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Monthly Archives: June 2021

Only 8 acres have burned, but Cal Fire says they’ve got the Mustang Fire in Lake County 75 percent contained. It was quick work too, Cal Fire reported the containment lines about five hours after the fire was first reported. They were working thru the night on the fire, to put out hot spots and mop up. There was no evacuations, injuries or property damage reported late last night. The fire was burning in Middletown north of Santa Rosa. They were reporting the fire might get to 10 acres and was located in the “#ValleyFire burn scar from 2015.

A service dog from Hopland has been reported missing. Arlo, or Loo, is the service dog for 26 year old Isabella Gentry who needs help due to having seizures. The dog went missing last October after being let out of a fenced yard. Gentry says she can’t go most places now without the dog she found on Craigslist when he was a 4 months old. A woman from Ukiah’s been helping Gentry try to find the dog who was lost in rural Mendocino County.

The Governor has announced he feels confident Cal OSHA will also drop almost all mask wearing and social distancing mandates when the state fully reopens. The state is set for that tomorrow though, and Cal OSHA is supposed to meet Thursday. Gov. Newsom says he expects a favorable outcome when they convene. He says there will no doubt be worksite regulations, but since he’s unsure when the new rules will take shape, he didn’t say if the state will wait to lift some safety protocols.  That could mean that the current rules, for masking and distancing, stay in place, for now in workplaces. The Governor says he thinks Cal OSHA will stay aligned with what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are. He says he’ll get involved if needed to “clarify any ambiguities.”

A building in Garberville caught fire over the weekend. Redway Fire and Garberville Volunteer Fire and Cal Fire all reported to the apartment complex behind a Catholic Church. They say there was heavy fire when they got there so they called for more help. The building was seriously damaged and many residents lost their homes. 3 apartments were gutted, 2 were damaged, but they could not be lived in at the moment. Also, the church, Our Lady of the Redwoods had damage in the back of the building.  Apparently the fire started in one of the apartments, then spread. PG&E shut the power off to the building and a fire investigator was called. Red Cross was also there to help the displaced residents.

Another pot bust, this time in Potter Valley. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports its Marijuana Enforcement Team was investigating the grow where they had previously served a search warrant for growing illegally. Several thousand plants were eradicated from the spot last August. Deputies found hoop houses there this time and served a search warrant along with the Major Crimes Task Force June 2nd. They say when they arrived with the search warrant, four Hispanic males ran and have not been found. Three Hispanic females were found in a trimming room, one of them was only 16. Deputies found, eradicated and ultimately destroyed over 3,740 cannabis plants and another 115 pounds of hanging bud. The DA’s office is looking at the case for possible prosecution.

After a traffic stop in Covelo, deputies found a man driving who had 2 felony arrest warrants. So they searched his car and found meth and 9mm caliber ammunition. Since the man was a convicted felon, he’s not allowed to have a gun or ammo. Kenneth Hanover was arrested for two felony arrest warrants, possessing ammunition and possession of a controlled substance and held on $30,000.00 bail in Mendocino County Jail.

A solo car crash near Fort Bragg has ended with one death and 3 injuries. Mendo Fever reports the CHP reported to the incident on Highway 20 around mile marker 3., finding four people in the car along with two kids. An 11-year-old was reportedly having seizures and another child said they had stomach pains. Deputies and the coroner were on the scene. The scanner said one person was airlifted to another county for treatment. No other info was immediately available.

The Governor’s making it official, lifting his executive orders for the pandemic. So there’s no more Blueprint for a Safer Economy, his new order is called, Beyond the Blueprint and begins tomorrow, officially ending the state’s Stay-Home Order. So physical distancing, capacity limits and the county tier end. Many of the executive actions Newsom took in March of 2020 to respond to the pandemic will be no longer, and other provisions continue, like allowing pharmacy technicians to administer vaccinations against COVID19.  The Governor announced almost 40 million vaccines have been administered. He says many restrictions will be lifted and they’ll monitor virus activity on a day-to-day basis while remaining vigilant to protect public health and safety as the pandemic persists.

A decent sized earthquake hit the Cobb area. Late Saturday night the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed a 4.1 inside the Sonoma County line near Big Sulphur Creek. It was centered 5.8 miles west of Cobb and 13.8 miles north of Healdsburg. They had shake reports from Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties.

Since the state is fully reopening tomorrow, Lake County Superior Court is updating its operational protocols. Lake Co News reports there will still be a limited number of cases on the court calendar, that they will continue to encourage physical distancing in court facilities, they’ll monitor and apply state, local public health and Cal/OSHA guidance on face coverings as appropriate and continue to do some work remotely when needed. Revised guidance was released last week ahead of the Beyond the Blueprint guidance that starts tomorrow: face coverings for indoor events where there may be unvaccinated persons. Remote appearances will continue for those who already had them set up, and many events around trials will continue at the fairgrounds.

New COVID protocols up for discussion by the Lake County Board of Supervisors. The board will also take some time to recognize LGBTQ+ Pride Month. The meeting tomorrow morning will cover mask requirements and social distancing as the state reopens and new guidance came out in the last several weeks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer reporting on the local COVID19 surge. Dr. Andy Coren reported Friday hospitalizations were up and even though the number of infections were down elsewhere in the state, and worldwide, we are seeing a surge like we did last winter. Dr. Coren says the cases are in those who’ve not been vaccinated. 7 people were in the hospital as of Friday, two in an ICU. There are no outbreaks, but there is community spread. Some cases were reported in 4 restaurants or bars and in a private school. The Pub and The Office, and at Applebee’s and Diggers Bar and Ukiah Junior Academy. He said for the most part people are being cooperative, but some have refused to speak with contact tracers. He said even if the state reopens, stricter protocols could remain in Mendocino County.

A man in court for DUI and went to trial had a hung jury in his case. The Mendocino County District Attorney reported the Superior Court jury came back from deliberating on Friday. The foreperson announced that the jurors couldn’t agree on verdicts against Michael Pimental of Sacramento. He was charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater, both counts charged as misdemeanors. The judge declared a mistrial, so the charges stand and there was a continuation in the case until June 25th.  There could be a retrial set at that time.

A mini surge of coronavirus continues in Mendocino County. Now the Public Health Office reports a case each at Applebees in Ukiah and Diggers Bar in Willits. It comes days after a couple of other cases at 2 restaurants among staff. The latest cases in staff too. So the public and restaurant staff are warned if they’re not fully vaccinated and were at Applebee’s between June 4-7, or Diggers between June 3-5, to go get a COVID19 test which is free and available Sunday to next Thursday at the Ukiah Fairgrounds. Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren is reminding also of the importance of staying home from work if you have symptoms like fever, cough, and shortness of breath. He also says he hopes companies are encouraging their employees get vaccinated to slow the spread and protect the community.  

Cal Fire in Mendocino County is doing a prescribed burn at Howard Forest, so you may see some smoke plumes in the air. It’s on 5 acres of state owned property in Willits on the 101. The burn will be next week on Tuesday and Wednesday to help with regrowth, enhance wildlife habitat, protect watersheds and to help train fire personnel. They say the reason they do any fuel reduction project is to change the size and composition of fuels in the forest. They will watch the burn under tight restrictions and if they can’t do it safely, they will cancel the burn altogether.  

Millions coming to Lake County thanks to the latest stimulus package related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The American Rescue Plan Act had $1.9 trillion in it and of that, Lake got over $12,500,000. Congressman Mike Thompson was in Lakeport presenting ceremonial checks to city and county officials. Lake Co News on hand at the presentation reports Lakeport is getting $1.2 million. And Clearlake is getting well over 3 times that amount.

Another death reported in Clear Lake from last weekend. The Sheriff’s Office reports 60-year-old Efrain Antonio Menjivar of Martinez disappeared Saturday after he went swimming. His body wasn’t found until this past Wednesday morning in Clearlake Oaks. They’ve scheduled an autopsy for today. It’s the third death from last weekend, all of them offshore at Clearlake Oaks. We told you about the couple who died, the man Webster Medley III took his fiancé and 3 others out on his boat. He jumped in after his fiancé went in when their boat capsized. The two died, but 3 others on the boat made it to shore.

Tree sitters, as they’re called, sitting inside trees in Jackson Demonstration State Forest against logging. Mendo Voice reports trees are being taken down by contractors working with Cal Fire, which owns the forest. The activists from Mendocino Trail Stewards and EarthFirst are asking for a two year hold on logging in the forest. They were protesting in April too, tree sitters parked it inside 2 more than 150 year old redwoods. Some have been trying to block the entrance to the forest so loggers can’t get in, but apparently they got in anyway. Cal Fire has been warning folks to stay out of the area.

A fire that had been burning outside Covelo has been stopped from advancing. The fire started yesterday afternoon and was reportedly burning through brush east of Covelo, near the Eel River Campground. Cal Fire was on the scene but it was rugged terrain, so they had several aircraft out. The fire was under an acre yesterday afternoon with no structures threatened.

After a judge overturned California’s ban on assault weapons, the state’s taking action, appealing it to the Ninth Circuit. The governor and the mayor of San Francisco were with the Attorney General Rob Bonta when he announced the appeal yesterday. He brought up the mass shooting in San Jose last month as an example of his why. He said the overturning of the longstanding ban was disturbing and troubling. The judge in the overturning of the ban, issued a permanent injunction, but stayed the ruling for 30 days so there was time to appeal. The gov. said the judge was a “wholly owned subsidiary of the gun lobby” and needed to be called out.

A lawsuit is threatened against the US Fish and Wildlife Service because of a denial to protect the tiny animal, the Fisher. The Environmental Protection Information Center, known as EPIC, says they’re giving 60 days notice of their intention to file a lawsuit, which is required under the Endangered Species Act to challenge a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That gives the Service time to correct the violations of the law. The Center for Biological Diversity and the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center are also part of the intended lawsuit to protect the Fisher, a carnivorous mammal in the same family as weasels, minks, martens and otters. Protections for the animal have been withdrawn over the years. They were listed as threatened in 2019.

There could be a buyer for the old Palace Hotel. The Daily Journal reports the receiver of the hotel, Mark Adams filed a report in Mendocino County Superior Court Wednesday saying there’s a new “potential buyer”. The report does not say who the interested party is, only that they “emerged” in recent weeks, and they’ve not spoken directly. He refers to the interested person as she, calling her “credible and sophisticated enough to take on this assignment”. So he says he’ll investigate further the potential receiver’s sale of the hotel with a long contingency-laden escrow period. The latest buyer took over in January of 2019, but apparently hasn’t done much. Adams was appointed to take control of the building after it was declared a public nuisance. It went on the market and sold at auction and has continued to sit.

After wildfires damaged parts of the Mendocino National Forest, campgrounds were closed along with hiking trails and off highway vehicle trails. They were all damaged by the August Complex last year and the Ranch Fire from back in 2018. They’re reopening for public use, but many of the closed recreation sites will stay that way. The Dixie Glade and Little Doe campgrounds, and Lower Nye trail head, are open to the public again along with three off-highway vehicle trails in the Stonyford Riding Area. You can see everything that’s opened… and closed on the Mendocino National Forest’s recreation webpages at http://www.fs.usda. gov/mendocino.

On Tuesday the state is poised to reopen again, like before times, but also, not so normal. There will still be many restrictions, but the long-held color-coded Blueprint is done then. The Governor made the announcement in April and said it again last month, things can start to get back to business as usual. Even though there will be guidelines to follow from the state, and the CDC, counties can still decide to be stricter if they want, not looser. You’ll be able to remove your mask if you’re vaccinated in most public spaces, following the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’ll be up to individual businesses and companies about what you can do inside or while at work as far as masking and keeping your distance from others.

As people get vaccinated and the COVID19 case numbers are mostly down, Frontier Days is back in Willits. It’ll be the 95th year it’s hosted. This time it starts next Friday, June 18th and will go through July 4th. A little different, but expected, there will be sanitation stations and other pandemic safety precautions in place.  The Hometown Celebration will take over Main Street Friday evening and the Rodeo Sweetheart contest will happen again, as will the fantastic Carnival, Dancing and Truck Pulls. Of course the big rodeo will happen too in the Jack Tharp Arena.

Soon to expire Johnson and Johnson vaccines are hanging in the balance as vaccinations rates wane across the country. The FDA has reportedly told Calif. officials to store expired doses until they find out if the vaccines are going to continue to be safe to be used. The FDA also says, the vaccination expiration, which is later this month, may be able to be extended. Nearly 21 and a half million Johnson and Johnson doses have been sent to the states by the federal government, and about half have been administered. In comparison, almost 200 million Pfizer doses and 150 million Moderna doses have been shipped to states.

A graduation for the books as both Noyo High and the Coastal Adult School call it a year. The graduates from both were on the Piver baseball field last night getting their diplomas. The theme was “Resilience”. Apropos for the year the students had, distance, then finally back to, face to face learning at the end of the year. Otherwise it was mostly a regular commencement, music, speeches and the handing out the diplomas.

Changes by Cal OSHA again when it comes to mask wearing at work. The workplace regulators changed course for the second time in a week to forego masks for the fully vaccinated. But the state is pretty much getting rid of masks in many public spaces starting Tuesday and Cal OSHA was called out for not towing the line. Or following guidance recently released from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So Cal OSHA will consider the rules again at their meeting next week, 2 days after the state’s expected to fully reopen, doing away with masks in most public settings.

A man trapped inside a giant fan at a vineyard in Sonoma County has been freed. The Sheriff’s Office reports a deputy went out to a call about a suspicious vehicle parked near the winery and found the trapped man on Tuesday. The deputy reportedly spotted a hat on a piece of equipment and saw the man’s leg, he was stuck inside the shaft of a vineyard fan. Apparently, he told the deputy he was fond of taking pictures of old farm equipment, but in actuality, the deputy said he was high on meth. He’s expected to be fine after some treatment and is being charged by the Sheriff’s office with trespassing and drug possession.

A chaotic town hall for Congressman Jared Huffman. The congressman in Marin, part of his large district, was confronted, by what he characterized as an “angry COVID-denying mob” that turned the event “into a MAGA circus.” He posted on Facebook that besides the riots on January 6th at the US Capitol, it might have been the “ugliest, most disgraceful spectacle” he’s ever seen. The mob forced its way in according to local media and chanted “medical freedom now!” One guy stayed on the stage with Huffman as he pleaded with them not to get physical. He says they were rude, aggressive and tried not to allow them to proceed with the townhall, which he ignored.

The Calif. Health Secretary has released a bit more info on the reopening of the state next Tuesday. Dr. Mark Ghaly says fully vaccinated residents can go without masks in most public places June 15th and beyond. Except in public transportation, most public schools, healthcare offices and homeless, emergency and cooling centers. It basically just follows what the CDC said would be okay, and confused many, wearing masks is pretty much up to individual businesses, for those fully vaccinated. Cal OSHA’s presenting the new guidance to its standards board for consideration.

Things looking pretty good related to Covid in Lake County. The acting Public Health Officer, Dr. Evan Bloom updating the Board of Supervisors Tuesday with the county epidemiologist. They say the case rate is low, at 3.3/100,000 and the testing positivity rate is at 2.5 percent. Dr. Bloom says there are some slight increases elsewhere in Northern Calif. and some hints it could happen there, but, he says, it remains to be seen. Lake is in the Orange Tier, ahead of the reopening of the state next week. The case rate has remained fairly stable in Lake County with testing down slightly. They are touting a 53% vaccination rate in those 12 and older, partial or fully. 66% of Californians are now fully vaccinated.

The jobless rate is unchanged in Calif, down slightly in Lake and by much more in Mendocino County. In Lake, the unemployment rate for April was 7.6%, down a bit, from 7.9% in March. Mendocino County was at 7.1% in March, and is now showing 6.5%. Calif. jobless numbers came in at 8.3% for the second month in a row. But one year ago, it was 16 percent.  The unemployment rate in the U.S. for April was just 6.1 percent, up slightly from March when it was 6% and less than half what it was during the height of the COVID pandemic, 14.8 percent in April 2020. Some other nearby county numbers were, Glenn at 6.9 percent, Napa, 6.3 percent, Sonoma at just 5.7 percent and Yolo at 6 percent. Marin was the lowest in the state at 4.6 percent, and once again, Imperial county was the highest, with 16.1 percent.

It was unanimous. At budget hearings a couple of days ago, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors all gave the green light to form a standalone water agency again due to water insecurity in the county. The work would include immediately turning attention to the drought emergency. The last decade or so the water agency was folded into the Dept. of Transportation, but before that it was solo. The Daily Journal reports at the meeting Tuesday Supervisor Glenn McGourty, part of the drought emergency committee, said water infrastructure here has been neglected. And says there needs to be a better way to store and deliver water. He says a stand-alone agency wouldn’t be fully operational for about a year, but the Board agreed to hire a project manager immediately to oversee the drought response and respond to the drought emergency. Then water resource specialists and hydrologists could be hired later.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has given commendation to a local for public service. On their Facebook page the Sheriff’s office posted a picture of Donald Woskow getting a special plaque yesterday. The post said it in appreciation of “more than two decades of public service in Mendocino County”. He was an officer for 12 years at the Ukiah Police Department and spent another 12 years with the Sheriff’s Office. He also taught law enforcement community relations at Ukiah High School for several years.

Talks are over for the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians and the Town of Windsor who were trying to get treatment for the tribe’s wastewater. So the tribe is reportedly going to build their own treatment plant on their land, which is pretty close to the Deer Creek residential neighborhood. There had been a deal in place between the two parties and it was even ratified unanimously by the Town Council last year. That would have had the tribe paying $20 million which was supposed to then be turned around for use to construct a new public recreation center with a pool. The Town Manager says they’re surprised and disappointed that good faith negotiations ended. A tribal spokesperson says they’re moving forward on their own. The tribe’s been planning a resort and construction of 300 homes, restaurants and a winery.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors budget meeting featured a back and forth with the DA and Sheriff on a spike of violent felonies. The DA told the board yesterday, there were 10% more violent crimes from 2019-2020. Then they discussed the illegal cannabis industry and a double murder at a cultivation site in Willits. The other major crime was three out of area men with military grade weapons pretending to be cops and stealing money from people intending to buy marijuana. The Sheriff also reminded about firefighters being harassed during last year’s August Complex wildfire related to marijuana crimes too. The DA told the board they might want to get some lobbyists in Sacramento to help get stiffer penalties for water theft.

The state Department of Public Health is reaching out to residents to be careful of possible fraud or scams by folks looking to take advantage of the state vaccine lottery or other incentive programs.  The Vax for the Win program had its first cash drawing of June 4th. $116.5 million was used to get people to get their shots before the state fully reopens next week. But after the drawing, scammers calling to say they were state officials blanketed the state. There were also emails, texts and social media messages. Just so you know, if you get a vaccine, you’re automatically entered, privacy is protected, winners are notified through an official state address or caller or text ID or in person. You don’t need to pay a fee to win and you don’t need to give out personal or banking info.

An environmental report for a large marijuana cultivation operation had issues, so an appeal to the Lake County Planning Commission’s decision for a major use permit was granted. The appeal for We Grow whose owner was looking to put in greenhouses, growing fields and drying rooms will be filed again. The Board of Supervisors granted the appeal without prejudice. The owner has 309 acres of property in Middletown, of which she would use just 9 acres for the operation. She applied with the Planning Commission for a Major Use Permit and got it, but neighbors appealed it. So she appealed too. The Board voted unanimously to allow the appeal.

Budget hearings are being held in Lake County. The Board of Supervisors is meeting today on the recommended 2021-22 fiscal year budget of nearly $307,000,000, down over 15 million from last year. The County Administrative Officer says it’s down because of reductions in capital project money, but the county should be getting 12 million dollars from the last federal stimulus package related to the pandemic.

The state is reportedly considering continuing the lunch program year round for those who are financially strapped. The legislature is reportedly considering a plan for a massive Universal Schools Meal Program. The 650 million dollar program would mean free breakfast and lunch all year. Lawmakers are negotiating the budget with the Gov. this week. Legislative budget leaders looking to pay for the program with federal aid money and taxpayer funds. If approved, it would start in the 2022-23 school year.

A fully vaccinated woman from Napa has died from contracting COVID-19. The county’s public health officer says vaccines do provide “exceptional protection” and it doesn’t diminish the importance of getting inoculated, but she is also reminding that no vaccine is 100% effective. The woman was in the hospital for a while and had other health conditions. She was over 65 years old.  The latest data on more than 17 million fully vaccinated shows 5,305 breakthrough cases, that’s .03%. At least 373 people did end up in the hospital and of those, 40 died. The state has not said what the primary cause of the deaths and hospitalizations were, or if it was even from COVID.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer has reported to the Board of Supervisors on the latest surge of COVID cases. Dr. Coren is encouraging everyone to continue to wear masks while out in the public while near others who may not be vaccinated. Dr. Coren says the county’s experiencing a surge with 5-7 cases/100,000 residents. He says they’re mostly in Ukiah, Redwood Valley and Willits. He also told the supervisors that hospitalizations were “increasing at an alarming rate” and says that suggests there will be more cases. So far 50 people have died from contracting the virus in the county, the most recent was last Friday, a woman in her 80’s who spent 3 weeks in the ICU. He says the surge can be tracked to people not vaccinated. 64.5% of the population of those over 12 are partially vaccinated and nearly 55% are fully vaccinated.

Mendocino Public Health doing their part to get more people vaccinated with a promotional campaign. The music video will be in various languages, one in Spanish and ten others in English and many other languages thru a partnership with the public health office and the Mendocino DEI COVID-19 Equity Work Group. The goal is to get the word out to underserved communities through elevating voices of leaders in their communities. A local artist is singing in the video and is produced by members of the workgroup and sponsored by the public health dept. The idea by the Mendocino Diversity Equity Inclusion Taskforce, an independent task force trying to stamp out racism in all its forms in the county.

A Navy sailor from Arkansas killed in World War II is being buried locally. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Earl Maurice Ellis of Hope, Arkansas was aboard the USS Oklahoma Dec. 7th, 1941, when it was attacked in Pearl Harbor. Ellis, a radioman 3rd class, was finally accounted for last December. He hails from Louisiana but will be buried in Eureka at Ocean View Cemetery where his twin sister is buried. He was aboard the ship during a torpedo attack that capsized the vessel, killing 429 crewmen including Ellis. The deaths on the USS Oklahoma are said to be the 2nd largest loss of life that happened during the Pearl Harbor attack. His body was found after but couldn’t be identified and was buried along with others at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, but he and others were exhumed because of advances in forensic techniques, then identified.

California in the money with more than expected tax revenue during the pandemic and now more from Cannabis taxes. The Department of Tax and Fee Administration has new numbers for the 1st Quarter of 2021, reporting the cannabis excise tax generated almost $132 million and the cultivation tax brought in another $30.7 million. Could have been more too because, due to the pandemic, the largest taxpayers continued paying, but others were given a three month extension to file 1st quarter, 2021 taxes with the Dept. of Tax and Fee Administration. Those are due in August and 2nd quarter tax revenue should be available by mid-August.

After a search warrant was served in Laytonville, for possible deer poaching and illegal marijuana growing, environmental hazards noted and a bunch of cannabis eradicated. Wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife with the search warrant last week. They found there was no state license for marijuana cultivation at the site which was near tributaries to Rattlesnake Creek and Tenmile Creek, each of which feed the South Fork Eel River watershed. Steelhead, Chinook salmon and the Foothill Yellow Legged Frog all live in the water bodies and environmental violations on stream dams were found. There were also multiple, unpermitted, undersized and stream crossing culverts installed to get to cannabis grows. There was also sediment found from the unpermitted culverts. They found more than 2,700 illegal cannabis plants, which were yanked from the ground, 24 pounds of processed cannabis and 187 pounds of shake, which were all destroyed. Possible wildlife poaching evidence was found along with ammunition and high-capacity magazines. A formal complaint is being filed with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office.  

PG&E says they have support for customers and communities related to their Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). The utility company has been known to shut off power during red flag weather warnings for public safety. They will do it again as needed to protect the public if high winds cause trees to come into contact with their equipment. They plan to be in closer touch with customers through alerts which they say they will send in 16 languages, provide specific address alerts, expand their network of event ready, ADA accessible indoor resource centers with stations for basic medical equipment charging, device charging, Wi-Fi and other amenities. They will also provide more meal replacements, water for those on well water and help communities get their own electric microgrids.

The Lake County Cannabis Alliance had their first job fair for county residents. Last Saturday in Lower Lake the Alliance hosted the fair to get people interested in the industry. They say there were positions available in in cultivation, production, distribution, sales, manufacturers and ancillary businesses. They offered lunch to attendees and speakers talking about the legal cannabis industry. The association announced a new partnership with Management Connections, a staffing agency in Lakeport who they’re working with to help them recruit qualified local employees.

Mendocino Code Enforcement upping the ante, charging fines of up to $25,000/day for a property north of Ukiah for having a commercial marijuana grow not following all the rules. The staff from the agency went to the site in the 400 block of Hardwick Lane earlier this month where they say there was a “non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation” operation that had 100 plants “in non-permitted structures without a County Cultivation Permit or State Cultivation License.” The fines included, non-permitted structures, violating the County Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance and a one-time $20,000 fine that amounts to a $200 “per plant” penalty for non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation.

Congressman Mike Thompson says he’s asked for over 2 million dollars to pay for the chip seal project in Lake County. The request to help roads in Lakeport, Kelseyville, Cobb Mountain and Hidden Valley was in the latest infrastructure package the Democrats are trying to get passed. It’s supposed to have revisions added later this week in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The work on 55 miles in the Congressman’s district. He says he secured just over 19 million as part of the Member Designated Project program and it’s now being considered in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It has to get a green light by the full House and Senate before going to the President.

The Yuba College District says they’re adding more in person learning opportunities. Starting this month they started a phased in return to face to face operations and expect to be fully operational in person for the fall semester in August. They didn’t totally close during the pandemic, same for Woodland Community College, but they were mostly online with some limited in-person learning. But starting last week, the school started its Summer Session work, students return Monday for the session which lasts through August 5th. Offices are open at both colleges now, practically all day long Monday through Thursday. There’s also federal aid money available from pandemic related financial aid packages.

More information has come out about that boat that capsized on Clear Lake where a man was reported missing. Lake Co News reports a woman fell out of the boat and her fiancé, who was trying to rescue her went in after her. They both died. 51 year old Webster Medley III and 50 year old Novia Walton, of Fresno died Saturday after their boat with five people inside, capsized offshore of Clearlake Oaks. Walton was found and taken to an out of county hospital where she died and her fiancé’s body was found Sunday. Apparently the boat belonged to Medley who took Walton and family members fishing. After the boat overturned, the three other passengers made it to the shore within a few minutes.

Two states, including Calif. have the lowest levels of community transmission of coronavirus. The news from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based on the latest data from states over the last week. Low transmission is considered when there are less than 10 positive cases per 100,000 residents and positive test results are less than 5%. California and Vermont meet the criteria. Calif came in at 9.1 cases/100,000. Other states, 34.5 in Florida, 30.6 in Pennsylvania, 26.8 in Texas, and almost 23/100,000 in New York state. Calif. at the height of the surge this winter was over 40,000 new cases/ day. There are now about 900 new cases/day in comparison.

Text messages released between several officers in the Eureka Police Dept. have leaked showing a culture of discrimination. An outside investigation into the Northern Calif. police dept, not yet completed, suspends a supervisor indefinitely after the homeless were likened to pigeons and they joked they’d use helicopter blades to decapitate them. The chief has sidelined a top ranking officer, who’s on paid administrative leave, but he didn’t say why. This officer oversaw day-to-day field operations though. Two other officers are on paid leave after the degrading text messages were released having to do with women, those with mental illness and others who were homeless.

Rumor has it the Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team was serving a search warrant in Round Valley. The Sheriff’s Dept. would only call it an active investigation. Mendo Fever reports a resident from Covelo reported seeing six undercover trucks and tribal officers were at a property near the Round Valley Transfer station on Refuse Road. And they say they saw cops “cutting the weed plants and tearing down the greenhouses.”

A semi-truck flipped on Highway 162, dumping a bunch of dirt on the road. The CHP office in Garberville confirmed the westbound side had to be shut down for a time and they were conducting a traffic operation, only allowing one way controlled traffic through. The trailer was reported to be upside-down in the roadway.

Mendocino Board member John Hashak reporting on the new cannabis ordinance the supervisors voted 4-1 to approve. He was the one no vote. Hashak puts out a weekly letter, this one was devoted to the new ordinance which allows cultivation on 10% of rangeland and agriculture land. Staff was directed to bring language back this summer that will instead limit this to 2 acres. He says it includes no water hauling, restrictions on hoop houses and prohibits generators as a primary power source. He said he voted no because the county has to show first it can handle the current permitting process, enforce the current rules and have enough cops to respond to the illegal grows in the county. He also mentioned he and Supervisor McGourty’s ad hoc committee for drought response having a zoom meeting Thursday where they’ll discuss forming a county water agency, voluntary water reductions, and other efforts to deal with the historic drought.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office out with a warning: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise again. The Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren says we are in another surge with daily average cases at 8 or more a day per 100,000 residents. The most cases are concentrated in Ukiah, Redwood Valley, and Willits. And outbreaks are reported at the Office Bar & Bistro and The Pub with three confirmed cases among customers who were there on either May 22nd or 23rd. So if you were there a couple of weeks ago, you should get tested. Dr. Coren says there was also an unrelated death to those businesses. He says to get tested even if you have mild symptoms and to frequently be tested if you’re not vaccinated.

A woman in Fort Bragg has been arrested, held on thousands of dollars bail for illegally growing marijuana and having outstanding warrants. Sheriff’s Deputies served the arrest warrant Saturday, contacting Rachel Hunt at the home. The warrants were for the illegal grow and violating probation. She’s held on $15,000.00 bail.

Konocti Unified School District has graduated their first Middle College group: Rafael Contreras, Domminic Mayer, and Viviana Ramos. The trio took college courses instead of high school elective courses as part of a partnership with the Lake County Campus of Woodland Community College which started in the fall of 2017. Students are allowed to take two college classes a semester, so by the time they graduate, they’ve accumulated 48 college credits. These three were able to get their Associate of Science degrees in Natural Science and Mathematics. And Contreras and Ramos are co-valedictorians, and Mayer was named KEC High School Student of the Year.

A man in Willits has been arrested after reports of a domestic violence incident. Deputies reported to the home over the weekend, finding the female victim in front of the home with Anthony Cape. She says the two were living together and a fight got physical, with him pushing her and tackling her to the ground. Deputies say she was also slapped in the face and had visible injuries on her face, hands and knees. Cape was arrested for felony domestic violence battery and since he was on probation he was jailed on $25,000 bail. He was additionally charged with violating probation.

An abandoned derelict motor home off the 101 in southern Mendo County has been removed. The motor home has apparently sitting there partially hidden near barriers placed by Caltrans to block a dirt access road. They say the vehicle was parked there at least two years. The DA says the roof of the RV was collapsing and came to find it was probably an environmental hazard and a public nuisance. Calls to the Mendocino County Building and Planning Department and Caltrans ended with the barriers to the dirt road removed, and the trash filled RV was towed out. They’re looking into who left the RV there as they could be responsible for towing funds.

A man who used to live in Ukiah and has a long criminal record has been sent to prison for life for various crimes including domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon, battery with serious bodily injury and dissuading a witness by means of threats or force.  Raymond Jones had other crimes on his record so the judge agreed to sentencing enhancements after former felony convictions for robbery and residential burglary in the San Joaquin County Superior Court, within the Three Strikes law.  The prosecution was arguing for 25 years as the defense said the 3 strikes law shouldn’t be considered.  In the end, the sentencing recommendation by the Probation Department was followed and Jones ended up getting 114 years, 4 months to life in state prison.

A 30 year ban on assault weapons in Calif. has been overturned by a federal judge in San Diego. The judge said the state’s definition of illegal military style rifles was unlawful, and deprived law abiding citizens weapons commonly allowed in other states.  Meanwhile, the Gov. called it “a direct threat to public safety and the lives of innocent Californians, period.” The judge likened assault rifles to the Swiss Army knife, calling an AR-15 rifle a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle.

15 lucky and newly vaccinated Californians are $50,000 richer, including one person from Mendocino County. The Gov. was at California State Lottery headquarters Friday as he encouraged all Californians to continue getting COVID19 vaccines ahead of the state’s official reopening, June 15th. But vaccine rates are off 18% from a week ago, thus the state lottery. And 10 people will also receive $1.5 million each — the largest of any vaccination prize in the country.

It finally ended peacefully… the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and a SWAT team was on the scene of a standoff with a man they said may have been armed in the Coyote Valley Rancheria. Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall talking to the press as law enforcement teams gathered to try to talk the guy out of the home. Deputies were trying to arrest Tiny Whipple for the manufacture of firearms and other violent offenses but say when they tried to get him into custody, he ran to the back of a home and hid in a shed. He is not a tribal member and was banned from the tribe in 2015. Apparently before the standoff, Whipple had been quoted saying he wanted a shootout with cops.

A bunch of illegal cannabis, illegal water use and environmental crimes cited in a case from Willits earlier this month. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife reportedly served a search warrant the second week of May along with an Environmental Scientist from the agency, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, a North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board representative and Mendocino County Code Enforcement. There was no state license to grow weed at the property and environmental violations were cited, including there being a manmade dam that was impacting the natural stream flow, illegal water diversion used to irrigate cannabis plants, sediment placed where it can pass into waters of the state, unpermitted stream crossings, cultivation areas with deleterious materials located near waters of the state. In the end more than 4,100 illegal cannabis plants were eradicated and over 75 pounds of processed cannabis was destroyed.

The Governor insists he won’t be lifting the coronavirus state of emergency on June 15. The state is reopening, but there will still be some restrictions in place. The state of emergency afforded Newsom broad authority for state laws and regulations. He says he won’t end the state of emergency because the virus “is not taking the summer months off.” Republicans have been trying to get that overturned for months with no luck as Democrats in the majority have continually blocked their efforts.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors will reconsider a permit for a big marijuana grow by Hidden Valley Lake. At the same time the board will talk drought and what to do about water trucks taking water from Clear Lake. The owner of WeGrow is trying to get her cannabis growing operation approved on a small chunk of her 309-acre property in Middletown. It’s just next to Hidden Valley Lake on nine acres. She’s proposing 35 greenhouses, four 50-foot by 100-foot drying buildings, a 200-square-foot shed, four 2,500-gallon water tanks and fencing. The board, like every other week will also hear about the pandemic from Public Health officials and hear an appeal again on a Vicious Animal Abatement case.

The search for a missing man in Clear Lake has been continuing after a boating accident. Early Saturday morning reports of a man in a boat with four others offshore of Clearlake Oaks. The boat overturned just after midnight, then reports came in of a missing Black man in his 50s who had apparently tried to rescue someone else, then vanished himself. The boat was found near the Clearlake Oaks boat launch. The Lake County Sheriff reported to Lake Co News the Marine Patrol was searching with no luck on Saturday and into yesterday.

Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry’s Internet for All Act has passed the Assembly. The bill would change the way broadband is supplied under the California Advanced Services Program. It would be bolstered with more money to bring the state into the technological 21st century. Aguiar-Curry says even before the pandemic, which shone a glaring light on the lack of reliable, affordable internet, we knew access was an essential requirement. A matching Senate Bill also passed to hopefully provide all Californians fast enough internet so they can access services like Telehealth, education and job-training. The Internet for All Act prioritizes broadband in the most vulnerable and unserved rural and urban communities.

A massive effort to have Governor Newsom’s back as he faces a recall election. Workers and union leaders at the California Labor Federation, which includes over 2 million state workers are working to defend Newsom as he works with unions to quickly get essential workers vaccinated. Thousands from the union are working on the campaign to keep the Gov. in office. They will walk precincts and knock on doors, meet face-to-face with voters regarding stopping the recall. They will also make phone calls and have outreach in various languages including, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese.

A Northern California Coalition, including Tribal, local and regional environmental organizations and individuals are calling for a 2-year moratorium on logging in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF). Kym Kemp reports there’s a petition circulating until there’s a new environmental impact report. The last one was drafted in 2007. Among the considerations the group is asking for: consideration of climate change impacts to and mitigation potential of the forest, acknowledging how the economy has changed in Mendocino County, guarantee of equitable access for all, emphasizing outdoor education for youth and adults and more low-impact recreation which won’t pose a threat to Native American Cultural Heritage.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will meet on the latest with the pandemic with the Public Health Officer. Like every week Dr. Andy Coren will present to the board, but this week may be different, as we’ve experienced another death and a mini outbreak at two restaurants. They’ll also discuss a re-establishment of the Mendocino County Water Agency as a Stand-Alone Agency with room for Public Health and Safety Issues Related to Drought Response and other Critical Tasks. And there’s a special budget meeting this week, so the board will take some time on that. And they’ll look at possibly boosting staff in Code Enforcement, the Sheriff’s Office, County Counsel, and Cannabis Program, for Cannabis Complaints and Enforcement, Aligned with the Humboldt Model.

Assemblymember Jim Wood’s bill for affordable health care has passed the State Assembly and moves to the Senate. The California Health Care Quality and Affordability Act will start the Office of Health Care Affordability to analyze the health care market for cost trends and what the spending drivers are, the come up with policy to lower health care costs so it’s more affordable. If it passes and all health care companies have to provide info on their plans. Something like this is already in place in six other states, and Wood’s office says it’s showing results and moderated health care costs.

The campaign finance watchdog in Calif. is now joining others, investigating the former mayor of Windsor. Former Mayor Dominic Foppoli is under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct, harassment and rape, now he’s being accused of bribing a town council member not to run against him. Rosa Reynoza alleges Foppoli offered money if she wouldn’t run for office a year ago. Reynoza says Foppoli had raised a lot of money. The two met at a coffee shop last June where Foppoli said Reynoza had no chance of winning and offered her other positions. She told him no and has texts to prove it.

The California Public Utilities Commission is ordering state utility companies, including PG&E to pay up and fix issues after bungled public safety power shutoff events. The CPUC says Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric all didn’t follow their stipulated guidelines for several of the 2019 power downs during wildfire weather. Some of the things the utility companies will have to do now follow guidelines by the state, improve customer communications, train staff on standard emergency management systems, file annual reports that show progress and make sure to report to the commission within 10 days of any event.

The vote regarding a big chunk of land to be donated in Ukiah has been tabled by the Planning Commission. City staff requested the commission hold off on the talk about donating the land in the Western Hills for open space preservation, but there could also be low density housing allowed on part of the 700 acres.  The Planning Commission was supposed to talk the plan over, but city staff said they needed more time to review public comment and recommended a continued public hearing on the matter. Apparently, the city got about 20 letters from the public many with concern about the housing idea.

A man accused of DUI with his child in the car has been arrested. Police say they got a report of a crash May 21st and found a gray Kia sedan had swiped two parked cars then took off. Police say the man had his teenager in the car with him who he had just picked up from Ukiah High School. Lincoln Chalmers was drunk police say, after they conducted sobriety tests. His blood alcohol content measured three times the legal limit. So he was arrested for driving under the influence, hit and run, and felony child endangerment. But he was freed due to the pandemic. He will have to report back for his court date. 

Allegations of harassment and intimidation just that the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce says so they won’t be investigating. The Advocate News reports finding out from the Chamber the allegations against board president, Ray Alarcon are considered a personnel matter and they Chamber says because of that they’re not allowed to discuss it. The newspaper reports it’s not a violation of labor laws to discuss if there might be an investigation. The former CEO claims, in her resignation letter, that there was a climate of constant harassment and discriminatory behavior. She says she spent years trying to resolve the issues, but the board chair says they’ve done a lot of investigating and have received no response or information from the former CEO. Several board members also resigned in solidarity with the CEO.

PM News

Someone from Mendocino County will have $50,000 more in the bank to start the weekend. We don’t know yet WHO that lucky person is, but they were one of the first 15 winners in the state vaccination incentive program announced by the Governor today. The other winners all come from counties in population centers around LA, San Diego, and San Francisco. The next round of $50,000 winners will be announced next Friday, while 10 people will get 1.5 MILLION on June 15. Everyone who gets a shot gets a 50 dollar gift card until the cards are gone. The promotion MAY not be achieving its goal. Since it started a couple weeks ago, the number of new vaccinations is actually DOWN.

A gas station in Mendocino has a dubious distinction. The travel and navigation website Gas Buddy says a gallon—ONE GALLON—of gas at Schlafer’s Auto Body & Repair will set you back $6.73. That is the highest price at ANY pump in the US, more than twice the national average. Owner Judith Schlafer says don’t blame her for that price. She tells SF that because her station doesn’t have a high volume gas business, HER cost is through the roof compared to big operators like Costco and Safeway. If you want the cheapest gas in California, you’ll have to head north to Smith River near the Oregon border. That’s where Gas Buddy says a gallon at the Lucky-7 Fuel Mart on Highway 101 costs $3.25.

National recognition for the Lake County poet laureate. Georgia Marie Guardado is one of just 23 poets from around the country to be named a 2021 Poet Laureate Fellow by the Mellon Foundation. The award supports the laureates and poetry programs in the communities they represent. Lake Co News reports that Guardado will get $50,000 to install poetry boxes, poetry display cases, tiny poetry libraries, and poetry murals in all 18 communities in Lake County. She is from Lakeport and has just been offered–and accepted — a second term as the county’s poet in chief.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help a well-known doctor who practices at Adventist Health. Dr. Paul Carty-Soriano was seriously injured in a crash near Ukiah earlier this week. He had to be airlifted from the scene, and according to, Dr. Carty-Soriano’s family is with him as he remains at an out-of-area hospital. So far, the GoFundMe page has raised almost $31,000 of its $100,000 goal.

CalFire says your emergency plans should keep PETS in mind. This is national pet preparedness month, which Cal Fire says is a good time to make sure you have the essentials for your four-legged family members ready to go. That would include things like enough food and water, leashes, toys, treats, and any medicine your animals need. There  is a section with information about animal safety concerns on the  website

A man in Piercy has been arrested after an assault on his mom. The Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call to a home where a man says he was awakened by his son yelling at his mother. When the man got out of bed, he saw his son, Anton Kloiber squatting over his mom as she lay on the floor, hitting her in the head with a blunt force object, he then threw it at dad and ran away. Mom was taken to a hospital and Kloiber was found nearby at a gas station and arrested for Assault With a Deadly Weapon and violation of Post Release Community Supervision out of Mendocino County. A judge was contacted later and an Emergency Protective Order and Bail Enhancement was secured. Kloiber’s being held on $500,000.00 bail.

A package of wildfire related bills authored by State Senator Bill Dodd have been approved as another potentially destructive season arrives. Dodd’s office announces the bills will enhance the state’s ability to prevent, prepare for and respond to future infernos. The bills which now head to the Assembly, were overwhelmingly passed by the Senate. One will create an Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development to study, produce and test new equipment to fight wildfires; the next to encourage more controlled burns across the state, making insurance more accessible for professional burn bosses.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Drought Ad Hoc Committee is meeting for a virtual town hall. A week from today at 4:00pm, Supervisors John Haschak and Glenn McGourty are hosting the virtual Countywide Drought Task Force Meeting with an update on discussions with community partners and staff. Members of the public will get an update and will be able to share any recommendations they have with the Ad Hoc Committee.

To join via Zoom, click the link:

Passcode: 665233

The webinar will also be streaming live on the County’s YouTube channel ( and the County’s Facebook page (

For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 or

He’s at it again, the owner of a Mendocino coast restaurant is defying pandemic safety protocols. This time, he’s charging $5 for those who enter Fiddleheads wearing a mask. The cafe in the town of Mendocino was even closed down a couple of times and fined for disobeying COVID19 lockdown measures for restaurants. Owner Chris Castleman has posted a sign outdoors that says his policy is, if you wear a mask, he’ll charge you $5, and if you mention being vaccinated, that’s another $5 hit. It comes after he faced fines and citations from the County regarding masking protocols last year. This spring he also offered 50% off your bill if you came in and threw out your mask upon entering. Castleman says all the money he makes on his protocals will go to charities who suffered fallout from lockdowns. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer Doctor Andy Coren disagrees and says Castleman getting media coverage could interfere with the county’s fight against the virus.

The Mendocino Volunteer Fire Dept. working with experts from the California Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito to help an injured sea lion at Portuguese Beach. A spokesperson for the Marine Mammal Center says the animal had “multiple facial injuries” and was being checked out to see how old it was, its gender, overall condition, examine its facial injuries and check for any other health abnormalities. Rescuers needed to work with firefighters due to the terrain. They sent a metal carrier down to the beach to hoist the sea lion up with.

A facelift for the downtown plaza in Ukiah. A report says the area needs cleaning and painting in several areas after finding mold and graffiti in several places and being unsuccessful at removing it. So the city has a power wash planned along with some primer, and anti-graffiti topcoat of quality paint.

A state of emergency has been declared by the Karuk Tribe in the Klamath Basin due to the ongoing drought. The tribe says it could end in the loss of an “an entire generation of salmon.” They say they found dead young salmon in their monitoring traps and the ones that were still alive were infected with disease. The fisheries is monitored each year along the Klamath by biologists who check for a deadly pathogen Ceratonova shasta, or C. shasta. So they trap fish for testing. This year they say up to 97% of their samples of juvenile salmon tested positive for the disease.

The number of residents in Lake County is down. According to a new state report the lowest level in 14 years. Lake Co News reports it’s happening at the same time the state’s population also went down. The data from the California Department of Finance’s annual demographic report. It says there were abou  182,000 less residents last year. And as of this past January 1st, the state’s population was at 39,466,855 with negative growth of -0.46% in 2020. It also said Lake County’s population was down -0.1% at 63,940 as of Jan. 1st, the lowest since 2007. Mendocino County was also down, -1.2% and Sonoma was off -1.5%. The report says the declines year over year were due to deaths, immigration policies and deaths due to the pandemic.

The Lakeport City Council’s preparing for July 4th celebrations. At the meeting Tuesday, they approved an application for a celebration with pandemic safety protocols in place.  Last year the event was canceled for obvious reasons. But the number of COVID cases have been down as of late, allowing the state to fully reopen June 15th. So city staff have been working on a modified event the last several months. The city manager says it’s been a group effort. There will be a larger area for fireworks so they can ensure social distancing and in an area with more visibility. No alcohol will be allowed. The vote to approve the celebration was unanimous.

Still mired in a backlog of unemployment claims, the state’s been unable to catch up for a month and a half. So some people are reportedly paying private companies to get through to the constantly busy Employment Development Department’s phone lines. The San Francisco Chronicle is also reporting some non-English speakers are paying intermediaries to fill out their unemployment applications and continue to follow up each two week cycle. The agency had supposedly been working to shorten wait times, but some are still paying for robocalls to hold their place in line. At the same time a judge has ordered Bank of America, which uses debit cards to pay unemployment in California, to stop using a fraud filter and reopen denied claims.

The biggest state worker union in Calif. has approved giving the Governor’s recall fight a $1 million boost. SEIU Local 1000 represents 96,000 state workers. The board of directors of the union approved the large donation yesterday to help win the recall election for the Governor. The Union president called for an emergency meeting of the union’s board of directors last week because she lost the presidency after her opponent said the union shouldn’t support Newsom. The new president takes over this month. He will need the board of directors support to oppose the recall. 44 people on the board voted to support the massive donation, nine voted against and five abstained.

No more restrictions on churches as far as the virus goes, but the state has to pay over $2 million dollars in fines to lawyers who challenged the safety protocols in houses of worship at the height of the pandemic. In a deal approved by a federal judge earlier this week, a permanent injunction was ordered that said restrictions on houses of worship cannot exceed those on retail businesses. But the case rate is way down now, so it doesn’t really do a lot as it relates to COVID-19. All restrictions in the state will be lifted June 15th. The Governor’s office however has put out a statement that said Newsom put the health of Californians first when imposing church closures and capacity limits.

A group of Democratic lawmakers and advocates are urging the passage of an Emergency Food Assistance Bill.  Assemblymembers Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Mike Gipson (D-Carson), Carlos Villapudua (D-Stockton) and Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) had a press conference on the bill which has passed the Assembly. It would provide $600 of emergency food assistance to low-income Californians impacted by the pandemic. The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) and the Western Center on Law and Poverty (WCLP) are all sponsors. The lawmakers say the pandemic and resulting recession have left many in Calif. challenged to pay their rent, buy groceries and take care of other basic necessities.  

On Memorial Day weekend, it became clear, Lake Sonoma, was hit by the drought. The Army Corps of Engineers reported 400 vessels on the water body this past weekend. They had new regulations though because the lake is at historically low levels, exposing underwater hazards, in some cases, almost above the surface. The Corp. has extended the no wake zones to all areas, except where it’s wide and deep behind Warm Springs Dam. So it can get crowded in the only areas where water skiers, wake boarders and other users wanted to go at a high rate of speed, Dry Creek arm.  Same over at Lake Mendocino, but it’s closed to motorized boats and has been since last August. Lake Sonoma is at 57% of its seasonal capacity.

State Senator Scott Weiner of San Francisco is looking to get certain drugs decriminalized so they can be used for research and medicinal purposes. Wiener wants to decriminalize psychedelic drugs; he says because they’ve been shown to be able to aid in mental health issues and addiction. His bill, introduced in February, covers several drugs including psilocybin or magic mushrooms, DMT, mescaline, LSD, ketamine, and MDMA. The bill would legalize the drugs for anyone over 21 but could not be used or possessed on school grounds. It also looks to put together a research panel to hold hearings on projects that look at the use of cannabis or hallucinogenic drugs.

A driver in Ukiah pinned under his car had to be helped out by firefighters. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reported the driver got stuck after rolling into a ditch after a crash. He was found by a local, off-duty paramedic. The car had to be hoisted onto blocks, then rescuers used the Jaws of Life to free the man. The CHP reports the 34 year old from Ukiah had major injuries and had to be airlifted to a hospital in Santa Rosa. The crash is not being blamed on alcohol or drugs and the driver is not in trouble with the law.

Another car crash, but the people who were in the vehicle split the scene. The CHP reported it overturned in Covelo bringing out patrol officers, Covelo Fire, and Round Valley Tribal Police. A tow truck was called to remove the car from a ditch.

The Lakeport City Council has heard about the problem with wild pigs at the city’s sewer property. The city council considered the issue at their meeting last night, looking to enter a contract with the Department of Fish and Wildlife through the Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement, or SHARE program. The agreement would allow the city the right to have wild pig hunts on the Sewer District property which was grassland watered with treated wastewater where cattle had been grazing. The city council decided they’d continue to look into the solution before agreeing to the hunts. But the pigs have reportedly been tearing up the area and triggering neighbor complaints.

After the former mayor of Windsor resigned due to multiple sexual assault, abuse or harassment claims against him the Town Council will meet for the first time. Former Mayor Dominic Foppoli resigned last week after the latest complaint, this one from a reality star living in Florida, who says Foppoli raped her. The town council meeting tonight will feature a brief nod to the resignation then they will decide how to fill the spot, either an appointment or a special election. If they decide to just fill the spot, then whoever is chosen will no longer be a town councilor, so that spot will also need to be filled. Then applications would have to be accepted and so on. They could also appoint the second place finisher to the Mayor’s race last time.

Even as the state looks to fully reopen businesses in a couple weeks, Sonoma County will remain, until that time, in the orange tier. When the state reopens June 15th, there will be no more tiered system. Sonoma County is currently dealing with a moderate rate of COVID19 transmission. The Sonoma County Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says there’s been a recent uptick in cases from young adults not vaccinated. She says it sends a message to get the vaccine since all of the cases are in those who are unvaccinated between the ages of 18-to-34. She does say, other than that, that the outlook is positive. Almost 60% of the county’s population is fully vaccinated and 12% more have had at least one shot. Mase says that has greatly reduced virus transmission in the county.

Senator Alex Padilla on an infrastructure listening tour has visited Calif.’s power grid in Folsom. Last summer were more intentional power downs and blackouts so there’s a campaign to stop it. Padilla at California ISO Tuesday talking up the so-called Power On Act, which could mean funds to improve the power grid. The California ISO reportedly added around 3,500 more megawatts to supply capability this year though. The agency says this will address the lack of power when it’s needed.  Padilla says so if there have to be public safety power shutoffs, over time, it can happen in more targeted areas, not such wide swaths of the state.

As we head into the driest part of the year and deal with another year of drought, a reminder from the California Water Board, if you divert water from any water body and put it into a truck you have to have a valid water right. The agencies say, if you don’t, you could be fined and cited. The fees range from $500 to $1,000 a day during a drought year, and $2,500 per acre-foot of water diverted—by the State Water Board and the Department of Fish & Wildlife. The penalties include up to a year in jail, and a $2,000 fine. The water board doesn’t generally act as law enforcement unless it impacts water quality and water supply.

Just like every year gas prices go up around Memorial Day and tend to come back down around Labor Day or the end of the holiday traveling season. But a new report by AAA says gasoline prices are at a seven-year high with a gallon of gas averaging just over $3/gallon across the country. Up about .15¢ from a month ago and nearly $2 from a year ago. But here in Calif. we’re at about $4.20 a gallon. Hawaii’s just behind us at about $3.93 a gallon and other West Coast states are pretty high too, including Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah. The cheapest in the south, under 3 bucks in places like Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

The Mendocino County CEO has a new/old assistant. The Deputy CEO Darcie Antle has been appointed as the Assistant Chief Executive Officer. She’s been the Deputy since 2017 and also serves at the Disaster Recovery Finance Director and the COVID-19 Vaccine Coordinator. Before working for the county, she was at Adventist Health and the California Medical Group. She’s also has been a professor at both Mendocino College and Mendocino County Office of Education and is a former president of the Rotary Club of South Ukiah. She says she’s looking forward to working even closer with the CEO and the Board of Supervisors on initiatives and priorities that will move the County of Mendocino into the best position for the future.

A former inmate firefighter is now a full-time EMT. The man’s lawyer petitioned the court so he could be an EMT and get his felony removed from his permanent record. A bill was signed at the beginning of the year to allow formerly incarcerated people to clear their records after completing fire camp and getting out of prison. They partner with Cal Fire for non-violent offenders in 44 fire camps throughout the state. This new EMT fought fires in 2019. He was in prison on drug charges.  His lawyer did not release his name publicly. He says he’ll work as an EMT in Calif and was the first in Mendocino County to apply for the program. His record was expunged in April.

Shopping malls across the state could soon be flipped into affordable housing complexes. That’s if a group of legislators gets their way. The housing shortage has lawmakers considering changing some laws so zoning is no longer a barrier to turning malls into housing. The state senate passed a bill last week so developers could put up housing on most commercial sites without changing the zoning. There’s another idea too, to pay local governments to change the zoning so developers can put up affordable housing. Last year a similar bill was considered to override local zoning laws so developers could build small apartment buildings in neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes, but it failed in the state Senate.

A special hearing is being held by the Mendocino Board of Supervisors on the continuing discussion of whether or not to adopt a new Commercial Cannabis ordinance. The hearing tomorrow, bypassing their regular meeting today to discuss and take possible action to introduce and waive the first reading of the ordinance adopting the new way to do business related to commercial cannabis activity land use and add any possible amendments to the ordinance. They’ll also discuss and take possible action to direct county staff to draft tax relief for licensed cultivators on 10,000 square feet and less and increase the tax for larger farms in a revenue neutral way.

Mendocino County Code Enforcement officers out at several commercial cannabis farms found without permits. Those found guilty had to yank their plants. The first in Redwood Valley where officers found 118 plants which were taken out. Then two more in Ukiah, one only had 25 plants, but the second had 265 plants abated. The code enforcement officers also reportedly planned to continue taking action against non-licensed growers. They’re responsible for all Cannabis and General Code Violation complaints in the unincorporated areas of the County.  

Be on the lookout for tree work on West Perkins Street. It’s happening tomorrow between North Spring Street and North Hortense Streets from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. That means West Perkins Street will be closed between North Spring Street and North Hortense Street so you’ll have to choose an alternate route during the hours the street is closed. The city says they’re sorry for any inconvenience. 

Even though we’ve been in the midst of a pandemic, students from Kelseyville High School FFA (Future Farmers of America) kept busy. And the school has announced their principal, Mike Jones, was chosen as the 2021 North Coast FFA Region Star Administrator. High schools offering the FFA program have to have a certified and approved agriculture program.  They still participated in 2020 in the Lake County Fair, winning 1st in the Grand Champion Market Steer and Showmanship, Grand Champion for Market Hog and more. Four students got their State FFA degree too.

 Willits police doing a regular traffic stop on a car and found a bunch of meth. The police dept. reports one of their officers stopped a car on Main St. last Friday night and found the driver with about three to four pounds of packaged methamphetamine and another three pounds of processed marijuana. Travis Ninnemann of Arizona was the driver and Julius Gruber of Willits was the passenger. Both were arrested for conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of meth for sale and transportation of marijuana for sale.

A proposal is being tossed around the Lakeport City Council to potentially allow wild pig hunts on city sewer district property. The meeting tonight will look at allowing the hunts in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife because there are apparently wild pigs running around on the property. They use the land to dispose of treated wastewater and there are also sprinkler fields they use the water for grass where cattle graze. There’s a lease agreement for the land use already, and now the pigs are also coming over to graze and are apparently destroying the property. So the city contacted the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and were told they should consider designating the land for controlled hunting purposes. The city council will also discuss having their July 4th celebration this year, after skipping last year due to the pandemic.

PG&E’s having an online town hall on wildfire prevention, publics safety power shutoffs and resources so you can prepare for this wildfire season. Tomorrow at noon, you can hop online and talk to the utility company and hear the latest news.  Company representatives will be on hand to talk about reducing wildfire risks throughout the service territory.

To access the virtual safety town hall or view recordings of past wildfire safety webinars, you can also visit

A shooting is being investigated in Lucerne. It happened Sunday night before 10, bringing deputies and firefighters to a home after reports of a shooting. It took about a half hour to get an air ambulance to get the victim to Sutter Lakeside Hospital because no other choppers were available. The victim was flown to an out of area hospital and was last reported in stable condition. There have been no arrests.

An underage drinking enforcement sting rounded up some folks in the so-called shoulder tap operation in Lakeport. Police along with the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control went out May 22nd. A police officer posed as a minor to try to get adults to buy booze for them. Police officers say they approached 28 adults and a man from Cloverdale, Donald Johnson was arrested, then given a citation and allowed to leave. The penalty is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

A drought declaration has been passed by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors so all water suppliers will implement mandates on conservation. Most residents in the county use groundwater, but diversions from the Eel River through the Potter Valley Project and Russian River are super low this year. As we’ve been reporting some of the things you can do to help, let your lawns go brown or replace them with artificial turf or drought tolerant species, water deeply and less often and use mulch to minimize evaporation, use a broom instead of hose to clean driveways and patios, install water-saving showerheads and take shorter showers, turn water off when brushing teeth and washing hands, check faucets, sinks, toilets and showers for leaks and repair promptly if necessary. For more info,  or call the Drought Hotline: (707) 234-6363.