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The public health officer in Sonoma County has announced major outbreaks of Covid-19 at more than a dozen pre-school and home-based child cares. More than 60 people have become infected with coronavirus at 13 facilities, 25 kids who are mostly under 6, 27 of their family members and 10 staffers at the preschools. None of them ending up in the hospital. Dr. Sundari Mase’s office had closed an unidentified preschool two weeks ago after there were 16 infected children. 30 infections were linked to the site where one child was sick. There’s a planned demonstration in downtown Santa Rosa today to get in person learning back at county schools. Dr. Mase says it’s not surprising, but she thinks it could be good to rethink in person class right now.

A winery in Geyserville faces a massive fine for doing work without a permit. The Press Democrat reports Sonoma County agriculture officials fined Skipstone Ranch and its owner Fahri Diner over $172,280, the most ever in the county – for grading an acre of land. Skipstone is appealing the July fine which has 3 violations attached to it. The newspaper reports county agriculture officials found industrial grading on a steep hill at the property in the Anderson Valley. A spokesperson for the winery says the construction was for repairs after the Kincade fire last fall.

The state insurance commissioner is looking at some regulatory changes to offset higher prices for consumers related to wildfire risk. The Department of Insurance is having a hearing with homeowners, industry experts and insurance providers for an accelerated premium for some homeowners, but they would find out how their property might be affected by wildfires, then they’d be assisted with mitigation. Commissioner Ricardo Lara  says “climate change is going to continue to disrupt communities through extreme heat and weather and affect our insurance markets” so looking at different insurance models is critical for him as a regulator.

3 more deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported in Lake County. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace sent out notice last night that the three were all residents of a skilled nursing facility in Lakeport. 7 patients from Lakeport Post Acute have now died due to the pandemic, for a total of 10 people in the county. Dr. Pace says the 3 new deaths were all people over 65 with chronic health conditions. So far 30 residents have become sick there. Dr. Pace didn’t name the facility, but Lake Co News reports the state did. There have been 433 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county. Right now 54 are active and three people are in the hospital. The state is getting close to 800,000 cases and nearly 15,000 deaths.

The latest on the August complex is just under 818,000 acres have burned and it’s still at 30% containment. The fire has destroyed 35 structures and one person has died, a Texas firefighter early on in the fight after the fire started a month ago.  The fire continues to burn across the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. There are three zones being managed by CAL FIRE and the US Forest Service. The South Zone includes the Doe Fire, the largest of the 3. It’s burned into northern Lake County, and has charred 531,471 acres. They’re having a virtual public meeting on this zone tonight on Facebook on the Mendocino National Forest’s Facebook page. Last night they did the same for the West Zone. There are still multiple evacuation warnings and orders in place.

A man accused of child molestation in Clearlake has his trial set. 70 year old Bert Tino Besio will have his Jury Trial next Wednesday, September 23rd. It’s expected to last about a week. At a preliminary hearing almost a year ago, enough evidence was brought in to bring the case to trial. Besio’s charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor, five counts of forcible lewd acts on a child and three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child after a yearlong investigation. He’s accused of acts against two victims under 13. He was arrested last summer and pleaded not guilty.  

Not a good idea to trick or tweet this year. The word from the state Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mark Ghaly. Dr. Ghaly says things are different this year than in the past. He says taking your kids door to door to get candy is ill-advised during the pandemic, but there’s been no official word from the state, straight out banning it. The Governor is reportedly clarifying that in days to come. But last week LA County is strictly banning some trick-or-treating and gatherings with non-household members even outdoors. Car parades, Halloween movie nights at drive-ins, Halloween-themed meals at outdoor restaurants, and Halloween decorations on homes are allowed.

Learning hubs are being created in Lake County to help students who aren’t in person in class. The Lake County Office of Education, the local school districts and partnering organizations working together for the hubs following all Public Health guidelines. The hubs will be open during certain hours, and include the Clearlake Youth Center, Lower Lake Museum, Spring Valley Community Center and Behavioral Health Offices. There, kids will have access to the Internet, a site and school district representative, and they may even have access to transportation and get some food.

The August Complex is the largest fire to ever burn in the state. It’s at almost 820,000 acres and remains 30% contained. There are three zones to the fire with acreage all updated today – South Zone 484,754 acres, 30% contained; North Zone 248,573 acres, 25% contained; West Zone 78,706 acres, 5% contained. The acreage has been decreased some after the Forest Service updated their mapping. The Complex includes the Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, Vinegar, and Doe fires, the Doe, the largest, over 500,000 in the history books itself. Both CAL FIRE and the Forest Service are working together on the massive Complex. There is no date of anticipated containment, but there is a possibility of some light rain tonight and tomorrow after weeks of record temperatures in severe drought conditions. The fire’s expected to continue moving toward Lake Pillsbury, and to the west beyond the Impassable Rock area.

The Governor has announced money going to counties in the first round of Homekey. With that Mendocino County got almost $9.7M from the $600 million program to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties, and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The County is negotiating to buy a motel on Orchard Ave. in Ukiah which will be used for transitional housing. The Governor announced Homekey in June, and in July made $600 million in funding available. $550M of that is going to cities and counties from federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Funds. $50 million more comes from the state to supplement the acquisition and provide initial operating funds.

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