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The Mendocino County Public Health Officer has put out a new health order regarding the reopening of schools for K-6th grade. Dr. Andy Coren says schools can start the process of re-opening since case numbers are flattening, the community has been heeding the warnings to avoid gatherings, wear masks, and maintain social distance. The county is in the purple tier currently. So Dr. Coren says with the help of the Office of Education, Mendocino County school districts, schools, teachers, staff, parents, community partners, rural clinics and Adventist Health, kids can start to come back. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen fast. The schools will take it from here after they come up with their plans. There could be only some grades that get back now, and only certain days of the week for some and other days for others right away. Dr. Coren says they’re “respectfully ask for the community’s patience” and to refer to their fact sheet, where you should be able to find all of the info you need, posted on the county’s website and through social media.

The Lake County Public Health Officer says COVID19 cases are slowing. The rate is 61 per 100,000 people, higher than Mendocino County. Dr. Gary Pace says the test positivity rate is down at 12.2% and hospitals are not as full as they have been over the last several weeks. The county is in the State’s Purple Tier, so only outdoor dining is permitted at restaurants. The Governor changed the state back to the colored system for reopening businesses last week. The county received 800 doses of the vaccine last week. up from 300-400 in recent weeks. Another shipment of 800 more doses are expected this week too. So far, the public health office reports 3,500 Lake County residents have been vaccinated. 

The Ukiah Schools Superintendent says they’ve submitted their reopening plan to the Public Health Office and the state. There’s a tentative reopening date set for Tuesday, February 16th. The Superintendent says it’s contingent on local health conditions and the COVID Safety Plan approved, which we should know within about a week. The school district has had three town halls, including one entirely in Spanish. There are links to them at the district website on the hybrid model plan, health and safety protocols, mitigation, testing, and more. There are more virtual information sessions planned from individual schools detailing their in person plans. 

A man in Lake County has been arrested after a patrol officer stopped him for some traffic violations. A deputy patrolling the Nice area stopped a gray Dodge Charger finding four people inside, one of them Shannon Henson of Spring Valley was on Post Release Community Supervision so they searched the car and found a couple syringes with something clear inside them, a baggie full of suspected meth, and a disassembled assault rifle and 35 rounds of ammo. He was arrested for several crimes including felon in possession of a firearm, felon in possession of ammunition, possession of an assault rifle and possession of a controlled substance for sale. The man has a long history of narcotics, stolen property, and firearms crimes; he’s held on no bail. The other three people were released.

A man from Covelo in prison, then taken to a hospital to be treated and died there. The Sheriff’s office reports 53 year old Ransome Anderson was arrested a year ago and awaiting sentencing on three cases including felony driving under the influence of alcohol with injury or death, assault with a deadly weapon and committing a felony while out on bail or own recognizance. He was taken to the hospital a few weeks ago and apparently it was found he had an advanced preexisting medical condition that was probably terminal.  Anderson remained at the hospital for treatment until his death.

Threats of violence and death against Governor Newsom and his businesses. The Sacramento Bee newspaper reports they got voicemails and emails that had graphic abusive language about Newsom, violent sexual threats against his wife and a reference to his children. The newspaper reported one of the threats related to burning down wineries owned by his company. There have also been threats to recall the governor because of the way he has been handling the pandemic. There were also fake news rumors online about Newsom supposedly taking coronavirus aid money for his own businesses from the state, in fact his company, which he is no longer involved with got money from the federal government, not California.

Several hundred people without power for several days after the major storm plowed thru Northern and Central Calif. last week. On Friday Pacific Gas and Electric Co. crews were still out repairing equipment and restoring service. They had warned some they might not have power until today, a week later. 95 percent of residences and businesses without power because of strong winds, heavy rains and deep snow were restored by Friday, but there were still people in Lake, Mendocino, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Yolo, Amador and Humboldt counties in the dark over the weekend. The company reported 1,500 instances of damaged equipment that had to be either replaced or repaired.

California is working to protect those who live at elder residence facilities or nursing homes. The state Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced his office’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse was getting its own division that will be able to tap into more resources so they can do their own investigating and prosecuting fraud committed against the Medi-Cal program and physical or financial abuse or neglect against older folks and their dependents in care facilities statewide.

Congressman Mike Thompson and 3 of his colleagues are working on a bipartisan small business package during the pandemic. The Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, for which Thompson is the Chairman, introduced the Keeping the Lights on Act. The bill will give help to businesses with essential fixed costs, like help paying their rent or utilities, during the Coronavirus pandemic. They’re using the tax code to help their effort, giving them a tax credit as small businesses across the country continue struggling due to the pandemic.

A Ukiah Police Officer accused of serious sexual misconduct has been fired. Police Chief Justin Wyatt spoke on Facebook saying that officer Kevin Murray was immediately put on leave when they heard about the allegations. After an internal investigation, Wyatt says, they expelled Murray. He says there’s no room for this kind of behavior and Murray’s actions do not reflect on other members of the Ukiah police force. Still no word if Murray’s been arrested by his former force. He’s charged though with burglary, sexual battery and possession of meth for an incident at the Super 8 Motel on South Orchard Avenue last November. He was placed on administrative leave for nearly two months.

The city council in Lakeport wants to hear from the public on how to use money the city is tryin for through a grant program to help residents in the face of the pandemic. The meeting tomorrow night on zoom. There will be other business handled at the meeting, but they will spend the majority of the 6pm meeting on the Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The council’s poised to give the green light for spending the money with the help of the public. To be clear they’re applying for grants due to COVID impacts which includes money for households where people are at risk of going without shelter, health and education support services; public facility and infrastructure improvements; public facility acquisition, emergency shelters and other housing assistance, also how to help businesses either retain or get new employees.

Apparently, the Unemployment Dept. has finally caught up to the backlog of first time claims since the pandemic started. The state Employment Development Department reports finally making its way through nearly 20 million unemployment benefit claims, saying they’ve resolved 99.9 percent of 1.6 million backlogged claims that a Strike Team found last September. They report it takes about 3 weeks to get the first check out or disqualify the claim. The agency says it’ll continue giving weekly updates on how many claims they’ve processed and any issues beyond the usual payment delays over 21 days.

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