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Monthly Archives: April 2020

The motorized trail closure in the Mendocino National Forest has been extended until May 15th to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The closure extension starts tomorrow after an earlier order closed off-highway vehicle trails used by motorcycle riders and all-terrain vehicle drivers. They’re on federal lands and had been getting more crowded plus there had been some concern raised that those using the trails were also stopping in nearby communities, potentially raising the risk of exposing nearby residents. A forest spokeswoman says the areas of the federal parkland closed was to protect visitors and employees and that they’re working with state and local partners to decide what the best path forward is to safely reopen the closed areas.

The Gov., as expected has ordered beaches in Orange County closed after last weekend saw mass crowds there. The Governor says he hopes it won’t be a long lasting closure, but felt it was the best path to protect public health. There was a memo circulating he would be closing all beaches, but then announced today only in Orange County. The Governor’s been getting pressure statewide for more openings. The Sheriff of Humboldt County says he’s not enforcing the order for beaches or parks. In Modoc County, near Oregon, they plan to reopen schools, hair salons, churches, restaurants, their only movie theater and other business tomorrow.

Another case of coronavirus in Mendocino County. After testing began in earnest Monday in Covelo at the Round Valley Reservation, another positive case turned up. The Public Health Dept. has confirmed to us it’s a member of the same family who already had six cases. So now there’s been 12 positive cases in Mendocino County. 4 people have recovered and 8 are in isolation at home. One is the former prisoner from the Men’s facility in Chino we told you about a couple of weeks ago. The other 7 people in Covelo, confirmed to all be members of the same family.

A man from San Jose who had been working at a marijuana garden in Covelo has vanished. A report on a Facebook news sharing site says 30 year old Victor Medina video-chatted with his family on April 20th. The next day his co-worker reportedly dropped Medina’s car off to his wife, who asked where her husband was. The friend, Benjamin Chavez Reynoso said he had been driving behind him and was on his way, but he never arrived. A police officer showed up the following day in San Jose at Medina’s home saying a burned out truck was found on a rural road outside Hollister, then his wife says the family was contacted this week by a group demanding $10,000 ransom. The site cold case Mendocino with all the details.

Many Northern Calif. wineries report a loss of revenue due to the pandemic. Full or partial closures of more than 50 wineries in the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association. They host an annual festival that draws around 150 people to the wineries and that had to be canceled. So now the vintners report taking it virtual, hosting tastings and conducting wine clubs over Zoom or Social media. The Winegrowers Association says some of the wineries have been contacted by residents and others asking how they can help. Wineries getting creative, offering delivery, food items along with wine club items and virtual happy hours. For more info check out the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association website.

New paving during the quiet hours of the pandemic between Geyserville and Cloverdale on the 101. The Press Democrat reports it’s the longest span and most rutted stretch of the Highway in Sonoma County which isn’t traveled that much. But crews on the highway for the second part of a long awaited fix, the “Big Pave” project. The $62 million job should take less than a month. Caltrans says since there are less cars on the road on the 11-mile stretch it’s helping move the work along faster.  The last phase of the repave was from Windsor to Geyserville and repaved 14 miles. But that started in the spring of 2017 and took 18 months at a cost of $74 million. They’re also doing some repair work on guardrails and bridges and replacing several culverts south of Healdsburg to the point where the repave ends. There’s even more repair work coming next fall which could run into the fall of 2022 if there are any unintended delays.

The Willits Harrah Senior Center is reportedly one of the lucky ones, getting ahold of some of the Paycheck Protection Program money to remain in business. The Center got nearly $91,000 from the stimulus package signed into law last month. The Executive Director of the Senior Center says they were extremely lucky and are grateful for the relief money and if they didn’t get it, they would have had to cut back. The thrift store is closed as it’s not considered an essential business and that was a tremendous loss to the Center, about $25,000 a month. They say once they can reopen, there will be safety precautions in place due to the pandemic. They’re also offering a drive through meal pick up service for members working with the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

Officials in Lake County writing to state leaders to get the senior program for 3 meals a day to be extended. As we reported yesterday, the Governor is launching a program for local restaurants to supply 3 meals a day for qualifying seniors to be paid for mostly by FEMA. The program is geared towards seniors and adults at high-risk from COVID- 19 and to help local restaurants and kitchens that have had to otherwise close down due to the pandemic. The money is reportedly set to run out in less than two weeks, and the Lake County Administrative Officer says there needs to be more time to set it up, and within two weeks is impossible. The board unanimously approved sending a letter to State Senator Mike Mc-Guire and Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry to fund the program for 90 more days.

As new unemployment numbers are expected today across the country, the Gov. says we’ve had more than 3 and a half million people file. Gov. Newsom reported yesterday about 3.7 million Californians applied for unemployment benefits over seven weeks time. That’s nearly a 20 percent jobless rate. The Gov. says he knows people who want to file have had a hard time reaching anyone or getting any information from the Employment Development Department. The state has reportedly doled out as much as $6 billion in unemployment claims in 6 weeks’ time. Governor Newsom says they’re getting their arms around the unprecedented demand.

We may be doing an all mail in General Election. A Democratic Assemblymember has drafted a bill for just that, as we expect to continue with our Shelter in Place order. The president of the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials has reportedly sent a letter to the Governor requesting the “all-mail ballot election.” The Governor has previously intimated he doesn’t see any mass gatherings anytime soon and it takes time to get the ballots printed. Advocates say there are nowhere near the needed amount of drop off boxes so some people would not be able to vote or if there were some in person locations, there aren’t enough of those and there would be long lines, like in Wisconsin.

Since so many schools are closed the Governor has announced low income families are getting cash to buy food for the next two months. Families will receive $365 per child to purchase food over two months because many of these children had been getting free or reduced-priced lunches at school. The Governor announced about $1.4 billion from the federal government would come to help 3.8 million families in California.

The new requirement in Lake County for residents to wear masks becomes County policy in County buildings. Lake Co News reports the Board of Supervisors has directed county staff to work on a proposed ordinance requiring community members to wear masks when visiting county-owned facilities. The County Administrative Officer and County Counsel brought up the matter at the last meeting of the Board to follow the same policy County employees are following. But the Lake County Public Health Officer has not ordered folks to wear masks in public like Mendocino and Sonoma County.

The Governor announcing schools can potentially open again by July. The potential as part of his multi step reopening of California announced yesterday. The earliest the Governor says there would be a reopening but allowing some retailers and manufacturers the ability to reopen within weeks. Childcare and summer schools, parks, trails and other outdoor spaces can also reopen soon. But he’s not confirming a firm date for schools reopening, admitting though that there’s been learning loss under the statewide stay-at-home order with both teachers and students struggling to adapt to at-home learning. Plus the state cannot make school districts reopen, teachers unions and local school districts can work on that. The Superintendent of Public Instruction says “major questions still need to be answered.” Like can it be done safely for teachers, students and school staff.

Several hundred residents of the Round Valley Reservation in Covelo have been tested for coronavirus after six members of one family got infected. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer reports they tested almost 200 people Monday and will continue to test as many people on the Reservation as possible. The tests reportedly taken to the Sonoma County lab. Dr. Doohan says the results will guide on next steps for the entire County. She told the Board of Supervisors yesterday about her concern after another reservation, that in the Southwest, had the third largest outbreak in the country, after New York, and New Jersey. There was an outbreak in one family on the Reservation last week after one member traveled to the Bay Area, got sick and infected others. That brings the total of cases in the County to 11 confirmed. The National Guard was supposed to be sending surge tents to Covelo, according to the Sheriff, but yesterday the County CEO reported the state was going to wait instead, to see what the test results revealed.

One of the managers of the ER at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley says the emergency room has been pretty quiet. The Daily Journal reports the ER visits were down 50%. At the Redwood Medical Group, they report less visits to the ER as well because of the Shelter in Place order. They say those who are visiting maybe should have come in sooner. One man having a heart attack waited a day because people are trying to be careful, but it makes it more difficult they say, in the long run. With coronavirus it’s different, they say they want people to call first so a staff member can meet them outside and mask them and take them to a private room to be treated.

In Sonoma County, loosened rules for the Shelter in Place Order. As we reported yesterday, we were expected that hiking, running, walking, cycling and fishing would soon be allowed in all Sonoma County parks. The Public Health Officer is not allowing it along the coast though. The changes in effect starting today. Parking lots are closed and anyone who drives to a park and leaves their car nearby risks getting a ticket. There’s also nobody allowed along the Russian River for recreating or water sports to make sure there’s not a rush of visitors from out of town. They will also not have any open restrooms, playgrounds, dog parks, campgrounds, sport courts, picnic areas, disc golf courses opened yet either. They are considered high touch areas.

The Lake County Public Health Officer reporting to the Board of Supervisors at their latest meeting about more easing of restrictions in accordance with Stay Home orders. Dr. Gary Pace had already lifted some restrictions last week but is concerned about going further right now to make sure there’s no surge in cases. There were some limited uses allowed on Clear Lake and Pace says it went well, saying if there is overcrowding, they will have to step backwards into more restrictions again. It comes after the board sent a letter to the Governor’s office to ask for local authority over shelter-in-place orders saying a county government is in a better position to figure out what kind of regulation is needed in Lake County. But Dr. Pace said he doubted the state would grant that authority.

The longer the pandemic lasts, the more folks are visiting food banks. At the Redwood Empire Food bank, they report double the average visitors. During a regular year, they’ll serve about 82,000 people, but believe they have served 164,000 now. This month so far, the Food Bank in Lake County served an average of 83,000 meals/day as opposed to 58,000 previously. They are also asking for donations of food and money. In Lucerne they reported a jump of more than twice as many visitors and also asked for help with donations. We are participating in a Radiothon tomorrow,  Radio Cares Feeding
America.  We’ll be asking for donations for Feeding America through, listen tomorrow for more information.

The public is encouraged to visit their Vimeo page ( to check out videos highlighting of what the Redwood Empire Food Bank is doing as a result of COVID-19.

After the next computer modeling on the pandemic returned to Sonoma County, the Public Health Officer loosened restrictions. Dr. Sundari Mase says the strict public health emergency restrictions looks to have helped avoid a surge of cases. They are slowly lifting the restrictions and instituting aggressive tracking of infected patients along with expanded testing. Dr. Mase says there have only been 22 hospitalizations, but mostly only between 2-4 people at one time. She also says their intent for intense contact tracing, more tests of up to 800 a day should help to continue to flatten the viral curve and keep peak hospitalizations next year below 500 patients with an apex in local cases next summer, of 2021.

The Lake County Public Health Officer says large gatherings and events are not coming back anytime soon. In a report to the Board of Supervisors yesterday, Dr. Gary Pace says he will most likely extend the current stay at home order through the middle of May. It’s supposed to expire Sunday.  Dr. Pace says the last of the six people in the County who tested positive will soon be allowed to come out of isolation. Pace told the Board he sees loosening more restrictions coming in two week periods so he can assess how it’s all going before lifting anymore restrictions. He also reported attempting to get more local tests which are in short supply and surveillance testing at nursing homes. The Dr. reminded the Board that Gov. Newsom’s Shelter in Place order takes precedence over the County’s.

The fishing season is on. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) says you can fish for ocean salmon, groundfish and Pacific Halibut after all. The fisheries are set to open Friday and will go on despite the shelter in place orders. But you are reminded about non-essential travel and social distancing. Anglers told to first ask local officials about harbor services and where to access because so many sites have been closed due to the pandemic. But there are openings in Fort Bragg, San Francisco and Monterey for Salmon, the boat-based groundfish fishery is open in the Northern and Mendocino management areas [Oregon/California state line to Point Arena and the groundfish fishery in other California management areas are open. The Pacific Halibut fishery also will open statewide on May 1.

A young man from Willits and Lakeport has been sent to prison for seven years for robbing a Subway in Ukiah. 21 year old Dorian Michael Coon convicted by plea back in January for the December 2018 heist at the Subway where he was carrying a pellet gun. He was found at the restaurant when police arrived. He was shot multiple times and was taken to a hospital. Witnesses say he was shot by another customer in the restaurant with a concealed weapons permit. The pellet gun apparently resembled a real gun. His co-defendant, 20 year old Alexander Donovan Romero of Willits got 3 years probation last year. He also had to serve 180 days in the county jail, which he had done.

The Gov.’s plan to pay for meals to be delivered to seniors may be in jeopardy. Gov. Newsom’s program is said to be the first-in-the-nation which pays for and delivers three meals a day for vulnerable seniors during the pandemic. But the AP reports there’s only enough money for about two weeks until it runs out. The money mostly comes from FEMA, but it’s not really been made public exactly how many cities and counties are part of the new plan and when the FEMA money would expire. And the government documents also don’t lay out what FEMA has budgeted for the program. The Associated Press reports FEMA said it would cover 75% of the program and deliver the food from local restaurants. The state, cities and counties would have the cover the other 25%, but could also get paid some back through local and state sales taxes.

A man arrested the past few days in trouble with the law again. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call to a home where  Douglas Stone Jr. was making criminal threats. Apparently a man who had Stone’s dog came to bring it back to him and says Stone came at him with a large butcher knife and threatened to kill him. They say he also threatened to kill his own dog, his ex-wife, and her new boyfriend. The victim says he was afraid for his life and thought he would kill him then try to find his ex and her new boyfriend, and threatened him to not call police or he’d kill them too. Stone has been charged with several crimes and turned himself into deputies and held on $275,000.00 bail.

Talk about further loosening restrictions in Mendocino County during the latest Board of Supervisors meeting. The Public Health Officer Dr. Mimi Doohan peppered with questions about when things may start to reopen and certain types of businesses be allowed to open. One supervisor saying that he was asked by a local yoga studio owner about when they could expect to open again….

Dr. Doohan explained many things during today’s meeting and said she will follow whatever the Governor’s orders are that she probably wouldn’t have any major changes to her shelter in place order until May 8th, one week from Friday, then again, probably not until June after that.

The town of Covelo’s getting a special delivery by the National Guard. The Mendocino County Sheriff announced quarantine tents are coming to Covelo after six people in one family in the Round Valley Tribe ended up with coronavirus. The Sheriff reportedly checking in with State Sen. Mike McGuire, Assemblyman Jim Wood and state health officials and now needed equipment, tents, cots, and more will be in Covelo by today or tomorrow. The Sheriff says the equipment is in case there’s a surge of cases from community spread. The tents will be put up outside the tribal health center. Mass testing is going on within the tribe after the family got infected. The cases bring the total of confirmed cases in Mendocino County to 11.

The Streetscape Project in downtown Ukiah is moving along quicker. The City Manager says since there’s less traffic and business closures during the Shelter-In-Place Order, they’re doing the underground utility work on Perkins and Standley streets this week. The announcement last Friday with the revised schedule which she says means less impact on surrounding businesses and residents. The work should wrap up by May 8th, next Friday. They were conducting potholing last week to get the underground utility work done, which started yesterday. The work being conducted during daytime hours, Monday – Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Ukiah Farmers Market is reportedly doing well. The Daily Journal reports the market manager saying market sales were up, as opposed to the past when February and March are generally slower. The newspaper reports there are usually 9-10 vendors this time of year, but they have more than a dozen. Some vendors the paper interviewed said sales were up, up to 50% more than normal. People are practicing social distancing and they have signs up as a reminder. Plus masks will be mandatory starting Friday.

Local hotel owners on a call to see how they can help Ukiah. The Daily Journal reports the twelve hoteliers on a brainstorming WhatsApp call and quickly gathered $10,000 and ordered 25,000 masks. They’ve already begun to distribute them to hospitals. They’ve also started a group called Hospitality Strong to continue ordering masks for hospitals in the area. So far 11 hospitals in 4 states got the masks including Adventist Health Hospital in Ukiah who got 500 N95 masks and 6,000 surgical masks. For more info, there’s now a Hospitality Strong Facebook page and a Go-FundMe page to help raise more money for the cause. They say they’ve received donations from Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, Louisiana and Kentucky. One of the local hotel owners also working with the City of Ukiah and the County to offer lodging for those who need to self isolate.

North Coast Opportunity working with the Community Foundation of Mendocino County to help local residents who’ve been affected by coronavirus. The CEO of the Community Foundation says they created the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help individuals and families with everyday needs like helping to pay for their utilities, put gas in their car, food on the table, and a roof over their heads. The money is available to inland Mendocino County residents. You can apply by phone, (707) 621-8817 or online, by visiting http://www. and click ‘People Helping People’. The first applications are being accepted starting tomorrow.

The Gov facing pressure for front line, essential workers to get workers’ compensation if they contract COVID- 19. Legislators working on the idea introducing two bills, ahead of any claims filed for benefits. The state had reportedly already received more than 1,500 claims as of April 16th. The state and U.S. Chambers of Commerce reportedly telling the Gov. to only cover certain essential workers or it will cost employers and insurance companies billions. And unions are asking the Gov. to include more in any executive order since many have been required to work without the appropriate personal protective gear and no access to testing.

The Gov. calling out people at beaches over the weekend saying it’s an example of “what not to do”. In Newsom’s daily address yesterday he was speaking about photos that went viral of people bathing on beaches along the coast on Saturday and Sunday. In Newport, pictures circulated of crowds on the beaches and there were more at parks, something Newsom says will slow the progress already made against Covid-19 and that it would jeopardize future loosening of restrictions of the current shelter-in-place order. The Gov. said a lack of social distancing could peak numbers again as the state showed some signs of a flattening of the curve.

Since the state has a moratorium in place until the end of next month for tenants being protected against eviction due to coronavirus, the Clearlake City Council has repealed its temporary eviction moratorium. At a special virtual meeting of the Council yesterday, members did not renew an urgency ordinance put into place a month ago that was to last until May 19th. The City Manager says the City’s moratorium came before the state’s, which is a longer moratorium that ends on May 31st. Only one person had a public comment and it was a landlord concerned about the shift of financial responsibility from tenants to landlords.

Operational changes announced in the City of Lakeport due to Covid-19. During a City Council meeting last week staff reported to the Council. The state is allowing businesses up to a year to pay their sales tax. And the City announced businesses should contact city staff to see if there’s local help available. The Finance Director reported to the Council they should see the next budget in June, as usual and recommended suspending any discretionary spending in the 2020 budget. The Public Works Director says the Library Park seawall is almost done, but there’s some finishing touches held up due to Covid-19. And the police chief reported some major changes regarding how they conduct work, making contact with community members on shelter in place and criminal investigations which went way down.

The Sonoma County health officer has confirmed there will be some restrictions lifted with her shelter in place order. Dr. Sundari Mase says there will be a “soft opening” of some parks and construction work allowed and work that can be done outdoors like landscaping and gardening. Dr. Mase says those are lower risk activities that can be relaxed from her March 18th stay at home order. She says there will be an official announcement soon and there could be more to the order adding that the latest projections on infections of Covid-19 from Imperial College London, could be released today. That will guide what could come next. She says there’s already been positive news within the modeling, that those who have become infected are minimally spreading the virus because of social distancing rules, only essential travel and closed businesses.

Several rural counties and small cities are asking the Governor if they can ease the restrictions of the state’s shelter in place order. The six rural counties in Northern Calif. and 14 small cities only have 69 cases of the infectious disease within them. They include the counties of Sutter, Yuba, Butte, Colusa, Tehama and Glenn. They also added several hundred hospital beds to get ready for a possible surge but there’s only been one coronavirus patient in an intensive care unit. At the same time as the request, a half dozen counties in the San Francisco Bay Area are extending stay-at-home orders through the end of May. So far the only change made in the last week was allowing elective surgeries to resume in Calif.

The Ukiah Food Bank may not be getting a boost from a reliable source of the past. The Daily Journal reports the executive director of the Ford St. Project, the local rehab center says the Food Bank got $29,000 from individual donations as the first shelter in place orders came. But now the director says since the alcohol and drug program is losing thousands and fewer people are getting services, they may not be able to donate that for a while. She says there will probably be a 20 percent rise in the amount of people who need to get help from the food bank which means they will probably have to hire someone new and won’t be getting that extra $2,000-3,000 either.  

A family infected with COVID-19 in Round Valley takes the amount of cases to 11 in Mendocino County. As we reported Friday, there were first 3 cases, then a couple more, in the family, then Friday night, another confirmed. So six cases total in the family and five in the County before that. The Mendocino County CEO reported the family got the virus after one of them traveled to the Bay Area three times to visit another family member there. That family member exposed four other members of the family, and the sixth was a family member who doesn’t live with them. The CEO says the Public Health Dept. is monitoring the family and testing as many people in the Round Valley Reservation as they can, adding if they can test all 2,000 residents, they will.  The Public Health Officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan says they’re working closely with the Indian Health Center on more tests of anyone else who may have been exposed to members of the family who tested positive. She said all of those who already tested positive are in stable condition, in isolation at home with active public health monitoring and do not require hospitalization.

A new report says about ten people who had been living in an assisted living facility in Redwood City have died from coronavirus. Those who have died include the former president of Stanford University. The report from the state showing more than 5,400 residents and health care workers at long term care facilities got COVID-19 and more than 539 of them died. Gordon Manor in the Bay Area with the most. There were 65 residents there. The facilities are overseen by the state Department of Social Services. All of the data dates back to April 22nd. The largest skilled nursing outbreak in the state, also in the Bay Area with more than a dozen patients dying and a new list released Friday had the number of infected there at 28.  

Several hundred healthcare workers in Sonoma County have been tested for the virus. This weekend a new drive thru program had the most tests over two days since the pandemic began. Health Officials say testing is the key to reopening the County. And our Public Health Officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan had previously said she’s following with other Bay Area Counties are doing. The drive-thru testing started with the healthcare workers but is reportedly going to expand for first responders with virus symptoms first; then those 65 years and older with underlying health conditions with or without symptoms, and finally they will get to residents with symptoms. The Public Health Officer in Sonoma County is expected to lift some of the restrictions of their stay at home order to allow more access to local parks and allow some construction and real estate transactions to resume, but most other restrictions will stay for now.

The Shelter in Place order in Sonoma County is set to expire. The Press Democrat reports the order expires Friday and at the same time the Public Health Officer is reportedly going to relax some of the stay-home order. The newspaper reports there were rumors last week about what might be revised including public access to local parks and construction projects and real estate transactions to resume, but staying at home except for leaving for essential business or errands, wearing masks in public and social distancing would all stay awhile. Dr. Sundari Mase telling the newspaper we are still under an executive order from the governor and it’s up to him to lift the shelter-in-place. The state’s order takes precedence over any county public health order.  But Lake, Napa and Mendocino counties have loosened some restrictions on traveling further for recreation, golfing, hiking and jogging. Construction and pet groomers can pick back up in Lake County.

The Lake County Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says they’re allowing some low risk activities to resume as long as people observe social distancing, and don’t gather in groups of no larger than two people. They will moderate activities and possibly open more businesses in a layered or step by step approach.  The Shelter in Place order was set to expire May 3rd, that’s this coming Sunday. There’s an extension coming, depending on any State Orders from the Governor’s office.  The addendum from April 23rd, which we reported last week, will expire on June 1st. It includes limited recreation on the Lake, Hidden Valley Lake opening to residents, fishing from the shore, but no fishing boats are allowed, no swimming is permitted. Dr. Pace says he will allow more restrictions to be lifted as they see fit.

The Mendocino College Career Education dept. has provided Adventist Health several 3D printed face shields. The college delivered 240 N95 masks last month, another 5,000 – including ear loop surgical, face shields and N95’s to the Nursing Department. Now 250 more face shields. The president of Adventist says they’ve been touched by the outpouring of support from the community for healthcare workers on the front lines.  Adventist Health in Mendocino County, operates Adventist Health Howard Memorial and Adventist Health Ukiah Valley.  The school’s Theatre Arts/Technical Director and a Computer Science instructor are running up to five different 3D printers a day to make the masks, which amounts to about 25 masks a day.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has their regular meeting, focusing on the pandemic. It’s of course online, and starts tomorrow morning at 9. The public is invited to submit comments by email. The County Administrative Officer is also proposing some temporary safety measures in a proposed urgency ordinance to require masks be worn at county facilities. The Board will also hear from the Public Health Officer at the top of the agenda.  The Board will also look at selling property to Lake Transit Agency to build a new transit hub. They will also consider telling the treasurer-tax collector to take immediate action for new procedures for taxpayers who need waivers to not pay property taxes during the pandemic. 

Library Park in Lakeport is not opened, but Dutch Harbor has been reopened to the public. This comes after updated health orders were issued by Lake County Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace last week. You can also fish off the shoreline and Hidden Valley Lake is open. No fishing boats are allowed, and hiking and jogging in areas where public parks are open is also okay. But Library Park is staying closed for all activities due to the ongoing construction there. Plus there’s limited staff to cover parks due to the pandemic.  

A special meeting’s being held by the Clearlake City Council due to the pandemic. They will consider an urgency ordinance on tenant evictions during the COVID-19 emergency. Lake Co News reports the Council will have a virtual meeting broadcast live on their YouTube channel and you can submit questions in writing.  The city clerk will deliver those to the council and the mayor will read the comments aloud in the meeting, but any they get after the start of the meeting won’t get into the record. On the agenda, extending or repealing the urgency ordinance on tenant evictions which was adopted March 19th. 

A man in Redwood Valley has been arrested after a burglary in progress is reported. A woman says there was someone outside her house trying to force their way inside. The man identified later as Douglas Stone Jr., who the victim says she told to leave and that she was calling 911. He did leave and was contacted close by. He was searched for weapons and deputies found a loaded semi-automatic pistol in his pants pocket. They searched his car and found a bunch of stolen items from others who had previously reported burglaries in the neighborhood. Cops also found a small pry on Stone. He’s charged with several crimes including burglary, possession of marijuana, possession of stolen property, carrying a concealed weapon and prowling. He was booked on $75,000.00 bail. A search of his home turned up many other stolen items, firearms, firearm parts, ammo and explosive device precursors.  Because of coronavirus, he was booked and released.

A man in Covelo’s busted after a call from a woman about being choked by her husband. Deputies went to the home last weekend where the woman, who’s 5 months pregnant, told them her husband, Samson Joaquin, started to choke her with a belt while they were in bed. She somehow got away, but the man picked up a propane tank and several metal food cans and started hitting her in the head and body, punched and kicked her several times in the stomach. She had visible injuries which police say were consistent with her story, plus she had blood in some of the wounds. She was flown to an out of county hospital. Joaquin was arrested on multiple charges domestic violence battery and assault with a deadly weapon. He was held on $30,000.00 bail.


A revised Shelter in Place Order has been announced by the Mendocino County Health Officer, the fourth order, and this one stays in place until May 10th. It calls for face masks to be worn in public, starting in a week. There is some loosening of other restrictions too though: more recreation allowed, driving up 20 miles away and with social distancing and a face mask. Singing in groups for live streaming events is allowed if the venue uses all possible protective measures to slow COVID-19 transmission. Dr. Doohan says masks, combined with social distancing and sheltering in place are powerful weapons against coronavirus and help to prepare the community for limited reopening of activities next month. The new order also says employers who require employees to leave home for work have to supply them with masks. Dr. Doohan also says she’s working on another order about wearing masks at medical and nursing facilities.

5 people from one family have tested positive for coronavirus in the Round Valley Tribe. It was first announced that 3 people in the family tested positive, but this afternoon the Mendocino County Public Health Officer reported an additional 2 family members also tested positive. During Dr. Noemi Doohan’s press briefing this afternoon, Round Valley Tribal Council president James Russ, who’s also the Executive Director at the Round Valley Indian Health Center reported on the Tribe’s willingness to closely and carefully follow the Public Health orders since the beginning of the pandemic. The center was where the tests were run on the family and confirmed as positive. The family is said to be isolating at home, contact tracing is ongoing and the Public Health dept. is actively monitoring the family.

One of the members of the Fort Bragg Police Dept. is retiring. Sergeant Andrew Kendl and his Police Dog Maverick finished work Wednesday. Sgt. Kendl served with the department for 15 years and before that was a Deputy for the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, spent several years with the Richmond Police Department and was a Naval Military Police Officer for six years.

3 new cases of Covid-19 in Mendocino County. The Round Valley residents all live in the same house and were tested by the Round Valley Indian Health Center. The Mendocino County Public Health officer reports the health care workers who tested the family used proper Personal Protective Equipment and followed protocol reporting the cases to them. The Public Health Office is now doing contact tracing while working with Round Valley Indian Health Center for additional testing of anyone who may have also been exposed to the family. The trio are said to be in stable condition and in isolation at home with active public health monitoring. None had to be hospitalized.  And asymptomatic close contacts of the cases are in quarantine.

Some groups are calling for more transparency by the Newsom Administration with testing for coronavirus. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has reportedly sent a letter to the Gov. for the release of demographics on people who died and who have been tested or ended up in the hospital. Then another letter was sent earlier this week with 65 advocacy groups across the state supporting an investigation. The ACLU letter says the state has a history of discrimination towards people of color and without data they cannot get equal access to resources and treatment.

School Districts across the state getting an extension on filing their Local Control and Accountability Plan. The paperwork shows the district’s spending plans for 2020-21. The Governor’s office says there will be an executive order in coming days. The California Department of Education says they expect an extension until mid-December because school districts said they needed to revise their budgets. The Dept. also says it’ll ask lawmakers to cancel the California School Dashboard this year. That’s a color-coded accountability system rating schools and districts on various performance measures. Since there have been cancellations of standardized tests it would publish incomplete and invalid numbers in the fall.

More coronavirus tests at the Lake County Jail. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports there have been 100 coronavirus tests on inmates and jail staff with zero positives. The department reports getting back 15 of the tests with negative results and they expect more results every day. There’s been several positive tests across the state within correctional facilities, as we’ve reported 3 inmates from Chino came to Lake and Mendocino County due to Covid-19 early releases, and two of them were positive, one in each County. 69 positive cases of the virus detected at the Chino facility as of yesterday.

The Ukiah Emergency Operations Center will stay open due to the pandemic. At the City Council meeting Wednesday the Emergency Services Coordinator said they were open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 5 pm. The City Manager Sage Sangiacomo reported on the loosening of the shelter in place directive by the Public Health Officer for facial protection and some businesses be able to reopen.

Also at the city council meeting schools in Ukiah reported increased turnout for free food being handed out by the district. The Police Chief reported they’re getting complaints about people gathering in groups, more thefts, domestic disturbances with possible violence. Complaints about the homeless and the encampment adding more tents, some of which are inside property lines, large fires being burned at night creating disputes with neighbors or within the camp. The Deputy City Manager reported staying in touch with the Board of Supervisors about the encampment in the airport clear zone.

In Humboldt County there will be a fine if you get caught without a face covering. The District Attorney says it’ll be against a state Health and Safety Code related to communicable disease prevention and control and a misdemeanor. But that could mean a fine too of $50 to $1,000 or even prison time for not abiding.  The DA also says she hopes they won’t have to resort to any of this because they’ve seen widespread compliance with the shelter-in-place order and that there would only be criminal enforcement for someone who violates the order on purpose, putting others at risk.

Lake and Mendocino County residents starting the US Census and the Census reporting the response rate below state and national averages. Lake Co News reports the latest numbers just under 52 percent of households nationwide. Respondents in Calif., 53.2 percent. The Census Bureau reports Lake County’s response rate was below the state and national averages at 34 percent, and the online response rate was 23.6 percent. In Mendocino County the numbers were also pretty low, a 39 percent response rate by mail and 30.6 online. But the field data portion of the Census has been suspended because of coronavirus.

Price gouging hitting personal protective equipment. The LA Times reporting suppliers and middlemen are charging more as we have a global shortage of medical equipment. The Times reports reviewing hundreds of state contracting records showing the state’s been paying more than 300% above the list price. State transportation officials made an emergency purchase of masks for $12.74 each. The manufacturer 3M lists them at $3.40 each. A spokesperson for the state says they have to sometimes pay the higher prices to protect public health. A spokesperson for the Dept. Of Transportation says the purchase for immediate need for the health and safety of its employees.

It’s starting to look like a regular neighborhood and no longer scorched earth in one Santa Rosa neighborhood after the Oct. 2017 wildfire storm. More than 1,000 homes have been rebuilt in Coffey Park out of more than 1,400 homes lost in the Tubbs fire. The neighborhood support group Coffey Strong gets some landscaping after a donation by FedEx. 350 free trees delivered by a local gardening company to 180 Coffey Park homeowners after 700 dead and damaged trees were removed last summer.

Folks in Fort Bragg hootin and hollerin out their windows and doors every night for front line workers. It’s reported that the national practice started in Denver after two people there started a Facebook page called, “Go Outside and Howl at 8 p.m.” It happened at 7 pm in New York City, but elsewhere at 8 like in Mendocino County where another Facebook group emerged, “Go Outside and Howl 8 p.m. Mendocino Coast CA”. There are more than 1,000 members in the group. The page asks for neighborhoods in Fort Bragg, along Highway 20, and in Mendocino, Albion, Cleone and Mitchell Creek to howl away each night.

You may soon be able to get an at home coronavirus test, for a price. LabCorp has announced they received an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a home collection kit they will charge $119 for. They say they’re first prioritizing the tests to go to health care workers and emergency responders. The CEO of the company says the kits are to make it easier and safer to test health care workers and first responders. The person taking the test would swab their own nose, then it goes out to one of Labcorp’s lab’s for detection with results posted online.

Covid-19 the topic of the latest Lakeport City Council. The city is operating with fewer staff members and those who can telecommute are doing so. The Public Works Director says they’re running on limited staff and were spreading work amongst staff members, including testing sewage for coronavirus after it was found that some of it had the presence of the virus in it. That’s because the lab where they had been sending became overwhelmed with Lakeport on a waitlist. The Police Chief reported to the council they’ve made changes too related to arrests, hospital visits, protective equipment with volunteers on leave and travel restrictions. And the Lakeport Community Development Department was monitoring the pandemic and applying for money so that city projects could continue thru block grants.

Congressman Mike Thompson, the chair of the Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee and the Oversight Subcommittee Chair John Lewis have sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary to find out why it’s taking so long for some people to get stimulus payments. The letter contained news reports that there were payments sent to tax preparers or third party banks and not to the intended taxpayer. The two House members want to know what’s being done to correct the errors. Apparently the payments made by direct deposit had banking or other errors or sent to accounts that were temporary and should have been returned to the Treasury, but were not.

A man has been arrested and a stolen senior center van from Lakeport found. A police officer saw the van Tuesday night and arrested Robert Taylor who had earlier been cited for violating the shelter in place order. He was seen driving the stolen van near the Savings Bank of Mendocino County on Main Street. Police ran a check on the license plate finding it had been stolen without anyone at the Center’s knowledge. Senior Center staff picked the van up and Taylor was cited for felony vehicle theft and possession of stolen property. Due to the rules in place by the Judicial Council of California he was not booked or held in jail but was told to appear in court. He was arrested last week for violating the County’s Public Health shelter in place orders for harassing employees and customers at a local business.

Congressman Mike Thompson hosting an online town hall. The virtual town hall tomorrow afternoon from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., the second town hall on COVID-19 where he and experts will answer questions about the pandemic for constituents of California’s Fifth Congressional District. The Sonoma County Public Health Officer is joining with Thompson and the chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County is part of the District. They can have no more than 500 people on the zoom meeting, but they’re also streaming it live on Facebook.  Thompson represents all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

In Sonoma County they’re having discussions about opening limited access to parks after a month’s long closure because of coronavirus. The Public Health Officer Sundari Mase and elected and appointed officials considering the move after they say test results show progress against the infection. Plans to open limited access to paved multi-use trails, such as the Joe Rodota Trail, walk-in or bike-in entry to parks near residents’ homes, but no beaches or high touch areas, like playgrounds, picnic areas or bathrooms. The chair of the Board of Supervisors says she hopes for more official plans by the weekend or early next week.

The Mendocino County School Superintendent Michelle Hutchins with a guest column in the Mendocino Voice talking about the new reality of schooling children during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hutchins spoke of parents who are also teachers having to school their own children and work with kids while other parents are working from home and having to help their kids with long distance learning. Hutchins says the Mendocino County Office of Education has certain educational resources to help support the coursework given to students. There are links to extra-curricular, fun activities Hutchins says that are for various ages and cover many topics including English language arts, history/social science, math and science, social-emotional learning, games and physical education.

More tickets being handed out by the California Highway Patrol for speeding during the coronavirus pandemic. The CHP reports after the shelter in place order started March 19th, and for one month after they handed out almost 2,500 tickets for drivers going over 100 mph. It’s almost two times as many as the same time last year when they handed out 1,335. The Dept. of Transportation and Office of Traffic Safety with the CHP say the ticket spike is happening even though there’s a 35% decline in traffic volume, which the CHP Commissioner calls “alarming.” The CHP also says hospitals are packed already, so speeding is especially dangerous in the age of coronavirus, adding that accidents are entirely preventable. The CHP says to try to get drivers to slow down, they put up more than 700 electronic road signs across the state that say “if you must travel do not speed.”

A Ukiah middle schooler has won an award for his stunning photography. Eagle Peak Middle Schooler A.J. Bass won the Grand Prize in the Jostens 2020 Photo Contest. The 7th grader, and first-year digital media student, won the honor for his take of, “ON THE MAT!” winning over 5,000 entries from middle and high school photographers across the country. 108 pictures were chosen to win and Bass won the overall Grand Prize, of a cash prize, camera equipment and he will be featured in several Jostens publications.  He says he was in shock and says a photo of Muhammed Ali was behind the inspiration of the photo he took. Three other Eagle Peak students were also recognized.

The Jostens 2020 Photo Contest winners can be viewed at and will be featured in the next release of the Jostens Look Book.

Calfire has started to require burn permits again for residential burning in Mendocino County. CalFire says property owners can go to their website and get a permit for free after they watch a short educational video. You will then submit an application. You’ve got to print it out, sign it and just keep it on you when you’re performing the burn. The information on the website will guide you through a burn safely, minimizing the chance for the fire to escape.  Before you start the burn, be sure to check in with the Mendocino County Air Management District

The Coastal Trail in Fort Bragg has been reopened with strict guidelines. The City Manager says if there are people traveling to the city to go onto the trail, it will be closed. She says she wants it only for local use. And with that, parking lots and bathrooms are still closed and will stay that way until the stay home order is lifted. There are signs in place with detailed instructions for users. Social distancing will have to be maintained, masks are highly encouraged, hikers may not sit on any of the benches or picnic tables, or any place where people might congregate. There have been some complaints, but the city says most people are respecting rules. Other parks and beaches remain closed, but if you can walk or ride your bike there, it’s ok to use.

A new CEO has been named by Mendocino Community Health Centers. Scott McFarland was supposed to May 1st but came early because of coronavirus. McFarland commented that he has already seen the great sacrifice and commitment by staff and that patients are getting the care they need. The Health Centers board chair says they’re fortunate to have such a solid leader in Scott. He had been the CEO of Western Sierra Medical Clinic in Nevada County, and before that ran Peachtree Health Center for six years.

The Lake County Public Health Officer has officially released his update to the shelter in place order. It was supposed to come out tomorrow, but we’ve just gotten a look at the addendum to the order which was put into play five weeks ago. Dr. Gary Pace says since there’s been no surge in coronavirus cases, they’re starting to loosen some of the restrictions first put into place. Golf courses can open with limits, hiking and jogging is allowed in open parks, canoeing, kayaking, and other paddle-propelled, hand-launched watercraft will now be allowed on Clear Lake, but no sailboats. Highland Springs Shooting Ranges can open again and other activities that can be done alone without physical contact with others. Some businesses can reopen, pet grooming, real estate. But other businesses need to stay closed for now under the Governor’s order.

Mendocino Coast Clinics has received 5,000 medical masks for employees, patients, and visitors. The money to pay for the masks came from the “We Ask for a Mask” campaign that will continue through May 5th. It’s also part of #GivingTuesdayNow ( to get people across the world to give back to their communities during the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The masks secured through connections from a supporter of the hospital’s annual fundraiser. The masks are $5 each. You can still donate thru the health center’s website. They’ve also been trying to get grant money to help pay for some of the costs of having to deal with coronavirus.

The Gov. says they are ramping up coronavirus testing and after getting results back that will be critical to deciding when the strict stay-at-home orders can be lifted and people can go back to work. Governor Newsom’s announcement earlier today and says the pandemic is still spreading and a growing health threat so lifting any restrictions prematurely could lead to a second wave of infections and deaths. He says he spoke to the President today who promised more specimen swabs for coronavirus testing and that 100,000 swabs were expected in California this week and 250,000 next week. He also says there will be more testing sites and there would be more antibody tests too. Right now they’re doing about 14,500 tests a day between both public and private medical labs, but they hope to get to 25,000 tests per day by the end of April and as many as 80,000 in the near future.

California looking to help businesses that had to close down because of the pandemic. A new 80 member task force has been formed to help with inventory problems and credit card debt. It’s co-chaired by former presidential candidate and businessman Tom Steyer along with several other big name business leaders and entrepreneurs including Walt Disney Co. Executive Chair Bob Iger, Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Patagonia CEO and President Rose Marcario, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Homeboy Industries founder Father Gregory Boyle and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. Leaders of 10 labor unions are also included and the four previous, living Governors too, Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson, and Democrats Gray Davis and Jerry Brown.

Assemblyman Jim Wood says he’s frustrated by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and called on the Gov. to get legislators more involved in the process and provide more information they could pass on to their constituents and local officials. Wood says they could help move things to another level and says he’s meeting resistance when he tries. He says it’s a missed opportunity as they have the relationships with their local governments, cities, counties, special districts, hospitals, doctor groups and more. This in a budget subcommittee hearing he was invited to earlier this week where lawmakers peppered the state’s Health and Human Services Agency and members of the Finance Department with questions.

State Senator Mike McGuire on a new bipartisan committee to review how the state has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee will release their findings along with recommendations for future preparedness for this and future pandemics. McGuire says the state has been at the forefront of this crisis, taking early and decisive action, the most in the country, to try to slow the spread of the virus. But he adds the bipartisan special committee will help, because the state can always do better. They’re focusing on what has been done right, but more importantly, where the state can improve and how to be better prepared in the months to come.

Free facial masks from the Frank R. Howard Foundation. The foundation has purchased 10,000 cloth masks for those who live in Willits. They’re locally made and were offered at cost to the Foundation. They’re going to start delivering them this week to Mariposa Market, Safeway, Grocery Outlet, Mendo Mill and Coast Hardware. The Foundation says those are places people have to visit for food and supplies so they wanted them available when resident go shopping. There will be more coming every two to three weeks as they’re made, so the Foundation says if you go and cannot get one, give it a minute more are on the way.

The Public Health officer in Lake County reported to the Board of Supervisors regarding the shelter in place orders for coronavirus. Dr. Gary Pace says this Friday there could be some loosening of some of the strict guidelines on recreation to allow people to go hiking, possibly fishing and enjoy limited activity on Clear Lake, including the use of non-motorized boats, following the governor’s orders moving forward, and reassessing in two weeks. Dr. Pace also called for the formation of a working group made up of government leaders to find a path forward for reopening businesses. Supervisor Rob Brown said he wanted businesses to reopen at the same level as the state and not to wait until Friday. Pace agreed to try to move faster on lifting some restrictions, and Supervisor Bruno Sabatier said areas with less people and less infections should be able to reopen sooner. Supervisor Moke Simon cautioned against moving too quickly.

A new study at UC Davis shows promise for a drug in use for gravely ill patients with coronavirus. Antiviral medicine remdesivir was given on a compassionate-use basis at UC Davis Health and other hospitals in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Japan. 53 patients with COVID-19 between 23 to 82 years old admitted to the hospital between January 25th to March 7th got a ten day course of the drug. Nearly 70% of the patients were on ventilators. 68% had improved oxygen levels after the drug was given and half of those on ventilators were taken off, and nearly half were discharged.  Then almost a month later, 84% were discharged or had improved.

Congressman John Garamendi working to get expanded coronavirus testing. Garamendi’s the co-chair of the Congressional Peace Corps Caucus and looking to get America’s service organizations to ramp up testing and conduct contact tracing. The Undertaking National Initiatives to Tackle Epidemic Act (UNITE Act) would get more volunteers in AmeriCorps and FEMA to bring more testing and contract tracing to be able to find cases, and monitor the contacts of those who are infected.

A large grant for a new transit hub and that could fund the modernization of Lake Transit Authority’s  fleet has been approved. The Executive Director of Lake Transit says the grant program is extremely competitive and in the past, rural applicants had less success accessing the awards. Lake won $13 million from the state of California’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program. There was $500 million dollars awarded by the California State Transportation Agency to 17 recipients including Lake. They will purchase hydrogen run buses with the money and pay for the new transit hub proposed on county-owned property in Clearlake, near the courthouse and the Lake County Campus of Woodland Community College.

Cops in Clearlake on the lookout for whoever burglarized a local pharmacy. Cops say they were notified by a burglary alarm going off at North Lake Medical Pharmacy early Tuesday morning. They found a smashed window, but nobody inside. They took a look at the surveillance footage from the businesses noticing two people inside, one of them stealing some pill bottles. Police say they will release the surveillance video footage after they receive a copy of it.

The Gov. says he’s against local municipalities taking their own actions to loosen the statewide shelter in place restrictions in place more than a month.  Gov. Newsom says his office has been trying to organize the many conversations they’ve had with city and county leaders about orders and he’ll speak on it again today. He says they’re working to get more tests and trace communities where the positive cases may land. The state averaging about 14,500 tests a day, less than what he said he hoped to achieve by the end of April. The Gov. says moving too fast on loosening guidelines could cause the virus to spread more. The Press Democrat reports in San Luis Obispo they were starting to come up with a loosening because they had flattened the curve and were headed down.  In Los Angeles County though, they are having more cases and the Mayor says loosening restrictions could doom the community.

State Public Health Officials allowing, for the first time, asymptomatic people to be tested for Covid-19. This means Calif will be the first state to have less restrictive federal guidelines to increase the amount of testing. Some experts hailing the decision to help slow the spread of the pandemic, others say it’s too early to enhance testing after state officials said there was still an inadequate amount of tests across the state. Calif has been following federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, saying only hospitalized patients and symptomatic health care workers would first be tested. Then after that symptomatic patients who are elderly or had underlying conditions.

The amount of testing ramping up in Sonoma County. Public health care workers are testing high risk groups like health care workers and those who work or live in group care facilities. That will start this weekend with up to 200 tests a day at drive-thru sites after a slew of specimen swabs, that were in short supply, arrived in the County. There were 10 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Sonoma County yesterday for a total of 192 positives, or about 4% of just over 4,500 tests conducted since early March. 87 people have recovered from the virus and two people died.

The Mendocino County DA reports two violent gang members will head out of town as soon as the Corrections Dept. will take them. The two were found guilty of randomly shooting at another man as he drove past them on the way to Boonville. The DA reports the two suspects thought the victim was part of a rival gang so they went after him. 18 year old Alfredo Asher Knight of Redwood Valley pleaded guilty to attempted murder and two sentencing enhancements, that he personally used a firearm in the commission of the attempted murder and committed the attempted murder for the benefit of a criminal street gang. The other one, 20 year old Marshall Leland Stillday of Hopland faced the same charges. The two look to hit middle age behind bars once they’re placed inside. The two members of the Norteño criminal street gang.

A man from Rio Dell who left a suicide note a week ago is still missing, but his car has been found near Leggett. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office searching for Jacob Roberts who was reported missing on April 14th after the Rio Dell Police found his vehicle. Police there say Humboldt County deputies had served a search warrant after his wife said he left a note saying he took a car and was going as far north as he could and would then walk into the woods and intentionally starve to death. The vehicle found in Leggett the day he was reported missing, April 14th. That’s when Mendocino deputies began their search with a tracking bloodhound and helicopter. Cops say they’re not sure if he was indeed suicidal or trying to run from prosecution of some sort.

A homeless man found in Lakeport is said to have been a registered sex offender who did not change his address. Dean Thomas Ammons arrested yesterday after police reached out to the public for help finding the high-risk sex offender who did not follow registration requirements. Since there are temporary bail restrictions in place because of coronavirus, police were not able to book him into the Lake County Jail. So he’s got a monitoring device hooked up so that he can be traced. He also got a citation for a felony violation of failing to register as a sex offender. He was released as part of the California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections new policy enacted March 31st. The same one that allowed 3 inmates to hit Mendocino and Lake Counties, 2, one in Lake, the other in Mendocino tested positive for COVID-19.

Under a new public health order expected at the end of the week, residents in Mendocino County are expected to be required to wear masks when leaving their homes for any activity. The Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan was part of the online Board of Supervisors meeting Monday, who also said she’d announce several other measures to loosen the restrictions on her stay at home order including singing with social distancing with a total of four or less people, traveling up to ten miles away from home to recreate, and nonessential businesses would able to sell and deliver products to customers.

The Governor’s office of Business and Economic Development or GO-BIZ has awarded Mendocino County with more than $2,200,000 in Cannabis Equity Grant Funding for the development and implementation of a Local Equity Program.  The money starts funneling in for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 with no more than 10% for administration. So that means there’s still more than $2 million for loans, grants, technical assistance, training, waivers and fee reductions for those eligible. The County’s Planning and Building Services Dept is partnering with Go-Biz for an agreement to get the money, then announcements will be made this summer regarding the program being implemented and how to participate.

State Senator Mike McGuire says the Governor wants to start ramping up coronavirus testing to 25,000 a day by the end of this month. This information as part of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday. McGuire says the priority is to first test the most vulnerable populations including skilled nursing facility residents and staff and frontline workers including police, emergency service workers and health care workers. He also said that sadly there won’t be normal seating at restaurants for the remainder of the year, he wasn’t sure about large events, and there could be different attendance at large events like sports and county fairs with social distancing. He told the supervisors he was worried about too quickly relaxing some of the restrictions in place at beaches and parks in coastal Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin.

We should see more restrictions relaxed by the end of the week. The Public Health Officer in Mendocino County is expected to allow drives of up to ten miles for recreational activities, group singing, but no instruments and with social distancing in place and possible barriers, some businesses will be able to allow employees to sell and deliver inventory to customers and the Board of Supervisors will work with West Company to come up with new plans for schools and churches for limited re-openings. Dr. Noemi Doohan expressed frustration with the amount of tests available and sorrow about what’s happening at nursing homes across the state. She mentioned the testing of raw sewage in Lake County and says she wants to start doing that in Mendocino County as well. There will be new guidance too on facial masks. Two Parks will open, but all others will stay closed. She said there would be more limited openings at the beginning of May.

The 11th Street Corridor work will go on in Lakeport. The City Council is about to approve a plan to refurbish part of the road for several blocks in the downtown area. The work in one of the busiest areas of the City since it’s so close to the middle of everything. The Asst. City Manager sent a report to the council saying there’s also limited pedestrian access there for walking, biking and all that creates traffic snarls and accidents. They’ve already held public meetings on the matter and a feasibility study too. The plan isn’t solid yet, they have to find funding after approval. The meeting tonight at six on go to meeting.

A new report shows Calif. behind most others in testing for COVID-19. The Associated Press report shows California has done just over 7 tests per 1,000 residents, this from data culled by the independent COVID Tracking Project. Texas and Virginia were just behind with about 6.4 per 1,000 residents, and Kansas, where they had 6.2 per 1,000 residents. Pennsylvania ahead of the pack with 12.4 per 1,000 and New York was 31.6 per 1,000 residents, the second-highest in the U.S. behind Rhode Island, with 32.8 per 1,000 residents. The Gov said yesterday in his daily briefing testing rates were less than what was needed but said they hope to ramp up testing in coming weeks and says the state’s already making progress.

Because so many kids are at home being virtually schooled, the Governor has announced several new partnerships, so students get access to Wi-Fi, computers and the tools to keep them connected to their teachers. There’s a new task force set up to close the digital divide, as we mentioned yesterday google was making several donations, now T-Mobile, and Amazon with nearly 25,000 tablet devices between them. Apple is donating 9,000 iPads and is working with 8,000 school districts to give more. The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife ) is donating $1,000,000, Jack Dorsey is donating $1,000,000 and investors Ann & John Doerr are donating $1,000,000. The California Public Utilities Commission is also helping with hotspots and internet, worth $25 million.

A former prisoner released into Lake County because of the coronavirus is reported to be one of the six positive COVID-19 cases in that County. The Sheriff has confirmed the case to Lake County News. They were also released from the California Institution for Men in Chino, like two others who ended up in Mendocino County, one of them also positive. The prisoners all released as part of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation program announced last month. The former prisoner in Lake County, like the positive case in Mendocino County was asymptomatic during a screening when he was released to return to Lake County. All of the prisoners told to self-quarantine and given facial barriers to wear as they traveled to their county of release.

At a Monday meeting of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, they heard about the 5th case of coronavirus, discussed emergency order changes and a grant from FEMA. The CEO reported the county got a $750,000 grant from FEMA and the Public Health Officer caught the board up on the story of the inmate from Chino State Prison who ended up in Ukiah after being exposed to coronavirus inside. Dr. Doohan reported nearly 70 cases were confirmed at the prison where the former prisoner was housed, then released under certain criteria having to do with the pandemic. She says Sheriff Matt Kendall reported their concern to the Gov. All five cases of COVID-19 have been contracted out of the county. A new Shelter in Place order is expected by Friday.

The Public Health Officer in Lake County expanding on information there was coronavirus in local sewage. Dr. Gary Pace speaking out after test results showed coronavirus in raw sewage at all four of its sewage treatment plants. The tests are being conducted across the country, and in Lake County there were a couple with no virus detection, then April 8th it was found in Kelseyville, Middletown, Northwest Regional in north Lakeport and Southeast Regional in Clearlake sewage treatment plants. There’s no evidence that the virus can be spread thru wastewater. Dr. Pace says stool samples tested at a hospital in Boston showed the virus didn’t shed in a way they could follow cases closely yet. But says it’s a good indicator to see if cases are going up or down.  Pace says raw sewage has other contaminants in it that are hazardous as well. He says they believe it can be killed in raw sewage with detergent and bleach.

Protests around the country and in Calif against the stay at home restrictions put into place by Governors. The governor asking for people to continue following guidelines saying some counties could gradually relax strict rules, like in Ventura County where they want to reopen golf courses and parks. Then the public health officer in Los Angeles County had to remind residents not to descend on those locations. The Governor announced at his Monday briefing there would be news tomorrow about the reopening of the state. There have been nearly 1,200 deaths in the state related to COVID-19. At the same time there were cars circling around at the Capitol yesterday and as many as 200 protesters out of their cars marching with signs, many without masks and crowding shoulder to shoulder against Newsom’s orders. For which he said, if you’re going to protest, at least practice physical distancing.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer, Sheriff and Ukiah Police Chief have a press briefing after a new case of COVID- 19 was confirmed.  The Sheriff says it was an avoidable case. An individual released from Chino State Prison who was supposed to report to Stanislaus County and did not, instead making their way to Mendocino County…

The Mendocino County CEO says there’s been about 500 tests conducted with four positives until Friday, when the fifth was announced. The Public Health Office apparently notified by the Sheriff that the man may have been exposed and he was tested within hours, then after the positive test was confirmed he sheltered in place with a family member in Ukiah.

Also on Friday, Congressman Jared Huffman said we needed more testing and more Personal Protective Equipment before we can open up the Calif. economy. Huffman says once there’s enough tests, and PPE stockpiled a surge of the virus can be handled and some of the stay home orders can be relaxed. He also says two months into the crisis, and he hasn’t seen a national strategy for ramping up testing and providing that gear for healthcare workers. He says there’s nobody even in charge of that effort, and at the federal level, it’s been chaotic, adding that he hopes Gov. Gavin Newsom will be successful getting testing ramped up in the state which he said he’d attempt before the end of the month.

State Senator Mike McGuire on the call with Huffman talking about the record unemployment adding that today a new call center was opening from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., seven days a week. McGuire says there will be 600 more staff members trained who can start this week at the call centers. And next Tuesday, April 28th there will be another program, partnering with the federal government, for independent contractors, gig workers and sole proprietor business owners so they can apply for unemployment with payments backdated to Feb. 2nd or whenever these workers were impacted by the pandemic. The payments are $600 a week for four months.

A memo that said an inmate at Chino State Prison who was released and supposed to be in quarantine, ended up in Ukiah. On Friday the memo dated April 9th about the inmate being exposed to an infectious COVID-19 case was sent to the Stanislaus County Department of Health. The inmate released early after meeting certain criteria due to the pandemic. He was supposedly screened and given a mask and educated about the virus and told to immediately report to Stanislaus County. The Corrections Dept. says they made the required notifications to the offender’s identified county of release. The probation dept there reportedly granted him a pass to travel to Mendocino County. Then the Sheriff here was informed and in turn informed our Health Officer and the man was tested and found to be infected. He’s sheltering with a family member at a home in Ukiah.

Six new resident doctors are reporting to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Family Medicine Residency Program. They will work in the program during the second year of the program for rural family medicine in Mendocino and Lake County. These six will all work as residents in Mendocino. The Program Director Dr. Chris Deuel says after successful interviews the next class of residents are arriving for a total of 12 residents in Ukiah serving the community. There were more than 750 applications from across the country and around the world with 85 chosen, then whittled down to six after interviews.

New details have been released about nursing homes and the coronavirus pandemic. The Calif. Dept. of Public Health says there were more than 3,000 positive cases, infecting both patients and staff. This was as of last Friday, the state releasing a “point in time snapshot”. The Press Democrat reports the cases representing 86% of the 1,224 nursing homes who reported data from the previous 24 hours. One nursing home in Sonoma County was on the list: Apple Valley Post-Acute Rehab where a staffer tested positive April 9th. They were asymptomatic. Since the pandemic broke out, most skilled nursing facilities are not allowing visitors after dozens of residents started to get infected and die. As of yesterday’s count, the state had a total of nearly 31,000 cases and almost 1,150 deaths.

We may have another stimulus for small businesses and Congressman Mike Thompson getting ahead of it, sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Friday saying he’s received multiple inquiries from small businesses who have had major issues applying for the relief, saying they’re not getting access to the loans and money is gone. Thompson says big companies got there first, like Potbelly Corp. and Ruth’s Hospitality Group, which is Ruth Chris Steak House who got $20 million in forgivable loans. The comments were in a virtual town hall meeting last Thursday with the Lake County Sheriff and Public Health Officer as featured guests. Thompson telling someone who asked that all of the money appropriated was used and that a fourth bill was being worked on now. They could vote on it tonight.

Students in Calif who can’t participate in long distance learning because of a lack of internet access or a computer may soon be in luck. The California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond says about 1.2 million people in the state cannot get online at home and the State Board of Education has a task force working on getting them donations. Google gifted 100,000 Wi-Fi hotspots and 4,000 Chromebooks,. The task force will also have a public hearing so internet service providers can inform what they’re doing to improve internet access during the pandemic.

Lake County is working on a new Emergency Operations Plan, the last from two years ago. The County Office of Emergency Services working on the plan that sets up details about what the county will do in the case of drought, wildfires, floods, severe weather and pandemics. Lake Co News reports the office is doing its biannual review and looking for input from the community.  You can get a look at it on the Lake County News website. We’ve also put up the info to send in your comments on our website and Facebook page. Comments and suggestions will be accepted for three weeks, from Monday, April 20, through Friday, May 8.

A fire in Clearlake has gutted a home and damaged one nearby. The fire Saturday afternoon destroyed a single wide mobile home, shed and three cars. The Lake County Fire Dept on the scene finding the mobile home engulfed and the shed and a stick-built home threatened. There were also downed power lines thrashing about and 1,000 rounds of ammo exploding. Water was shut down for a time too, challenging firefighters due to a broken water main. Besides the 3 cars, shed and mobile home 100% destroyed, the stick built home was 40% destroyed. Nobody was home at the time the fire occurred and the resident of the stick built home got out safely with some dogs.

The Ukiah Unified School District Trustees have certified the results of the March 2020 election with Measure A being approved with more than 55% of the vote. The Measure will have a Citizens’ Oversight Committee put together which is a state requirement after a local bond is passed. The committee watches over the money brought in by Measure A for repair and modernization of schools. The committee will be made up of at least seven volunteers who serve for two years each. It has to be made up of members from the business community, a senior organization, and a taxpayer organization, plus parents with children in the District.

Those interested in serving on the committee may obtain an application online at, or pick up an application by contacting Debbie Ornelas, Office of the Superintendent and Board of Trustees, at 707.472.5002,, 511. S. Orchard Ave., Ukiah, CA 95482. The application deadline is Friday, June 5, 2020.

A man from Covelo’s been arrested for looting at a couple of markets. Deputies say they busted Neil Bruce Waldron after he was seen in the area of burglary in progress last Friday at the Village Hearth. Deputies say they found the front door to the business open and a broken window with things rummaged through there. The owner says an Apple IPAD was missing and between that and the damage to the store, it was about a $1,300.00 loss. Deputies also found that Keith’s Market, also in Covelo also been broken into as well and found doors broken, glass shattered and other damage. The manager showed deputies video surveillance where they saw Waldron carrying a pellet rifle shattering glass to get in, the same as at Village Hearth. He’s accused of causing $4,000 damage in this store. He was arrested for violating the shelter in place order due to COVID-19 and for Looting, Second Degree Burglary and violating probation and held on $20,000.00 bail. Deputies got a call about a third ripoff and are investigating if it’s connected to Waldron or not.

Nokia and U.S. Cellular partnering to provide more cell service because of expanded demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It comes after the FCC granted temporary authority to U.S. Cellular to use extra spectrum to increase capacity which is licensed to Advantage Spectrum and is going to be made available remotely on Nokia’s Airscale Radio Access Network. The company says it will mean better capacity for 250 sites situated on swaths of land in California, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin.

Another inmate apparently exposed to coronavirus upon discharge from a prison, landing in Fort Bragg. The Fort Bragg Police Dept. reports getting a call from the Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall about the release of two prisoners from a state correctional facility who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, one of them released to Ukiah, found to be infected, the other in Fort Bragg was negative for the virus. The Police Dept says there was no notification of the Public Health Dept. in Fort Bragg from the County Health Office. The inmate that ended up in Fort Bragg was reportedly also in the Chino facility, but housed in a different building from where the COVID-19 outbreak was reported. Mendocino Coast Clinics tested the Fort Bragg former inmate who agreed to meet there and was said to be cooperative and got there at the instructed time. On Friday the test came back NEGATIVE, but as we’ve been reporting the former inmate who ended up in Ukiah was confirmed to have coronavirus. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer reported they were isolating with a family member in Ukiah ever since.


A 5th case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Mendocino County. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan says the man was exposed out of county.

The Sheriff joined Dr. Doohan on the virtual meeting earlier today to talk about the person exposed being a former inmate from Chino State Prison who had been exposed to cornavirus. The former inmate was supposed to turn himself into Stanislaus County, but came to Ukiah instead. The inmate was placed on a quarantine first but some how ended up in Mendocino County the next day. The Sheriff informed the Public Health Office about the inmate who was asymptomatic. The man is at home with a family member and said to be stable.

The Sonoma County Public Health Officer has issued a new order for people working or visiting elder care facilities. Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says visitors and staffers at group care facilities have to wear masks. They also have to be screened for symptoms, like taking their temperature and looking for other signs of illness, or they cannot enter or go to work. Mase also says law enforcement have to wear medical-grade masks while interacting with the public or patients. The order to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Dr. Mase says the shelter in place order doesn’t need to go on indefinitely, and says there are more interventions as residents start to come out of the staying at home orders slowly and systematically.

Some parks are open but parking lots are closed. The Daily Journal reports after the Mendocino County Public Health Officer revised her shelter-in-place order to allow certain park areas to open again, Fort Bragg stepped up with the City Council voting to allow local residents to exercise on the city’s wide, paved path near the ocean. The city says they’ll be monitoring the paths and if there are crowds gathering, it will be closed down again. The newspaper reports in Santa Cruz, quite a way south, they’ve reopened many parks, beaches, open spaces and multi-use trails and the Wharf, but only to local residents who are able to walk to the areas, also keeping parking lots closed. In Mendocino County, high touch areas are closed, but similarly biking, walking, hiking, jogging spots close enough to home can be utilized.

The Downtown Streetscape Project is about to begin. As we reported earlier this week, the City of Ukiah announced a Monday start. The first part of the work is so-called “potholing” where holes are drilled so workers can see where underground utilities are before construction begins. They’ll do that during daytime areas. They will then start proper construction work at the south end of State Street between Mill and Church streets. There will be traffic controls, survey controls and preparing for traffic to get around the work.  Then the actual “shovel-in-ground construction” is starting around the second week of May.  All water and sewer utilities under State Street between Mill to Henry streets, and on Perkins and Standley streets between State Street and School streets. They’re also installing utility services like electric, telephone and cable.

Clearlake stepping up to try to curtail homelessness by getting people off the street and into housing. Lake Co News reports Adventist Health Clear Lake and Hope Rising Lake County have gotten the city to agree to put up $500,000 in bond funds for the Hope Center. As we reported earlier this week, the agencies were asking for the city’s help for a planned 20-bed transitional facility on land Adventist Health owns already.  Public participation for the meeting happened virtually due to coronavirus. Back in January the two agencies asked the city for help. The City Manager says the money will come from Series B bonds that had been sold by the former redevelopment agency for low- and moderate-income housing. The City Council also approved a nearly $200,000 contract for construction to begin on a new Animal Shelter.

There are still hotspots for coronavirus in Calif. Again we hear about a nursing home where there were more than 155 infections were reported and 10 people died, the most ever at a nursing home in the state so far. The state inspected a Safeway warehouse in the Central Valley were there’s also been an outbreak. Gov. Newsom talked about this in his daily briefing yesterday. He spoke of the nursing home in Visalia, and the distribution center in Tracy. More than 50 people have contracted the infection there and one of them died. The union representing the workers from the Safeway Facility says one of the facility’s long time employees died. A spokesperson for Northern California Safeway says about 3% of the 1,700 workers at that facility tested positive so they’ve bolstered safety measures. They send their grocery items to 300 stores in Northern California, Nevada and Hawaii.

An inmate who escaped a Mendocino County minimum security prison has been caught. 32 year old Richard Solarzano was caught yesterday after going missing Wednesday night during bed time check in at the Parlin Fork Conservation Camp in Fort Bragg. Corrections investigators and special agents found Solarzano yesterday afternoon right outside the campgrounds. Now they say he will be transferred to another facility in Susanville and can no longer stay at any Conservation Camp. He had been assigned as a cook at the Parlin Fork Camp which holds about 100 inmates. He was there since last year, serving an eight-year sentence for burglary and assault with a deadly weapon and was not due for parole until August 2022.

The State Fish and Game Commission, after two days of virtual meetings, have made some changes to recreational fishing and hunting in light of the pandemic. The commission is allowing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to temporarily delay, suspend or restrict recreational fishing if necessary. There were so many people who wanted to join the virtual meeting last week, that it had to be moved to this week over two days to allow everyone in the public the ability to join. The commission gave the green light to mammal hunting regulations and is giving out more elk tags for the northwest management unit. That’s due to more elk in that part of the state. The commission also gave the thumbs up to daily and seasonal limits for duck and geese for the 2020-21 hunting season. There was also talk of public use on lands, including wildlife and ecological reserve regulations.

3 people in Clearlake have been arrested for a robbery, stolen car and gun. Police say they got a report last Saturday that a group jumped over a fence behind a business and hopped into three cars parked there. Julius Mulvaney was quickly arrested, then others were said to have gone into a home where there was an unlocked door. A man found with others on the property says he was hit on the head and beaten by several people demanding he give them money. They found two firearms there who cops say the suspects may have left there. One was reported stolen from Sacramento, and a car there was also reported stolen, but from San Francisco. They then found and arrested Orlando Thomas and a juvenile, who was also detained. The two adult men booked into jail on various charges including robbery and burglary. Mulvaney held on a million dollars and Thomas on $250,000. The juvenile was turned over to Lake County Juvenile Probation.

For a second day the number of those infected with COVID-19 has risen in Calif and the number who died is also up. 92 new deaths reported yesterday, 103 the day before. Nearing 1,000 people have died in California and more than 28,000 have gotten infected. The Governor says hospitalizations are down though, but Newsom says there needs to be lower deaths, hospitalizations and patients who need intensive care units before the economy can reopen. More than 3,100 still in the hospital, and nearly 1,200 in an ICU. But it was the lowest day over day growth at 3.7%.

The Mendocino Transit Authority is starting a once a week trip from Hopland to Ukiah and back after cutting one of their scheduled routes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Riders reportedly complaining they couldn’t get to Ukiah for essential shopping, so MTA an addition of a once weekly round-trip bus ride from Hopland to Ukiah. The bus is thoroughly cleaned between rides and passengers will have to sit in every other row to allow for social distancing. The pick up at the Old Savings Bank bus stop in Hopland every Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. The service started yesterday. Riders take a drive to the Walmart bus stop in Ukiah where you can catch a transfer, then they pick back up at 1:30 p.m. at the Walmart bus stop. Riders are dropped off at Brutocao Cellars Tasting Room in Hopland.

There’s a new coronavirus website set up in Lake County for people wanting up to date info on the latest regarding COVID-19.  The County’s Health Services and Information Technology Departments developed the “Lake County Coronavirus Response Hub” where you can scroll to find a map with Lake and neighboring county information. The amount of confirmed cases in Lake County are listed. There’s also social media feeds embedded there from the County Public Health Dept., Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the County of Lake, and the CDC.

A woman in Fort Bragg reports being stalked by a man she had a protective order against, so he’s arrested. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept reports Kristofer Anderson had a court order against him to stay away from the woman. They found he indeed violated the restraining order several times over phone calls. He also had shown up at her workplace and made threats and they say had terrorized the woman causing her to fear for her life. He was arrested for Stalking in Violation of a Protective Order and Violation of a Domestic Violence Protective Order and held on $50,000.00 bail.

A man in Fort Bragg was overdosing so deputies gave him Narcan. Deputies say they overheard Fort Bragg Fire and Mendocino Coast District Hospital Paramedics on dispatch that somebody was in respiratory arrest and possibly overdosing. They were already nearby and got there quickly finding a man in a comatose state with shallow and sporadic breathing.  They say they found items to suggest he had od’d on drugs so they gave him two doses of NARCAN, which allowed him to regain his consciousness and become alert.  He was then taken to a hospital for treatment. The Sheriff’s department has Narcan nose spray on hand which can reverse the effects of an overdose for up to an hour. They then need follow up emergency care immediately.