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Get ready, summer is here and Pacific Gas and Electric is preparing to turn power off and says it could be up to five days at a time. A PG&E representative speaking to the City Council says 48 hours, which had previously been reported, is a reasonable amount of time to expect the power off, but to also be prepared for up to five days. They say the shutoffs are a tool they’re using to minimize fires starting to begin with especially after the Camp Fire which burned 14,000 homes and killed 85 people. Last year there were some shutoffs too, but this year they will be on transmission lines, which could mean the entire grid is turned off. Look for red flag warnings as a possible indicator of power being turned off.

Running water and sewer services will be provided by the City of Ukiah during Public Safety Power Shutoffs. As we’ve reported Pacific Gas and Electric is planning power shut offs, but the Ukiah Electric Utility director tells the Daily Journal they have gas generators that can operate the water and sewer plants. The city manager of emergency services says if PG&E does turn power off for up to five days, residents should be prepared to have batteries and flashlights and stock sustainable food and water. And a reminder to keep your garage door open if it runs on electric and get battery or solar-powered devices so you can charge cell phones or other electronics.

After a mediator proposed a settlement with PG&E regarding the October 2017 firestorm and last year’s Camp Fire, Mendocino County’s Executive office announcing their own agreement with the utility company. $415 million dollars to the County to cover damages caused by fires including the Redwood Complex that killed nine people and destroyed more than 500 structures. The money won’t be distributed until PG&E’s bankruptcy case is complete. 14 public entities with claims from the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires, and the 2018 Camp Fire are included in the one billion dollar settlement.

The new budget in Lakeport has been approved. Just over 16 million dollars in spending with money coming out of reserves for some infrastructure projects. The Record Bee reports the city’s predicting more than $12.5 million in revenue, which is 6 percent off from the current fiscal year and about $3.5 million lower than planned spending. The city’s finance director says they have to do some repairs after the winter storms from two years ago, and this year which amount to millions in damage. There are also road repairs and infrastructure improvements included in the projects. It will mean a deficit of about $131,000 for the general fund. The city manager says the reserves are wisely spent on one time projects.

As PG&E announces settlements and power shutoffs, they’re also looking to distribute millions in bonuses to key executives during their bankruptcy proceedings. The utility is asking to give out almost $11 million in bonuses but the judge in their Chapter 11 case would have to approve it. The bonuses made public as part of a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The bonuses are incentives for key employees related to safety, operational and financial goals. It comes after the utility filed for bankruptcy this past January after wildfire claims and other liabilities amounted to $51.69 billion in debts. Almost all of the October 2017 Northern Calif. fires and last year’s Camp Fire are blamed on PG&E’s equipment. The company’s filing says about half of the bonuses will be paid in cash and the other 50 percent with restricted stock.

One of the first bills signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom is for kittens to quickly get adopted. The bill’s author Assemblyman Bill Quirk says it surprised him to find out kittens have to be held in shelters up to three days before they can be adopted and it leads to many being unnecessarily euthanized because they’re not properly cared for. But apparently there is still a Calif. law saying animals who are adopted must be neutered or spayed before being placed in homes which could mean they’re two months old.

The legislature has moved a $13 billion school construction bond forward so it will be on the ballot next year. Then another for 2022 also moved forward. There was $9 billion in state funding from the last state bond but it’s already been spent or earmarked. The latest bond approved for the ballot won unanimous approval of the Senate Education Committee Wednesday. It still needs some language tweaking though before the full Senate takes a vote on the bill. The state supplements the cost of construction projects with bonds from local property taxes. Plus the state also pays about half of what it costs to build a new school and another 60 percent to renovate a school or college campus.

A new vaccination bill has moved another step forward to give public health officials not doctors, the authority to exempt some children from getting immunized before going to school. An Assembly committee approved the bill during a lively hearing with a 9-2 vote after some wording in the bill was changed. Supporters of the bill say some parents look for doctors to write an exemption even if it’s not needed. There were hundreds at the hearing though calling it government overreach. Some saying they wouldn’t follow the rules if they’re adopted and signed into law by the governor.

The general land use plan still in the midst of being approved by Fort Bragg’s Planning Commission and the City Council for the Georgia-Pacific mill site. The work at the same time the Skunk Train owners were approved for a purchase of part of the site. The plan supposed to be done sometime this summer to allow for transportation studies to start and planning efforts to begin before April of 2021. The Advocate newspaper reports the Planning Commission hearing from developers about plans for the site including retail, housing and hospitality. There’s also some cleanup set for the old mill site. The soil removal has been done, but there are old ponds that need to be remediated where high levels of arsenic remain. And there’s still discussion about existing businesses and new businesses plans for the site.

A woman in Shasta County court found guilty in the death of two teenagers she hit drunk driving in 2017. 27 year old Kendra Andersen-Schwegerl convicted of two counts of Second Degree Murder and other crimes yesterday for the crash into a car full of teenagers stopped at a red light in Redding. At the time, police said Andersen-Schwegerl was going 100 miles an hour killing 18 year old Erica Young and 19 year old Lacy Jackson, both of Hoopa, the three others in the car were also injured. Police say the driver had beer in her car and was drinking at two bars over three hours before the accident. Her blood alcohol was .254% about an hour and a half after the crash. She’ll be sentenced July 19th and faces forty years to life in prison.

Another phone scam circulating thru Northern Calif. this time in Fortuna with a claim it’s PG&E calling to warn of electricity being shut off unless a payment is made immediately. One business owner in Southern Humboldt saying they got a realistic sounding robo call saying it was PG&E. An employee answered the call that said PG&E would shut off power in 40 minutes for non-payment. But the owner said they knew it was a scam and didn’t fall for it. Fortuna police say the same scam happened earlier this year with the calls coming from a 415 area code.

UC California is making changes after the college admissions scandal. The scandal which involved some celebrities included fifty people cheating on tests to get their kids admitted to prestigious schools. The school system will now monitor donations so there are no admissions based on money being donated or paid. The UC President Janet Napolitano says they’re taking their zero tolerance policy extremely seriously and will be proactive, transparent and accountable in the future.

At the same time the California State University system reportedly kept $1.5 billion in reserves but has raised tuition. A new report says the system also lobbied lawmakers for more state funding. The report made public yesterday by the state auditor says CSU had a massive surplus the last decade that comes mainly from student tuition at the same time, the system almost doubled student tuition across its 23 campuses. The auditor’s report says the system also did not fully inform legislators and students about its surplus. Tuition at CSU campuses was up from about $3,000 for the 2008-2009 school year to almost double, at $5,700 last school session.

 

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