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Some people who’d been evacuated due to the massive LNU Lightning Complex have been able to return home. The Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin said Hidden Valley Lake and part of Lower Lake were reduced to evacuation warnings instead. There were other warnings lifted earlier yesterday, but for Middletown, the warnings stayed. The Sheriff also said yesterday just because Orders are reduced to Warnings, doesn’t mean those who went home are totally in the clear. But firefighters made better progress on the biggest fire in the Complex, the Hennessey. It did grow yesterday, it’s just over 313,530 acres, containment was 33% earlier in the day. The Complex was at just over 371,000 with almost 1,100 structures gone and another 300 damaged.

A man in Ukiah’s been arrested after reports of a man without clothes on standing on a roof. The report Tuesday afternoon that the man was on top of a house with a kitchen knife acting bizarre. The deputy told him to drop the knife and come down to the ground, but he refused. Then he vanished and went into the backyard of the home, so deputies further told him to appear in front of them. One of them went onto the roof and the homeowner at the same time came out of the house with a gun. The deputy told them to go back in their house and backup from the probation office came. The naked guy also ran off. He was found and taken to a hospital kicking and screaming. Police say they told him to control his breathing but appeared he was high on something. He was taken to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. No charges are pending.

The Round Valley Indian Tribe reportedly asking the Sheriff’s Office for help with crime on and around the Tribal lands in Covelo. The Sheriff’s office says that would include illegal marijuana growing, selling and the sale of firearms and environmental degradation after an uptick in violence in the area. Just Tuesday deputies stopped someone and saw a gun in their car, it was found to be fake, but the deputy then saw a loaded assault weapon. The owner of the weapon and driver of the car, Jesse Gurrola has been arrested, but released due to the pandemic. The Sheriff’s office says they’ll continue patrolling the area and will request whoever’s arrested be prosecuted by the DA or Office of the United States Attorney General.

A traffic stop in Covelo ends in a bunch of cocaine being found and an arrest. The deputy last Sunday stopped the Toyota truck and contacted three people all from Santa Rosa. The passenger, Jesus Espinoza, was holding a bag of “Chex mix”. He was found to be on pretrial release. The Chex mix was actually filled with plastic bags of cocaine. Deputies also found a bunch of cash in the car. Since Espinoza was violating his pre-trial release, he was arrested. For that and trying to conceal or destroy evidence and throwing stuff out of the truck. They also say he tried to resist officers. He was released though due to the pandemic.  

3 additional cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Mendocino County, bringing the total to 659. 1 additional death has been reported for the Ukiah area. Yesterday we reported six people in the hospital. There was one in an ICU, but that’s been removed from the dashboard and now there are five in the hospital. No other information was released from Public Health officials.

A woman from Galt, CA has been arrested in Covelo. During the sheriff’s office regular patrols of the area, deputies stopped Michelle Woodyatt for a traffic violation. They say there were warrants out for her arrest in Mendocino and Lake counties and she had a felony warrant in Butte for car theft. She was arrested and held in Mendocino County Jail with no bail.

2 people in Covelo, busted in regular sheriff’s office patrols for not stopping at a stop sign. They say the driver of the vehicle, Maryanne Whipple, had a suspended driver’s license.  They then found her passenger, Anthony Barber, had two felony arrest warrants from Lake County for failing to appear and two misdemeanor warrants from Mendocino County for possession of a controlled substance and violation of probation. Whipple got off with a citation, but Barber was arrested for the four warrants and held in Mendocino County Jail without bail.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has declared 2020 the “third driest year on record” for Lake Mendocino. The Corp announced the North and South boat ramps had been closed due to low water levels. The Lake last year was recorded at dropping about 12 inches every five days. The latest report on the Lake has water being released to maintain the minimum instream flows for fish in the Russian River, and further, the Lake continues dropping about a foot every five days. As of Tuesday it had dropped almost two feet in 11 days.

Legislators looking for ways to pay to fight fires when we had an early start to wildfire season due to the lightning ignited fires almost two weeks ago. The last minute legislation proposed to put aside $2.5 billion for future projects to handle wildfires and adapt to climate change. It looks to use a utility-bill fee and take up to $500 million to train firefighters and more. The utility fee would be extended for another 25 years but cost ratepayers less than $1 dollar a month. They say that would tap into the multi-billion insurance fund created last year to pay for utility caused fire damage. It remains to be seen if it’ll happen this session, which is supposed to end Monday.

The state’s planning to double coronavirus testing capacity ahead of flu season. The Governor says Calif. has entered into a new public-private partnership with life sciences company PerkinElmer. Gov. Newsom says in the next couple of months there will be new laboratory space so the company can help the state so it can do as many as 150,000 more daily tests starting mid-November. That would mean the state was conducting nearly 200,000 tests/day. The Gov. says the cost will be cut to about a third of what they normally do, saving the state money. They will also guarantee turnaround time at 24 to 48 hours.

Officials in Lake County letting fire evacuees know about shelters if they need to leave their homes. The Dept. of Social Services put out a statement about sheltering due to the massive LNU Lightning Complex fires. The agency, the Lake County Health Services Department and the American Red Cross working together for those most in need. There’s a shelter set up by the Red Cross at Kelseyville High. They ask evacuees to meet in the school parking lot and they will direct you further. They have areas for people who are COVID-19 positive or symptomatic or in a high-risk or vulnerable category for contracting the virus. They’re also assisting those who need to be quarantined. The Area Agency on Aging for Lake and Mendocino Counties says they’re open and operating remotely due to restrictions during the pandemic. Senior centers are still open too with certain adjustments due to safety protocols. Those who get home delivered meals in areas where there are mandatory evacuation orders, not warning, will not get a delivered meal since drivers cannot enter evacuation zones. 

Middletown still the focus for Cal Fire on the massive Hennessey Fire, part of the LNU Complex. The Operations Chief at their briefing this morning says that fire is the first priority in the entire complex, in an area just south of Middletown. The Chief says they’re trying to contain this part of the fire just above Anguin and Calistoga. There’s also the Walbridge fire in Sonoma County which the chief says has also been “overwhelmingly challenging” due to the terrain, fuels and structures. The Hennessey Fire is at 313,000 acres or so and 33% contained and the Walbridge has charred more than 55,300 acres, it’s also 33% contained.

Public health officials in Calif are preparing, they say, for a possible third surge of coronavirus cases. They say they believe it will come from two groups already hit hard: essential workers and younger folks. The Press Democrat reports the college campuses are closed, large outbreaks have been connected to fraternities in Los Angeles. And there’s an outbreak in the Central Valley, that closed a poultry processing plant. Experts say nearly 9,000 of the more than 12,600 deaths from the pandemic came after Memorial Day, around the time the economy started reopen.

Officials in Lake County announce a meeting next week with the Board of Supervisors and PG&E officials on possible Public Safety Power Shutoffs. The meeting with the Board Tuesday after last falls disastrous intentional power outages left people in the dark and heat for days on end. The utility company says they’ve been working the last year to limit the impact of these events, harden their energy infrastructure against fire risk through their Community Wildfire Safety Program. The meeting Tuesday at 10.

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