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The name of the victim of a fire at a home in Albion has been released. The Albion Fire Department on the scene July 11th after Sylvia Stanley’s home burned. Her son Mike was apparently at home asleep. A body found in the fire, but a positive i.d. could not be made right away due to the extreme conditions. But now the Mendocino County Sheriff confirmed the body was 39-year-old, Mike Stanley. The Daily Journal reports Sylvia has been ill with cancer too.

Another death due to COVID-19 has been reported in Mendocino County. The Mendocino County Public Health Dept. posted another death from one of the patients at the Sherwood Oaks skilled nursing facility. That makes 3. It’s not included on the county’s coronavirus dashboard yet, but the county’s now had 9 people died due to the pandemic. The dashboard continues to show the most cases in the LatinX community, nearly 180 out of the total 299 cases. 7 people are currently in the hospital, but none in the ICU. There are 66 active cases. There’s testing this weekend in Laytonville and Redwood Valley.

Unemployment looking up in Calif. The Employment Development Department reports 7 million people have filed initial claims since March. There’s also been a backlog in processing those, but the Governor says they’ll hire a lot more people to deal with that. This past week saw nearly a quarter million more people file first time claims, but it was down more than 40,000 from a week before when 289,600 workers filed claims. Across the country there were more than 1.4 million claims, up 200,000 or so from a week before. Lawmakers of both parties have been complaining to the governor that there needs to be a better way to get thru the massive pile of claims that have been filed since March.

State experts being called to Sonoma County as outbreaks of Covid-19 continue unabated at skilled nursing facilities. The Press Democrat reports the Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase told reporters the state would be helping after 25 residents at the facilities died. So far 32 people have died in the county due to complications from the virus. The county had reportedly asked for help from the state early this week. Dr. Mase says it’s to try to slow the spread of the virus at the facilities and help them “get out of the outbreak mode and move toward recovery. The state is the regulatory authority for such facilities. And the newspaper reports the county’s on the lookout for al alternate care site as some of the facilities are quite cramped.

Several hundred goats are being deployed along the 101 between Healdsburg and Geyserville to eat brush. A firebreak project is bringing in 400 goats to much away the dry vegetation thru next week. They were brought in to clear about an acre and a half and will stay there until it’s gone along with a guard dog and goat herder. There’s also temporary fencing in the area to help keep control the animals. It’s not the first time the agency has used goats. In May, they were also brought in, that on hills near the entrance of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

A section of a Northern Calif. highway’s being resurfaced using recycled plastic. Caltrans says they’re experimenting with sustainable highway construction, which involves grinding the top 3 inches of the highway, topping it off with the plastic mix and other ingredients and packing it down. It’s reported to be the first time it’s been done on a highway in California. The State Department of Transportation says if it’s a success and shows its durable, they’ll do more of it. Right now it’s just a 1,000-yard section in Butte County of Highway 162 near the Oroville Airport near the town of Oroville.

The state Supreme Court says public employees cannot add on to their pensions by working extra hours, then cashing out unused vacation or sick leave time ahead of retiring. The court relied on a previous law from 2013 that says pension spiking is not allowed. The law set up to close loopholes and to prevent abuse in the system. When employees work a bunch of overtime and stockpile vacation and sick leave time, but cash out later, it’s thought to inflate annual salaries so their pensions were at about what they were making while working or in some cases, even more.

The Governor has announced hiring a strike team to tackle the pile of unemployment claims that have been filed amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The legislature is also set to discuss the issue today after complaints that computer systems aren’t working properly and claimants cannot get through on the phone preventing claims from being filed. Yesterday the Governor spoke on the matter saying there should be no barriers between Californians and the benefits they have earned. The strike team will draft a plan within 45 days for improvements for the state Employment Development Department.

The filing period to get onto the November ballot in Mendocino County has begun. Actually it started nearly three weeks ago, and ends next Friday. The Assessor-County Clerk Recorder Katrina Bartolomie sent out a reminder to the press yesterday. It says if an incumbent doesn’t file for their seat, the filing deadline is then extended through August 12th. They’re trying to do a lot of the filings over email and snail mail due to the pandemic to limit in-person office visits. You can make an appointment over the phone. And as a reminder, if you want to serve on a local board, to call the office and they’ll email an application.

The US Census is happening now. We have a few more months to gather information and Census officials are trying to get more people to provide their data.  Lake Co News reports the response rate in Lake County has been at about 45% compared to the state at 64% and the national rate at 63%. The US Census happens every decade to find how many congressional seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as how legislative districts are drawn. The deadline was supposed to be happening sooner, but now because of COVID, it’s been extended until October 31st. Counties in Calif. with low response rates were Mono, Alpine, Trinity, Plumas and Sierra. 

Those participating in the marine fishery in Calif. but have lost money due to the Covid-19 pandemic can get relief from the CARES Act. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is distributing money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The fisheries got about $18 million in CARES Act funding. The state agency says they may have more than 11,500 applicants who are eligible to get some of the money. That also includes individuals who work in the offshore, shoreside, aquaculture, commercial passenger fishing vessel and guide sectors. Those eligible have to have lost at least 35% of their fishing related income due to COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2020.

The medical director at a nursing facility in Fort Bragg says the coronavirus outbreak is not yet under control. He said two more residents died, then late last night we got word of a third, for a total of seven who’ve died of the virus.  Two more were also newly diagnosed yesterday. 18 residents and eight staff members have contracted the virus since it started to circulate there July 6th. There are still two residents at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast (Hospital); and another has returned to Sherwood Oaks but is in isolation. The medical director says rumors they had been closed by the State Department of Health are untrue. As we’ve been reporting they’re still in need or more nurses and nurse aids. A state health inspector came out Wednesday and has approved of the policies in place.

Reports of a fire on the railroad tracks in Ukiah looks to have been an arson fire. Firefighters got a call Wednesday to the tracks near Norgard Lane about a mile south of Talmage Road. Fire officials say when they arrived the fire was threatening a home, but the residents didn’t seem to know, so they knocked on their door to get them to leave. Firefighters kept flames away from the house, but some fencing was damaged. The fire ended up charring about three acres and got close to a vineyard before it was put down. Firefighters say there were encampments nearby but nobody was there while they were on the scene. They have no suspects but say they’re pretty sure it was intentionally set.

Confirmation we are in a drought again. The Mendocino City Community Services District has confirmed an existing Stage 4 drought. At their latest meeting they chose people to sit on the Groundwater Management Committee. Water allotments to residents have been cut by 40 percent. As of last week rainfall was at about 50 percent of normal. The District Superintendent was happy with how the community cooperated. Customers only allowed to use 50 gallons a day.

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