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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.

 

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