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A measure that would allow firefighters to get a jump on managing the state’s vegetation ahead of next fire season has passed. Senator Cathleen Galgiani has announced the passage of SB 632. Governor Newsom signed the bill into law requiring the board of forestry and fire protection to certify an environmental impact report for a vegetation treatment program by February 2020. This gives Cal Fire time to analyze the results before fire season arrives. In a statement, the Senator said that “With year after year of record-breaking wildfires, fire-related deaths, acres burned, and structures destroyed, it was clear that an updated report on changes to California’s landscape has never been greater”. The law will into effect on January 1st.

The results are inconclusive. The family of a dog who died from suspected exposure to blue-green algae in August after a swim in the Putah Creek area allowed the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at UC Davis to test the dog’s stomach contents and some body tissue. The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) also performed their own evaluation. An investigation was launched after the dog’s sudden death, and samples of water from the Putah Creek area were also tested. The tests didn’t find any of the common types of toxins in the water or in the dog samples, but also didn’t conclusively rule out an algae-related cause. Pets are particularly at risk from swimming in water contaminated by blue-green algae. If an animal becomes sick or dies suddenly after swimming in any body of water, please call or take the animal to a veterinarian and alert your local Health Department.

Mounting expenses related to PG&E’s bankruptcy as attorney fees alone have reached $140 million dollars, even before wildfire victims have seen any compensation. According to the US trustee administering the chapter 11 proceedings Andrew Vara, the bankruptcy is likely to be among the most expensive ever filed. The Daily Journal reports that questionable expenses include attorney’s fees for meetings attended by 22 attorneys at the same time, recent law school graduates billing at the same rate as the most experienced lawyers, nonworking meals and air travel, and a firm that billed 12 hour days for 100 consecutive days. Executive Director with consumer group The Utility Reform Network Mark Toney, notes that while lawyers are billing the exorbitant fees, customers wait in tents and trailers. An attorney for about 5,500 wildfire victims, Gerald Singleton says that the utility company is hoping to pay wildfire victims $.50 on the dollar for their losses.

Governor Newsom warns that the stat’s longest ever period of economic growth is slowing, which may be felt in next year’s budget. Record surpluses allowed the governor this year to increase access to health care, housing, and education spending but next year’s budget may not be so liberal. His 2020 budget is due in January.

Today is the deadline for the Mendocino County Cannabis Cultivation phase one. All applications for cultivation must be in by 5 pm and can be dropped off at the Department of Planning and Building Services, where they will be reviewed to ensure that all required documentation was submitted. Applicants will be notified in writing whether or not the application was complete. It’s important to include all required documentation because any applications that are incomplete will not be included in phase one.

Ukiah High students have been celebrating homecoming all week with rallies, projects, and even donations to the Ukiah Food Bank. Students will be sporting class colors when they fill the gym for a rally just before 10 am. A parade gets underway at 3:45 and the JV football game is at 5 pm, varsity at 7:30 pm.

According to a new poll released yesterday by the Public Policy Institute of California, voters are worried about housing and homelessness, and at least part the blame lies with Governor Newsom. According to the results, more voters likely disapprove of his job performance than approve. Compare that to a different poll released Monday by UC Berkley’s institute of governmental studies, which show voters approve of the Governor’s job performance by about 20 percentage points.

California may have a new type of bank by next year, all thanks to a bill signed yesterday by Governor Newsom setting up rules for public banks. The new financial institutions would be owned by, and primarily serve public agencies. Unlike private banks, they’ll be required to put the public good over profits. Debbie Notkin, with the California Public Banking Alliance, predicts the agencies will save a considerable amount of money. Wall Street banks have criticized California’s legislation, saying banking is too complex to be entrusted to government, but Notkin points out that all five of the biggest Wall Street banks have felony charges on their records and have paid huge fines for their misdeeds in recent years. She’s also convinced that public banks will be more responsive to local and regional concerns.

Fire prevention week kicks off on Sunday as a reminder to plan and practice a safe escape route in the event of a house or wildfire. CalFire Director Thom Porter says that being aware of your surroundings is an ability people need to use everywhere and that no matter where you are, you should always look for two ways out. If an alarm sounds, take it seriously and get out immediately. If it’s a wildfire situation, leave right away. Experts advise coming up with a plan which should be practiced day and night so that it becomes muscle memory. Draw a map of each level in the home, and show two ways out of every room. Designate a meeting place like a mailbox or tree and call 911 from the meeting place during an emergency. Make plans to help children or those with disabilities get out, install smoke alarms in the home’s sleeping areas, and for those trapped inside, firefighters have the best training to rescue them. Log on for more info at readyforwildfire.org or fire.ca.gov.

Governor Newsom has signed a law that will make it easier for local school boards to deny new charters schools. The new law includes a two-year moratorium on non-classroom-based charters, new credentialing requirements for teachers and a provision that allows school boards to examine the financial impact of a new charter school. The law essentially ensures that charter schools are held to the same standards as public schools. local officials could potentially shut down a charter in districts with budget problems under the legislation.

Up to $125,000 in funding is available under the 2020 community enrichment program, according to an announcement by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County. The grant awards will range from $3000 to $8000 for community projects throughout Mendocino County. Interested organizations can apply at communityfound.org. There are several workshops planned to explain the details and answer questions starting with one in Ukiah on Friday, Oct 18th at the Community Foundation of Mendocino County Community room at 204 S Oak Street. A South Coast workshop is planned for Oct 22nd, North Coast Oct 25th and there’s one in Willits Oct 30th. All workshops will be from noon to 1:30 pm and are free to attend.

It’s five months in prison for a Napa Valley winemaker, the latest sentence handed down over the national college admissions scandal, and so far the toughest. 52-year-old Agustin F. Huneeus pleaded guilty to fraud charges last May and admitted to paying bribes to have his daughter’s answers on her SAT fixed so she could get into USC as a competitive water polo player. Governor Newson has signed legislation aimed at making it harder for those with money to buy their kid’s way into elite schools, including a bill that bans parents found guilty in the admission scandal from taking tax deductions for donations they made to any fake charities involved. Over 20 other people have entered pleas in the case.

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