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No new unemployment claims will be accepted in California for 2 weeks. That’s so the backlog can be caught up on and to reduce fraud. The state’s Employment Development Department has a backlog of about 600,000 claims and one million claims need to somehow be modified. Outdated technology is apparently causing the logjam as the state receives mountains of claims amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The department says there are around 2.1 million people out of work, but the rate dropped to 11.4% in August from 13.5% in July. Currently if you have to file, you’ll have to wait until October 5th, the agency will only accept contact information, then will be in touch in two weeks to complete claims. Those already in the system should not have their claims interrupted.

Reports of an armed robbery at a home in Laytonville lead to several arrests. The Sheriff’s office reports getting a call to the Black Oak Ranch in the 49000 block of North Highway 101, last Thursday finding multiple victims and identifying even more suspects. Tyler Bagliere and his dad, Louis at the property with Lathiaro White and Anthony Watson armed with firearms Thursday. Deputies say they held several people at gunpoint and demanded money, shooting one weapon near one of the victims. They eventually left, with about 20 pounds of marijuana, and said they’d be back in two days. And Tyler came back with three others Christopher Stewert, Deangelo Villalona, and another unidentified man. Same thing, shooting a weapon, demanding money. Three of the suspects arrested right away after being found with several assault rifles, a handgun and ammo. They’re charged with several crimes including armed robbery in concert, assault with a deadly weapon, felony child endangerment, and criminal threats. All were held except Louis Bagliere who was released for medical reasons. One of those reported at the marijuana robbery was caught later and charged along with the others.

A vehicle stop in Willits leads to a trio of arrests. Deputies stopped a car on Sept. 10th on the 101 north, at the West Road off ramp in Redwood Valley. The driver Jerry DeGurse, the front passenger, Nathan DeGurse and a rear passenger, Vicki Sandage.  Jerry had 7 warrants so he was held, then it was found Nathan also had 2 warrants, all of them out of Siskiyou County.  So the two were arrested. Heroin was found on Nathan as well and the female passenger had meth. She was held to appear later, the others held in jail.

The sheriff has requested help from the state since they aren’t getting hand crews from prison populations on the August Complex. Sheriff Matt Kendall appealing to the state for National Guard members. The Sheriff says Guard troops are trained to help CALFIRE Type 1 Hand Crews in establishing and maintaining fire lines, and they will not be used for law enforcement purposes. Other hand crews have been sent to the North Zone building dozer lines. The August Complex North and South Zones have burned together.  

A gathering in Fort Bragg to show support for the police. Residents on Main Street yesterday supporting first responders with a rally after there was a recent complaint regarding the flag logo on patrol cars showing a thin blue line. The thin blue line was in remembrance of fallen Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino, the first officer killed in the line of duty in Fort Bragg. Those rallying yesterday say they support all first responders, Law Enforcement, Fire, EMT’s, Dispatchers and others. The organizer says all of the attendees observed coronavirus outdoor gathering restrictions.

The North and South Zone of the August Complex have burned together. Some evacuation orders have however been lifted to warnings. There are still many orders and warnings in Mendocino County though. CAL FIRE’S unified team and the U.S. Forest Service are working in a coordinated response on the Complex, which was split into three zones for a more effective response. No word if there will only be two zones yet. But CAL FIRE’s Incident Management Team has ordered the National Guard to come help. The West Zone on its own has burned 91,800 acres and is 20% contained. Besides resources from across the state of California, firefighters from Montana, Idaho, Texas, and New Jersey have been assigned to help. There was increased fire behavior over the weekend due to higher humidity levels, increased temperatures and critically dry fuels near Lake Pillsbury. The entire Complex has burned 837,241 acres and is 34% contained. There’s been one death, the Complex 100% containment date has been projected for the middle of November.

An extension of the Public Health order and an update expected at the next Lake County Board of Supervisors meeting. The board is also expected to revisit issues with the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. The board may take up a proposed no confidence vote for the Treasurer-Tax Collector Barbara Ringen after she reportedly told the board she wasn’t prepared to respond to several complaints and concerns by board members themselves, and the city of Clearlake on tax defaulted property sales. The board also taking up several proclamations for some retirees and honorees at the meeting tomorrow.

The Forest Service making progress on the South Zone of the August Complex even though it burned into the North Zone. The fire which has destroyed 35 structures is still threatening another 1,600. Crews were working over the weekend strengthening lines near Pillsbury Ranch and working to protect structures with burning operations. Soldiers from Washington were helping Calif. firefighters. There are many still under mandatory evacuation orders or warnings. Some were allowed to go home in the Mendocino National Forest in Glenn County. If residents have to get to their homes on a Forest Service road they have to have a Forest Service permit. The South Zone evacuation orders remain in effect for Mendocino and Lake counties. .

A woman from Lakeport being hailed a hero for helping save a toddler who looked to be drowning in a pool Labor Day weekend at a resort in Nice. 20 year old Lydia Meraz, a staff member at WorldMark Clear Lake Resort reportedly did CPR on the 3-year-old, Darius Apar after he was pulled out of the swimming pool by his mom. Lake Co News reports tomorrow morning the Board of Supervisors will recognize Meraz for her heroic actions. Meraz is the resort’s guest services manager. She says she heard screaming for help Sept. 6th and told others to call 911 and went to the pool. Mom was apparently swimming laps and found the 3 year old face down in the pool, so Meraz did CPR.

The new Public Health Officer in Mendocino County says we’re moving in the right direction related to Covid-19. Public Health Officer Andy Coren in a regular Friday meeting of his office for the public on the pandemic said containing the numbers is helping the county potentially move out of the purple tier, the most restrictive in the state. Dr. Coren says more businesses can reopen in the red tier. Another death was confirmed last week. Coren described the patient as an elderly Hispanic woman. He also announced that Ken Fowler Auto Center had an outbreak, and as of Friday, they had nine cases. There were 18 more cases this weekend for a total in the county of 851. Dr. Coren reminded about the upcoming flu season and is urging residents to get a flu vaccine, especially healthcare workers.

Two more deputies will be added to the Sheriff’s Dept. in Lake County. And the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved its final budget agreeing to take $200,000 from the cannabis program to give to the sheriff’s office for the two new officers. The Sheriff Brian Martin told the board his agency was “significantly understaffed” with a 19% vacancy rate and 29 open positions. He also said retaining deputies has been an issue due to lower salaries in his department. The $9.3 million budget was approved for the sheriff’s department, which was the same last year. The supervisors also talked about getting other departments in the county to also bring them proposals to use cannabis tax revenue. The board also noted sales tax revenue was projected to be as much as 80% less than last year due to the pandemic.  

There will still be a Dine Out with Hospice event in Lake County amidst the pandemic. The event is this Thursday to support Hospice Services of Lake County with either dining in, or out, or taking out. There are nearly 2 dozen restaurants taking part this year. They will all have donation envelopes with donations going to the Wings of Hope Bereavement program and special needs of Hospice patients. This is the fourth year for the event. Organizers say in years past some restaurants have donated up to 50% of their sales and included a large tip. But they say this year they hope to see full restaurants with businesses keeping their sales and having those donation envelopes separate. There are also several sponsors.

For more information, call Hospice Services of Lake County, (707) 263-6222. Visit the organization’s website at http://www.lakecountyhospice. org.

The August Complex South Zone is in better shape. The US Forest Service reports hard work pays off and that, as additional burning operations are conducted, containment continues to increase. As we reported Friday, the east side of the South Zone is fully contained, and the entire Complex is now 34 percent. The perimeter of the entire Complex is more than 568 miles, larger than driving from Red Bluff to Boise, ID. Firefighters flying over Pillsbury Ranch were grounded due to smoke, but hand crews took out vegetation and increased protection of structures anyway. Residents and property owners who were evacuated or warned to evacuate had their orders lifted or reduced. Check with the Mendocino County Sheriff for your address.  There are still many road closures and Forests remain closed due to the August Complex. Around the South Fork Mountain down behind homes in Ruth there’s an intentionally controlled fire down the western slope. Dozer lines were also constructed between houses to help with protection which is supposed to continue all week. Fire managers on this portion of the fire are working on defense for the communities of Ruth Lake, Forest Glen and Trinity Pines/Post Mountain. Those established containment lines on the eastern part of the fire, east of East Low Gap being actively monitored.  Crews are mopping up, improving fire lines, dropping snags and making sure the fire line will continue to hold. Ground resources will be actively patrolling containment lines.  The North and South Zones have burned together in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness. The public is told the wildfire activity can change quickly and to follow all Evacuation Orders and Warnings. 

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