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The Governor has a new health order in place for Purple Tier counties tied to ICU capacity. Dr. Andy Coren, the Mendocino County Public Health Officer is urging residents and businesses to follow orders banning most indoor activities and social gatherings. Last weekend, Coren reminded the county has seen more cases than ever before, in what he refers to as a second surge of cases. Dr. Coren as is the case with the Governor warning mostly about hospitals being over capacity. The Governor announced yesterday that counties in the most restrictive tier with 15% capacity or less in ICU’s will be required to follow new stay home orders. That means gyms, personal care salons, tattoo parlours and the like will have to close again. And there can be no gatherings inside our out with those outside your immediate household to slow the spread of the virus for three weeks. Mendocino and Lake counties currently have just under 19% ICU bed capacity, same with other rural northern Calif. counties.

Pacific Gas & Electric’s got another rate hike on the horizon. The 8% increase to pay for improvements to reduce risks from outdated equipment that could start wildfires in Northern California. The utility company’s new rates were approved yesterday but won’t start until March. An average residential customer should expect to pay another $13 or so a month. State power regulators had been fighting a rate increase for two years after the utility filed for bankruptcy nearly 2 years ago. The outdated infrastructure is blamed for fires in 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 120 people and destroyed more than 27,000 homes and other buildings.

Free flu vaccines are being offered by the Lake County Health Services Department’s Public Health Division. Last month the county also had a successful vaccine drive up event. The Public Health Office says it’s hard to tell sometimes the difference between the flu and COVID-19, so limiting flu risk is very important. The free vaccines this month start next Monday and continue until December 18th. They’re doing the vaccines daily from 3-4pm at the county health services dept. at 922 Bevins Court, Lakeport. Appointments are required.  Depending on how much vaccine is leftover, there could be more dates added.

Please call 707-263-1090 or 800- 794-9291 to schedule, or for more information. Masks are required to participate in all clinic events.

A woman in Ukiah found guilty of child abuse is accused by one detective of being responsible for the worst abuse he’s ever seen. 76 year old Audrey Hernandez found guilty of inflicting corporal injury on a child, and abusing and endangering the health of a child in October. The victim was ten at the time of the felony counts and other victims were fifteen, thirteen, and nine years of age at the time of misdemeanor abuse. Hernandez lawyer tried to get her off with probation only, but the court sentenced her to over 7 years in Realignment County Prison, basically jail. The judge also ordered her sentence split between being behind bars and mandatory supervision so she’ll serve 4 years in the local prison and get 40 months on mandatory supervision.

The new stay home order based on 15% ICU bed capacity similar to our first shelter in place order in March, but retailers can stay open and some outdoor spaces. The order triggered after a county in the purple tier has less than 15% ICU bed capacity. There are no gatherings allowed and means you must stay home except for essential services to lower the chance you could interact with others outside your household and slow the spread of the virus. So far almost 20,000 people have died in Calif. due to the virus. The order goes into effect 48 hours after the ICU capacity threshold is met. Right now Rural Northern Calif, which includes Lake and Mendocino counties are at about 18.6% capacity.

A COVID-19 outbreak has been reported in Albion. 4 people have tested positive at Youth With a Mission (YWAM) Mendocino Coast. The group in touch with the Mendocino County Public Health Office and was reportedly cooperating with public health to slow the spread, following protocols. The group is a non-sectarian Christian organization who train and mobilize young adults for outreach and service. They report just before Thanksgiving students and staff got back from a 2 ½ weeklong trip serving the homeless in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco and the inner city in Tacoma WA, working at food banks, delivering meals to relief/rehab sites, offering hot-chocolate and encouragement to those living on the street and helping those with mental health needs and they all tested upon their return, turning up the positives. They say only one is symptomatic. Everyone is now in isolation.

A man who died after he was hit while riding his bike has been identified. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports it was 73 year old Terry Lee Cook of Lakeport, who was the victim of a hit-and-run Wednesday in north Lakeport. The CHP reports 33-year-old Amber Bruhn of Nice ran into him, then fled the scene. Cook died where it happened. The CHP found Bruhn’s Kia at a nearby hotel and she was detained, but not arrested later that evening. The CHP report Wednesday said she was arrested, but then yesterday they said she was not. They also said they do not suspect alcohol or drugs as factors in the accident. 

The City of Willits has plans for the holiday season, which are COVID-safe activities for community members of all ages. Willits Center for the Arts has a pop up store with gifts and art. Roots of Motive Power is having a lighted Santa Express display tomorrow evening. A drive-through event, but no train rides this year. There is a Santa workshop display, a large decorated Christmas tree and a caboose. It’s also being live-streamed on their Facebook page. Calvary Chapel Willits has their annual Christmas Craft Fair tomorrow outdoors, weather permitting, with social distancing. The Skunk Train is running, with social distancing, mask wearing and a visit with Santa. And the Mendocino County Herb Guild has their Holiday Market Sunday in the Old Rexall parking lot.

The Salvation Army in Northern Calif. says it’s in need of help for it’s biggest yearly fundraiser, the Red Kettle Campaign. The Salvation Army says it desperately needs help from folks who can be bell ringers and collect donations that help the nonprofit’s yearly community programs. They say it’s more crucial then ever before because the fundraiser helps all year long. The Salvation Army says there are less people signing up to be bell ringers, in Redding, there’s a 75 percent decline so they’re only putting out three kettles a day, in a typical season, there are about 20. They raised over $2 million in Northern California last year which helps feed the needy, house the homeless and help families with rent and utility assistance, addiction rehab, after school programs, and more. They say this year their programs saw a 220 percent increase in need due to the pandemic.

“Christmas at the Ranch” the Victorian Christmas at the historic Ranch House at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park is off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association President says they couldn’t move forward with the event because of the amount of people that normally gather closely each year.  The organization works with California State Parks to raise money, then in turn have programs that benefit the park. They’ve been doing the Christmas event for more than 25 years featuring Christmas baked goods, hot apple cider and coffee, and performances by local musicians singing Christmas carols and holiday songs.

Two decent sized earthquakes hit Cobb. Early this morning the temblors were measured at 3.5- and 3.2-magnitude about three minutes apart. The US Geological Survey recorded the earthquakes just before 3 a.m. Lake Co News reports the survey showed they were centered inside the boundaries of northern Sonoma County. The 3.5 at 2:45 a.m. 4.6 miles west of Cobb and 3 minutes later, the 3.2-magnitude shook an area 4.8 miles west of Cobb.

A member of the Clearlake City Council has left and made way for a new member. David Claffey was elected to fill Phil Harris’ seat. He did not run for his seat again. Joyce Overton was also seated for her fifth term and Russell Perdock was a write-in candidate, even though he was an incumbent. Mayor Russ Cremer led the thank you presentation and said a goodbye to Harris who also was vice mayor for a year. The city clerk gave the oath of office to the one new member and incumbents. Vice Mayor Dirk Slooten was named as the new mayor and Perdock as vice mayor.

The Clearlake Christmas Parade has been canceled. After discussing with the Chamber of Commerce, the city decided to cancel. The Chamber was the sponsor of this year’s parade and with the city, they decided it would be best due to the coronavirus pandemic and the risks associated with gathering. The parade would have been held tomorrow, but as the state deals with a dramatic increase in cases the decision came to pass. The city manager says they look forward to next year when they can hopefully return to community events.

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