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A new manager has been announced for the Ukiah Farmer’s Market. The Daily Journal reports the year-round market every Saturday has hired Robert Ayres who’s been in the industry for years. The paper writes that Ayres is a Florida local who moved to Southern Calif. to work in landscaping, like his dad before him. He then moved to Canada to work at his mother’s farmer’s market. Then the paper reports, he spent eight years in Costa Rica, where he was a market manager before arriving here in Ukiah. He was the co-manager to Scott Cratty, the last manager of the Ukiah Farmer’s Market.

An update on the state of the city of Ukiah’s economy is set. The City Council will get the report from the City Manager Sage Sangiacomo and Finance Director Dan Buffalo. They’ve delivered the yearly Finance Report to the council for the fiscal year that ended June 2019, calling the local economy diverse and strong, and continuing to grow. The reports says unemployment is low, and consumer spending, building permits, and planning work showed a strong economy too. They also report the housing market is strong, but there’s not enough housing to meet demand. The report to be discussed at tomorrow night’s council meeting at City Hall.

A proposal to divide a vacant lot in Ukiah into three parcels for development is being discussed as neighbors protest the idea. The Daily Journal reports city staffers are considering dividing the lot on North School Street as neighbors say it will mean “horrific” congestion. There’s a special meeting planned of the City Engineer this  morning after Ron Franz applied to divide the 26,000-square-foot lot, which city staff had been poised to approve. Neighbors wrote letters of opposition saying they weren’t against a development, just didn’t want three parcels because of the potential for traffic and too many people in the 500 block of North School Street near Ruddock Avenue. The hearing this morning in front of the City Engineer and Public Works Director starts at 10 a.m. at the Ukiah Civic Center.

Unpaved roads being repaired in a new way to be discussed by the Clearlake City Council. The Council to take up a new ordinance after the City Engineer and Public Works Director sent a report to the Council to find ways for more enforcement of road maintenance standards. They note that after Measure V passed a couple decades ago for roads to be maintained and fixed, that there needs to be another ordinance to impose fees and require repairs to reduce adverse effects after street excavations, which the two say degrades and shortens the life of roads.

The Lakeport City Council discussing a community development block grant and what should be paid for with it. The Record Bee reports the city could ask for as much as $3.5 million in grant money which is generally for low and moderate income populations. The paper reports some of the projects the city is considering includes improvements to a recently purchased bank building, which the city’s turning into a community center, and developing a housing rehabilitation program to help with re-roofing and weatherizing homes.  The meeting happens tonight.

A trio of Cal Fire workshops will cover the 2020 Wildfire Resilience and Forestry Assistance Grant funded by Proposition 68. The workshops being held across the state, including here locally, to cover grant opportunities, resource conservation districts, and non-profits who can help with a forestry based technical and financial assistance program for non-industrial forest landowners. The money from Proposition 68 for ecological restoration of forests that have been impacted by natural disasters like fires, insect infestations and disease. The closest one to us will be March 4th in Redding.
March 4, 2020 – 8 AM-11 AM

Redding – CAL FIRE Northern Region Operations Center, 6105 Airport Road, Redding, CA 96002. Classroom #1

Elections are about a month away and with that the Mendocino County Elections Office has sent out absentee vote-by-mail ballots for registered voters. They remind if you’re unsure if you’ve registered, of if you’re with the right party or at the correct address, you still have time to fix items or register to begin with. Anyone registered already should be getting their absentee ballot, mailed yesterday. The official deadline to register is Tuesday, February 18th, 2 weeks from today. You may still vote though if you miss the deadline, at a polling place. If you have a No Party Preference registration, you can vote Democratic, Independent and Libertarian as well. But the other parties, including Republican will require you to re-register under their parties to vote with them.

The Interim Executive Director for St. Joseph’s Health in Northern California has made a public statement about the hospital rumored to have patients with the Corona Virus. The Director says a social media post stating the 2019 Novel Coronavirus was at the hospital was untrue. He says it’s completely safe to seek care at the emergency room at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka.

The Academic Decathlon team at Upper Lake High School is moving on to represent the County at the California’s Academic Decathlon competition. The theme this year,  “In Sickness and in Health: An Exploration of Illness and Wellness.” There are three categories correlating with grade point average. Lake Co News reports Upper Lake was invited to take part in the North Bay Region Academic Decathlon this year, sponsored by the Solano County Office of Education after taking online tests and competing regionally last month. Willits High will also have a representative, coming in second overall in that County.

The retiring police chief in Willits and officers in the department have been pulling overtime due to a critical staffing shortage. The Willits News reports Chief Scott Warnock is retiring March 2nd. He’s one of the many working extra shifts and longer hours. But apparently there are new officers coming to town, from other cities, including Lakeport and Fort Bragg. The newspaper also reports they have a possible interim Chief, but there’s been no applicants at all for the position because of the salary. The chief says the department is one of the lowest compensated in the County because there’s not a large tax base. The paper reports the city manager agreeing saying they have to address the police department shortage.  There are also candidates for police officer positions currently having background checks done.

A man from Clearlake accused of a drive by that killed another man is set for trial next month. 38 year old Miguel Angel Becerra of Coachella is accused of homicide, assault with a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and more. It’s all connected to the murder of Steven Stone at Trombetta’s Resort last June. The victim found by police on the ground with a gunshot wound. Police say there were shots fired from a passing car, then later Becerra and his brother, Christian were found to be the prime suspects. Miguel Becerra was arrested 10 days after the shooting, but Christian is said to still be on the run. He’s described as a Hispanic man, about 5 foot, 10, 165 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. He’s considered armed and dangerous.

More than 400 cars went thru the drunk driver check point in Clear Lake. The CHP’s local office conducting the checkpoint Sunday night where they were also looking for drivers without licenses. They report a dozen drivers had to go thru sobriety tests but there were zero arrests for DUI. One driver was however arrested for having a couple of felony warrants out for their arrest. Two others got tickets for driving on a suspended license and one for driving without a license and one car was towed.

A man from Kelseyville has been injured riding a motorcycle in a three vehicle crash. Lake Co News reports 65 year old Paul F. Richardson had major injuries in the crash last Thursday afternoon outside Kelseyville. The CHP report says there was a white Honda Accord stopped, with its left turn signal on, waiting to go into a private driveway, and a red Ford Explorer came up, but didn’t slow down, then as the Harley rider came along, he ran into the Explorer. Richardson was tossed off his bike. He did have a helmet on though and is expected to recover. The other two drivers had their seatbelts on and one had minor injuries.

It’s National School Counseling Week. The Ukiah Unified School District Board of Trustees has approved this week as National School Counseling Week after a meeting last month, looking to highlight the unique contribution of school counselors in school systems and the impact they can have helping students with their educational success and helping them to plan for a future career. The School Superintendent says the connections the counselors have with students and their families helps them build and promote a positive school culture and strengthens the education process.

Parents with questions about school counseling programs should contact your student’s school, and please visit www.schoolcounselor.org if you want more information about school counselors.

Concerns about the novel Coronavirus spreading throughout China are increasing here in the states. There are more than 17,000 global cases of the virus and more than 360 people have died. All but one of those are in China. There are 11 cases in the U-S and 6 in Calif. The state Dept. of Public Health has activated an Emergency Operations Center to monitor anymore potential cases. The Lake County Health Department sent out a press release this morning that they’re regularly in touch with state and federal experts and are preparing for the possibility of local cases. They also say the immediate health risk to the general public remains low.

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