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WE REPORTED EARLIER THIS WEEK THAT MENDOCINO COUNTY HAS  A NEW RULE ABOUT DEADLINES FOR

SUBMITTING PETITIONS PROTESTING COUNTY ORDINANCES.  IN THIS ELECTION CYCLE IT FALLS AT 5 PM TODAY.  

AN ON- TIME PETITION ON THE CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE ABOUT EXPANDING CANNABIS CULTIVATION WAS FILED

ON TUESDAY OF THIS WEEK.  THE PETITION  ASKS THAT EXPANDING GROWING TO 10% ON AG LAND AND

PERMITTING EXPANSION INTO RANGE LAND BE SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS IN A REFERENDUM.  

MINIMUM OF 4,000 SIGNATURES ARE REQUIRED TO QUALIFY FOR INCLUSION ON THE BALLOT.   THOUGH THEY

HAVE NOT YET BEEN OFFICIALLY COUNTED,  ORGANIZERS FOR THIS PETITION HAVE INDICATED THEY HAVE

MORE THAN ENOUGH AND WERE ABOVE THEIR GOAL.   

A fire that broke out in Clearlake Oaks ended in the arrest of a local woman. 11 structures burned in the fire that started last Saturday afternoon. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to help Northshore Fire because there were evacuations.  Five structures and six outbuildings were damaged or destroyed. Later a woman was seen in the area walking with accelerant, she was yelling at folks, one of them reported her, Tori Brannon, who they say threatened she’d burn her neighbor’s homes down. She told police she was throwing away old gasoline by pouring it into the ground and soaking it up with a  blanket. And she claimed an old lighter somehow sparked the fire. So she yelled for people to call 9-1-1. They arrested her for Unlawful Starting of a Fire resulting in destruction of an inhabited structure, and Unlawful Starting of A fire During a State of Emergency. She was held on $500,000.00 bail.

Several hundred pot plants found at a home in Clearlake. Cops served a search warrant at a home finding over 900 marijuana plants in four “hoop houses”. There wasn’t anyone at the residence when officers got there, but they’ve reportedly identified a possible suspect. Complaints came to police who told code enforcement about the possible grow and water diversions. Detectives say they think the garden was an illegal cultivation operation with nobody residing at the home and those responsible were stealing power and water. Calling it a potential fire hazard too. Power was then disconnected.

A couple of homes have been damaged and an outbuilding was destroyed during a fire in Willits. The fire reportedly started in the backyard where there had been reports of numerous illegal burn piles recently. Little Lake Fire reported to the scene with City of Willits Code Enforcement Officers several times in the past. A neighbor told Mendo Fever the owner had lit several bonfires there before. The Fire Chief of Little Lake Fire, and Ridgewood Ranch Fire, Brooktrails Fire, and a Cal Fire were at the fire this week. Nobody was home at the time, but several cats were rescued from one building.

A home fire reported in Laytonville spread to brush. The fire on Spyrock Road yesterday afternoon. Firefighters arrived to find the home fully engulfed in flames. An Incident Commander reported they received multiple calls on the fire and the home was a total loss, but the fire was contained quick.

Surveillance testing of COVID19 cases in Sonoma County turns up multiple cases of the Delta variant. The Press Democrat reports the samples revealed at least 115 cases of the highly transmissible strain, showing delta is now the dominant coronavirus strain. The public health officer says most of the samples they’ve taken since May have been the delta strain. They’re doing a certain kind of genetic sequencing on some of the test samples which turned up the results on the strain. Hospitalizations in the state have doubled over the last month and over the last two weeks cases numbers are rising exponentially.

After the mayor of Windsor resigned after a string of sexual abuse claims against him, the city council is trying to fill his seat. They already have a new mayor. But during an hours long session last night, they didn’t fill the 5th seat and no decision was made. The Mayor Sam Salmon announced they were at a tie with a 2 to 2 vote. The matter is therefore continued until their meeting next week so they can meet an August 1st deadline to get the seat filled. Salmon became mayor last month after former Mayor Dominic Foppoli quit because of the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against him.

A man in Colusa County who died in a head on crash has been identified as being from Clearlake. The CHP reports 57 year old Roman Calderon died in the crash July 11th on Highway 20 east of Highway 16. 4 other people were also injured after the Toyota Tacoma and Dodge Durango smashed into each other. The Dodge driver, was a 27-year-old man from Orland. He and a 40-year-old woman, a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl all had on their seatbelts but were injured. The CHP is reportedly trying to see if there may have been drugs or alcohol involved in the crash.

Pacific Gas and Electric says they’re start to bury their power lines underground after years of wildfires blamed on their equipment. The announcement yesterday for a massive undertaking to underground equipment in high fire threat districts. The CEO announced the move in Butte County which was devastated by the Camp Fire and is just barely escaping the still burning Dixie Fire. The utility company says they believe their equipment started the fire which as of last night had blackened 91,000 acres.

Lake County grappling with how to handle the Opioid crisis as the state and others across the country file loads of lawsuits against that industry. Lake Co News reports the California Attorney General Rob Bonta just announced a $26 billion settlement that can help to pay for the struggles some are dealing with while addicted to the drugs. Bonta says the proposed settlement can help to heal communities and hold those accountable for the public health crisis. The settlement is reported with the country’s three largest PHARMA companies, and Johnson & Johnson who manufactured and marketed opioids. The settlement will reportedly include the county of Lake, and the cities of Clearlake and Lakeport who joined the lawsuit.

The Ukiah Design Review Board is considering a massive storage and truck rental facility in a now vacant lot next to Kohl’s. A staff report for the meeting today includes the application for a Major Development permit on North Orchard Avenue for the nearly 40-foot tall showroom, a (UHaul) truck and trailer storage and rental, retail sales, and automotive accessory sales business. Zoning covers this sort of business so the design board will look over plans then make their recommendation. It would then potentially move to the Ukiah Planning Commission for further action.

After almost a year and a half closure, the C.V. Starr Community Center in Fort Bragg has reopened. The center is also at full capacity, and they have a bunch of new classes and the pool is also open to the public. Those who come to the center have to self-attest that they’ve been vaccinated, so they don’t have to wear a mask. All others have to wear a mask while at the facility unless they’re using the pools. Those who had been members, pre-pandemic, will have to re-register. Those who were monthly or yearly members have credit potentially for time left on their memberships. They also need more lifeguards, for more info, visit http://www.mendocoastrec.org.

Another fire reported, this time around a motel in Ukiah, but it was quickly contained. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reports they got a call Tuesday to the Super 8 on South Orchard Avenue because there was a fire burning near the pool. They say when they arrived, they found “a pergola fully involved in flames.” Ukiah Police were there and used a fire extinguisher, to no avail because it was burning plastic furniture. The fire dept. says the patio was far from the main buildings, so they were never threatened. They say they’re not sure how the fire started, but it was human-caused and they will check out video surveillance to see if they can figure it out.

There’s a new boss at the Lake County Chamber of Commerce. A few months after the former CEO Melissa Fulton retired after more than 30 years, they’ve chosen Laura McAndrews Sammel. There was an open search and Sammel was hired last Friday. She was CFO/executive of human resources and a leadership coach at Combs Consulting and has reportedly volunteered for several organizations and committees, and is also the current President of the Rotary Club of Lakeport.

The first ever executive director has been hired at the Lake County Tourism Improvement District. The board of directors has negotiated a contract with one of its founding members to become executive director, Brian Fisher, of Kelseyville. He’s resigned from the board to take the position. He was the chair of the marketing and communications committee and is credited with growing the “Visit Lake County” website to over 30,000 users/month and increasing social media followers by 130%.

There have been a lot more unemployment claims filed in the state. Last week more initial claims were filed than the week before, with more people without work than what normal levels would have been pre-pandemic. The jobless filings in the state are still pretty high even after a month of the state reopening fully. There were over 58,200 claims for the week ending July 17th, 1,334 more than a week before. Before times unemployment claims in January and February of 2020 averaged at just under 45,000/week. Across the country claims were also up at 419,000 claims for the week ending July 17th. That’s up 51,000 from 368,000 claims filed the week ending July 10th.

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