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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.

 

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