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Monthly Archives: May 2021

The state’s trying to incentivize folks to get the COVID19 vaccine by doling out cold, hard cash. The Governor announced yesterday there will be prizes from a total pot of $116.5 million. $1.5 million each will be given to 10 Californians, the largest single of any state. The gov. says there will also be gift cards of $50 for personal use or grocery store cards to 2 million people who get vaccinated. When the state fully reopens June 15th, there will be a drawing to award the 1.5 million dollar prizes. 30 other people with get $50,000 each. The smaller win drawings start June 4th.  The prizes are for anyone 12 and older who gets at least one vaccine shot. An immunization database will automatically enter people into the drawings. The Governor looking to have all the wins distributed by June 15th.

Several people coming together at the Arbor Youth Resource Center after a mural featuring a missing and possibly endangered indigenous woman was completed. Khadijah Britton of Covelo is believed dead and has been missing for 3 years. Her family believes her ex-boyfriend abducted her at gunpoint and her case has turned cold. At the mural unveiling yesterday, a celebration, with several speakers, dancing and prayer. Shane Grammar painted the mural with the support of the Drug-Free Communities Coalition Director and Project Coordinator. There were also several volunteers. The mural shows Britton, a symbol for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s movement and a large red handprint, which is a compilation of hundreds of individual handprints by those at the celebration.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office says there’s been a spike in COVID-19 cases. And the health officer says the spike could mean the county moves back to the more restrictive Orange Tier ahead of the state totally reopening next month. They’re encouraging everyone to get the vaccine, get tested if you suspect you may be infected and isolate. They’re also recommending the continued use of masks in most circumstances for those vaccinated and not. Dr. Coren says there could be more cases after this holiday weekend from gatherings and then later, graduation celebrations. He says to hold gatherings outdoors, limit indoor gatherings, wear masks in crowded spaces and the rest of the protocols we’ve gotten used to this past year.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, testing, masking, and gatherings contact the Mendocino County Public Health COVID-19 call center at 707-472-2759 or visit our website at:

The CHP along with police and firefighters at an incident after someone reportedly doused some bales of hay with gasoline and ignited them. Mendo Fever reports scanner traffic says the suspect, who was arrested, tossed the flaming hay bales onto Old River Road, south of the Mendocino County Office of Education. There were several firefighters on the scene. The scanner info also said the suspect may have mentally unstable or a danger to himself or others.

A burglary in progress call has ended in the arrest of two people in Little River. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call Tuesday morning finding a man and woman had left a home in a dark colored Volvo sedan. They were seen on the shoulder of Highway 1, but the car was empty. Deputies and a CHP officers surrounded the area and found Richard Olstad and Monique Valador. The pair were positively id’d by witnesses to the burglary and arrested. It was found also that Olstad was on parole with a felony arrest warrant and a misdemeanor for domestic violence. Olstad was charged with First Degree Burglary, Parole Violation, Commit Felony while on Pre-Trial Release for Pending Felony and held on $120,000 bail. Valador for First Degree Burglary, also Felony Probation Violation and Commit Felony while on Pre-Trial Release for Pending Felony and held on $75,000.00 bail.

A man accused of robbing a Burger King in Willits last year is going to prison. The Mendocino County DA reports getting a call from a retired Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy in the drive-through. He had seen two men in the parking lot taking a giant bag of marijuana from a young man and young woman by force. They tried to run towards Laytonville but then were seen by an off-duty Lake County DA investigator who followed their rental car as other law enforcement responded. One of them was arrested and charged with robbery in the second degree, he’s 25 year old Christian Izac Flores of Long Island, New York, who was convicted by plea of robbery in February. He was in court this week for sentencing and got 180 days due to credit for time served.

A man from Ukiah’s been arrested after reports of an argument between a couple in Redwood Valley. When deputies got there they say the man had left the area. He’s identified as Joshua Colcleaser, but deputies say they found there was only an argument and no crime. But it was found the guy was on probation out of Lake County which includes a search clause. Deputies found pepper spray on him, which he’s not allowed to have. So Colcleaser was arrested for being a felon in possession of tear gas and for a probation violation. But due to the COVID protocols he was freed with a promise to return for his court date.

After an argument in a parking lot in Ukiah, a woman was arrested for manslaughter. The Sheriff’s office reports a patrol deputy observed the argument and arrested 41 year old Jade Anderson of Sacramento after she gave a fake name of Jane Smith. She was identified soon after the deputy started to try to find out if she knew the man she was arguing with. The woman gave two other fake names and finally admitted she had a warrant out of Sacramento for domestic violence. They found she had a felony warrant for manslaughter so she was arrested and held without bail.

Before the DA could charge for a crime, an arrest warrant was issued in Laytonville for vandalism. Widely called a Ramey Arrest. It happened at Geigers Market, Pour Girls Coffee, Frontier Communications and the Laytonville Unified School District. Deputies say they got a call to a string of vandalism incidents at the businesses and identified the possible perpetrator as Antonio Rodriguez and a search warrant was obtained for Rodriguez’s home. He was not home but deputies connected him to the vandalism. He was found later, arrested and booked into jail on $15,000.00 bail.

The former mayor of Windsor in more trouble, this time for possibly using campaign cash to pay a former girlfriend and an employee at his family’s winery in Healdsburg. An anonymous complaint filed last month about expenditures by Dominic Foppoli for spending campaign money on alcohol and airfare. The complaint is being investigated by the Fair Political Practices Commission before a formal investigation is opened. The former mayor resigned just this past Monday after nine women accused him of various crimes including rape, sexual abuse and misconduct from this past spring and dating back to 2003.

More unemployment claims again. The state’s claims up a second week in a row, but nationwide filings are sharply down. Nearly 72,000 new initial claims have been filed for the week ending May 22nd. That’s up 1,500 from the week before. And 60% more than before times, January and February of 2020, the last months before the state was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fire reported at Solid Waste of Willits. The transfer station had to temporarily close Wednesday after a fire in a dump trailer which ignited surrounding trash. Apparently a foul odor could be detected throughout the city of Willits.  Mendo Fever reports the Little Lake Fire Protection District and Brooktrails Fire Department were on the scene, quickly dousing the fire. Police reported to the scene too. The site manager says at one point flames towered above at about 8 feet high. He says it seems a customer may have dumped hot coals into the dump trailer and they found a burnt mattress near the fire.

Since the drought is getting worse, it means the state’s burning already. Wildfires have reportedly already charred 14,000 acres in California. That’s over five times the acreage burned by the same time last year. There have been 2,340 fires this year, almost 1,300 fires and nearly 12,000 acres over the same period in 2020.  Cal Fire reports most of the fires were contained to manageable sizes, but we’re not really in the official fire season. Last year was historic with 4% of the state burning over 4 million acres. It also featured four of the biggest wildfires ever in the state. 33 people also died last year and more than 10,000 structures were destroyed. Cal Fire has hired nearly 1,400 more firefighters for the 2021 season.

900 landowners in Mendocino and Sonoma counties are being told they have to immediately stop taking water from the upper Russian River due to the drought. State regulators sending notice the river’s not flowing enough to allow for any diversions for irrigation and household use which will be impacting grape growers, farmers and rural residents. The Governor stood in a parched Lake Mendocino as he declared a drought emergency for the two counties. That was followed soon after by most of the state. The Lake is supposed to help keep the water flowing in dry months, but it’s only at around 41% of capacity compared to what it normally is this time of year. The water board’s Division of Water Rights deputy director says if diversions are not reduced right now, Lake Mendocino could actually be empty by the end of the year.

Not what you think it was… the fire people saw and called in, in Geyserville was a controlled burn, thankfully. Firefighters intentionally started the fire off River Road and folks were calling in as they spotted it from the 101.

The California Legislature has advanced 3 criminal justice reform bills. One of them could take the badges away from crooked, or otherwise tainted police officers. The bill failed last year as it was presented at the time of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It was believed at the time the bill needed revisions in the Assembly due to vague language.  If it passes, it would make Calif. the 47th state to have such a law. Other bills advanced that reduced cash bail down to $0 for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies, and limits criminal enhancements which add several years to offenders’ sentences.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has to pay property taxes, like many in the state, AND franchise fees, for an expenditure of more than $406 million. The money going to 50 counties, 246 cities and one district where the utility owns and operates gas and electric infrastructure. The company paid out nearly $270 million dollars last month for property taxes covering the first half of the year. The franchise fees are so they can use public streets for its facilities. Lake County is getting just over $960,000 for their taxes and Mendocino County is getting nearly $2 million.

The Lakeport City Council’s held their special meeting on an appeal of a dog abatement request, basically saving two vicious dogs. The owner was appealing after several complaints that her dogs killed other animals over 15-months. Maria Anderson owns Bane and Bandit which the Sheriff and the Lake County Animal Care and Control had declared vicious. That label meant she had to follow 10 requirements. When the order was issued the dogs were blamed for another attack on ducks after a rabbit was killed and chickens were attacked on the same property. Neighbors and animal control testified before the council. Many said the dogs attacked their pets, while the owner was sorry and wanted to get the dogs trained. The dogs are currently impounded, so the owner has to follow all orders before she gets the dogs back.

A new survey says when Californians have their choice, Gov. Gavin Newsom will not be recalled. The poll done by the non-partisan nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California. Recall organizers say he’ll lose as some democratic leaders say the recall should be moved up, sooner than the fall.  And the California Department of Finance reportedly sent out a letter to all counties to see if the recall election can be fast-tracked so counties can get their money back from this year’s state budget. The agency is required by law to do a cost analysis for the recall. Recall organizers say Newsom is underestimating his chances. But the new poll showed 57% of voters would keep the governor if the recall election was held this month.

It’s going to cost Pacific Gas & Electric another $150 million dollars or so on top of the settlement they’ve already put up after causing several Northern California wildfires in 2017 & 18. The money now for bungling their intentional blackouts to prevent their crumbling infrastructure from causing more fires. The fines announced yesterday by California power regulators, $106 million for mishandling the power outages in 2019, and the rest are settlements the company agreed to with governmental agencies in Sonoma, Tehama and Shasta counties, which were consumed by fires that were triggered by the utility’s equipment during 2019 and last year.

Water districts across the state are imposing mandatory restrictions on usage. The Mendocino Voice reports Redwood Valley was the first water district in Mendocino County to mandate water use restrictions. The news site reports the manager of the Redwood Valley Water District cut agriculture connections last month. Now customers can only have 55 gallons of water/day per person. The district says without a lot of rain next year, there could be real trouble as they don’t have secure water rights or sources, just one tiny, unreliable water right.

The State Water Resources Control Board has announced its restricting water diversions from the Upper Russian River Basin to protect fish habitat and drinking water supplies. The restrictions will impact so-called “junior” water rights holders that go all the way back to 1914 and beyond. It comes after the governor declared a drought emergency for Sonoma and Mendocino counties. The restrictions were just announced yesterday and could stay in effect until it starts to rain again and water flows are restored. Anyone caught violating mandates could face daily fines of up to $1,000.

The majority of the state’s district attorneys are suing to stop emergency rules to expand good conduct credits which could mean early release of tens of thousands of prisoners. 75% of the state’s DA’s filed the suit, objecting, they say, on procedural grounds that the Corrections Secretary used the emergency declaration to bypass the usual regulatory and public comment process. It could affect as many as 76,000 inmates, most inside for violent offenses. It could however take months or years until inmates gather enough good behavior credits to see any major change in their sentences.

The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance has sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors regarding the recently revised cannabis cultivation ordinance. They basically agree with the Planning Commission’s recommendations and say the discretionary land-use based permit program is necessary for “a sustainable, regulated cannabis economic sector” in the county. The letter says existing operators should also get a chance so they should be supported by the community at large so they don’t end up going out of business. The Alliance recommends following the Planning Commission’s major use permit expansion with reasonable limits on stacking licenses.  And any possible expansion should be explored with an environmental review, but not happen during the drought emergency. They also wanted some language changed in the ordinance in accordance with the Planning Commission.

At the Board of Supervisors meeting a comment about illegal marijuana grows in Covelo. Resident Ron Edwards asked if the Sheriff was on board with a recent eradication. Also Michael Katz from the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance spoke out on the county’s facility’s ordinance, but said they support cannabis sales and don’t want to necessarily see it restricted. The organization wants cannabis sales at cannabis events like alcohol is allowed.

Katz also said they want a stand alone microbusiness permit of up to 10,000 square feet.  

The Mendocino County Public Health Office has an update on vaccinations. Nearly 60% of adults in the county have had at least one dose of a COVID19 vaccine. They reported, before now, the county was recording about 15 new Covid cases/week and no new hospitalizations and deaths being rare. But the department says over the last two weeks cases nearly tripled, and more are in the hospital, calling it a possible surge. Testing is down so they can’t quarantine or check for emerging strains. The health officer says even though the federal government and the state announced changes in mask mandates, it’s important to keep wearing a mask as they’ve proven effective against the virus. Dr. Andy Coren says the county’s in danger of another surge so it’s important for more people to get vaccinated and to continue mask wearing in public, inside or outside, when you cannot keep 6 feet of distance from others not in your household.

Willits has a new police chief. Fabian Lizarraga was in the LAPD for almost 4 decades. He was already the Chief in Fort Bragg and retired and moved back to LA. But then he was asked to come back as interim Chief in Willits. He says while getting to know the community, he has seen how supportive they’ve been. He says it peaked his interest after he identified challenges and things that can be done, so he applied for the permanent position and was hired a couple weeks ago. He says his top priority will be to get the department fully staffed as the officers in place now are worn down from working overtime after 10 hours shifts. He also gave props to the city council for their support to raise wages and hire more people.

The federal government has given the green light to more wind turbines off the Calif. coast.  The Biden administration has announced opening areas of the Pacific Ocean to offshore wind development for an expansion on renewable energy. The Governor says he supports the move so a couple of proposed windfarms about 20 miles off the coast of Morro Bay and Humboldt County can move forward. The turbines will float off the ocean and power over 1.5 million homes. The Dept. of Defense had opposed the Morro Bay Site, but they changed course saying the turbines could be built in ways that don’t interfere with the military. But the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations says the technology is unproven and it’s short sighted.

No school in Ukiah for the holiday weekend. The School District announced no class online, in person or otherwise Friday and Monday for the Memorial Day holiday. There’s their free food distribution today for any child 18 or younger from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the high school. The food today is to help celebrate the holiday, with a BBQ, so the distribution could include chicken burgers, beef burgers, hot dogs, french fries, corn, potato chips, a variety of produce, and milk. They ask to please wear a mask and practice physical distancing when receiving food.

A man the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was searching for has been identified, but is still on the run. Deputies say it was William Evers they had a shootout with in Elk after a reported burglary. He’s described as being armed and dangerous and wanted for criminal threats. His physical description, 40 year old White man, 6’ 1”, 180 pounds with brown eyes, brown hair and reddish facial hair.  They report he has a skull or skulls tattoo on his right upper arm, a “Demon face” tattoo on his upper left arm and an unknown prominent tattoo on his chest. They’ve been looking for him after the officer involved shooting May 12th where he shot at a deputy. The last time it was confirmed he was seen, was in Elk, at the time of the attempted murder of the Deputy. There were also two residential burglaries 6 days later in the area and they suspect Evers of both. They say he’s known to be comfortable in wooded areas and is suspected of using rural roads and logging roads to travel. They say if you see him, to just call 911 and not to approach him.

After a Ukiah cop noticed a car stopped blocking the driveway to a local gas station, they looked inside finding a man acting weird, and later, a dead dog. In the car was Aldar Fragoso, who the officer says was exhibiting bizarre behavior and had red stains on his clothes. Plus, they noticed congealed blood in the center console of the vehicle. The officer says Fragoso was uncooperative, and they were concerned for his safety as they noticed a pair of bloody pruning shears. Deputies, Paramedics, Firefighters, and Mental Health workers were all on the scene, but could not get the man to comply. He was also seen earlier in the day with a dog, but they couldn’t find it so they tested the blood on the shears and it was not human. They searched the car and found a dead dog in a suitcase, so the man was arrested for animal cruelty and booked into jail.

After smoke was reported to have damaged wine grapes in Sonoma County a lawsuit erupts. The North Bay Business Journal reports grape grower Hugh Reimers is being sued by a Lake County winery over smoke damage. His lawyer says one of two buyers of Reimer’s wine decided against the deal and sued saying tanks and barrels were damaged by smoke-tainted grapes and Reimers countersued saying that was bogus and another company was still buying his wine. So the judge sided with Reimers and said the wine could be sold but the money would be held in trust until the entire case was resolved. There’s another court date set in the case for June 15th. Reimers is known as a top executive of Constellation, Jackson Family Winery and Foley Family Wines.

The interim Public Health Officer in Lake County says they’re looking at ways to entice people to get the COVID19 vaccine. Dr. Evan Bloom reported yesterday to the Board of Supervisors the county was looking at ways to avert vaccine hesitancy and bolster access for people who can’t get themselves to vaccination sites. He said it is possible to request getting the vaccine at home. They’re currently targeting the 18-49 crowd as 66% are unvaccinated. Also those over 65+ at 40% unvaccinated.  Dr. Bloom did report however that coronavirus case rates were the lowest they’ve been since the start of the pandemic, but the county would remain in the state’s orange tier until the whole tiered system is tossed and all restrictions are lifted June 15th.

Congressman Jared Huffman has reintroduced his FUTURE Western Water Infrastructure and Drought Resiliency Act (the FUTURE Act). It comes at a time of severely dry weather and drought. He says it’s a water infrastructure deal which he’s spent months on in public vetting and legislative development. He says it will bring a more resilient water infrastructure, expand the use of modern water management tools and technologies, and assist underserved areas in meeting their drinking water needs. Huffman commented as the country rebuilds from the pandemic, we’re now facing devastating droughts and “we have to stop lurching from one crisis to the next”. He says his bill will improve drought preparedness and water supply reliability in a changing climate with hundreds of millions in water infrastructure, sustainable, multi-benefit water storage projects, water recycling and reuse and innovative water desalination projects.

The Board of Supervisors is reportedly considering an independent audit of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department. The Advocate News reports some local social justice groups requested the audit Tuesday at the regular meeting. This came after the board discussed the latest on the pandemic. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Andrew Coren says COVID case positivity rates are the lowest to date, but there’s been a surge in cases which he says, may be because of Mothers’ Day gatherings. But the county also has one of the lowest testing rates in the state which could be an issue if there are outbreaks. Coren did say the vaccine numbers are decent and they’re working on getting kids vaccinated. In other business they jumped to the possibility of that fiscal audit of the Sheriff’s office as the department is trying to get more funding. The groups who want the audit include South Coast Organizing for Radical Equality and the Mendocino Chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice and Black Lives Matter and the Mendocino Coast Jewish Community Justice Group.

The two dose vaccines in Mendocino County will soon be available for kids 12 and older. Until now the county’s been giving the 2 shot regimen to adults and teens 16-17, but now those 12-15 are approved for the Pfizer vaccine. Starting today the Mendocino County Public Health says kids can get appointments at the county and state’s vaccination websites. Plus, the county will continue vaccination events at schools. Also Adventist Health hospitals, community clinics, pharmacy chains, and Safeway have vaccine appointments available practically every day.

Fort Bragg police sent to a report of possible shots fired. Early yesterday morning police reported to an area where people say their house had been hit by bullets, officers found physical evidence at the location and identified a potential suspect. Later yesterday they served a search warrant and found possible evidence related to the incident which they’re processing and sending on to the Department of Justice while the investigation remains active. At the same time they were asking residents nearby to look at any possible surveillance video for cars or pedestrians around the time of the shooting. They’d also like to find more witnesses to a physical altercation which may have happened Monday afternoon.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s considering direct payments for households earning at or below $75,000/year. The $600 stimulus checks could go for back rent or utilities for those continuing to be impacted by the pandemic. Newsom says the state is “roaring back” with a surplus of over $75.5 billion dollars. He says that is allowing the rebate idea, which would be the largest ever in state history. But as the governor faces a recall, the governor announced a $12 billion dollar expansion of the stimulus program already in place, and another $5 billion or so for low-income renters, $2 billion to help pay overdue water and utility bills, and $1 billion in college grants for workers whose jobs ended or are still on hold due to the pandemic so they can find better-paying work.

Looking for some extra work? The City of Ukiah Community Services Department has announced registration forms for concessionaires at Sundays in the Park Concerts, Moonlight Movie Madness, and PumpkinFest are now available. As we emerge from virus shutdowns, the first concert of this season is July 11th at Todd Grove Park. The first movie is just before that, on Friday, July 9th at Anton Stadium, and coming back this year, PumpkinFest will be held Oct. 15 — 17.  All vendors will of course be mandated to follow current local health guidelines and ensure their patrons are following masks protocols. Applications can be found online at the and at the Community Services Department next Tuesday.

Several charges leveled against a man in Ukiah after reports by Fort Bragg police of a stolen car. Last Wednesday, police told Mendo deputies where the car may be, so they responded to the home and saw the vehicle. A man got out, then ran to the back of a home. Deputies chased him through the home and searched it after the resident okayed it. The man hiding in a closet has been identified as Carlos Ogawa who cops say had that stolen car for two days. A witness also told officers he had a gun, which they found inside the home. He’s arrested for Possess Stolen Vehicle/Vessel/, Possession Of Ammunition By A Convicted Felon, Possession Of A Firearm By A Convicted Felon and Carrying A Loaded Handgun/Not Registered Owner. He’s held on $25,000.00 bail.

A man found with ammo and burglary tools in Ukiah’s been arrested. Police say Matthew Susmilch of Eureka, CA was stopped for an equipment violation and when he got out of his car, they saw illegal drug paraphernalia in the driver seat, so they searched for more. They found a live round of 12 gauge shotgun ammo inside the vehicle, a bunch of tools usually found to commit burglaries, plus he’s a convicted felon so he’s not allowed to have a gun or ammo. Susmilch was arrested for being a felon in possession of ammunition and for being in possession of burglary tools, but he was released on zero bail due to the COVID-19 bail schedule set by the State of California Judicial Council.

A drought declaration’s already been passed by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors so now we’re hearing from water suppliers about a 20% reduction in water usage. The county is asking residents to help too since they rely on groundwater mostly. And surface water diversions from the Eel River through the Potter Valley Project and Russian River are vulnerable due to drought conditions. We’ve been here before and may already know, let your lawns go brown and replace them with drought resistant plants or artificial turf, water deeply and less often and use mulch to minimize evaporation, use a broom, not a hose to clean up outside, put in water-saving showerheads and take shorter showers of five minutes or less, turn your water off as you brush your teeth and wash hands and check faucets, sinks, toilets and showers for leaks and repair promptly if necessary. 

For more water conservation tips as well as a detailed guide on how to identify and measure leaks in your home please visit the County Drought and Water Conservation Website:

 If you have any further questions, please call the Drought Hotline: (707) 234-6363.

The mass notification systems across Mendocino County are being tested by the Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Services. Tomorrow for an hour from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) activation protocols, new online resources, and new predefined evacuation zones are being tested. The systems would be used locally in the case of an actual emergency to alert residents and visitors so they need to make sure they’re in working order. The Wireless Emergency Alert system is like the Amber Alert system where there will be a tone and vibration on your mobile device, that repeats twice. You’ll also get a short text message directing you to online resources.

A woman from Laytonville says she saw a drone flying around so she reported it to her neighbors in the Long Valley area. Kym Kemp reports an employee of Tiffany Bruce reported a man outside in a minivan piloting the drone on Saturday. And when the pilot saw someone watching, they took off. The man was described as having short dark hair. He didn’t have on a uniform, and the car he was in didn’t have any specific identifying logo like he was working in an official capacity. The news site says they called PG&E and they had no info on the drone. Also the sheriff says sometimes drones are used for criminal activity related to cannabis properties. The whole incident was posted to the Laytonville/Branscomb Community Facebook page.

The Governor has added $2 billion dollars to the state budget, strictly for wildfire mitigation. As the state continues to deal with another drought year, there were more than 900 more wildfires this year at this time, then during the same period in 2020. 2020 was already a history making year, with the first ever gigafire, the August Complex, which impacted 5 counties, including Lake and Mendocino. The mountains and foothills are also expected to be impacted this year again, with above-usual wildfire potential starting next month and possibly lasting until the fall. Cal Fire’s prescribed burns are down this year though, around 40%. The Cal Fire Chief says they’re the “best and most cost effective tool” for clearing overgrown areas and invasive non-native plants. But he says the whole of California is not ready for prescribed fire yet because it’s not safe.

The mayor of Windsor, accused of sexual assault, harassment and even rape, has finally resigned. A group of residents was trying to get him recalled, but yesterday it came out that the former mayor, Dominic Foppoli, was being investigated by Palm Beach, FL police on suspicion of felony sexual battery. The court papers say he’s accused of using his “hands/feet/teeth” as a weapon at a woman’s home. The police report was released yesterday as Foppoli resigned via email to the Town Manager. He has also said last Friday he was going to resign as more claims from women came out. The latest by a well-known reality TV star, who was the ninth woman to say he attacked her.

Lake County has reportedly received a formal appeal from community members against the approval of a massive cannabis business in Middletown. The appeal looks to overturn the Planning Commission’s approval for the cannabis business near the Hidden Valley Lake community. Now the Board of Supervisors will take up the matter of Zarina Otchkova, the owner of WeGrow LLC. She’s said to be planning the business on part of a 309 acre property she owns that would include 35 greenhouses, four 50 by 100 foot drying buildings, a 200-square-foot shed, four 2,500-gallon water tanks and fencing. Total cultivation would be on nine acres. The appeal was filed last month by the Shadow Ridge Subdivision saying there were too many problems with the approval including inadequate water analysis, road maintenance, lighting, energy usage, sewage disposal, air quality and conformity with the Middletown Area Plan.

That vicious dog abatement case in Lakeport is being addressed at a special city council meeting. The meeting tonight at 5:30 online. Lake Co News reports Maria Anderson is appealing the issue regarding her two dogs, Bane and Bandit after multiple complaints about them over 15 months, including earlier this month. Some of the issues included the dogs being able to run loose, that they’ve killed ducks, rabbits, chickens and cats, and broke through a neighbor’s fence and were aggressive toward an officer. There’s also a 3rd dog, Cissy, that had been hit and killed because it was also allowed to run loose. There will be several witnesses at tonight’s meeting from Lake County Animal Care and Control and Lakeport Police, and witnesses on behalf of Anderson as well.

A water company in Lake County is asking its customers to please conserve due to the drought. The drought declaration emergency by the governor, includes Lake, and Mendocino counties. Now Golden State Water Co. which covers Clearlake and other parts of the state, is asking customers to use water responsibly and make water conservation an important part of their everyday routines. Lake Co News reports California Water Service, serving Lucerne, has also asked their customers to conserve water. Some of the requests from water suppliers include sweeping, not hosing driveways, not to water lawns or gardens and consider replacing them altogether, not to wash cars with a hose, unless the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle, stop using outdoor fountains or decorative water features, unless they’re using a recirculating system and irrigate outdoors with potable water for ornamental turf on public street medians.

PG&E has sold its massive San Francisco headquarters complex. The $800 million deal is part of the company’s plan to move their main offices to downtown Oakland. A real estate investment firm purchased the headquarters. They now need to get approval to sell the property from the Public Utilities Commission. The company’s CEO says they’re trying hard daily to make fundamental changes and become the utility their customers expect and deserve. They also plan to return any profits from the sale to ratepayers. They say they’ll consolidate all buildings to the Oakland location, and will start renovations there next year.

Unemployment is lower in Calif. The state’s Employment Development Department reports 1.3 million jobs are reinstated or almost half the 2.7 million lost in March and April of 2020. The state has reportedly recovered 38% of jobs gained in the U.S. in April. California has added over 390,000 jobs after mass losses last winter due to a surge in coronavirus cases. The majority of the jobs regained were in hospitality, hotels, restaurants and at entertainment venues. But the state still has the second highest rate of unemployment behind Hawaii. And leisure and hospitality are still down over 500,000 jobs since the pandemic began.

Kind of like before times in Lake County as one of the oldest Memorial Day weekend celebrations is on this year. Lower Lake Daze is happening in person in downtown Lower Lake Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The Lower Lake Community Action Group Board reports deciding in the last few months to bring Lower Lake Daze back this year with masking and social distancing recommended. The parade itself is at 11 a.m. Last year’s event was one of the first to be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lake Co News reports it’s one of the first to return. Lake County Public Works says this is the first event application of 2021. Organizers say response has been positive. There will be a street fair from the post office to Mill Street after the parade with about 50 vendors.  

An update’s coming to the Lake County Board of Supervisors on the pandemic, as well as the Middle Creek restoration project, and possible appeal of a vicious dog abatement case in Lower Lake. The Middle Creek Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project report includes a letter of intent for the project to the Army Corps of Engineers. The appeal for the vicious animal abatement case involves three dogs owned by Brandon Strausser who county officials say killed a miniature horse and two goats and a baby deer while the dogs were loose. Neighbors sent in letters about the so-called “wolfdogs” who they say also killed sheep and chased horses.

If you drive an Uber or Lyft car in Calif. you’re gonna need a new car. California will soon require all electric vehicles. Last Thursday the state Air Resources Board voted for all ride-hailing companies to use electric vehicles starting in 2023. And by 2030, there will have to be 90% of all miles driven in electric vehicles. It comes after the Gov. ordered all new gas and diesel cars be eliminated by 2035.  The board says Uber, Lyft and the like can use several ways to get to electric, by doing more carpools and reducing “deadhead miles” driven without any passengers. The two companies say they’ll help their drivers make the switch, paying another $1 per trip and Lyft drivers can rent electric vehicles.

Another year of ecological stress because of the drought is hitting the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP). On a fact finding mission a couple Sundays ago in Outlet Creek and the Tenmile Creek watershed around Laytonville, studies showed no fish in some areas and only a couple trout in others, out of 11 sites visited. Some areas had such low flows, spawning was not possible. Other areas like Outlet Creek at Bloody Run Creek and lower Long Valley Creek had thick algae blooms and no fish life.  The blooms can cause dissolved oxygen depression, elevated pH and at times toxic levels of ammonia.

Authorities looking for more info on that deputy involved shooting in Elk a couple weeks ago. Sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement went searching for a man in Elk who they say was wanted for a burglary. They went door to door asking people along the South Coast of Mendocino County, Anderson Valley, Comptche and in Ukiah’s western hills to be vigilant while out in the forest and to report any sightings of the man they’re searching for. They’re especially talking to property owners with remote cabins or property to be aware there could be more burglaries. They say if there’s a burglary in progress at your property, not to approach, and just call police. They say the suspect is believed to be armed with at least one firearm. They’re also hoping to identify the man in photos circulating online caught by a burglary victim’s surveillance equipment. Deputies chased the man then, but had no luck after he fired at them. They returned fire, no injuries were reported.

The Lake County Public Health office is encouraging folks to get vaccinated. The office says the county’s Testing Positivity and Case Rates are in the minimal-moderate range and the county’s still in the Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.  State Public Health officials expect the state to fully reopen June 15th and with that, they want even more people to get vaccinated. The transmission in Lake is relatively stable they say. 50% of eligible county residents are now vaccinated, the county’s goal is 70%. The acting public health officer says getting vaccinated is the “single greatest action you can take to protect yourself against the virus, and protect your loved ones and all those living and working in Lake County”. He also thanked those who’ve already gotten their shots.  

Vaccination appointments can be scheduled at  Lake County-focused information and resources are available at

If you want to be vaccinated, and need assistance overcoming barriers, call 707-263-8174.

Police from Ukiah report to a Motel 6 after a domestic violence disturbance call and supposed injury of a woman. Three officers reported to the motel and found a man in the parking lot with a knife to his throat threatening to kill himself, they noticed some blood around his neck already. They say they tried calming the man down and talking him into putting the knife down, with no luck. So they called for sheriff’s office backup. Deputies went to a hotel room and did not find anyone there, at the same time police officers called for a mental health professional and while waiting they tased the man, but it did nothing. A second taser was effective after the man would not listen to the mental health care provider. He ended up dropping the knife and was detained and taken to a hospital. Cops say the man had been in an argument with a woman, but there was no domestic violence committed.

A gas line hit in Rio Dell and whoever hit it drove away from the scene. Mendo Fever reports PG&E reported to the area as gas began to leak. Rio Dell Volunteer firefighters also came to the scene and evacuated people nearby. The energy company turned the gas meter off to do the repairs and residents were allowed to return but had to shelter in place for some time.

A man stopped for speeding in Laytonville and was found with a bunch of illegal weed. Kym Kemp reports a Laytonville Resident Post Officer stopped the car yesterday on the 101 in northern Mendocino County and searched the car for probable cause, finding 4 garbage bags filled with processed marijuana at about 75 pounds. The driver was cited and released for illegal possession and transportation of marijuana for sales, and the marijuana was taken as evidence.  The man’s car was also impounded because he had no driver license.

PG&E officials at the latest Clearlake City Council meeting where council members grilled them ahead of the fire season. The Record Bee reports city councilors were frustrated with a lack of preparedness. Saying about 30% of city powerlines were in high fire danger areas. The mayor asked why there was only a mile of hardening work done and said the progress was not acceptable. The energy company representative said they’d actually done 14 miles of hardening over 2018 and 2020. The mayor asked how many total miles had been done to date, and they said 199. Other councilors mentioned the microgrid timeline taking too long, that’s supposed to slow how many public safety power shutoffs there are. The PG& E rep reported some of the construction was planned for the spring, between now and July 15th. And that their data shows low risk this summer for intentional power downs.

A virtual launch for Hope Rising. They’re celebrating their Smart Start Bright Future Initiative next Friday, June 4th with local luminaries in attendance including Senator Mike McGuire and the Executive Director of the John Jordan Foundation, Lisa Wittke Schaffner who’s co-hosting. The program focuses on four pillars of impact and is free to those interested.

Eventbrite Link: https:// smartstartbrightfuture.

Reports of a man bludgeoning a woman with a metal bar outside a local restaurant. Mendo Fever reports hearing on the scanner this weekend that a man was attacking a woman outside Be-Bop’s in Ukiah. Police arrived at the scene and last reports say they were on the lookout for the suspect. He’s described as wearing all black clothing and he had blonde hair in braids. The person reporting the incident said the man also had on a backpack with a rolled up sleeping bag on top.

State Senator Mike McGuire has had a town hall to discuss Sonoma, Lake, Napa, Marin and parts of Mendocino County in the exceptional category of drought. That’s according to the US Drought Monitor.  The Drought Town Hall happened last Thursday discussing the critically dry conditions, what to expect in coming months, things to do to conserve water usage and any resources available from the state to respond to the crisis. The senator was joined by the General Manager of Sonoma Water; Chairman of the Yurok Tribe; General Manager of the Marin Municipal Water District and Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo. Angelo says since the governor declared a drought emergency, they can urge water users to reduce usage by 20 percent, direct water suppliers to implement their local water shortage contingency plans; and require water agencies, cities and districts to provide monthly written reports documenting their conservation requirements. And the county can get money from the state to address the issue.

A water rescue reported at Caspar Beach. First responders on the scene over the weekend at an RV park in town, on Cabrillo Drive. Mendo Fever reports Mendocino Volunteer Fire, the Coast Guard, Fort Bragg Ambulance, and Reach air ambulance all reported to the scene. Mendocino Volunteer Fire reported to the news site they got a report of a kayaker in distress on Caspar Beach, but it was not that at all. The lifeguard from the state parks dept. on scene apparently escorted the man out of the area with the help of firefighters and the Coast Guard. They said the incident was benign, but it’s a reminder, that it’s a good idea to call 911 earlier rather than later.

 A man from Willits has been arrested after deputies served an arrest warrant for not appearing in court. Deputies went to a home Saturday morning and found Christopher Guerrero there. He had 2 arrest warrants, one for violating probation, the other for the failure to appear in court. They add up to $200,000 so that’s what his bail was set at. He’s in the Mendocino County jail now.

Discussing fire season at the Cobb Area Council board meeting. The gathering over Zoom and Facebook discussed drought conditions too and meeting in person again as things seem to be quieting with the pandemic. The Record Bee reports on the meeting last week that including a wildfire safety commissioner who spoke to community members. They spoke about fire risk and mitigation. The Risk Reduction Authority already appeared at a town hall with 4 speakers. There were around 80 people in attendance on Zoom and 1,500 to 2,000 on Facebook. The Sheriff spoke on the drought declaration. Then they turned to returning to face to face meetings instead of the virtual format. They discussed meeting outdoors to start and discuss indoor gatherings at a later date.

The Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff’s Association’s (DSA) Executive Board has unanimously agreed to hand out scholarships to six graduating local high school seniors between $500 to $2,000. They went to Amy Andrade – Willits High School – $2,000 Bob Davis Memorial Scholarship, Isabelle Caudilllo – Ukiah High School – $1,500 Ricky Del Fiorentino Memorial Scholarship, Kaitlin Espinoza – Anderson Valley High School – $1,500 Ricky Del Fiorentino Memorial Scholarship, Ahanu Casey – Ukiah High School – $500, Emily McQueary – Ukiah High School – $500 and Lindsay Giglio – Ukiah High School – $500. The same night the Deputy Sheriffs Association Executive Board voted unanimously to support the Ukiah Food Bank Food Drive and donate $1,000. They report it’s in response to a public request made by Mendocino County Supervisor Mo Mulheren for her yearly birthday fundraiser.

The US Drought Monitor’s latest weekly report puts most of Lake and Mendocino Counties in the category of exceptional drought. That report also adds Napa and Marin counties to the exceptional drought zone. That is the highest of the five conditions of dryness. Much of the rest of California is now considered in extreme drought—one
designation below.

The exceptional drought is already stressing out the Eel River and surrounding waterways. The Eel River Recovery project says a river survey between the headwaters above Willits and Outlet Creek turned up only two fish. Other tributaries showed a similar lack of fish and no spawning because of low water. There were also several areas where algae blooms had choked out marine life. Those blooms can decrease oxygen, raise acid levels, and potentially turn the water toxic. The project says it all means that unless there is some unseasonal late spring or early summer rainfall, Tenmile Creek could dry up later in the summer. You can find out more about the health of the watershed on the website

Lakeport wants residents to conserve water as the drought continues. The city relies on groundwater wells and treated water from Clear Lake for its supply. Both sources could be impacted if the dry conditions go on. Lakeport would like to see each customer voluntarily cut back by 15 to 20 gallons a day. Conservation tips include taking shorter showers, flushing the toilet less, watering plants less, and letting lawns go brown. The city website has more ideas on how you can save.

A Bay Area food truck and catering company wants to join with Mendocino County restaurants, anticipating what could be a long fire season. Off The Grid says its goal is to bring wholesome food to people who need it during fires and other disasters. The company also says it wants to boost local businesses when they are struggling too. Off the Grid wants to add more than 200 Food Responders across California, including in Mendocino County, bringing its fleet of small food businesses to more than 400. Those Food Responders could include restaurants, food truck operators, catering businesses, and cottage food purveyors. The company has already received national recognition for its program. You can find out more about that program on the website

Governor Newsom has extended an executive order to prevent price gouging in counties affected by last year’s wildfires. His order includes Mendocino County. It will stay in place until September 22nd. Price-gougers could face heavy penalties.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, County Behavioral Health Advisory Board, and County Measure B Oversight Committee will sit down together next week. That meeting is Monday afternoon at 1:00 PM and goes until 5:00 PM. The agenda includes discussion about whether or not to move ahead with a possible Mental Health Facility. Former Sheriff Tom Allman criticized the lack of action on mental health issues this week. He thinks the county has not done enough since voters overwhelmingly approved Measure B to pay for mental health services in 2017. The meeting will be virtual with no in-person public comment, but those interested can sign up to make online remarks through the county website. The session will also stream live on the county YouTube channel.

The Clearlake City Council has voted to move ahead with plans for a housing development on Burns Valley Road. That 50 million dollar project could mean as many as 84 multi-family homes. The council approved a negotiating agreement with the developer, Danco
Communities. The homes would go up on a 5-acre tract that is part of a larger 31-acre property the city closed escrow on in December. The city is also looking into a sports complex and a new Public Works yard on that land. Danco says its plans include mixed-use housing between one and four bedrooms. The firm says it plans to apply for disaster tax credits to cover most of the cost. The council approval vote was unanimous.

The Lake County Smart Start Bright Future initiative gets a virtual kickoff next month. State Senator Mike McGuire and Hope Rising of Lake County will outline plans for the program on June 4th. McGuire told the county Board of Supervisors this week that Smart Start Bright Future could make a huge difference to young people and their families. The event will focus on 4 parts of the initiative. They include a Smart Start Eligibility wizard, a resource navigator, academic-based after-school programs, and a platform for college success for high school graduates. While that meeting is free, signup is required. The website is The Hope Rising Facebook page also has more information.

Vendors who want to sell food and non-alcoholic drinks at summer events in Ukiah can register for spaces starting June 1st. Those happenings include Sundays in the Park Concerts, Moonlight Movie Madness, and PumpkinFest The city says the best vendor spots get filled fast so if you are interested in being a concessionaire, it’s a good idea to sign up early either online or at the Community Services Department. The first concert of this season will be held Sunday, July 11th in Todd Grove Park, the first movie available will be Friday, July 9th at Anton Stadium, and PumpkinFest will be held October 15th – 17th. The outdoor events themselves won’t require masks, but patrons will have to mask up when waiting in line for food.

The Konocti Unified School District has named its classified employee of the year. Juan Hernandez is Lower Lake High School’s campus supervisor. His co-workers say Herandez stands out because of his positive demeanor and professionalism. The district also honored 9 other classified employees from each of the district school sites. Superintendent Becky Salato says those workers are the glue that keeps their schools together. The District website has the entire list.

CHP has arrested two people after a chase involving a stolen vehicle. Officers say the chase started Tuesday night around 10 when officers tried to pull over a speeding Chevy Trailblazer on Highway 29, north of Park Way near Lakeport. The pursuit continued into Kelseyville, where the driver sideswiped a guardrail on Stone Drive but drove on until a crash into a wood post on Soda Bay Road. Police say the driver, identified as 19-year-old Nina Martin of Nice, then bailed. A passenger, identified as 24-year-old Joe Boggs of Lucerne, ALSO ran off in the other direction. Martin and Boggs didn’t get far. Officers quickly arrested them. Turns out that the Trailblazer had been stolen from Chico. Martin faces several charges, including taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent, receiving stolen property, and
disregarding an officer. Boggs is charged with resisting arrest and already had an outstanding warrant. They’re both locked up without bail.

CHP has identified the motorcyclist killed a week ago in a crash on the Willits Bypass as a school bus driver from Oregon. Officers say Wayne Berry of Gold Beach, Oregon died when his motorcycle collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle around 3 AM on May 13th. The impact of the crash sent Berry’s bike over the railing. The oncoming driver, Michael Confer, is facing 2 felony charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing bodily injuries. He is in the Mendocino County Jail. Mendo Fever reports a Facebook post from the school district where Berry worked calls him a loyal employee who always put the students on his routes first.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office is still looking for a man known as the red-bearded burglar around Cameron Road in Elk and in Ukiah’s western hills. Deputies have been on increased patrols in that area since a man shot at a deputy during an attempted break-in on May 11th. Sherrif Matt Kendall says investigators think he is the same person who has been lurking around and breaking into several rural cabins and homes since February. The Sheriff says the burglar, who had a red beard in some surveillance pictures, is likely avoiding people, preferring to break in when no one is around. If you know anything that might help find him, you can send your tip to the MCSO.

Remember last year when we did the Census they told us the count would help draw political boundaries for future elections? That
redistricting process is getting started. Lake Co News reports the California Citizens Redistricting Commission wants Lake County Residents to be involved in the map drawing. There aren’t any meetings scheduled yet, because the commission hasn’t even seen all the census data. There is a website if you would like to get up to speed on the process. The work has to be done by December 15th. The Lake County Board of Supervisors has told the commission that Lake, Napa, and Sonoma Counties should end up in the same
congressional district because of their shared concerns. Under the Census, California will LOSE a seat in congress, which will make the redistricting process more difficult. Lake County Board of Supervisors will hash out ITS political divisions in a separate process. The board has hired a consulting firm to help.

The Fort Bragg PD is looking for volunteers to help out with the city Independence Day fireworks on July 3rd. Volunteers will team up with police and other department staff for parking enforcement, crowd control, and other law enforcement duties. You can contact the police department if you are interested. The display will go off from Pomo Bluff Park at dusk on July 3rd. Fort Bragg was one of the few communities that held a fireworks show last year.

CalFire says it has been a busy start to the wildfire season. So far, more than 2,400 fires have burned more than 14,000 acres across the state. At this time last year, just over 1,500 fires scorched 2,600 acres. Officials say that shows it is more important than ever to be aware of fire safety and have a plan in case a fire threatens near you.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services has issued a report on debris removal from last year’s wildfires. The report finds that more than 80 percent of the burned metal, concrete, ash, and contaminated soil has been hauled away from properties enrolled in the state Consolidated Debris Removal Program. The OES also says most properties still need more tests to make sure they are safe for rebuilding. Erosion and hazardous tree conditions are the main issues there. The program covers about half a dozen properties in lake county that burned in the LNU Lightning Complex fires late last summer.

PG & E is planning a web seminar to outline its wildfire prevention plans for the upcoming fire season. The seminar on May 26th will feature utility officials talking about prevention, public safety power shutoffs, and improvements to PG & E systems. The session runs from 6 PM to 7:30 PM. The site for more information is The company says it will hold similar open meetings throughout the summer and fall.

The DMV is relaxing identification rules for people who have yet to get a new federally compliant license or identification card. That so-called REAL ID will eventually be necessary for getting onto a plane or into a federal building or military base. The new
requirements mean license applicants no longer have to show a social security card or a W-2 tax form. Now, all you’ll need is a Social Security Number, proof of identity, and two proofs of California Residency. The DMV says it wants to make it as easy as possible to get the REAL ID well before the deadline. That deadline WAS October 1st but was recently pushed back to May 2023 due to the pandemic. YOUR current ID is good if there is a little gold star in the upper right-hand corner.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office and the Office of Emergency service are planning to test the county Mass Notification Systems next week. That test will be from 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm on Wednesday, May 26th. Testing will focus on Wireless Emergency Alerts, new online resources, and new predefined evacuation zones. Officials want to be sure everything works right, just in case. They also want the public to know about the new online resources and evacuation zones. The Wireless Emergency Alert system is similar to the Amber Alert system, where you get a special tone and vibration on your mobile device. You will also get a short text message directing you to online resources. The emergency notifications would help the county respond any time the public has to take immediate action

Lake County Tourism Improvement District says visitors add a lot to the county economy. The district gave an update to the Lakeport City council Tuesday night, telling members travelers spent about 180 million dollars in the county in 2019. That added almost 13 million in state and local taxes and helped support 1,800 jobs. Most of those jobs—in food service and accommodation. District Communication person Brian Fisher says Lake County has seen significant growth in travel and tourism over the last few years. He also says 20-20 was a busy year in his office. Among last year’s accomplishments — a new website, twice as many Facebook followers, a redesigned monthly newsletter, and more print advertising. This year’s promotion plans include high-profile billboards in San Francisco and Sacramento. Fisher says the county is competing with other travel destinations with much bigger budgets and much more experience.

The Fourth of July is not that far off and Lakeport’s police chief says his officers are ready for any complaints about illegal fireworks. Lake Co News reporting Chief Brad Rasmussen outlined his department’s plan for the 30 days between June 17 and July 16 at this week’s meeting of the Lakeport City Council. Lakeport’s new fire chief also had input in that plan. It identifies several areas that were problems last year. Those places include parks, school district campuses, and areas around major shopping centers. Police will have extra patrols with a special team devoted just to illegal fireworks. The fire department will also be standing by. Chief Rasmussen says police are also gearing up for the larger city celebration on the Fourth. That celebration starts at 10:00 am at Library Park with vendors selling their wares, along with food and beverage booths. The fireworks display returns at dusk. Vendors who want to take part can find out more at the Lakeport Main Street Association website.

The Lake County Board of supervisors is backing a state child welfare initiative. The Lake County Record-Bee Reports the board has signed a letter of support for the proposal that would give parents of all five-year-olds a list of resources they can use and set up a new support network for pregnant women. State Senator Mike Mcguire told commissioners at this week’s meeting that the initiative would also provide more assistance for academically driven after-school programs aimed at low-income kids. McGuire says the plan would be a big boost to Lake County. McGuire and others in the senate want to spend 50 million dollars to get those programs up and running and another 100 million every year after that.

Heads up in Fort Bragg. The police department says officers will start enforcing two-hour parking in the Business District next week. Parking enforcement will primarily be in the downtown business area between Oak St. north to Pine St. and Main St. east to McPherson St starting on May 25th. On-street parking is limited to 2-hour from 9:00 am. to 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday. Sundays and Holidays are exempt. The police department wants merchants to remind their employees and visitors of the rules and ask them to use off-street parking. Otherwise, they could find a ticket tucked under the wiper.

The Fort Bragg City Council holds a special meeting next week. That session Monday night is for a discussion of the city cannabis ordinance. The virtual meeting starts at 6 on Monday night. The city website has the link and the agenda.

A woman charged for a crash that killed two people from Clearlake is mentally fit for a trial. Lake Co News reports that a Lake County judge says the case against 22-year-old Keilah Coyne of Novato can move forward. She is accused of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other charges for the crash near Middletown on March 13th that killed Clearlake residents ‌Elaine‌ ‌Rolicheck and Miguel Dominguez. Coyne’s lawyer had argued that his client may have been incompetent. That prompted a doctor’s review which found Coyle is fit for a trial.

A man from Willits has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of two people back in April. Christopher Gamble is accused of shooting Ulises Ayala and Anwar Ayala, whose bodies were found at a marijuana farm in Brookdale, northwest of Willits, on April 26th. The Mendocino County DA has also charged Gamble with animal abuse for maiming, mutilating, torturing, or wounding chickens. The judge has yet to set a trial date.

2nd District State Senator Mike McGuire is hosting a virtual town hall to talk about the drought emergency. He says it will focus on state response to the upcoming dry season and unprecedented low water levels. Mendocino County C A O Carmel Angelo is among those expected to take part in that meeting Thursday night. It starts at 6:30. Senator McGuire’s Facebook page has the sign-up details and the link.

The Ukiah Unified School District is giving out food today for any students under 18. That Wednesday weekly distribution is at Ukiah High and it runs until 6:30 this evening. Mask and social distance rules will apply. You can get more information from your child’s school.

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

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 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 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.

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 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 for California and for federal.