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The old Best Western hotel on South Orchard Street in Ukiah is turning into an apartment complex. Starting in April the Live Oak Apartments will feature 56 studio apartments of about 300 square feet each. The County says it’s a bridge to permanent housing for households that are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. It’s part of Project Homekey so those over 60, families enrolled in CalWorks or getting Child Welfare Services, veterans getting support and case management from the Veterans Administration, those in the Whole Person Care program, and others considered at high risk of complications from Covid-19 are prioritized. Applications are being accepted by community-based organizations and the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency.  Detailed information about the project can be found at http://www.projecthomekeymendocino.org.

A couple of kids from Round Valley had to be airlifted to Redding after an accident with two all-terrain vehicles. Mendo Fever reports the CHP responded to the incident. The 12 and 14 year old girl’s were taken to the Covelo Fire Station on Highway 162. The 12-year-old had an arm injury and the 14-year-old suffered a head injury after the crash which happened near Briggs Point on the road.

A woman arrested for stealing a car has been arrested for the same thing again… The Ukiah Police Dept. reports getting a report of a stolen car and contacting the victim who led officers to where he left the car running in front of a business where he went inside for a brief transaction. The victim said they thought they locked their car, but when they came back out their car was gone. A BOLO was put out for the stolen car and the car was later tracked traveling eastbound on Highway 29, toward Kelseyville. A police officer tried stopping the car, but the driver sped away, so they tossed a spike strip down. The car hit a guardrail and rolled and Eryka Smith was found inside. She had to be taken to a hospital but was arrested for several crimes. She also had been arrested within three days for stealing another car.

A staff member of the California Republican Party is suing the party for racial discrimination and retaliation for reporting it. Botisha McKnight, who is Black, filed suit against two former employees and the party alleging a superior constantly made discriminatory remarks against Black people and even acknowledged her comments were racist. The suit also says the party’s former executive director and a relative of the other woman being sued, retaliated against McKnight and gave her difficult work outside of her job description after she filed a complaint. The two accused stopped their work for the party last year but McKnight is still there. A spokesman for the party says they immediately investigated when they heard and took action.

Congressman Mike Thompson has introduced legislation as the chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force on background checks. The bi-partisan bill is co-sponsored by 3 other Democrats and 3 Republicans to require background checks on every firearm sale. It had been introduced two years ago and passed the house, but never got past then-Senate Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk. Thompson says the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 will help keep guns out of the hands of those who may be a danger to themselves or others. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Chris Murphy of CT. The Gun Violence Prevention Task Force first came to be after the Sandy Hook tragedy in Murphy’s home state. There are now over 185 members.

A new report says Native Americans who die from COVID-19 may not be completely represented. Leaders also say they fear the state may be undercounting the amount of deaths from the virus in their communities. The state of California is home to the most American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States, and the most American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban centers who say they’re often mis-declared as White, Latino or Black by uninformed healthcare workers. So far the state has tracked almost 9,000 American Indians infected with coronavirus and 163 have died. But the community leaders say it doesn’t reflect the real numbers. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown American Indians and Alaska Natives are the single group hardest-hit by the pandemic.

The company Hunter Communications is reportedly putting in a bunch of fiber-optic lines in southern Oregon and northern California for high speed internet. Hunter has won over $19 million from the FCC, the Federal Communication Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. They’re installing the lines for nearly 6,000 underserved homes and businesses in the region. The money for several communities in Oregon and in Eureka, Hoopa and Willow Creek, CA. The company’s headquarters are in Oregon.

The Housing Overlay Zone which would make way for some housing projects in Ukiah has been approved… the first step anyway. The Planning Commission approved the “Housing Overlay Zone” for three parcels on East Gobbi Street which means builders would only need a building permit, the first time the city has done this. The developer would therefore just need to follow city design and development standards. The three parcels, near the Rail Trail, are owned by the city. Then if they’re developed, a developer would pay into the city’s Housing Trust Fund. There’s now a special meeting planned for the city council Monday for a proposed development on the parcels.

Lake County is staying in the Purple Tier this week, but the county’s public health office says it’s getting closer to the Red Tier. The office told the Board of Supervisors this week that the state’s cases are going down too. The county is getting about 2,000 COVID19 vaccines/week and that should bump up with the recent approval of the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  Dr. Gary Pace says they have to fight harder to get access due to being a smaller county. He told the board Blue Shield of Calif. is taking over the vaccine distribution, which also includes setting appointments, data and tier designations so he’s not sure how the county will transition with the health insurance provider. In other action at the board meeting, they agreed to start the ad hoc committee to promote “tolerance, respect, equity and inclusion” with two board supervisors, a law enforcement representative, two city representatives, two tribal representatives and four public representatives.  

A man accused of molesting a child in Lake County is asking for his trial to be moved to Alameda County. David Johnson appeared online for a hearing connected to the case. The request to move the trial was sent to the Lake County Probation Department and is now set for a re-setting of Jury Trial. He is not currently in custody and was released on his own recognizance but is on Supervised Conditional Release. He was first arrested for oral copulation (with a victim under 10 years old), harmful material sent to minor, lewd acts (with victim under 14 years), annoy/ molest child under 18 years and indecent exposure after a January 2019 investigation into reports of the sex assault.

The City of Lakeport is starting to work with a consulting firm to help secure a grant for disaster relief. At the city council meeting earlier this week, the Professional Service Agreement was approved for Mintier Harnish to come up with design and development standards for the city’s zoning ordinance and updates to its accessory dwelling unit rules. A three person committee picked the Sacramento firm. The city won $65,000 from the Local Early Action Planning Grants (“LEAP”) so about $12,000 of that is being used for a permitting process. The rest and money from another grant will go to the proposed project with money to spare. The city’s also reportedly eligible for $2.4 million from a Multi-Family Housing Program from the state department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

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