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A high school teacher in Ukiah who was accused of misconduct for hugging a former student in a closet on school grounds is back at work after his case is closed. The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office reports teacher Benjamin O’Neill pleaded “no contest” to a misdemeanor for hugging a 17-year-old girl in a storage room. He was arrested the year after it happened when someone else reported it to police. O’Neill had been charged with “annoying a child under… 18” and was put on administrative leave, then in June pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery instead. He got three years probation and 50 hours of community service and has to have counseling. He also had his teaching credential reinstated.

Some improvements coming to Lake Mendocino courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers. The Corp working on the south side of the lake for erosion improvements at the Joe Riley Day Use Area this weekend. They’ve already completed some road grading and will put down some base-rock before winter rains. The National Guard is helping with the work which is supposed to be done this weekend. The road they’re all working on has not been used by the Corp in the winter wet season because of erosion and washout which should no longer be an issue.

A parent at Lakeport schools wants three board members tossed so he’s circulating a petition to make it happen. The Record Bee reports Joe Szupello served Jennifer Hanson, Carly Alvord and Dan Buffalo with notice at their meeting this week after he was able to get the 10 required signatures to get the ball rolling. The trio have a week to respond. Two thirds of Lakeport’s voters will have to sign the petition for it to move to a recall. The petition stating they’re looking to “restore accountability, transparency and trust” putting students above, “self-serving board members.” On another note the Natural High building looks to be noted as surplus property and school enrollment was up by about ten students.

A lifelong resident of Kelseyville says she’s running for the Board of Supervisors, District 5 seat. Lily Woll announced her candidacy Monday night. The district serves Kelseyville, Riviera, Buckingham, Cobb and Loch Lomond and has been Rob Brown’s for almost two decades, but he says he won’t run again. Woll has a degree in Spanish and International Studies, served in the Peace Corps and worked for the Lake County Department of Social Services as a bilingual eligibility worker and a family advocate for Lake County Tribal Health. She also has a couple of Masters Degrees, in Spanish and in Education.

It’s back to work for striking teachers in Forestville. The teachers return today after agreeing to a new three year contract last night after a four day strike. Teachers at Forestville School & Academy started the strike the first day of school. Kids were also kept out of school as a show of solidarity. The school posted on their Facebook page that a deal was reached. It came after only 140 of 310 enrolled students showed up for the first day of classes and some parents were also on the picket line. The new deal includes 5% pay raises the first two years, increased health insurance premium contributions and a 3% raise the third year, which had been the sticking point.

The Lake County Grand Jury says the Lake Evacuation & Animal Protection service needs more money, more telephones and better online presence. The Record Bee reports on the new report on the program that organizes moving animals during emergencies, then caring for them after emergency evacuations in Lake County. It’s activated by the Sheriff as he sees fit. But the grand jury states there are not enough phone lines to handle the amount of calls they get during an active evacuation. The report also urging pet owners to be more prepared in a disaster. The jury also recommending a Facebook page for animal owners to coordinate transports and to be part of the planning of PG&E power shutoffs.

Those impacted by wildfires caused by PG&E equipment can start applying for urgent help. As we reported earlier this week, there’s $125 million dollars for survivors of the 2017 and 2018 fires, including the Camp Fire and Tubbs Fire. There are applications available now for households to get up to $5,000 ea. All you have to do is visit their website to start the process or make a phone call.  It’s not part of the utility company’s bankruptcy, but if you do get money this way, it will be subtracted from future claims in the bankruptcy case. The deadline to submit a claim for emergency funds is Nov. 15th.

A man from Nice has been arrested and misses his arraignment because he’s in the hospital. Police say Grant Donald Smith was taken to UC Davis Hospital after he was charged with negligent discharge of a firearm and resisting an executive officer. It comes after the man was seen yelling at his neighbors and shooting a gun. Clearlake Police and California Highway Patrol officers say they heard gunshots coming from the guy’s house and ordered him outside then he told them to come get him and threatened to kill everyone. A SWAT team diffused the situation, arrested him and held him for $500,000 bail with an active bench warrant.

An EMT officer out hiking in the Canyon Creek area of Trinity County is reported missing. Kym Kemp reporting Daniel Komins of Blue Lake hasn’t been heard from since last Sunday. He was apparently out at Upper Canyon Creek Lake and was supposed to be back this past Wednesday. His girlfriend says he went camping at Lower Lake then was at Thompson Peak with three other hikers. The girlfriend got a message from Komins gps device with his coordinates later that day, from Upper Lake.  She says he was supposed to go next to Sapphire Lake, but she never heard back and reported him missing. His car was found by deputies at the trailhead and a team went out searching. A chopper joined the search yesterday.

Multiple fires start in Shasta County being called the Cottage Fire. Cal Fire in Shasta reports one fire broke out after lunch time yesterday east of Anderson and southeast of Redding and evacuations were ordered an hour later. It’s quickly noted as a complex of fires on twitter with the Cal Fire area division tweeting two 30 acre fires and one five acre fire with structures threatened. Then later they reported one of those blew up to 50 acres and two others merged into one 60 acre fire. There were also road closures announced for residents, but hours later the roads open and the evacuations are lifted. The fire is now reported at 133 acres and 30% contained. The Moose Fire in Mendocino County has had no forward movement in several days, sitting at 225 acres and now 85% contained.

A bill making its way thru the legislature calls on school districts in the state to update records showing student names with their genders. They say it’s to help transgender graduates or grads identifying as having no gender. Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco authored the bill which he says it can negatively impact transgender and nonbinary Californians as they apply for jobs or school. Right now state law protects transgender students but the Assemblyman says some schools have been reluctant to issue new diplomas to grads who transitioned or came out as transgender or nonbinary after they left school. The bill so far passed the Senate and Assembly, but Republican lawmakers withheld their votes.


A ballot measure meant to raise property taxes on certain businesses next year is no longer feasible as written. The sponsors of the 2020 measure to raise taxes on factories, stores, warehouses, office buildings and other commercial real estate decided not to proceed as it was written and has a new draft instead. The improvement to help small businesses. For years unions and others have been trying to repeal or revise Proposition 13 which was voted in in 1978. The “Schools and Communities First” measure would keep certain provisions of Proposition 13’s tax limits for agricultural and residential properties, but require commercial properties to be upgraded for tax purposes. Those against the initiative say it’s the first step in repealing Proposition 13’s limits on all property.

The price of land in Calif with single family homes up, but Calif. was behind a couple of other states. A new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard showed Nevada and Colorado were on top of California in land values per acre. The report looking at the state of the country’s housing market as a whole showing there were more new households every year between 2012 and 017, but construction was weak, so the price was still too much for too many. Land prices were up 158 percent in Nevada, 96 percent in Colorado, and 88 percent in California.





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