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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.

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