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Several cases of COVID19 have been confirmed at the Chowder House and Tap Room in Pt. Arena, Trinks Café in Gualala Cove and Azul Bar & Grill in Gualala. The Mendocino County Public Health Office reports from the end of June thru the first week of July, many people may have been exposed to the virus and should be tested if they’re not vaccinated. They also say if you feel you may have symptoms and have received the vaccination, you should also be tested. The agency says they’re preparing for outbreaks during summer months. The establishment owners put out statements too, saying they’re following health and safety protocols and urge residents to get vaccinated. Others say they’re totally sanitizing and reopening and also encourage getting the shots so we can live without fear and anxiety.

The legislative session is about to end in Sacramento as lawmakers consider a bill to require nursing homes to account better for billions in taxpayer dollars they get every year. The State Assembly Committee on Health is considering a bill to require nursing homes to provide detailed financial reports including transactions with any vendors they own more than a five-percent interest in. State Senator Henry Stern of Los Angeles sponsored the bill.

 :14  “Unless we actually know the nature of these related-party transactions, there’s an ability to erect a very insidious shell game – moving money around, and not knowing where it is – that we could be seeing billions of dollars in waste and abuse.”

Tag:  Those against the bill say it puts too big a regulatory burden on an industry that’s reeling from COVID-19. Rallies in support of the bill are happening today in L-A and Oakland.

Second Cut: Blanca Castro with A-A-R-P California says COVID exposed longstanding problems with short staffing. She says state info shows more than 110-thousand nursing home residents and staff had been infected as of May.

 :08  “The time is now to hold to nursing home operators accountable. Over 9,000 lives were lost; that includes residents and staff.”

Third Cut: Union leader Arnulfo De La Cruz with S-E-I-U 2015 says some nursing-home corporations use what he calls “accounting tricks” with affiliated companies to extract profits from rent, supplies and more.

 :12  “Shining a light on the lack of transparency by some of California’s largest nursing-home employers is a fundamental step towards our vision for a longterm care system that puts care first, not profit.”

Fourth Cut: Tony Chicotel with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform says these concerns predate the pandemic.

 :14  “Nursing homes know their costs. They know their profits, and the state simply doesn’t. This lack of transparency results in the state getting ripped off, paying for the private jets and vacation homes of nursing-home owners, instead of the staff and resources critical for resident well-being.”

Tag:  A recent state auditor’s report found from 2006 to 2015, three of the state’s biggest nursing-home corporations grew substantially – and their related-party transactions soared – even as deficiencies that caused serious harm or death to residents increased by 35-percent.

A man involved in a head on crash in Colusa County has died. The 57 year old victim was from Clearlake. The CHP reports he was driving on Highway 20 east of Highway 16 when the 2014 Toyota Tacoma pickup he was driving at a high rate of speed swerved and hit Jacob Funk of Orland. He had 3 passengers, 2 of which were small children. The patrol says Funk tried to avoid the crash but the pickup hit his front left side. The Clearlake driver did not have on a seatbelt. Everyone else did. Funk had neck and back pain and his adult passenger had a head contusion. The children complained of pain. Air ambulances were sent. The CHP indicated alcohol and/or drugs were possible factors in the accident.

The cause of a couple of power outages over the weekend in Lake County have been released. Pacific Gas and Electric says the Saturday outage in the middle of a heat wave was possibly caused by a fault in the electric line. They inspected the area several times but never found why there was a fault. But due to high fire threat they kept the line down to make sure it was 100% inspected before they turned it back on. They inspected again early Sunday morning and power was completely restored by 9am. The second outage Sunday afternoon in the Hidden Valley Lake area was heat related.  Repairs were made in about four hours.

A massive new state budget has been signed into law by the governor. He says it includes the biggest recovery in state history, the $100 billion California Comeback Plan. It is supposed to provide relief to the neediest. Immediate direct cash payments to middle class families and businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. The Gov. says they’re using the surplus to make investments in certain communities. He says the pandemic has shown where support is needed for those facing the greatest hardships. There is a major surplus, the most in state history, nearly $76 billion, reversing an anticipated shortfall estimated last year during the height of the pandemic.

State Senator Mike McGuire says an agreement has been reached to expand high speed internet across the state. He says the Senate, Assembly and Governor’s office agreed on a package of bills for historic broadband infrastructure for both unserved and underserved communities across the state. He says “it’s no longer a luxury, it has to be a right” as the pandemic shined a light on the massive disparities that exist in small towns and inner cities when it comes to a lack of internet. The package of bills includes $3.25 billion to construct a state-owned fiber middle mile and requires construction in geographically diverse urban and rural communities. There’s $2 billion for last mile infrastructure, at least $1 billion for rural communities, $750 million in loans to startup local broadband networks and $50 million for technical assistance grants for rural and underserved communities.

A meeting of Sherwood Firewise Communities included special presentations on fire safety in the area. The quarterly meeting including a presentation by the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services Director regarding evacuation zones, which you can view at mendoready.org. All you have to do is enter your address to find your evacuation zone. He also encouraged residents to sign up on Everbridge and Nixle for emergency notifications. The Executive Director of Mendocino County Fire Safe Council was also there encouraging folks to take part in Chipper Days. They also went over a FEMA program for roof replacement and another to create defensible space around your home. The group also got a water service update from the Brooktrails Township Community Service District General Manager.

Universal transitional kindergarten is starting in Calif. The Gov. and some lawmakers working on the idea, pouring $2.7 billion into a program to eventually be phased in by the 2025-26 school year. There are already about 100,000 kids in TK, but it’s being expanded after the Gov. signed a Senate bill into law Friday. Some larger school districts in the state already have the program in place, but the state had been behind other states already offering transitional kindie for years. There are millions of under the age of 5 kids in Calif. Only about a third are enrolled in TK.

The choice of mask wearing in schools in the fall was apparently because there wasn’t enough space in all schools to follow CDC guidelines of 3 feet of physical space between students. The new state rule says masks promote safety and in-person learning by reducing the need for physical distancing. But the new rules could even change by November. Some parents are none too happy about the masking rules, according to Cal Matters. Reopen Calif. Schools, a group looking for the government to reopen in person learning said the new face covering rule is “outrageous”. The director says his group was inundated with calls and donations and is filing a lawsuit against the state.

The cost to Californians due to the pandemic to date, $12.3 billion. The latest data shows over 40 categories, the state has calculated that amount from “total direct pandemic emergency response” between 2020 and 2022. That paid for masks for health care workers, gowns, gloves, medical interpreters, laptops for students, temporary contact tracers. And more of it went to state prisons to fight the pandemic, testing for the virus and lab equipment. A lot of the money came from the federal government from the various stimulus packages.

The Gov. cannot have his party affiliation on the recall ballot in Sept. A judge says Gov. Newsom cannot indicate he’s a Democrat after his lawyers and the Secretary of State fought for it in court. But the judge says Newsom missed a deadline and she’s following the law, so Newsom filed a lawsuit. He was apparently supposed to include his party affiliation in a reply to the recall in February of 2020, but one of his lawyers says they made a mistake.  Too bad the judge said. The special election is Sept. 14.

Deputies are searching for a man they say was involved in the shooting near the Black Butte Store in Covelo. Deputies say sometime last Wednesday, one victim and a witness were headed back to an illegal marijuana cultivation site in a remote area of Mendocino County and another cultivator shot a gun at them. The victim and witness got out of a car and called for help, meeting at the Black Butte Store. All deputies say is the suspect was described as a Hispanic man, between 35 to 45 years-old, about 5 feet 5 inches tall, 165 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Deputies went back two days later and found over 2,900 marijuana plants in non-permitted green houses and other structures. There is not a whole lot more info on the investigation so far.

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