infrastructure.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is granting the Mendocino Land Trust money to acquire more than 90 acres of conservation easement just south of Mendocino to conserve a pygmy forest. The area off Gordon Lane is about 49 acres of forest land. Some of the plants there are quite rare. The Mendocino cypress pygmy is a narrow range from Fort Bragg to Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County. The easement would mean that more than 7,000 acres of forest would be protected after first being turned over to California State Parks in 2002.

A young woman from Napa rescued by a helicopter after crashing her car down a steep embankment. The CHP chopper found 20 year old Karla Zambrano Tuesday morning after she apparently crashed off rural Highway 121 east of Napa. The car went down 150 feet before coming to a stop by a tree. She was taken to a hospital with major injuries. The CHP reports she did not have a driver’s license and no other vehicle was involved. But they’re unsure why she crashed to begin with.

A Sonoma County Fire Battalion Chief arrested for domestic violence now on administrative leave. The Press Democrat reports Battalion Chief Ron Busch arrested after a fight with his live-in girlfriend at their home in Windsor. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office reports the woman had visible injuries but did not go to the hospital. Busch was held, then posted bond for $30,000 bail. He’s on leave while the fire department launches their own internal investigation. So far, the D-A’s office has not charged Busch.