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Helicopters will be flying over areas in Mendocino and Lake counties to check electric distribution lines in the middle of fire season. PG&E announced they’d start the flyovers yesterday and continue all month long to help the utility company gather info to see how long it will take them to fly the same routes in the middle of one of their power shutoff events. But the company says they’re not anticipating turning power off in days to come. Watch for choppers as low as 100 feet, Monday through Friday, between 7a.m. and 5 p.m.  Power is going to be on during the inspections, it’s just to help the utility company start to shorten intentional power downs. If it were an actual public safety power shutoff event, crews would do a similar flyover, but would also drive around in vehicles and have foot patrols to identify and repair damage before restoring power.

A climate action plan in a group of bills in the US House. According to North Coast Rep. Jared Huffman the package of bills will help bolster sustainable energy production and cut emissions. In a 500 page proposal, it calls for swift action, including coming up with a wildfire defense grant program, something Huffman has been championing since last fall. Huffman joined by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the announcement Tuesday says they’re working to cut emissions and stop producing greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to the overheating of the planet. The bills call for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Recommendations in Lake County from the Public Health officer ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend. Dr. Gary Pace says the holiday has always featured large gatherings, but since the county has been dealing with a major surge in cases, 19 yesterday, the highest one day total so far. Dr. Pace says they’re tracking the spread and they’ve mostly come from weekend gatherings with multiple families, particularly when there are no masks being worn, and when people are consuming alcoholic beverages. Firework displays around the lake are modified, with some cities bowing out of any celebrations to slow the spread of the disease. 

New rules to help whales and sea turtles not get caught up in crab-fishing gear have some crabbing advocates crabby… At a public hearing by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, many spoke out about the new rules to protect humpback whales, blue whales and sea turtles including an early closure of the season. One board supervisor from Humboldt says the new rules are “arbitrary” and don’t “reflect the reality on the ground, or in the water.” The zones are different, but the rules are the same, but state officials say there should be no ropes, which they say is less expensive. A hearing on Monday was the last of the 45-day public comment period on the proposed new rules.

No fireworks show in Lakeport to discourage group gatherings to slow the spread of coronavirus. But the city’s selling safe and sane fireworks. There will be a display at the Konocti Vista Casino in Lakeport Saturday after dark. There will be a show at Austin Park in Clearlake with strict social distancing, you have to stay in your car and masks are required.  There will also be handwashing stations and some vendors with restrictions and a reminder for people to return to their cars with no gathering in groups.  Something public health officers across the country say causes the virus to spread.

Just like most holidays, the CHP will beef up patrols for the Independence Day weekend. The maximum enforcement period starts tomorrow night at 6 p.m. and lasts until Sunday at midnight. The CHP commissioner says obeying the speed limit, wearing a seatbelt and driving sober and not distracted are more important than ever. Also the California Department of Public Health is reminding not to travel long distances as much as possible, but if you do leave home, wear a face mask, physically distance yourself and frequently wash your hands.

Law enforcement in Mendocino County on the lookout for a man they say committed armed robbery at a market in Ukiah. The Sheriff’s Office asking for the public’s help identifying a man who pulled a gun at Express Market on N. State St. Monday night. They say he went in, spoke to employees at the checkout area and pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and demanded money. The clerk went to the back of the business and the robber went to the cash register and took a bunch of money and ran off. He’s described as a white man, 5’11”, 190 to 200 pounds, with blond hair wearing white tennis shoes, gray pants, a black long-sleeved shirt, gloves, a multi-colored face mask and had a gray shirt tied around his head.

A whopping 19 more cases of Covid-19 in Lake County. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says there are now 79 cases in the county. In Mendocino County, there were 2 new cases for a total of 85 cases. But in Lake County, Dr. Pace says the significant spike, more than doubling the case count in a week. 39 cases are active, 40 recovered. And four people currently in the hospital. In Mendocino, of the 85, only 9 are active and there are no new hospitalizations. Those in the hospital in Lake have mild symptoms according to Pace. He says about half the recent 37 cases reported since June 25, were from an outbreak in the farmworker community, and the rest from various sources.

A man in Lakeport’s been arrested after a random assault on two seniors at Library Park earlier this week. Cops say some people at the park helped take the guy down during a struggle. 37 year old Todd Ousterhout is charged with the attack on a 67 year old man who police say had visible injuries. The victim says it was Ousterhout who punched him in the back of the head then his nose. He’s also accused of pushing the man’s 92-year-old mother, who was recovering from a recent surgery and has dementia. Police say when Ousterhout saw them he ran so they had to search the area, finding him and demanding he stop, but he resisted their attempts to arrest him. Two random men helped a police officer take Ousterhout down. He’s also accused of peeping into a nearby home and taking pictures. He’s booked on charges of felony abuse of elder and/or dependent adults, prowling and resisting a police officer.

A homeless shelter in Lake County being used temporarily to house the homeless is being extended another month. The Board of Supervisors approved an amended agreement for Hope Harbor to continue operations. It was supposed to close this week, but the county spoke to the Kelseyville United Methodist Church where the shelter’s located, then the board unanimously approved allowing the shelter to stay open thru the end of this month. It was a winter only warming center, then turned COVID-19 shelter using state funding. The shelter has received another $79,000 to run another month of operations. The money will go to the church, who said just last week it couldn’t continue without more funds.

Planning a trip to Sonoma Coast beaches, parking lots will be closed. The Gov. out with new orders across the state ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Parking lots at Bodega Head, Goat Rock and Salmon Creek and turnouts along Highway 1 are blocked off so there are no mass gatherings starting tomorrow and lasting thru the holiday weekend. Beaches are open, just the state parking lots are closed. The Press Democrat reports county officials say they didn’t know the state would be closing parking lots, but other beaches could get overcrowded instead, making social distancing a challenge. It’ll be up to park rangers to turn cars away. Camping spots along the coast are open. State beaches on the Mendocino Coast are not part of the order, so be careful this weekend, and be sure to wear a mask and socially distance when you can. Extra Highway Patrol officers will also patrol the coast over the weekend.

A man in Potter Valley’s been arrested after a domestic violence call. Deputies reported to the home after finding out a woman there had to go to the hospital a couple days before after a dispute with the father of her child. Police say the pair have been in a relationship for six years, and Austin Neuroth came in while the woman and their 6 year old were sleeping, starting yelling, then climbed on top of her and hit her multiple times in the face and upper chest.  She and the child got away, locking themselves in a bathroom. Neuroth was arrested Sunday at a Ukiah motel for domestic violence battery and held on $25,000.00 bail. 

We have a new health order in Mendocino County due to a spike locally in cases and a surge across the state. Dr. Noemi Doohan’s new order goes into place tomorrow at noon, maintaining the current stage 3, but rewinding with new restrictions on certain sectors and activities. There is still local and statewide prohibition of all public and private gatherings of any size. The social bubbles Dr. Doohan had allowed in households, childcare and at work of 12 people are lowered to 6 for the next 4 weeks. Because bars across the country have been spreading the virus, here in Mendocino County, bars and restaurants will have to stop selling alcohol at 8pm. Those working in personal care, treating head, face or mouth, have to wear a second facial covering. There’s more to that, you can check the county website for more info.

Lake County with a reminder about fire season being upon us. The County reminds it’s drier than usual with low humidity. District 5 Supervisor Rob Brown says state, federal and local Land Management and Fire Agencies are outstanding partners and they’re working to be prepared in the case of a wildfire. A reminder that 95% of all wildfires in the state are human-caused. Others can happen from equipment malfunctions, neglected heat sources, electrical or heating system issues and accidents of neglect, like improperly discarded cigarettes and metal object, like chains dangling from moving vehicles. Brown says there are limited resources now due to the pandemic due to the early release of inmates.

The Mendocino National Forest is reminding to be firesafe this holiday weekend. To only gather with those in your direct household due to the pandemic. And to keep a minimum of at least six feet of physical distance from other visitors. They say to communicate with others as you pass on trails or step aside and allow them to pass. Pack out your trash and leave with everything you bring in and use. And if you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time.  They also say to check the forest website and social media platforms or call a ranger district office for information. Fire restrictions are currently in effect for the forest. You can only light a campfire with a permit in open developed campground and within the wilderness. And no fireworks are permitted on any National Forest. 

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