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A check in on a woman convicted of animal cruelty has her owning some chickens. The District Attorney in Mendocino County reports police went to the Caspar home of probationer Katie Rhiannon Smith and found her with six chickens which is against the law for someone with a history of animal cruelty. You may recall Smith was involved in a case of a dog shot in a botched euthanasia attempt, then abandoning the dog in the woods. The case of Thunder the Wonder Dog. The DA says for someone convicted in an animal cruelty case as a misdemeanor they cannot have any animal for five years and it’s punishable with a fine of up to $1,000. The chickens have been placed in protective custody of Mendocino County Animal Control and Smith faces more charges that could include revoking her probation.

The Mendocino Public Health Office is asking anyone who many have frequented several Fort Bragg places of business to go get a COVID19 test. Nothing said about an outbreak per se’, just that there’s a free testing site set up for the weekend and that anyone who went to Denny’s, Mayan Fusion, Laurel Deli & Desserts, Silver’s At The Wharf, Angelina’s Bar & Grill, David’s Deli & Restaurant or Noyo Harbor Inn & Restaurant anytime in the last two weeks, they should get tested. The free testing site is Sunday at 205 South Street, from 9AM – Noon – First come, first serve and it’s a drive thru test. At the same time the public health office announced another 26 cases of the virus.

A young woman in Lake County taking her first off road excursion has died.  The CHP in Clear Lake reports 19-year-old Athena Karan of Santa Rosa died after the ride at the Indian Valley Reservoir last month. She was a passenger in a Honda Talon, an ATV. It was driven by Juan Carlos Torres, who’s been arrested for two felonies: gross vehicular manslaughter and causing injury while driving under the influence of alcohol. Karan’s mom says the driver was a new friend to Karan, someone she didn’t know well and she was not with her regular group of friends. The CHP reports there was a “a large dip in the roadway” where the driver lost control and rolled the ATV. Karan was on the lap of someone else and was thrown off the vehicle. 

The largest penalty so far for COVID19 work violations went to San Quentin State Prison. Cal/OSHA slapped the prison with a nearly $422,000 fine after an inspection by the agency in June. Another prison was fined almost $42,000 as well, Avenal State Prison. The two citations were announced yesterday after a damaging report by the state Office of the Inspector General which called out the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and California Correctional Health Care Services after inmates and prison staff got infected. The prison staff were accused in the report of rushing to transfer dozens of medically vulnerable inmates to two facilities, one of them was San Quentin. Prisoners were not isolated from others, causing a massive outbreak.

The former sheriff in Mendocino County Tom Allman announced he’s had a massive heart attack. He posted on social media that while he was reporting to a fatal traffic accident in Humboldt County, where he works as a deputy now, a medic suggested he be evaluated in an ambulance on the scene. He says the paramedic saved his life because while inside the ambulance, the “big one” happened and the medic was completely prepared to use her skills, but also adds he wasn’t exactly nice to her and wants to apologize. Allman says he was not a good patient, mostly because he was in extreme pain and hopes to see the paramedic again to say he was sorry and says, he’s very appreciative and learned a life lesson. He’s now back at work after surgery and recuperation.

A new lease agreement has been approved by the Clearlake City Council so that Cal Fire can help with cleanup around the city’s main shopping center. The area’s become a homeless camp where fires have broken out and trash has been left behind. The council voted unanimously for the lease agreement. It’s about 31 acres at $1 a year for two years.  The property near Walmart, Tractor Supply and Big 5. The city was going to use the land as a second phase for the development of the Walmart but the local economy quashed the plans. The city manager says the land has been kind of ignored as of late and there’s been attempts over the years to rectify the situation. There have been some title issues and other problems with the property. The city getting more actively involved now with Cal Fire to clean the land as part of a public ownership. Lake Co News reports the city manager said he wasn’t sure when the work would start, but probably sometime in the spring.

The surge of the virus in the state came with winter, death and infection rates skyrocketed after Halloween, Thanksgiving, Xmas and New Years. A new report shows from last March to November, the 25 least populated counties in Calif had a total of 235 COVID-related deaths, about 60% lower than elsewhere in the state, per-capita. Then from Dec. 1st until Jan. 29th, the same rural counties had almost twice as many deaths, 427. There are about 1.2 million in the counties which include small towns and agricultural outposts which were barely hit in the early days of the pandemic. But they reported a 141% increase in late fall and early winter. The report says it’s been most challenging for the smaller public health agencies across the state who have tight budgets, with minimal staffing and people who flouted public health measures like wearing masks and physical distancing.

Willits is hiring a search firm so it can find a new police chief. The city council voted unanimously to use a company they’d used in the past to help get some applications rolling in. The firm the city is using is a woman-and minority-owned business and says it’s committed to “attracting and placing diverse candidates.” Apparently the budget doesn’t have an allowance for the expenditure which could be as much as $24,000, but the city’s finance department they can probably make up for it with the revised Police and Finance Budgets.

Adventist health announced a vaccination clinic and as fast as the hottest concert ticket used to sell out, the vaccination slots were gone. The mass COVID-19 vaccination event announced at Willits High School tomorrow for anyone 65 years of age and older. They were offering appointment signups online yesterday and by mid-morning the slots were taken. There are limited supplies of the vaccine, as you’ve probably noticed. And public health officials have been saying the demand far outpaces the supply. The hospital asks those who’ve made an appointment that if they cannot make it to let them know so they can schedule someone else. They also say to come alone and bring identification.

A panel put together in Calif. to decide the tier groups moving forward for vaccines is following the governor’s guidance. They announced yesterday they were, for now, following Gov. Newsom’s decision so that age is the main metric for who gets the vaccine first. The panel made the announcement yesterday and some advocates were speaking out for those with chronic health conditions or are disabled, saying they should move up the line with people over age 65. The panel of experts apparently looked at research that showed older people had a far greater chance of being hospitalized or dying from the virus over those with significant disabilities or medical conditions.

The County of Mendocino has won $2.2 million from the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions. The money comes by way of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). Plus the Board of Supervisor’s has another $100,000 matching grant money for the local Cannabis Equity Program. They say they are aiming to give money and services to those who’ve been hardest hit by the War on Drugs by lowering barriers to cannabis permitting and licensing. Applications open today, those applying need to meet certain requirements and will get a Mendocino County Local Equity Entrepreneur Program designation and Equity Applicant identification number so they can apply for the grant money.

For more information

The Community Foundation of Mendocino County has announced $100,000 is available from the Community Resiliency and Disaster Preparedness grant program. The money goes to support effective, realistic, and coordinated planning, reduce duplication and increase overall effectiveness of disaster preparedness. The goal to minimize the impact disasters have on the community and to save more lives and protect livelihoods. So nonprofits in Mendocino County are invited to submit proposals by February 26th..  In 2019 the fund awarded $50,000 in grants to nine organizations and last year the money went to 19 organizations. The grants this year will range from $1,000 – $10,000.

Sheriff Matt Kendall and the FBI held a public briefing on the disappearance of a young woman from Covelo who’s been missing for 3 years. Khadijah Britton was last seen, her family says, being forced into a car with her former boyfriend Negie Fallis. Sheriff Kendall didn’t have any new light to shed on the cold case, but said there’s someone out there who knows something…

The event was on Facebook Live, it was very hard to understand as the sheriff’s microphone was not near his face. An FBI agent there said anyone with information on the case could call their office in San Francisco. Any leads could be anonymous. The Sheriff said as a community, it’s our duty to help the family find out what happened to Khadijah.

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