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The Lake County Board of Supervisors hears the latest economy impact report from COVID-19. The County Administrative Officer and the Auditor-Controller/County Clerk delivered the update Tuesday to the Board. County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson stating what many know, that the County’s been hit worse than many others across the country. Disasters year over year since the Valley fire in 2015, then more wildfires, floods, the public safety power shutoffs last year and now the pandemic. The County’s received a couple of grants since the pandemic to help the homeless get shelter. The Health Dept. has received or will be soon, more grants. The County has spent several hundred thousand dollars since the shelter in place order was put in place. Lake Co News reports the general fund nondepartmental retail sales and use tax revenues are $409,000 under the estimate and money from the state is supposed to be far less than the past because of Covid-19. Property taxes, a major revenue source for the County have not been affected yet.

Mobile coronavirus tests are coming to Clearlake. The Lake County Health Services Department’s Public Health Division, the city of Clearlake, Clearlake Police Department and Lake County Fire Protection District will have mobile sites next Tuesday and Thursday. The results back 48 to 72 hours later. They expect up to 75 people to preregister each day for the drive-thru tests. They are prioritizing those the most vulnerable for contracting the virus. They will also only test those who preregistered. As of yesterday they already had 100 appointments set and only 12 were available. There will also continue to be onsite testing in Lake County called Project Baseline, set to begin at the end of next week and continue for the interim.

Counterfeit money reported circulating around Lakeport. Police saying to be watchful for the phony money that was first reported at a local grocery store. The bogus 100 dollar bills all had the same serial number from 2009.

Today’s the day, lower risk businesses are allowed to open as part of stage 2 in California’s effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Some County’s can file for variances to get more leeway. Trinity has reportedly given their Board of Supervisors a plan for a tiered reopening following the statewide public health order. Kym Kemp reporting the plan has certain local businesses reopening with a plan submitted first to the County. The Board of Supervisors has set a special meeting for this afternoon at 2:00 PM on the matter. The public health officer says they’re committed to preventing the spread of the virus at the same time protecting the health and well-being of all residents.

A man in Ukiah’s arrested after police say he violated his probation, but separately is suspected of setting four fires in the south end of Ukiah. Police arrested Frederick LJ Fitch who they say may have been connected to the arson fires Wednesday night behind the Furniture Design Center, along the railroad tracks near the old Mendocino Brewing Company, which is now a cannabis business and three other fires on the railroad tracks. Firefighters out at the scene of the fires saying they were potential arsons. Finch was caught after witnesses said it was him and there’s also surveillance footage. He was held on $10,000 bail. Police say further charges related to the arson fires could be coming.

PG&E’s gonna have to fork over a lot of cash after the October 2017 firestorm and the Camp Fire in 2018. A regulatory agency has fined the utility company almost $2 billion for causing the fires. The state Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted for the $1.97 billion dollar penalty yesterday. They were fined $1.6 billion after the fatal explosion in San Bruno. The PUC said the “scope of the devastation caused by PG&E’s misconduct demands this record penalty.” A lawyer representing 7,000 fire victims says the utility company knew it would be punished, but that he was happy by the PUC’s decision. The company agreed to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter connected to the Camp Fire. The utility company responded yesterday, accepting the decision and said there will be system upgrades and corrective measures required as part of the PUC decision and a settlement in its bankruptcy case.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer says they don’t have adequate equipment to meet the state’s Covid-19 testing requirements. Dr. Noemi Doohan says they have enough swabs and transport medium, but not enough testing, or PCR machines in Mendocino County or even an hour away. The State is requiring one test per each 1,000 people per day, so that would be roughly 135 tests a day in the County. Dr. Doohan says so far they’ve completed 1,700 tests and have confirmed 12 positive cases. 11 are recovered and are no longer considered contagious. Dr. Doohan was part of a virtual Town Hall for Mendocino and Lake counties by state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) on moving the state into Stage 2 of reopening today.

Ukiah Valley Golf Course could be part of the reopening. The Daily Journal reports the company that owns the course in Ukiah says they’re waiting to hear from the County about a reopening. He says the course was already naturally physically distancing, tee times can be reserved online and the pro shop can be mobile, plus they won’t allow the sharing of equipment. The company owns two other golf courses, in Sonoma and Marin counties, and they have already opened.

A new campaign Love Local Mendo has been started by the Greater Ukiah Tourism and Business Alliance, The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce and The Willits Chamber of Commerce. The program to help businesses market themselves. They’ve even launched a new website, Businesses will be allowed to list product specials, or other promotions and link to their own websites. They say it will serve the community by giving businesses the power of partnership to reach customers and clients and gives customers and clients a way to spend their money in a conscious manner to support their local communities in a feel good way.

New exhibits are being put up at the Mendocino County Museum ahead of a public reopening. The Daily Journal reports the museum curator and librarian/researcher/archivists are organizing and preparing the museum’s collections. There is a Harold Howard, or Henry, Wonacott, photography exhibit. They say the new exhibit has been a labor of love for the curators. They also have hundreds of negatives of his work. He started his work in about 1908 in Willits and about a decade later opened a second business in Fort Bragg.

COVID has closed the C.V. Starr Community Center, possibly thru the year. The Daily Journal reports the center closed temporarily after the County Public Health Officer issued the stay home order due to the pandemic. The City of Fort Bragg owns the center and since the Mendocino Coast Recreation & Parks District relies on tax dollars to operate, they may not reopen this summer. A press release yesterday says they don’t think the dedicated half-cent city sales tax revenues, which is only about half of all revenues will be able to support their operating expenses, especially they say if they don’t rebound quickly. They say they look to be at about an average loss of $70k month for the first six months of the year.

The owner of a local bike shop in Lakeport has been arrested on child pornography charges. The Lake County Sheriff’s Dept reports sending detectives with search warrants to Main Street Bicycles yesterday morning after a month’s long investigation. The Sheriff’s dept. reports being tipped to the owner and linked his two locations to at least five separate uploads of kiddy porn. 57 year old Jeffery Scott Cramer was then arrested after he was linked to social media accounts used for the uploads between August 2019 and February 2020. Detectives took electronic devices and say they think there’s more evidence on the devices. He’s booked into jail on possession and sending of child pornography and held on $30,000 bail.

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