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Youth sports can return to Calif. An organization called “Let Them Play CA” had been lobbying the state, recruiting over 700 coaches and tens of thousands of students to advocate to restart youth sports. The group, out of San Diego, put out a statement yesterday saying, “when something matters, no matter the odds, no matter if you win or lose, you try”. Full guidelines were supposed to be posted yesterday including testing protocols, how many guests are allowed at games, and exactly which sports can be played.  They did note the state would provide testing for men’s football, water polo and rugby teams, but all other sports would have to do their own testing because a once a week testing requirement is part of the deal.

A sheriff’s deputy in Humboldt County appears to be in trouble with the law himself. The Sheriff’s Office reports a correctional deputy was connected to some drug smuggling into the jail for inmates. After a month long investigation, federal agents found Ricardo Tranquilino Aguirre of Eureka had brought drugs into the facility over several months. He was acting alone. The Sheriff’s office put out a statement that his “criminal and disgraceful conduct is the antithesis of the professional standards, ethics and organizational values of the Sheriff’s Office”. He’s charged with several crimes including possession of a controlled substance while armed, smuggling contraband into a jail and transportation/sale of a controlled substance.

Sonoma County looks ahead to entering the Red Tier. The Press Democrat reports the state announced changes to the Blueprint to Reopen the Economy which could put Sonoma in the Red by the end of the month. The county has been in the widespread purple tier, along with Mendocino and Lake counties. The state’s public health dept. announced after 2 million shots are administered to the most disadvantaged regions of Calif. then restrictions on businesses can loosen.  Across the state so far, 1.6 million in disadvantaged regions have been vaccinated and the state expected to hit the 2-million-mark within the next couple of weeks. Restaurants can then start to reopen with indoor dining with 25% capacity, gyms at 10%, and grocery stores could expand to full customer capacity from the current 50%.

The Governor and state lawmakers have finalized their $6.6 billion plan to get schools back to in person learning by the end of the school year.  It’s not mandatory for a school to reopen or for kids to attend in person. But there’s money attached to reopen safely. School districts have almost until the end of the academic year to figure it out too, May 15th. Then districts can get back to having kids on campus, but if they open after that date, no money comes to them. For the last year most of the state’s over 6 million students have been doing distance learning. Some school boards though say they’re at loggerheads with teachers unions over safety protocols and there are also parents who don’t want their kids back in person.

In Fort Bragg patrols are starting around school campuses. Police are getting back to the regular school patrol routines, so if you see more police around neighborhoods, you’ll know why. Officers will be out conducting traffic enforcement at drop-off and pick-up times. A reminder around school campuses, the speed limit is only 15 miles/hour when children are present. The police department is also putting traffic enforcement teams with a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) device by the schools for increased traffic enforcement capabilities.

Changes are being put in place for the Blueprint to reopen the Economy in Calif. On Wednesday, the Governor announced the color tiered reopening system will now include getting 2 million residents in lower income communities vaccinated. And with that comes 400 of the state’s zip codes getting 40% of California’s COVID-19 vaccine doses. Most of the communities are in Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire and the Central Valley. After that 2 million of about 8 million eligible residents are vaccinated, the state will revise the virus case rate needed for a county to enter the Red Tier from Purple. So instead of 7 cases per 100,000, it’ll be 10 per 100,000 so more restaurants, gyms, museums, movie theaters and other businesses can reopen indoors with capacity limits.

Unemployment down this week. Initial claims, or first time applications were way under 100,000 for a second week in a row. The U.S. Labor Department report showed still that 745,000 people in the US lost their jobs. But in Calif. it’s the first time in about a year that there were 2 straight weeks of lower than 100,000 in weekly claims. Since the pandemic first triggered economic shutdowns, Calif. has had mostly 100,000 or more jobless claims/week. 45 out of 48 weeks at least. The last week of data, that ended Feb. 27th, there were about 88,130 initial claims for unemployment, down from 90,470 claims filed a week before.  

The new Johnson & Johnson, one dose vaccine is headed to Mendocino County. The Emergency Management Coordinator in Ukiah says we should be getting it this week, but then we won’t get more for a few more weeks. The vaccine is easier to handle than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which require cold temperature storage and two doses. The Johnson & Johnson is neither. The county is reportedly working out the distribution channel. So far about 26% of Mendocino County residents have received a first dose of the two dose regimen and 12 percent have had both. Today at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center 600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered.

A man accused of murder and declared to be incompetent to stand trial will get a conservatorship. Steven Michael Fredericks is accused of killing his dad and trying to kill his mother. He was present at a court proceeding by video conference this week. It’s been deemed by a doctor that he cannot care for himself or manage his finances so he needs to have a conservator. He also can’t be tried in the case until he’s found to be competent. Another court date was set for the end of the month. The case against him will not be continuing until doctor finds he can understand the proceedings against him. He’s been charged with murder, attempted murder, causing injury to an elder and assault with a deadly weapon for the March 2018 incident at a home near the Nice-Lucerne cutoff exit from Hwy 29.

Hope Rising will be taking part in research to improve social services, public health, and health care. Aligning Systems for Health is running the study to be in alignment with Accountable Communities for Health for four months looking at health equity in Lake County. The study across Calif. and Washington to find ways for fair and just health for all. Hope Rising is one of three Accountable Communities of Health in the state out of 13 who were chosen for the study. For the study Hope Rising will ask stakeholders and community members to be involved in the deep dive study, then share the results next week.

It could be a problem opening schools if enough school nurses don’t agree to come back to work in person. The nurses are obviously needed to help keep, not only students, but also school staff safe while we’re in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Apparently there are several schools in the state without a nurse, a district will just split their time between several schools instead. So that’s already a hurdle for health, and now there are so many safety requirements to reopen campuses, including screening staff and students for symptoms, testing and contact tracing. The president of the California School Nurses Organization says nurses should be involved in reopening discussions, but in a lot of the state’s districts, that’s not the case.

The Graton Resort & Casino is giving raises to their staff across the board. Starting Monday, the higher pay kicks in. It’s a minimum of a 10% raise for workers at the Rohnert Park casino for salaried employees, and hourly wage increases for tipped and non-tipped workers up to $3.25 more/hour. The casino is also reportedly launching a new quarterly discretionary bonus program too. The Tribal Chair says families in Northern California “struggle to get by on the minimum wage” and a wage increase seemed fitting after the last year. In June the casino allowed nearly all of its 2,000 employees to come back after furloughing 1,200 in March.

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