Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: May 2021

Calfornia’s mask mandate stays—for now. Governor Newsom says that rule will remain in place until June 15th, when it will be modified to follow the latest guidelines from the CDC. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly says that extra time will let businesses adjust and more people get vaccinated. Other states have lifted their mandates allowing vaccinated people to go maskless in most cases. However, in California, masks are required indoors unless you are with vaccinated people, until June 15th.

The Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism alliance is offering some incentives to people who get their Covid shots. Mendocino County residents who have received vaccines or getting them can get free gifts provided by North Coast Opportunities. The freebies include hand sanitizer, masks, cookbooks, seeds, and even some “Love Local Mendo” gift cards with a random value between $5.00 and $50.00 to use in participating small businesses. You can qualify by signing up at upcoming vaccine outreach events in Ukiah. They are scheduled for this Friday, May 21, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Plowshares Peace and Justice Center on South State St. and on Friday, May 28, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM: Slam Dunk Pizza on North State St. Those sites will also help people who want to set up vaccine appointments, as part of North Coast Opportunites “Get the Jab” outreach.

Ukiah police have arrested a woman after they say she fought with two employees at the Wal-Mart on Airport Park Boulevard. Officers say 32-year-old Rachael Seivertson of Ukiah punched those two workers as she was trying to wheel a shopping cart full of almost $200 dollars worth of stuff past the exit on Monday morning. Police say they spotted Seivertson trying to leave the store and that she fought with an officer trying to take her in. She was eventually restrained. Both Walmart mart workers were hurt. One of them was 69 years old and suffered injuries to her face, the other woman went to the hospital with back pain. The police officer was OK. Seivertson is now facing felony robbery charges along with charges of resisting arrest and elder abuse because of the age of one of the injured clerks. Seivertson is in jail on $150,000 bail.

Mendocino county sheriff’s deputies have charged a man with trying to rob two people with a fake gun. They say 32-year-old Jacob Sellmer of Ukiah confronted a teenage brother and sister in a business parking lot in the 1300 block of North State Street on Saturday afternoon. Cops later found him not far away using surveillance video and witness information. Sellmer’s charges include showing an imitation firearm and a probation violation from a previous conviction for vandalism.

This week’s meeting of the Clearlake City Council will include a discussion of a 50 million dollar development proposal. Lake Co News reports the council will talk about a plan to bring 85 new housing units to the city. The mixed-income development would be built on 31 acres on Burns Valley Road. City staff has been talking with that developer about its plans. If approved, 7.5 million dollars for the project would come from disaster relief funds allocated to Clearlake and Lakeport. Work could start as soon as next year. The council will also hold a budget workshop before their regular meeting on Thursday at 5 PM at city hall. The regular council meeting starts at 6. The meetings are open to the public, but masks are required. You can watch it on Zoom and on Clearlake’s Youtube channel. The agenda and comment information is available on the city’s website.

The federal Bureau of Land Management has enacted seasonal fire restrictions—including a ban on target shooting—on lands it manages in several counties, including Lake and Mendocino. It takes effect on Friday The BLM says the risk is high due to the dry conditions across the region. The order means n No campfires, barbecues, or open fires, except in a developed campground. Portable stoves with gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed with a valid California campfire permit available free at all BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and Cal Fire offices. Other open fire sources are banned too. Violators can get a hefty fine of up to $100,000 or up to 12 in prison. You can find more on the website readyforwildfire.org.

Traffic crashes are down in Willits. The Willits PD says they’ve responded to 23 crashes so far this year—a significant drop from last year when there were 83 crashes over the 12 months. Police think the pandemic may be part of the reason for the decline. The department says it has identified several areas such as school zones, crosswalks, and main thoroughfares as priorities for traffic enforcement. Police are also encouraging drivers to help keep roads safe by dialing 9 1 1 if they spot reckless or possibly impaired drivers.

The Little Lake Fire Protection District in Willits is considering a significant date opening of its new firehouse. The district board is talking about opening the new facility on Commercial Street on September 11—the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The Willits News reports that work is progressing on the building. If all goes as planned, that work should be done by August.

The first students in a groundbreaking program offered by the Ukiah Unified School District have graduated. 25 students took part in the Middle College Program is a partnership between the district and Mendocino College. The graduates have spent the past three years taking their courses on the college campus. The district’s director of Alternative education, Scott Paulin, says the program offers those students the best of both high school and college, giving them a leg up as they go on to higher education. Those enrolled experience all the benefits of a small school environment during the school day and still attend UHS social events or compete in UHS athletics if they want to. Twelve members of the new class have elected to remain at Mendocino College in the fall. Others have enrolled at the University of California and California State Colleges around the state, and one graduate will be attending Montana State University. The Middle College program is available for any 10th, 11th and 12th-grade students in Mendocino and Lake Counties. You can reach out to Scott Paulin at spaulin@uusd.net to find out more.

Governor Newsom wants to spend billions to get more people connected to high-speed internet. He has outlined a 7 billion dollar proposal that would rely heavily on federal money to build out the internet infrastructure and give providers incentives to expand their service. The governor says it is important to act quickly to bridge what some call the digital divide between those who have fast broadband and do not. More than half of rural California’s rural residents lack access to high-speed lines.

Former sheriff Tom Allman says Mendocino County is falling way short when it comes to treating those affected by mental illness. 4 years after county voters overwhelmingly approved Measure B that implemented a sales tax increase to pay for a Psychiatric Health Facility and other programs to help improve mental health services, Allman says there is little to show for the money the county has taken in. Allman was a driving force behind Measure B. He has written a letter to the editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal, saying that the lack of mental health services—not marijuana—is the number one problem in the county. He is also concerned that law enforcement officers are still forced to respond to calls that can be handled more appropriately by mental health professionals. Allman wants the five members of the county board of supervisors to put mental health concerns at the top of every agenda to spur improvements to the system. Allman tells the paper he speaks from personal experience with the lack of help for people who need it. His brother took his own life back in 2005.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office says quick action by county jail staff prevented an inmate from hanging himself. The MCSO says staff members found the inmate on Thursday with a sheet tied around his neck after a call from another prisoner came in over the jail intercom. The staff members then worked together to untie the sheet and make sure the inmate was still breathing. The 32-year-old man from Covelo was taken to the hospital and is expected to be OK.

The union representing Mendocino County Public Health workers is concerned about how their department is being run. The Ukiah Daily Journal reports that S E I U local 1021 has written to the county board of supervisors, saying Public Health workers are struggling to meet state standards because of low wages, staff shortages, and a lack of support from Health and Human Services management. The union says the 2007 merger that put Public Health into the same agency as the county Social Services and Mental Health departments has not worked out well. Union leaders think spinning off Public Health as a standalone department could ease some of the problems.

The Lakeport City Council will talk about labor issues at its regular meeting this week. They will have discussions with the Lakeport Police Officers Association, the Lakeport Employees Association, and Unrepresented Management in a closed session at 5:15 before their open meeting at 6:00. The public agenda includes introducing the new Lakeport Fire Protection District Fire Chief, Jeffery Thomas, who started his job in April. The Council will also look over a resolution that would allow the city to issue bonds to pay for its unfunded pension obligations. Lakeport is about 8.4 million dollars shy of what it needs to pay those pensions and what it has available with the state retirement system. Tuesday’s meeting is virtual. You can submit a question to virtualhost@cityoflakeport.com by 3:30 tomorrow afternoon if you would like to speak during the public comment period.

Blood supplies are running short, so the call is out for donors. The Lakeport Community Blood Drive on Tuesday is one way you can make that potentially life-saving gift. It will be held from 11 am to 3:30 pm. at United Christian Parish at 745 N Brush Street. All donors will be tested for covid-19 antibodies. Blood banks here and across the country are concerned because fewer people have donated due to the pandemic. The usual summer donation slowdown is just around the corner as well.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office says it has received a report about a calf that was shot in Laytonville. Cattle Rancher Phil Gravier says he’s baffled why anyone would deliberately aim at a calf point blank and leave it for dead. Fortunately, the calf didn’t die and is slowly recovering. Gravier found his animal with a gunshot wound in its side at his property near the Foster Creek area off of Bell Springs Road earlier this month. He is sure it was no accident because the shooter went out of their way to find the calf in a remote pasture. Gravier says in his 20 years of ranching no one has ever tried to harm any of his livestock. The sheriff’s office says there are no suspects. If you know anything about the shooting, you can contact the sheriff’s office or reach Phil Gravier through his farm’s Facebook page.

The Lake Area Planning Council is looking for public opinions about transit. They’re set up a brief online web survey to get feedback to guide them as they make transit-related decisions. Specifically, they would like to know how familiar residents are with what’s available and how transit can serve the community better. You can see the link on the local news page of our website.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LakeCoTransitSurvey.

If you’re doing some spring cleaning or have some unwanted stuff you accumulated during the pandemic the City of Ukiah has a way for you to downsize. The Ukiah Community Yard Sale is scheduled for Sunday, June 6th at Todd Grove Park. The sale is from 8 am to 1 pm. Applications to become a vendor are available online at
http://www.cityofukiah.com/communityyardsale or at the recreation office on West Clay St. They are due June 1st. The vendor fee is $30 for the first booth and $25 for additional booths. If you are looking to add more stuff, getting in to buy is free. The Yard Sale will be held in conjunction with opening the park pool for the first time since the pandemic started.

This is TAX DAY, both for the state and the IRS. The deadline got pushed back from its traditional April 15th spot on the calendar to deal with the complex tax changes due to the pandemic. Now, time is about up. If those forms are in the mail by the end of the day, you are fine. After that, the clock starts running for interest and other penalties. If you have some really last-minute questions, need forms, or want to file online, the websites are taxes.ca.gov for California and IRS.gov for federal.

Three scholarships are being given to three natural science students at Mendocino College. The Friends of the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences, an affiliate of the Foundation have awarded the Mary Lou Koeninger Memorial Scholarship in Earth Science to Ana Delgado Mendoza and two scholarships by the Audubon Society are going to Missael Barosa and Erin Orth. Delgado Mendoza has an interest in math and is looking to go for geology, physics, environmental science or oceanography. Barosa loves wildlife and is hoping to transfer to Sonoma State University or Chico State University and Orth says she wants to be a conservation scientist and study environmental science at the graduate level.

For more information about the Friends of the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences, please contact earth science professor Steve Cardimona at (707) 468-3219.

Two local organizations are being sponsored by Vocality Community Credit Union ahead of fire season. Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund and United Disaster Relief of Northern California each got $5,000 for disaster relief and preparedness for 2021. The two nonprofits won the grants for helping during and after natural disasters, public health crises, and devastating economic periods. The Credit Union says the grants are part of their focus to better serve Mendocino, Lake, and Northern Sonoma counties members. Their newest branch is in Ukiah. The credit union is headquartered in Garberville.

For more information, visit https://www.vocalityccu.org/

The US Drought Monitor update shows areas in Calif. of “exceptional drought”. It’s been expanded in to the southern and eastern Sierra Nevada due to low snowpack. The weekly update comes just after the Governor expanded the drought emergency to cover 41 of the state’s 58 counties. Exceptional drought is the worst level from the monitor. Most of the rest of the state is in extreme or severe categories and just a small part of the far north coast and two southernmost counties are in moderate drought. The rain and snowfall this year have been well below normal and instead of flowing into rivers or creeks, was absorbed into the ground.  

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports an officer involved shooting in Elk. A homeowner, not in the house at the time, but had video footage of someone unknown to them inside the home. Deputies responded about 20 mins later and came into contact with a man outside, which led to a quick foot chase. The man opened fire on a deputy who returned fire. There were no injuries reported. The suspect has not been found, but investigators are still searching. They say whoever it was is armed and dangerous. They say they think it’s the same man involved in a string of vandalism/burglaries of cabins in the area of Pine Ridge Road and Low Gap Road in Ukiah last February.  The suspect is described as being a white man, about 5 foot 10, 165-180 pounds and has a red beard.

Police in Willits got a call to a pub for a report of a burglary. It happened at Shanachie Pub where cops found a door had been forced open and a bunch of stuff was stolen. Police at a separate incident last Friday got security footage and identified the suspect as Dustin Brown who they saw walking and contacted. He admitted he was involved in the theft and had some of the stolen items and meth on him. Brown’s arrested and booked into Mendocino County Jail on burglary, cutting lines that conduct electricity and possession of controlled substance. The guy was released due to the pandemic, then busted again Wednesday after a rip off of another business, JD Redhouse. He denied doing anything wrong but was arrested anyway. This time he’s charged with false pretenses to obtain property, theft and committing a felony while out on bail or own recognizance. He was held in jail this time.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out new guidance on those fully vaccinated and wearing masks and social distancing, Calif. awaits new guidance. The state dept. of Public Health has kept mum so far about the new guidance. Masks will still need to be worn in crowded indoor settings, like when you travel on a bus or airplane, and in hospitals and prisons. The Gov. has vacillated on mask wearing in recent days, but before this new guidance came out. The state is supposed to fully reopen next month, but we’re not sure exactly what that will entail. So far about 60% of those 16 and older are partially vaccinated in California. But we might have to see what counties do locally, as percentages of people vaccinated varies.

The Governor says he wants to put another $1.5 billion into a program that gives grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The money would barely make a dent unfortunately as 350,000 small businesses have filed applications of over $4.5 billion after another program was announced earlier this year. But business groups have said whatever the boost is, will help as the state’s supposed to reopen fully in about a month. The money on top of $500 million for 21,000 small businesses announced after the New Year. Then in February another $2.1 billion in grants was approved.

A parade in Lakeport for Memorial Day is on. The Lakeport Main Street Association announced their annual Memorial Day Parade will be on Saturday, May 29th after a year off due to the pandemic. The theme this year is “Honoring, Reflecting, Remembering” and will take place on Main Street from Martin to Clear Lake Avenue. The street will be closed starting at about 10:30 a.m. for an 11:00 start. So far there are about 50 entries confirmed for the parade including antique cars, horses, floats and a stagecoach. They will also livestream the parade on the event Facebook page.

A man from Crescent City has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter after a motorcyclist was killed on the Willits Bypass. The California Highway Patrol reports Michael Confer of Crescent City was driving a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix north on the 101 early yesterday morning and for unknown reasons, went over the double yellow lines and into oncoming traffic. He went into southbound traffic, into the path of a 2007 BMW motorcycle, hitting it head-on, ejecting the 68-year-old driver. The Pontiac burst into flames and the motorcyclist was killed. He’s identified as Wayne Berry of Arroyo Grande. Confer had minor injuries and was arrested on suspicion of DUI of a controlled substance and vehicular manslaughter and booked into Mendocino County Jail.

A man from Fort Bragg is being blamed on some small fires that burned on the Noyo Bluffs. Only about ½ acre burned on a hill above the shore, but witnesses put a known transient from the area, Lee Jason Rupert at the scene. He was arrested Tuesday night for arson. Mendo Fever reports speaking to the Fort Bragg Police Department who contacted other transients nearby who fingered Rupert as the person who lit several fires that merged into one. Police knew him from previous contact. They were there with firefighters on the north side of the harbor near the Mendocino Indian Reservation, where there are several homeless encampments. High winds spread the fire, but firefighters got quick control of the flames and Rupert was arrested on suspicion of arson.

Appointments are already available for children in Calif. ages 12-15 year’s old to get the Pfizer vaccine. Yesterday an independent panel approved its use, and the CDC followed. The Governor announced the more Californians that get vaccinated, the faster we can slow the spread of COVID-19. He says the state’s leading the country with more than 32 million vaccines administered and some of the lowest positivity rates in the entire country. The move comes after the FDA first approved the vaccine’s use in youth 12-15 after clinical trials proved it was safe with the only non-serious side effects as fatigue and headache.

Parents, legal guardians or emancipated young people can check vaccine availability and book an appointment at MyTurn.ca.gov or by calling California’s COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255. Or contact their family doctor, local community health clinic or public health office for more information.

A security company in Sonoma County with ties to the Windsor Mayor accused of sex assault, are going out of business. The Press Democrat reports Whitestar Security Group was owned by Mayor Dominic Foppoli, Clayton Taylor and Brandon Rojas. The company rose fast, securing contracts with the state and nonprofit homeless service providers. After eight women accused Foppoli of sexual assault, abuse or misconduct, contracts were canceled and partners left Whitestar. Then there were layoffs. So the company is going out of business after losing as much as 70% of its business after the Foppoli scandal surfaced.

The Governor’s clarifying his stance on wearing masks indoors after the mid-June planned reopening of the state. The mandatory mask requirement has been in place nearly a year, and the Gov. had said he would be lifting most protocols on businesses and activities June 15th if things leveled off. But on Tuesday he said we’re not wearing face coverings, and not restricted in any way, except huge, large-scale events, and there we’d use common sense. But yesterday while in Monterey he said, there will still probably be some mask guidelines and mandates for indoor activities. But that he hoped that would be lifted soon too. It comes after Cal OSHA said some guidelines would change on facial coverings. The state Dept. of Public Health says they’ll update face covering rules as appropriate with the goal to loosen restrictions as people get vaccinated.

A man from Lakeport accused of being in possession of child pornography had his sentencing continued. 59 year old Jeffery Cramer was supposed to be sentenced Monday after taking a plea deal but the DA on his case says the court must use a visiting judge since two others disqualified themselves, and a third was expected to do the same, but we don’t know why. So the case moves to mid-June when they’ll set a new sentencing date. Cramer entered a no contest plea to felony possession of child pornography after a month’s long investigation at Main Street Bicycles, which he owned at the time.  He was found to have used digital devices to upload kiddie porn at least five times between August 2019 and February 2020. He faces a year in jail and 2 years’ probation.

The Gov. has announced another plan for public schools, investing another $20 billion for inclusivity. The Gov. says the state’s doing more to fully reopen in the upcoming school year in his $100 billion economic recovery plan. He says his plan will “create new opportunities for every student, especially for the neediest students, so that every child can thrive, regardless of their race or zip code”. The $20 billion dollar investment will create universal Pre-K and establish college savings accounts for 3.7 million disadvantaged kids for higher education pursuits or to start their own business.

The discussion on cannabis code enforcement with the Mendocino Board of Supervisors continues. This past Tuesday the board discussed mirroring what Humboldt County is doing and they’re considering adding several jobs in the cannabis and sheriff’s departments. In Humboldt County, we heard they use satellite imagery and various agencies work together against illegal grows, but here in Mendo, it’s more code enforcement reactive. The Mendocino County Sheriff was at Tuesday’s meeting saying the county needs to once and for all put its foot down on sites that are out of compliance so they can also address more dangerous activity in the county. It was a busy meeting Tuesday, as supervisors also discussed how to spend PG&E settlement funds and heard from the utility company on this year’s plans for potential Public Safety Power Shut-Offs.

A pickup truck driver was trapped for almost three hours after a crash into a tree. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reported to an area near the Mill Creek Dam yesterday finding the truck slammed, and stuck in the large oak tree on a steep hill. The driver was described as having critical injuries and taken from the vehicle with the jaws of life. He’s identified as 20 year old Jonathan Corona of Ukiah. With him in the truck were three teenagers, a 17-year-old boy, 15-year-old girl and 14-year-old girl, all from Ukiah who were able to get out of the car on their own. But the two teen girls also had major injuries. And the boy was injured too, so everyone in the truck ended up in the hospital. Police are investigating and say they think alcohol and drugs could have been a factor.

A special meeting’s planned of Ukiah’s Paths, Open Space and Creeks Commission. They’re deciding today about the proposed annexation of almost 700 acres of land in the Western Hills which would also include the possibility of new housing and infrastructure improvements. The city’s looking at acquiring, then annexing 693 acres for open space preservation, at the same time allowing low-density residential development on about 50 of the easternmost acres. But a report on how it might affect the environment showed possible significant air quality impact and on Biological Resources, Cultural /Tribal Cultural Resources, Geology and Soils, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Hydrology and Water Quality, Noise, Utilities and Service Systems, and Wildfire. But they say mitigation measures could reduce all impacts to less than significant.

Not looking like Lake County’s moving out of the state’s Orange Tier, into Yellow. The state’s getting rid of the color-tiered system in a month anyway. The county’s interim Public Health Officer, Dr. Evan Bloom told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday the reason was the amount of the population who’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s about 52% of those 16 and older. And not all are fully vaccinated. The state’s rate was 63% as partially or fully vaccinated. And Lake County’s epidemiologist says there are promising indicators though for daily case and positivity rates, but more people could be getting vaccinated to help. She says it’s especially important for the over 65 crowd.

Mediacom has announced it’ll take part in the federal government’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The program is set up for families and individuals who have been unable to pay for their Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic at a time when most, need it. The temporary program is being administered by the FCC to give those eligible up to $50 off their monthly internet bill. The company says it’s another way they can make sure families and individuals adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have access to reliable broadband. Enrollment began this week, but those who want it must first get verified. For more info, call 855-330-6918.

As the state announces which counties can move forward in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Sonoma County is left behind. Last week, officials were confident the county would move to the state’s less restrictive yellow tier, but orange it is. Public health officials say there are spiking cases especially in those in their 20s and 30s. They say it’s due to people getting together in groups, travel and spread in households. There were 184 new infections in the last 2 weeks. The Press Democrat reports 27% of it can be connected to household transmission, 22% to small and large gatherings of friends and family, and 8% was tracked mostly to travel outside the state. There’s also 44% with unknown origin.

The Gov. is proposing a multimillion dollar infusion of cash into homelessness programs and housing. Gov. Newsom is proposing an expenditure of $12 billion for those without shelter to get them into housing and to “functionally end family homelessness” within five years. He says he doesn’t want to just keep talking about it, he wants to take action. His deal includes $8.75 billion for an expanded pandemic program which turns hotel and motel rooms and other properties into housing for the neediest. And he wants to create housing where mental health and other behavioral services are provided on site. Currently there are an estimated 161,000 people experiencing homelessness, more than any other state.

A fire in Fort Bragg has been put out and an arrest has been made. Mendo Fever reports hearing on a police scanner that Fort Bragg Volunteer Firefighters were on the scene of a vegetation fire on the Noyo Bluffs on the north side of the harbor by the Mendocino Indian Reservation. The fire dept. reports the fire was in a homeless camp and because of high winds it was carried into vegetation, about “a quarter of the way up from the beach”. It burned less than an acre. Someone was reportedly arrested in connection to the fire, but no word if it was intentional.

After a stolen Jeep was spotted by a patrol officer in Ukiah by Redwood Ford, a man was arrested. Last Friday reports came in about a stolen Jeep Patriot from a car dealer. The owner of the lot told police nobody had permission to take it. The next day a patrol officer spotted it at a Walmart and called for backup, then approached. The officer says the man, identified as William Vaughn didn’t follow directions to get out of the Jeep and got out and ran. They went after him and arrested him, finding he was on probation and could be searched. There were window punch and lock pick tools and a used meth smoking pipe. He was booked into jail, but due to the pandemic was freed to return to court at a later date.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has approved the drought emergency declared by the Sheriff last week. The board heard yesterday from the director of the Public Works, Water Resources and Community Development Dept. on drought conditions before approving the proclamation. Director Scott DeLeon presented a look back to the supervisors of precipitation numbers thru the years with the average rainfall at about 37.45 inches, but this year, it’s only 12.28 inches. Barely a tenth of an inch more than the driest year on record back in 1976. The last drought emergency declaration was in 2014. Clearlake is also at historically low levels. The Sheriff was at the meeting yesterday for the drought emergency ratification request for which the board voted in favor. The board can move to ask the governor for a diversion of emergency resources due to the drought.

The state’s utility regulator has ordered Pacific Gas and Electric to get back to work on its 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan update. The director of the California Public Utilities Commission Wildfire Safety Division has sent a notice to the utility company that they need to address critical issues and may give them only three months to add onto its plan to help quell future wildfires. The letter said the company has shown time and time again it’s not protecting its customers and repeated mistakes have led to devastating wildfires that have killed more than 120 people. The regulator’s Public Advocates Office has previously recommended rejecting PG&E’s 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan.

Volunteers are needed for the Konocti Fire Lookout. The 2021 fire season is upon us so prospective volunteers are being told to come to an orientation and general meeting at Kelseyville County Park this Sunday at 2 p.m. The volunteers can schedule themselves for eight or four hour shifts once they have the proper training. Volunteers at the Lookout are organized by the Forest Fire Lookout Association under the direction of Cal Fire. Right now there’s very limited staffing until this weekend, then there will be a lot more openings.

For additional information contact Association Director Jim Adams at 707-245-3771.

The Calif. Water Service is asking customers in the Lucerne water system to conserve water due to low lake level. The water system gets its water from Clear Lake. Lake Co News reports the District Manager saying they’re preparing for drought conditions by replacing, repairing, and upgrading infrastructure to minimize water loss; identifying and repairing leaks through a Water Loss Auditing and Control Program; and they’re developing a 30-year water supply and facilities master plan, updating its conservation master plan. They’re also offering rebates on high-efficiency appliances and devices; a free conservation kit including a special garden hose nozzle, high-efficiency shower heads, faucet aerators, educational resources; and a smart landscape program with installation of efficient devices and repair of irrigation leaks at no cost to customers. The utility covers Lucerne and parts of Duncans Mills, Guerneville, Dillon Beach, Noel Heights and Santa Rosa.

Visit www.calwater.com/conservation or contact the Redwood Valley Customer Center at 707-274-6624.

The Governor has added more counties to the drought emergency, the broadest since the former Gov. Jerry Brown declared the end to the last drought in 2017. Newsom spoke again, at the bottom of a dried out lake. Last month it was Lake Mendocino, this time, the San Luis Reservoir near Gilroy. The Governor did not announce mandatory water conservation, but the Sierra Nevada snowpack, almost a third of the state’s water, was at 59% of its historical average on April 1st and it’s melting and soaking into ground, not running into rivers and reservoirs. The Governor’s declaration is for 41 of the state’s 58 counties. He added 39 more after already declaring a drought emergency in Mendocino and Sonoma counties last month.

The Ukiah Planning Commission is considering a new cannabis business where the old Ukiah Custom Cabinets was located. Stephanie and Chelsea Lovell are applying for their business on Waugh Lane, “Crave Processing, Distribution, and Delivery”. Their application says their business has grown to a point where they need in house processing of raw cannabis material. They will use the 13,000-square-foot building for drying, trimming, weighing and packaging cannabis flower. They also want a small delivery only area within the facility. The Commission meeting is tonight at 6pm, online only.

A driver who was accused of a fatal hit and run of a man in Brooktrails last week has reportedly turned himself in. The CHP reports Aaron Manning of Willits came in the afternoon the crash happened to give a statement. Paul Brown was hit and killed by a silver sedan last Friday morning. A Hyundai crossed the eastbound side of Sherwood Road near Birch Terrace and hit Brown while he was walking along the road. The driver took off, but the car was reportedly damaged and seen by witnesses this week being towed away from the area. The CHP reportedly figured out what kind of car hit Brown because pieces of it were left behind at the scene.

A man from Covelo’s been arrested for violating a restraining order. The Sheriff’s office reports getting a call from a woman who says Cort Miller, who was served that day with a temporary restraining order against him, called and harassed her. The woman says, it was only a half hour later that Miller called her and left her harassing messages. A state Fish and Wildlife Warden apparently saw the car Miller was in, then a Deputy met the Warden and they arrested him for violating the restraining order. They also found a single shot 12-gauge shotgun in the trunk of his car. Since he’s a convicted felon, he’s prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. So he was arrested for the violation of the restraining order and possession of a firearm and ammo and held in jail on $25,000.00 bail.  

A man from Willits has been arrested on a slew of charges after a Deputy on routine patrol happened upon him at a gas station in Redwood Valley. The Deputy thought the man looked familiar and knew he was on Felony Probation out of Mendocino County for Burglary.  He was then identified as Christopher Guerrero and searched due to his probation terms. The Deputy contacted him inside the gas station and found he had over a dozen debit cards and a couple Driver Licenses belonging to various people. In the car were some forged checks, Xanax pills, Fentanyl, almost 5 grams of heroin and a gram of meth. There were also hundreds of baseball cards and two comic books, suspected to be stolen property.  He’s charged with multiple crimes including violating his probation, felony possession of forged checks, access cards, meth and heroin and held on $50,000.00 bail.

The drought’s getting real. In Sonoma County, the Board of Supervisors is expected to formally support taking 20% less water from the Russian River for the rest of the year. It means those relying on Sonoma Water agency will have to use less water than they did a year ago. The Press Democrat reports it’s also for those in Healdsburg and Camp Meeker. The board expected to take action today ahead of requesting authorization from the state Water Resources Control Board to reduce river flows under the amount needed to support fish habitat, already in trouble. But it means that more water would stay behind the dams at Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino.

The Governor is looking to distribute more stimulus checks to the masses… but not everyone. Newsom’s looking to hand out payments to millions of poor and middle-class Californians in the form of tax rebates of up to $1,100. The money would come from part of the $75 billion budget surplus. Those who earn $30,000 to $75,000 a year would get $600, households at $75,000 with at least one child, including immigrants in the country illegally who file taxes, would get $500. The money mostly comes from wealthier Californians who fared better during the pandemic. Last year state officials said they were expecting a $50 billion dollar deficit.

A bunch of roadwork coming to the city of Clearlake. The city council has unanimously approved a contract for more than $335,000 for its 2021 Chip Seal Project and Pavement on about 5.6 miles. About 40 miles of 100 in the city remain unpaved due to limited money and maintenance. The city’s mostly been grading unpaved roads, filling potholes and sealing cracks. But voters passed an initiative a few years back to start managing pavement better in the city. Last year the city tested a mile of unpaved road with grading and rolling in preparation for chip sealing. They say it looks to have worked so they’re now doing a much larger piece of road. The low bidder got the work which will be paid for with Measure V money. The contract was approved by all council members last Thursday.

Congressman Mike Thompson will be the guest at the Middletown Area Town Hall this week. The meeting is Thursday and is open to the public, but taking place on Zoom. The Congressman is set to be in the meeting at 7:10 p.m. for his presentation and will take questions.  They will also hear an update from County Supervisor Moke Simon at 8:30 p.m. Then later they’ll discuss getting back to in person meetings.

Community members are asked to email questions for Thompson to MATH at MATHtownhall@gmail.com.

To join the Zoom meeting click onthis link; the meeting ID is 935 1671 5770. Call in at 888-788-0099.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors, like so many counterparts across the state, are considering ratifying a drought emergency issued by the Sheriff. The board will take up the drought emergency declaration after Sheriff Brian Martin issued the emergency proclamation due to critically dry conditions and low rainfall. The board will first hear from the director of Public Works, Water Resources and Community Development, on conditions on Clear Lake. Later this morning they will consider the emergency declaration. They will also consider an agreement for redistricting and consulting services which has to be done each ten year cycle after the census to redraw supervisorial districts. The board is also meeting behind closed doors on the ongoing search for a new public health officer. Dr. Gary Pace left the job last month.

At a special meeting for the Willits Unified School District (WUSD) School Board they agreed to hire a Special Education Program Specialist. The Superintendent Mark Westerburg told the board they had to hire someone to aid teachers with special education kids in their classroom using money that came to the district due to the pandemic. Westerburg says it will help get students back on track and in school in person. The board has also approved a reorganization of its preschool program so a staffer who manages it will get a reasonable wage as a Classified Management Preschool Director. The superintendent says it will have zero financial impact on the district. The next meeting of the board is tomorrow.

The Fort Bragg City Council is one of the last remaining still holding meetings on Zoom. The Advocate News reports just Fort Bragg and Laguna Beach are trying to conduct hybrid meetings. The newspaper reports the meeting last night was a tad chaotic because there were a bunch of audio-visual problems online and in person. In any case the city council heard from the city manager about the drought and looking at steps to take this summer. They also agreed to continue the official state of emergency due to COVID-19. They also spent some time on the new Cannabis ordinance approved by the board of supervisors to streamline certain processes and applications and get stricter on how business permits are doled out, or not, depending on an applicants criminal background. The amended ordinance was a necessity by state law.

Cal Fire has suspended burn permits in Mendocino County. Residential and yard burning outdoor permits are suspended for the season starting Monday. The reason, dead grass, increasing hot weather and dry conditions. It’s the second dry year and Cal Fire warns it could be another devastating fire season. And the agency says while wildfires are a natural part of the landscape, each year the fire weather starts sooner and ends later. They say climate change is a key driver of the trend. The director of Cal Fire says last year was the most destructive fire season in modern history so the public has to continue to adapt and evolve to be able to withstand the intensity of the fires. Cal Fire is asking all property owners to take the time and put 100 feet of defensible space around their property.

The state of California may be able to stop social distancing in the workplace by mid-summer. The news comes from Cal-OSHA as more and more people get vaccinated and as COVID case numbers are way down from last summer.  It would mean workplace regulations that started in November could end in August. It also would include fully vaccinated workers not having to wear a mask outdoors and do not have any COVID symptoms. If all people in one workspace or room are vaccinated, they could also forego masks indoors. Workers could be closer together with N95 masks or if fully vaccinated except for those requiring a “reasonable accommodation or exception to vaccination” under federal or state law.

The Sheriff in Lake County who also acts as the Director of Emergency Services has declared a drought emergency. Last week Sheriff Brian Martin sent out his State of Emergency declaration after 2 years of extremely dry conditions due to historically low rainfall. The declaration states there is a local emergency in which Lake County is affected by, or likely will be affected by a public calamity caused by extreme drought conditions since March 5th of 2021. The declaration goes on to say the conditions are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of Lake County, and the Board of Supervisors was not in session at the time of the Sheriff’s proclamation. The emergency stays in place until the Board terminates it.

State officials say pediatricians can go around the state’s My Turn vaccine management system to get kids vaccinated. CalMatters reports the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize vaccines for kids 12 to 15 early this week. A spokesperson for the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force told CalMatters pediatricians and other doctors treating kids don’t have to use MyTurn to get their patients’ vaccines, but they’re also not sure how doctors will get doses. Blue Shield has been managing the process, but the site’s been super glitchy and has added up to under 30% of all vaccinations given in the state each day. Blue Shield was trying to get mass-vaccination sites and large health providers vaccinating Californians before smaller clinics got doses.

A man from Laytonville has been arrested after being tracked down for having a felony warrant and for his arrest. Deputies say Antonio Rodriguez was detained by Tribal Police for the warrant Friday. The warrant for failing to appear in court, failure to stop after a car crash, felony vandalism and stealing a car. He was booked into Mendocino County Jail on $15,000.00 bail

A man in Willits busted on various charges involving a woman who had a restraining order against him. Sheriff’s Deputies got a call early Saturday morning and found a 51 year old woman who said she lived with Kyle Cohn and he assaulted her. She was in a car with him when he became agitated and started yelling at her, grabbed her by the face and throat and choked her. She got out of the car and called deputies who say she had visible injuries on her face. Cohn was arrested later that night for domestic violence battery, violating a restraining order and having drug paraphernalia. He was being held on $25,000.00 bail.

A couple in Ukiah have been arrested, he for having warrants for his arrest, she for harboring a felon.  Deputies got a call that Ishmael Nash, who was wanted for felony and misdemeanor warrants, was hiding in an apartment. When they got there they found Alissa Crosswebb who is the mother to Nash’s child. She told deputies they couldn’t come in and Nash wasn’t there. They found her later driving and saw Nash in the backseat and pulled her over. She first denied he was in the car, then admitted it, but he got out and ran. She was arrested for harboring a known wanted felon. And Nash for felon in possession of a firearm and misdemeanor warrant for a probation violation. They also added resisting or obstructing an officer. Crosswebb was allowed to leave due to the pandemic, she has to report back. Nash was held in jail on $27,500.00 bail.

A man in Ukiah has been arrested for having a warrant. Deputies say they got a report Patrick Davi of Guerneville was causing a disturbance and there was a warrant. They found him in front of a business and nabbed him for the warrant out of Siskiyou County, with $100,000.00 set bail. He was brought to Mendocino County Jail and sent to be extradited to Siskiyou County.

3 people in Ukiah have been arrested after a disturbance at a motel parking lot.  A woman on probation was found with personal items in two cars. She was searched and police found Samuel Graham in one of the vehicles, he was detained after it was found he was involved in the disturbance that brought them there. Another man, Anthony Romero was found with the female, Romona Supnet. She was detained and Romero gave a fake name, so he was detained. He was also found with a phony California Identification Card. Deputies found a loaded Glock .380 caliber handgun in one car, and a 9mm in another.  The trio were taken to jail on various charges including, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, concealed firearm in a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm, convicted felon in possession of ammunition and for felony warrants. Romero and Graham were each held on $25,000.00 bail and Supnet on $175,000.00.

A man from Lakeport has been arrested after threatening to kill his live-in girlfriend. The Sheriff’s office reports getting a call to a home, finding Morgan Jack, who’s girlfriend says he wouldn’t let her leave. They found him after hearing some metallic banging noises, recognizing it as a firearm being manipulated and then believed Jack was armed. He wouldn’t leave the house with deputies, so they left and tried again, seeing him raise a rifle and fire a shot in their direction. They called for backup and a SWAT team came out. He threatened to kill them all, but after two hours he came out. One of the negotiators and a police dog took him down. He had minor injuries. Later deputies found a pellet gun. He was taken to a hospital first to be treated, then arrested for Criminal Threats, Assault on a Peace Officer with an Instrument not a Firearm, and Obstruction. His bail is set at $50,000.

After a traffic stop in Willits, a man is arrested after being found with a weapon. Police say a loaded firearm was in Joseph Hipes car, but he’s a convicted felon on Post Release Community Supervision, and prohibited from owning or possessing any firearms. Hipes was taken to Mendocino County Jail and booked on felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a loaded firearm and not being the registered owner, being out on bail and committing an additional felony, carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle and violating the terms and conditions of PRCS. He was held on $75,000 dollars bail. 

The Ukiah Schools Superintendent putting out one of her last notes to district parents, this one focusing on vaccinations. Each Friday the note goes out, this one, mostly all about the pandemic and how this past year has been so difficult. There are only about 2.5 weeks left in the school year. Summer school is happening and plans for next fall are still being finalized. There are safety measures in place to help open classrooms to in-person learning and keep them open. The superintendent touting getting students vaccinated as quickly as possible when it is authorized, which could come for kids 12-15 this week. There is already a vaccination clinic set up for Ukiah Unified students 12–15 in partnership with the City of Ukiah and Mendocino County Public Health. A note will be going out as soon as the FDA authorization goes through. 

CHP and deputies seen towing a silver car that witnesses say looked like a car that was being searched for connected to a fatal hit and run last week. Mendo Fever reports the Sheriff’s office says officers were in the Brooktrails area as part of their investigation into the hit and run. A witness tells the news site they happened to be in the area when the silver sedan was loaded onto a tow truck. Paul Brown of Fort Bragg was hit by a car on Sherwood Rd. in Willits. The car crossed the double yellow line while he walked along the shoulder. Somebody else who saw the car on the tow truck reported to the news site it had front end damage. The news site reports calling the CHP Garberville office but they had not received any new information.

In Sonoma County, they’re looking for citizens to ration their water usage. Drought conditions across the state could mean restrictions on taking water from the Russian River. Cloverdale and Healdsburg have begun mandatory restrictions of at least 20% lower usage as compared to last year. Sonoma County officials say though that they’re leaning toward voluntary conservation measures. Releases are still coming from Lake Sonoma because of how low Lake Mendocino is. And Healdsburg and Cloverdale rely mostly on groundwater. The largest city in Sonoma County, Santa Rosa, has already seen a reduction by residents around 15% the first three months of this year. But Sonoma Water, which relies on water from Eel River, won’t be getting it because the river is so low.

Ukiah should have enough water for its residents in this critically dry season of drought, but no word if there will be enough to share with other communities. The director of water and sewer resources in Ukiah told the City Council last week that Lake Mendocino is probably going to be the lowest in history, depending on demand. Last week the director met with representatives from the Mendocino County Farm Bureau, the Russian River Flood Control and Water Resource Conservation District, Willow County Water District and Millview County Water District.

As the population of the state declines, the latest estimates show Paradise, decimated by the Camp Fire 2 years ago, with quite a bump. Construction was up because of all the rebuilds after the fire. As of January of 2020, there were just over 4,600 people living in Paradise, as of this past January there were 6,046 people living there. That percentage was more than then the rest of the state, where there were fewer new babies born, less people immigrating in from other places or some just leaving. The population as a whole was off by nearly 182,100 people. The first decline in recorded state history.

A man from Fresno has been arrested on drug charges in Ukiah. Police report Isaac Gonzales was found traveling early yesterday morning in the 600 block of S. Orchard Ave. The car had no license plate light so the officer pulled the guy over in the parking lot of a Super 8 Motel. Gonzales told the officer he was driving with a suspended license, then another officer came for backup and they asked Gonzales to get out of the car, but say he refused and reached towards the waistband of his pants. The officers reached into the vehicle and took control of the man’s wrists. Gonzales got out of the car and tried to break free. A gun fell out of his waistband. Two more cops showed up and the man was taken into custody. They found meth and cash. Also a records check showed he was a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm. He was arrested for possessing a controlled substance for sale, transporting a controlled substance for sale, possessing a firearm by a prohibited person, resisting arrest and being armed in commission of a felony.

A new Starbucks is coming to Clearlake. The city reports the company broke ground on their first drive thru in Lake County. It’ll be near Carl’s Jr. and Walmart. There’s already one inside a grocery store in Lakeport, but this stand-alone store will open around Labor Day. A developer from Monterey is building the coffee shop, and says interest in Clearlake has been strong. And city officials say there’s been interest from local and national retailers in the city too. There’s another developer apparently interested in buying a piece of the old Pearce Field airport property and another piece of land for hotels.

The city of Lakeport and Lakeport Disposal Inc. had their Spring 2021 Community Cleanup Day on April 24. They reported collecting 21,000 pounds of household trash and junk and another 478 pounds of appliances and nearly 300 more of electronics. The report to the city council from the city manager also included the police dept.’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which happened the same day as the cleanup, on April 24th. There were 72 pounds of pills collected at the police station at their drive-thru event. Volunteers from SafeRX Lake County helped at the event and distributed Narcan kits.

It’s happening, Windsor town officials have formally requested that grand jury investigation into the town’s Mayor, Dominic Foppoli, after seven women accused him of some kind of sexual impropriety. The allegations first surfaced in a report from the San Francisco Chronicle. It said over the years 2003 to 2020, Foppoli engaged in sexual harassment at his family’s winery or while serving on the Town Council, and there was even rape allegations. Legal experts say it’s going to be a challenge to oust the mayor this way. There’s also a recall effort which may take a while. And the mayor denies it all and is not resigning. He says the recall effort is being done by “a small group of obstructive individuals” and that those behind it were committed to “destroying a local leader.”

Some survivors of the 2017 and 2018 wildfires in Northern Calif. are speaking out after a reports say Pacific Gas & Electric’s $13.5 billion settlement trust is spending a ton on overhead, and not on victims. The Press Democrat reports the Fire Victim Trust, which is supposed to distribute funds to survivors, spent $51 million, or almost 90% of its spending on overhead last year. Only $7 million went to victims last year. The newspaper reports a survivor, who’s also a lawyer says the claim’s administrator sent him a statement last week that said over 9,000 claimants got $195 million in payments as of April 30th. Apparently most of the claims went out after March of this year, so the $7 million that went out last year was just part of it.

The first government to government meeting between the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Cal Fire included talks on Indigenous cultural resources and sites in Jackson Demonstration State Forest and how Cal Fire manages Jackson. Mendo Voice reports the Coyote Valley Band of Pomos asked for the government-to-government talk because they want a one year logging moratorium. And the news site reports Cal Fire has never done this sort of government to government consultation with a native tribe regarding Jackson, a 76 square mile working forest between Willits and Fort Bragg. 

Cannacraft has to pay hundreds of thousands in restitution and investigative costs to Sonoma County for misleading claims. The cannabis company in Santa Rosa reported one of its products, cannabidiol, usually referred to as CBD, could be therapeutic for many conditions, including chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, diabetes, PTSD, sleep disorders, alcoholism, and more. The DA’s office worked within the state’s Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force, which is tasked with protecting the public from false and misleading advertising in the sale of food, drugs and medical devices, including cannabis and CBD products. So Cannacraft is paying out $300,000 in the case.

Proposition 19 has reportedly caused an influx of property transfers throughout the North Bay. The law lets homeowners who are over the age of 55 hold a better tax rate if they sell a house and buy another. It also does not allow parents to transfer the property to their kids if the children live there. So that led to a massive transfer of property across the state before the law took effect started April 1st. The deadline for that was February 15th. Homeowners in Sonoma County reportedly filed 917 transfers before the February deadline. There are usually under 200 each year.  

Tourism may continue to take a hit in Napa as the downtown area will stay the way it is until at least until February of next year. There are tables along one block of Main Street which were set up during the worst of the pandemic. The restaurants have temporary permits so they can offer outdoor service. The permits go through Feb. 28th after the city decided on the emergency program last August. The city and businesses are supporting the promenade style Main St. closure which seemed to work just fine through winter when there was another dining shutdown due to surging COVID19 cases.

An evacuation ordered at an apartment complex in Ukiah after a chemical odor was detected. Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reports getting a call to the apartments in the 1050 block of N. Bush street Wednesday night after reports of people smelling something and workers in the attic reported feeling weird but were okay when they were outdoors. Fire and police reported to the apartment complex where about 30 seniors live. Fire officials sourced the smell to someone cleaning jewelry with a blow torch and a chemical solvent.

After city staff recommended a new device for the purple pipe project to keep algae at bay. The Ukiah City Council approved buying a sonic buoy system which controls algae with sonic vibrations so its safer for aquatic life. They also send back real-time water quality data. The city will purchase one buoy per recycled water pond to break down the algae, at a cost of nearly $176,000. The staff report to the city council said the algae would not break down unless they used chemicals, but only so much was safe. And after researching what to do, came upon the technology which was being used elsewhere in the state.

A reopening in steps, finally, at the Ukiah Senior Center. The center also gathered for a special awards ceremony after a year of the COVID19 pandemic. The center closed down for activities and programs, but now they are reopening in phases. The executive director says socializing is a key part of our lives, and it’s been very hard on seniors who are eager to get back to the center for in person classes and sit down meals. They’re hosting senior aerobics, line dancing and bingo for now. They will add other activities and meals through the summer and have a Mother’s Day Dinner Fundraiser this Sunday, it’s drive-thru. The Thrift Store never closed and the store manager says they actually did quite well during a challenging time.

Woodland Community College could be free as the college could pick up tuition and other expenses for some students. College officials at the latest Clearlake City Council meeting presenting their Promise Program. It could mean free everything for students, including health services and parking. They also offer a $1,000 scholarship for the student’s second year at the school. The Clearlake City Manager says they’ll work with the mayor on the idea, the Mayor Dick Slooten supports the idea and says he thinks it will increase attendance for full time enrollment and it will also be a “great boost for the city of Clearlake.”

Senator Bill Dodd has a new bill to get wireless broadband infrastructure in place for communities without it to bring the state into alignment with existing federal and state laws. Dodd says his legislation would increase 5G wireless access and improve home and small business access with fixed wireless broadband solutions, calling it critical as Californians increasingly rely on wireless services for distance learning, telehealth and remote working. Both state and federal law call for local governments to provide reasonable, non-discriminatory and cost-based access to street light poles and traffic signal poles in the right of way. It also makes clear how cost is determined to decide attachment rates.

Reports of shots fired got Ukiah Police out on the westside. The report Sunday around midnight, according to Mendo Fever. But police say they couldn’t find any evidence of gunshots that night, but got reports from Low Gap Road to North Oak Street and “as far south as Pomolita School.” The news site reports police were out in the area looking for casings or damage, to no avail, and nobody who reported hearing the shots, saw anything.

After doing their entanglement assessment of marine life, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife decided commercial crabbing could go on, but with some restrictions. The assessment to find if Humpback whales had started to come back to Northern Calif. from winter breeding. They’ve been sighted offshore in Central Calif, but mostly out of fishing grounds. So the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife said there can be crab fishing at only 30 fathoms, or about 180 feet depth in Fishing Zones 1 and 2 (Oregon state line to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line). The agency says that will help minimize entanglement risk in those Fishing Zones.

After hundreds of crashes on the 101 in both Mendocino and Humboldt counties, the CHP’s Golden Gate Division are trying to change that. There were 1,740 crashes between 2018 and 2019 including over 600 injuries and the deaths of 36 people. The patrol says the main reasons were speed, reckless driving, unsafe lane changes, unsafe turning movements, following too close, distracted driving, and driving under the influence. More injuries and deaths happened they say, due to seat belt violations. So the CHP is promoting awareness and safe driving in the two counties with beefed up patrols. A statement says they will focus on public education which they feel will help contribute to improved safety for motorists on the highway.

After a traffic stop in Ukiah, a deputy arrested a man from Florida for having a ghost gun and on drugs and drinking while driving charges. The driver was identified as Anthony Fortner of Boca Raton. When the deputy approached, he says the driver got out, walked to the passenger side and seemed nervous and like he didn’t want the deputy to come near the driver side. But when the passenger opened that door, the deputy spotted a bunch of opened containers and admitted to drinking in the car. There was also some processed marijuana and a handgun without a serial number, known as a “Ghost Gun”. So Fortner was arrested for having a loaded unregistered firearm and released due to pandemic jail restrictions. The passenger was also released.

The Gov. gets some help from the courts, getting his emergency powers reinstated. A lower court ruled Gov. Newsom’s use of emergency powers for far-reaching pandemic policies were overstepping, but appellate judges tossed that. The 3 appeals court justices unanimously agreed the lower court judge, erred and it was not unconstitutional use of legislative power. The lower court ruling by a judge in Sutter County who said the Gov. unconstitutionally usurped the Legislature’s power. The case brought by a group of Republican lawmakers.

A man in Gualala has been arrested for beating on his girlfriend. The sheriff’s office reports arresting Stephen Ainsworth from Bartlett, NH after reports by a woman that her boyfriend got upset and slapped her across the face and tried choking her. Deputies say the woman had injuries consistent with her story so Ainsworth was arrested in a travel trailer on the same property. He was charged with domestic violence battery and held on $25,000.00 bail.

Two people from Nice busted with a bunch of guns, ammo and drugs. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports stopping a car in Redwood Valley, finding a man with an 18 year old woman, Brandon Maxfield and Avril Wright. They found Maxfield was on probation so searched the car, but before that they were told there was a firearm and percocet pills. A Glock pistol was also found, it had been stolen prior to the stop. The two were arrested on multiple charges including having meth and paraphernalia, possessing drugs while armed, having a stolen gun, and violating probation. Maxfield was held on $25,000 bail and Wright on $15,000.

Fort Bragg police report getting a call to someone experiencing mental distress. They say they’ve been working with Redwood Quality Management Company on calls for service, this one was last Friday. Officers say the person seemed confused and unstable so they contacted Redwood for help and within 15 minutes a crisis worker was sent to help police. The person was placed on a mental health hold and the officers helped get them to a Hospital E.R. The police department says this call was an indication of how they are allocating resources to improve the safety of the community and that the goal of the Fort Bragg Police Department is to continue their partnership with Redwood to provide resources, care, and treatment to service calls to individuals living with mental illnesses.

It’s “CalFresh Awareness Month.” The program also known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, helps the needy with monthly food and provides economic benefits to the community. As you may know those using CalFresh get a card, like a debit card, to use at a grocery store or farmer’s market. They report after the pandemic an expanded need for their food benefits. In Lake County, they’ve helped over 12,700 individuals at a cost of $2.7 million/month. You can apply now if you’re in a very low income household. You might be able to access benefits within 3 days.

To apply anytime visit www.getcalfresh.org, or call (707) 995-4200 Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm for information on other ways to apply.

A light airplane that crashed into Lake Mendocino has been located. The owner of the ultralight aircraft hired a man from Redwood Valley to find the plane, Kenny Purcell. Purcell says there was zero visibility underwater so a diver could not spot the plane. Purcell and another man, Mike Meyers, from Napa found the plane in a section away from where the pilot emerged from the water. A ski rope was used to tow it out of about 60 feet of water. The plane apparently had little damage, but was wheels up so it needed to be flipped over. Once they floated it to the surface with innertubes and tires, it was dragged out with a motorboat. Apparently the sheriff’s dept., nor the Army Corp of engineers didn’t have the equipment or available staff to get the airplane out of the lake.  

A state lawmaker is proposing a bill for universal basic income. Assemblyman Evan Low’s bill would pay residents of the state, $1,000 per month if they’re in a certain income bracket. It’s to level the playing field, Low says, and end poverty for millions of Californians. State Sen. Scott Weiner has co-authored the bill. He says residents of the state for three years, not currently serving time, who earn less than 200% of the median per capita income for the county they reside in can qualify. The median state income between 2015 and 2019 for a Calif. household was $75,000.

Public Health and Sonoma County officials say even if the state reopens full in mid-June doesn’t mean it’ll be like before times. The Press Democrat reports public health guidelines would probably mostly stay in place. State officials are supposed to release more details tomorrow about what we all can expect. The rules for businesses currently include the 6 feet of social distancing, barriers or staggering break times; frequent handwashing; hand sanitizer nearby; constant disinfection of common surfaces; and of course, wearing a mask.  Sonoma County could move to the yellow tier next week even still as half of the county’s residents 16 and over are fully vaccinated against COVID19.  This all comes after the Gov. announced last month he would forego the colored-tiered reopening of the state mid-June for a full reopening, depending on equitable vaccine availability, and low hospitalization rates.

A group of North Coast lawmakers among more than 3 dozen who have sponsored a bill that just passed and became law with the governor’s signature. The Personal Income Tax Law and the Corporation Tax Law folded anything that was your income into “gross income”, no matter where it came from until now. So here, we’re considering the federal stimulus money into this package. This law will now conform with federal law, the Consolidated Appropriations Act. So that businesses that got money from any of the stimulus packages from the federal government cannot be taxed as gross income. The bill passed the Assembly and Senate unanimously and Gov. Newsom signed it into law last week.  Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Assemblyman Jim Wood and Senators Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd among the group of lawmakers who sponsored the bill.

A homeless man from Oklahoma has been arrested for a burglary at a home in Fort Bragg. An elderly woman called in a burglary in progress at her home and that her husband was holding the intruder at gunpoint. Deputies reported to the home and identified the intruder as Michael James Robinson. They say he entered the home through the couple’s bedroom door while they were sleeping. The man took off all his clothes, then put on some of the man of the house’s clothing. They say he also took wine and food out of the kitchen but was caught by the homeowners. He’s charged with first degree burglary and held in the Mendocino County Jail on $50,000.00 bail. 

A dad and his two kids out in the surf in Fort Bragg had to be rescued after being swept further out to sea by a wave at Pudding Creek Beach.  Police say witnesses saw the family stuck and swam out to them on surfboards and brought them back to shore. Mendo Fever reports a resident said she saw police, deputies and a couple of ambulances at the beach.

A quarantine has been called on mussels being harvested by recreational sport harvesters from the ocean shore of California. The quarantine area is from the Oregon border south to the Mexican border, including all bays, inlets, and harbors. The state says it’s to protect the public health because this early in the season the mussels may contain naturally occurring toxins which can be highly poisonous to humans. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters or dealers are frequently tested. It can be used or sold as bait under certain conditions and marked that it’s unfit for human consumption. And only white meat from clams and scallops should be used for human consumption. All of this effective from May 1 through October 31, 2021.

A woman in Redwood Valley accused of violating her probation has been arrested, but not booked into jail. The sheriff’s dept. reports contacting Shayla Guerrero, and a passenger and checked the driver’s records finding her to be on active formal probation. While chatting with her they found she had drug paraphernalia in the car.  So they searched the car and found three pipes commonly used to smoke meth. She’s additionally charged with felony violation of probation and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Due to the pandemic Guerrero was allowed to leave with a promise to return to court at a later date.

Willits City Council working on the next budget unanimously approved a set of goals. The Willits News reports the council had several workshops with a consultant where each council member said what they’d like to achieve. There was also public comment on the list which ended up as about a dozen high ranking goals. They include updating the City’s General Plan for future development within 3-5 years, come up with a long-range Fiscal Sustainability Plan, maintain a Public Safety Agency to keep the community safe, maintain and improve infrastructure, come up with a plan for new housing construction, economic development for a strong business sector, one day becoming an Environmental Model City and a new City Street Improvement Program.

Some politicians and public health experts in Calif. say the plan to beat the pandemic needs to be more transparent. A new report shows as COVID19 cases surged this past year it overwhelmed the public health system which was challenged by collecting basic information on patients’ ethnicities, occupations and exposure to others, so the true impact from the virus is still unknown. Lawmakers, epidemiologists and academics are equally critical of the state’s response after 60,000 deaths and over 3.6 million infections and agree it should be further reviewed.

The new US Sen. for California, Alex Padilla is proposing a sweeping bill to expand protection of public lands and rivers. Padilla says his package of three bills, which already passed the House, will help fight climate change and guard natural treasures from harm. The proposal will designate almost 600,000 acres of new wilderness, nearly 600 miles of new wild and scenic rivers and add to an existing national monument by more than 100,000 acres. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is co-sponsoring the bill. Padilla was appointed by the Gov. to fill the seat once held by now Vice President Kamala Harris.

Health officials say anxiety, not something in a vaccine is causing reactions in some people in California and four other states after receiving their coronavirus vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is noting the phenomenon, which is not new and has been on the books for decades following several other vaccines, people panic when they’re about to get an injection of any sort, and that anxiety can cascade into a physical reaction. The authors of the CDC report from clinics in California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina came from interviews with, and reports by, clinic staff showing some people fainted, got dizzy, nauseous or vomited. Some also had racing hearts, chest pain or other symptoms, but none of them became seriously ill. All got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Governor is trying to get hard to reach rural residents vaccinated. He’s also trying to figure out what to do about vaccine hesitancy in hard hit communities. So there’s a new campaign of community outreach with appointment help, neighborhood canvassing, phone banking and text banking; at-home vaccinations and transportation services. The effort being funded with $33 million more for a total the state has spent on the effort in the $86 million dollar range. Around 60 percent of eligible residents had at least one dose of a vaccine by April 15th.

You might be able to get a gift card if you get a COVID19 vaccine. The Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren told the Board of Supervisors yesterday the county may start to offer incentives to get more people vaccinated to reach the last holdouts. Dr. Coren says there’s more urgency right now due to the variant strains that have turned up in the county. He told the board about the case of a county resident infected with the B117 variant from the U-K. He says it was in one family and there was no community spread. There are also more than 2 dozen cases of a Calif. strain that were confirmed between January and March. He says that one is less transmissible than the UK variant (which is 50 percent more transmissible), but still 20 percent more than the original one.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors looking to hire a new Community Development director by splitting the way a couple of budget categories are classified. Lake Co News reports on the unanimous decision on a resolution for the planning budget unit to include the Community Development director classification. Last year, the board combined the Community Development Department with Public Works and Water Resources. At the same time the board appointed Scott De Leon to be the director of Community Development. He was already overseeing Public Works and Water Resources, but now the Community Development director budget classification has been eliminated from the planning budget unit. So, the Community Development Director will only oversee his one department.

A new set of streetlights have been put in on State Street in Ukiah. The new lights on State Street from Henry to Perkins are part of the Downtown Streetscape Project. They’re still installing sidewalks and gutters and the new lights are not connected quite yet. The project includes some street closures over the next weeks as there’s excavating and other major construction continuing. Look for closures in the 100 block of West Church Street in the next couple of weeks, new sidewalks just before Memorial Day and for a few weeks beyond. There will also be newer traffic signals on sensors instead of timers.

The Ukiah City Council has to decide what to do about accumulating algae in the new purple pipe project. Staff is recommending an expenditure of over $175,000 on a so-called “buoy-array” system which they say has been successful in similar systems in southern calif. where recycled water is stored. High nutrient content and the local climate can impact the water quality, forming algae which can clog filters or irrigation equipment. And the system is currently being treated with chemicals and not been effective. The buoy system would use sonar which would not hurt aquatic organisms including birds and water fowl.