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Top honors for Middletown High School at this year’s Lake County Mock Trial Competition. Upper Lake was second at the competition at the Lake County Superior Court, so Middletown High moves to the state finals next month in Los Angeles. The high schoolers pretended they were both prosecuting and defense attorneys in the fictional court case regarding the owner of a technology company who develops self-driving trucks who gets caught up in a murder or possible drowning accident. The Lake County Bar Association and Lake County Friends of Mendocino College are helping the winning team take their trip to the state competition.

The data has been released from the Lake County Point in Time Count on homelessness. The count last month found there were 572 homeless people. That’s 200 more than 2019. The Lake County Continuum of Care reports of those counted, 295 were male, 199 were female and 20 others wouldn’t identify their gender or have been reported as “other.” About 100 of them were older than 55, 315 or so between 25 and 55, 38 were 18 to 24, and 29 were under 18. The oldest homeless person counted was 94 and the youngest was a 5 month old infant. The report showed 240 of those counted were in Clearlake, 100 in Lakeport, more than 80 in Lucerne, more than 40 in Middletown, more than 30 each in Clearlake Oaks and Upper Lake, less than 20 each in Kelseyville and Nice, and less than 10 in Lower Lake.

A man from Glenhaven is recovering after a motorcycle crash on Highway 20 in Clearlake Oaks. Lake Co News reports 57 year old Karl Pentz had major injuries from the crash Tuesday night. The California Highway Patrol’s Clear Lake Area office reports he was riding a 2001 Harley Davidson on Highway 20 in Clearlake Oaks when he crossed the double yellow lines and ran into a brick and rock wall. He was tossed off his bike and had major injuries. The bike continued sliding onto the highway. He had a helmet on and was treated for his injuries at a hospital he was flown to in Santa Rosa. The CHP says they do not suspect drugs or alcohol of being factors in the crash.

The Governor’s new budget includes a plan to recruit and train teachers is getting positive reviews. The proposal sets aside nearly one billion dollars on staff development and recruitment, a jump as teacher shortages in schools multiply in rural and low-income areas. Plus there’s also a shortage in high-needs subjects like science, math, bilingual education and special education. About $300 million of the proposed education budget would be for new programs including stipends for those who will teach in areas where there are shortages, professional development money, and grants for student teachers in a residency type program.

Another bill being considered by Calif. lawmakers regarding Public Safety Power Shutoffs. The Rural Broadband and Emergency Infrastructure Grant Act of 2020 would change telecommunications laws so state fairgrounds are all set up with public access to internet, or broadband in emergencies. The bill was introduced Tuesday by Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and Devon Mathis (R-Visalia).  Aguiar-Curry says we need hubs for emergencies in wildfires and said that fairgrounds are a “meeting place”. The fairgrounds have historically been used in wildfires as staging areas for firefighters and animals are also sometimes brought there, out of harms way. The bill also says it could also help improve recovery center options. So far the bill has not been moved on.

A series of planned power downs by PG&E will hit North Lakeport. Starting tomorrow for scheduled maintenance, about 50 residents will be impacted. Letters went out from the utility company to the customers about the work February 14th, 19th and 21st. Tomorrow will start at 6 am, the 19th at 9 a.m., the 21st overnight hours, starting at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday the 20th.

Another free medical and dental clinic is being held in Lakeport. Spectrum of LIGHT is hosting the clinic in 4 weekends, March 8th at 9:30 am at the Lakeport Community SDA Church, 1111 Park Way, Lakeport. There will be free dental cleanings and fillings, free A1C and glucose screenings, blood pressure, BMI, health age and vision screenings. They’re also offering education and coaching for chronic conditions like Diabetes, high blood pressure and weight loss along with health lectures and cooking demonstrations with samples.

The enforcement of Measure V, top of mind to fight against wildfires. The initiative voted into law in 2016 says trees intentionally killed and left standing are a public nuisance, so those responsible could face fines. The law so the timber industry would stop leaving the dead trees standing. There are reportedly millions in the state which are considered a hazard to the environment and firefighters, but there’s been a snag in how it’s enforced. The County Attorney in Mendocino County is headed back to the Board of Supervisors with a plan next month that includes working with the timber industry on solutions after the board voted last week for better enforcement.

The Trump administration has been ordered to bring back a free hotline it shut down for detained immigrants to report custody condition issues. A preliminary injunction orders officials to restore the hotline which started in 2013. It had been run by a nonprofit called Freedom for Immigrants. The nonprofit says ICE turned the hotline off last summer after it was featured on the Netflix program, “Orange is the New Black”. After that immigrants had to pay up to $1/minute to call the nonprofit on a line the government started to monitor. ICE claimed the nonprofit misused the hotline, and said it was not monitored or recorded.

The dastardly drought is back. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly report shows nearly 10% of California including the central and southern Sierra Nevada and other nearby areas of the Central Valley are in moderate drought. The state’s been mostly drought free in early December. The Drought Monitor also says San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties, and parts of northeastern California are “abnormally dry”. And a week before this report it was abnormally dry in the Central Valley and land from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Sierra, and parts of the California-Oregon border. Snowpack is also reported at less than 60% of normal to date. The National Weather Service reports there’s no change in store these next couple weeks, and if there’s none it could be close to the driest combined January and February on record.


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