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There’s a new board member for the Mendocino-Lake Community College District. Noel O’Neill now a member of the Board of Trustees for Area 1. The area includes Willits and Fort Bragg. The previous board member served for 15 years. There was nobody else running for the seat. O’Neill was interviewed at a public meeting at the October meeting. O’Neill used to be a Marriage and Family Therapist and comes with more than 35 years experience in the behavior health industry. He also worked previously as a part-time academic counselor and instructor for the college.

Governor Newsom has signed new laws including some from Northern Calif. legislators, Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Sen. Mike McGuire. They represent Lake County, McGuire also covers Mendocino County. The bills by Aguiar-Curry to bring more access to “telehealth” services, getting rid of provisions in state law about doctors communicating from a distance with patients required by Medi-Cal. Now any state healthcare plan will have to reimburse providers equally for telehealth services as they do for in-person services. She had another law signed by the governor for “telepharmacy” where folks have limited access to a pharmacy. McGuire’s bill for stricter rules on cannabis manufacturers labeling was signed by the governor, so areas where marijuana is grown are strictly marketed for only that area.

A man in Clearlake in court for a preliminary hearing had it rescheduled due to a court scheduling mishap. Bert Besio charged with sexual assault on a minor and lewd acts with a minor. It comes after child molestation reports of two victims under 13 years old. He’s pleaded not guilty and denied special allegations. There was a delay in the case already because of discovery in the case being held up. Besio was arrested on suspicion of sexual crimes last month. His formal charges were two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor, two counts of forcible lewd act upon a child and two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The Smart Rail may get a cash infusion if voters lean their way. The commuter rail agency looking to extend a quarter-cent sales tax which is its main source of funding. The Press Democrat reports the agency wants the ballot measure almost ten years ahead of when the tax is set to expire. First the proposal has to be approved by the 12-member Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit board. There will also be a period of public feedback with an updated budget.

A man shows up at a police station in Northern Calif. with a dead body. 53 year old Shankar Hangud went to the Mount Shasta police dept. telling cops the dead man in his car and three others were killed by him. He says he killed the man in his car and the rest of his family at his apartment in Roseville, about 260 miles away. The man is now facing four counts of murder and was booked into jail. Then officers went to the apartment and found the bodies of another adult and two children.

A fire at a concrete plant in Cloverdale is being investigated as possible arson. Police say the fire happened early Monday morning and looked as though it started in a parked camp trailer owned by Shamrock Materials which has been out of business for years. The fire then spread to the building. Fire officials say it was suspicious in nature because the area had long been empty without any power. The fire caused about $80-$100,000 in damage. The trailer was gutted and 25% of the building had major damage.

Calif. has to put forward several million dollars to pay for road damage in Oroville after the Oroville Dam had to have emergency repairs, ripping up local roads in the process. The state Department of Water Resources and Butte County publicly announcing they reached a settlement yesterday nearly three years after the spillways at dam failed in heavy rain. There was heavy truck traffic after the failure and Butte County roads were crumbling after the work. Butte County sued the agency last year.

A green light for the Lake County Board of Supervisors to transfer authority for managing the county’s investments to administrative staff or an outside consultant instead of the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. The Board voted unanimously for the change, but first they set up an ad hoc committee to work with staff on ideas. Lake Co News reports Supervisors Bruno Sabatier and Moke Simon came up with the idea as they work on another ad hoc committee to see how to help the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s department in areas including revenue generation.

Applications are being accepted by the Clearlake City Council for a seat on the Zoning Code Update Committee. There’s one opening on the committee that works with city staffers coming up with a new zoning ordinance and design review manual to go with the city’s latest general plan. The committee meets on an as needed basis. For more info, visit the city’s website: or by contacting Administrative Services Director/City Clerk Melissa Swanson at 707-994-8201, Extension 106, or email at

The Gov. signing a slew of new bills into law, also vetoes some. This time around he vetoed one with an eye on giving teachers six weeks paid leave after having a baby. The second time the bill made it to the Governor, with almost unanimous approval. Gov. Brown veto’d it last year saying collective bargaining with the union should cover it. Governor Newsom remarked earlier on the bill that he wanted to look at the cost and how unions could handle it, saying there were many considerations and tradeoffs. He says it was a noble goal and a priority for his administration but said it should be looked at as part of a yearly budget and local collective bargaining.

PG&E’s going to have to fork over some cash after the widespread public safety power shutoffs last week. The utility slapped with a bill by the Calif. Public Utilities Commission for “failures in execution”. The president of the agency wrote a letter to PG&E’s president calling the planned power outage “an unacceptable situation that should never be repeated.” She also ordered several corrective actions including power being turned back on within 12 hours, not 48, the current promise to customers.

Another new law signed by the Gov. allows drivers on some state roads to take roadkill. The bill signed last weekend by Gov. Newsom allows the state Fish and Game Commission to come up with a pilot program for drivers to be able to salvage wildlife to eat. They’d have to secure a permit to do so. There would be three specific locations it would be legal for someone who accidentally hits and kills an elk, deer, pronghorn antelope, or wild pig to apply on the fly for a free permit online and take the fresh kill home to eat. They may also be able to take the kill someone else left on the side of the road. And if the animal was still alive, then a member from the Department of Fish and Wildlife or a law enforcement officer would kill the animal.

A man from Navarro found guilty of first degree murder after a shooting of another man 2 years ago. The Mendocino County DA reports the jury came back from deliberating late yesterday afternoon announcing a guilty verdict against Michael Jay Saner. They also found true the sentencing enhancement that Saner personally and intentionally discharged a shotgun killing William Martinez in 2017, shooting him in the back. They also found him guilty of using tear gas during the commission of the murder. The man will be sentenced next month. He faces 50 years to life for the murder and sentencing enhancement.

A new Chief Business Official’s has been named for the Ukiah Unified School District. The Board of Trustees has approved Steve Barekman for the job, calling him a dedicated financial professional with more than 15 years of experience in educational accounting and finance. Right now, he’s the Director of Business Services for the Healdsburg Unified School District. He also worked in Ukiah’s school district before as the Director of Fiscal Services then went to work in Santa Rosa and Memphis TN and back. His daughter also goes to school in Ukiah.

One of Pacific Gas and Electric’s top executives loses his job after it was found he spent time with a group of employees wining and dining some customers at a winery in Sonoma County right before the public safety power shutoff. The Press Democrat reports Mel Christopher was the top gas executive for the utility. But he was at a retreat with 60 major gas customers at a winery in Healdsburg just ahead of the blackout in parts of 34 counties. Plus it was the two year anniversary of the October 2017 firestorm. PG&E was found to have caused nearly all of the fires that burned thru Sonoma County. The CEO of PG&E said everyone employed there should be working to better serve their customers and earn their trust back. He called his participation at the retreat insensitive, inappropriate, and tone deaf.

The family of a man that went missing one year ago is speaking out about his struggles. Hans Lippuner vanished from his home in McKinleyville a year ago today. They say he had been struggling with depression, had pain in one of his hips and a major weight loss just before he disappeared, weighing only 140 pounds on his 5’8″ frame. The family says they hired a private investigator to try to find him. His van was found by a hunter outside Del Loma in a remote area. There was a search for him there in rugged and steep terrain, but no clues were found. They’re asking again if anyone may know anything about his whereabouts to contact the P-I, Chris Cook at 707.839.7422 and/or Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office – Investigator Jenn Taylor, at 707.268.3642.



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