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The Mendocino County Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Active Transportation Plan (ATP) are being updated by the Mendocino Council of Governments. They are looking for public comment on transportation needs, deficiencies, and mobility barriers/challenges. It’s a long range planning document, covering 2 decades. In it are both short and long range transportation projects across all modes of transportation, including motorized, non-motorized, and public transit. They say it is to also promote a safe and efficient transportation system, and will establish regional goals to support mobility, economic, and health aims of the region. They hope to complete and adopt it before the end of this year.

Please visit MCOG’s website to take the online survey and access interactive tools:

https://www.mendocinocog.org/regional-transportation-plan-rtp-active-transportation-plan-2022-update.

For more information, call the MCOG office at 707-234-3434, consult the agency’s web site at www.mendocinocog.org or email lellard@dbcteam.net.

It’s Wildfire Preparedness Week so Cal Fire and their partner agencies are trying to raise awareness so communities can be more resilient to the impact of wildfire. Cal Fire reminds you can be safer and increase the survivability of your home by preparing well in advance of a wildfire. They’re encouraging families and communities to take a hands-on approach in wildfire preparedness, especially after last year’s historic and catastrophic fire season with six of the largest and most destructive wildfires ever in the state.  Since it’s so dry in the state and temperatures are well above normal for this time of year, they say the 2021 wildfire season could be as catastrophic and devastating as last year. There have already been more than 1,300 wildfires. Cal Fire has hired nearly 1,400 more firefighters and added more than $1 billion for fire management, fire prevention and mitigation. For more info on hardening your home, visit https://readyforwildfire.org/.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month. In Lake County, the Behavioral Health Services Dept is highlighting #Tools2Thrive. Mental Health Awareness Month started by Mental Health America in 1949. The last year has presented many obstacles and challenges due to the global pandemic. The Behavioral Health Services Dept. is reminding what we can all do in our daily lives to prioritize mental health, gain resiliency, and continue to cope with whatever life throws our way including a healthy lifestyle. The agency says that could help prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, anxiety and depression, and physical health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.  

For more information, please contact Lake County Behavioral Health Services at 707-274-9101 or 707-994-7090.

The first local case of the Brazilian strain of coronavirus has surfaced in Sonoma County. The public health dept. says it’s up to twice as transmissible as earlier strains of the disease. It’s known as the P.1 variant. As of last Friday, there were over a dozen infections linked to the Brazil, U.K. and West Coast variants, 6 more than 2 weeks ago. There have also been 60 COVID-19 cases in individuals already fully vaccinated.  The county public health agency says the variants of concern were expected and should not be cause for alarm, because right now, it’s a small number. It all comes as the county is expected to move to the yellow, less transmissible tier in Calif.’s reopening blueprint.

Tens of thousands of California inmates, including violent and repeat felons can get out of prison early. The state corrections office reports 76,000 will get an opportunity to leave prison to ease the prison population. It includes over 63,000 inmates convicted of violent crimes who are now eligible for good behavior credits. It’s a third of their sentence being shaved off, instead of a fifth. There are 20,000 inmates serving life sentences with the possibility of parole included in the massive group. The corrections dept. says it’s as a reward for inmates who are trying to improve themselves. But, those against the move say it’s a danger to society.

After three search warrants were served in the Island Mountain area, a massive illegal marijuana grow was revealed. Last Thursday, wildlife officers from the state Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) served two search warrants in Mendocino and Trinity counties. Scientists from the agency along with officers from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and the State Water Resources Control Board were also at the sites looking for illegal cannabis cultivation and environmental crimes. More than 17,000 plants were ripped from the grow where agents and deputies found multiple environmental violations including illegal water diversion, loads of debris and trash and pollutants harmful to fish, plant life, mammals and birds. Two people were detained with paperwork going to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office for possible charges.

More than 3.5 million dollars is going to the City of Ukiah from the California Natural Resources Agency’s Urban Greening program for an extension to the Great Redwood Trail. Two more miles will be added on the south side from Airport Park Blvd to Taylor Lane. With this money there will be a new bike path along with native plants and reclaimed water for irrigation. After it’s all done, this trail section, which is in Ukiah, will cover about four miles from Brush Street to Taylor Lane. The city says it’s working with North Coast Opportunities for both volunteer and CA Conservation Corps staff who will provide education, job training, and community engagement. The city manager says it will be a short and long term boost to the economy with jobs and tourism, plus increased property value along the once neglected corridor.

A mural is bringing life to an area of Upper Lake. Muralist Shane Grammar and the Hope Thru Art Foundation along with the family of Vanessa Niko are working with young artists in Upper Lake through this Wednesday. The mural will be a likeness of Vanessa Niko, a former member of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake who died 4 years ago at the hands of a former partner, and the father of her children. Lake Co News reports organizers for the mural say she is a missing and murdered indigenous woman “sister” because of being a victim of domestic violence. For the project, young artists from Lake County are invited to take part in the project to promote awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women like Niko. The mural will be dedicated Wednesday.

For further information on this national epidemic of violence against indigenous women, go to www.mmiwusa.org.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors will take up the county vision document. In their standard Tuesday morning meeting over Zoom and on the county’s Facebook page, they’ll discuss “Vision 2028: Reimagining Lake County, Ten Key Priorities to Build a Brighter Future.” The County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson’s report to the board says there was nothing stated in the plan for disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery. So they will consider that tomorrow along with separating the Community Development director’s job and offer several proclamations.

The UK variant of COVID19 has landed in Mendocino County. On Friday the Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren announced they got notice in the state’s surveillance testing that the B117, the UK strain had been confirmed last month. Dr. Coren says it’s 50-percent more transmissible, and more virulent. He also called it a serious threat and is urging all individuals who have not been, to get the vaccine. He also said there had been some, so called break-through cases, of those who have been fully vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean it’s not ineffective to get the shots. He says the case numbers were actually less than expected, 17 people, not 1,500, which would match the 95% effective rate.

The Public Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren is calling the surfacing of a strain of coronavirus from overseas a serious threat. The UK B117 strain has been confirmed in state surveillance testing in Mendocino County. He also mentioned a handful of so-called “break-through” cases in people fully vaccinated, but says they are hardly anything compared to clinical studies showing 95% efficacy. So he says they’re not even being called breath-through’s, instead they’re known as ‘postvaccine infections.’ None of those infected had to be admitted to the hospital, none died, and few had any symptoms. Dr. Coren also addressed the return after a short pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Coren says those getting a vaccine have a choice of which one they take. He says the vaccine supply should be going up, but there are less people getting inoculated.

As we enter the second year of critically dry weather in Calif. new drone photos show the 2nd largest reservoir in Calif., Lake Oroville, severely impacted. Pictures captured by photographer Justin Sullivan a week ago showed the lake was only 42% full, half the normal average for this date. The dam the tallest in the US, catches water from the Feather River watershed. It’s a major part of the State Water Project which includes 21 dams and 701 miles of pipe and canal that goes from Northern California to the south. Last week, the largest reservoir in the state, Shasta Lake was also very low, at 51% full, or 59% of its historic average for this date.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company wants students to apply to their Foundation’s Better Together STEM Scholarship Program. The Foundation is putting $250,000 into a fund for students who want to get a degree in STEM disciplines, that’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. There are 20 scholarships of $10,000 each and 20 more for $2,500 each. Students will get the awards based on academic achievement, demonstrated participation and leadership in school and community activities and financial need. The deadline to apply is June 1st.

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