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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 https://issuu.com/jostens 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.  https://burnpermit.fire.ca.gov/  Before you start the burn, be sure to check in with the Mendocino County Air Management District http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/aqmd/burninginformation.html.

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 (now.givingtuesday.org) 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.

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