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Two people are dead after a giant redwood tree fell on top of their car in Northern Calif. The CHP reports the 175-foot-tall redwood fell on Jessica and Jake Woodruff’s car while the two were on a road trip along the California coast. It happened last Thursday in Del Norte on Highway 199 outside Crescent City. The CHP reports the couple, celebrating Jennifer’s 45th birthday were driving along part of the highway in a very forested area near Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.  A GoFundMe was started for the couple’s five children. There was about $80,000 raised as of yesterday.

The 2 U.S. senators and nearly two-dozen congressional representatives for Calif. are asking the Agriculture and Interior departments to change the state to a year round firefighting force due to the amount of fires, how long they last, when they start, and when they end. Saying there are no longer traditional fire seasons in the state so they want to reclassify more seasonal federal firefighter positions as permanent. A letter was sent to the two new Biden administration officials, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland signed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla and 21 members of Congress which came after another devastating wildfire season last year in Calif.

Forest land management strategy top of mind for Mendocino National Forest staff. They’re discussing what moves they’ll make after the massive 2020 August Complex fire that burned for 2 months over more than 1,030,000 acres. As a reminder, the meeting is online Thursday through Microsoft Teams (http://bit.ly/MendoTeamsMeeting) or by calling 202-650-0123 (conference ID: 377 848 755#).  The forestry staff have come up with a phased approach to remediate the land where the fire scorched the earth, removing dead trees, thinning the forest and trying to reduce the risk of more catastrophic fires in the future.

A new woodchipper will help with fuel reduction and hazardous tree removal in Mendocino County. An announcement of the purchase by the County, Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, and the Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department. The purchase was made through a Hazardous Tree Removal grant provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection with California Climate Investments funding. The County was able to win the grant in partnership with the Resource Conservation District and Fire Safe Council. The chipper will be used for fuel reduction mostly in Redwood Valley and supporting other projects in other parts of the County when not needed in Redwood Valley.

A massive controlled burn is planned by CalFire in Mendocino County. The burn is planned throughout the week until next Monday south of Yorkville, near Upper Rancheria Creek in the southeastern section of Mendocino County, south of Highway 128, and north of Cloverdale. As a reminder, you may see aircraft and smoke in the area. Weather permitting they’ll be working as part of the Vegetation Management Program to reintroduce fire as a natural element of the ecosystem.

For prescribed burning notifications, residents are encouraged to follow the CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CALFIRE_MEU, Instagram and on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/CALFIREMEU/.

Money is coming to some Lake County Indian Tribes from the federal government to fight coronavirus. Lake Co News reports the Indian Housing Block Grant funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. $450 million is going to tribes across the country and $31 million will go to California tribes.  It will go to help tribes with affordable housing and to protect the safety and health of tribal members and communities. These types of grants are generally used for low-income American Indian and Alaska Native families. It’s for use for housing development, operation and maintenance, modernization of existing housing, housing services to eligible families and individuals, housing management services, crime prevention and safety activities and more. The news site reports all 7 of Lake County’s tribes will get funds.

More schools are beginning to reopen in Lake County now that they’ve entered the red tier in the state’s COVID-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Only two new school districts had opened in January, Upper Lake and Lucerne Elementary which are all in hybrid learning. The Lake County Office of Education reported schools were open since last August for in-person classes. Same with the Lake County International Charter School.  Konocti Unified opened for kindergarten through sixth grade Feb. 22nd and seventh through 12th just came back March 22nd, a month later. Kelseyville’s kindergarten through fifth graders returned March 8, and sixth through 12th last Monday.  Lakeport reopened March 8 with younger kids, phasing in the older students and the same for Middletown schools which started phased reopening at the beginning of March.

Discrimination, hate crimes, and micro-aggressions after COVID-I9 surfaced have been directed at Asian Americans and Mendocino College has put out a statement to denounce it all. The college says since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, China, the infection has grown and it’s not due to ethnicity. The statement goes on to say the World Health Organization has cautioned against using geographic descriptors because they can fuel ethnic discrimination. The virus has been referred to as the “Chinese virus,” and “Kung-Flu” which the college says is inaccurate and stigmatizing, can incite fear and xenophobia, and may put Asian Americans at risk of retaliation. The college joining cities, counties, and states across the country affirming its commitment to the safety and well-being of Asian Americans and to fight hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Congressman Mike Thompson has announced Crystal Martin and Carol Huchingson are the 2020 and 2021 Women of the Year in Lake County.  Thompson honors women from his Congressional District annually who he finds have made exceptional contributions to the community. This year Thompson announced both 2020 and 2021 women of the year because last year’s celebration was cancelled due to the pandemic. Crystal Martin, Thompson says “is a dedicated and tireless advocate for justice”. She is the Lake County District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Program Administrator and the 2020 Woman of the Year. For this year, he announced Lake County’s Administrative Officer, Carol Huchingson, who he called “a bedrock of Lake County”.

Congressman Mike Thompson has had another of his online meetups for constituents regarding the pandemic and the economy. His latest, was to cover the latest stimulus package. This, the first under the Biden Administration, the American Rescue Plan. He was joined by the Lake County Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace; along with other officials and business owners throughout the 5th Congressional District. He talked about what was in the plan, including money to distribute vaccinations, direct payments to individuals and families, money for schools, states and cities and businesses. Dr. Pace says there will still be surges of the virus, but deaths and severe illness won’t happen the same way because the most vulnerable people are now vaccinated and protected. Pace says “the more people we get covered the more we’re going to be able to get back to normal, and the less suffering there’s going to be.”

The Ukiah Library is reopening. Starting today after a year of curbside service, in person service reopens. It’s this afternoon from 1 to 5, same with Thursday.  For the last year, there have been virtual programs online, curbside pickup of books and other library materials by appointment, e-books, audiobooks, films and music recordings available 24/7 for free to county residents with a library card. The reopened Library thanks to the county entering the red tier in California’s Blueprint to Reopen the Economy. You may have to wait in line to get in due to social distancing. Facial coverings are required, and there will be no seating or available restrooms for now. Also, no shared computer access.

Five more vaccination clinics are planned in the county. Mendocino County Public Health has set the clinics up this week, today is the Pfizer second dose event at the Ukiah Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those who got their first dose March 9th and had their second-dose appointment set at that time. Tomorrow it’s the Moderna event at the Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. You are eligible if you got your first dose March 3rd. Again on Thursday for Pfizer from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those who got their first dose March 11th or 13th. And for Moderna again, but at the “The Woods” in Little River Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those who got the first dose March 4th. Friday again for Pfizer second dose at the Caspar Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those inoculated March 12th.

A man from Clearlake has been arrested in Willits after being found with drugs while having a warrant out for his arrest.  The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office id’d Joseph Fitzgerald and they knew the woman he was with, Allison Strout from previous contacts. Fitzgerald was arrested as they found about 5 grams of suspected heroin in two containers, meth in a backpack and a scale. Strout was on formal probation with a search term and found to have a warrant for her arrest from Humboldt County. They found 2 grams of suspected meth on her, two used glass pipes, a measuring spoon with a black/brown substance in the spoon and burn marks on bottom of the spoon. Also 20 small unused clear plastic baggies and two cell phones. The two were arrested for various crimes including possession of a controlled substance for sale and conspiracy to commit a felony. Fitzgerald was booked on $27,500.00 bail, but Strout was released due to the pandemic.

A man from Nice has been arrested for driving erratically in Ukiah. Deputies say Mark Nielson was arrested last Friday after he suddenly pulled to the side of the road. While speaking to him, the deputy found the car had been stolen from Lake County.  He was arrested for being in possession of a stolen vehicle and while being searched three blue tablets were found on him. They’re commonly referred to as “M30” or “Fetty” and contain Fentanyl.  “M30” pills, and Fentanyl in other forms, have been identified as the cause of many drug overdose medical emergencies and deaths throughout Mendocino County.  He’s booked into jail for possessing a stolen vehicle and possession of a controlled narcotic. Due to the pandemic he was released with a promise to appear in court at a later date.

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