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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 cityofukiah.com/recreation and at the Community Services Department next Tuesday.

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