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Lots of calls to the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority during a test by PG&E that seemingly few people knew about. The Daily Journal reports giant flames were seen shooting out of large metal structures yesterday morning. The fire chief said they got a call to some “cubes on fire” on Kunzler Rd, but they were being generated on purpose by Pacific Gas and Electric on their gas pipeline from Healdsburg to Hopland. They were burning excess gas off. PG&E did notify the fire dept. earlier this month, but they tell the newspaper it was surprising that so many people saw it overnight.

A bear caught cooling off in Lake Mendocino caught on video by the US Army Corps of Engineers. They shared pictures to their Facebook page of the black bear that climbed into an old water cistern on the Lake during really hot days late last month. It’s not unusual, but apparently the first time the park manager said she had heard of one going into a cistern.  Wildlife cameras caught the images of the animal June 30th, when it was 105 degrees in the shade.

Looks like community colleges in Calif. are adding on ethnic studies as a requirement. The board of governors who oversees California’s more than 100 community colleges has voted unanimously to revise general education requirements with ethnic studies added on for those pursuing an associate degree. It will start in the Fall of 2022, but probably won’t actually go into effect for a year after that. It will mean students have to take a Native American studies, African American studies, Asian American studies or Latina and Latino studies class. CSU is also requiring students take ethnic studies for lower division coursework. So those at community college who transfer will also need to have the class.

Nationwide teacher shortage after the pandemic and in Lake County, they’re taking the bull by the horns. Lake Co News reports the Office of Education is trying to create a teacher credentialing program with Teach Lake County. So those who have bachelor’s degrees can earn a teaching credential near home at an affordable price. So far they have had over 20 educators in the program. They currently have an Intern Credentialing program for two types of credentials including teaching multiple subjects (transitional kindergarten through sixth grade) or mild/moderate special education.

A bunch of marijuana being grown illegally on various farms has been eradicated. The Mendocino County Code Enforcement Division has been investigating the possible non-permitted commercial cannabis, finding 3 in Willits and another in Gualala, yanking over 830 plants in all. The citations or charges for growing in non-permitted structures, without a County Cultivation Permit, or State Cultivation License.  Those responsible had to get rid of the plants. The work after complaints made to the Code Enforcement Division about Cannabis and General Code Violations in unincorporated areas of the County.

In a dramatic turn of events and after the threat of at least one lawsuit the state will allow Calif. schools to make their own choice when it comes to facial coverings. Earlier this week we told you that the state Public Health Dept. announced that since 3 feet distance, per CDC guidelines, cannot always be achieved, that masks would be mandatory. But then hours later they took it back saying local school officials can choose how to deal with students who refuse to wear masks. They were going to straight up prohibit unmasked students on campus. The guidance also said kids who were banned for not wearing masks should be offered alternative educational opportunities.

A big push by the state to corral illegal marijuana grows. The state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife working with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the state licensing authority to find possible environmental violations connected to unlicensed cannabis cultivation. The agency says they fully support the regulated market and those working to keep it compliant. The permitting process, the agency says is designed to reduce environmental impacts. Before growing, an active state license is required with local approval possibly also needed.  The multiagency task force will look for grows on priority watersheds and areas with sensitive habitat and/or threatened or endangered species.

The drought is causing Fort Bragg to put a mandatory water conservation measure in place. The City Council voted unanimously for a Water Warning, mandatory Stage 2 conservation. That means residents have to hit a 10-20% reduction in seasonal water use. The city first had voluntary Stage 1 and Stage 2 water conservation measures. But water flows were starting to lower, the Noyo River, for example was at levels at where they were during the worst drought on record, back in 1977. Mendo Fever reports Fort Bragg city leaders are working with the Water Quality Board Division of Water Rights, CA Fish and Wildlife, County staff and elected officials about the diversion from the Noyo River regarding the seasonal dam at Camp Noyo.

A small grass fire quickly put out in Ukiah… by some locals nearby. Mendo Fever reports both Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and the Police Department responded to a small grass fire. The site reports it was in an empty lot near the intersection of Perkins Street and Hospital Drive, but before fire fighters even got there the fire was out as locals with fire extinguishers were proactive.  The fire chief says he thinks it may have been caused by a cigarette being tossed. They made sure the fire was totally extinguished before leaving the scene. And the chief says motorists really should have a fire extinguisher in their vehicles. And also, to call the fire department to make sure fires are completely out.  

Lakeport police have a new police dog after over a decade without. The Chief Brad Rasmussen reports Police K-9 Olin, a young male German shepherd will work with handler, Officer Kaylene Strugnell. The last dog the police department worked with was in May of 2009. The chief tells Lake Co News he’s been trying to get a police dog in the department again for years and was planning to back in 2018. The city got a grant of about $38,000 from the USDA along with private funding to re-establish the K-9 Unit. Olin and his human partner have completed their first six weeks of training and started to work together last month. The dog is trained in drug detection including meth, heroin and cocaine, and he has a patrol certification including suspect tracking and apprehension.

It was a yes from the Board of Supervisors to move the Lake County Registrar of Voters Office. The new office across from the courthouse. They’ll move next year. The ten year lease was unanimously approved by the board at their meeting Tuesday. There have to be some renovations first, like upgrading the bathrooms to meet Americans with Disabilities Act compliance and enclosing offices in the main area, putting in new doors and heating and more. They look to be in the new space in June of next year. The building used to be the local Pacific Gas and Electric office for many years.

CalPERS, the largest public pension fund in the country is paying as much as $2.7 billion back to policyholders who had giant premium hikes. The retirement system settled a class-action lawsuit over the fee hikes for almost 80,000 people who paid more for long-term costs of nursing care that also included “inflation-protection” coverage. A judge still has to give the deal the green light. It comes as a bunch of policyholders sued in 2013 after they were told their premiums were going up over two years by 85%.

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