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In Santa Rosa they’re not starting school as many others across the state are. The Press Democrat reports the Santa Rosa City Schools Superintendent says the target date of restarting in person learning of March 1st is not doable. Apparently union negotiations on getting back on campus have been zeroing in on getting teachers vaccines. Plus, in Santa Rosa campuses are not ready to be pandemic proof. They also don’t have a way to match students with teachers quite yet. Since last month they have been trying to at least get transitional kindergarten through third graders back part-time. The superintendent says they are about 90% done with figuring it all out and knows it’s a disappointment to local families.

The Lakeport City Council has heard from the chief of police on crime statistics. Chief Brad Rasmussen updated the council at their regular meeting Tuesday. He says last year they got 5,820 calls for service with nearly 9,100 incidents, 300 fewer than a year before. He added the pandemic had something to do with that. He says the department made over 70 felony arrests and 174 misdemeanor arrests, about half of 2019. And only about a half of the number of DUI’s from the year before. There was only murder. The chief says they’re also training in various topics within the department but are facing staffing issues. A couple of new officers just finished the academy though and they’re trying to recruit more.

The Lake County Public Health Dept. has announced they’ve had to cancel some vaccination clinics due to severe weather in other parts of the country. Dr. Gary Pace put out a statement that says because of the severe weather events, the delivery of their shipment of the Moderna vaccine is delayed. So, unfortunately, that means they have to cancel all appointments today and tomorrow. They will be getting more doses in the next few days, and after that they can resume their vaccine clinics, probably Monday. They say they’ll be calling anyone with an appointment to reschedule for next week. Second vaccine doses will continue though. So for anyone who had their first dose 4 weeks ago, they need to get a jab this week. But locations and days have changed, so you should check in with the department to confirm.

The Calif. Legislature is working on a stimulus package separate from the federal government. President Biden is proposing $1,400 direct payments to all Americans of a certain income bracket and help to counties and states and businesses. Calif. lawmakers and coalitions of immigrant advocates are reportedly pushing for stimulus payments since they never received anything from the federal government. President Biden’s proposal is $1.9 trillion dollars and Gov. Newsom’s is $2.4 billion and could include $600 tax refunds to about 4 million workers who earn less than $30,000, including some undocumented workers. Many of them work in industries devastated by the pandemic and don’t qualify for other help.

The Gov. has called for an end to fracking in the state so Democratic State Sen. Scott Wiener has introduced a bill to do just that. It wouldn’t happen, if it’s even passed, until 2027. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pulls oil and gas from shale rock that’s deep underground using a high-pressure mix of water, sand or gravel along with chemicals. There are apparently threats to the environment by doing this, and some believe it can create earthquakes. The bill faces an unlikely outcome with the influential oil and gas industry which pays billions in state and local taxes.

A promotion has been announced by the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency of a long time employee. Mary Alice Willeford will be the Interim Public Health Director. The Public Health Office put out a statement yesterday that Willeford has been a county employee for 19 years and working within Public Health for the past six years. The office says Willeford has years of fiscal and administrative expertise and wide-ranging skills working in Public Health. She says she’s dedicated to providing services to the community and excited to take on the new role. She is not a doctor or nurse, but the office says her vast experience is the perfect match for what they need to augment their team. She starts in her new role Monday.

A state lawmaker is introducing a bill to decriminalize psychedelics in the state. Like Oregon before it, State Senator Scott Wiener says he hopes to follow the lead of other places which have decriminalized these drugs as medicine. Weiner told the newspaper the Guardian, it’s a health issue, not a criminal issue, and nobody should go to jail for possessing these drugs. The bill would decriminalize possession and personal use of psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, psilocyn, also found in mushrooms, and MDMA, LSD, ketamine, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine, which is used to counter drug addition. The drugs are all used as medical treatments. The bill would also clear the criminal record of anyone convicted of possession or personal use of these substances and create a taskforce and regulatory body to oversee personal and therapeutic use for mental health treatment.

Volunteers are needed at the Ukiah Hospice Thrift and Gift Store. The store is located on the corner of South State and East Clay. They raise money there to help hospice provide end of life and comfort care for free to anyone who needs it in the community. The executive director says they’re all volunteers. They get about 75% of what they earn from the Thrift Store. The rest comes in from donations. They do have four paid staffers for hospice. They also have a library which managed by a retired school teacher, a toy house, tool room, boutique and more. The hospice is certified in Willits and Ukiah.

Reopenings or moving to a new tier comes each Tuesday. And while Lake and Mendocino counties are still in the purple, widespread tier, we won’t find out if there’s any progress forward from the state until next Tuesday. Mendocino County added another death on Tuesday, for a total of 41 now. There have also been 3,524 cases. The state had 388 deaths Tuesday, the last day the data was updated. But hospitalizations and case numbers are down. Gov. Newsom has hinted there could be major changes to the tier color each county is in with the next update, next Tuesday.

A new variant of COVID-19 is in Humboldt County. Public Health officials say it was just a single outbreak and so far there’s no evidence of community spread. Apparently the public health office had submitted several dozen samples for testing. They including random surveillance samples. The scientists testing the samples found 16 of them had a mutation which could mean a higher rate of transmission. But the Humboldt County Health Officer reported it was at one nursing facility in Eureka where the virus had spread in residents and staff, but nowhere else in the county so far. The scientists say the strain is a natural feature amongst viruses and not unexpected to find in outbreaks.

If you haven’t got it yet, you’re going to have get your REAL ID now. Last year the federal government gave everyone an extension to get their REAL ID’s due to the pandemic. The new deadline is this October, instead of last October. The DMV is expecting a bunch of applications this summer, so it’s best not to wait they say, especially if you want to travel within the continental United States. You will not be able to take any domestic flights without that ID or you’ll need your passport and also to enter a federal building. The DMV recently upgraded its website to handle the expected influx of applicants.

Added to the priority list for those able to get the COVID19 vaccine in Calif., Medical Marijuana workers and veterinarians. The state Department of Public Health announced Cannabis industry employees were included in Phase1a for medicinal cannabis and Phase 1b which includes Food and Agriculture workers, for growing, production, storage, transport and distribution. It’s a tad confusing as the same workers appear in Phase 1b, Tier 1. But individual counties get to decide who goes when depending on supply of course. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the state dept. of Public Health says many medical marijuana workers were already vaccinated in Phase 1a, so whoever is left will probably be in the next tier group.

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