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A giant surge in cases in Mendocino County. The Public Health Office has reported 57 confirmed cases yesterday, for a total of 2,108. The health office out with the same warning, stay home, don’t gather outside your immediate household, due to the unprecedented surge of COVID-19.  A reminder not to meet up with friends and family in small groups, even though we’re in the holiday season. The health office says the way we exercise our personal responsibility in the coming weeks has the potential of making or breaking our local healthcare system.

The woman found guilty of animal cruelty in the case of the dog shot in a botched euthanasia attempt has been sentenced. Katie Rhiannon Smith of Caspar sentenced to probation for the felony charge in the case of Thunder the Wonder Dog. The DA charged Smith with felony animal cruelty and a sentencing enhancement for personally using a firearm in the course of the crime.  The dog was found in the woods, malnourished and severely injured and needed multiple surgeries. The Probation office was recommending 36 months in prison. But the judge allowed the defense to argue for the case to be a misdemeanor instead and it was granted. The woman on unsupervised probation for 3 years, which can be reduced to 12 months. She did get 360 days in jail, suspended. She has to go to counseling and 500 hours of community service.  The District Attorney has filed an appeal for review by the higher court. 

A fire that burned an apartment complex in Clearlake has killed a woman. The investigation into how the fire started Tuesday night shows a woman, probably in her late 60’s was the victim of the fire. The first reports said there might have been someone trapped in the building, so firefighters asked for additional resources. Cal Fire, Kelseyville Fire and Lakeport Fire reported to the scene where one apartment was fully engulfed in flames and the fire was starting to spread. The person who reported the fire said they heard a woman yelling from inside, but the yelling stopped. Firefighters held off from going into the building after trying but it was too hot. An investigator with the Lake County Fire Protection District responded with police to look into the woman’s death.

A special meeting’s set for the Clearlake City Council so they can consider proposals from developers for a subdivision property and a possible extension of negotiations with a firm interested in using part of the old airport. The meeting this afternoon over the city’s or county’s YouTube channel and Zoom. They’re taking emailed public comment to the city clerk which will be read aloud by the mayor or a city staffer. The negotiation of a subdivision to be discussed on 29 acres which started years ago but stopped during the recession of 2009. Robert Adelman and Mark Flame are offering $100,000 and a five-year option to buy the land and proposed purchase price of $150,000.

Lakeport Firefighters will have a Christmas parade. Tomorrow night they’re having a lighted parade with Santa. Lake Co News reports the department said they wanted to end a challenging year on a positive, uplifting note. If you want to watch the parade they ask that you follow COVID19 protocols with social distancing and mask wearing. Any businesses who want to enter still have time too. For more info, you can visit the Fire Department’s Facebook page.

Since people aren’t following health protocols in Lake County Dr. Gary Pace, the county’s public health officer says they’re changing the way they respond. Pace telling the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday,  since residents won’t follow public health guidelines, and vaccines are on the way, it’s time to reallocate resources. He said they’ll do the basics, like contact tracing, but they’re not going to spend time trying to track people down who test positive due to some businesses telling employees not to report their positive cases. He says people are going out in public, knowing they’re positive. Pace says Lake County has enough ICU beds currently, but the state will be out by the end of the year. Lake County had 178 active cases as of Tuesday and 10 people in the hospital. Supervisors speaking out saying community members need to do more to protect the community.

The yearly “Shop with a Cop” holiday event put on by the Lake County Deputy Sheriff’s Association is happening, but kids didn’t get to do the shop part. Cops went to the Clearlake Walmart on Monday without kids, and shopped alone to protect families from the virus. The department started the program after the Valley Fire 5 years ago after a $10,000 donation came in from the Bay Area Deputy Sheriffs’ Charitable Foundation to have fire victims shop with a cop during Christmas time. They’ve been fundraising each year since. Each officer gets $200 to spend on warm winter clothes, holiday goods and any other needed items. After the basic needs are purchased, they buy toys and other presents. The presents were distributed on Tuesday. 100 kids were invited, 94 accepted.

Hope Rising is working with local partners for a holiday gift giving drive. The Hope Rising Governing Board organizing the drive for Hope Center and Elijah House. The two facilities provide transitional housing and other services for residents. The Saw Shop Public House, and Tina Scott, District 4 Supervisor are donating dinner and dessert and so far Konocti Christian Academy in Lakeport is collecting gifts. Anyone interested in helping should contact Kate at Hope Rising. You can also donate online www.hoperisinglc.org. They especially need clothing including hoodies, socks and gloves, clothing store gift cards, holiday DVDs and ventilated masks, sweat pants and reading glasses.

A far off venture in the near future as the city of Ukiah’s Community Development Department is already considering the 2040 general plan. The plan puts together the guidelines for zoning and land use over the next twenty years. The Development Department has had two community meetings on the plan and heard from residents about what the priorities for the city should be. The meetings were online and about 60 people showed up. There were comments about evacuation routes, green space, affordable housing and some complained they have had their past ideas ignored. 500 projects are supposed to implemented as part of the plan.

Vaccines are not only going to front line healthcare workers in the state, but also prison inmates. Not only California, but Colorado, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Utah, New Mexico, Nebraska, Montana and Massachusetts say prisoners are at the front of the line for the vaccine this winter. In Calif some  prisoners have been released early to free up prison space and some who are arrested are not going to jail to help slow the spread. Lake County had an outbreak at their jail recently. The Associated Press reports the five states with the highest number of coronavirus cases in their prisons are Calif., Texas, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin.

$200 million in federal healthcare funding will not be coming to California from the federal government because of how insurance providers cover abortions. The Trump Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services says it’s holding back money from Medicaid next fiscal quarter unless the state comes into compliance. The administration previously warned California it might lose funding because of a regulation from 2014 that mandates employers and private insurers pay for abortions. The Trump Administration says Calif has violated a federal anti-discrimination law protecting insurers from being forced to provide abortion coverage. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office says it’s an attempt “to score cheap political points”.

The next in line for the Pfizer vaccine in Calif, is teachers, first responders, and grocery and restaurant workers. Not a lot of vaccines for the state, but a 16 member panel of medical experts is recommending who gets the vaccine in the first round where the state is getting about 3 million doses. Another 8 million are expected after the New Year and that’s when the next group is getting their shots. About 1.4 million education and child care providers, 1.1 million emergency services providers, including police and firefighters but also child and youth service workers, workers at shelters, social services for the elderly and those with disabilities, the criminal justice system, and businesses that provide goods used by the safety workers and around 3.4 million food and agriculture workers.

Skyrocketing cases coincide with exploding unemployment claims in the state. Almost 24,000 more claims last week to go over 200,000 for the first time since September. First time job claims were at almost 203,000 claims last week, a jump of 23,900 from a week before. The week before ended on December 5th, that’s when there were just under 179,000 first time claims. It looked to be making a turn in October, but new stay home orders have wreaked havoc on the economy. Out of the last eight weeks, seven of them had higher jobless claims.

The most deaths so far from coronavirus on Wednesday when the country also had the highest confirmed cases so far too. 428 people died yesterday from coronavirus for almost 22,000 now total. There were also over 51,770 cases. The state said they added cases on because of new data tracking, but even still, that number also broke records. The state’s averaging about 35,000 new cases and 200 deaths each day over the last week. 650 patients are being admitted to hospitals a day and ICU’s are closer to full or over capacity. As many as 3,200 patients in hospitals have been intubated. The Governor has warned the next weeks we will see surge capacity has been reached in hospitals across the state. Right now less than 1,400 staffed and licensed beds are available statewide.

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