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Monthly Archives: June 2020

Residents in Mendocino County getting a gentle reminder from Cal Fire that fireworks are illegal and can start wildfires. Cal Fire reminds that buying or selling fireworks in the County is punishable by law and that anyone who may start a fire because they used fireworks can be held accountable and could have to pay for firefighting and property damage. The fire agency estimating two of every five fires during Independence Day festivities are caused by fireworks. Please visit for more information and safety tips. You can also download their app to receive wildfire alerts. 

Besides the emergency of Covid-19 in Calif. we are also in the midst of fire season. So State Senator Mike McGuire is hosting a tele-town hall on wildfire preparedness with guests like Cal Fire chiefs from our area, the Mendocino and Lake county sheriffs, and a representative from Pacific Gas & Electric. The meeting is NEXT Tuesday, July 7th at 6:30 p.m. Topics to include how law enforcement is preparing for wildfire season during the pandemic and how PG&E is working to reduce the frequency and duration of planned public safety power shutoffs.  

You can attend by dialing 844-721-7241 and entering the code 6666128, and ask questions by emailing them in advance and in real time to

A grant could help pay for more biking and walking trails in Ukiah. Walk and Bike Mendocino and the City of Ukiah are reportedly applying for a grant to add a three mile section of trail. Walk and Bike is asking the public for input on their draft plan which they say is important to the project. They’re looking to add the trail section from Commercial Drive to Plant Road. There’s a section already running from Brush St. to Commerce Drive. The new area would convert old decaying railroad tracks to a bike path and park. Walk and Bike and the City of Ukiah say they’d like the trail to eventually become part of the Northern California Great Redwood Trail. 

Several cases of coronavirus have turned up at marijuana grows in Humboldt County. Kym Kemp reporting a Southern Humboldt cannabis grow had a mini outbreak, but the Public Health Officer in the County didn’t confirm or deny. Dr. Teresa Frankovich did however say there was general concern about legal and illegal gardens and making sure people who work there get tested and stay safe. The spike in cases last week, nine positives Wednesday and five, Thursday.  

The paving project at the Ukiah airport is finally done. The nearly $4 million dollar project paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration to replace 75 feet of center runway, install a new blast pad, and a surface treatment for the rest of the runway. They’ve also updated some of the lighting, pavement markings and signs. The airport is also a major transportation hub for emergency services and a FedEx Ship Center. The airport is having other critical infrastructure updated too including repairing buildings, parking areas and adding security fencing.

Some recent road construction projects in Ukiah as part of the streetscape project. This week they’re finishing up sewer line replacements between Perkins and Smith streets and are now replacing waterlines there. Workers are allowing pedestrian access to businesses but say it’s messy work. They’re doing pipe “bursting” and other related construction activities on State Street between Church Street and Henry Street and the intersections of State and Church streets, State and Perkins streets, State and Standley streets, and State and Smith streets.

A man in Ukiah charged in the murder of another man has his trial set.  Mavrick Fisher’s lawyer asked for a continuance, but the court decided to move forward with a Settlement Conference/Trial Setting Conference on July 21st. and the Jury Trial set for Aug. 21st. The case was continued due to the pandemic, but will now go on related to the murder of Grant Whitaker of Mackinaw, Illinois last October. Fisher’s charged with not only murder, but assault with a deadly weapon and grand theft of a firearm. He pleaded not guilty last year and had a jury trial set for January, it was continued to March and that too was continued.  The victim’s remains were found last August on a remote property in Scotts Valley. The two, both deaf, had traveled to No. Calif together, then the Illinois man was reported missing by The Deaf Report. The Sheriff’s office say Fisher admitted to killing Whitaker and gave directions to find his body and found it.

As promised, the Lake County Public Health Officer has released demographic information on COVID-19 cases. Dr. Gary Pace had promised the info when the county hit 50 cases, which happened this weekend. He says he’ll updated it every week. So of the 56 cases so far, including two new ones confirmed last night, about half were from known cases. There have been 19 cases in Clearlake; 13 along the Northshore; 12 in Lakeport and north Lakeport areas; 7 from Kelseyville to Cobb; and 5, in an area covering another part of Clearlake, and Middletown, Hidden Valley and Lower Lake. Six cases are still being investigated, four presumably came from a work contact, 4 are unknown and two from a living situation, which could include a jail or nursing home. Most cases in those 18 to 49 years of and only five in the elderly and three under 17 years old.

Two more cases of coronavirus in Lake County to bring the total number to 56. 18 are currently active cases, 38 have recovered and are no longer considered contagious. Three people, however, are in the hospital and in an ICU. Dr. Gary Pace, the Public Health Officer says the cases are surging as there’s more movement and reopenings. He’s reminding to wear a mask and practice social distancing. The County has conducted more than 4,800 tests and 717 are still pending. Mendocino has also had 2 more cases since last week, for a total of 78.

Ukiah schools will have a Citizens’ Oversight Committee related to Measure A money. The funds for the repair and modernization of schools. It’s a state requirement to have an oversight committee whenever a local bond gets passed to be sure the money is used the way voters intended and to be sure the public knows where the money is going. The committee made up of at least seven volunteers who have to serve for two years. They are community at large, one business, one senior organization, one taxpayer organization, and parents with children in the District. The committee meetings are public and only 2-3 times a year.

Mendocino College will be mostly online in the fall. And registration is currently open at the college. The semester starts Aug. 17th. The college says they’ve been trying to figure out creative ways to move to the virtual platform due to COVID-19. So most of the classes will be totally online but a limited number will also be hybrid, partly online, partly in person, for example, auto classes, nursing and other career education courses and some art, music and science labs will have limited on-campus classes. The VP of Academic Affairs says the goal is to keep students safe while providing an engaging, high-quality learning environment due to current restrictions.

Two more people in Sonoma County have died due to complications from coronavirus. The county’s top public health official Dr. Sundari Mase confirmed the deaths happened Sunday and Monday. They were residents of a skilled nursing center and a residential care home. She didn’t give any other information out. So now seven people have died from Covid-19 in the county.  The county reported the fifth death last weekend in a man over 65 with previous health conditions. He has also lived at a skilled nursing center, but died at a hospital a day after he was transferred. The deaths come at a time of a major surge in cases in the state. The Gov. has also reported hospitalizations shot up by around 43% in the past two weeks, and that the state’s positivity rate was up during the same time period from 4.4% to 5.5%.

A neighborhood in Santa Rosa says it wants a cut of the $1 billion PG&E settlement related to wildfires in 2017 and 2018. Santa Rosa is getting $92 million after legal fees and litigation costs next month. Coffey Park lost more than 1,420 homes in the Tubbs fire in 2017. After the fire the group Coffey Strong emerged. On Sunday their board members discussed getting a chunk of the $92 million dollars. The city is reportedly planning to hold meetings on the distribution of funds.

The Golden State Killer admits it all. A former cop who previously admitted to police that he was the one who terrorized people across the state as the Golden State Killer and East Side Rapist, makes it official. Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. pleaded guilty, barely audibly in court as part of a plea deal so he would not face the death penalty. After DeAngelo was arrested in he told police investigators he did it all, admitting he murdered and raped across the state, but it was his alter ego Jerry, who forced him to commit a string of crimes that stretched over many years, ending abruptly in 1986. The deal called for him to plead guilty to 13 murders and dozens of rapes too old to prosecute.

More information on a shooting rampage in Red Bluff that left one man dead and four others shot and injured. The assistant sheriff in Tehama County says Louis Wesley Lane had been fired from the Walmart distribution center near Red Bluff in February 2019 after he didn’t report to work. He showed up this past weekend and pulled a semi-automatic rifle and shot randomly at people in the lobby of the building then had a shootout with police after they reported to the scene. Police say there’s no motive yet, just that he used to work at the center.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says about three-quarters of the 40 million residents in Calif live in a county with concerning coronavirus numbers. The Gov. says he’s going to get stricter with health orders and if things don’t turn the corner, there may be a pause in the state’s reopening. He’s already ordered bars in 7 counties, including Los Angeles, which has been dubbed a hotspot for COVID. Three of the state’s largest counties have also voluntarily agreed to close bars, San Diego, Riverside and Sacramento. 19 Calif. counties are on a watch list due to spiking cases, infection rates and hospitalizations.

Several more cases of coronavirus have turned up in Lake County, reaching more than 50. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace confirmed the cases jumped by 12 for 54 total cases, 16 are active, and three are in the hospital, including one taken out of County for “a higher level of care”. Pace says community transmission has probably happened at this point as the new cases come from a variety of sources. He says it’s happening across the region and in Calif. there was a daily record for new infections for five days in a row as people interact more due to a loosening of restrictions. He reminds that face coverings limit the spread as well as not going to large social gatherings. He says when people aren’t as careful, that’s when there’s more spread. Dr. Pace previously said he wouldn’t release any demographic information until they reach more than 50 cases, so he says today, that info will be published.

Since the middle of the month casinos in Lake County have started reopening. But Gov. Newsom sent a letter to tribal leaders to stay in alignment with the states’ reopening plans, warning about overcrowding potentially starting another wave of infections. But the Konocti Vista Casino Resort says they’re excited to get back to a kind of daily normal life. They’re taking precautions though, cashiers have barriers around them, it’s a requirement to wear a face mask the whole time, unless eating or drinking. There will be temperature checks and encouraging social distancing. They’re also nonsmoking now.

The Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom says cases are surging so counties that have been on a watch list have to close bars. They include Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, San Joaquin, and Tulare. The state is also recommending the same for bars in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Ventura. Newsom is reminding that COVID-19 is still circulating in California, and in some areas, it’s stronger. The state public health officer says they’re driven by data and science in the way they’re monitoring new outbreaks and says closing bars in those counties is just one way of many targeted actions to slow the virus’ spread and reduce risk. Also, to remind about mask wearing, socially distancing yourself from others and wash your hands frequently.

The cases of COVID-19 continuing surging, in Mendocino County, there are no new weekend numbers and the state has not posted any new numbers for the county in at least a week. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan instructed if the County wasn’t posting numbers to check with the state…


Last week Doohan said we had the biggest one day count of cases with ten of them and that there were increasing numbers each day. As of the last update, we had 76 with 10 being attributed to community spread. Dr. Doohan reminds to wear a mask, socially distance, not gather in large groups. She’s also rewinded a bit on the Public Health Order, the bubbles or work or childcare groups that were as many as 12 people, are now 6. And Dr. Doohan says she won’t be changing the Order for a month.

Another arrest in Covelo in relation to an illegal marijuana grow. The Sheriff’s Office working with their own Major Crimes Task Force, Mendocino County Probation, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, DEA and other law enforcement agencies with the help of the Round Valley Tribal Police brought a search warrant to the grow and found Johnny Azbill with a gun falling at his feet as he ran away. They knew he was not allowed to have any sort of weapon or ammo due to his criminal history. They searched the area and found another gun. There was also another man and woman detained, but released. More than 8350 marijuana plants were growing and green houses were also found there. Azbill was arrested on felon in possession of firearms, cultivating and possessing marijuana for sale. 

A call to the Sheriff’s office from a woman in Laytonville ends in the arrest of a man for holding her against her will. Deputies got a call about another domestic violence incident at the same address, but Ethan Becker ran. The woman says she had a fight with Becker who attacked her. They put out a be on the lookout for the guy for domestic violence battery and false imprisonment charges. The other call from the woman ended up with the man showing back up at the house and being arrested after attacking and putting the woman in a chokehold. She was rescued by neighbors. The pair in a relationship for ten years ends up with Becker charged with domestic violence battery, false imprisonment and criminal threats and held on $50,000. Before his arrest, police say he tried to kill himself with a knife, but he was finally taken to jail.

COVID testing in Mendocino County is available today. The testing site at the Fairgrounds is closed on Monday, but there’s surveillance testing for coronavirus for residents of Point Arena and the greater south coast starting this morning at 9:30 a.m. at the Point Arena City Hall. There are about 100 tests available, and testing is free. Redwood Coast Medical Services, Mendocino County Public Health, and the City of Point Arena are working together to provide this service.  For more information, you can call the Point Arena City Hall at 707.882.2122. 

A man from Fort Bragg has been arrested for a burglary at a local thrift store. Sheriff’s deputies reported to the Ark Thrift Store for a rip off of about $3,500.00 worth of store merchandise. Managers of the store showed deputies surveillance footage and saw Shawn Spiller stealing items, then putting it outside in brush. Deputies say they got a call to Hare Creek Beach that Spiller was in the area. They found him and arrested him without incident for burglary. He was taken to jail and found to have a couple other cases he was violating probation for, so he had those charges tacked on. But due to the pandemic, he was released on zero bail.

A man from Willits has been arrested after Deputies conduct compliance checks for those registered as sex offenders in the County. The Sheriff’s Office and Mendocino County Office of Adult Probation were in Willits and Ukiah, and visited seven registered sex offenders to make sure the place they were living was in compliance with the Probation or Parole conditions.  Two were found out of compliance, one of them in Willits was found with meth in his possession and other items that went against his parole. He was arrested and held on $75,000.00 bail.  The other man in Willits, was being investigated for possible violations, but he was not arrested during the compliance checks.

A woman from Gualala has been arrested for domestic violence. Deputies got a call to the incident last Thursday where a young man says he was living with Yessica Tapia and she physically assaulted him at their place. They say he had several visible minor injuries in alignment with his story. They found the woman at the home and found more evidence to corroborate the man’s story and arrested Tapia for domestic violence, battery and resisting arrest after trying with words to get her to listen but say she would not cooperate, she was held on $25,000.00 bail. 

A man in Mendocino’s been arrested for public intoxication. Deputies got a call Saturday afternoon after the CHP and Calif. State Park Rangers were holding the man who had an active felony arrest warrant for violation of probation and who was on active felony probation with a term he was not allowed to use alcohol.  They say he was heavily intoxicated and unable to exercise care for his own safety or the safety of others so he was arrested. They also found he was in possession of multiple items that belonged to another person. So he was charged with public intoxication, violation of probation, and his felony warrant. Deputies also sent an additional charge of misappropriation of found property to the District Attorney’s office. 

There’s a red flag warning in Lake County until tonight. The National Weather Service says there will be windy, dry, critical fire condition weather. The warning started last night and ends today by 5 for areas above 1,500 feet in elevation across southern and eastern Lake County, mostly the north-and east-facing upper slopes and ridges to the southeast of Kelseyville and Lucerne. The winds are forecasted at 12 to 20 miles per hour today and winding down later this afternoon. There was a prediction though of possible 25 to 35 mile per hour winds earlier today. There are also light winds forecasted thru the middle of the week, but so far, no red flag warnings or high winds.

Another case of Covid-19 in Lake County. Now up to 42 confirmed cases after 8 new cases turn up in the last week. The Public Health Office reports only 5 are active and nobody is in the hospital. And only 4 had been in the hospital.  The office goes on to say most of the cases were due to recent contact with a known case and now that we’ve reopened a lot of businesses and there’s more movement by folks, the number of contacts has risen. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace says they’ve been very fortunate in that most contacts have been wearing masks and social distancing, so community transmission has not been found. He does say though that two of the recent cases may have been due to contacts without masks on and they’re still investigating the cases.  Pace says large social gatherings, especially when combined with more regional travel, congregate living situations and high-traffic and interaction-intensive work settings are when there’s more risk.

The name Fort Bragg is getting a committee. The City Council had first decided not to move on a name change in light of recent racial tension, but that at a lively council meeting Monday night, there was an agreement there would be a new committee to consider the matter in response to public outcry of a new name, or a rededication of the name or to create a task force. The city’s named for Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general, who also owned more than 100 slaves. The Daily Journal reports there were protesters on both sides of the issue at the meeting where they also discussed police reform. Taking a back seat to the heated discussion, the City Finance Director announced he’s leaving for a new job and that the city would begin wastewater testing for early COVID detection.

A meeting of Sherwood Firewise Communities reminding folks to stay firesafe. The meeting on Zoom a couple of weeks ago with a couple dozen participants and a fire dept. volunteer. They reminded folks to sign up for SafetyNet notifications and make sure they’ve applied with CAL Fire for compliant address signs. They’re also working with a communications expert to get a system online that connects to EchoLink to “link” HAM radios through computers and cellphones. The Fire Dept. also looking to fill a FT paid position for a Program Coordinator and they’ve applied for a $25,000 grant to hire others on chipper days and brush clearing for those who are unable or just aren’t complying.

The Sonoma County Public Health Officer says even though there are more cases of coronavirus, she’s looking more at a trend over a two week period. The County has seen a 40% increase in the last two weeks, but Dr. Sundari Mase says she’s following various metrics, hospitalizations, case rates, hospital capacity, testing volume and the case load at skilled nursing facilities. The County added 32 more cases last night for just over 1,000 cases since the pandemic started in early March. Mase says she’s watching the county numbers and the state’s. Right now there are several active cases and a 10% hospitalization rate.

The Gov. says no, the state will not be requiring folks who come in to the state or leave and come back to quarantine like other states recently announced. NY, New Jersey and CT have announced such a move, but Gov. Newsom says he’s more interested in a mask mandate, because closing the state to others is not necessary right now. He does say however he expects visitors who come into Calif. to follow the restrictions here. Separately the governor announced the state had sent 14 million masks to Arizona, with FEMA as that state sees a surge in cases and becomes the country’s number one hotspot, followed closely by Texas and Florida.

It doesn’t look like the Mt. Konocti Lookout Tower will be up this fire season. It’s been offline because of structural issues for some time. The Forest Fire Lookout Association California Central Western Region Director says it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to get the needed repairs done this fire season. That nonprofit works with local volunteers in fire seasons keeping watch from the Konocti tower’s upper deck. They have apparently been some of the first to spot some Lake County fires since they started using the tower in 2015, after more than ten years of non-use. But it was closed again in October last year after a state inspection found it was unsafe for use.

Coronavirus cases in some counties are doubling. Outbreaks have been reported at nursing homes and Avenal State Prison in Kings County. Corrections officials report more than 900 inmates and workers contracted the virus. In Santa Cruz County, public health officials reported 50 new cases after one person got infected at a Mother’s Day gathering. More south, in Imperial County, there’s concern after gatherings for Father’s Day because they had spikes after Easter, Memorial Day and graduation gatherings. And Sacramento and Contra Costa counties also say they expect more cases due to holiday celebrations and protests against racial injustice. The Governor is blaming the recent surge on younger folks ignoring mask wearing and social distancing rules.

The Gov. noting the surge in cases the last several days, but says the way the state is handling the virus is driven by scientific data. Gov. Newsom did say though that his administration reserves the right to pause advancing into next phases of reopening and to use the “dimmer switch”. This as cases soared this week with 5,000 new cases a day the average. Hospitalizations also up 32% the last two weeks and the positive test rate at just over 5%. LA County has the most Covid-19 cases of all counties in the nation, almost 90,000 cases as of yesterday, about half the state’s 195,000 plus cases.

More cyanobacteria reported in Lake County. Water monitoring data shows concern for warning levels of Cyanotoxin at 9 sites, the Elem Indian Colony shoreline (ELEM01, Oaks Arm), Austin Park (AP01, Lower Arm), Keeling Park (KP01, Upper Arm), Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine shoreline (SBMMEL01, Oaks Arm), Buckingham (BP, Lower Arm), Jago Bay (JB, Lower Arm), CL-4 (Oaks arm, center of arm), Lily Cove (LC01, Lower Arm) and ​Lucerne (LUC01, Upper Arm). The Public Health Office reports because of very warm weather and extended light periods, shallow waters are perfect environments for algae to grow. There have been extensive patchy blooms around the Lake. More test results will be in next week.

More campgrounds are opening in the Mendocino National Forest. Starting next Wednesday, Cal Fire’s Mendocino Unit is opening the campgrounds with limitations due to the pandemic. Visitors are being told there will be no staff on hand and all facilities are self-service with recommendations, a maximum of 6 people per campsite from one household, living unit or housing bubble, make sure you bring in your own water, sanitize frequently, and pack out what you bring in.

A phone scam is being reported in Fort Bragg. Police warn about the calls residents have been receiving that’s an old trick, you’ve one a prize and if you don’t pay first for that prize, you could be arrested or get your utilities turned off. The scammer asks for a prepaid card with money on it, then to call back with the card number. Once they do that, the money’s gone and there’s no prize. Police remind never release personal information over the phone unless you’re the caller. And if the caller asks for a prepaid card, it’s a good indicator the call is a scam. The Social Security office and the I.R.S. never do business over the phone. For more info, check the Federal Trade Consumer Information website at and click on Scam Alerts link.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office says while breaking up an illegal marijuana grow in Covelo they found a young woman who may have been a victim of human trafficking and arrested 8 people. Sheriff Matt Kendall says deputies found a 17-year-old Spanish-speaking female who said she was from Salinas, along with eight others who were quickly detained. Deputies found and confiscated a shotgun, an AR-15, and yanked more than 14,000 plants on two sites and found about 1,750 pounds of dried weed. The female teen said she was not a victim of trafficking but the Sheriff says he thinks otherwise as she didn’t know a soul in Covelo and that it’s dangerous for a child to be in an armed encampment, and because “this was a juvenile female causes even greater concern.” She was taken by Child Protective Services and an investigation to see if she was indeed a victim has begun. Those arrested for various crimes including conspiracy, possess assault weapon, hiring or employing a minor to prepare marijuana for sale and possession of marijuana for sale.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer says the County is experiencing a surge of cases and that the United States is as well. Dr. Noemi Doohan says LA County has the most cases in the nation. She says the current surge won’t peak until Sept.  Dr. Doohan says the County has so far not been enforcing mask wearing or isolation for people who are infected but… SOT Dr. Doohan says if people cannot isolate, the County will help with housing or whatever is needed. Separately today, Dr. Doohan announced that according to the state there will be more than 50 people hospitalized per day in the County, which she says is very concerning. She also says here and across the state there are too many people ignoring science and not abiding by the stay home restrictions. There will be a new public health order, but no relaxing of any current orders, extending the current order until the end of July, also social and childcare bubbles back down to six people instead of 12.

Two more cases of coronavirus have hit Mendocino County. A day after a major surge of ten cases. We are now at 74 with both the new cases people between 19 and 49 in the Ukiah Valley. The Mendocino County Public Health Office reports more than 50% of all cases in the county are now among Latino people. Tuesday saw ten more, the largest single day spike we’ve seen so far, they too, were all in the Ukiah Valley. The last day before that with more cases, Monday, eight new cases. The Public Health Officer says all of the new cases are disproportionately affecting Latinos.

Testing is open to the public at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah, Tue. – Sat. from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Call 888.634.1123 for an appointment or go to You can also call the Mendocino County COVID hotline at 707.234.6052 and the County’s “warm line” at 707.472.2311.

And surveillance testing is happening for residents of Point Arena and the greater south coast at the Point Arena City Hall for free. Redwood Coast Medical Services, Mendocino County Public Health, and the City of Point Arena are working together to provide this service. 

Several projects by the Conservation Corps come to a close with work at the Willits Municipal Airport in Brooktrails for a fuel reduction project. The Project Manager says they’re using money from their Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund and from the City of Willits for the fuel reduction project which happens to also be an evacuation zone. Crews worked around the edges of the airport to clear and also burn brush for wildfire protection. They say the probably cleared about 22-27 acres over a two and a half month period.  The corp may move their headquarters from Ukiah to Willits as they bought some land there, but are waiting to get their budget approved before they can start development of the new center.

Lake County poised to use the old juvenile hall facility for the homeless during the pandemic. The facility has been closed for four and a half years. The Board of Supervisors heard from the County Administrative Officer, Carol Hutchingson, who’s also a member of the County Space Use Committee then approved a request for proposals for daily operations and fiscal management for a temporary support shelter for the chronically homeless. A committee tasked with finding use for the space is recommending it be used for temporary homeless services, then they will continue discussing long term use of the facility.

More than 500 food deliveries during the pandemic from Lake County’s Community Food Drive Project. The new partnership with several local organizations working with North Coast Opportunities has just been at it 11 weeks and has delivered food to as many as 60 homes a week.  So since the County has slowly reopened, the project is stopping their deliveries, the final one is next Thursday, July 2nd. The project was for those who had lost their jobs, had no car, were at risk to get COVID if they left their homes, or if they had a positive test. The case manager for North Coast Opportunities says they were grateful to serve during the crisis, but since the County’s been reopening and people were slowly heading back to work, they decided to suspend operations.

More info in Sonoma County about the recent upsurge in cases and where they’re coming from. The County Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase says in the first three months of the pandemic, they saw only about a dozen infections at senior care facilities, but since the beginning of June, 40 cases have turned up. One in an elderly man who died Sunday after contracting the virus in Sonoma, at a skilled nursing facility. The forty cases are in 21 residents and 19 staff members. Dr. Mase says the cases are happening because staff members were becoming infected outside the work setting, may be asymptomatic, and are then bringing in and infecting their elderly patients.

The State Superintendent of Schools says they’re in need of school resource officers and he’s looking at a new way to utilize police officers in schools, to protect students’ safety. Superintendent Tony Thurmond says they’re needed in the case of school shootings or bomb threats but they’re no longer going to be able to discipline misbehaving students. He says data shows when police are on campus there are more suspensions and arrests, “particularly for African American students and other students of color.” He says moving forward schools that still want on officer on campus will get cops who want to be there and have been trained on implicit bias. He now has a task force made up of legislators, researchers, law enforcement officials and advocacy groups to figure out how to address security issues at public schools.

A ban on affirmative action policies in the state more than 2 decades ago may be reinstated, if that’s what voters what. The issue to be on the November ballot. Voters will say whether they want governments, public colleges and universities to consider race when making hiring and admissions decisions. The issue was banned back in 1996 by voters with a 55% majority approving of a constitutional amendment to make it unlawful to give preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. The state Senate has now voted to repeal that, but it has to go before voters first.

The Governor is threatening to hold back as much as $2.5 billion in the new state budget from local governments who are not complying with mandates on facial coverings, testing and other rules he says will help slow the spread of coronavirus. With strong words yesterday, Gov. Newsom says he’s heard from people who just don’t care and that he’ll use the budget as leverage. The money he says he’ll hold back helps governments pay for services related to the pandemic, but the money’s attached to whether counties follow emergency orders and enforce safety measures when reopening their local economies. The state had more than 7,000 cases yesterday and 5,000 the day before, contributing to a 69% increase in new cases this week.

A whole new world for the Lake County Board of Supervisors as the chamber is reopened to the public. Next week the board will be in person, mixing virtual and physical platforms. Supervisors, county staff and some members of the public can be physically present and they’ll also be able to interact with others who are in attendance virtually by way of a large video projection screen. The meeting will be accessible thru Zoom, Facebook Live or the county’s online streaming platforms. They’ve also remodeled the chambers because of the pandemic with plexiglass between folks.

The state is reimagining its cap and trade carbon program in the midst of the pandemic and the state’s recession. The Press Democrat reports the state’s carbon trading program has hit almost half the greenhouse gas reductions it promised by 2030. But now the state will reportedly re-examine if it can meet the goals by that due date. The state’s EPA Secretary says due to the crisis and the collapse of the world oil market, and the May 2020 Auction, they will carefully reconsider the program, which was the first of its kind in the country, and now one of the biggest pollution markets in the world.

After a closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is getting back to business. Gardens are open for all to see the end of the spring bloom and the start of summer blooms during limited hours. Tuesday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. But they’re closed Fridays and Saturdays. If you’re not a member, no worries, you can buy a ticket online. They are capping capacity for social distancing requirements. Current members do not need a reservation. They do warn however, there’s limited access to restrooms, and that all water fountains will be turned off, and no picnics are allowed.  For more information:

The State Senate has unanimously passed legislation from Sens. Bill Dodd and Steve Glazer so critical facilities like hospitals, fire stations and water treatment plants can stay online in the case of a public safety power shutoff as we saw last summer by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Dodd says as we have a possibility of more wildfires and power shutoffs on the horizon, it’s essential for these important facilities to stay operational. The bill allows most essential facilities to stay online during intentional power downs with emergency backup generators. And for electricity to stay on to pump and treat water during such outages, protecting public health and safety. The bill is also sponsored by the California Municipal Utilities Association and the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.

A man from Oregon’s been arrested after an alarm went off at Laytonville High School. Deputies report they found broken glass on the door of the Special Education room and stolen computer equipment. Someone from the school with a Deputy going thru the school surveillance video saw a man when the alarm went off, so they found Rick Oxford who consented to a search of his backpack. There they found several items that were taken from a classroom so the guy was arrested for possession of stolen property and burglary and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail but not held in jail after he was booked, due to coronavirus.

Schools in Ukiah have a new fall start date, moving earlier than in the past. August 17th will be the first day because more staff have to train and they need more planning time that was set to last throughout the school year. There’s no other information at this time. The school system has also released info on the free Summer Food Distribution plan, that’s happening today from 7 am to 1 pm. Families can pick up 15 meals for any child 18 or younger. The program is going every Wednesday at Ukiah High. There are no food deliveries by bus over summertime. A reminder from the school system to please wear a mask and practice social distancing when picking up food.

 A man in Ukiah’s busted for a burglary in process. A neighbor saw an unfamiliar car Sunday in the 700 block of Vichy Hills Drive so they walked up the driveway to look and heard someone inside the home. The neighbor called the homeowner who said nobody should be there, so they called police. Deputies entered the home, Kevin Dahlund, was seen standing in the kitchen and told by police to leave immediately. He was arrested after deputies found stolen items in his vehicle. He was charged with burglary and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on $50,000.00 bail

Two people have been arrested in Ukiah after a report of shots fired on Laws Avenue. Deputies went to the area early Sunday morning and heard from witnesses, who said they heard at least 5 gun shots, then saw people running from the area. Deputies saw two men about a ½ mile away, Phillip Lopez and Julian Armas.  Lopez was found to be on active Parole and Armas on active Formal Probation out of Mendocino County.
Deputies detained both men and found a 9mm handgun in a nearby flower bed. They let a police dog out who found smokeless powder used for ammunition and then deputies found 5 spent bullet casings. The men arrested for violating their probation and parole and Armas for Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Lopez held on $25,000.00 bail. And
Armas on $75,000.00 bail.

The City of Willits is reporting finding COVID-19 in sewage. They did a test of sewer influent and say the virus was in the sewer system. The City says they’re still awaiting results from Brooktrails. The sample test collection was last week.

A daily record of cases of coronavirus in Sonoma County is being attributed to the homeless on Santa Rosa streets, residents at a skilled nursing center and continued testing finding the virus in Latino neighborhoods. The Press Democrat reports Dr. Sundari Mase, the County’s Public Health Officer reminding what a serious threat the virus is. Last night the County announced another 21 new cases so the County is getting close now to 1,000 cases. 437 of them are still active. Five people in the County have died due to the virus. Mase also says the recent surge could be from community spread, which is apparently the most concerning way transmission happens. It means then that the cases cannot be traced to a close contact of from travel to a hotspot.

A temporary homeless camp is being put up in western Sonoma County for those from Guerneville. The Press Democrat reports on the planned shelter due to the pandemic and risks to the homeless population. The idea to set up widely spaced tents for at least 25 people. There would be medical help, housing navigation and other services to slow the spread of the virus. They’re looking at a county-owned park-and-a-ride lot off the north edge of Highway 116, after the fire marshall said no to a 5 ½ acre piece of land along the Russian River.

Health officials in Santa Clara County speaking out about the recent surge of cases in the state. The County had been one of the most aggressive with their stay home orders. The County Executive in Santa Clara is a doctor. He sounded the alarm yesterday saying one model he was looking at projected as many as 15,000 Californians could die from Covid-19 by October 1st. Santa Clara had the first death from the virus in the country in February. It was also a hot spot, but the shelter in place order helped the County flatten the curve. However their public health officer now says there are “worrisome” signs of cases accelerating.

The City of Willits and the County of Mendocino drafted a letter they want to put out to residents that they’re against an unofficial July 4th parade. As we reported yesterday, a group of residents said they would have an informal parade. The letter says they’re discouraging mass gatherings on the 4th in Willits. The City Council had proposed the letter to organizers of the ‘Willits 4th of July’ Facebook group due to the Governor’s stay home order discouraging mass gatherings. This the letter goes on to say, is a violation of State and County Orders, and State Law.

The chief of police in Lakeport reporting to the City Council on policies and operations. Lake Co News reports Chief Brad Rasmussen spoke to Council at its meeting last week and spoke to the news site as use of force legislation is being advocated for.   The news site reports the chief was responding to the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May. Rasmussen calling it a tragic incident in the city, for law enforcement, the community and elected leaders who are now getting questioned about policies and procedures related to use of force. He says what happened to Floyd was not consistent with how law enforcement should operate, or how Lakeport Police provides service to the community.

Several campgrounds are closed at Yosemite National Park in California after the park started to reopen. The park is not taking at reservations for a half dozen campgrounds thru next month and only half at another after a three month closure and partial reopening… all to slow the spread of the virus after the state of Calif. set a new record, more than 6,000 new infections reported in a single day.

The City Council in Clearlake is looking to sell a piece of city owned land for a new Cannabis processing facility. The 21.25-acre property is being sold for just under $400,000 to Kim Gardner who made a full price offer. The property was being considered for a Public Works corporation yard and animal shelter facility, but city staff said a few months back there were issues with the property for that use, including needing to move a significant amount of earth and an access road. A new animal shelter facility has already been put in at the current Public Works yard and the city is looking to move the Public Works Yard near the Lake County Sanitation District’s Southeast Treatment Plant. The sale was approved unanimously by council members.

Another case of coronavirus has turned up in Lake County, creeping closer to the 50 case mark, when the Public Health Officer said he’d release more demographic info on all the cases so far. The County’s hit 41 cases after a recent surge of seven cases in the last week. Dr. Pace confirmed all but one of them on Monday and Tuesday. 34 cases have recovered, so that means, they’re no longer considered contagious. The County has completed almost 4,100 tests, with 277 results pending. Nearby cases, Colusa County has had 11; Glenn County has had a recent spike in cases from 42 to 66 in one day; Mendocino has also had a spike the last few days, adding 10 to get to 72 cases; Napa has 245; Sonoma, 956; and Yolo, 366.

More info on the new school year in Ukiah. We reported a mid August start earlier today. Now the School Superintendent there’s several scenarios, but the priority is bringing students back into classrooms in the fall because it’s the best educational option for most kids. The school district’s been working on several ways to do the new school year in the midst of the pandemic including school 5 days a week with safety precautions, like as much social distancing as possible and remote learning if parents are uncomfortable sending kids to school; A hybrid model in which kids are split into two groups, they’d each go in person two days a week or be on virtual classes. And switch off the other three days, and the final idea is straight up Remote Learning if the health conditions in Mendocino County necessitate it.

Mendocino College has received a grant to continue its High School Equivalency Program (HEP). The program is expected to receive $400,000 a year for five years, starting this coming 2020-21 academic year. The educational program’s been around since 1967, serving migrant or seasonal agricultural working families. Since 2001 its served 1,000 eligible migrant/seasonal farm working students in Mendocino and Lake Counties.  The school says the mission is to help migrant seasonal agricultural workers and their immediate families in both Mendocino and Lake so they can get a High School Equivalency Certificate, then get a good job, start college or enlist in the military. For more information about Mendocino College HEP please call (707) 472-7253. 

Fort Bragg Police helping some officers in Sacramento for a suspected home invasion robbery. An off duty Sacramento officer called local cops to say a suspect in the home invasion robbery in Sacramento was in the area of the Noyo Bridge. Officers found his car and tried stopping him. He stopped without a problem by the McDonalds in the area and was detained. He was arrested then transferred back to Sacramento. Fort Bragg police have not released any more information, they say it’s to protect the confidentiality of those involved and the investigation.  

A wildfire breaks out near an illegal pot grow outside Clearlake Oaks. The fire charred about six to seven acres of dry vegetation over the weekend, dubbed the Mule Fire, fully contained in five hours. The fire reportedly spread fast in steep terrain, was one of several on Saturday. Officials are reminding residents to make sure they have defensible space around their homes and that they’ve taken proactive measures to prevent a wildfire. Also to avoid using a lawnmower after 10 a.m. Also Saturday in Lake County a trailer with a load of hay exploded into flames for some reason in Upper Lake with structures threatened, but no spread. Another fire later in the day near Konocti Vista Casino in Lakeport charred about 3 acres. And a house fire also reported later in the day in Clearlake.

A man from Madera has been arrested for arson related to a Saturday fire near Clearlake Oaks. Jose Medina Jimenez found by Lake County Sheriff’s deputies near the Mule Fire. They reportedly tried to tackle him and had a struggle, then a standoff. They say he was first found standing in the middle of Highway 20 waving his arms in the air, but several witnesses say he started the fire. As he was approached, deputies say he pulled out a knife and started pacing back and forth. They told him to drop it, but he walked towards one of them, then sat on the ground. Someone on the scene helped translate in Spanish for the deputies, and finally the guy dropped the knife and was arrested. They say he seemed to be high on something. He was held in jail. Deputies also say the Mule Fire was burning at an illegal marijuana grow where Jimenez is suspected of working.

A family who lost their home is the Valley Fire is one of the latest recipients of a Habitat for Humanity home. The Rodriguez-Barajas family was living in an apartment in Middletown, then it was totally destroyed. They lost everything. They stayed for a time at the Konocti Harbor with other fire survivors. Then moved to a one bedroom, sharing with three kids, plus mom was pregnant. Then the Clayton Fire came, after they applied for a Habitat home, the Habitat office partially burned, so they had to submit a second application. And this month, they moved into their new home in Lower Lake.

A Zoom meeting for the Cobb Area Council where they took on the Cobb Safe Drive Through and a grant application. The drive through had 250 people show up June 13th, to learn about emergency preparedness. The Council also announced the city got a $200,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco for Housing and Economic Assistance for Development Disaster Recovery. The grant will also be available for those outside of Cobb, including Middletown and Kelseyville.

The July 4th parade is going on in downtown Willits. Some locals decided to keep one tradition alive as others were cancelled, one by one, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group’s organizer Katelyn Garcia sees it as a protest for the right to celebrate Country and Community. There are now about 800 members online in support of the parade. They will have decorated cars in a line, some pulling trailers, like the recent Willits High School (WHS) graduation parade and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests. The group says they reached out to the City to work together, but never got a response. The City Manager brought up the matter at their meeting last week saying, even with social distancing, it’s a mass gathering and a violation of the stay home order. Organizers for their part say it’s not a mass gathering, and they’re encouraging both social distancing and masks.

Five new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Lake County. Early yesterday we found out about one case, than last night, the additional five. Lake Co News reports that brings the total in Lake County to 40 cases, with six active. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says most of the new cases were related to previous cases and part of two clusters, all are stable and isolating at home. He also says one was possible community transmission, and that they’re getting more information. Dr. Pace was not releasing any demographics on any of the cases until they had a total of 50. That will then include general location, age and gender, and possibly more info on how each person contracted the virus.

Unemployment applications slightly down in the state. The California Employment Development Department reported nearly 313,000 claims last week for regular Unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Lake Co News reports that’s a total of more than 6.3 million claims since the pandemic started mid-March. Now that jobs are starting to come back, those getting unemployment will have to report why they’re not returning to the position, if they choose not to. There would then be a review of their case and a decision about eligibility.

Congressman Mike Thompson is having another of his virtual town halls during the pandemic, this one to talk about education. This Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. with his guest, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Topics will include what the state’s doing to support students during the pandemic. It’s the ninth townhall as of late. If you’d like to be in on the meeting, you have to email Thompson’s office, they’ll email back instructions to join. 

Remote court proceedings continue in the Lake County Superior Court. Lake Co News reports jury trials have started back up, but other trials will stay online. There is still a stay home order in place so the court is taking their reopening slowly, trying to limit the amount of people gathering indoors. So the number of cases are lower than they would be in normal circumstances. Social distancing is required in court facilities, face coverings are mandatory and remote proceedings will be the norm whenever feasible.  Trials and contested hearings will be in person, Felony law and motion, preliminary hearings will be remote, the Misdemeanor arraignment calendar is in person, Jury trials will start again July 8th, in Clearlake, Branch Operations, i.e., small claims/traffic/unlawful detainer are in person. Court clerk’s offices are open, but there’s also self help service online.

More info on the fifth Sonoma County resident who died after contracting coronavirus. The Public Health Office reports the death Sunday was that of a man over 65 with underlying medical conditions. He was brought to a hospital from a skilled nursing center and died about a day after. The day after the man died, Sonoma County reported 50 new cases of COVID-19, the biggest one-day jump since March. The last record was just on Sunday, with 32 new cases reported.  Dr. Sundari Mase has not released any info on the death or recent spikes in cases but did say it raises “red flags” and that community members need to remain vigilant against the virus.

About 200 health centers across the state have closed their doors during the pandemic because the number of patient visits dropped by half – leading advocates to push for more federal relief. They do get some CARES Act funding, but the Paycheck Protection Act specifically excluded clinics with more than 500 employees. Carmela Castellano-Garcia with the California Primary Care Association says 22 of the state’s largest clinics are really hurting financially.

 :13  “We are swept in the funding allocations that are not specific to health-center needs. So therefore our needs have not been addressed. So that is why we will continue to push for health center-specific funding.”

Tag:  The latest tranche of federal funding allocated dollars for safety-net hospitals but excluded health centers, so advocates are asking the Department of Health and Human Services to carve out a specific fund for the centers.


Second Cut: Castellano-Garcia says the state’s community health centers provide health care to millions of low-income Medi-Cal patients – a population that is only going to grow as job losses mount.

 :15  “There are 1,300 sites serving 7.2 million people. We are seeing one in three of the state’s Medi-Cal recipients and one in six Californians.”

Tag:  Many health centers are hanging on by offering more visits over the telephone to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Currently, 50-percent of visits are done over the phone, a trend that may persist after the pandemic subsides.

An agreement between the governor and the legislature on how to close a 54.3 billion budget deficit. The agreement will mean a delay in money to public schools and pay cuts for state workers. The deal announced yesterday will hold billions from schools, but not permanently. It also doesn’t cut into health care programs which the Governor had first announced. The new agreement features $2.8 billion in pay cuts to state workers holding $12 billion in payments to public schools to future years with the remainder being borrowed from restricted funds that have to be paid back. There are also other program cuts and a temporary tax hike for businesses to take in another $4.4 billion. Then some or all could be relieved if the federal government releases more aid by October.

A man in Redwood Valley has been arrested for child abuse. The Sheriff’s office reports getting a call about a 22 year old man continually abusing a 13 year old girl. The parents called in the abuse June 6th and found Juan Diego Vazquez-Cendejas accused. They went to his house with a search warrant and found probable cause to arrest the guy of sexual abuse of a minor. After further investigation they added continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 years of age and took him to jail on $200,000.00 bail.  They want anyone who may know him or think he may be guilty of other crimes to call the Sheriff’s office or their anonymous tip line.

A woman in Potter Valley accused of chasing a man with a knife has been arrested. Deputies got a call June 15th from a man who says his ex-girlfriend, Shaylynn Lockhart became upset and was acting erratic so he locked her out of his home. He says she broke a window and got in, then punched and scratched him, so he ran off and she chased him with a 6 inch kitchen knife. He says he then grabbed a stool to try to fend the woman off. Then police say Lockhart slashed at the victim with the knife. He hit her with the stool, knocking the knife from her hand, and she took off her clothes and started destroying property inside. Someone driving by gave the victim a ride out of there and police found Lockhart asleep in the man’s house. She was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence battery, and violation of probation and held on $30,000.00 bail.

15 new Covid-19 cases reported last week in Mendocino County. And now Supervisor Ted Williams posted, there were 8 more over the weekend. We don’t have an updated official number this morning, except that Williams posted on Facebook, there are 62. The last we heard from the Public Health Officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan Friday was 54 residents of the county were infected. These are not all active cases, some have recovered, and also as of Friday, there was one person, a younger patient in the ICU. But there’s no update on the Public Health Office dashboard. Dr. Doohan said Friday the surge in cases were “somewhat expected” because of businesses reopening and after school year or high school graduation parties and church services. She also said there were some youth sports games happening. In her Friday presentation she says the message is, if you’re at a gathering or playing sports, you could spread the virus to your family or others, and it’s a threat to the community’s health.

Police in Fort Bragg got a report of an attempted child abduction at a local gas station. The call from S. Main Street at an Arco gas station. Cops met with the person reporting the crime and the victim at the police station. They say it was a man that approached their car’s front passenger side window. The suspect offered the 13 year old girl to go party with them while the parent was in the back seat. The parent confronted the suspect who ran. They were described to cops who put out a BOLO alert. Shawn Bias of Fort Bragg was arrested for annoying a child. They found the man though was in mental crisis so he was then taken to the hospital and put on a mental health hold.

Stage 3 of the Calif. reopening for Mendocino County now. The Public Health Officer is allowing for more businesses to reopen with precautions and restrictions. Dr. Doohan says of those who’ve tested positive, 10% have required hospitalization, which is higher than the national average. They were at parties or were doing other things not yet allowed in the public health order. Now higher risk services are allowed to open, but mask wearing is mandatory as the Governor is requiring it. And businesses could be fined if they don’t comply. Dr. Doohan says she’ll release the names of businesses in the future if they don’t follow the rules. If you want to be tested for Covid-19, free tests are available in Ukiah at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds Tue. – Saturday.

The Mendocino County Grand Jury’s latest report on County government shows the County has yet to deal with emergency notification equipment or how it’s used for residents. The Grand Jury also looked at safety in schools and how tax revenue was being used on various County services. The jury report didn’t find much in the way of concern regarding school safety but they did make some recommendations. They did make another recommendation too, about how special districts are collecting taxes.

The PG&E plan to pay $58 billion to end its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy has been approved by the judge overseeing the utility’s case. The deal as you probably recall relates to the Camp Fire in 2018 and the October 2017 wildfire storm in Northern Calif. The fires were blamed on the utility company’s shoddy upkeep of equipment and putting money over the welfare of their customers. The judge allowing the payment of a settlement to thousands of people who lost homes and businesses, and family members to the massive and historically devastating fires. A lawyer for the victims says it will probably take up to three months for the money to get into their hands and for the utility company to make other promised payments.

Students in the University of Calif. system say they want more police oversight. Activists and in the system’s student governments and some black student organizations calling for more oversight or closures.  One UC Berkeley student complains to CalMatters that he was stopped simply for being a black man and that Campus Police had no notation he was ever stopped by an officer. UC Berkeley has a police review board and gets the biggest chunk of money for college policing. At the same time the Cal State police force says they will stop the controversial carotid choke hold.

Lake County planners are still deciding if they should approve a resort near Middletown. The proposed resort at Guenoc Ranch will have to wait until next week as the Planning Commission needs more time to look over the massive environmental impact report. The property about four miles east of Highway 29 on Butts Canyon Road is being considered for Mixed Use and would be built in phases, the first would take a decade.  The Environmental Impact Report was released in February and details a luxury resort around the old  Langtry estate and winery.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is considering what to do with the old juvenile hall which is being proposed for temporary housing for the homeless. Lake Co News reports the board will hear the proposal at the virtual meeting tomorrow morning from the County Space Use Committee. The County Administrative Officer brought up the matter at the board meeting last week and the board approved releasing a request for proposals for daily operations and fiscal management. The facility’s been closed since October of 2015. The committee was supportive of the use for COVID-19 bed requirements for 6 months but they were supposed to re-examine at a later date.

The CHP is asking for public input to get its approval from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc.. They’re a nonprofit who looks to help improve law enforcement and public safety services. They have policies and procedures they look to have law enforcement agencies follow for their accreditation process, and so they’re recognized for professional excellence. The CHP has already been accredited since 2010. Now the public is invited to comment next Tuesday or be in on a public virtual hearing, the same day. 
To participate in the virtual public hearing, please e-mail no later than Thursday, June 25, 2020, at 5 p.m.

Another positive case of coronavirus in Lake County. The Public Health dept. confirmed the case over the weekend in a county resident. So there are now 35 cases total and only two are active. Not a lot more info was released. Dr. Gary Pace confirmed two new cases last week, so this is the third in the same week. The 34th case, Dr. Pace said was after someone went to a social gathering and they were doing contact tracing, but there was no sign of community transmission. And before that the 31st and 32nd cases were living in the same household. The County has conducted almost 3,400 tests and 211 are still pending.

The Public Health Office in Sonoma County has announced another person dying of COVID-19. The County reports this is the first time since May 11th, the last deaths before that were May 3, April 10 and March 20. The County Dept. of Health Services says the 5th death happened yesterday but there was no other information. A County Supervisor confirmed the death was at a skilled nursing center. There was also a report of 32 more cases, the highest single day count since March, when the pandemic started. The last highest day was 30 cases, on June 13th. The County has a total of 885 total coronavirus cases, more than half, 514 have recovered.

Former Governor Jerry Brown and three others including Arnold Schwarzenegger and the current Gov. Gavin Newsom have recorded a PSA on wearing a mask to slow the spread of COVID-19. Using his tough guy actor persona, Schwarzenegger said “This is not about being weak” while holding up a mask. Gray Davis and Pete Wilson are also in the spot all to bring attention to Gov Newsom’s order last week which makes it mandatory for a facial covering in most indoor settings and outdoors when physical distancing isn’t possible. The PSA being released as California sees a streak of record breaking COVID infections since the pandemic began.

A man from Ukiah in a solo car crash has died of his injuries. The crash early yesterday morning with James Gardner in a 1995 Toyota T100 headed north on the 101 north of Reynolds Hwy in Mendocino County. The CHP reports for some reason he lost control of his vehicle, went off the side of the road, hit the embankment and rolled. He was ejected from the Toyota and died. Cal-Fire, Cal-Trans, Mendocino County Sheriffs Department and the Long-Valley Volunteer Fire Department all on the scene. The CHP says they’re unsure at this time if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

The Sonoma County Public Health Officer is allowing further opening of businesses including nail and waxing salons, massage and tattoo studios, and skin care boutiques. These were added by the state in an updated list of sectors to open during the pandemic, with restrictions. Dr. Sundari Mase had intimated, but not confirmed, many other businesses could open too, including hotels, resorts, campgrounds and vacation home rentals. No word yet though on gyms and yoga studios, bars, movie theaters, card rooms and family entertainment centers including bowling and miniature golf.

The Lake County Public Health Officer is allowing more businesses to reopen in his updated stay home order. The County has 34 cases of coronavirus, but Dr. Gary Pace says things remain stable in the County because people are taking precautions. There are only 2 active cases and contact tracing is ongoing for the 34th case identified Monday after a social gathering. So the businesses allowed to open today include Nail Salons, Estheticians, Skin Care, Cosmetology Services, Electrology, Body Art Professionals, Tattoo Parlors and Piercing Shops and Massage Therapy.

The Governor has signed a bill into law so every Californian will get a mail in ballot. The Governor citing public health safety and large groups of people gathering at polling places. The bill approved by the legislature yesterday. There will still be voting booths for those who want to take part. The bill passed the Assembly 68-5, those against were Republicans. Others in their party said the ballots wouldn’t be mailed to people who were considered to be inactive voters. Another part of the new law says any mail in ballot sent in will have 17 days to get their ballot back to the Secretary of State.

Mask wearing in the state mandatory. The Governor has put out a new order saying masks are critical to “keep people around you safe, keeping businesses open and restarting our economy”. The order as the state keeps opening deeper into the 4 phase reopening plan and spikes of coronavirus reported across the state. Nearly 4,300 new cases were reported Thursday. Most counties are now allowing dining at restaurants, shopping at malls, hair and nail salons, family entertainment, camping and more. The new order requires facial coverings when your inside or in line at any indoor public spaces, in a healthcare setting such as a hospital or pharmacy or while waiting for and riding in public transportation and any outdoor spaces where you cannot physically distance yourself at least six feet away from others.

Police chiefs across California endorsing a play for finding and getting rid of bad cops. The California Police Chiefs Association looking to help toss officers with a history of bad behavior, may be mentally unstable, have criminal records or a history of misconduct. The Attorney General Xavier Becerra is backing a similar plan. The Chiefs also looking to work with Becerra’s office for investigations into deadly force incidents, but that’s only if it’s requested by local officials.

After a spike in new cases of coronavirus in Mendocino County, the Ukiah City Manager says he’s trying to get as much info from the County about where it was contracted. Seven cases reported this week for a total of 54. The Mendocino County Health Office had announced many of the new cases in the Ukiah Valley from graduation or end of school year parties and church services. Ukiah City Manager Sage Sangiacomo says he wants additional details about the dates of those events while understanding privacy needs to be protected.

The winner of Congressman Jared Huffman’s annual Congressional Art Competition is from Ukiah High. Diya Patel’s artwork will be shown in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year and she’ll win two tickets to Washington D.C. for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception for the new display. They’ve not said when the trip will be yet due to the pandemic. The 11th grader’s piece is entitled “Trapped”. The artwork is submitted each year to recognize and encourage artistic talent in each congressional district dating back to 1982. Since then, more than 650,000 high schoolers have participated nationwide.

The Willits City Council voted against the urgency ordinance to fine people if they don’t follow the County’s Public Health Order. Last month the Council considered the ordinance and last week they gave it a resounding thumbs down. The ordinance needed four of five councilmembers to vote yes for it to be approved. The ordinance, if it passed would have made it a violation of the law to attend mass gatherings. But councilmembers said they heard from the public that they were already challenged after businesses had to close. But one councilmember supported the idea if some wording in it could be changed to make sure folks knew it was more about education and they wouldn’t be heavy handed or intending to hurt the community.

PG&E had a webinar to hear from the public on the expected public safety power shutoffs this year. They were looking to explain their new approach to the intentional power downs, hoping to impact less people, they say, than last year, when millions of Californians were without electricity for several days at a time. It’s planned for red flag or fire weather days to prevent wildfires, like when there’s strong winds, low humidity, and dried-out vegetation. The utility’s Wildfire Safety Program Director explained that last year there were multiple weather events triggering the power downs and they expect it to be less this year with improvements like substation microgrids. They’re also preparing 63 substations across 19 counties.

Most of the University of California’s undergraduate campuses are offering classes only online in the fall. Some may be in person, but nine have announced online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Berkeley, Riverside and Santa Cruz announced this past Wednesday they’d be online after Davis, Irvine, Merced and Los Angeles had already announced most classes would be long distance learning except science labs and small discussion seminars. UC San Diego has not made an announcement. The California State University system is doing the same, with most classes online except those that are hard to do virtually.

The Community Foundation of Mendocino County doling out money for relief during the pandemic has granted $200,000 to the West Business Development Center. The grants to support micro-businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Business Innovation and Resiliency Fund for Mendocino County announced it would distribute grants of up to $5,000 each for as many as 40 micro-businesses.  Those getting the grants have to have less than five full-timers, show their business could survive after the pandemic with a specific need for the money in order to pivot their work. They’re accepting applications for part of this money starting today. You can find more info online at the Chamber of Commerce website the Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism Alliance and of course at The Community Foundation of Mendocino County.

Schools in Willits have some new ways to handle the upcoming school year during the ongoing pandemic. During their school board meeting this week, board members continued their discussions from a week before with the school Superintendent Mark Westerburg. He discussed three possible scenarios: return to normal operations, start with a “COVID Schedule”, with smaller classes and social distancing, or resume distance learning. Board members say they’ve been getting questions and hearing from the public that they wanted to help with the decision making. And Westerburg says they have to consider the safety of students and teachers, the quality of education provided, and whether the district can afford whatever the plan is. They meet again on Monday.

Since the Governor has added certain activities under Stage 3 of reopening the state, the Mendocino County Public Health Officer has changed our Public Health Order to coincide with the state. That means additional industries can open, and there are some other changes going into effect today. This means masks or facial coverings are mandatory. Personal Care services which require touching a client’s face or body, can reopen but workers have to wear a face covering the entire time, same with customers unless it’s a face treatment.  Dr. Doohan is also allowing transient or outside visitors to stay in hotels, motels or vacation rentals, but with family members of one household. And there has to be 24 hours between vacancy for deep cleaning. Public saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs are closed, but private hot tubs in these businesses can be used by one family but must be drained and cleaned between each reservation’s use. 

The City of Fort Bragg has its first public meeting since the state of emergency went into effect related to coronavirus. The meeting will have strict guidelines and safeguards due to the ongoing pandemic on Monday. The City expecting a larger than normal turnout so there are some rules and notices. First off, traffic closed on certain streets, only nine members of the public and 4 press people with social distancing requirements. It’s first-come basis and no in and out privileges. So if you leave, you lose your seat. If you have public comment you have to wait in a socially distanced line outside. There will be marks on the sidewalk to help. The open grassy areas of the Guest House Museum are open to the public and they’re trying to put up outdoor speakers. If you’re outdoors, masks are required if you cannot keep six feet apart from others.

At a time when Confederate statues are being removed all over the country, the Fort Bragg City Council is considering, should the name of the city change. The council put it in a Facebook post saying they were getting requests, some of them were locals, many were not locals, that the city should change its name to no longer be associated with Confederate Army General Braxton Bragg. The post which has more than 1,000 comments says the City Council will consider the matter at their meeting Monday. So the matter could end up on the November general election ballot.  The town got its name all the back in 1857 for the US Army officer considered by many historians to have been one of the worst generals in the Civil War. And he also kept slaves at his plantation in Louisiana.

There will be no Salmon Barbeque in Fort Bragg. The Salmon Restoration Association says the 2020 World’s Largest Salmon Barbecue which is held every year around the July 4th holiday, is not happening because of the pandemic. The Associations Exec. Director says they’ll start over again next July. They usually use the money raised at the barbeque to pay for other projects, like watershed education and the preservation of streams, specifically the Eel River Recovery Project. But they’ve been funded and the public health issue takes precedence. The nonprofit touts itself as working to improve the County’s spawning streams and is run entirely by volunteers.

The new lakefront park in Lakeport is being designed for two parcels the city just bought. The City Council has approved the design contract for the park on Main St. The Lakeport Unified School District Board heard from the School Superintendent they finalized paperwork to sell one piece of the two properties for the park. It’s going to be developed with a nearly $6 million dollar grant the city won earlier this year. And an architect out of Santa Cruz has been hired to plan, design, engineer and do project management for the park project. They were one of more than a dozen proposals that were then whittled down to three or four. Construction plans should be out for bid by the end of the year.

Lakeport says it’s suing Opioid manufacturers as part of the California Opioid Consortium. Lake Co News reports there are now 36 counties and cities who make up a population of more than 11 million residents. They’ve filed suit in federal court where it’s ended up after in Ohio where more than 2,800 others have filed similar lawsuits. The case in Lakeport will be under the umbrella of the rest, looking to get taxpayer money back that has been used in the City to fight the epidemic. The City Manager tells the news site the city has had no choice but to respond due to “irresponsible multi-billion dollar corporations, which have placed profits over public safety.”

The surge in cases of coronavirus continue in Mendocino County. The Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan says end-of-school year gatherings along with in-person church services in Ukiah may be to blame. Six more cases were confirmed last night in the Ukiah Valley, four in teenagers. Dr. Doohan put out a press release late yesterday that confirmed the case count is now 53, with 19 people isolated, one in the hospital in the ICU in someone between 18 and 35 years old. The County following the state with a surge in cases in that age group. Doohan says eight of the recent cases were traced to two end-of-school-year or graduation parties and four others are connected to church services, all in Ukiah. The Public Health Office was conducting outbreak testing after the spike, yesterday and today.

A restaurant owner along the Mendocino Coast has been slapped with a $10,000 fine for continually ignoring the countywide health order to slow the spread of coronavirus. The owner of Fiddleheads Cafe reportedly worked to be in compliance yesterday, but the Press Democrat reports it looks like owner Chris Castleman wouldn’t continue to follow county standards during the pandemic. He says he’s not going to make his staff wear masks even though they’re preparing, handling or serving the public food. He says what his staff does or doesn’t do is between them and the County. He says it’s about personal responsibility and personal choice. Seven people work at the café in Mendocino. The County’s Interim Code Enforcement Manager told the newspaper this may be the first refusal to comply with the Public Health Order.

Graton Resort and Casino is about to reopen. Three months after the shelter in place order for the state, the Resort could be the biggest employer to reopen in Sonoma County. They have a hotel and indoor dining at several restaurants and a 24-hour gaming floor. They’re considered to be the Bay Area’s biggest gambling destination and plan to open their doors again this morning with a brand new layout to allow for physical distancing and a limit on capacity, which previously held up to a thousand people.  Mask wearing is mandatory and temperatures will be taken at the door. Management says they will be very strict with policies. There is no valet parking or live entertainment and the resort’s pool, spa and fitness center are still closed.

The Mendocino County Sheriff and Fire Chiefs Association President presenting new planning documents they say will make major improvements in wildfire safety for Mendocino County residents. A Caltrans grant has paid for the Mendocino Council of Governments to hire some consultants to come up with a Public Outreach Plan, a Fire Vulnerability Assessment, and a Wildfire Emergency Evacuation Preparedness Plan. The effort to conduct outreach to see where the community had concerns about issues related to wildfire safety. It will also help the County find the most vulnerable areas and populations at risk to wildfire, and come up with workable strategies to manage evacuations which are hard for public safety agencies to handle on their own on a large scale. Monday at 10, there will be a Zoom Public Meeting. Please visit the Mendocino Council of Governments website,, for participation options, or use the following link with Password 924390:

Billions of dollars in funding to national parks thanks to a bill in the U.S. Senate co-sponsored by Northern California senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. The bill would permanently move millions annually from offshore oil drilling revenues to pay for city parks, swimming pools, sports fields, fishing piers, trails and campgrounds across the country including in places with limited park resources. The “Great American Outdoors Act passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and heads to the House next. 9.5 million would go to fix roads, restrooms and trails and campgrounds at national parks including Yosemite. The money from royalties from oil, gas, coal and renewable energy sales. And a guaranteed $900 million a year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund forever.

The State Schools Superintendent says schools which have been long named after Confederate leaders or other racially insensitive figures that are being renamed is a good thing. Tony Thurmond commenting in response to a question by a reporter after the Berkeley Unified School District Board unanimously decided to rename two of their schools. Thurmond says when “institutions, not only schools that are named for Confederate leaders who perpetuated racism, lynching and hate, it exacerbates feelings of race in our schools”. It comes after public protests for weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Confederate statues being defaced and toppled by the public.

Several thousand pounds of potatoes have been sent to the Fort Bragg Food Bank. Last month they got 40,000 pounds of onions and now it’s 42,000 pounds of potatoes from the FarmLink project, for Mendocino and Sonoma County distribution. The Advocate reports the FarmLink project is a nonprofit that is helping farmers and foodbanks due to food instability during the pandemic. The FarmLink project was started by a group of college students across the country, they’ve distributed more than 280,000 pounds of food to food banks in the last month. Also at the Food Bank, the Summer Kids Bag Program. It’s donating food on Tuesdays this summer from noon to 3 p.m.  

It’s a no from the Lake County Board of Supervisors to enforce the current Public Health order for mandatory mask wearing and social distancing during the pandemic.  The board spoke on the issue yesterday during their meeting with a bunch of people in on the online meeting telling supervisors it’s a bad idea, others all for it. But none of the supervisors moved on a motion for the draft ordinance to get a vote. Lake Co News reports the issue was raised at the meeting last week to have Code Enforcement Officers help the Public Health Office educate and enforce public health orders.

A man from Ukiah has been killed in a car accident on Highway 175 near Hopland. The man’s name has not been released, we only know he’s 32 years old. The California Highway Patrol in Ukiah says Justin Jimenez of Willits was headed east on Highway 175 and for some reason his Ford F-250 pickup veered off onto the right shoulder, then crossed back over onto the other side of the highway and into the victim’s 2002 Honda Civic. The Ford reportedly rolled, landing in the middle of the Highway. The Honda driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger of the Honda and Jimenez both had major injuries.

Litter an issue on the side of state highways, but now the state Department of Transportation and the CHP starting a campaign to get rid of the trash. They had stopped litter cleanup on the side of the road after the stay home order in March. The Caltrans director says the litter can increase the risk of fire, plus it pollutes waterways, threatens wildlife and costs taxpayers millions of dollars to remove. They ask residents to be more mindful of the issue as Caltrans maintenance workers work with industrial hygienists on litter removal during the current health crisis.

Red Flag weather but no notice of a public safety power down. Cal Fire is temporarily banning outdoor residential burn permits in Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Solano, Yolo, and Colusa counties. And last night the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued the red flag, or high-risk fire weather conditions alert until tomorrow for all inland areas of the state, east of Sonoma County. The fire agency’s burn permit suspension after several dry months, including in February, the driest in the state since the 1850s, which Cal Fire warns is a devastating reminder of the potential for a dangerous summer, where dry, hot weather can fuel fires like years past.

The statue of Christopher Columbus that’s long been the centerpiece of the California Capitol rotunda is being removed. The statue there since 1883 is being taken out after a decision just yesterday by legislative leaders saying it’s hurtful to indigenous populations. But the statue being removed now after massive protests about racial injustice after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Other statues coming down across the country, including in Kentucky, the statue of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederacy, and the former capital of the Confederacy, Virginia, will take down the statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Here also in California, Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento took down the John Sutter statue, he was a slave holder of Native Americans.

The CHP reports their work to respond to protests across the state has cost them $38 million. That means the state’s now spent as much as $63 million across various law enforcement agencies. The CHP reports nearly a half million hours of unplanned overtime between May 28 and June 11 with 12 hour shifts for some officers after the CHP Commissioner declared a “tactical alert” that officers had to act on, “threats to the immediate health and safety of persons or property throughout the state.”

New coronavirus case counts show the latest cases are in younger folks. A new report released this week shows almost half of the new infections are in those 34 years old or younger, 44% as opposed to 29% a month ago. The drop in cases of older folks from 46% to 30.5% in the past month. Middle aged Californians stayed the same, not a spike or a decline. The state does not report trends, this info is from the Calif. Dept. of Public Health. It shows those between 18 and 34 years of age make up the largest chunk of new infections in Calif. It’s also not known if its due to more testing, statewide protests over the death of George Floyd or ignoring mask wearing and social distancing measures.

As expected the Grand Jury has indicted PG&E for repeatedly ignoring warnings about it’s decrepit equipment, which we now know caused the Camp Fire in Paradise. The report from the Grand Jury investigation says the utility company exhibited “a callous disregard” for the life and property of residents, that they failed to inspect declining power lines and performed inadequate inspections, all to focus on profits and that the company was not interested in learning from past catastrophes. The CEO of the company earlier yesterday pleaded guilty on the utility’s behalf to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the deaths in the Camp Fire. Although 85 people died. The fire destroyed Paradise, gutting more than 18,000 homes and other structures. This comes after the utility company was also convicted 4 years ago for the San Bruno explosion which killed eight people.

Lakeport Police have reported procedures to the City Council at the same time protests start to go from a boil to a simmer across the country. The police chief says they have been getting questions from residents about their policies, training and if they will follow Campaign Zero’s “8 Can’t Wait Project” which changes eight areas of concern regarding police policies. Chief Rasmussen says he was happy to report the 8 areas were already in alignment with the department’s policies and that the agency has a long history of working in partnership with community members to ensure equal justice and protecting and respecting the rights of all individuals.

The Bullet Train program looks to be tabled. The state Assembly passed a resolution to put the final contracts for the long awaited project on hold. The legislature has to set aside $4.2 billion in state bonds for the project, but right now continuing the project is not feasible. There’s already been one segment under construction for several years in the San Joaquin Valley. But the Governor has not supported the project since his election, but then added money to the project after taking office.  The Assembly Transportation Chair Democrat Jim Frazier has been critical of the project and says the Legislature has to be consulted before any future appropriations.

Hospitals in Mendocino County connected to Adventist Health are restarting elective surgeries and other non-essential procedures. As part of the County reopening in Phase 3 of the state’s stay home order, the president for Adventist Health for Mendocino County announced the edict. Jason Wells says they’ve looking forward to reconnecting with patients and to continue their mission of caring for the community. He also says they’re ready to provide care in a “very safe environment.”  They’re also saying it’s okay to go to the emergency room. Many across the country have been staying away from ER’s as we were told to in case we had coronavirus. But as many are doing that, others who really need to get to the ER in case they’re having a stroke or heart attack should go. Patients will have to go thru a screening process for symptoms, and it’s mandatory to wear face-masks and practice social distancing. 

PG&E’s hosting a webinar on wildfire safety and prevention for residents in both Lake and Mendocino counties.  The webinar topic: how to reduce the size and duration of the Public Safety Power Shutoffs, plus other wildfire prevention efforts.  The utility company will talk about improvements they’ve implemented and progress on wildfire prevention work here locally. Customers will be able to ask questions of company representatives and give feedback. Some of the work they’re doing includes installing new grid technology, hardening the electric system and enhanced vegetation management.  To join tonight’s meeting at 5:30, first register at this link, or listen live by dialing 866-501-6088and using this conference ID: 6866675.