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It looks good for a logging plan on over 200 acres of steep land above the Russian River, outside Guerneville and Monte Rio even though many are opposed. The plan is supposed to be getting approval in just days, but residents and activists worry it’s close to neighborhoods, its effect on wildlife habitat, wildfire risks and aesthetics. The Roger Burch family owns the property and the Redwood Empire Sawmill in Cloverdale. They say the forest needs to be thinned to promote growth of bigger trees and reduce wildfire fuel. The land is across from a park, less than a mile from Guerneville, near Northwood Golf Club at the edge of Monte Rio. It’s zoned for timber production.

The Lake County Public Health Office reports getting a couple thousand doses of the COVID19 vaccine. Starting yesterday they put out the word again who is eligible for the vaccine, that is those over 65, long-term care residents, healthcare workers, emergency services workers, food and ag. workers and education and childcare workers. You can check the state’s public health website for more information. Dr. Gary Pace, the Public Health Officer says starting March 15th, the vaccines will open up to those with certain health conditions, severe disabilities and need a note from their doctor. 

There’s a reopening plan in Willits for schools. The school board had a special online meeting last week with nearly 90 residents there too. The board decided the first phase will be students at Brookside Elementary and Blosser Elementary coming back for in person learning from 8 a.m. to noon and then they’ll go home with a school lunch.  They have the option to remain in online learning too. As with schools across the district, masks are required for students, staff and teachers and there will be six feet distance between students. The school superintendent says they’re still working on a deal with the teacher’s union. The county needs to get to the Red Tier before older students can get back to class. Right now they’ll have 15 students/teacher.

The COVID19 outbreak at Mountain View assisted living in Ukiah did not contain any of the variant strains. A spokesperson for the facilities said there was no evidence of variants, or an abnormally high spread of the virus, or recurrent cases. Last we heard there had been 33 cases at the facility and they were working with the Public Health Dept. The facility also reported the public health office didn’t request variant testing, or offer any guidance related to variant testing requirements. Dr. Andy Coren had said the infection spread easily so he was concerned there might be a variant strain running through the place and said he did contact the state about possibly sending samples. But the health dept. says the facility used a private lab and the county recently changed labs so there were no variant tests requested.

Stand by for higher prices from PG&E. The utility company says they’re raising the rate for electricity and natural gas to fund upgrades to improve safety and reliability. The increase for an average customer is up nearly $9 more a month after another increase at the beginning of the year. A representative of the giant utility company says they understand it could be a hardship for many. Last year the state Public Utilities Commission approved the rate hikes. But some reports say the increases for electric and gas were way above the overall inflation rate for the Bay Area.  In any case the company says the rate increases will help them manage vegetation, expand their network of weather stations and high-definition cameras to monitor for fire danger, improve its public safety power shutoff program, improve gas systems like leakage, repairs, engineering and preventative maintenance.

A special meeting’s being held by the Lakeport Unified School District Governing Board on ways to fill a budget hole and save money in the future. Only board members are allowed in person due to the pandemic, but community members who want to join, can, over zoom. The meeting tonight is spending a good amount of time on a deficit recovery plan. The chief business official wrote in the notes that the declining enrollment and more pension contributions mean the District cannot meet its financial commitments over the next three years. And per requirements from the Lake County Office of Education, districts have to have a deficit recovery plan if they’re in “qualified status”, meaning they’re struggling financially.  The District trying to make up $300,000.

A man from Upper Lake accused of killing his stepmom has been ordered to stand trial. A judge ruled there is enough evidence to try 35 year old Matthew Mora for the shooting death in January of Christine Mora, who he shared a home with. Matthew also faces charges of assault with a semiautomatic weapon on his dad William, who police say he pointed a gun at; and for negligent discharge of a firearm firing a round from his handgun while he walked on Highway 20 before the confrontation. Police found the woman’s body after reports of a gunshot victim. Matthew’s dad told police his son shot his wife. Matthew was arrested after being found at a Motel in Upper Lake. Matthew is in jail on $2,150,000 bail.

The state of California is spending several million to help those seeking asylum from Mexico. The idea as President Biden looks to unravel some of his predecessor’s work on immigration, making those seeking asylum wait in Mexico until their court dates. The money will last thru June and pay for things like hotel rooms for immigrants to quarantine during the pandemic before they land at their final destinations across the country.  There will also be money give to the Jewish Family Service of San Diego for food and transportation. The state will also pay for health services for shorter stays, including COVID-19 testing. There about 26,000 people with active cases who are going to be allowed in the country. And about 25 people released a day in San Diego.

The state has officially turned over its COVID-19 vaccination system to Blue Shield. The health insurance company is like a third party administrator. The Governor announced Blue Shield would take the lead on vaccinations in January. The company says they’re hoping to get more people vaccinated and they’re expecting from 1 million doses a week, where we are now, to 4 million doses/week by the end of March. Yesterday the Governor said there had already been over 9 million doses administered and the positivity rate was down over 2 points from a week ago. Blue Shield was expecting to fully take over the state’s vaccination system by the end this month.

Not a lot of rain in February means we could be headed into another severe drought. The state’s monthly snowpack survey shows about 60% of average snowpack for this point in the year and we’re nearly at the end of the stormy season. Forecasters are not expecting a lot more snow. Water users in some parts of the state are already being asked to cut back. Some water agencies are asking customers to reconsider long showers and outdoor watering. And growers in the Central Valley are already challenged and have to figure out which crops should be the top priority. Forecasters say we still could see some rain this month and next, but the really wet season has come to an end and we may be in one of the state’s driest years ever if we don’t get any more rainy weather.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office reports more people will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The county continues to inoculate tiers 1A and 1B, now it’ll open up to folks ages 16 to 64 with certain health conditions, including Chronic Kidney Disease (stage 4 or over), Chronic Lung Disease (oxygen dependent), Cancer, Heart disease, Immunocompromised State (from chemotherapy, or other medical conditions), Diabetes, Severe Obesity, Sickle Cell Disease, Pregnancy and Chronic Disabilities (both physical or mental). So those who fit into those groups can begin signing up for vaccinations with a doctor’s note.  You have to prove you’re eligible before you can get your vaccine. To view all upcoming county-hosted COVID-19 vaccination events and their eligibility requirements, please visit:

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