Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: April 2021

There’s been a small, ultralight airplane crash in Ukiah. The Sheriff’s Office says they got a call about the crash by the south boat ramp at Lake Mendocino and when they got there, they immediately found the pilot. They say the 71 year-old man was about 600 yards east of the south boat ramp on exposed land near the decreased lake water level. He had taken off from the Ukiah Municipal Airport, headed to Potter Valley, but about ten minutes after takeoff, the plane began having engine trouble and lost power. The pilot crash landed into the lake and he escaped with only minor injuries. He said no to medical treatment on the scene.  Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, the Sheriff’s Office and the Army Corps of Engineers were all on the scene.

OptumServe’s sites in Lakeport and Lower Lake are opening 5 days a week. They offer free COVID19 vaccines. They say they prefer an appointment for testing and vaccinations, but they will accept walk-ins. The vaccine can be scheduled on the state’s website,  They only have the Moderna vaccine at the moment. Also Walmart has begun offering the vaccine in Clearlake. They’re part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, and offering both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

A man from Willits has been formally charged with murdering two men who were reported missing. The DA’s office says they’ve charged Christopher Gamble for killing Ulises Andrade Ayala and Anwar Ayala and for animal abuse for intentionally maiming, mutilating, torturing, or wounding chickens. It comes after deputies first reported a suspicious double missing persons case on a cannabis grow in Willits. The next day two bodies were found where they supposedly vanished. Gamble will be arraigned May 11th.

It looks like all of the paperwork is now in order for the proposed recall of Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli. A petition drive’s paperwork was refiled yesterday and accepted by the Town Clerk as valid. The mayor has been accused by several women of sexual assault or harassment. He claims he’s innocent so he’s not resigning. His own brother, who he works with at their family winery, has also called for him to step down there. He’s the first mayor at large who was elected in Windsor and could be the first removed by voters. Those trying to get him recalled have 120 days to gather signatures from 20% of Windsor’s 16,879 registered voters or 3,376 signatures.

A badge pinning ceremony has honored new and old firefighters in Lakeport. The Lakeport Fire Protection District promoted three firefighters to Captain, they are Captain/Paramedic Odell Landers, Captain/Paramedic Jordan Mills and Captain/Paramedic Spencer Johnson. Then new Firefighter/EMT Sean Thomas was pinned, but new Firefighter/Paramedic Derek Reisbeck could not be at the ceremony. The two new firefighters started work last year.

A fire has broken out in Lower Lake and another controlled burn escaped near Scotts Valley. The first in Lower Lake has been dubbed the Sky Fire, it started around lunch time yesterday around the area of Morgan Valley Road and Sloan Ranch Road. The fire was reported around five to seven acres when it was first spotted near a large cannabis business. The Sheriff Brian Martin posted online that it was burning in a mostly rural area and no homes were threatened. Later into the night it was reported at 45 acres and 50 percent contained. The escaped control burn near Scotts Valley was about 2-3 acres.

Residents in Lakeport are being reminded to get ready for wildfire season and clear defensible space around their homes and properties. It could mean saving your home and is needed to slow the spread and keep firefighters defending your property safe. State law requires one hundred feet of defensible space. Visit for more information to prepare for and survive a wildfire.

Calif. lawmakers are looking at putting billions into drought relief. Democrats in the Senate have drafted a $3.4 billion proposal to help with drinking water, save endangered wildlife and replenish parched land. The last drought was about the same amount of money spent, and it was during the recession years of 2012 to 2016. The snowpack this year was historically low, less than half of normal in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Nearly $300 million would be for fish and wildlife and buying back water from farmers to return it to the Sacramento and San Joaquin river delta. Another one billion to pay off unpaid water bill debt because of the pandemic. Other money to truck emergency water in, pay for sensors and gauges to measure snow and rain and money to homeowners to replace grass.

Speaking of the drought, the town of Mendocino, already in a stage three water shortage will look at possibly moving to stage four, which means mandatory 40% water reduction allotments for all users. The Mendocino Community Services District Board is considering the issue at a meeting Monday where they’re expected to raise that drought level. The town has only had a sprinkling of rain this year, 18 inches or so, that’s less than half of average though. The district was in stage 4 last year too because of less than average rainfall. The pandemic and no tourism helped well levels last summer, but they don’t expect the same this year due to the number of vaccinations going up.

A bunch of people have shown up to City Hall in Fort Bragg, rallying for changes planned at Jackson Demonstration State Forest, namely logging. About 150 people were there including representatives from the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians; local conservationists, the Mendocino Trail Stewards and others from Earth First!, they’re reportedly considering a tree-sit in the forest. The groups reportedly looking to change how the State Forest is managed, instead of demonstrating logging techniques, they want more earth friendly ideas put forth, like showing how redwood forests can hold carbon and the added value of health for the local and global environment. They also want planned timber harvests next week to be called off or delayed at the very least.

The US Drought Monitor says the extremely dry conditions continue to spread. The latest drought map puts all of Lake County and all but a small part of Mendocino county in that extreme category. The dry conditions have the town of Mendocino thinking about raising its water shortage alert to level 4. That could mean more restrictions. It’s up for discussion at a meeting of the Mendocino Community Services District Board on Monday.

The Lake County unemployment rate is looking better. According to the state, the march rate was 7.9 percent—down from 8.3 percent in February. The county number is better than California’s overall rate of 8.3 percent. There are still pockets of high unemployment rates within Lake County. In the city of Clearlake, it is at almost 17 percent. Overall, just over 29,000 people had jobs in the county in March. That is a slight increase from February.

The Lake County Risk Reduction Agency is holding a RESCHEDULED virtual meeting about the upcoming fire season next week. That town hall was planned for the 29th, but it will now happen next Thursday, May 6th, at 6 PM. You can take part via Zoom, watch on Lake County PEG TV or on the Lake County
Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.

The Lake Area Planning commission is looking for feedback updating both the Regional Transportation Plan and Active Transportation Plan for the Lake County area. The plan update will cover projected needs in areas like streets, highways, bicycle facilities, and transit over the next 20 years. Due to the pandemic, public comment will be virtual, with an interactive website you can use to add your thoughts. That site is Laeapc.Mysocialpinpoint. com/

It’s that time of year again for the annual burn ban in Lake County. Starting this Saturday the burn restriction is enforced in all areas of the county. That means all burn permits expire April 30th. So all open waste burning is banned, but there are always exemptions for some agricultural operations, essential control burns for fire hazard reduction projects, public safety burns, and others. For those needing a permit after May 1st, they have to call the Air Quality District and local fire department so they can inspect for safety reasons. Then an exemption permit is possible.

Mendocino County can move into the yellow minimal spread tier. The Mendocino County Public Health Dept. reports the State Department of Public Health has notified them they can move forward in California’s colored tier system from orange to yellow. That means most indoor operations can resume in the county. It went into effect yesterday. The Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren still says to stay vigilant as COVID19 is still a threat and emerging variants are in Calif. too, which are spreading more easily. He says to wear masks in public settings and private gatherings and gather outdoors when possible or in well ventilated areas. You can see all of the expanded openings and guidelines on the public health department’s website.

A man reported to be drunk in public in Fort Bragg has been arrested after reports of a burglary in progress. Deputies reported to the scene last Saturday after someone called to say someone was trying to force their way into their home. They identified Nicholas Pollard as the suspect and damage to the garage door of the home. A police dog sniffed around, finding the guy had escaped to a nearby property. Pollard surrendered. Besides being drunk, Pollard was believed to have heroin on him. He was arrested after being positively id’d by the attempted burglary victim and charged with attempted first degree burglary and looting during a declared emergency. He’s held on $50,000.00 bail.

A man from Fort Bragg has been arrested after being found with drugs in his car while on parole. Deputies say Shalom Lewis was in what they believed to be a suspicious vehicle with damage to it. It had an open door in someone’s driveway. When deputies contacted the guy, they found he was on parole for a burglary. They saw several hypodermic syringes and a small amount of a crystalline substance they thought might be meth. He was placed on a parole hold and charged with committing a felony while on pre-trial release for pending felony and held in jail on $75,000.00 bail.

A man in Fort Bragg has been arrested after a disturbance was reported Monday. Deputies say they got a call early that morning to a man attacking another man with a knife. They found Miguel Carrillo-Palomar had attacked a 21 year-old with a large kitchen knife. The victim reportedly found an object to defend himself and hit Carrillo-Palomar back several times, stopping the attack. Deputies found the knife and arrested Carrilo-Palomar for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and booked him into jail on $30,000.00 bail. 

Joining Mendocino County before it, it looks like Sonoma County may be able to lift more coronavirus safety protocols in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The Press Democrat reports transmission is down in the county, enough so to qualify for the yellow tier. But we won’t know for sure until next Tuesday when the state announces any changes. And if approved, it won’t happen until May 12th, as the county needs to have lowered case numbers stable for a two week period of time. Mendocino was one of only four counties to move to yellow this week. It means bars not serving food can reopen indoors at 25% capacity, wineries, breweries and distilleries that don’t serve food can move up to 50% capacity, but restaurants have to stay at 50% indoor capacity. Much more too, check the state or county’s public health website for all of the info.

After a meeting of the Windsor Town Council, without the mayor, they’re considering using a rare civil grand jury proceeding to oust him. A campaign has also been launched to remvoe Mayor Dominic Foppoli after a damning report in the San Francisco Chronicle about sexual harassment and rape allegations. The council has reportedly directed the town’s lawyers to look into the grand jury idea and if it’s doable, send a letter to the state Attorney General’s office to request a grand jury investigation. The Press Democrat reports legal experts say it could be challenging to move forward this way, it wouldn’t expedite his removal from office. Foppoli is also under a criminal investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office which includes the state Attorney General’s Office.

In a strange reversal of family dynamic regarding health insurance, lawmakers are considering allowing adult children to add their parents as dependents onto their health plans. The idea to help residents moving towards retirement. Assemblyman Miguel Santiago’s bill passed its first committee hearing Tuesday. Those who support the idea include the state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. They say it’ll save money for families, but business groups say adding older Californians to large group policies will drive up premiums.  The bill does have some limitations for eligibility. Parents would have to meet what the IRS defines as a dependent, like having to rely on their children for at least 50% of their support.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has approved moving state disaster recovery money to pay for housing in Clearlake and Lakeport. Lake Co News reports the 2018 Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Multi-Family Housing Program is for low- to moderate-income multifamily housing units after a loss of shelter after the 2018 Mendocino Complex fire. The county can get nearly $7,600,000 dollars and the city of Lakeport can get another $2,400,000. But since the county doesn’t have an affordable housing program or associated policies and procedures they can’t tap the funds. But cities can tap the money.

A small dog has been saved from a fire in Ukiah. Firefighters on the scene Tuesday and say they found a small dog laying on the floor, looking lethargic and limp. They brought the animal outside and gave it oxygen thru a mask generally used on infants. Police took the dog to a vet and heard it will be okay. An 86 year old woman living in the home reportedly found the fire in a closet. The home is in the middle of being remodeled. She’s a family member who was staying there during the construction work and opened the closet, finding flames and ran outside. There was just minor damage to the home. Fire officials say it did not appear to be suspicious and might have been connected to the remodel.

The city of Ukiah has hired an outside company to investigate the arrest of a man reported to be naked and tasered and hit by police. Witnesses took video of the arrest April 1st of Gerard Magdaleno. It could take several months to conclude the investigation. The DA’s office says no charges will be filed against the man until all of the work is done to investigate the arrest. Independent Investigative Consultants are doing the internal affairs investigation for the city. The police chief says there is no other investigation being done and all inquiries should go to the City Attorney’s office. Ukiah police reported Magdaleno seemed to be high on drugs. They arrested him for public intoxication, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting an officer by force. Family members had said he had mental health disorders.

A man charged for the death of a Northern California woman has been arrested for a fire that merged into the LNU Complex last summer. Police say Victor Serriteno of Vacaville set the fire to cover up a crime, but two people other ended up dying. The Solano County DA reported murder and arson charges are being added to other crimes Serriteno was already jailed for connected to the death of Priscilla Castro whose burned body was found last Sept. near Lake Berryessa. She disappeared last August after a date with Serriteno who she met online. The fire that started was named the Markley fire. It began near where Castro’s body was found then merged into two others that eventually became the LNU Lightning Complex which killed six and destroyed around 1,500 homes and other buildings.

Fort Bragg police are getting new devices that shoot out a rubber band to tie a person up. The Taser 7 shoots off sparks too as a distraction. Fort Bragg police say it’s a way to de-escalate a situation before it becomes violent. The meeting with police officials and the city’s Public Safety Committee was over Zoom yesterday. Questions included what police should do in a situation such as in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, or in the alleged attack on a mentally ill and naked man arrested in Ukiah earlier this month. They said they went through a lot of extra training and maintain a culture of de-escalate whenever possible. They also banned choke holds last year and are trying to educate locals about the danger of white nationalists.

A statewide moratorium on evictions expires by summer in Calif and it doesn’t look like lawmakers are considering another extension. The Advocate newspaper reports the original eviction moratorium’s author, David Chiu of San Francisco says he’s not sure there’s an appetite for another moratorium, at the same time, he doesn’t think lawmakers want to see a “wave of mass evictions.” The newspaper reports the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is urging the Governor and lawmakers to let cities and counties make up their own minds about eviction moratoriums. And the California Apartment Association is reportedly investigating if another extension is needed. They’re the state’s most powerful landlord lobbying group.

It’s been almost 4 years since the original cannabis cultivation ordinance was passed and with some new ideas after hundreds of public comment, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a new cannabis ordinance. Every Supervisor but one was in favor. Supervisor John Hashak, who after 8 hours of talk on the matter, wanted more questions answered, but was interrupted with the final vote.

Poring thru public comment on the supervisors agenda, you can plainly see the passion behind the various positions. Some concern about drought conditions and diverting water, but the supervisors addressed saying no water will be allowed to be pumped into legal cannabis cultivation sites. Other comments included grow sites being too close to schools and churches, a complaint in other areas of the state and indeed across the country where the drug has been legalized as medicine or for recreational use.

A man from Covelo has been sent to prison for lighting a home in Potter Valley on fire. Derek McCormack was found guilty last summer, a year after the August 2019 arson fire. He was charged with arson of an inhabited residence, which is a felony and he admitted a sentencing enhancement that the arson was perpetrated during a declared fire state of emergency. His lawyer asked instead of prison for him to get supervised probation, but the judge said no. So instead he got 9 years behind bars. Since it was a violent felony as the home had people in it at the time of the fire, he can only get 15% of his time shaved off for good behavior. He’ll also have to register as a convicted arson offender.

More Cal Fire training exercises are happening in Northern Calif. This time in Red Bluff. It’s not until May 4th. But for three days firefighters will get “hands on” practice to prepare for the upcoming fire season. It’s an annual event, the largest in the state, the Ishi Fire Crew Exercise where 20 fire crews are evaluated on safety performance, physical conditioning, handline construction and firefighting knowledge. They prepare ahead of time for several weeks. At the actual event, fire crews have to hike in 4 miles to the incident site, construct 300’ of fire line in heavy brush and deploy fire shelters under simulated emergency conditions.

A local drought emergency has been declared by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. After the Governor already declared a drought emergency last week in Mendocino and Sonoma counties, the board sounded the alarm that conservation mandates and other measures are coming. The board approved the proclamation unanimously. That means they officially ask the governor for state disaster aid and the board will be able to get federal assistance which may include a presidential disaster declaration. The move after two critically dry years. The general manager of Sonoma Water says residents should prepare to use 20% to 25% less water than they have been with formal instructions on the way.

A mistake in the paperwork for the intended recall against the Windsor mayor means it has to be filed all over again. Apparently, the filing papers didn’t accurately title the mayor. The group, “United Residents to Recall Foppoli” was notified they had to refile the “Notice of Intent to Recall” using the term ’At-large Mayor’ of Windsor versus the term ’Mayor of Windsor’. The town at large elected Foppoli, he was not appointed. It’s the first time a mayor was voted for, it could also be the first time an elected town official is removed from office by voters. The campaign only needs 20 signatures for the recall effort.

After the CDC announced new mask guidelines for those full vaccinated, Calif. says things will stay the same for now. The new guidance says fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear a mask outdoors “except in certain crowded settings and venues.” And that fully vaccinated people mingling with other fully vaccinated people and some not vaccinated is ok outdoors. Also with the guidance was a recommendation to avoid large outdoor gatherings. With all of this, the Governor put out a statement that they’re considering how to adjust the state’s directive on face coverings to reflect the new information from the CDC.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has voted to approve the new cannabis cultivation permitting process with only one dissenting vote. There were some amendments after hundreds of public comments including many against the idea of environmental reviews and not the same permitting process we’ve had since recreational weed was first legalized in Calif. Those who are already farming look to get first crack at the process, there must be space for wildlife to pass through, the farming won’t affect the long term integrity of the area being cultivated on or wreck the economy of the area. The cultivation site has to already have plentiful legal water access, and cannot be pumped in.

Two people reported missing by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept. have been found dead. Yesterday the sheriff’s department put out a statement they were looking for two men, then later in the day they announced charges against Christopher Gamble for murder and use of firearm during serious felony. He was just arrested a couple of days before for a couple of misdemeanor warrants and illegally growing and selling marijuana, and conspiracy. He’s being held in jail without bail. The investigation continues so they’re not releasing any more details related to the two missing, now dead men.

Cal Fire is banning certain types of burns and requiring permits for others. Because of the pandemic, they’re asking property owners in Mendocino County who want to do residential burns to go online to get a burn permit, which is free. They also have to view an educational video and submit their application after watching. You’ve got to call the Air Management District ahead of your burn and have your permits printed, signed and with you while burning. Burning can only be done on permissive burn days and is prohibited on non-burn days.

Mendocino County Air Management District

After it was canceled last year due to the pandemic, the Lake County Fair is on this year. The Lake County Fair Board voted Monday night to bring the fair back, which in the past had brought about 40,000 visitors/year. Only one board member voted the idea down due to concern about money. So it’s happening this year between Thursday, Sept. 2nd and Sunday, Sept. 5th with planning to begin early next month. It will be a smaller event due to the pandemic and capacity limits. And there will be more volunteers because of financial concerns.

A final farewell in Lake County to the Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace. At his last meeting to update the Board of Supervisors, they thanked him for his service and calm demeanor during the pandemic even acknowledging the challenges for him dealing with the public. The county’s currently searching for a new Public Health Officer and have hired an interim officer in the meantime with Dr. Evan Bloom, who filled in earlier in the month while Pace took a vacation. Pace says there is ample vaccine supply and plenty of places to get inoculated. There was one member of the public who criticized Pace, who said he generally doesn’t trust doctors or officials telling people to get a vaccine, but he was reminded the vaccines are not mandatory.

An elderly man reported missing in Sonoma County has been found in Yolo County near his burned out car. The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office reports the man was found over the weekend uninjured in a remote area of southern Yolo after being reported missing Thursday last week. Some farm workers found him and say he seemed disoriented. Deputies also say they found out the man drove the burned out car to the area, they’re not sure how the fire started and say they’re thankful nobody was injured, and thanked community members for the help reuniting the man with his worried family.

The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce CEO is resigning, citing continued harassment and discrimination by one of the board of directors. Sharon Davis announced her resignation by newsletter last week. The Advocate and Beacon newspapers reported the board member she was referring to was actually the Chamber’s Board President, Ray Alarcon, an insurance agent from Mendocino. Davis says there was a climate of harassment and intimidation which became intolerable and added several other board members also resigned in solidarity with her. And before all of those resignations was the resignation of the former and then subsequent treasurers, supposedly also due to interactions with Alarcon.

More progress made on the reported fraud taking place in unemployment in Calif. The US Attorney’s Office reported a task force on investigations and interdiction has put new safeguards in place to protect against the fraud in the future. 68 arrests have been made and 1,641 more cases are being investigated. The Sacramento District Attorney’s office is leading the task force efforts saying the fraud has been astronomical. The investigation after the Gov. directed the Office of Emergency Services to work with District Attorneys and the US Attorney’s Office of multiple local, state and federal law enforcement.

2 people are reporting missing in Willits. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports being on the scene of a cannabis cultivation business in the 20000 block of Timber Road for two days. They have not said much else.  

An online town hall for the Kelseyville Fire Protection District for a new fire community facilities district. The meeting is this Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m.  The Fire District is looking to form the community facilities district but has to follow some rules first. So right now they’re in the exploratory phase to do it for more money for a new fire station on the Soda Bay corridor, a new fire engine, ambulances and salaries for staffers at the new station. They say it would be impactful, saving time to get to homeowners in the immediate area.  And they say it could also mean lower insurance rates for homeowners. The whole package would be paid for with a special tax on parcels.

The Governor announced the state is sending medical equipment to India where they are dealing with a tsunami of new daily coronavirus cases. For the last few days the country has been counting over 300,000 new cases/day, the most anywhere since the pandemic first started last year. Governor Newsom says lifesaving oxygen equipment will be sent because “everyone deserves quality medical treatment against this terrible disease”. The equipment is being sent with the help of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The federal government has also pledged to do more to help India including sending raw materials for vaccine production, test kits, ventilators and PPE.

They’re looking for people to fill seats on the Lake County Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Commission. The commission is a panel of citizens who investigate, then recommend ideas for how the juvenile court in Lake County runs. They advocate and protect juveniles and dependent youth with continued prevention and intervention activities and services. They inspect institutions like Juvenile Hall, and the jail lockup, check in on group homes, inquire about how juvenile court works including its operations and that of the Probation Department, Social Services Agency, and any other agency involved in juvenile delinquency or dependency. Then they make recommendations thereto. Those interested have until May 20th to apply for the four year position. You can do so at the Lake County court website.

A man in the Bay Area has apparently gotten that rare side effect from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a blood clot. UC San Francisco reports a man in his 30s developed vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia after his single dose vaccine April 8th. He’s in the hospital and will be okay. It’s believed to be the first male case, as all of the others have been in women, 15 of them, between the ages of 15 to 49. On Friday a committee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light again to the vaccine which had been on pause due to the syndrome. One woman died, but the panel said the benefits outweighed the extremely rare side effect.

The Governor could lose his job after all. The Secretary of State’s office says there are enough valid signatures for the recall effort to be on a ballot. The office confirmed over 1,626,000 valid signatures. They needed about 1,495,700. Counties now have to validate the signatures as well and have until Thursday to do so. There is also a one month period where those who signed the petition can ask to have their signature removed. A spokesman for the RecallGavin2020 campaign says people have been frustrated at the “destructive policies, divisive politics and manipulative tactics by Newsom since the day he became governor”.  The governor says Trump supporters and far right wing operatives are behind the effort. He says the recall “threatens our values and seeks to undo the important progress we’ve made”.

Talk about unaffordable housing… the median price for a single family home is at almost $760,000, making buying a home far out of reach for most. It’s almost 6% more than it was, the last historic hike, $717,930 in December and 24% higher than a year ago. The state Department of Finance released the latest numbers last week. Last August history was made when the median home price mark was $700,000 for the first time ever. But there’s a reason, less homes are being made and more people need a home to live in. Whether they buy or rent, there’s a shortage of affordable housing. The Governor made a campaign promise when he ran for office, building 500,000 units a year. Just under 103,000 permits were approved last year.

Surrounding counties to Lake and Mendocino are seeing an increase of new COVID19 cases. Humboldt County health officials reported nearing the 3,800 case mark this past weekend. The county’s public health department said a large chunk was due to super spreader events, one at a church. There was an outbreak associated with the Pentecostal Church in Eureka. The public health department is offering to test attendees. The church released a statement about the outbreak saying they had gone almost a year without an outbreak, but the virus is spreading amongst congregants. The church says they are working with public health officials for testing and quarantining and isolation.

After an 11 district beta test, the state is offering to cover any school district or charter school’s cost to provide rapid Covid testing for students and staff through the summer and most likely into the fall. The state Department of Public Health is now working with a company from San Francisco for expanding testing at schools and in homeless shelters and longterm care facilities. The federal government is paying for testing costs for states and school districts and the tests are less expensive with faster turnaround times than when the Governor first proposed the idea of regular testing in schools, about $5 instead of $50 each.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company says the cost of their service will be lower this month due to the California Climate Credit. The California Public Utilities Commission created the credit in order to fight climate change. So bills will be nearly $42 less for residential customers for natural gas and electric. Those who only get natural gas will receive about a $25 credit and for those with only electric, it’s be about $17. The state sped up the credit to start sooner due to the pandemic. It happens twice a year, in April and October. The company also reminds that if you’re struggling to pay, there are ways to remedy that, by calling or checking online for programs for both residential and commercial customers with past due balances.

A parent in the Konocti Unified School District wanted to honor students graduating this year, like she did last year, with banners along streetlights. The Record Bee reports mom Rachelle Sapeta organized the effort when her daughter was graduating and traditional commencement ceremonies were not allowed. So the banners feature pictures of the seniors, affixed to lamp posts along the roads most people travel on. They’re located near Konocti Unified’s four high schools: Lower Lake, Konocti Education Center, Lewis School, and Carle.

A man who the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says may have been involved in a series of burglaries is on the run and they want the public’s help finding him. Deputies in the area of Elk after hearing the man might be there or somewhere along the coast. He’s described as White, about 5’10”, 180 pounds, with a red beard, last seen in dark clothing, a knit hat, carrying a dark backpack. The sheriff’s office says they think he may be homeless, and traveling on foot and are asking anyone who may have seen him to call the Fort Bragg Substation ASAP.

It’s been less than a year as mayor of Windsor and there’s already a recall effort for Dominic Foppoli. After the San Francisco Chronicle ran a report a couple weeks ago about several women over 2 decades accusing the mayor of sexual misconduct, and even rape. None of it while mayor, but now there have been scores of calls for him to resign or be removed from office. He’s reportedly been served notice of intent to recall with paperwork delivered to Windsor Town Hall. Seven women have complained about the 38-year-old winemaker, and his own brother has called for his removal from office and from their family wine making business. A campaign committee, Residents United for Recalling Foppoli reports beginning their petition effort will begin by the beginning of May.

Lake County reports 50% of adults have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, and everyone 16 and older is now eligible. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace reports they’ve already noted some positive changes with the county moving to the Orange Tier and the entire state, most likely moving out of the entire Blueprint June 15th. Dr. Pace says cases are at less than 6/100,000 residents and the test positivity is at 3.4%. As of Friday there were a few COVID hospitalizations and there have been no new deaths for several weeks.  A reminder to stay vigilant though and wear masks. Since it’s fairly stable in Lake County, the public health office will only release updates as warranted and not weekly anymore. Drive through vaccination sites will be discontinued, but Sutter and Adventist’s clinics will continue along with some pharmacies. 

The Ukiah Unified School Superintendent putting out a statement of gratitude for having kids back in class. Debra Kubin puts out a statement every Friday and this time thanked the City of Ukiah, Mendocino County Public Health, Mendocino County Department of Education, Assemblymember Jim Wood, Senator Mike McGuire, Ukiah Teachers Association (UTA), California School Employees Association (CSEA), Ukiah Unified Trustees, parents, grandparents, family members, and, most importantly, the students.  The statement as the school year is almost over after more than a year of the COVID19 pandemic. Students 16 – 18 years old are eligible for the vaccination thru the City and County. There will be drive up vaccination clinics this weekend, but you have to call for an appointment. It is a family event, so if there are doses available, other family members in the student’s household may also be vaccinated. There are no drop ins.

If you see smoke or choppers in the air, please note Cal Fire Mendocino Unit is conducting Basic Helicopter Operations and Safety (BHOS) and Air Rescue training in the areas of Lake Mendocino and Ridgewood Ranch. It’s ongoing, starting today and will last until the beginning of August. They’re training on various days and times of the day. They will also have classroom training at the same time to learn, then practice what they learn, in the air. They’re working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They say they’ll make every effort not to impact the public’s use of Lake Mendocino, the trails around the lake, and any other impact to nearby homes. Any water they take from the lake will be dropped back in because of low water levels. There will also be very tight restrictions for the personal safety of firefighters and area residents.

 The Ukiah Unified School District has announced summer school. They will offer it for free for elementary and middle school students for six weeks. It will be in person 5-days a week with snacks and a grab-and-go lunches provided. The camp is open to all UUSD students in current grades TK-8 and will be held at various school sites in the District. Applications are available online and need to be turned in for each child who will be going by one week from this Friday, May 7th. Space is limited. And families will be notified of availability by Friday, May 14th. For high schoolers, there will also be summer school for those identified for academic intervention, credit recovery, and they will have a limited offering of elective courses.  

After a female inmate reportedly brought some Fentanyl into the Mendocino County Jail, a corrections officer had to go to the hospital for exposure. Last Friday, the Sheriff’s Office reports 24 year old Dakota Johnson of Willits was arrested for several warrants and for being in possession of a controlled substance, false identification to a peace officer, and possession of a baton. After she was processed, staff brought her to the holding cell area and a female corrections deputy helped her change her clothes when the suspected drugs fell out of Johnson’s clothing. She was put in the holding cell, and the corrections Deputy said she wasn’t feeling well and collapsed. She was taken by jail medical personnel then to after getting NARCAN was taken to the hospital and got more doses. She was released from the hospital soon after. Johnson had additional charges added.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) are changing over tens of thousands of eligible electric customers to a Time of Use plan. That basically means there will be peak pricing from 4 to 9pm daily starting this month. It will affect as many as 140,000 residential customers. So they encourage these customers to use more energy in different hours of the day when rates and demand are lower and use renewable resources if possible, like solar and wind power. This is the first chunk of customers making the switch. Then the utility company will start to transition more customers over to the rate plan by geographical region with an eventual impact to about 2.5 million customers by 2022. In Mendocino and Sonoma, customers will get their notifications by mail starting this week and then four months in advance of the automatic transition.

Congressman Jared Huffman is joining New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts to reintroduce the Green New Deal. The deal is an idea, not legislation. It’s a way to beat back global warming and create millions of high-wage jobs in clean energy industries. The original nonbinding resolution was introduced two years ago, but never went anywhere in the Republican controlled Senate. Now it’s split even, with a tie-breaker vote. Congressman Huffman says the Green New Deal is inclusive of youth and communities of color and that the urgency of the crisis demands action.

It turns out the state appointment site for COVID vaccines My Turn isn’t getting a lot of use. CalMatters reports the reported one stop shop for registration wasn’t functioning properly from the get-go. The report says the appointments booked on MyTurn averaged about 100,000/day, but that was only around 27% of the vaccinations given each day across the state. The data come from the state Department of Public Health. The state spent $50 million to build the site. The site is also supposed to track vaccine orders and distribution and organize volunteers to help.  The report says many officials say the site isn’t great at what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t add doses the federal government sends to pharmacies. And there are various other health care provider systems who haven’t signed up or aren’t integrated into the system.

The Mendocino Board of Supervisors meeting will cover their ongoing discussions on the land use ordinance regarding growing cannabis. The board will allow for public discussion once again as they did in the last special meeting a week ago. They may also waive their first reading of a new ordinance tomorrow morning at their regular meeting. There were several comments mailed into the board which are included in the board’s agenda noted online at the county website. You can leave a comment online as well. There were two last we checked that said water is already being rationed due to the drought emergency. That money should be diverted to surveillance, code enforcement and law enforcement. Another comment about stopping commercial growing altogether.

A mandatory water conservation measure is being considered by the Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District and other local water suppliers in the Ukiah Valley Basin. It’s because of two years of below average rainfall in the area and historically low levels at Lake Mendocino. The possible action by the water suppliers comes after the Governor’s Drought Declaration and another from the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on April 20th. The general manager of the Russian River Flood Control says as drought conditions worsen, now is the time to implement extreme water conservation measures at home and work. Some of that includes turning all faucets off, 5 minute showers, fixing all leaks, and letting your lawn go brown.

3 people from Humboldt County have been arrested by Mendocino Deputies near Garberville after a home invasion and assault. A man told deputies on Friday morning he was attacked by two men at his home. They were wearing masks and threatened him, pistol whipping him and forcing him to open a safe in his home. At some point he heard a gun go off after he opened the safe. When they rummaged through the safe and were distracted, he got out of the house and ran with at least one suspect running after him, who eventually stopped. He crossed an embankment and got into the river and swam, then called a family member who’s also a firefighter to get help. After emerging from the river, someone helped get him to Tooby Park where firefighters and others were staged. Then he was taken to a hospital. After the story was told to deputies, the suspects were picked up and identified as Rochelle Clevinger, Wyatt Whitlow and William Mattingly.  

Another 3 year grant has been awarded to Mendocino College for its Math Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) program. The program’s getting $76,263/year over the next three years for underserved and underrepresented students to achieve success in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) studies and careers. Mendocino is just one of about 31 Community Colleges getting the grant out of 53 who applied for it. The college says the goal of the MESA program is for academic support, transfer resources, and career exploration opportunities to help more minority students to graduate from undergraduate STEM programs. 

A man from Laytonville arrested for making criminal threats while carrying a billy club. Ukiah police say Raymond Martinez was arrested for also being drunk in public and chasing employees of a Starbucks. Police say the guy held a metal club over a shoulder in an aggressive manner while chasing the employees. They say his behavior caused the employees to be “in immediate fear for their safety.” Cops found him inside the Starbucks bathroom with a metal club. They say he was also there a day before, but left before police got there. He’s booked into jail on $130,000.

Cal Fire and the Tehama County Fire Dept. partnering to remind you that burn permits are required starting one week from tomorrow. On May 1st all unincorporated areas of Tehama County, except in the Capay Fire District cannot have any burns and burn permits will be needed for burns in the State Responsibility Areas (SRA) of Tehama and Glenn Counties. They may also put the burn suspension in effect sooner than usual due to abnormally dry fuel conditions throughout Tehama and Glenn Counties. They urge residents to burn ASAP and check with local fire officials for burning restrictions.

After a routine traffic stop a man from Ukiah’s been arrested after drugs are found in his car. The Sheriff’s office pulled Joseph Hoaglin over last Sunday night after seeing he had an expired registration. The Deputy noticed a pill bottle in the cup holder and a plastic baggie. They found opioid pain pills not prescribed to Hoaglin so they searched the car and Hoaglin himself and found there was also meth and a meth pipe, plus a plastic baggie with more methamphetamine on Hoaglin. He’s arrested for possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He promised to return for a court date, due to pandemic restrictions at the jail.

After a woman in Willits reported an argument that got physical, a man was arrested. Deputies reported to the home Wednesday morning and contacted the couple. Robert Campos was accused of becoming agitated and throwing the woman’s personal items out of their home from a balcony. They say when she confronted him, he got physical, punching her in the face and arm, causing visible injuries. Campos was arrested for domestic violence battery and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was held on $25,000.00 bail.

A record settlement for a family after an encounter with Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputies a year and a half ago. David Ward’s family filed suit claiming 2 Deputies used excessive force after a chase with Ward in Nov. of 2019. The deputies were investigating a stolen car report by Ward. The deputies pulled Ward over after he got the car back and during the stop near his home in Bloomfield, he had a chokehold and had his head bashed into the side of his car. He was also tasered twice through an open window for not following commands. His family won $2.8 million dollars this week in the case.

A woman who reported the mayor of Windsor sexually assaulted her says she never told police not to investigate. The woman reported the Mayor Dominic Foppoli in 2017, warning his fellow Town Council members about “predatory” behavior in 2013 while she was a guest at his winery. She apparently sent an email to Windsor Councilwoman Deb Fudge describing what happened at Christopher Creek Winery. She says Foppoli pushed booze on her friends who were all guests at the winery’s on-site vacation home and that he pressured female employees to take off undergarments and wear togas and that he tried to remove a guest’s swimsuit without permission. She now added more, telling the San Francisco Chronicle he assaulted her in a hot tub. The woman says she left out the assault allegations so it would have been more widely believed.

A massive marijuana garden has been approved near the Hidden Valley Lake subdivision even though neighbors objected. Lake Co News reports the Lake County Planning Commission gave the go-ahead for Zarina Otchkova, the owner of WeGrow to use part of her 309-acre property in Middletown for a large cannabis growing operation. She asked for several licenses, a mitigated negative declaration and a use permit to include nearly 3 dozen greenhouses. A neighbor at the commission meeting says it would be the size of 13 football fields. There were 80 letters and comments sent to the commission, one of which was from a lawyer on behalf of the Redwood Valley Pomo against its aquifer usage.

Those filing for unemployment up a tad from a week before again. Claims in California were up last week, but still well below 100,000 initial claims for the second week. There were about 72,000 initial claims for the week ending April 17th and 69,000 the week before. Unemployment claims in the US were at 547,000 for the week ending April 17th, down 39,000 from a week prior. 

California State University and University of California say students and staff who come back in the fall will have to be fully vaccinated and prove it. The CSU Chancellor’s Office announced yesterday it depends on the FDA making enough vaccines available. There are only the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as Johnson & Johnson is on hold for the time being after reports of rare blood clots. The Chancellor’s office sent an email to students and staff saying there are more than a million students in the UC and CSU system. Exemptions will be allowed for medical or religious reasons.

The Governor has announced 2 counties in a drought emergency. The declaration opens Mendocino and Sonoma counties to federal relief and means certain restrictions to protect the environment can be lifted. The Governor announced the declaration yesterday as he stood in the bottom of a dry and cracked looking Lake Mendocino. Drought conditions in the two counties is worse than elsewhere in the state, the two feed water to many local wineries and farms. The governor says there could be a wider swath of Calif. land declared a drought too in this 2nd year of critically dry conditions. The Gov. says it’s historic.

California’s recovering from a massive amount of coronavirus cases last summer and now has nearly the lowest case rate in the US.  A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the latest seven day rate of cases at just over 40 per 100,000 people, way less than the nationwide rate of just above 135. Hawaii just beat Calif. with 39. Then there’s Michigan, with the highest seven-day caseload, 483 per 100,000 people. Following that is New Jersey at nearly 270; Delaware with 264; Pennsylvania at 248.5 and Minnesota with over 238 cases/100,000 population. California has had about 2,320 new cases/day compared to over 40,000 new cases/day this past winter.

Road trip to Big Sur… Highway 1 is reopening a week before it was supposed to after another storm related closure which buckled the highway and took a life with it. Caltrans announced the scenic route from Cambria to Carmel is opening tomorrow, but still they will have about five miles closed to through traffic. Caltrans says warmer weather helped them finish sooner. It’ll give businesses time to prepare ahead of Mother’s Day and the long Memorial Day weekend. The highway was closed around 70 miles north of Cambria after a landslide in a fire burn scar in January.

Land managers, scientists and fire behavior experts are taking part in an online workshop for two days to talk strategy for fire-adapted landscapes. The public is also invited to the forum next Wednesday and Thursday, “Our Future in a Fire-adapted Landscape”. FireScape Mendocino is offering the workshop to consider ways to create more fire-resilient landscapes in and around the Mendocino National Forest. Topics include post-fire observations and experiences from the Ranch and August Complex wildfires, factors that influence future forests and landscapes and upcoming land management projects being proposed by the Mendocino National Forest in response to the August Complex.

The workshop is free. To register, go to Additional information about FireScape Mendocino can be found at

There’s a new Fire Chief in Lakeport. Jeffrey Thomas was hired last month by the Lakeport Fire Protection District Board, taking over for Rick Bergem who retired. Thomas grew up in Richmond and left the state to play football on a scholarship at the University of Utah but came back to Calif after serving in the Salt Lake City Fire Department for 36 years. He’s also Lakeport’s first Black fire chief. Lake Co News reports he’s also thought to be the first Black fire executive officer to serve in a Lake County agency. He told the news site he would camp in Clear Lake State Park as a kid and as a grownup enjoys fishing, hunting and golf.

In Lake County things are improving regarding the pandemic so the Lake County Superior Court is implementing operational changes. Lake Co News reports the Court Executive Officer says nothing’s happening right away, but they’re beginning to bring in more in person business soon. That includes trials in the courthouse, instead of where they’re being held now, at the Lake County Fairgrounds. They will also vacate civil jury trials in May. The news site reports the court has been in contact on all the changes with the Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace on public safety protocols for the court. Starting Monday there will be in person or Zoom appearances. Then in Mid-May civil and family law court trials or evidentiary hearings will be conducted in-person. Remote appearances upon request will have to be approved. They will however continue some services at the fairgrounds.

A man from Nice who police say shot his wife to death and shot himself and called for help, has died.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports Kenneth Lovelady shot and killed his wife Laurie Tuesday night and shot himself. They went to the home after the man called in his wife’s shooting and told them he tried to kill himself too. Deputies found the woman dead already and Kenneth with gunshot wounds. He was airlifted to an out of county hospital where he died shortly after arrival. There will be autopsies conducted, but the Sheriff’s office says they believe there was a domestic dispute before Kenneth shot his wife, then himself. The couple had minimal contact with their office before and no previous history of domestic disputes.

A fire that was burning outside Laytonville is fully contained.  The fire reported yesterday, called the Dos Fire burned nine acres and was moving quite slow. After the fire was reported on Dos Rios Rd., firefighters said it was not threatening any structures. The Mendocino County Cal Fire Unit Chief tweeted the fire was contained yesterday but firefighters were there for cleanup. Another fire near Boonville is close to full containment. The Turnout Fire, which started Sunday was last reported at 65% surrounded after burning 200 acres.

That’s a wrap for the longtime conductor and leader of the Symphony of the Redwoods. Allan Pollack is retiring as music director and conductor after 2 and a half decades at the helm. He’s the artistic director of the Mendocino Music Festival and was artistic director and conductor for the Camellia Symphony Orchestra in Sacramento for a spell. He’s also been a teacher for years in the Bay Area including 35 years at UC Berkeley, as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Community Music Center. A search committee made up of musicians and board members will look for his replacement.

PG&E says even though the state is doing better when it comes to COVID19, they’re not going to harass folks for past due payments. They have financial assistance programs until June 30th that started in March of 2020 when the pandemic first surfaced. The company says their customer protections include suspending service disconnections for those with unpaid bills, but they say for you to act now before the protections end in a couple months. The plans are for both for residential and commercial customers.

A special board meeting by the Lakeport Unified School District has been held to discuss a new superintendent as the current super, Jill Falconer is retiring. The board met someone of interest over Zoom at the meeting Tuesday night during the public comment section. The meeting May 13th, they’ll decide whether or not to hire Matthew Bullard of Minnesota. He has 24 years of experience as a special education teacher, secondary and alternative school principal, and 13 years as a school district superintendent. His contract should be ratified at that May meeting.

Ukiah Unified has announced one of the teachers from Pomolita Middle School is the Regional Educator of the Year. Tiffany Chez Robinson, a Language Arts Teacher was named by the California League of Middle Schools (CLMS) for Region 1. It’s handed out every year for middle school educators in the state who exemplify educational excellence and have made significant efforts to implement elements of educational reform. School districts can nominate teachers, administrators, counselors, or certificated personnel. 

Ukiah Unified Schools are offering summer school for elementary, middle, and high school students. The district says school over the summer between June 9th to July 21st will be engaging and fun. It’ll be 5 days/week and open to all students with both grab and go lunches and snacks provided. For high schoolers they are offering academic intervention, credit recovery and some limited elective courses on-site at the high school or through Cyber High. The district also announced they’re offering free food for all students 18 and younger each Wednesday, so today, it’s between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the high school. They ask you to follow COVID19 protocols when you get the food.

A head on crash has been reported outside Willits. The California Highway Patrol reported last night they got a call to the crash about six miles north of Willits with an injured female and child who needed to be extracted from one vehicle. Dispatch sent three ambulances and two air ambulances landed on the road by the intersection of the 101 and Reynolds Highway. Part of the 101 was closed so helicopters could land.  The two people who were injured were taken away by air and the Dept. of Transportation also went to the scene to clean up spilled oil. 

Police from Fort Bragg got a call to a naked man on Main Street. When they got there Friday afternoon they found a man who they say seemed to be high on drugs, acting erratically. They say the man charged at them and didn’t seem to have a grasp on reality. They identified him as Matthew Russell and asked for backup after he took off running. They found him nearby in a business vehicle with facial injuries after being confronted by two employees. He took off in the business van as officers took chase near a Safeway and Starbucks. They pointed a Taser at him and removed him. He was taken to a hospital where he admitted he had recently used meth. He was booked into jail, but no word what the charges were. 

A man who told the Lake County Sheriff’s Dispatch he killed his wife at their home in Nice has been arrested. Deputies went to the home last night and found a woman dead there. The man told deputies he intended to kill himself, he and the woman both had gunshot wounds. The man was taken to a hospital, then airlifted out of the area to another hospital. Major Crimes Detectives were requested and took over the investigation. 

PG&E says they are not responsible for the 2019 Kincade fire. In court yesterday the utility company’s lawyers indicated they would fight the 20 count criminal indictment. The Press Democrat reports it was the first time in court on the case filed by the Sonoma County DA against the massive utility. The company has been charged before, in relation to the massive fires in 2017 and 2018 in Northern Calif. and of course the San Bruno gas explosion a decade ago. The Kincade fire was found to have started by a broken piece of PG&E equipment. It sparked in the The Geysers geothermal region of the Mayacamas Mountains near Geyserville in October of 2019. Almost 200,000 residents were evacuated. The fire scorched close to 78,000 acres and destroyed 174 homes.

A new paving project to Willits High will make drop off and pickup go smoother. The school board voted unanimously last week to greenlight the project for a circle turn-around in front of the school and a road from Main Street to the maintenance building. While they were at it, the School Board also gave the go-ahead to a Roofing Project at Brookside Elementary, Baechtel Grove Middle School and Willits High. On a side note the Willits Teachers Association (WTA), School Board Members and Superintendent all spoke about how happy they were to be in person with students again. When they meet again next time, they’re considering implementing COVID testing for students.

The Governor is part of a group of bipartisan governors who are asking the Biden Administration, as part of its fight on climate change to be sure all new vehicles sold in the country are zero-emission (ZEV), sooner rather than later. The group of 12 governors are asking for further investment in ZEV charging and fueling infrastructure. A letter was sent by the governors of Calif, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington for the federal government to set the standard that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks would be zero-emission by 2035 and all new medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles sold should be zero-emission by 2045. It’s all part of Climate Action Week. Gov. Newsom is the co-chair of the U.S. Climate Alliance.

As we continue to hear about drought like conditions, we have not heard any water conservation mandates, until now. The first big water agency in the Bay Area is anticipated to give the go ahead for mandatory water restrictions. It’s the Marin Municipal Water District who is expected to ask their customers to limit their outdoor watering to one day/week and stop washing cars, refilling swimming pools and not to power-wash their homes. Part of a long list of don’ts the agency will mandate. Those who don’t follow the rules may be fined up to $250. The Gov. has yet to make any formal announcement on a drought emergency which would allow him to order conservation measures, whole relaxing some environmental restrictions on some water sources to divert more to farmers.

A new report about the special meeting by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Monday says they received hundreds of comments. There were 400 emails and 150 comments to the board on the proposed amendments to the county’s cannabis cultivation and facilities ordinances. The board met two Mondays in a row for special meetings that lasted hours. The Advocate News reports speaking to the Vice Chair, Ted Williams who said, “to turn cannabis around, we’ll need an ordinance in alignment with state law and enforcement”. He said the board meeting on the matter was actually to correct the policy that they now recognize won’t work. And that a new process creates greater neighborhood and environmental protection, despite a misinformation campaign.

We could get back to bringing in recycling for cash if some lawmakers have their way. A bill introduced by Assemblyman Jim Wood would allow appointments at recycling centers to which you cannot do now. The Natural Resources Committee in the Assembly unanimously passed Wood’s bill. He says the pandemic has made things worse and says a lack of access for redemption options especially in rural areas is practically impossible now.  He says because of health protocols and the state closing down during the pandemic, many of the few redemption centers we had in those rural areas were forced to shutdown and didn’t open again. In Humboldt County there’s only one now and Wood says it’s plagued with lines and crowds that caused traffic jams and backed up onto the highway.

Local community health centers have been spending loads of money on COVID19 testing and vaccinating, but the federal government is sending money as part of the latest stimulus package. The American Rescue Plan Act will provide one time funding over two years for health centers funded under the Health Center Program. The centers in Mendocino County who qualify include the Anderson Valley Health Center in Boonville, Long Valley Health Center in Laytonville, MCHC Health Centers in Ukiah and Willits, Mendocino Coast Clinics in Fort Bragg, and Redwood Coast Medical Services in Gualala. There are also clinics who will receive money too. Several million dollars will be spread amongst them as part of the latest stimulus, not only for protective equipment but to cover tests and vaccination efforts.

State Sen. Bill Dodd has introduced legislation to improve high-speed broadband access. Dodd says it’s been far too long that telecommunication projects have been delayed by confusing regulations and excessive bureaucracy. He says his legislation will take a step toward improving internet access immediately and ensure equity and close the digital divide. He says it comes at a time, during the pandemic, when employers and schools are doing more online work and that has shed the light on disparities of access faced by low-income families and people of color. The bill would give more access to highspeed internet and remove local discretion and build on existing laws that set timelines and reasonable fees to process and approve broadband projects.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors in a special meeting have tabled a vote on a Commercial Cannabis Activity Land Use Ordinance. If it had passed it would have meant there could be mass Cannabis growing on rangeland, up to 10% of a ten acre property, or more. So the current ordinance based system would switch to a land use permit system which wouldn’t have to follow the California Environmental Quality Act. If the board does decide to make the switch before June 30th, there would instead be site specific environmental reviews required for individual applications. The board noted if they made a change, wildfire corridors would be part of the environmental review process.  The board will take up the matter again at the regular Tuesday morning meeting April 27th.

A hit and run reported in Ukiah by a county car. The accident Sunday on Clara Street and the car found later damaged and abandoned. The county says the driver of the car was not a county employee and they’re unsure who was driving, but believe it was a man. Scanner reports said Sunday morning a Toyota Tacoma hit another car and took off. The person who reported the crash also said they believed the driver might have a gun. A BOLO alert was issued Sunday after the report of a possible gun. There was front end damage to the car consistent with a crash into a truck that was found with materials in it that looked to be involved in marijuana trimming.

The first fire of the season in Mendocino County reported outside Boonville. The Turnout Fire has burned 200 acres after it ignited over the weekend. It’s one of six fires that started in the county over the weekend. It was not reported to be threatening any structures. Cal Fire reports it was burning in steep, hard to reach terrain so they were standing by keeping a close eye on it in case conditions became bad overnight. They say they’ll try to strengthen the containment lines this morning ahead of any windy conditions later in the day. The other five fires reported over the weekend didn’t turn into much, only burning a couple acres each and quickly contained.

The idea of reopening the state by the middle of June is being kicked around after the governor announced his intention a couple of weeks ago. There has been word that a proof of vaccine or a recent COVID19 test might allow access to certain higher risk activities, but state health officials say it’s not a vaccine passport they’re considering. Some health experts say it is exactly that though, digital or paper passes so those who’ve been vaccinated or test negative can hit a concert, sports game or events at giant arenas. But law experts say a vaccine pass may come off better, then passport, which is a government issued document, which some say sounds like the government is mandating you get a vaccine and carry proof of it on you.

The state of Calif. is sending several million dollars for mental health services and other health care to Lake County. Lake Co News reports Partnership HealthPlan of California is getting over $36 million from the state as behavioral health needs have intensified. Adventist Health Clear Lake is one of the providers that will receive funds, $11 million. Partnership manages Medi-Cal benefits for nearly 600,000 members in 14 counties located in Northern California. Of the state funds they promise to distribute the money to 30 organizations. The money will also land at Sutter Health. Projects include basic behavioral health integration; maternal access to mental health and substance use treatment; medication management for co-occurring chronic medical and behavioral diagnoses; diabetes screening and treatment for people with serious mental illness.

The Governor says herd immunity against COVID-19 is not a thing. Herd immunity means a disease cannot find anymore people to infect and it finally dissipates. But the governor says he finds it a little “illusory” because there are those who won’t get the vaccine. Plus he says the population of Calif. also includes children and as of right now, there is no vaccine for those under 16 years old. Plus now we have mutant strains of the virus, some of which could be resistant to vaccines. The Governor says he’s heard that herd immunity is between 70-90% of the population. Some health experts say they don’t expect herd immunity to happen until sometime next year.

Looking into the future with the Lake County Board of Supervisors. Last week during a special workshop, the board looked at a list of long-term priorities. Individual supervisors got the floor to present their own top priorities to the room, then there was discussion and group gathering to mull the ideas. They were sectioned into four main categories — economic development, workforce investment, community cleanup, and disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery. Some of the ideas tossed around included free preschool and community college, money for home-buying, affordable housing, cannabis tax money use for expenditures in other areas.

While the pandemic is still very much in our lives, the Lakeport City Council is considering summer community events. At their regular meeting today city staff will present the council with ideas for events in public areas this summer. The city is working with the county’s health department to follow COVID19 guidelines and will look at every event’s plan which has to have COVID protocols submitted too. City staff says the public health dept. thinks outdoor events can be done in a safe manner as long as community members wear masks, practice social distancing and there are hand-washing stations. Events to be considered include the Library Park Farmer’s Market, Old Time Machines Car Show, Home Amateur Wine Makers Winefest, Lakeport Main Street Association Shop and Dine and the annual 4th of July event.

The Lucerne Area Town Hall takes on homelessness. At their last meeting, last Friday, advisory council members considered what to do about the unsheltered. They looked at the Home Key Project with the operations director of Elijah House who said they want to open an administrative center to help community members as well as misplaced locals. That could include housing programs, getting back to work, educational and training programs. They had a space in mind which the director says would mainly be used for their administrative offices and storage, classes and workshops GED tutoring, computer skills, interview skills, life skills and budgeting. The group also took time to talk about repairs needed at their docks on Highway 20 and heard from the Department of Public Works regarding road repairs.


The fire burning in Mendocino County early in the season has a little bit more containment. The Turnout Fire near Boonville which started on Sunday afternoon is now 25% contained. It didn’t grow overnight from the reported 200-acres. The fire started in hot and dry weather but has not done any damage. The fire is also not near any homes or structures. Cal Fire reported the fire was quieted some last night because of cooler weather so firefighters were able to build a line around the fire, which they say is burning in hard to reach, steep, rugged terrain near Highway 253/Boonville Road.  

Tonight is the night… The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors hosting a second special meeting on Cannabis cultivation permits. It comes about a week after a group of concerned citizens sent around a flyer saying if the county allows more permits it will threaten agriculture, rangeland and the environment. Plus they say it’s already threatening the water supply and fire safety.  The vote tonight by the Board to open up rural lands and open spaces to more commercial cannabis cultivating. The concerned citizens say the board should vote it down after citizens voted Measure AF down in 2016. The board is allowing public comments then will vote tonight. They expect a large turnout so not everyone who wants to comment will be able to, the comments will be first come, first served.

After a Mendocino Deputy on patrol did a routine traffic stop on the 101 in Willits, and smelled marijuana in the car, 4 people were arrested. The Deputy speaking to the driver, Tomas Valencia and three passengers, Camilo Valencia, Ali Khan and Alvin Valliaril and noticed loose weed in the car. The Deputy searched and found twenty-four (24) one (1) pound bags of processed marijuana and packaging material to ship it through the United States Postal Service. They had no invoices or a shipping manifest so they were arrested and taken to jail. Due to the pandemic though, they were all released on zero bail with a promise to appear in court at a later date.

A man from Willits has been arrested for a domestic violence incident. Police say a 19 year old woman had been attacked by her boyfriend, 21 year old Steven White after a mutual argument. They say though that White grabbed the woman and she was afraid so she punched the man. He then drove her to the hospital because he injured her hand before she slugged him.  He left the hospital so deputies put out a BOLO alert and found him later, arresting him for Domestic Violence Battery and held him on $25,000.00 bail.

Cases of coronavirus are low in Lake County allowing the county to be in the Orange Tier in the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy”. The Public Health Office reports 40% of the county’s residents are at least partially vaccinated, the goal is 70%. The health office reports 60% of Lake County’s population is not vaccinated at all.  They say the county’s moving in the right direction, but we’ve got to continue to be vigilant, wear masks, socially distance and practice appropriate hygiene. The county also has a vaccine surplus. They remind that there are appointments available for anyone over the age of 16, by registering with the state. Teens 16 and 17 need parental consent. You can call the health dept. if you can’t get an appointment online.

Parts of Lake County are under Elevated Fire Weather Conditions due to dry fuel conditions not usually seen this early in the year. The Lake County Risk Reduction Authority is reminding hardening homes and communities against wildfire is urgent. The Authority says the last six years there have been fires and evacuations, member and District 5 Supervisor Jessica Pyska says pretty much all of Lake County has been personally affected by wildfire. She and District 1 Supervisor, Moke Simon, the County of Lake and the Lake County Risk Reduction Authority are hosting “Preparing for Fire Season” an online Town Hall Meeting. It’s happening next Thursday, April 29th at 6pm.

FEMA is providing money for funerals that happened from January of 2020 to present times. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provide money to help. To be eligible the death had to have happened here in the United States, a death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19, you must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who had COVID-19 related funeral expenses. They will not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number Applications began April 12, 2021, call 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585, Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time to get help with the application from FEMA’s representatives. Multilingual services will be available.

Early in the season and we have our first fire in Mendocino County. The Turnout Fire started yesterday and grew to 50 acres, but scanner reports last night said fire activity was dying down and the wind was calm. The fire in the 9000 block of the 253 and not near any town or structures. It’s near to Boonville and Ukiah but not a threat to either. The fire is zero percent contained, with not a lot forward movement. There was no word yet how the fire may have started.

After a witness called the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, a man from Ukiah’s arrested for domestic violence battery. Last Friday Derrick Ridenour was accused of attacking a woman he had been dating. He was on probation for a previous domestic violence incident and was not allowed contact with the woman and had a restraining order against him. But was apparently driving her to a family member’s home and they got into an argument, where the woman says he wouldn’t let her out of the car and grabbed her by her hair. He also took her phone away so she could not call 911 and choked while they were outside the vehicle. That’s where the witness comes in, they were jogging by and saw the incident and called 911 and tried to get Ridenour to stop, so he did, but also took off. Deputies say the victim had visible injuries to her neck and face. Ridenour was found soon after and arrested for domestic violence battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, violation of probation, and violation of a restraining order and booked into jail on $110,000.00 bail. 

A man from Nice has been arrested in Calpella after a high speed chase with police. The guy nearly got away but police finally caught up to Mark Andrew Nielsen early Saturday morning on various charges after a BOLO was put out for him a week and a half earlier. It all started when a deputy saw a man alone in a car duck down when they passed. The deputy noticed code violations on the car and tried to contact Nielsen with no luck as he took off. Nielsen was finally arrested Saturday for multiple crimes including reckless driving while evading a peace officer, armed in the commission of a felony, carrying an unregistered, loaded handgun and possession of both ammo and a firearm by a prohibited person. He was held on $125,000.00 bail.  

A report from the Mendocino County Sheriff saying 2020 was a “bad year” for crime in the unincorporated areas of the county. There was an uptick in the most violent crimes including murder but unlike many other areas of the country, during the pandemic, domestic violence was down. But the Sheriff says it could just be due to underreporting. Kendall’s report says there were 467 deaths in 2020, up from 333 from a year before. There were 14 murders last year, ten the Sheriff’s Office handled. Not unlike many other areas of the country during 2020, suicides were up. Overdoses were way up, but some may have been “accidental”. The Sheriff says coronavirus only accounted for a small percentage of the deaths, 35, in 2020. But so far 47 people have died from COVID19.

A Deputy DA in the Mendocino County DA’s office has been sworn in as Officer in the Air Force Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG Corps). Deputy DA Joshua Raines was sworn in Friday afternoon at the Ukiah courthouse as a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps. The DA’s office posted the news on their Facebook page. Judge Advocates are legal advisors to their command and can be a personal legal advisor to their commander.  Raines enlisted in the Air Force just out of high school, after the 9/11 terrorist attack. He did 4 years active duty and was in the Air Force Reserve 8 more years. He was hired by the Mendocino County DA’s office last year.

The Mendocino County Health Officer says the county should be getting more Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccine doses after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on hold due to rare complications. In his Friday press briefing Dr. Andy Coren said there were no complications locally and the ones that did happen nationally were less than one case per million vaccines. The blood clots were in women, one of which died. He says if anyone who did get the vaccine here and has a “severe headache, stomach or leg pain, and easy bruising within a month afterward should see their doctor. He did say that some positive cases have popped up in people who were fully vaccinated, 18 of them, representing less than one percent of those vaccinated and not unexpected.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is getting members lined up for their visioning forum committee. At their meeting tomorrow they will also start the interviewing process for a new Public Health Officer as Dr. Gary Pace is leaving at the end of the month. For the visioning committee they’ve already lined up the Clearlake Mayor and one city councilmember from Lakeport. They will fill in the rest tomorrow from a list of applicants including tribal representatives and general members of the public. The committee, you may recall is to help promote tolerance, respect, equity and inclusion in Lake County. One last bit at tomorrow’s meeting is for the board to consider a use permit for a new cell phone tower project in Kelseyville.

The state is still moving along with the anticipation of a full reopening by June 15th. It does however depend on whether the vaccine supply is ample enough so that anyone over 16 who wants a shot can get it; and hospitalization rates stay low and stable. The Gov. says masks will still need to be worn, social distancing will have to be followed and other common sense protocols. It means businesses would be able to open at full capacity, depending on circumstances of individual counties; schools would be encouraged to reopen for full-time in-person learning, but individual school districts will maintain control. For reopening of higher risk events, testing or vaccination proof would be required to attend.

A presentation by PG&E for the Cobb Area Council showed what the utility company has been doing to prevent wildfires ahead of the 2021 fire season. The liaison who came to the local meeting says they installed certain devices to separate the electric grid to smaller parts so they could reduce the amount of Public Safety Power Shutoffs. They are also thinning fuels, taking down trees and taking feedback from each county’s Office of Emergency Services. They are also joining forces with more than 250 community organizations to hand out info in various languages and will offer food replacement working with partner food banks and Meals on Wheels organizations.