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Monthly Archives: October 2020

A woman stranded on the side of the road along the coast helped out by a couple of District Attorney’s office employees. The Mendocino County DA’s office posted on their Facebook page that Assistant DA Dale Trigg and Assistant Chief DA Investigator Andy Alvarado were driving along the coast Tuesday morning to interview witnesses and found an older woman had locked herself out of her vehicle along an isolated stretch of Highway 20 in very cold weather. The DA’s office post says others had passed the “obviously distressed woman without stopping to help”, but not Trigg and Alvarado who offered her to stay in their warm car while they waited together for help. One hour later AAA came and helped and the woman was on her way.

A man from Ukiah busted for DUI had to go to court and face a jury. The DA’s office reports Bruce Branscomb McKee was arrested for DUI and went to jury trial. The DA’s office says he had ingested cannabis, then had an accident in November. But he was found guilty for misdemeanor DUI. The sentencing has not happened yet.

A mistrial in the case of three men for a robbery, but they’re not free yet. The Mendo DA’s office reports a jury was deadlocked in the case of Nathan Kurtz of Petaluma, Azuriah Paul of Forestville and Shane Waier of Capitola, all still charged with first degree robbery in concert with two others. There are also special allegations related to firearms. The lawyers in the case are supposed to meet again, per protocol and discuss the trial and a retrial. The men charged for a July 2019 incident.

The Gov. has announced an independent panel to review any FDA approved COVID vaccines to make sure their safe. Now the state’s acting Public Health Officer, Dr. Erica Pan has announced a group of physicians covering immunization, geriatrics, ethics, epidemiology, health equity, and pharmacy will be on the COVID-19 Drafting Guidelines Workgroup. They will come up with California-specific guidance related to the vaccine following frameworks put out by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A man from McKinleyville has ended up in the hospital after he says another man confronted and stabbed him. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s dept reports the 34 year old victim was taken to a local hospital after what’s being called a road rage incident. The victim says he went after the 24 year old suspect who gave him the middle finger while driving and during a confrontation, he was stabbed. After that they both left the scene. The suspect called the Sheriff’s Office first to report what happened and admitted he stabbed the victim, but said it was self-defense. They are investigating and have not arrested anyone.

New Covid-19 guidelines have been released by the state on indoor visits at nursing homes. After months of complaints by families who say they’re loved ones are suffering without visits, they may get their wish. On Friday the state says long term care facilities like nursing homes will be able to host visitors. But only in the 46 counties in the state’s red, orange and yellow tiers. The other 12 counties that are in purple may not have the visits yet, because it’s too risky. Visitors will be checked for fever and possible COVID-19 symptoms, wear masks and wash hands upon entering the facility. They can only visit facilities with no infectious residents or staff for the last 14 days.

Another employee group in Lake County gets their raise. The Lake County Board of Supervisors has voted unanimously for the Lake County Employee Association. The board continuing to approve raises across several associations, the latest the largest employee union. Some of the staff positions are also being reclassified and most see their salaries at 85% of the market median value, something the board says they’ve been working on for several months. Still the contracts with the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and Lake County Correctional Officers Association are awaiting final approval from their unions and will be considered at next week’s board meeting.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors hearing about the plan to kill mute swans from Clear Lake, since they’re considered an invasive species. The board considered the matter after a presentation from the Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding the planned eradication of the swans. It comes after a column in the Record Bee where a couple of Supervisors said that spurred them putting the item on the agenda. The agency representative said they didn’t know about the column in the newspaper. The agency says there are several reports of the bird’s aggression toward other species and that they’re harmful to ecosystems. The agency wants them killed by trained and experienced shooters, but they have no firm plan yet. The Board agreed they wanted alternatives to shooting the animals.

A new website has been put up in Mendocino County focused on coronavirus.  The site has resources about the virus, where you can get tested and if there are ongoing surveillance testing sites in areas of outbreaks. Mendocino County had a contract with UC San Francisco’s medical school for clinics to offer free testing, but that has ended. The program canceled by the university as of this Saturday. Optum Serve is still testing and the Public Health dept. is working with other local health centers and community organizations for more free testing for those who can’t get to the facility in Ukiah at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds.

https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-testing/local-surveillance-testing-opportunities

A man from Ukiah’s been arrested for failing to appear on a felony arrest warrant. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports contacting Jeremy Skinner early yesterday morning in the 1800 block of North State Street in Ukiah and arrested him knowing about his warrant. He was booked into Mendocino County Jail on $25,000.00 bail.

Dry air hanging around areas of the August Complex South Zone. The US Forest Service reports a dry air mass is here to stay for at least a week and that could spread the fire which has burned almost 500,000 acres on its own. It’s 90% contained. Crews continue to repair lines and grade roads, take down berms near containment lines so there’s drainage to prevent erosion in sloped areas and on firelines and trails. Excavators, graders and water tenders are in several areas including Leech Lake and around Lake Pillsbury. As we reported yesterday the uncontained area is in the Hellhole Canyon east of Covelo which is steep, dangerous terrain and not safe for firefighters. The entire Complex has burned 1,032,648 acres and is 93% contained.     

First time claims for unemployment down in the most recent reporting week, but the federal government says Calif. has one fifth of all unemployment claims in the country. While Calif. makes up around 7% of the US labor force, it was 20% of all first time claims across the country. But initial claims have been going down steadily for three weeks in a row, and were down 7,800 for the week of Oct. 24th. The U.S. Labor Department reports 152,100 California workers filed initial claims last week out of the 751,000 nationwide. Illinois had the second highest amount with 54,800 claims, then New York state had 52,300.

The Governor says older Californians who need to renew their drivers licenses can do it by mail so they don’t have to come to the DMV in person. Those 70 and older first got extensions on license renewals. They normally have to go in person. The department says there are probably about 860,000 seniors who come in person each year to update their licenses. The state says the extensions and renewals will keep everyone updated without them being at risk because they have to leave their house.  Also the governor has approved a new executive order for restaurants along highways to expand outdoor services for four months, but the Department of Transportation will have to issue special permits.

Mendocino County gets to move into a less restrictive tier in California’s color-coded system. Glenn and Mendocino counties move into the red tier, from purple, the most restrictive. Other counties also moved up, Santa Cruz, Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo, all from red to orange. Moving into the red tier means restaurants, gyms, places of worship and other businesses can reopen indoors with capacity limits. When they get up to the orange and yellow tiers the capacity limit loosens some and other non-essential types of businesses also can reopen. The State Dept. of Public Health announces their assessments each Tues. They also reportedly notified 8 other counties they didn’t meet the requirements of the tier they are currently in. This week’s list reflected numbers from Oct. 11th to Oct. 17th.

Mendocino County gets to move into the red tier from purple. The Public Health office reports being notified by the state they’ve moved out of the “widespread” COVID-19 community risk status of purple into Tier 2 or red, the “substantial” risk category which allows more businesses to reopen today. The County CEO thanked residents for doing their part to slow the spread of coronavirus. It also comes the same day the public health dept. announced an outbreak at a childcare facility in Fort Bragg. Still the Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren says moving to the red tier is good news, but many regions in the country are experiencing spikes.

A traffic stop leads to the arrest of a woman in Redwood Valley on parole. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports seeing the car make two traffic violations. The driver, Jeannette Long (a.k.a. Jeannette Perez), was found to be on active parole. Her parole officer was called and said she failed to report to a parole office when released so she was taken to jail on violation of parole and held on $50,000.00 bail.

Haunted Lake County is coming back, a little different this year. The cofounder and treasurer of the event says they’re doing a COVID-safe Halloween at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Lakeport. Lake Co News reports the organizer got approval from the Lake County Public Health Office for the drive thru event which started last weekend and goes again this weekend, Friday, Oct. 30th and Saturday, Oct. 31st, Halloween night. It’s from 5 to 10 p.m. with the 5 o’clock hour being less-scary for the kids, the 6 to 10 p.m. time period is geared towards adults. Last year they raised $6,000 for Operation Tango Mike, this year, proceeds will go to the Lake County Fair Foundation.

Nearly everyone who lost their power in the latest PG&E public safety power shutoffs have their power back on. Lake Co News reports the utility company said last night they’d already restored power to 97 percent of the 345,000 customers in 34 counties who they shut down due to red flag warning conditions. The power downs started over the weekend in windy and dry conditions. The last “all clear” came yesterday afternoon for the rest of the areas still without power. The company reported checking more than 17,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines using 1,800 ground patrol units, 65 helicopters and one airplane. The news site reports PG&E got 130 reports of damage or hazards like downed power lines or vegetation on lines.

The South Zone of the August Complex fire impacted some by the red flag weather. The fire’s been burning since the middle of August and is the first fire to ever burn more than a million acres in Calif. At 1,032,648 acres with 93% containment. It’s still burning in the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests and is active near Covelo in Hellhole Canyon. That part of the Complex, the South Zone has burned almost 500,000 acres on its own. It’s 90% contained. 600 firefighters are on the zone removing downed trees, fixing containment lines and breaking down berms.

Distracted drivers beware, the California Highway Patrol is starting a new enforcement campaign looking for impaired drivers in California. The money for the campaign comes from the Safer Highways Statewide grant which goes thru next September. The grant so the patrol can have more DUI patrols and checkpoints and traffic safety education across the state. They’re also taking part in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. They say DUI is not only about alcohol consumption, but also, marijuana, prescription meds, illegal drugs, or any combo of them. Your inability to drive could mean you’re arrested if you’re found to be under the influence.

The Mayor of Fort Bragg is out. Mayor William Lee at the helm of the city council since winning his seat in November 2016. But now he says he’s resigning at the end of the year. He put out a letter saying it’s been one of the great honors of his life. He says it’s a challenging time, but is touting all he has accomplished in his time on the council, such as a balanced budget the past few years. He’s apparently leaving for a job out of town which he says is a career advancement. They will keep their home in Fort Bragg, so you may still see him around.  There will be a vote to choose a new Mayor and Vice Mayor December 14th.

Two homes in Potter Valley threatened by fires the fire dept. says were probably caused by running generators. The Potter Valley Volunteer Fire Department reported to the scene and says they got there just in time to save a home in one fire Monday just after midnight. The fire spotted on a deck outside, which by the time they arrived was fully engulfed in flames. They were able to stop it from spreading inside. They say there was a generator being used, not because of the power down, but because a tree limb fell and knocked out power. The second fire later Monday afternoon in an outbuilding, firefighters stopped it from spreading. They say that fire too was also believed to have ignited due to a generator.  

A new report says in the midst of the pandemic, more Californians are buying guns. The FBI reportedly conducted 462,000 background checks for handgun purchases in the state from March to September, that’s an 83% jump from the same period in 2019 when 209,000 were conducted. And the most ever in a seven month period. The checks for those buying a long gun or other type were also up, by 110,000, or 54%, from March to September compared with the same period last year.

A partnership between MCHC Health Centers (MCHC), and Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization will give backup power to the hospital group. The humanitarian organization has a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. The recent wildfires in Northern Calif. triggered the work and a donation of a $1.2 million solar battery microgrid power solution for the Hillside Health Center during any power outage. The project is being funded by Direct Relief and the California Public Utilities Commission. The hospital group had to close several times in 2018 & 19 due to fires and power outages. The group says one outage in 2019 caused missed visits by about 2,400 patients, a loss of vaccines, income loss for staff, and a loss of $300,000 in revenue.

There’s going to be days of cellular service outages in the Round Valley area, resulting in a complete loss of service. The Sheriff’s Dept. says they were notified starting at 6 am tomorrow until noon, six to 9 am Friday, 12 am to 6 am next Tuesday, and 12 am to 3 am next Wednesday there will be no cell service as US Cellular works on better service to the area. The Sheriff’s Office says they’re going to have Deputies specifically staffed in Round Valley during the disruption dates/times and that the Covelo Fire Department will also have personnel around the Covelo Firehouse for anyone who needs help whether that’s with a fire, medical needs or law enforcement help.

***FORT BRAGG*** There has been an outbreak of COVID-19 in a Fort Bragg children’s daycare. If you have close ties to any daycare in Fort Bragg, we recommend that you get tested if possible. Contact tracing is underway.

Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing in Fort Bragg:
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27TH, 2020
MENDOCINO COAST CLINIC
205 SOUTH STREET, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

*********************************

Power’s being restored to those across Northern Calif. who were impacted by the latest public safety power shutoffs. The utility company, PG&E turned the power off for hundreds of thousands of people in over 30 counties because of a red flag warning across the state. Lake and Mendocino were included in the shutoffs, under 1,000 customers in Mendocino County and 21,621 customers in Lake. As of last night PG&E started to restore power after an all clear was called. They said everyone would have their power back on by tonight at 10 p.m. The company has a lookup tool online to see when each area would be powered back on. Winds of 75 miles an hour in Sonoma County with a gust reported at 89 miles an hour, in Lake, wind speeds were 57 miles an hour, the second fastest in the state, and for gusts recorded at 71 miles per hour.

A man from Clearlake Oaks has been arrested in connection to two rapes last week. As we reported last night Clearlake Police were searching for 34 year old Romondis Tyron Thompson. They say it took less than 2 hours to find him after putting out a report they needed help finding him. He goes by the name “Romeo Thompson” on Facebook and was reported to have been contacting women online. One of his victims was reportedly a minor though. He was seen yesterday morning and Clearlake Police officers chased him down and stopped him when he tried getting out of the car and running. He’s charged with obstruction, resisting a peace officer, false imprisonment and a host of other charges related to the alleged rapes. He’s held on $1 million.

The city of Lakeport looking for civic minded residents to fill some spots on local commissions and committees. Applications being accepted for the Lakeport Economic Development Advisory Committee for anyone living, working, shopping, or otherwise doing business in the city. You can find an application on the city’s website. The committee has seven people on it who are appointed by the city council and serve two years. The positions would start in January and are voluntary. They come up with ideas and strategies to promote economic development through business retention, recruitment, attraction and creation.

A ballot measure that would make so-called gig workers independent contractors instead of employees is not faring well so far. UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies has a new poll out a week ahead of the election showing even though Uber and Lyft has spent a bundle on the ballot measure, so far it won’t meet the 50% plus one voter threshold to pass. The survey also looked at another initiative to change how the state taxes commercial property, and another on rent control, and still one more to bring back affirmative action. The survey shows each of the propositions look to be headed for defeat.

CSU campuses report better enrollment even though much of higher education is being done online these days. A new report on enrollment on California State University campuses showed gains in enrollment, going against a nationwide trend. 12 of 23 of the CSU campuses said they had gains, others impacted hard by coronavirus were still reporting high enrollments including Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State Fullerton, CSU Dominguez Hills and Cal State Long Beach. Undergrad enrollment is down about 4% nationwide.

It looks like the unemployment claim backlog may be getting better. But a new report says there are still one million cases backlogged by the state Employment Development Department. There was a backlog of nearly 2 million claims after the pandemic first triggered business closures in Calif. A new high-tech verification tool was supposed to help the state agency catch up with claims is apparently starting to work. The week ending Sept. 30th the latest the dept. has released shows a backlog still of more than 1.5 million workers had not had their claim processed, then the following week it was 1.3 million, and the week ending Oct. 14th showed 1.2 million were still awaiting processing of their claim.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has a plan for residential customers to pay less in utility costs than small businesses and farmers. The company says they support the idea of changing their pricing scheme after a recent study showed the way they balance rates was lopsided. The company says the plan won’t affect how much they get from customers, but it will rebalance their costs. The California Public Utilities Commission recommended the discount for residential customers. Last summer residential customers paid more than agricultural customers.

The Mendocino County Elections office with some reminders to folks for the historic upcoming election. A reminder, if you have not received your mail in ballot to call. If you don’t plan to vote in person, which you are allowed to do, you can come to the polls without a vote by mail ballot and envelope, but you will have to vote provisionally and you will get a “Special Pink” envelope which is processed separately from regular ballots. If you are not registered to vote, you can register at the polls on Election Day and vote provisionally too. Polling Locations are open on Election Day Only – The Drop Box Locations at the City of Willits, City of Fort Bragg, the City of Point Arena and the County Admin Building in Ukiah 24/7. For questions or additional information please contact the Election / County Clerk’s Office by calling 707 234-6819.

The August Complex Fire is still crawling along, barely moving, with a little more containment. The fire’s been burning for over 2 months and has burned over a million acres. The South Zone of the fire did get some action yesterday due to the red flag weather and winds of up to 40 mph at times. Humidity dipped into the single digits, dropping as low as 1% at Mendocino Pass. The extremely dry air mass over the fire was expected to continue until about 5 p.m. tonight. The Forest Service brought in more firefighters to the South Zone to take out hazard trees, repair lines in priority areas and breaking down berms near containment lines. The South Zone has burned just under 500k acres alone and is 90% contained. The fire area not contained is east of Covelo in the Hellhole Canyon which is steep, dangerous terrain and not safe for firefighters to engage directly with the fire. The August Complex is 93% contained.

Guidance for personal care services to reopen indoors had been released by the state, but also here in Mendocino County. As of last Tuesday the county’s allowing reopening for these businesses in tiers for skincare and estheticians; nail salons; body art, which includes piercing and tattoos; massage services, including in a non-healthcare setting and electrology. Before any of these businesses reopen they have to self certify. You can visit the county’s website, or https://www.mendocinocountybusiness.org. They remind to wear a mask, follow Social Distancing Requirements.

Four men in Mendocino County have been sent to prison. The four in unrelated cases, Joseph Hart from Spy Rock was sentenced Friday to five years for assault with a knife. His base sentence of 36 months was doubled due to a prior Strike conviction. Tylor Lauvale Ulugalu of Ukiah, also got five years for rape of a minor. He also had his base rate of 3 years doubled due to a prior strike. Randolph Bisson of Covelo got 13 years after a guilty plea to assault with a firearm and admitting he used the firearm in the commission of the crime. Finally Joel Jesus Ramos of Hopland got 2 years behind bars for failing to follow his supervised probation for vehicle theft and receiving stolen property (a motor vehicle), both felonies.

A man in Ukiah’s been arrested on a domestic incident over the weekend. Deputies got a call early Friday finding an extremely drunk Robert Garcia who they say had a large contusion on his forehead too. They say a woman at the home appeared very upset, and there were several witnesses who say Garcia was drinking until he got drunk, then started to argue with the woman, hitting her in the stomach, while she was holding a child. In self-defense, the woman reportedly picked something up and hit the man in the head then hid from him.  After interviewing everyone there Garcia was arrested for domestic violence battery and felony violation of probation and held on $25,000.00 bail.

Free drive thru Covid-19 testing thru the Mendocino County Public Health Office and Mendocino Coast Clinic. Tomorrow from 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM in Fort Bragg at 205 South Street. Anyone can be tested there.

Another red flag warning in the area of the August Complex Fire, which is still creeping and smoldering. The fire in the South Zone at nearly 600,000 acres is 90% contained. The fire itself, which has burned nearly 1,032,600 acres is 93% contained. Yesterday the red flag warning hit the fire area and firefighters continued to patrol heat sources where wind was increases. They were expecting active fire behavior with torching, spotting and running. The fire was smoldering and creeping in the Hellhole Canyon. Temperatures yesterday were in the low 80s, with 15% humidity and winds of up to 35 mph on the ridge tops.

A public safety power shutoff is in effect in Mendocino County. The power down for under 1,000 customers, with restoration expected by tomorrow. PG&E reported they were trying to minimize the amount of customers. The Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Services say they’re monitoring and trying to provide the most up to date, accurate information via social media and Nixle. There are a couple of resource centers where residents can get charging and electricity for their devices, in Potter Valley and the Bible Church on Main St. and in Willits at the Community Center on Commercial St.  Schools are having to go back to distance learning during the event in Ukiah.

The red flag warnings in most of the state, and the intended shutoff was supposed to hit 361,000 including in nearby Colusa, Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Sonoma, Tehama, and Yolo counties. But 105,000 customers who had been told they’d be losing their power too, were removed from the list. There are seven in Lake County opening at 8 today…
the Clearlake Senior Community Center, Mountain High Coffee in Cobb, Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians Red Hills Property in Kelseyville, the Konocti Vista Casino in Lakeport, Twin Pine Casino and Hotel in Middletown, Community Baptist Church in Nice and Upper Lake Middle School.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors taking up all those raises for county staff. Tomorrow the board continues approving several million dollars in raises with unions working on finalizing deals with their employee groups. Last week the board approved more than $5 million in annual pay raises. Lake Co News reports some of the raises were as high as 42% more than their current rate. That for department heads. But the news site reports some of the agreements were put on hold, including for the Deputy Sheriff’s Association and the Correctional Officers Association. Tomorrow they’ll revisit those along with the Lake County Employees Association and Lake County Safety Employees Association. They’ll also hold a second reading for which they will stay their own pay at its current rate of just over $63,700 a year. Also at the meeting the board’s taking up the matter of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s proposed eradication of non-native mute swans from Clear Lake.

Clearlake looking to come up with innovative ways for quality housing for working professionals. The City Manager approached the City Council with a plan earlier this month for $1 million from Series B bond funds for the program which was unanimously supported by the council. City Manager Alan Flora says they’re trying to find ways to develop market rate housing in the city. He says since there have been so many fires in Northern Calif. the cost of construction has skyrocketed at about $300 per square feet, which isn’t affordable for Lake County where the median price is about $262,000.

A new study says nearly all so-called gig workers can’t pay their monthly expenses and almost half got no personal protective equipment from companies they work for during the pandemic. The study by the UCLA Labor Center says those working contracting or side-hustle type jobs studied during the pandemic. 302 workers filled out the surveys finding about 80% said it was their main source of money, but half have had to stop working because of coronavirus. 70% said they were working but had to cut their hours. The study also says the companies they were working for made little or no effort to protect them from COVID-19. The researchers said they hoped it was helpful just ahead of the election where the future of the gig economy in California is on the ballot.

Many voters in Calif. are said to be bringing their mail-in ballots into elections departments in person to be sure their vote is counted. Concerns after the President said Californians were all getting mail in ballots which could be fraudulent. And after the Republican Party put up some unofficial ballot boxes which the secretary of state called illegal. The Calif. Attorney General has also sued to force Republicans to take the boxes down after they refused. Cal Matters reports some county registrars of voters say they’re emptying drop boxes daily or almost every day.

A couple of federal lawsuits filed against debris removal companies after the massive October 2017 Tubbs Fire have been dismissed. AshBritt Environmental and Tetra Tech were accused of improper debris removal like taking extra dirt for themselves, that they were getting paid per the ton for. Lawyers for North Bay residents sued claiming getting charged for over-excavation. But the cases were tossed after the plaintiffs and the two companies agreed to end them without any exchange of cash or settlement.

A man on the run in Clearlake after police say he’s connected to a pair of rapes. Police say it was Romondis Tyron Thompson who’s to blame for two rapes in the last week. They’re asking for the public’s help finding the man who’s described as a 34 year old Black man with freckles, about 6’2″, 160 lbs., with brown hair and brown eyes. He is also reported to be using the name “Romeo Thompson” on Facebook where he’s contacted one victim and other women. He’s also been seen in a Ford F-150 pickup truck (CA License # 92350Z1). Cops have reportedly served a search warrant for which they picked up more evidence on the guy who they say is on Post Release Community Supervision. They ask if you have any info on him or the incidents, to call Detective Flores at 707-994-8251 Ext. 315.

A solo car crash into a tree ends in two deaths. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office working with the Long Valley Fire Dept. on the incident late last night. They say a woman was driving a Toyota Tacoma north on Howard St. north of SR-162 at a high rate of speed with a man in the front passenger seat with her and another passenger in the rear. They say the female driver went off the edge of the road, into a wooden fence and crashed into the tree. The driver and male passenger were pronounced dead at the scene. The female rear passenger was flown to a hospital in Chico with major injuries. Police say they think drugs or alcohol might have been a factor.

Drug Take Back Day in Mendocino County. Tomorrow in Fort Bragg from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Fort Bragg Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are taking back unused and unwanted prescription drugs. The pills will be disposed of police say to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding homes of potentially dangerous and expired medications. This is a nationwide event, going for a decade now. Last fall there were nearly 883,000 pounds of prescription drugs dropped off at almost 6,300 sites operated by the DEA and nearly 5,000 state and local law enforcement partners. To date the DEA and other law enforcement partners have collected almost 6,350 tons of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription medications since the first National Prescription Drug Take Back in 2010.

Millions in raises coming to Lake County staffers. As we’ve been reporting the Board of Supervisors has been considering the raises. Lake Co News reports it adds up to more than $5 million in raises for county staff. The news site says on Tuesday there was a three hour discussion on the matter that was a bit muddy, with most of the board approving of the management raises, but others have to wait until next week for their agreements. The raises go into effect right away, but for some, they may have to wait until March. The County Administrative Officer says a survey conducted two years ago showed more than a third of county staff had applied for other jobs, most of which looking for more money, 75% said they were underpaid.

Congressman John Garamendi had his Women of the Year event online due to the pandemic. He honored more than 3 dozen women from his district, for being leaders and visionaries in their communities. That included Yvonne Cox in Lake County, who hails from Lucerne. The women, Garamendi says have all made major contributions through public service, business, education, and local advocacy. They also touched on the fact that it’s the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Garamendi says during the pandemic, each of the honorees worked tirelessly to serve their communities and help vulnerable populations weather the storm.

A third case of Covid-19 in the Lake County Jail inmate population. There was a case discovered a couple weeks ago and all inmates in close contact were isolated. Earlier this week there was a confirmation of a second inmate who contracted the virus, and yesterday a 3rd. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reported after testing several inmates in a single unit in isolation, another tested positive. There are currently two active cases in the jail and there have been five cases total since March. The dept. says they’re working with the public health office to closely monitor the situation and testing staff and inmates to contain the virus.

More containment has been reported on the August Complex, but not that much. In any case there hasn’t been much forward movement on the giant fire in several days even with fast moving winds in red flag conditions. The fire has burned 1,032,264 acres and is 92 percent contained. The acreage has not changed since Sunday, the containment has grown by one percent. The fire, which was made up of several, then split into management zones ignited in dry lightning Aug. 16 and 17. The last of the evacuation orders and warnings in Mendocino County have been lifted. And the largest part of the fire, the Southwest Area Incident Management was handed back to the Mendocino National Forest on Thursday.

Calmer wind conditions has led PG&E to cancel some of their planned public safety power shutoffs, but forecasters issued a new fire weather watch. On Sunday there’s another fire risk and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. may again turn off power. They say they’ll decide today or tomorrow. The fire weather watch is for 8 a.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Tuesday for most of the North Bay, parts of the East Bay, the Diablo Range and the Santa Cruz mountains. The National Weather Service forecasts sustained wind speeds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts could pass 70 mph, more than what triggered the red flag warning that ends today.

The unemployment claims in Calif are way down, to nearly what they were at the end of March, before things got really bad due to the pandemic. The US Labor Dept. reports claims here in California were the lowest they’ve been since all the shutdowns. Still almost 160,000 California workers filed first-time unemployment claims for the week that ended Oct. 17th. At the end of March, workers filed over one million first time claims. The two months prior to the pandemic and businesses closing, the unemployment claims were about 45,000 a week.

A special presentation by the Middletown Art Center “Navigating the Chaos” is open to the public. The online workshop tomorrow afternoon from 1:30 pm to 3:30pm will be facilitied by Neurographica® Specialist and Artist Antje Howard. There will be drawing and writing and group interaction. Howard says everyone can work together to bring emotions like confusion and grief into a more navigable form. For more info visit http://www.middletownartcenter.org.

Some complaints have been filed by folks who regularly use Riverside Park asking for another location for the city’s drive-through haunted house. The event set for this weekend in Ukiah, but some say it’s not safe and it will disrupt local wildlife which includes owls, skunks, raccoons, and cottontail rabbits. They’re generally only disrupted by pedestrians, dog-walkers, some cyclists, and city workers the recreationalists say. The event which has been dubbed “Sacrifice” is drive and walk-through in the park at night. One of the complaints says the park terrain is dangerous for cars and in the dark for walkers too. The complaints at this week’s City Council meeting.

The wine grape haul this year is said to be lighter. The grape crush report doesn’t come out until February, but the Daily Journal reports the executive director of Mendocino WineGrowers, Inc says projections are for 10-40 percent lower yield and lighter tonnage. The lower yield didn’t have anything to do with fires, it was already predicted before the fires broke out and the grapes possible exposure to smoke. But then grapes are also being rejected due to smoke taint in Mendocino and other regions including Lake County, Napa, Sonoma, and in Oregon.

One of 2 men busted for stealing from a local church is sentenced to prison. The DA’s office reports Abel Aguado, generally of Ukiah got 32 months in the Realignment County Prison or Low Gap Jail… after having his probation terminated for violating certain conditions. He and his Devin Franklin Kester Tyler, also of Ukiah were convicted in February of 2019 for breaking into, stealing from, and vandalizing St. Mary’s of the Angels Catholic Church in Ukiah. Both were sentenced to residential treatment, then probation. Kester Tyler skipped out on residential treatment and sent to prison for 3 ½ years. Aguado also violated his probation, but that charge was dismissed. In March he was placed back on probation for violating terms, then again in July. This time, he was sent to serve time in jail.

A new report says there’s nobody who formally oversees school nurses in Calif. The report shows Calif. is one of ten states and the District of Columbia who don’t have a school nurse leader at the state level. The National Association of State School Nurse Consultants says they’ve been lobbying the state for years to get a nurse consultant. And now with the pandemic, school nurses don’t have anyone playing a key role to be sure students and staff return to the classroom safely. So school nurses work with local health officers and reportedly look to the state Department of Public Health for direction. A spokesperson for the California Department of Education says even though there’s no school nurse, they have a health consultant who updates schools on vaccines and other health requirements.

$2 million dollars coming to Lake County Behavioral Health Services for Early Psychosis Intervention. A competitive grant through the Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission will help expand services. They say they’ll be able to offer cutting edge, practices, training on community screening and identification of youth experiencing early onset of psychosis, co-occurring substance use disorder services, educational groups for families, caregivers, and parents and wellness groups. The grant will begin to be implemented later this year and will continue to be used over four years to expand and improve services for young people in Lake County.

A man from San Francisco’s been arrested in Ukiah after reports of a possible prowler. The Sheriff’s office reports getting a call to the 2900 block of West Lake Mendocino Drive last Wednesday night for a potential prowler and when they got there they found Jacob Silverman inside a white Honda Civic, but when they tried to talk with him, he took off, driving recklessly through the city. The Deputy chased the guy whose car hit a small tree branch and stopped. He then got out and ran, the Deputy followed, and arrested Silverman. He’s charged with felony reckless driving and resisting or delaying a peace officer and held on $50,000.00 bail.

A man in Hopland’s been arrested after a domestic dispute call. A woman told deputies she was attacked by her boyfriend, James Ray. She says he grabbed her by the arms and pushed her. They say visible injuries on her face and arm, so he was arrested for domestic violence battery and held on $25,000.00 bail.

Reports of an armed robbery, suspects on the run. Three men say early Tuesday morning while they were sleeping at a marijuana grow in Willits, in separate areas of the property, six armed men broke in. They were wearing all black and had on black masks. Two of the victims say they were tied up and hit in the head with firearms. They say they were forced to walk to a barn on the property, then the suspects took about 10 to 15 pounds of marijuana, tied the men up there and left. One of the victims broke free and contacted the third person in the main part of the property and woke them up and they called 911. Deputies searched and found nobody else there, and continue to investigate.

You may be in the dark already, if you’re in Lake County. Also those in Sonoma and Napa and a dozen more counties were expected to lose power this morning due to a Red Flag Warning. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. had warned about 3,400 people in Sonoma and Napa counties and 130 or so homes and businesses in Lake County. 15 Northern Calif. counties were expected to be impacted by the public safety power shutoffs to ensure the utility’s equipment doesn’t spark any wildfires. They expect to have everyone back online by tomorrow night. The first power downs happened yesterday just before the National Weather Service ordered a second Red Flag Warning  for the North Bay and Santa Cruz mountains, East Bay hills and the San Mateo County coastline.

A court appointed investigator says PG&E is not doing all it can to mitigate fire hazard.  A lawyer from Chicago, Mark Filip is the court-appointed investigator. He says the utility’s criminal probation includes the utility cutting trees as part of “enhanced vegetation management”, but they weren’t doing as well this year as in 2019. Filip says at best their improvements have plateaued, and maybe even regressed. The notes in a report to the Judge in the case says, they missed a bunch of hazard trees that were supposed to be removed the middle of August. They actually made contact with the utility’s equipment and leaves were singed. The trees were later removed and the judge ordered a response to the findings by November 3rd.

Public Safety Power Shutoffs will hit less people, but thousands, none the less. Lake Co News reports some in Lake County will be impacted by the shutoff due to the Red Flag Warning weather event. There are less people than were originally expected to be affected, but still about 37,000 customers in parts of 15 counties. Lake County was expecting almost 1,000 customers in Cobb, Clearlake Oaks, Lower Lake and Middletown but late yesterday that was revised down to 127 with six Medical Baseline customers. The shutoff was supposed to begin between 4 and 6 a.m. today. Since so many were taken off the targeted list, Lake County is not hosting a community resource center after all. The power is supposed to pop back on tomorrow, after inspections by the utility company to assess possible damage.

Women in Calif. deal with ongoing obstacles to economic security, physical and mental health care, and representation in elected positions to improve their lives, their families and communities, and the state’s economy. This according to the new California Women’s Well Being Index. The California Budget & Policy Center put together the report including an interactive tool to show how each of California’s 58 counties are doing for the females in their communities. Lake Co News reports women in the far north and North Coast were less likely to have medical insurance and prenatal care and have lower life expectancy than women in all other parts of California.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) scientists have done more field work on the massive August Complex Fire, this time in the North Zone. They’ve completed their Soil Burn Severity map showing which areas were unburned to severely burned.   About 60% of the nearly 551,500 acres they looked at were burned, with about 8% severely burned. This is done to identify where there may be more soil erosion, water run-off, and debris flows that might impact human life/safety, property, and critical natural and cultural resources from storm events. They say they expect there to be erosion and run-off and there’s some concern about more post-fire run-off from steep hillslopes which could mean more erosion and flood risk.

A car crashed in Hopland, hitting a power line, leaving some without power in the town. The California Highway Patrol reports a car crashed into a fence last night after 9:30, knocked that power line down, and stopped after hitting a tree. Two people were in the car and had minor injuries. PG&E crews were on the scene last night. Mendo Fever reports an electrical pole went down in the crash, including its wires and transformers. Hopland Fire was blocking any through traffic to the area. No word exactly how many people lost their power, but estimates on the Power Outage map showed between 50-499 Hopland residents would be without power until 2:30 p.m. this afternoon.

More discussion on the Oak Fire evacuations at the latest Sherwood Firewise Communities meeting. At the regular monthly meeting there were various guest presentations, including by the now former Willits Police Chief Alexis Blaylock. He says he thought the evacuation process was smooth and that the police department previously talked over how to control the traffic flow during an emergency event. He also told those in attendance how important it is to follow evacuation orders and that those who ignore them, could put first responders at risk. And Supervisor John Hashak echo’d what the chief said about the evacuation, that it was the best he’d ever seen.

Management of the South Zone of the August Complex Fire has been transferred back to the Mendocino National Forest. The Southwest Area Incident Management Team turned the incident over today after the fire started two months ago. The entire complex has pretty much stopped forward movement, but has burned an unprecedented 1,032,264 acres and is 91% contained. Crews on this zone are continuing to reinforce containment lines in the Hellhole Canyon area. They will continue to monitor and patrol the zone and reinforce containment lines in the Canyon. The fire continues to smolder and creep. There are 12 to 15 mph and gusts up to 25 mph on ridges. In this zone, the Mendocino County evacuation orders have been reduced to warnings this week.

The Sheriff has announced some promotions at a ceremony with social distancing due to the pandemic. The ceremony Monday to announce the promotions of Lieutenant Quincy Cromer, Lieutenant Joseph “JD” Comer, Sergeant Jay Vanoven and Sergeant Clint Wyant. The ceremonies were held in Ukiah, Fort Bragg and on Zoom. The Sheriff credited high-level decision making, hard work and dedication to serving the community as the reasons for his promotions.  Lt. Comer will be an Area Commander for coastal communities. Lt. Cromer will be in the Field Services Division, Sergeant Wyant will be assigned to the Investigative Services Bureau and Sergeant Vanoven will be assigned to the Central Sector as a patrol supervisor.

The Lakeport City Council is looking to reopen the playgrounds at Library Park by next week. The City Manager Kevin Ingram says they’ve had a lot of questions from the public about why the playgrounds are still closed as other parks reopen theirs. The city manager says they originally were not sure if they could meet the state requirements on reopening parks and were watching what other cities were doing before reopening. Ingram says there are still many closed playgrounds in the state. That being said he says they’re trying to decide how to meet all the state’s safety guidelines. They will post all on the city website once they decide.

We have another red flag warning for the week. The first takes effect tomorrow morning which could trigger public safety power shutoffs in 19 counties. Now the weather service announced a second warning for the North Bay mountains, which could also mean more power downs as dangerous weather conditions could ignite wildfires. 5,300 North Bay customers in all could lose power tonight, or tomorrow morning into Friday morning or as late as 10pm. The strongest winds are expected overnight. There is also no rain in the forecast, just a lot of wind. The second warning for customers east of Healdsburg and Geyserville.

The Calif. Community College system says they’ve received their largest donation ever to help cash-strapped students. The Jay Pritzker Foundation has donated $100 million to be distributed over twenty years for scholarships to community college students. The foundation is named after the man who founded the Hyatt Hotels, with a focus on equity. The chancellor says it will be life-changing for students of the community college system, for which there are 116. The first year will give 34 community colleges in the Inland Empire, the Central Valley and the Far North regions $150,000 each.  The money can go to emergency financial aid due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is reportedly looking at ways to get rid of the mute swan on Clear Lake. The Record Bee newspaper reports the state’s planning to kill about 20 swans who have made the lake their home for years. The newspaper reports the birds were first found in the mid 2000’s in Clear Lake. A man that found one solo near his dock reportedly bought a female so they could mate which was a success… to the tune of about 2 dozen mute swans in the area. But the bird is considered an invasive species. So now the DFW is asking the Lake County Board of Supervisors for approval to exterminate them. There has been public outcry already, before any action, according to the newspaper.

Tentative approval’s been granted for raises in Lake County across departments. The Salary increases for employees represented by the Lake County Deputy District Attorneys Association and the Lake County Sheriff’s Management Association, plus those in the “confidential” unit and for managers. Lake Co News reports all supervisors except for Bruno Sabatier supported it, the first raise for many in more than a decade. The Lake County Sheriff stepped up, pushing for the agreements for managers, even if other contracts weren’t ready yet. And the news site reports the County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson saying that surrounding counties paid more to their employees, especially for management positions. Board members voted unanimously not to give themselves a raise.

A free testing event in Sonoma County as the case load continues steadily with no signs the county can exit the most restrictive, purple tier. Mendocino County also remains in the purple. The Press Democrat reports millions will be spent on targeted neighborhood testing to slow the spread of the virus in the hardest hit regions. They’re also offering incentives, $30 gift cards to get people tested and also granting $1,200 one-time stipends and hotel vouchers for those who contract the virus but cannot isolate at home.

More info on the man in Fort Bragg arrested for a murder earlier this week. Yesterday we told you about the arrest of Robert Brockway, but there was little info on the murder from the Sheriff’s dept. only that the guy was arrested. Deputies got a call Monday and found Jimmie Mooneyham dead inside his home, from a knife attack. If you recall the report was that Brockway was wanted and had several knives on him. Deputies say they interviewed people at the home and connected Brockway to Mooneyham’s death. They searched the area with other law enforcement including a SWAT team but couldn’t find him. Later in the day he was found a family members home and arrested. Deputies say the murder was an unprovoked act of violence and the two had been acquaintances.  Brockway is booked on murder and violation of Post Release Community Supervision and held on no bail.

Two Local Assistance Centers have been opened in Mendocino County for those affected by the Oak and August Complex fires. The centers are a one-stop location to find help through disaster assistance programs and services. The multi-agency event includes representatives from local and federal agencies, non-profits, and other support services. The first in Willits next Monday, October 26 at the Willits Library on E. Commercial Street, then Wednesday in Covelo at Round Valley Elementary School on High School Street. They’re both from 2-6PM. Also FEMA representatives will be at the Willits Library Monday to Thursday next week from 8:00AM – 5:00PM. For more information, please contact the Disaster Recovery Team at (707) 234-6303 or disasterrecovery@mendocinocounty.org.

The Sheriff’s office in Lake County has a new program to help slow crime. They’re asking businesses and community members with surveillance cameras to register their locations with the Sheriff’s office. That when if there’s a crime nearby, deputies an quickly figure out where there are nearby video cameras and ask for help gathering video evidence. The Sheriff’s office can directly call those who take part in the program and ask them to look at their surveillance footage too, then if they find evidence, they can meet with deputies to show them or get them a copy. For more info, lakesheriff.com/programs/cameras, or call Lieutenant Luke Bingham at 707-262-4082.

Seven more counties, including Mendocino are included in the latest Major Disaster Declaration from the President. The disaster relief for those impacted by fires in Sept, also includes in Fresno, Los Angeles, Madera, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Siskiyou counties. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Director says it covers the Oak Fire in Mendocino County for individuals, families, businesses, and communities. FEMA’s Regional Administrator says they’ll work with the state, tribal and local partners to repair, rebuild, and use all mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate long-term risks in the affected communities. Register online at www.disasterassistance.gov, download their app or call 800-621-3362 between 7 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. The deadline to register is December 15.

A hit and run accident reported in Laytonville. Mendo Fever reports the CHP reported on their incident page that it happened last night around 9 near the Chevron Station along the 101. An employee of the gas station said that yes there had been hit & run and that a CHP patrol car responded. Apparently the victim decided not to file a report. But also on the CHP incident report it said they were unsure if a car actually hit the person.

The first Black commissioner of the CHP is retiring and being replaced in another historic move, by the first ever Black female officer. After more than 38 years with the agency, Commissioner Warren Stanley is retiring next month. He was the first Black man in the agency’s 91-year history to hold the position. He was the commish the last 2 1/2 years, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown. He has had 11,000 employees under his command in the country’s fifth-largest law enforcement agency and largest state-run law enforcement agency. Deputy Commissioner Amanda Ray takes over for him, as the first female and Black female to head the agency. She requires Senate confirmation.

Another inmate in the Lake County Jail has tested positive for coronavirus. This comes after another inmate tested positive and several others were isolated. Then they tested more inmates to see if the virus had spread. The Sheriff’s Office says they met with the Lake County Public Health today after one of the tests came back positive. Medical staff are closely monitoring the isolated inmates and doing more testing as recommended by Public Health. That includes also testing staff members and inmates. They say they’re providing inmates masks, are doing comprehensive regular cleaning and disinfecting common areas to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the jail.

A Small Business Recovery Grant Program is being offered in Mendocino County. The money comes courtesy of the West Business Development Center by way of the federal CARES Act. A grant of $500,000 is being disbursed by the end of the year thru micro-grants for local businesses dealing with financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The County CEO Carmel Angelo says it will help small businesses with their expenses and so they can continue providing us with the services we need. There are guidelines the businesses must meet before they can apply, being a for-profit business with a valid business license, have self-certified their reopening plan, be based in Mendocino County, a sole proprietorship, or have no more than 5 full-time equivalent or part-time equivalent employees and having been open by March 20th.

A man from Covelo’s arrested for having an assault rifle. Deputies responded to a fight over marijuana cultivation last Thursday. They say Miguel Velazquez-Garcia was the manager of the illegal grow site, where he also lives. They say he was showing them around the property and they saw an AR-15 assault rifle leaning against a door. They say the rifle had no serial number on it and appeared to homemade, commonly referred to as a “ghost gun”. Deputies say they’ve connected him to the rifle as something he was using for personal protection. So he was arrested and booked for Felony Possession of an Assault Weapon but he was released due to the pandemic order related to zero bail.

The Glass Fire which broke out last month 4 miles east of Calistoga has finally been 100% contained. It burned 67,484 acres and destroyed 1,555 structures.

A man the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department was on the lookout for in Fort Bragg has been caught. The Sheriff posted on his Facebook page last night they found Robert Brockway in connection to a murder. They had been searching for him yesterday and said he may have been in possession of several knives and should be considered armed and dangerous. They also put out a reverse 911 telling residents they should shelter in place, but then revoked it. The Facebook post says Brockway will be booked on murder charges and that they’d release more info today.

A fire burning off Highway 101 south of the Willits bypass has been quickly stomped out.  The fire after 7 pm last night burned about a ½ acre but was contained in about a half hour. Mendo Fever reported last night firefighters on the scene about 7-15 and were making good progress on the fire. They say they think it caused by a vehicle dragging a chain that sparked the fire, but they didn’t identify the car or say if they found it.

The California insurance commissioner coming down hard on insurance companies who drop coverage or increase the rates of those in fire prone areas. A hearing held by Commissioner Ricardo Lara saying he’s going to be holding companies accountable for dropping policies and raising yearly premiums. In his online meeting he says he’s heard stories from people who’ve lost all worldly belongings and how frustrating it was and unfathomable to lose their insurance. He says insurance companies will have to do more about this and show how they’re scoring risk on property owners, and what they can do to reduce that risk. Last year he fought for homeowners in Sonoma County so they didn’t lose their insurance after the Kincade Fire, but that protection ends next week.

The amount of people who have died from COVID in the state is still rising, reaching just about 17,000. The state has had more cases than any other, over 880,000 cases. Calif. has nearly twice as many cases as New York, but New York has had more deaths. But Calif. is seeing about a third the amount of deaths since a big surge over the summer when there were as many as 150 dying every day. But it looks like cases are flattening in Calif with the last seven day average of new cases below 3,000, with a testing positivity rate of about 2.5% for the last two weeks. Still officials are concerned ahead of Halloween, Dia de los Muertos and of course Thanksgiving next month.

Power may still be shut off to residents in 19 counties. Lake Co News reports there could be up to 50,000 customers in the dark and almost 1,000 Lake County customers. None in Mendo though. The company has begun to inform customers about the possible public safety power shutoff which would be tomorrow night, depending on the wind. Other surrounding counties include Contra Costa, Glenn, Humboldt, Napa,  Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo. Out of the 963 customers in Lake, 69 are Medical Baseline. The power downs are expected mostly in Clearlake Oaks, Cobb, Lower Lake and Middletown. If it happens, the company says it will mostly likely be Thursday between 2 and 6 a.m. lasting until 10 p.m. Friday.

A special meeting on COVID-19 recovery is being held in Lakeport by the Economic Development Advisory Committee. The zoom and telephone meeting tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. is open to the public. The special meeting to continue ongoing pandemic response discussions. They will assign focus groups by industry cluster and finish up a draft invitation, then set the first focus group. Lake Co News reports the group is made up of folks working for a strong and positive Lakeport business community and is a liaison between the city and the community on goals, activities and progress of Lakeport’s economic and business programs.

A program by the CHP aims to keep teen drivers safe. The CHP campaign to reduce distracted teen driving. They’re working with Impact Teen Drivers to teach positive habits while behind the wheel. Statistics say almost six teen drivers get into car accidents daily in the United States. And ten percent of drivers between 15 to 19 that were involved in deadly crashes were distracted, and that 100 percent of those crashes were preventable. Virtual classes will be held due to the pandemic at schools and as part of community events across the state. For free safe driving resources in English or Spanish, please visit www.ImpactTeenDrivers.org.

The Gov. says if the state’s lucky it will have a very limited supply of any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration by November or December. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he thinks the state will get 1 to 2 million doses in the first round which is just enough to vaccinate those working in the health care system. He says beyond that, a major effort, like the flu shot, where you could go to your local pharmacy for a vaccine is probably not happening until next year. He says the state also has a new task force made up of about a dozen scientists who will do an independent medical review to suss out the safety of any FDA-approved vaccine before administering it to Californians.

Senator Mike McGuire hosted an online meeting with the Gov. where hundreds gathered to talk about homelessness in rural communities. Gov. Newsom updated the 300 or so attendees about the fifth round of Project Homekey awards of nearly $31 million dollars. The last round, the Gov. says, helped around 22,000 people since April, calling it “a phenomenal success” calling it a “pathway out of poverty.” So far the state has distributed all of the Homekey funding to local jurisdictions, ahead of schedule. More than $627 million went to 45 applicants and 71 projects.

New board members are needed by the Lucerne Town Hall Advisory Council. They’re reaching out to residents of the town to get involved in the five member board who work with the community to make sure their voice is heard. They have meetings once a month on the third Thursday at 7 PM, but during the pandemic, they’ve had conference calls or Google Hangout meetings. Otherwise the in person meetings are held at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center.

Applications for the Lucerne Area Town Hall are located in the Clerk’s office at 255 N. Forbes Street in Lakeport or online at: https://www.lakecountyca.gov/Assets/Departments/ BOS/docs/BoardApp.pdf

Completed applications should be submitted to Supervisor Crandell at: eddie. crandell@lakecountyca. gov.

Curbside Leaf Collection is scheduled. They’ll be coming around from Nov. 9-20. So you can just put your extra bags/cans of leaves (up to seven extra) at your curb on whatever your normal collection day is. They also remind, it’s illegal to blow leaves onto the streets because, it not only clogs up the streetsweeper and causes expensive breakdowns, but extra leaves can clog storm drains and lead to flooding.

There hasn’t been much forward movement on the August Complex in a while and it’s now 91% contained. Matters not though because we still have quite a few evacuation orders and warnings in place in Mendocino County. The West Zone was totally contained days ago, but crews are working to shore up the last uncontained line of the fire now… that’s near Bradburn Creek and the Coffee Pot area. It helped firefighters that there was higher humidity and calm winds, but that could change as a Red Flag Warning is set to hit various areas of Northern Calif. But yesterday the weather favored the containment line in the Ruth Lake area, firefighters working there with homeowners to get to fire weakened trees.  They’re also assessing damage on the Six Rivers National Forest for a long-term rehabilitation plan. There were higher winds in the Northeast zone of the fire and unburned fuel did bring a lot of smoke, but no threat to containment lines. The fire is staying within its own scar.

As PG&E turns the power off once again for some Californians last week in Red Flag weather, a new report shows last year, when they first started the public safety power shutoffs, there were few emergency personnel for the utility who knew how to manage an emergency. The Associated Press reports only a handful of staff last year were trained on disaster response.  Last October there were intentional power downs that hit more than 2 million people. PG&E says it’s done more training and that 90% of their 676 workers in emergency centers have done the required initial training.

There’s a new fire weather watch for the North Bay. Later today forecasters say, there will be windy, dry conditions in higher elevations which could potentially lead to dangerous conditions. Expected gusts of 40 mph along higher ridges and peaks with the strongest winds overnight tonight into tomorrow. But the weather watch starts tonight and doesn’t end until Wednesday morning. The biggest threat in the eastern Sonoma Valley and across Napa County where the Glass Fire is still smoldering. The fire has burned over 67,000 acres, but there has not been any forward movement for weeks. It’s 97% contained. Forecasters say the warning could turn into another Red Flag event. Another wind advisory could be coming at the end of the week. 

A man from Calpella has been found guilty for driving drunk and having blood alcohol at two times the legal limit. The jury found Skyler Blue Dausman guilty Friday afternoon for the April motorcycle incident. Someone reported seeing a motorcycle speeding without its lights on and the CHP saw the bike at Little Baker’s Market in Redwood Valley and contacted Dausman, who seemed drunk. He failed field sobriety tests and his breath tests came back at .23/.24. He said he was not drinking before driving but had 190 proof Everclear after he was already parked at the market. His friend that he says provided him the Everclear was not called as a witness at trial by the defense though.

The August Complex fire is still actively burning in some spots as seasonably warm temperatures continue in the fire area. The West Zone is 100% contained and Cal Fire is no longer providing daily updates. In the Northwest Zone, firefighters in the Kettenpom area were working to improve containment lines and in other areas where the containment lines are done, they’re pulling out equipment and working on suppression repair. In the Northeast Zone, they say there was increased fire behavior in unburned areas near Pony Buck Creek, Texas Chow Creek, south of Rattlesnake Creek and near Progeny, but there’s no threat to containment lines. Marines from Camp Pendleton are helping near Progeny and Bear Wallow Mountain. In the South Zone firefighters finished containment lines in the Eel River Canyon and helicopters were dropping water on isolated areas of heat near the river. There are still several evacuation orders and warnings throughout Mendocino County and a forest closure is still in effect for the Mendocino National Forest.

Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama and Trinity Counties
Elk Creek and Stonyford area (Mendocino National Forest)
*1,032,264 acres, 86% contained
*South Zone 499,830 acres
*North East Zone 272,089 acres
*North West Zone 119,401 acres
*West Zone 140,944 acres
*1 fatality
*210 structures destroyed
*Includes multiple fires including the Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, Vinegar, and Doe fires
*The fire is being managed in four zones by 4 national Incident Management Teams

The Lake County Public Health Office has reported 2 more deaths from coronavirus. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace put out a statement over the weekend to remind how highly infectious COVID-19 is. Dr. Pace says they’re trying to prevent and control outbreaks in congregate living facilities and slow the spread in the wider community with mask wearing and social distancing. Dr. Pace reports infection rates are 2-3x higher among Latino Lake County residents, and 2x greater in Native American communities, as compared to the general population data.  He says they sent a plan into the state last week to address the disparities in these communities. The 14th death from the virus in Lake County was reported last Tuesday in someone over 65 with other underlying health conditions. And this weekend, the 15th death in someone over 60 years old, but no other information will be shared at this time.

The President has changed his mind and is approving a disaster relief package for Calif that he earlier said no to for fire ravaged areas, including in Mendocino County from the Oak Fire.  Apparently the Governor spoke to him and the White House says he and the House Minority Leader who’s from Bakersfield presented a strong case for why the state should get help. It will cover six major wildfires that torched almost 2 million acres and killed three people last month. The fires just one of more than two dozen that had been burning at once last month. The federal government said last week that the fires weren’t big enough to warrant help – but one of them, the Creek fire near Fresno was one of the biggest to ever burn in the state.

A vehicle reported driving over a cliff between Elk and Manchester on Highway 1. The Elk Fire Dept. was on the scene yesterday afternoon along with the Sheriff’s Dept after the vehicle went about 200 feet down the cliffside. The CHP reported it was a two door pickup that went over the cliff and onto the beach. A helicopter helped to rescue the driver who was identified as a woman in her mid-30’s. The pickup left behind after a cable to pluck it back up broke. They will reportedly return today to get the vehicle off the beach. Mendo Fever reports the CHP saying there’s no obvious evidence that the truck was purposely driver over the cliff.

More money for staff in Lake County possible as the Board of Supervisors considers recommendations from a classification and compensation study. The matter to be looked at tomorrow for management employees starting Nov. 1st and lasting for a year. They were supposed to be discussing it back in March, but the pandemic delayed it. The Lake County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson’s report to the board says it’s the first classification and compensation study since 2003, looking at comparable government employee salaries in neighboring counties. They’re reportedly looking at a 5-step system and raise salaries for staff at 85 percent of the market median in the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the Lake County Employees Association, the Lake County Safety Employees Association, the Lake County Correctional Officers Association, the Lake County Deputy District Attorney’s Association and the Lake County Sheriff’s Management Association.

The DEA’s national Prescription Drug Take Back Day is coming up. In Lakeport they will be part of the campaign. This Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be a drive-thru drop off at the police station on Main St. They ask to follow all safety protocols due to the ongoing pandemic and stay in your car. They’re accepting all over-the-counter or prescription meds in pill, tablet or capsule form, but they need to be in a plastic bag, not in their container or paper. They’re also collecting vape pens and other e-cigarette devices with no batteries. They’re not taking illegal drugs, needles, inhalers or aerosol cans.

The Calif. Conservation Corp is helping on the August Complex Fire. The team joining firefighters working up to 16-hours a day. Hundreds of Corps members on the fire lines or working at basecamps to support firefighters. For their work, where-ever they are, they get a monthly stipend of $1,905 and can also get up to $8,000 in scholarships for every year they enroll. If they’re on the fire line, they get training from Cal Fire and the U.S Forest Service.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer says he thinks the county’s doing better and he feels “cautiously optimistic”. Dr. Andy Coren had his Covid-19 update on Friday saying the daily case rate over the week before is under 7. And if it stays that low for another week, the county may be able to move into the red tier, and out of the most restrictive, purple tier. He says even though the state recently relaxed gathering rules, the county would not be. But last Thursday there were 14 new cases, and on the Health Office’s dashboard, it shows another 14 yesterday. 9 on Saturday and 3 Friday. The total now at 1,103 positives and 21 deaths.

Mari Rodin says she’s taking a break from her 2nd District Mendocino County Supervisor race as she’s recently been diagnosed with Cancer. On Saturday Rodin put out a statement that she is suspending her campaign focusing on her treatment and recovery and that she wanted to thank her many volunteers and supporters who are continuing campaign activities. She has not officially withdrawn from running, she’s just not personally working on the campaign against Maureen “Mo” Mulheren, a current Ukiah City Council member.

2 men in Clearlake busted in a robbery in April report to court for jury trial next month. Julius Mulvaney and Orlando Savalis Thomas, Jr. in court, with their lawyer asking for a continuance. The court said no, so they go to trial November 12th for the April 11 incident. Police say one guy near three cars acting as a lookout, was arrested, that was Mulvaney. Officers looked around the area finding a home with a door open, one man inside and several other people contacted saying, the intruder, Savalis Thomas, Jr. hit them in the head with a gun and beat several people demanding money. Then took off. Officers found two firearms at the home, one reported stolen earlier out of Sacramento County. A car connected to them stolen from San Francisco. Another man, Orlando Thomas of Oakland and a juvenile who police say were connected to the incident were also arrested. Others could still be arrested in the case.

There could soon be some tiny homes dotting the Clearlake landscape. The City Council considering an updated zoning ordinance, but held off on doing anything because of concerns about code enforcement allowing tiny houses in regular neighborhoods. Some complained it could bring down their property values. The City Council says they should restrict tiny homes to other areas zoned specifically for them. There were a few public comments some for, others against. No vote was taken and no other moves were made like how big a house could be. The Record Bee reports it appeared that the consensus was a minimum of 200 square feet, and up to 749 square feet.

The fire weather watch we told you about this morning has been upgraded in the North Bay mountains to a red flag warning. The National Weather Service has Mendocino County and Lake County still on fire weather watch, but dry, windy conditions across a large swath of land could possibly ignite fires. The weather expected to land later tonight and last thru Wednesday morning with gusty offshore winds. The Press Democrat reports a great risk for fire in the Mayacamas Mountains along the eastern Sonoma Valley and in Napa County where vegetation is historically dry. Mt. St. Helena is being watched closely as that’s where the Glass Fire’s been burning for almost a month. There could be wind gusts of up to 40 mph.

A couple of travel trailers have reportedly caught fire at the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints on Dora St. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority got a call to the parking lot of the church finding two fully involved 5th Wheel Travel Trailers and the church being threatened by the fires. It never reached the structure.  CalFire responded to the scene to help Ukiah firefighters. It took about 90 minutes to knock it down and mop up. The cause of the fire’s under investigation but was apparently not suspicious.

The federal government has turned down California’s request for help with the summer wildfires that started in lightning strikes. The Press Democrat reports this was for the Creek fire in Fresno and Madera counties and a Southern California fire which ignited after an explosion at a gender reveal party. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services says they were rejected for the major presidential disaster declaration for six fires. FEMA had reportedly told Congressman Mike Thompson they would put in 100% for debris removal in Northern Calif. and the President reportedly expanded the mid-August disaster declaration for certain areas, but not the Creek fire or the five others that started early last month including the Bobcat fire, the El Dorado fire and the Oak Fire in Mendocino County.

The Mendocino County Elections office says to call if you have not received your Absentee Ballot, also known as a Vote by Mail Ballot, one in the same. They say they will gladly reissue a ballot. They were mailed to all active registered voters in the county on October 5th for the November 3rd General Election. The Assessor-Clerk-Recorder’s office says they have received multiple complaints about the State’s new “Where’s My Ballot” site and says it’s not working in all of the county, but you can check their website to see if your ballot was received after you fill it out.  There are polling locations on Election Day only, not for Early Voting. And you can drop off your voted ballot in several locations. Also, the last day to register to vote in the November 3rd Election is Monday, October 19th.  

The name of a street in Lakeport is being renamed in honor of a resident. The Planning Commission approved the honor for Charlie Jolin who Lake Co News reports was a major help with the development of Westside Community Park. So the city has agreed they will rename Westside Park Road for Jolin. There was a request by the Westside Community Park Committee over the summer and the City Council gave it their approval a month after Jolin died at the age of 96. The honor after Jolin and another community member came up with the park idea years back. The committee reportedly wanted to name the entire park after him, or the street to Charlie’s Way but settled on renaming the street with his full name.

An online town hall for the Lake County Continuum of Care for residents to weigh in on how to use grant money to support their efforts in the pandemic. Lake Co News reports the meeting is Monday at 6 on Zoom, but you can also stream it on their Facebook page. Continuum of Care staff will hear public input on the Emergency Solutions Grant for COVID response. Their goal on the regular, is to promote an end to homelessness in the community and to help others who are at risk of homelessness. The grant from the federal CARES Act from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

A new report shows there are still hundreds of thousands of students that don’t have a way to access the internet to check in with their teachers or to even accomplish any distance learning. Each of the school districts in the state are supposed to make sure students have access to computers and the internet while they’re at home due to the pandemic. The state Education Committee met earlier this week at the capitol with state education leaders and teachers discussing how distance learning is going. The state Board of Education President says there are at least 300,000 students still without internet and therefore no way for distance learning. But there had been 700,000 laptops and 320,000 hotspots needed in June.

A man from Santa Rosa’s been killed in a car accident near Willits. An 8 year old girl in another car was reportedly injured too. The California Highway Patrol reports a 40-year-old driver headed north on the 101 near the north end of the Willits bypass Wednesday afternoon and crossed the double yellow lines to pass a semi-truck, but then crashed head on with another car driven by a man from Covelo who had two passengers with him. The Chevy went back into the path of the semi and blocked other cars and the highway after the head-on crash. The CHP says he was pronounced dead at the scene and may not have had a seatbelt on. The other driver had major injuries as did one of his passengers, the 8 year old girl. The other passenger had minor injuries and the semi drive was uninjured.  

The state secretary of state says, like a lot of the country, Californians are turning in their ballots weeks ahead of Election Day in record numbers. As of the last report, there were more than 1.5 million voters who had returned their vote-by-mail ballots as opposed to the 150,000 ballots returned for the 2016 presidential election around the same time period. Secretary of State Alex Padilla says they knew the pandemic would be challenging, but they’ve been prepared and voters have responded. California announced months ago the state would be sending all registered, active voters a ballot with most expected to vote by mail.

A fire in Ukiah has reportedly destroyed several cars after it ignited from a smoldering wood pile. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reports getting a call Wednesday to the 800 block of Orr Springs Road around 2:30 p.m. from several people who say they saw a large plume of smoke in the area. They found two RVs, at least one car and about three-quarters of an acre of vegetation torched. Firefighters were able to save the home though. They’re investigating exactly how the fire started but say they think it might have sparked in a pile of recently cut wood. They remind to do your outdoor work in cooler morning hours and not at all during a Red Flag warning which we have now, but is set to end today.

They’ve reopened the Cache Creek Casino after a cyber-attack closed it down. The casino put out a statement earlier this week that IT professionals have been working 24-7 to get them back online after the attack Sept. 20th that led to a closure. They say they’re confident now guests will be able to enjoy the “four-diamond experience they have come to expect from Cache Creek Casino Resort”. The GM says it’s been a year of challenges, but they’re grateful to reopen. They’re investigating the computer systems damage and say they’ll make sure they’re data is protected from future attacks. The golf course did remain open the entire time. They have not yet determined if any of their guests personal information was exposed.

Community Cleanup Day has been announced in the City of Lakeport. The city along with Lakeport Disposal Company are asking for help from residents for the cleanup a week from tomorrow, Saturday, October 24th from 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the public parking lot north of the Fifth Street boat ramp in downtown Lakeport. It is only for those who live in the city to drop their trash and other waste there. You need to have a photo ID and copy of any City of Lakeport utility bill. They’re not taking several items due to the pandemic, including e-waste and furniture or linens.  

For more details please see the City’s website (CityofLakeport.com), its Facebook page or contact Lakeport Disposal at 263-6080.

Water drops above the South Zone of the August Complex fire which continues to burn, but is slowing it’s expansion. The West Zone is 100% contained. Now crews are now beefing up containment lines in the South Zone.  They say they’re challenged now as the zone has creeped into steep, rugged terrain in hot, dry, windy conditions.  They’re using remote sensing data on the east side of the South Zone for any remaining heat. Evacuations have been lifted in the Pillsbury Lake area of the Complex, but several zones in Mendocino County remain in evacuation order and evacuation warning status. The entire fire has burned almost 1,030,200 acres and is 78% contained. The South Zone alone is at almost 500,000 acres, the North East Zone burned 270,500 acres, North West Zone 118,905 acres and the now 100% contained West Zone has almost 141,000 acres.

An inmate at the Lake County Jail has contracted COVID. The Sheriff’s Office reported a recently incarcerated inmate at the Hill Road Correctional Facility in Lakeport tested positive for COVID-19 during their intake process. The infected inmate was asymptomatic at that time and during confinement at the Jail. They have been released. The Sheriff’s office reports it looks like there was no community spread and that it was an isolated case. Any other inmate nearby was quarantined and more testing and screening will happen during their period of quarantine. They report back in March having instituted and continue enhanced measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the jail which includes no jail programs or in person visitation, enhanced medical screening at booking, face mask wearing by staff and inmates, designated bed spaces for isolation and quarantine, and comprehensive regular cleaning and disinfecting.  

A human skull found in a creek on Lost Coast Forestlands (LCF) property. A biologist working there reportedly thought it was part of an abalone shell and picked it up. The land manager on the property says it’s a “conservation forestry company working to restore, protect and manage local timberlands”. Police were called in for testing. Mendo Fever reports an older woman disappeared in the Piercy area in 2018 and neighbors say it could be her remains. The skull found about a ¼ mile upstream from a bridge. The news site also reports about 8 years ago an entire skeleton was found within a couple miles of where the skull was found, but so far, there’s no connection.