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A friendly voice to many in the community, Bill Steele, has passed away.  Bill was a mainstay on the airwaves here for over forty years as host of K Wine Radio’s Morning Show and our Program Director. He was known for his many contributions to our community’s wellbeing and lifestyle.  When Bill retired just last year Mendocino County proclaimed that thousands, from kids to grandparents, would remember him as their morning companion to help start the day with a smile.  He inspired all with his tasteful humor, warm personality and intelligent observations.  The proclamation from the Board of Supervisors said Bill coming into our homes on our radios had contributed to our civility,  values, happiness and goodwill.  His broadcasting work for charities, civic, cultural and educational organizations set examples for others. Bill Steele was 78 when he died Saturday at his Potter Valley home surrounded by his loved ones. 

The Voice of Hope in Clearlake is moving. Lake County Behavioral Health Services announced La Voz de Esparanza Centro Latino (The Voice of Hope), which is a peer support center will move next year to Lakeshore Drive. They were on Olympic Drive for five years. The group says they provide culturally relevant, wellness-oriented services to community members focused on providing education and prevention services to the Latino Community of Lake County.  They also say they help break the language barrier that can prevent some from seeking help. They also offer referrals for behavioral health services, when appropriate or requested.

The county has received 975 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in partnership with Adventist Health for storage at the moment until the county gets the ultracold freezers needed to store the vaccine. The first round for hospital care, emergency and urgent care, or care in skilled nursing facilities. Thursday they started to administer the vaccine. The public health officer says the amount they got so far will cover only one percent of the county’s population, which he called an important start in slowing the virus. Dr. Andy Coren reminding even though the vaccine has arrived, community members have to continue to avoid gatherings and wear masks. Among the first to get the vaccine were an Adventist Health Emergency Room Doctor, Emergency Room Nurse, Adventist Health Hospital Housekeeper, an OptumServe Testing Site Registered Nurse, 2 Redwood Community Crisis Center Crisis Workers and a Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Fire Captain and Paramedic. So far there have been no reports of any adverse side effects.

The yearly Lake County Burn Ban has been lifted. As of this morning at 8, CalFire says it’s okay to burn with a permit after recent rains reduced the risk. You can get a permit at your local Fire Protection District. There’s a Smoke Management Plan required for any multi-day burn, standing vegetation burn, whole tree or vine removals over one acre, burns over 20 acres in size, and any other burns where significant smoke impacts can occur or sensitive receptors may be impacted. You can pickup a smoke Management Plan at the Lake County Air Quality Management District office most weekdays.

The Lake County Public Health Officer says the Northern Calif. Region is not under the Regional Stay Home Order as ICU capacity is below 25%; dropping below 15% would trigger the order. The region includes both Lake and Mendocino Counties and others North to the Oregon border. Dr. Gary Pace released a statement that came from the Rural Association of Northern California Health Officers (RANCHO) that the North State is in a state of emergency as cases continue to rise, hospitalizations reach record highs and new deaths are reported daily. Their reminder, stay six feet away from others, limit mixing in a crowd, wear a mask, stay home as much as possible and limit contact with others outside your immediate household. Critical care capacity in the RANCHO region is 21% but neighboring regions are below the threshold for the lockdown of 15% capacity.

A man from Covelo’s been arrested for burglary and vandalism. 3 others reported Wyatt Hurt was trespassing at a house, but he fled before deputies could get there. They saw someone come out of a seasonal trailer on the property and get into a truck and try to leave, but the owners of the property closed a gate so he couldn’t get away. Deputies say Hurt crashed through the gate so they chased him to his home, as they had been in contact with him in the past. He was arrested on for trespassing and entering two trailers on the victim’s property to commit theft. He’s held on $125,000.00 bail.

A man from Sacramento’s busted after a woman says a man came into their rental and started to eat food. Deputies got a call to a home in Leggett finding Rudy Kaslofski in a chair in the driveway of the home. The victims say they rent a room there to someone and that Kaslofski entered their tenant’s space and was eating their food. The property owner had a gun and made Kaslofski leave. He was arrested for first degree burglary and held in the Mendocino County Jail on $50,000.00 bail.

A man from Covelo who was supposed to show up in court and did not has been arrested after a domestic altercation. Deputies say Ira Reyes was at a business and got into an argument with a woman there, then took off in a white SUV. They caught up to him and arrested him for the outstanding warrants and found he had live ammunition and a controlled substance on him during a search. Since he’s a convicted felon, he’s not allowed to have ammunition or firearms. Deputies went to his house and found more ammo for an assault rifle. He was first booked into jail on various charges on $425,000.00 bail, but after his home search a judge allowed a bail enhancement. So Reyes is held without bail.

Hospitals in trouble as the surge of coronavirus continues to explode across the state. Over 17,000 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections were reported this weekend, over twice the amount of the last peak infection rate in July. And state modeling shows we could get to 75,000 hospitalizations by the middle of January. There are also over 3,600 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients in an intensive care bed. The top infectious disease expert in the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci says some parts of the state are on the cusp of getting overrun. Data shows there are no ICU beds in Southern Calif. or in the 12-county San Joaquin Valley. Some counties are sending paramedics out to patients who won’t go to an emergency room if instead they can go to an urgent care facility or wait a few days to talk to their doctor. And some hospitals are making the gut wrenching decision, to ration care.

A man from Ukiah’s been arrested after police spot a car on E. Gobbi St. One of the officers knew the driver from previous contacts and knew he was not allowed to drive and didn’t have a driver’s license. So Trinidad Luise Magdaleno Pulido was followed. They put on their lights to stop the man, who pulled over in the parking lot of Express Mart, but he went into the store. The officers followed and confirmed he had no driver’s license so he would get a ticket. Officers did a search of the car and found ammo, then searched him and found a weapon in his waistband.  The gun was not registered and had no serial number, commonly referred to as a ghost gun. Officers also say they found he had a couple of bags of suspected cocaine, then a more thorough search of the car turned up a bigger bag of cocaine and cash. Magdaleno-Pulido was arrested for unlawful possession of a concealed loaded firearm, possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of a controlled substance with a loaded firearm and transportation of a controlled substance.

PG&E has announced moving tens of thousands of residential customers to a time of use rate plan starting next spring. About 140,000 eligible residential electric customers in Mendocino and Sonoma counties will be the first to change over to the new plan next April. As many as 2.5 million customers will eventually transition over to the plan by 2022. There will be notifications sent to customers in PG&E’s service area starting this week. That’s four months advance notice about the automatic transition to opt in or out.  The utility is required by state law, as are other investor-owned electric utilities in Calif. to automatically transition customers to the Time-of-Use rate plan for a cleaner, healthier and more reliable energy grid. 

Money’s coming from the federal government to pay for help keeping invasive mussels out of Northern Calif. water bodies including Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino. It’s part of the latest federal omnibus spending bill. 30 million dollars to the Army Corp of Engineers for the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 would to help prevent mussels getting into the Russian River basin. If the invasive species get into Lake Sonoma or Mendocino, quagga and zebra mussels could destroy critical infrastructure, devastate the Coho salmon recovery program at Lake Sonoma and cost millions in maintenance repairs.

The coronavirus vaccine arrived in Lake County and immediately nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists and other healthcare workers at Sutter Lakeside Hospital got inoculated first. On Friday RN Diane Derenia was the first to get immunized in Lake County. She will need to get the second dose win 21 days. The chief administrative officer for the hospital thanked healthcare workers for their courage and commitment the last ten months. Right now, as we’ve been reporting, only frontline healthcare workers. nursing home residents and staffers are eligible to get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Over the weekend a second vaccine was approved from the company Moderna.

The California State Controller’s Office says even though the city of Clearlake said there were more than 2,400 homes eligible for tax default sales, that wasn’t true. The controller’s office says an inquiry into the sales of tax-defaulted properties in Lake County and the city of Clearlake found about 1,370 properties available for sale. The state also says there should be about 1,000 properties sold a year to comply with state law of a six year timeframe. The letter was sent to the embattled Lake County treasurer tax collector, the Clearlake City Manager and the Clearlake City Council along with the chair of the board of supervisors.  The state looked at a list of properties provided by the tax collector, and tax-default sales info on all tax sale activity from calendar years 2014 to 2019.

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