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Monthly Archives: December 2019

Police have arrested a woman who they say walked out of a store in Mendocino with a basket of goods she never paid for. Sheriff’s deputies eventually caught up with 20-year-old Bailey Albers after they say she took more than a thousand dollars worth of household goods and cookware from Harvest of Mendosa’s on Lansing Street. Officers also say Albers didn’t cooperate as she was being been taken in, so besides the grand theft charges, she is charged with resisting arrest and battery on a peace officer. She is being held on $15,000 bail.

Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies say an investigation into an unrelated case has led to the arrest of a man from Fort Bragg on drug possession charges. Officers say they found a bag full of meth when they went to talk to Kenton Colberg at a home on Hare Creek Road. Colberg is charged with drug possession for sales and is being held on $25,000 bail at the county jail.

Another warning today about high surf as waves well over 20 feet could slam into the shore through tomorrow night. You should stay away from dangerous locations like rocks, jetties, and steep beaches, and stay alert for rapidly changing surf conditions. A storm moving in from Alaska is behind the rough water.

The deadline to claim money from PG&E due to wildfires is today, the last day of 2019. The utility company has a $13.5 billion dollar fund for wildfire victims who have until 5 p.m. today to get money for any losses caused by utility-started fires over the past four years. The money will be split among victims and government agencies after billions of dollars in claims related to wildfire damages that led to the utility company’s bankruptcy filing. You can get money for various losses including, homes, wrongful death, business losses, lost wages, emotional and physical injuries and evacuation money. The claims for the October 2017 wildfires in Northern California, the 2018 Camp fire and 2015 Butte fire, both in Butte County.

A new law has been temporarily blocked by a judge that looked to ban mandatory arbitration agreements. Those against the law, which was supposed to start tomorrow, said it would make it harder to sue superiors for sexual harassment. The judge stopping enforcement of the law until she considers a request by the California Chamber of Commerce and other businesses. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute says about 70% of the state’s non-union, private-sector workplaces have mandatory arbitration policies. Business groups argue arbitration is effective and fair for both sides and follows federal law. And the federal law restricts state governments from banning the agreements. The new Calif. law makes them optional.

More information on the officer involved shooting in the Dollar General Store parking lot in Lower Lake. The District Attorney’s office is still investigating and has not released much more than the victim’s name which is 34 year old Craig Ellis See. As we reported yesterday a deputy had an altercation with See, who reportedly had a knife on him. Deputy Wesley Besgrove was injured, including a fractured leg, head contusion, and bite marks. He was treated and released from St. Helena Hospital in Clearlake. He was alone during the altercation and is on paid administrative leave. See had some contact in the past with the sheriff’s office for theft and trespassing and earlier this month related to an assault with a firearm case.

The new law aimed at so called gig workers could be sidelined if a group of independent contractors have their way. A lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles arguing the new law violates federal and state constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. Uber reportedly trying to jump onto another lawsuit filed in the middle of the month by a group of freelance writers and photographers. Also the California Trucking Association has filed claim against the new law which drills down on when you can be considered an employee. The lawsuit claims the new law, set to start tomorrow, exempts some industries but covers others without any reasoning behind who’s included and who isn’t.

A federal policy making committee has appointed a Lakeport City Council Member. Mireya Turner will take a seat on the National League of Cities’ 2020 Community and Economic Development federal advocacy committee. The committee takes up housing, community and economic development issues, and land use, recreation and parks, historic preservation and international competitiveness. Turner is an associate planner for the City of Ukiah and previously was a planner in Lake County.

A boost in the minimum wage in Calif. one of the new laws set to start with the New Year. Right now the minimum wage is $11 an hour for businesses who have 25 or less employees and $12/hour for bigger companies. Starting tomorrow, each of the rates go up a buck. It’ll continue going up one dollar a year until it gets to $15 in 2023. Some cities in the Bay Area are going even further, with some going up to more than $15/hour starting tomorrow. In San Francisco larger employers will have to pay $15 per hour this New Year. Same in Belmont, Menlo Park and Redwood City. Those against the boost in pay say it would mean less job and business growth because employers have to pay more which could close businesses down altogether, ending in job losses.

A program to deal with wildlife damage to residents is starting in Mendocino County. The County gives the go-ahead for an Integrated Wildlife Damage Management Program. A federal contract with Wildlife Services is being entered into, but the Board of Supervisors first needs to approve it. There’s already been an environmental impact report on the environmental effects of a lethal and non-lethal wildlife program. The County looking at both options regarding several animals including coyote, raccoons, skunk, bobcat, feral dogs, foxes, black bears and more.

Quick work by firefighters on a fire at Big Valley Rancheria. The fire near the Konocti Vista Casino Monday night around 6:45 p.m. Lake Co News reports when firefighters arrived, they found a shed totally on fire with visible flames and a burning car. Other buildings nearby, but no word if they were damaged. The fire was contained in about 15 minutes and totally extinguished in 30 minutes.


Look for big waves on the coast to ring in the new year. A weather system moving in from Alaska is predicted to kick up high surf Tuesday and Wednesday, with some breakers over 20 feet, depending on location and which way the beach faces. If you’ll be near the water, you should use extra caution.

The Ukiah Unified School District says it is saving both money and energy by retrofitting lighting at five district schools. District officials also plan to make changes at the remaining schools and install solar panels as well. Superintendent Deb Kubin says savings will help pay for a badly needed upgrade to the heating and air conditioning system st the Grace Hudson Elementary school. Money for the retrofits comes from a grant under the states Proposition 399 and the California Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2017 and 2018. Kubin says the project is a good example of how to use scarce resources more effectively.

Lawmakers will hold a hearing next week about a proposal that could eventually legalize sports betting in the state. The supreme court legalized sports gambling last year but left it up to states to decide if it is allowed within their borders. It would take approval from two-thirds of the legislature and passage of a ballot question to change the constitution for that in California. The hearing by in Sacramento will be on January 8th. Just last week, Michigan became the 20th state to legalize sports wagers and several other states are expected to do so in 2020.

A man and woman in Willits recovering after a burglary at their home over the weekend. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports getting a call Saturday to a woman vandalizing a home, the man and woman inside reported she was Angelica Pedroza who they found standing over them as they slept. Apparently she used to date the male victim. He got out of bed to tell Pedroza to leave and she hit him in the head. They say she also knocked over other items in the home and the female victim tried to call 911 but says Pedroza grabbed the phone and broke it. The man eventually got Pedroza out of the house where she also reportedly broke a window. She was arrested at her home in Laytonville later that day and charged with burglary of an inhabited residence, domestic violence battery, felony vandalism and damage/destroy a wireless communication device and held on $50,000.00 bail.

It’s taken a couple years to start to repair the damage caused by the Redwood Complex Fire in October of 2017. Now a volunteer group is helping survivors. The Mennonite Disaster Service is helping to rebuild lost homes due to the fire.  Along with the Mennonite Disaster Service, Mendocino-ROC, a long-term fire recovery committee has also started to help these last couple months. Four homes are being worked on in Redwood Valley. The Daily Journal reports volunteers coming to town for a week or so to help. The newspaper reports it hasn’t been easy these last several weeks with wet and muddy conditions. But they say they’re still making progress.

Even though Sheriff Tom Allman has retired already, a party’s being thrown in his honor. Yesterday was Allman’s last day on the job. Friday, February 1st the community is invited to celebrate Allman’s 4 decades of service. It’s also a fundraiser for the Mendocino County Search and Rescue team, an unpaid, all volunteer, nonprofit. There will also be a live auction with the former Sheriff and State Senator Mike McGuire and the Master of Ceremonies Spencer Brewer. Tickets are $25 for the shindig at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds Carl Purdy Hall in Ukiah which goes from 4 to 10 p.m. You can buy your ticket at Brown Paper Tickets.

A police officer involved shooting has been reported in Clearlake Oaks. The Lake County Sheriff’s office reports one of their deputies shot a man who had a knife in the area of Highway 20 near the Dollar General Store. The Sheriff’s office has not released much more about how the incident began. They say medics came to the scene, but the man died there from his injuries. A deputy also had minor injuries from the incident and was taken to a hospital to be treated. The name of the man who died has not been released yet. The deputy who was injured has been identified as Wesley Besgrove who’s now on paid administrative leave, which is standard protocol.

A man in Ukiah’s been arrested on domestic battery charges. A woman called to say George Johnson was harassing her after an argument, hitting her in the face. Deputies say she had an injury to her face, consistent with her report. They arrested the guy and held him on $25,000 bail on a charge of domestic violence battery.

A good month again for employment numbers in Lake County. The latest data provided by the California Employment Development Department shows Lake County’s jobless rate at 4.5 percent. That puts Lake in a tie for the fourth-lowest rate in nearly three decades. Last year at this time, Lake County’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. September was the lowest rate in thirty years, at 3.7 percent.  Mendocino County was at 3.4 percent in November, Colusa was 10.5 percent, Napa was 2.6 percent and Sonoma County’s jobless rate was 2.4 percent. For the state, the unemployment rate was at 3.9 percent in November and October.  November’s nationwide unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

Another holiday, another CHP Maximum Enforcement Period looking for drunk or distracted drivers. The CHP starting the campaign at 6:01 p.m. tomorrow evening and ending around noon on Wednesday. The agency says they’ll focus on impaired drivers, but they will also be looking for distracted driving, speeding and seat belt violations. During their 30-hour-long Christmas Day Maximum Enforcement Period, 10 people died in car crashes across the state. More than half, they say, were not wearing a seat belt. They also made more than 270 arrests in Calif. for driving under the influence.

A fire that was hard to snuff out, finally put to bed over the weekend in Fort Bragg. The fire started early Saturday morning in an alley. Smoke was visible across town as the fire burned near the old Lion’s Hall on Redwood Ave. The fire in a house sent dark smoke into the air, firefighters had to vent the roof using axes and other tools. The preliminary report is that wood paneling near the chimney may have been smoking for several hours, or even days. About an hour and a half later the stubborn fire was finally out, but firefighters hung around to mop up and make sure no smoldering embers started anything again. No word if anyone was home at the time.

The Chief of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority is retiring. After nearly 4 decades of service as a volunteer and career firefighter, Division Chief Kevin Jennings is done today. The Daily Journal spoke with him about his long career…He spoke about some of the challenges he’s faced and says working as a volunteer became a job covering only 4.5 square miles to 98 square miles. He says they have a group of dedicated members. But on a departing note said he hoped the City Council and Boards of Directors would support adding more staff to help keep up with calls for service.

In California health insurance will be mandatory for the new year. And with that, those who do not sign up will be taxed for going without. The state will be providing subsidies for folks who don’t qualify for assistance from the Affordable Care Act. Last year the Trump Administration announced health insurance was no longer mandatory, but in California state officials decided it would be, fearful instead that too many people would go without insurance. Since the Affordable Care Act went into full effect, Calif. reportedly had the largest drop in uninsured people over any other state.

The Lakeport City Council has okay’d sending a letter to the county in support of Clearlake trying to get Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office issues dealt with. Clearlake City Manager Alan Flora has been working to get the Treasurer-Tax Collector Barbara Ringen to sell more tax defaulted properties. Then the City Council sent letters to the Board of Supervisors, the Lake County Grand Jury and state officials to get help with the move and to investigate Ringen’s performance. Now Lakeport jumps into the mix to try to get more sales of tax defaulted properties. Lake Co News reports more than 3,600 properties out of 14,000 or so in Clearlake were delinquent on their taxes, and in Lakeport, about 1,300 were delinquent and 414 were eligible for tax sale.

A man from Fort Bragg has a stroke of luck, when his car rolls between Fort Bragg and Willits on Highway 20 and he’s uninjured. Francisco Solis says his tires lost traction on a challenging curve of the highway last Friday afternoon, west of James Creek. He said it wasn’t the first time he encountered trouble in that spot, the area covered with moss. He says his car spun out and hit the bank and he flipped. Another man passing by helped direct traffic away from the accident.

An Ad-Hoc committee being put together to help enforce a new initiative making it illegal to intentionally kill then leave standing trees. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors gave the thumbs up to form the working group after the law was voted for in 2016. Measure V said trees intentionally killed and left standing for more than 90 days are a public nuisance, so there could be fines tacked on to the violations. The Daily Journal reports it was an attempt to stop companies in the county from poisoning trees, then leaving them to die. Supervisors John Haschak and Ted Williams will be on the ad-hoc committee.

It’s still illegal to take roadkill to eat even though there’s a new law that says you can. You have to get permission from law enforcement, and you have to wait until the New Year, but there’s a little more to it. Lake Co News reports the “Wildlife Traffic Safety Act” signed into law by the Governor to make use of roadkill meat of deer, elk, pronghorn antelope or wild pig. But the general public cannot start the practice in the New Year. The news site reminds us that the bill specifically outlines the development of a program for “salvageable wild game meat.” And that this program has not been set up yet.

Hundreds of DUI arrests have been reported across Calif. over the Christmas holiday. The 30-hour maximum enforcement period across the state had 271 arrests. The CHP reported there were also as many as 10 people killed in crashes during the enforcement period. They also report there will be a similar holiday enforcement effort next week.

The State Supreme Court taking up the issue if psychotherapists should tell authorities if their patients tell them they’re interested in child pornography. A lawsuit had been brought forward to lower courts but dismissed. Three psychotherapists argued in court that the state’s mandatory reporting law violated patient confidentiality and means patients may not come forward. The Supreme Court was split on whether they should reinstate the case, then sent it back to the lower court. The dissenting justices said they didn’t think the therapists could win the lawsuit.

An elderly woman from Lakeport has been killed in a crash Christmas Day on Highway 20 near Potter Valley. 80 year old Janice Kespohl headed west Christmas night about 5:30, west of Potter Valley Rd as another driver, 24 year old Cielo Alavezos was on the highway. The CHP reported it seemed Kespohl tried to make a U-turn and landed in front of the other car. Kespohl died at the scene. The Mendocino Voice reported on the crash, saying they weren’t sure if the other driver, Alavezos had major injuries.

Willits police have charged a woman from Lake County with setting 3 fires on Christmas Eve morning. Officers say 47-year-old Michelle Gray started two fires in trash cans at the Sherwood Valley Casino, then set another fire at the Howard Memorial Hospital. She was arrested and booked into the county jail on three charges of arson. Police think Gray might be behind other recent arson cases, so more charges against her are possible. The Willits PD says cooperation from the public helped them find Gray.

A group encouraging participation in the 2020 Census wants to make sure hard to reach people are counted. The Lake County Complete Count Committee is looking for so-called “trusted messengers” who can influence others to fill out census forms or answer questions from census-takers. The committee is holding a workshop on January 10th from 9:00 to 10:00 at the Lower Lake Community Hall for those who want to get involved. The Complete Count Committee says an accurate census will ensure Lake County gets the help it is entitled and also ensure fairly drawn electoral districts.

Figures show the Camp Fire took a toll on the population of Butte County. The State Department of Finance says Butte County lost more than 10,000 residents from July 1, 2018, to July 1, 2019. The department says that 4.5 percent decrease was led by people who moved away to somewhere else in the US. That decline was the highest of any county in the state. The Camp Fire on November 8th, 2018 killed 85 people and destroyed more than 6 percent of Butte County’s housing supply.

Christmas is over but you can still donate to the Lake County Holiday Fund. Several community groups are behind that fund, which has raised more than $5,600 so far this holiday season. You can donate at any branch of either West America Bank or Umpqua Bank. The fund provides food boxes to those in need.

You can start the New Year with a walk in the park as Clear Lake State Park takes part in a nationwide event to get people outside on the first day of the year. The guided hike along Old Kelsey Creek Trail is part of the 7th annual “America’s State Parks First Day Hikes” program. The trail is about a mile long and volunteer guides will keep a slow pace so hikers can enjoy the flora and fauna along the way. The hike starts at 9:00 AM in the visitor’s parking lot and is free. It will be canceled if it rains.

January 1st brings the start of new rules restricting who can be hired as an independent contractor in the state. The law is meant to address the impact of the so-called gig economy, but opponents say it will only hurt small businesses who hire independent contractors rather than adding to the payroll. Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft are pushing for g a referendum that would exempt them from the new law and there is a lawsuit challenging the restrictions as well.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Fort Bragg man who allegedly vandalized a utility pole with a chainsaw. 29-year-old Travis Moore already had an active felony warrant out for a county parole violation. Moore was picked up by deputies on a separate call, but deputies searched Moore’s vehicle and found clothing, and other items linked him directly to the cutting down of the pole. The utility pole was completely snapped in half. Pacific Gas and Electric replaced the pole and estimated the repair costs at $60-thousand. An AT&T communication line also used this utility pole and was also damaged. The amount for this damage is still unknown. Moore has been charged with violation of county parole, felony vandalism, and resisting arrest.

A California county has approved millions of dollars in funding to address a homeless encampment that has been deemed a public health emergency. Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors approved nearly 12 million in funding Monday to provide housing and other services to those living in a mile-long encampment of tents along the Joe Rodota Trail in Santa Rosa. Seven million has been allocated for county leaders to buy existing multi-bedroom units and to open at least two shelters. The rest of the money will be used to create seven new positions at the Department of Health Services and to acquire existing housing.

A man is dead after a tree fell in Muir Woods in Marin County. Officials say the 29-year-old was killed Tuesday afternoon after getting hit by debris when a tree fell and hit other trees. It was nearing sunset on Christmas Eve, about a half-hour before the park was set to close. Three people were walking on Hillside Trail when five trees collapsed like dominos. A 29-year-old man was killed. A second person suffered minor injuries. The identity of the hikers was not released.

A Ukiah man led the Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies in a low-speed car chase on Highway 162 near Covelo. Deputies say that 46-year-old Jack Towers refused to pull over and continued southbound at 45 mph. Towers did swerve over into the northbound lanes several times. The chase came to an end once CHP laid down spike strips. The car came to a stop on the side of Highway 101. Deputies noticed that Towers behaved like he was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. After a search of his vehicle, they found loaded guns in the glove compartment. He has been charged with evading a peace officer, DUI, reckless driving, and a felon in possession of a firearm.

Authorities have arrested two people who allegedly stole over a hundred packages and letters from mailboxes in Northern California. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a man stealing mail in Durham just before 2 a.m. Monday. A sergeant spotted a car matching the description of the suspect and tried to catch up. The driver lost control and the car flipped over. Authorities found 108 packages and envelopes addressed to about 56 people and 37 addresses. Jeremy Blumlein and Breanna Maier were arrested on suspicion of identity theft, mail theft and probation violation.

Officials are searching for a man who allegedly burglarized the Hopland Post Office earlier this month. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says a surveillance camera caught the suspect and his car at 7:45 am on December 8th. The vehicle is a dark gray Nissan Altima. The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-20s to early 30s. He is five foot ten inches tall and is described as having a skinny build. He was wearing a red hoodie and blue jeans. The U.S. Postal Inspectors are offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that could lead to an arrest and conviction of the burglar.

Officials are identifying a pedestrian who died after getting hit by a SMART train on Friday as a 71-year-old Novato man. They say Ernest Caldwell was walking alone in the vicinity of the road-level pedestrian crossing at Grant Avenue near Railroad Avenue when he was hit by a northbound train. Police say all of the train warning signals and safety equipment were operating properly at the time of the incident. An investigation is underway.

It will cost more to go fishing in 2020. California’s basic fishing licenses will go up to $51.02 plus more for add-ons There are discounts available for low-income senior citizens, some disabled veterans, and others. If you get caught without a license, get ready for some expensive fish. The fine is up to $400.00

Santa is already on the way and is keeping an eye on his progress. as it has since 1955. Based on previous Christmas eve data, predictions put him here between 3:00 and 4:00 AM Christmas morning. California is one of Santa’s last stops before heading home to the North Pole but a spokes-elf says the jolly old man in the red suit has enough presents for everyone and won’t run out before he gets here. You can follow his trip on the website

More than $200 million dollars has been earmarked for several highway projects in the state including two in Lake County. The California Transportation Commission has put the money aside for more than 2 dozen fix-it-first highway projects and $42 million more for 43 transit, bike and pedestrian projects. Some of the money for the transit bike and pedestrian projects comes from the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 which includes 5.7 million for two Lake County projects. One million for improved traffic and data transmission on several areas of the county including on Bottlerock Rd and Highway 29. Another 4.5 mil for a traffic management system to improve traffic monitoring and data transmission, also on several roads and Highways 29, 101 and 175

An impression on a teen by a cop breeds the new Sheriff in Mendocino County. The Press Democrat reports the new Sheriff in town Matthew Kendall has worked in the Sheriff’s Dept. for 30-years, mostly all under Sheriff Tom Allman. This after first meeting him with illegally purchased beer when he was a teen. Allman a deputy at the time made Kendall and his buddies dump their beers, then let them go. Years later, Kendall worked as a patrol deputy under Allman. And ten years after, Allman supervised Kendall when he became a patrol sergeant. Then the paper reports, when former Undersheriff Randy Johnson retired, Kendall took his place. Allman announced he was retiring as of this coming Sunday and Kendall would be the best fit. The Board of Supervisors agreed. He takes over on Monday.

A white Christmas is possible for some parts of Mendocino County. A very light dusting  of snow is expected tomorrow morning. Early this morning was supposed to be the chilliest of the week, with temperatures dropping into the 20’s. Parts of Willits, Potter Valley, Leggett and Covelo were forecasted for lows in the 20s last night and higher elevations could get snow tomorrow, but only about an inch to an inch and a half. Forecasters say they don’t expect that to affect traffic though. Light rain of just about a quarter inch was expected in lower elevations tomorrow morning.

A busy few days for the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority. Car crashes galore and some fires too last Sunday, all over a 12-hour period. The Daily Journal reports the Fire Chief saying the first call Sunday evening was a tree falling on a car. The Chief says a large redwood tree had fallen on the road, thankfully not on top of the car. Four people were in the car when it happened. Then they got a call to a possible fire, which turned out to be a hot electrical outlet. And overnight a car fire was reported, but when they arrived the fire was already put out. That one caused by a laptop’s battery. Then on an icy road, a head on crash was reported. One person ending up in the hospital.

As with most new year’s, comes a slew of new laws. Look out for new road safety laws to come down on distracted drivers’ using their cell phones. There are some other new laws in place too including revised standards for the use of deadly force by police officers, wording changed from reasonably necessary to objectively. And with that comes new training for cops. A new wildlife salvaging law takes effect. Allowing for a driver to reach out to law enforcement for a permit to salvage roadkill to eat.

The Willits Unified School Board has authorized issuing $17 million in general obligation bonds to repair old schools. That means first voters will decide if the bonds are something they agree with. It’ll be on the March 2020 Presidential Primary ballot. The money would go to improve student safety and security, fix deteriorating roofs, plumbing, heating/cooling, and electrical systems, pave parking lots, repair school facilities, modernize classrooms, science labs, and other facilities, buy a pool cover so the pool can be used year-round and update athletic facilities. If approved property owners would pay $40 per $100,000 of assessed value a year.

The Mendocino College Theatre Arts students set to travel with the fall 2019 production. The Jody Gehrman play “Wild Fire” is headed to the Region VII Conference of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in February. The play was first produced about climate change. It was part of the “Phoenix Project”, where other artists also came together to create projects about human-caused climate change. Three plays in all were picked for the festival, out of more than 30 entries. College theatre students and teachers from northwestern states, including Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana go to the Kennedy Center hosted festival in Washington DC.

A new report shows massive issues with PG&E’s four “public safety power shutoffs” the Associated Press got a hold of documentation they say connects last year’s rolling blackouts with this year’s intentional blackouts. The news service got a hold of interviews and documents through public records requests which AP says show repeated failures and promises that never happened which compromised public safety. The documentation reportedly shows the utility company promised state regulators one thing, and didn’t follow thru, which undermined trust more after fires in 2017 and 18. The company’s notifications of outages were haphazard at times, sometimes power was already off and telecommunications companies, water providers and emergency managers didn’t always get the early word they needed. And the calls weren’t easy to hear, with off sound quality. PG&E for their part have promised to do better.

One person has died in a crash on Highway 101 in Santa Rosa. CHP says the driver was alone in the Hyundai Sonata that ran off the road and into a ditch just after 5:00 Sunday evening. Investigators think the driver may have had a medical emergency just before the crash.

CalFire says Christmas is a time to be extra careful around your home. The agency is warning about hazards that can lead to fires, especially around decorations and in the kitchen. If you’re cooking, CalFire says you should be very careful with anything flammable near a hot stove. Firefighters say they have been out on too many calls this time of year caused by people who simply forgot common-sense rules that could have prevented a holiday tragedy.