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More than a dozen local governments in Northern California have agreed to settle with PG&E after their equipment was blamed for starting fires. The settlements with government bodies including Paradise and Butte County worth up to $1 billion have to be approved by the judge overseeing the Pacific Gas & Electric bankruptcy case. A mediator reportedly helped negotiate the deal which would give the town of Paradise $270 million, $252 million for Butte County, and $47.5 million for the Paradise Recreation and Parks District. The deal after several days of mediation in San Francisco with a retired Judge and 14 public entities who had claims from the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires and the 2018 Camp Fire.

PG&E’s plan to cut power during fire weather events could leave Ukiah in the dark too. The city has its own Electric company, but as the Daily Journal reports the energy is delivered over high voltage transmission lines used jointly by several California utilities. So the “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” resulting in “high-risk transmission lines” being turned off could mean folks are in the dark in Ukiah too. This will be addressed at the City Council meeting tonight.  The newspaper reports city staff noting they will work hard to restore electrical services for customers as quickly as possible, but also note that customers should prepare for no power for up to 48 hours at a time.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors hearing about code enforcement from the Department of Planning and Building Services. Improvements to that department have mean less complaints than last year. The Daily Journal reports violation notices are also on the decline year over year. There are a couple hundred open code enforcement cases, mostly due to unpermitted construction and grading, cannabis complaints, unauthorized development, and problems with structures.

Good news for a couple of high school teams from Ukiah who went to a National Competition for underwater robotics. The teams represented Northern Calif. at the SeaPerch Challenge in Maryland. The “Torque Team” was 7th and “H2Bros” finished 29th out of 84 high school teams. The program is to build Remotely Operated Vehicles out of a kit and those who win have to be top of their game in physics, engineering and math. The Daily Journal reports it’s Ukiah High’s third year in a row to go to Nationals.

A greenlight in Lakeport for the city to declare anyone with dry weeds, brush and other vegetation declared a public nuisance. The City Council tells city staff to find a way to encourage the hazards be removed using current citation procedures to get folks to comply. It’s all to reduce the risk of wildfires. The Lakeport Fire Protection District putting pressure on property owners to get rid of the vegetation off vacant and large lots, sending notices last month with a June 1st deadline to get the weeds and brush removed. The city then inspected the properties to see if they were in compliance and found about 100 were not, but there were also late season rains, which added more weeds.

The Teacher of the Year has been named in Lake County. An education specialist and resource teacher from Mountain Vista Middle School, Kerry Smith ets the honor. The school principal says Smith is “positive, funny, kind, exciting, friendly and helpful”. She also was touted for her teaching skills for students who get independent education plans. She teaches grades 6-8, working with math teachers and general education students struggling with math. Smith and other Teachers will be honored in October at an Excellence in Education Awards Dinner in Lakeport.

The Lake County Public Works director has been names as the interim Water Resources director. The Board of Supervisors has named Scott De Leon as interim Water Resources director. Lake Co News reports the board announced De Leon accepted the appointment until there’s a full recruitment for the job. The last Water Resources director, David Cowan is moving back to his home state of Texas to be the watershed manager, where he says he can be closer to his grandkids.

A kidney doctor in Lakeport has lost his license due to a sex assault case. Lake Co News reports the Medical Board of California revoked Dr. Mohamad Moutaz Almawaldi’s license last week after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of sexual battery. He got three years probation and he has to register as a sex offender, that’s what led to the loss of his license. It all goes back to the case from August 2017 where a former employee of Almawaldi’s says he forcefully kissed her and pulled down her shirt. He was arrested last year in the case and later indicted. The case was then reported to the Medical Board of California.

Some fire starts in the Mendocino National Forest after a recent lightning storm in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness. Lake Co News reports the fire was spotted Monday from the Anthony Peak Lookout. It has been named the East Fire and was reported about 43 miles west of Red Bluff and charred 40 acres so far. Smokejumpers were assigned to the fire which is burning in the Yellow fire scar from back in 2008. Another fire’s being monitored, the Haynes fire.

The Gov. has apologized to California Native American Peoples for violence, mistreatment and neglect against them over many years. Gov. Newsom has also announced he’s started the Truth and Healing Council for Native Americans to tell their side of events between the state and tribes. Newsom says the state has to “reckon with our dark history” after Native Americans suffered violence, discrimination and exploitation which had been sanctioned by the state over many years.  The Governor’s new council will be led and convened by his tribal advisor. There will also be representatives from tribes, state and local agencies and other relevant non-governmental stakeholders.

A new chief has been named for the Russian River Fire Protection District. Sonoma County Fire Chief Mark Heine of Windsor will take over, managing 11 firefighters who work on about 20 square miles along the Russian River between Forestville and Monte Rio. The same Chief was named for Windsor and Rincon Valley, then added the Bennett Valley and Mountain fire agencies. The four agencies all consolidated and known now as the Sonoma County Fire District. The Russian River district has not had a chief since the end of 2017, when the last Chief Max Ming was fired without public explanation.

A man from Potter Valley has been killed after a solo car crash on the 101 north of the Sonoma County line. The CHP reports the man in his mid 40’s, was headed north towards Mendocino County yesterday afternoon around 5:30 at about 80 mph then he lost control of his pickup, skidding off the road, across the lanes again, then hit a rock and rolled over. His truck then landed back right side up on the highway. But he was found dead inside the truck without a seatbelt on. Nobody else was with him at the time. CHP investigating why the crash happened.

The latest count of homelessness in Butte County shows a spike, because of the Camp Fire, but other reasons too. The spring count in the latest point in time report released Monday shows homelessness up by 16 percent. The report shows the Camp Fire pushed many into homelessness, some staying in FEMA mobile homes and others even sleeping in cars, on the street or in a park. The homeless count on March 28th is a national survey required by all local municipalities in order to get money from the fed. It’s conducted by local Continuum of Care agencies. Those in Butte County found without shelter because of the Camp Fire, never homeless before, some said they had been in the past.

A new report by UC Berkeley shows many Californians don’t know how the state should tackle the housing shortage. The report by the college’s Institute of Governmental Studies shows 47 percent of Californians disagree on how to handle the situation, but in the Bay Area the majority said the state should get more involved. There’s a bill in the state Senate currently demanding cities build more housing and allow for more density. State planners say the state has a housing deficit of 3.5 million units because cities are not putting in more housing to meet state guidelines. Some in the Berkeley study said they thought the state should offer housing subsidies to help low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Others said there should be more multi-family development and still more said more rent control should be approved. Others say none of that would even solve the problem.

 

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