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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.

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