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It’s finally happening. Three years after the winter of rain that destroyed Library Park’s seawall in Lakeport, the work has begun to replace it.  FEMA money will mostly pay for the replacement wall after the Lakeport City Council voted unanimously for the contractor from Coos Bay, Oregon to begin the work. Their bid was just under $800,000. The city engineer said it would be about $1 million to replace the 500 or so feet of wall. The new wall will be made of nearly half-inch-thick sheet pile 25 feet into the ground. The old wall was made of cinder blocks. The new one is designed for the 100-year flood level after the February 2017 storm brought the wall down. It’s been closed to the public along with its sidewalk ever since. There was a plan in place but last March another storm delayed things.

The name of a man from Kelseyville killed in a single car crash last week has been released. 92 year old Charles Kluge alone in the 2006 Acura crashed near Kelseyville last Thursday morning. The California Highway Patrol’s Clear Lake Area office reports he drove thru a couple of wire fences then hit an embankment. He did not have on a seat belt. A REACH air ambulance transported him to Santa Rosa, he died at the hospital. The CHP says there will be an autopsy to see if he had a medical issue that contributed to the accident, and that they do not suspect alcohol as a factor in the crash.

State Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry have introduced a bill in each house for the Fire Safe Home Tax Credit. The two both cover Lake County and McGuire also covers Mendocino County. Both, especially Lake hit hard in recent years by wildfires. More than 38,000 homes destroyed in California in the last five years costing hundreds of millions in cleanup and a billion in vegetation management. McGuire says the bill he introduced will help homeowners qualify for tax credits for home hardening projects to protect against wildfires. It’s a one-time only $10,000 credit for items like replacing roofs, exterior walls, vents, decks, fences and chimneys. State Sen. Bill Dodd also signed on as a co-author.

The latest numbers on the North Coast grape crop show a decline year over year. The harvest report for 2019 shows wine sales off 15% from 2018 across the country. In Calif. farmworkers plucked just under 491,000 tons of grapes. That’s 17% less than a year before in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties. But grape prices were slightly higher, 2% over 2018 at a record $3,499 per ton in 2019. These are preliminary numbers which will be solidified next month. Some analysts for the industry say there was an oversupply of wine which will continue to adjust this year.

A judge in the case brought by independent contractors against a new employment law says Uber and Postmates are not exempt from the law while she’s considering the case. The ride-sharing company and food delivery service had asked for a preliminary injunction against the new law for wage and benefit protections for those working as independent contractors, but the judge said no. The two companies and others say the new labor law violates federal and state constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. Uber says the new law is biased and an overtly political process was used to ignore workers voices on the matter.

Legislation has been introduced by State Senator Bill Dodd which he says will improve the safety and reliability of California utility companies. Dodd’s Senate Bill 947 says the Calif. Public Utilities Commission would have to come up with a regulatory framework to condition utility companies future earnings on meeting safety, reliability and cost efficiency goals. Plus it would create a set of financial disincentives if their equipment causes fires and if they intentionally shut off power in severe fire weather conditions. Dodd says utility companies need to be held accountable. And that a performance-based model will discourage reckless behavior and intentional power outages, while promoting responsible behavior. Dodd’s office says there are 19 states who use some form of performance-based utility policy.

Real ID’s aren’t being issued in Calif. to all of the drivers who will need them before the deadline. The Press Democrat reports the state’s probably going to have to double the amount of Real ID’s issued each month so the millions of drivers in the state will have the federally required id card before the Oct. 1st deadline. The DMV reports only 25% of California’s 27 million drivers have applied for the new licenses since January 2018. And the agency only issued about 382,000 last month which was about 100,000 less than each month of the previous six. You’ve got to have a Real ID if you want to travel domestically on an airplane. The Dept. of Homeland Security is requiring all Americans to have one as another layer of safety for travel within the US and if you want to get onto any secure federal facilities or military bases.

Some Camp Fire survivors are remembering their loved ones who died in relation to the fire, not necessarily because they were injured or trapped by it. They are also not noted in the official Butte County coroner’s list of the 85 who died. For instance one young man had muscular dystrophy and died after he was evacuated. His mom says it was due to the way he had to quickly get out of his home. And a new report says 15 months later, there are still those who had complications from the fire who have died. That includes from emotional or mental health and respiratory problems related to the smoke. The report says at least 50 more above the official death toll have been linked by medical experts and lawyers to the Camp Fire.

 

 

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