Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: February 2020

A Family Support Center is opening compliments of Lake County Behavioral Health Services. The announcement of the latest Peer Support Center in Middletown was named by students at Middletown High. There will be resources, referrals, and support for families in the County mental health system or if they need more information on available community resources. They have various support groups beginning including their Art Group, Homework Clubs for kids and Parent Partner groups to support parents and be their advocates. The official grand opening was on Valentines Day. The other Peer Support Group centers are in Clearlake Oaks, Lakeport and Clearlake.

State Sen. Bill Dodd says he’s working with a member of the Assembly to improve maternity care for women in the state. Dodd and Assemblymember Autumn Burke of Inglewood have announced legislation to expand access to maternity care and authorizing midwives to perform routine services. The proposal is sponsored by the California Nurse-Midwives Association and Black Women for Wellness. Dodd says women in California should not have to go without top-notch maternity care and increasing access to nurse-midwives could curtail that by improving outcomes especially for women in rural or inner-city settings.

Cleanup continues at the Bushay and Kyen Campgrounds at Lake Mendocino. The Army Corps of Engineers says they want the campgrounds open by Memorial Day for public use. A crew of temporary workers from a nonprofit out of Ukiah has been working with the Corps to get the Lake Mendocino campground sites in shape. They’re paid through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor related to 2019 storm damage repairs. They’re clearing downed trees, conducting vegetation management, and bringing roads and sites into a usable form again. Pricing will probably be going up at the campsites now though as FEMA upgraded some of the campsites so there’s now power, water, and sewer.

An update for the Ukiah Planning Commission on operations at the new Homeless Services Day Center on South State Street. The Daily Journal reports city staff is required to get a report twice a year for the first couple of years connected to the permit granted to Redwood Community Services. The report will show since last August to now, there were no complaints about the shelter or those frequenting the services there. So staff has not recommended any changes to the operations. In December they recorded nearly 90 people there using the services daily for a total of almost 2,800 visits that month. They recorded about seven people being turned away daily since the shelter opened.

Someone who tested positive in Calif. for the coronavirus who was a passenger on a cruise ship in Japan is in Sonoma County. Public Health officials say the unidentified person was taken from Travis Air Force Base in Solano County to a local hospital on Monday. There was a whole group of international travelers at the base last week. They were all quarantined due to their possible exposure to the virus. Apparently the patient who had a confirmed case of the virus wasn’t showing any symptoms. They are being monitored in isolation and they say there are no risks to public health.

Two legislators from the North Coast are trying to fight FEMA getting any disaster money back from victims. It comes after the agency threatened to try to get paid back by fire victims if money is found to have been distributed in error. Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson are co-sponsoring the bill which was introduced this week by Republican Congressman of Missouri Sam Graves. Huffman and Thompson signed on to the bill which says the federal government cannot demand victims return aid, if it’s found later to have been issued in error, and when there’s no evidence of fraud. Huffman says FEMA shouldn’t be “clawing back disaster relief funds from victims who have gone through terrible hardships”.

The PG&E CEO Bill Johnson says the company was indeed negligent after several disasters and catastrophes that killed almost 140 people but that was before and they’re better now. Johnson was talking to California regulators Tuesday saying poor management before his time was to blame and they’re safer now than they were a year ago. The remarks after the company filed for its second bankruptcy in two decades. Johnson told the California Public Utilities Commission, there would be no more catastrophes and no more deaths. There have been demands for the board to be replaced and new management before the utility company can emerge from its latest bankruptcy filing.

The City of Lakeport has been awarded a multimillion-dollar grant for a new park at the old Natural High School site. The Lakeside park will be built with nearly $6 million dollars on almost 7 acres at 800 N. Main St. It will include a new skate park, splash pad, basketball court, amphitheater, exercise circuit, five picnic areas with shade, concessions, a restroom building, parking lot, public art and landscaping and lighting. Plus there will be a facelift for a boat ramp that’s already there. It’s one of more than 60 projects being paid for by Proposition 68, a Statewide Park Program which is distributing its third round of awards. There were 478 applications for $2.3 billion for the $255 million available this time.

The 13.5 billion settlement PG&E has agreed to pay to victims of wildfires but several thousand people have filed to get a piece of the pie. Letters to the bankruptcy judge in the case complain that victims are at the bottom of the barrel in who gets paid out first. A hearing was set for today in the case to see if any federal or state agencies should get any money from the $4 billion they paid out after wildfires in 2017 and 18. Adventist Health is also trying to get about $1 billion due to its hospital in Paradise nearly destroyed in the Camp Fire. Plus, none of that even includes all of the legal fees. Victims are also complaining that half of the money to be paid out, is actually stock in PG&E.

A fire burning in the Covelo Ranger District is reported at 60 acres. The Baseball fire started yesterday from a pile burning 15 miles southeast of the city of Covelo near Atchison campground. The fire is reported at 5% containment with additional fire crews ordered yesterday. Fire officials say the conditions yesterday were a little windy and 70 degrees with a moderate rate of spread. No property or structures were being threatened.

There’s a new executive director now for the Lake County Fair. The Board of Directors has chosen Sheli Wright who takes over for Courtny Conkle who resigned last fall to go work in Wyoming as the State Fair manager. Lake Co News reports Wright takes over as the Lake County Fair CEO March 16th. She’s got experience too as an attendee who also grew up showing animals and participating at the Fair. There are other events besides the Fair too, year round events take place including car racing, the Lake County Rodeo and the soon to be happening, Lake County Ag & Natural Resource Day on March 28th.

A drive by shooting reported in Lower Lake and a suspect is arrested. The Lake County Sheriff’s Dept. reports arresting Don West of Clearlake after the Sunday morning drive-by. Lake Co News reports there were actually two separate incidents West was connected to. Police say he also assaulted someone he was dating, broke thru the front door of their house and caused property damage to the tune of $500 then ran away. Then someone driving says West pulled a black semiautomatic handgun on them from his driver’s side window. They reported hearing two gunshots. Deputies pulled West over soon after but didn’t find evidence of a gun. But the car that reported it did have a gunshot hole in it. West was arrested on several charges including suspicion of burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at an occupied vehicle and assault on a person with a semiautomatic firearm. He was held on $300,000 bail.

The Baseball Fire has grown some, but the containment is a lot greater too. Fire crews say the fire on the Covelo Ranger District is now at 40 percent in the Mendocino National Forest. The fire is believed to have started from a pile fire in prescribed burn just before. It’s now blackened 68 acres and is located about 15 miles southeast of Covelo near the Atchison campground.  The fire is burning in grass, brush and timber and is not threatening any property or structures.  The forecast calls for dry weather with light wind and temps in the high-60s.

PM NEWS:

FEMA and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services are reportedly trying to separate claims with Pacific Gas and Electric from money that’s been promised to wildfire victims, $13.5 billion dollars. Right now victims, lawyers and some governmental agencies would share in the pot of cash. The government agencies say they are trying to get a separate deal and did not agree to the one already set aside. The governments are asking the giant utility to pay back costs they put forward to pay for damage caused by the company’s faulty equipment. FEMA wants nearly $4 billion and could go to victims to get paid back. And the state of Calif. is trying to get about $2.6 billion. Cal Fire also has a claim.

The elections office in Ukiah says they’re in desperate need of a Poll Inspector and Poll worker as someone has bowed out a week ahead of Super Tuesday and Calif.’s Presidential Primary. The inspector needed at Saint Mary’s Polling Place. There’s a training this Friday at the election’s office. There’s a small stipend for whoever is hired. Polls are open 7 am to 8 pm Tuesday. They’re recommending the training session which is about 2 hours long to learn the ropes. Please call 707 234-6808 if you can help out. They’re touting it as a great community involvement day for service organizations throughout the County.

 

A woman from Willits has been arrested after a fire breaks out at a home her boyfriend owns. Mendocino deputies report getting a call last Friday and finding the home engulfed in flames.. The man who lived there told cops he was threatened by Carley Schlapkohl. He says they were at the home and Schlapkohl became agitated and verbally hostile to him and threatened to cut his throat. He went on to say later in the evening, she jumped on him violently and assaulted him. After falling asleep he woke soon after to find his home on fire. The man escaped and called 911. Schlapkohl was found sitting in an abandoned vehicle and arrested for domestic violence battery and criminal threats and held on $25,000.00 bail. The fire’s under investigation.

A fire training with the Redwood Valley/Calpella and Potter Valley Fire Districts takes a home down on Black Bart Trail. Fire crews were training to keep the home from completely being gutted, dealing with various fire behaviors. They also rescued fire victims, worked with fire hoses in various situations and worked with equipment. There were nearly 3 dozen firefighters on the scene of the residential structure fire. It was surrounded by other homes which they practiced protecting too. The home they worked on was set to be torn down.

A man from Chico has been arrested after a domestic disturbance in Fort Bragg. Deputies say they got a call to a car parked along the road in the 16000 block of North Highway 1 so they stopped to check on a man inside, Mathew Spencer.  They say he was in the passenger seat and seemed overly nervous and that a woman was with him but disappeared. He also had a large knife on him, and they found an improvised weapon made from a stick. He also had a warrant out for his arrest for attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and being an accessory to a felony.  The woman was found by police dog Takoda, she had been assaulted. Spencer was then arrested for felony domestic battery and battery resulting in serious bodily injury and booked on 345,000 dollars bail.

A man in Willits has been arrested after a woman called to say she was attacked by her husband. Deputies say the woman called from the Brooktrails subdivision to say Tavion Johnson showed up at her friend’s house, where she was staying, pushed his way inside and he threw his keys at her face, injuring her. They say she had visible injuries matching the description of the altercation, so later Johnson was arrested. There was also a temporary restraining order against him at the time so he was booked into jail on $25,000.00 bail.

Because a new gateway is planned in Middletown, the Middletown Area Merchants Association is looking for designers to submit sketches. The gateway to be 15 to 20 feet wide and 12 to 18 feet tall on the east side of Highway 29 by Perry’s Deli. Those involved are looking for inspired ideas that could include landscapes like mountains, trees, rustic, rural lifestyle, big skies and stars. The association says its open to all sorts of various materials and that the archway should say something to do with the town or “Welcome to Middletown.” They’d also like it to have a way for banners to be hung from it for current town announcements. They will be picking two or three sketches that will move on for the next phase. Send your scanned sketches or a picture of your sketch to: MiddletownDesignProjects@gmail.com or mail to P.O. Box 1616, Middletown, CA 95461. Further info, 707-809-8118.

Police in Fort Bragg on the case after finding a street sign busted in the middle of a sidewalk. Cops say last Saturday morning the sign was hit by a car so they followed an oil trail to a parked and abandoned car. They towed the vehicle and later found it to be the same car of a possible DUI which they had a Be on the Lookout warning for, earlier issued by the California Highway Patrol. The CHP had been actively searching for the same car for a hit and run crash at a Nor Cal Gas Station. Police went to the gas station and got surveillance video finding Sierra Kocher was the driver of the car, they say the video also showed signs of intoxication on it. There has not been an arrest yet, but all of the evidence has been sent to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.

The Governor is calling for work on the homelessness crisis, focusing too on treating those with serious mental health illnesses and substance abuse disorders. Last week the Governor delivered his State of the State address saying some living on the street who are capable of accepting help, should be able to find a way to get off the street and into treatment. But he also mentioned how some have a, “grave disability”. There’s a project that’s supposed to start next month to expand conservatorships without changing current state law, but that’s just in San Francisco. Governor Newsom says he’d like to see the pilot project expand statewide.

The Lakeport City Council has unanimously approved replacing the sidewalk at Library Park with a construction company, Granite. The Library Park Sidewalk Replacement Project went to Granite Construction who turned in the lowest out of three bids. The replacement project, as we mentioned yesterday, after damage along with the seawall caused by winter storms in 2017 and again in 2019. Another contractor is already working to replace the cinder block seawall. FEMA money will pay for the new seawall and sidewalks. The council saying they’d like the whole project done by Memorial Day weekend, and any finishing work by July 4th.

Some changes coming to Clearlake after city staffers successfully get some grants. The City Manager gave an update at the last city council meeting after a bunch of applications were sent in to pay for improvements to infrastructure, more housing and prepare for more public safety power shutoffs. The City Manager Alan Flora says they got more than a quarter million dollars from the California Office of Emergency Services for public safety power shutoff impacts and preliminary approval for another $160,000 for more housing. The city also being considered for at least $200,000 to pay for upgrades to the bathrooms at Austin Park. The city is trying to get grant money for fixes after the Sulphur fire and they’ve also applied for money for the a veterans housing project, the Hope Center behind Adventist Health Clear Lake Hospital.

Legislators working on affordable housing announce several new bills that save money for those building and buying homes. The impact fees aid local governments in paying for schools, roads and parks.  But lawmakers say they’re still discussing how to replace the fees which, in some cases, can pay as much as a third of some cities entire budgets. Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco, the chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee says the fees are “well intentioned” but they’ve also been “an incredible impediment to development”. One bill in the package would change how fees are determined, and two others would reimburse local governments who waive the fees or reduce the fees on affordable housing built in densely populated areas.

 

 

The Lucerne Area Town Hall had Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin as the featured speaker. Last Thursday, the Sheriff spoke on several issues including homelessness, sheriff’s office staffing and other topics. Martin told the room about the rights for those who go to live in vacant homes, so-called, squatters. Abandoned properties include foreclosures, a home where someone dies, and it remains empty or vacation homes where the owners live outside the area. The Sheriff says there are cases where his department is limited on what they can do, but trespassing is different, and they can do more there. The Sheriff says nearly 2 dozen positions have been cut from the agency, but they have five new sheriff trainees in the academy, starting their jobs in June. Residents were also able to ask questions after the presentation, and those touched on staffing shortages, response times and the homeless.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors takes up cannabis policy and recommendations from the Cannabis Cultivation Ad Hoc Committee. At their meeting tomorrow, the Supes will also consider starting a Local Equity Program for growers who have not been working in the legal market and how to change that. They’ll also consider putting in money for the long talked about feasibility study on possible licensing for the Potter Valley Project. The board has a busy morning tomorrow as they’ll also listen to a presentation from the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue on non-lethal wildlife exclusion services to help get rid of certain animals encroaching on buildings and homes. Several proclamations and awards will also be presented.

More state aid is being considered for college students in the state so they can pay for housing, books and food and other non-tuition expenses. These are just some of the ideas proposed for California’s financial aid system. A presentation was made by the State Student Aid Commission last Thursday. It shows community college students would be benefitted the most with more than 300,000 more community college attendees becoming eligible for Cal Grants. Students at other schools in the University of California or California State University systems would not get more financial aid, but they could still be eligible for Cal Grants for tuition and other fees.

A new location is being considered for the Clearlake Public Works corporation yard. The City Council looking at a potential relocation for the yard which is on the Pierce Field airport property, which the city owns. But the city’s looking at a potential sale of the property. So the council’s considering instead some city-owned property on Ogulin Canyon Road. Lake Co News reports the city’s consulting engineer showed the council analysis of two sites on the other property, one on top of a hill and the other, below. The only problem is the yard wouldn’t be able to grow by that much in the new location.

The homeless problem in Santa Rosa has a new wrinkle as the Governor’s proposed putting emergency homeless shelters in an area of state-owned open space that was being considered for a greenway project with housing and shops. The Press Democrat reports the development on open space owned by Caltrans, is set for a green trail, more than 200 apartments and 12,000 square feet of commercial space. The City Council also just unanimously voted to convert the land for the project. But now the Governor’s office says they’re not forcing the city, or any other, to use the site, it’s just an offer. And the office says Governor Newsom wants to be “flexible” about shelter types.

A special meeting’s being held by the Lakeport City Council on a project for a new sidewalk at Library Park. The meeting tonight on the Library Park Sidewalk Replacement Project is the only matter on their agenda. The proposed $400,000 project with one bid only, just under that number after the engineer projected a cost of more than $435,000. After the storms of early 2017 and 2019, the area was damaged beyond repair. The seawall, as you may recall is being replaced. Now the sidewalk needs to be pulled out and replaced. FEMA and insurance are covering most of the construction which could start in the middle of next month.

A man in Clearlake has been arrested on drug and weapons charges after a chase. Cops say 27 year old Steven Farnan was pulled over after it was found he had an expired registration and was driving without a license. The probable cause stop turned up a concealed loaded firearm and possession of more than half an ounce of heroin. Farnan was contacted thru the driver’s side window at a gas station and tried to get away, but he was stuck. The police officer say a handgun in the guy’s waistband which he tried grabbing before getting out of the car, so the cop tased him. He was booked into jail after it was also found he was on Post Release Community Supervision and had previous weapon-related arrests.

The Lake County Registrar of Voters Office has announced the date for a public manual tally for the March 3rd primary in Calif. Monday, March 16th the public is invited to the registrar’s office starting at 9 a.m. at the Lake County Courthouse. There will be a minimum of 1 percent of randomly selected precincts counted which will have all of the campaigns being voted on in the Presidential Primary Election included. The precincts are randomly selected though before the manual, public tally. Those who want to attend are warned they may not in any way interfere with the election process.

State Sen. Bill Dodd has introduced a bill so traffic will be a little easier to navigate through one Northern Calif. highway. The Senator says the legislation will help reduce traffic snarls on Highway 37 and protect the highway from sea level rise due to climate change. The senator says the time is now to improve the highway as it connects the community to jobs and supports the economy. The highway connects Sonoma, Solano, Napa and Marin counties with as many as 40,000 vehicles moving along the roadway daily. Plus twice as many cars and trucks are expected to drive over the highway over the next two decades. The legislation would bring a new toll so money could be raised for the improvements. There would be state and federal matching funds too. Senator Dodd’s Facebook page had the announcement of the bill.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports a new phone scam. The would be crooks calling and saying they’re from the Sheriff’s office, but they are no way connected. The sheriff’s office reminding they never call folks for donations on the phone or in person. They say if this happens for you, to immediately call the office and report it. They also remind the public not to make donations to any phone solicitors. Some asking for the money to be left under your front door mat, something they also frown upon. And also, never give your personal info over the phone to strangers, especially your social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or address.

5 people have been arrested after a call to an assault on a woman. On Saturday, the Sheriff’s office got a call to Redwood Valley and found a woman was being taken to the hospital for injuries she got from the altercation with her boyfriend. Deputies also say while trying to investigate, a woman confronted them saying nobody else was there, but they said they heard people inside. KC Stillwell was arrested for lying and continuing to interfere with the investigation and a probation violation. Also Jessica Norton, Weston Riley and Nicholas Britton were found inside, some seemed high, one on parole and another on summary probation. Douglas Whipple was arrested for causing the injuries to the victim. Plus he was found with another man with a bunch of meth and syringes.

Mendocino and Lake counties are now included in the US drought monitor’s list of counties that are considered abnormally dry. That designation now covers almost 60 percent of the state, up from 46 percent a week ago. Another 9.5 percent is considered in a more serious moderate drought condition. The conditions now favor another summer of higher risk of wildfires unless we get significant rain in the next two months. Experts say there is still hope that March will bring adequate rainfall but there long-range forecast shows no relief in sight. The drought monitor blames a persistent weather pattern that has kept the rain to the north and south of California for the last several weeks.

Work could start as soon as next month on Ukiah’s downtown streetscape project. The City Council has approved an almost 6.5 million dollar contract for work that will narrow State Street from 4 lanes to 2, with a middle turning lane, make the street more pedestrian-friendly, add new traffic signals and provide bike racks and opportunities for outdoor dining. There was no opposition at this week’s council meeting to approve the project, in fact, there was strong support. Some of those who spoke said they have seen many near misses as people try to walk across the street and are anxious for the job to start. That could come in Mid-March after the city sits down for a pre-construction meeting with Ghilotti Construction of Santa Rosa which submitted the lowest bid on the project.

CHP says a man from Upper Lake was seriously injured in a four-vehicle crash on Highway 101. Officers say 26-year-old Edgar Moso was heading north near the Green Bridge when a southbound pickup veered into his lane and hit him head-on around 8:00 AM on Thursday. The impact spun Moso’s Volkswagen Jetta across the road where it was hit again by a semi and another vehicle. He was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The pickup driver was less seriously injured and two other people were treated and released at the scene. The wreck snarled traffic for about 3 hours. CHP is investigating.

A woman accused of sex trafficking in Lake County has been sentenced to probation. Lake Co News reports 29-year-old Krystina Pickersgill will be on probation for three years after she pleaded guilty to charges that she and her husband sold young local girls into prostitution in the Bay area in 2018. Prosecutors say several charges involving four other victims were dropped as part of the plea deal. A judge had refused to accept an earlier plea bargain in January 2019. Pickersgill’s husband, Sam Massette, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in December 2018.

The first confirmed case of Coronavirus has been reported in Humboldt County. The Humboldt County Health Department says the two residents were evaluated at St Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka last Sunday and that one tested positive for the virus while another showed symptoms. Both are in self-quarantine at home and monitored by doctors The health department says they pose no risk to the community. Health officer Dr. Theresa Frankovich says it’s not surprising that cases are showing up in Humboldt County because of the amount of foreign travel done by people who live there. She also says more cases are possible in travelers who return from abroad.

Passengers of a cruise ship evacuated to Travis Air Force Base in Solano County due to concerns about Coronavirus are free to go home. 178 people from the ship have been in quarantine at Travis since they got back to the states on Monday. 6 of those passengers were immediately sent to a hospital in Nebraska, while another 16 were taken to hospitals near the base after they were evaluated. The CDC says the people who were cleared to leave pose no risk to anyone else.

The Mendocino National Forest is offering two roadside hazard tree fire salvage sales for bids early next month. The Forest Service will accept sealed bids at the Mendocino National Forest Supervisor’s Office at 825 North Humboldt Ave in Willows at 10:30 on March 4. The trees are in an area northeast of Upper Lake and in another northwest of Stonyford. They include Douglas Fir, White Fir. Ponderosa Pine, Sugar Pine, and Incense Cedar. The National Forest website has information on the sale and how to bid.

The Lucerne Elementary School district is looking for volunteers to serve on an oversight committee to monitor spending from a 2016 bond issue. That 4 million dollar bond is being used for improvement at district schools. The committee will have seven members including 2 representatives of the community at large and representatives from businesses, senior citizens, parents, the PTO, and taxpayers. Once selected, they will look over staff reports to make sure the bond money is being spent as intended. Applications are due to the superintendent’s office on Country Club Drive by next Friday

Lakeport is looking for a Director of Community Development. A posting on the city’s website says qualified applicants should submit a cover letter, application, and three references by March 23rd. The job pays between $89,500 and $109,400 a year.

A woman from Upper Lake says quick action and teamwork by the Northshore Fire department saved her life after a heart attack. The Record-Bee says 82-year-old Marjorie Kohler was airlifted to Santa Rosa on February 12th after a call to 9 1 1. She is now recovering at home. She met with first responders this week and says without them, she might not have survived

The Redwood Valley Calpella fire department will be doing a training burn on Saturday. That burn is planned for 3901 Black Bart Trail in Redwood Valley starting at 8:00 AM and it should be over by 3:00 PM.

A judge has approved a settlement in a civil rights case that accused the state of not doing enough to help kids learn to read at dozens of poor-performing schools. The agreement calls for the Department of Education to spend 50 million dollars to beef up education programs in those schools and to improve reading programs statewide. The group that filed the suit back in 2017 says the settlement is a milestone that will transform California’s approach to literacy.

Traffic is flowing again after a serious crash this morning on Highway 101 south of Hopland. CHP reporting one person was hurt in that crash that involved 4 vehicles southbound near the Green Bridge around 8:00. All lanes were blocked for a time and traffic was jammed but the road is reopened. No word on what caused the wreck.

The city of Ukiah is allowing a cannabis facility to expand into a new building. Emerald Sun is planning to move part of its operation to a building on Airport Road. The Daily Journal reports the permit allowing the expansion is conditional, pending a site visit to make sure all the information used to approve it is correct. The building had previously been part of the former Mendocino Brewing company.

The Clearlake City council is talking about a mid-year budget adjustment of about $650,000. That adjustment is part of a review that’s done halfway through the fiscal year. Among the changes—-budgeting $500,000 for a bond for the planned Hope Center homeless and healthcare facility on Emerson Street. City officials say their review has found that the budget is in good shape and may even result in some savings when the final numbers come in when the fiscal year ends.

Some old records kept by the city of Willits may soon be going through the shredder. The City council has agreed to destroy those documents related to the cleanup at the old Remco Hydraulics Building because there isn’t enough space to keep them. 70 boxes have been stored since 2006 at a storage facility in Ukiah that is now going out of business. All of the cases related to the cleanup have been settled and so there is no need for the documents any longer, some of which date back far as 1995. The records could be spared if anyone wants to take them off the city’s hands at no cost.

A judge has ruled that the state can’t force California’s property insurance pool to write comprehensive policies. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara had ordered the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan to offer broader policies but the judge says the law only allows for basic coverage. The FAIR plan is known as the insurer of last resort for people who otherwise can’t get fire insurance through no fault of their own. It is funded by insurance companies who have to pay in if they want to do business in the state who argued that offering comprehensive coverage would destabilize the insurance market. Thousands of people in fire risk areas have had their policies canceled or not renewed and have turned to the plan for help.

AM NEWS

Property crimes in Lakeport went down last year but there was a slight uptick in violent crime. Lakeport Police Chief Brad Rassmussen outlining those numbers at this week’s meeting of the city council. He says burglaries dropped from 59 in 2018 to 28 last year, while the number of reported larcenies was up slightly. 2019 also saw 3 rapes, 7 robberies, and 78 assaults. Alf those figures were up a bit from the year before. The chief also told the council that 2019 was a busy year for his officers with 17 percent more calls which were handled by a staff that was 17 percent smaller. He says that could be one reason that police response times increased year to year. Council members say the department is doing a good job both preventing crime and answering calls from people who need help.

The council also took up parking at its regular Tuesday meeting. Tickets will now go up between $15 and $25, depending on the violation. The last time those fines went up was 2009.

Lake County voters will have two choices for superior court judge when they vote on March 3rd, but neither will actually have their name on the ballot. The Lake Co News reports that DA Felony Prosecutor Lisa Proffit-O’Brien has turned in enough signatures to qualify as a write-in challenger to incumbent Judge David Markham. Markham had missed the December deadline to have his name printed on the ballot so he will be a write-in candidate too. Interim Registrar of Voters Dianne Fridley says both candidates will have to spend time making sure their supporters know that they’ll need to do more than check a box when they get in the voting booth. Its been a busy week for Fridley and her staff. In addition to reviewing Proffit-O’Brien’s paperwork, Tuesday was the last day for voter registration for the election that is now less than two weeks away. Mail-in voting has already started.

The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority says a fire in a shipping container on Leslie Street was probably started by someone who left a warming or cooking fire unattended. That fire Wednesday morning was quickly put out, but acting battalion chief Justin Buckingham says it shows how dangerous those fires can be if they aren’t carefully watched. He says his department has been on several similar runs in the past few weeks.

Health officials say people in Lake County shouldn’t lose any sleep over the risk of coronavirus. Two patients are being treated for the illness in Napa County but Lake County Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says he is confident that doctors in Napa are doing their jobs and limiting any contact with those patients, so there is very little chance that anyone else there—or here—will get sick. Dr. Pace says his office is watching the coronavirus outbreak carefully and is in regular contact with state health officials to get the latest information. The two people being held in isolation in Napawere among the American passengers evacuated from a cruise ship off the coast of Japan and taken to Travis Air Force Base earlier.

Coronavirus has grabbed the headlines, but the flu has killed 328 people in California since the season began. The latest figures from the state department of health show deaths from the flu are up 58 percent from this time last year. Doctors say the numbers will continue to rise as more cases are reported. It has been a bad flu season, especially for children because the current strain of the virus is harder for them to fight off. Doctors say people need to remember to use good hand hygiene and stay home if they do sick.

The DMV office in Ukiah will be open this Saturday to make things easier for people who need to replace their current driver’s license with a new federally compliant REAL ID. The state wants people to get those new licenses now, well before the deadline of October 1st. If you don’t have one by then, you won’t be able to get on a plane or enter secure federal buildings or military bases. Applicants have to bring additional ID including one verified proof of identity such as a valid passport or birth certificate, one proof of Social Security number and two proofs of California residency such as a bank statement or utility bill. People whose names have legally changed will have to show proof of that as well. The special Saturday hours in Ukiah are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There is more information about all of this on the website Realid/dmv.ca.gov. By the way, if you want to make sure the license you carry now is compliant, look for a symbol of a bear with a gold star in the upper right-hand corner.

The Ukiah City Council scheduled to take up plans for a new look on State Street this evening. The project is referred to as the Road Diet because it will shrink the number of r lanes from 4 to 2 each way with a turn lane in the middle. The city hopes the work will make downtown more pedestrian-friendly and slow smooth traffic with the addition of the turn lane. There will also be new traffic signals, sidewalks repairs, and the addition of bike racks and outdoor dining locations. The winning bid of 6.45 million dollars was submitted by Ghilotti Construction of Santa Rosa. The contract is on the agenda for the council’s regular meeting which starts at 6:00

A rough start to the morning for several businesses on North State Street in Ukiah. Trevor Thurston, who owns Thurston Auto Plaza, tells KWINE that around 120 tires at several locations up and down North State Street had their tires slashed overnight—adding up to several thousand dollars worth of damage. Thurston says his surveillance video from about 12:30 this morning shows someone on his lot but the image isn’t clear enough for a description of the suspect, He hopes that anyone on that part of North State who has video or any other information contacts the sheriff’s office, which is investigating what happened.

CHP says a man from Ukiah has died in a crash on Interstate 5 in Yolo County. The man was killed in a three-vehicle collision on Thursday near Woodland. A woman in the car he was driving was seriously hurt while two children were less seriously injured. All three are also from Ukiah. The names of those involved have not been released.

A report out today says California needs to improve special education programs. The nonprofit group called Policy Analysis for California Education says schools are organized in a way that keeps disabled kids from reaching their potential. The authors say teachers need more training, programs need to be streamlined and students need more individual attention. About 725,000 children take part in special ed programs at school in California.

A woman from Nice is accused of leading police on a chase that at one point hit 112 miles an hour on Highway 29. The Lake County Sheriff’s office says 37-year-old Miranda Ellingwoodestrella was driving a stolen car when cops tried to stop her Saturday afternoon around 3:30. Officers say she took off but was finally pulled over on Highway 175 after that high-speed pursuit. According to a release from the sheriff’s office, Ellingwoodestrella was uncooperative and acted suspiciously, so a deputy had to fire a beanbag round that hit her in the leg. She was eventually arrested and was booked into the county jail on $35,000 bond. Charges against her include vehicle theft, evading, and possession of a stolen vehicle. She is also on felony probation for burglary in Mendocino County.

A man from Clearlake is facing several charges after he was arrested following a chase on Highway 53. Sheriff’s deputies say 65-year-old Ronald Antoni took off when they tried to pull him over for making an illegal U-turn near Olympic Drive on Sunday night. The pursuit eventually ended when Antoni pulled into the parking lot of Adventist Hospital. Deputies say he told them he was trying to get to the hospital and also admitted he had a few drinks and had smoked meth. He was booked into the county jail on charges of evading, reckless driving, and DUI.

Two Lake County first responders have been cited for bravery by congressman Mike Thomson. The congressman says Sheriff’s Deputy Marc De La Torre and Lake County Fire Protection District Chief Willie Sapeta have received his Fifth District Public Safety Hero of the Year. Award. Thompson says both have served with distinction and gone above and beyond the call of duty to help out in emergency situations. Deputy De la Torre was specifically honored for saving the life of a child who had become unresponsive in its mother’s arms, while Chief Sapata was recognized for his leadership during the devastating wildfires over the past several years.

Small businesses in the Cobb area are now eligible for low-interest loans through the Cobb Area Council. The loans have an interest rate of 2 percent will range from $2,500 to $7,500 and can be used for costs related to wildfires, the public safety power shutoffs, or business start-up and expansion. Larger loans will also be considered. Cobb Area Council Economic Development Committee Chair Jessica Pyska says the money for the loans comes from a $200,000 grant awarded late last year by the Federal Home Loan Bank. The Area Council and the Office of Community Development Services have more information.

Two people are in isolation a hospital in Napa with concerns about the Coronavirus. Both were passengers on that cruise ship who were evacuated off Japan and flown to Travis Air Force Base earlier this week. One of them tested positive for the virus on the ship, the other tested negative there, but has since shown symptoms. 5 cruise passengers were taken to hospitals in Solano County after they landed at Travis, but doctors say there weren’t enough isolation beds for the two who ended up at Queen of Peace Hospital in Napa.

California insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara is facing a lawsuit from a consumer group over records related to his campaign. Consumer Watchdog wants to see Lara’s calendar and get more details about his meetings with insurance executives who donated to his last campaign. The commissioner says that information is privileged and not for the public. The meetings involved campaign donors who had ties to a company called Applied Underwriters, which had issues before the state insurance commission which Lara heads. He says the donations and meetings did not effect any commission decisions

California lawmakers are discussing a bill that would prohibit insurance companies from canceling or not renewing policies for homeowners who live in communities that meet state standards for protection against wildfires. The proposal would also require financial incentives to homeowners who have taken fire risk reduction steps on their property. Backers say more people in fire-prone areas have seen their policies canceled and that it is unfair for insurance companies to penalize those who live in places that have tried to minimize the risk.

A new poll says Bernie Sanders is widening his lead in California, less than two weeks before the March 3rd primary. The Public Policy Institute poll shows Sanders with 32 percent support of likely Democratic voters, with Joe Biden at 14 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 13 percent and Michael Bloomberg and Pete Buttegeig at 1 percent. It is Sanders’ biggest lead since the PPC polling started last summer and it is also the best showing for Bloomberg. Those asked say the ability to defeat President Trump will be the most important consideration when they vote.