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The Lake County Public Health Officer reports another death from Covid-19. The death over the weekend for a total of 11 deaths. Dr. Gary Pace says the death was not related to a Senior Residential Facility, but that one in the county has had more than 30 confirmed cases in residents, 20 in staff, and seven deaths.  He says yet another one had two resident cases and four staffers who were positive and says it looks like a staff member gets sick outside the facility, the brings it to the facility, which has been happening in many other situations. Dr. Pace says post-holiday cases are common as with Labor Day. He also says the numbers are consistent with the state’s most restrictive tier, Purple so if the case load continues as is, the county could be in that tier which means closing indoor dining and other restrictions like schools not opening for in person. So he says slowing transmission by wearing masks and avoiding gatherings with people outside of our households is the best practice.

The August Complex has now burned almost 847,000 acres. The fire itself is only 34% contained. Good work reported by firefighters on the South Zone where the whole eastern edge of that zone is contained. The South and North Zones have now burned together. The fire is burning in the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. There have been 35 structures destroyed and still there are 1,595 threatened. We still have evacuations in the South Zone of the fire in effect for Mendocino and Lake counties, Pillsbury Ranch and the Lake Pillsbury basin in Lake County are still under mandatory orders.

In the West Zone of the fire 125 National Guard personnel are assigned to the incident. This zone has charred almost 94,000 acres and is 30% contained. Calif. firefighters and National Guard members are joined by resources from Montana, Idaho, Texas, and New Jersey. The Forest Service reports being successful with their firing operations near Lake Pillsbury yesterday which helped them eliminate isolated pockets of unburned fuels. Firefighters are mopping up areas further north where the fire has died down. There is a lot of smoke, active pockets and several areas where the fire continues to smolder and creep.

A new ordinance for changes to commercial cannabis operations have been approved by the Clearlake City Council. The third meeting in a row on the rule changes last Thursday after they first took up the matter last month to allow more permits to be released due to higher demand. The city manager reported to the council that existing businesses were successful and there should be more allowed, so the council has given the green light for more delivery-only dispensaries and other cannabis businesses, but not retailers, because the city code calls for the amount the city already has. The city manager told Lake Co News there were four additional permits wanted already.

Improved jobless numbers across the state. In Lake County, the rate for August at 8.8% as opposed to 11.7 percent in July and 14.2 percent in June. Last August it was 4.5 percent. The state recorded 11.4 percent in August, down from 13.5 percent in July. It’s the first month since the pandemic first surfaced where the state’s rate was lower than when it was during the recession, at 12.3%. In Mendocino County the August unemployment was 8.8%, down more than 2 points from 10.9 percent in July, and in Colusa, 11%, Napa, 8.3% and Sonoma was 7.7%.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife looking for a regulation change so hunters of elk and pronghorn (antelope) can get full refunds due to shortened seasons due to wildfires and forest closures. Those eligible could also potentially get a preference point for elk or pronghorn for the 2020 season. The agency’s director says the unprecedented forest closures and wildfires cut the season and the tags are expensive. He says refunding the fees and restoring the preference points is the least they can do. Hunting fees pay for scientific research and conservation measures. An elk tag is $461.50 and a pronghorn tag costs $155.27, not including application and processing fees. Those are not going to be refundable.

Another man believed to have been part of a group of others caught up in a marijuana strong arm robbery in Laytonville hog tied by community members, and now public outcry. A picture surfaced on social media of the Black man, David Edmonds, who was eventually arrested after Saturday’s cannabis robbery. The photo had some saying it was good the man was caught, but some negative and racist comments followed. Another said the image was “highly disturbing”. Edmonds and six others were caught after three men, a woman and a girl were all held at gunpoint.

A group in Mendocino County reminding not to forget to fill out your Census questionnaire.  The country’s population, as you probably know, is counted every ten years. It’s part of the U.S. Constitution, that the country’s population will be counted each decade. That helps decide how many reps a state gets in the House of Representatives and how much money comes to each state. The Mendocino County response rate was under 55% last time. You can visit http://www.my-2020census.gov. or call 844-330-2020 and Spanish speakers can call 1-844-468-2020.

A local cleanup in Ukiah is set. “From Street to Creek” to help rid the streets and neighborhoods of trash. The pandemic has brought new litter, masks, gloves, and disposable takeout containers, according to the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District. The agency says many things can be rinsed and recycled, reused or composted, but they hit local creeks and threaten the water supply. This year volunteers can work alone or in their own established COVID bubble. Bubbles are assigned when you pick up supplies Saturday at your assigned location. You have to pre-register by Thursday at https://www.surveymonkey. com/r/QNP95FB. For more information, contact Edelman at deborah.edelman@mcrcd.org.

A man from Lake County accused of arson who had to be examined for competency has been found competent to stand trial. But Matthew Miravalle pleaded no contest to the arson charge in March. He also waived his right to a trial by jury though, on the question of competency. His lawyer asked for doctor’s reports which were presented to the court. He now goes to court October 5th. But to be sentenced. The case has gone on to the Lake County Probation Department for a sentencing recommendation.  He’s accused of setting three fires in Clearlake Oaks. Two doctors found he was competent. He’s also recently been registered with the state as an arsonist.

A tax break for the state’s cannabis industry thanks to lawmakers. The Gov. signed a bill into law that adjusts the cannabis excise tax markup amount until July 1, 2021. It also does not allow the cultivation tax rates to be adjusted for inflation all of next year unless it means an inflation rate less than zero. The legal marijuana industry still competing with the black market, lobbied lawmakers for tax relief.

Now the biggest fire to ever burn in Calif, at almost 880,000 acres. Since the fire started over a month ago thousands had to leave their homes. Many have been allowed to return, others in Lake and Mendocino Counties are still out. The West Zone of the fire has burned an area of Trinity County down to Lake Pillsbury in Mendocino County and stretches 195 miles. It’s burned more than, 95,100 acres and is 35% contained.  The North Zone is threatening communities around Ruth and has burned nearly 295,650 acres. It’s 29% contained. It’s merged with the South Zone which is mostly contained except around Lake Pillsbury in Mendocino and Lake counties.  The South Zone, the largest of the 3 zones, includes the Doe Fire. It’s burned almost 488,000 acres and is 40% contained.  The milder weather the state’s been experiencing is ending this weekend with an expected spike in temperatures. It’s the first day of fall when Calif. has historically had to deal with the largest and most devastating fires. CAL FIRE warns not to let your guard down and visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.  

No Kelseyville Pear Festival this year. Lake Co News reports it’s the best attended one day event in the county, a one-day celebration of the county’s harvest of pears, walnuts, olives and winegrapes. Due to the pandemic the event is canceled for the first time in nearly 30 years. The event is planned for next year.

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