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The teachers of the year have been announced in the Konocti Unified School District. The Superintendent says they each embody the dedication, creativity, and good humor that makes learning possible even in the most challenging of times—”and this year has certainly been challenging.” The teachers are selected by their peers. They include the Districtwide Teacher of the Year Andrea Pullman from Burns Valley Elementary. Kim VanHorn is the Alternative Education winner. At East Lake Elementary, Kaytlin Zolensky was Teacher of the Year, Lower Lake Elementary teacher Suzy Tucker was another Teacher of the Year as was Lower Lake High teacher Tracy Lahr, Pomo Elementary’s Janelle Schneider won the honor and finally, Babette Wellock was chosen from Konocti Education Center.

A man from Santa Rosa has been convicted of rape and assault for an incident in Ukiah last June. 50 year old Lamont Dean was charged with the attack on an unconscious female. He also admitted to a prior strike on his record from Solano County in 1999.

A fire has gutted an RV on the Sherwood Rancheria, east of Willits. Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control after it briefly spread to nearby brush. Little Lake and Cal Fire firefighters on the scene yesterday. Mendo Voice reports speaking to a resident of the rancheria who said the motorhome that caught fire was aband,oned and loaded up with a bunch of junk. Firefighters went to the scene after getting reports of smoke and brought out several engines. Deputies were also at the fire which was only burning less than an hour thanks to still green brush after recent rains. 

The Emerald City Museum is reopening after a pandemic closure. There’s going to be a new exhibit there too starting on, you guessed it, 4/20. The Recall building in Willits will feature the new exhibit with stories from locals like well-known cannabis activist Pebbles Trippet. There will be displays from local artists, cannabis history memorabilia and a traveling Hemp Museum. Also on display, magazines, books, art, posters, pipes, regenerative farming techniques and more. The museum is open 12 – 5 on April 20th and every weekend thru the end of June. They’re following strict COVID protocols, so call ahead for reservations.

A three car crash near Hopland closed a lane of traffic on the 101. Yesterday morning there was only one way controlled traffic for a time outside the southbound lane near La Franchi Road south of Hopland. 2 cars were blocking a lane and another was off the highway. Hopland Fire was on the scene tending to the injured and an air ambulance was flown in. One person was airlifted from the scene and three others were taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

A major effort with the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) Northern and Golden Gate Divisions to try to help lower the amount of injury and fatal crashes on major highways in both divisions. It’s part of the Major Corridor Enhanced Primary Collision Factor Enforcement Campaign starting today. The patrol reports more than 1,900 crashes in 2018 and 19 in the two divisions on the 101 from the Oregon border through Mendocino County, causing 745 injuries. And 53 people died in the crashes which officers say the primary cause is, speed, reckless driving, unsafe lane changes, unsafe turning movements, following too closely, distracted driving, and driving under the influence. They reported more injuries and deaths from not wearing seatbelts too. The CHP is working to promote safe driving along that part of the highway. They remind to always wear a seat belt, drive at a speed safe for conditions, eliminate distractions while driving, and always designate a sober driver.

The state has released new guidelines for in person learning at schools. On Tuesday the Governor had new guidance, which he did not say was mandatory, instead, he wanted to make sure schoolkids were not left behind on June 15th when the state is scheduled to widely reopen. Newsom says then that all K-12 schools should be open this fall full-time, five-days-a-week, for face to face learning. He included colleges in the reopening too saying there are financial incentives for all schools to reopen including vaccinations for school employees. At the same time the state Supt. of Public Instruction said there will be some families who either can’t or choose not to have their children back to in person learning so schools may need to be flexible on that.

After the state auditor sent a letter to the Governor on the homelessness crisis in the state, there’s a new system so lawmakers can take on the issue head-on. There are more than 160,000 people in Calif without a home, that’s according to last year’s point in time count, which happened before the pandemic. The state’s homeless coordinating and financing council says the state has to address issues dealing with the unsheltered and that affordable housing is so hard to find, even when someone can afford shelter, they may not be able to find any. Now the new Homeless Data Integration System is online to help study the issue further. It shows the amount of homeless, how many have looked for help and how many more still wait for assistance.

Like Mendocino and Sonoma before it, it looks like Lake County will hit the Orange Tier. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday it could happen next week as the state has administered four million vaccine doses to the state’s lowest income areas. So that has meant the numbers related to reopenings have changed. And the state’s poised to completely reopen by the middle of June, as long as hospitalizations stabilize. Lake County, or any county in the state has to have 27 cases/100,000 residents, at the most, to move into Orange, for two weeks. Dr. Pace reported 35% of Lake County residents over 16 have been vaccinated and about 22% are fully vaccinated.  Pace says there’s been less demand, and more supply, but it’s critical to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

The planned upgrade at Austin Park in Clearlake has been approved. It’s to build a new bus stop and section of promenade. Last week the city council approved a half million dollar bid for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements, new LED flashing traffic signage, crosswalk warning pavement lights, an electric utilities vault in the sidewalk and irrigation control, all with that new bus stop. Granite Construction came in with the lowest bid. The city manager says they’ve put the promenade and bus stop projects together as one so they could get better bids. And Lake Transit Authority is paying the city back for the bus stop project at nearly $140,000.

If you’re an entertainment or live venue impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant may be able to help. The portal to apply opened this morning for operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives. These were impacted near the top of the pack when the pandemic surfaced a year ago. The SBA Administrator says concerts, plays, dance performances, movie premieres, museum exhibits are “the lifeblood of culture and community, and often the anchor for travel, tourism and neighborhood food and retail”, which were also impacted. There is over $16.2 billion available through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant by way of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act and the American Rescue Plan Act.

After four women accused the mayor of Windsor of sexual assault, local and state leaders are speaking out. State Senator Mike McGuire tweeted the allegations against Mayor Dominic Foppoli leaves only one option, to immediately resign, adding his behavior has caused “tremendous pain and trauma”. The Press Democrat reports the allegations against the mayor go back 16 years. The newspaper reports trying to contact the mayor with no luck. But his lawyer says he “categorically denies having engaged in any of the abuses described.” The first back in 2003 against an 18-year-old campaign volunteer who claims Foppoli raped her twice. Another a few years later who says he tried to rape her, then again in 2012, another woman met him in Reno says she was too drunk to stop him from attacking her. And the most recent allegation in 2019, a winery intern says he kissed and groped her against her objections.

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