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category 94.5 K-Wine News]

We are heading into this weekend in MUCH better shape than we were at the start of the week. CalFire reports progress at the Kincaid fire, saying it is 64 percent contained and on the Burris Fire, , calling it 94 percent contained, with full containment possible by Sunday. The number of people who can’t go home is also dropping substantially with 5 more evacuation warnings lifted in the Kincaid fire zone in Sonoma and Napa Counties. PG & E calls the public safety shutoff essentially over, but another 24,000 customers in Sonoma County have no natural gas service because of the risk of explosions and may not have their heating and cooking fuel back until Monday.

While the weather conditions have improved with cooler temperatures and no high winds expected, there is no RAIN expected anytime soon either, so officials are urging everyone to remember that even the smallest spark can still set off a major fire. That means things like being careful when using lawnmowers and other power equipment outside and not driving vehicles into dry grass or brush.

The Mendocino County Economic Development and Finance Corporation is offering a way for small business owners recover from this week’s shutoffs and prepare for future events like it that could take a toll on the bottom line. The organization has set up a special loan fund that will offer low interest loans at three percent up to $50,000 dollars for small business to recover losses or invest in emergency preparedness. EFDC director Heather Gurewitz calls it a community service for local business that have gone through though a tough time. There’s information about the loans and the qualifications at the website EFDC.org.

A Democratic congressman from California is calling for a public takeover of PG & E, saying the utility is putting its profits and its investors over public safety. Congressman Ro Kahana says the for profit utility model doesn’t work any more. Meanwhile, Govenor Newsom has created a new cabinet level position of energy czar to oversee the state’s utilities including PG & E and fix a system the governor thinks is broken.

Don’t forget it’s FALL BACK to Pacific Standard time on Sunday morning. California is one of several states looking at proposals to end the annual clock-changing ritual. Last year, voters overwhelmingly said YES to Proposition 7 giving the legislature the power to vote on going to Daylight Saving Time year round as long as congress approves. Opponents say a single time would be disrupting and confusing unless the 3 bordering states and Mexico do the same. Meanwhile, firefighting groups say you should also use the time change as a reminder to check to make sure your smoke alarms are working properly.

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