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Grand Jury Report findings on homelessness in Mendocino County:

The Mendocino County COC website is outdated and there is no single point of contact, such as an 800 number, for those in need of homeless services. The COC is limited to coordinating funds to locally available services which can result in service gaps for the homeless. The breadth of locally available services does not have or require written policies and procedures to monitor the level of service being provided for the homeless results in service outcomes for the homeless not being measured. Gaps in the Homeless Services System of Care, such as coordinated, collaborative response teams of service providers and law enforcement, are filled by law enforcement agencies that are resource-limited and have unfilled liaison positions for effective Community Policing. The COC has a quantitative rating system to grade service provider applicants. The rating tool does not evaluate prior objectives of an applicant to determine a history of successful outcomes. There is no rating system for similar services funded separately through County Health and Human Services. Law Enforcement agencies are represented on the COC by the UPD. With the absence of Federal guidance on how to coordinate police with program services, there is a collaboration gap between providers and government agencies that requires creative local solutions to establish protocols, and define clear roles for service providers and agencies, to foster working relationships. The majority of members on the COC are employees of other agencies and struggle to address the level of service needed locally without policy guidance from the Board of Supervisors, City elected officials, or other assigned staff.

For the 4th day in a row, Mendocino County Public Health has reported another death from COVID19 in the county. This time it was a 52 year old man from Willits. He was the county’s 60th death. Same story from the public health department. They say to use caution when you place yourself in a situation that may expose you to the virus, especially due to the highly transmissible delta variant. Mendocino County Public Health asks that you follow all CDC and CDPH guidance’s at this time. Vaccination, masking and social distancing remain the best options for combating the Covid-19 Virus. The individual in question was not vaccinated.

Construction is starting on a new soccer and sports field in the Ukiah Unified School District. The district announced they’ll start working on the new field next month on the north side of the Ukiah High School campus. They report, if all goes as planned, the field could be done by the winter. And since it’s an all-weather field, it should be good for soccer, depending on how much rain there is. The school superintendent says it’s a proud moment for the district, something they’ve been dreaming about for years. The nearly 8-million-dollar all-weather field was made possible through the March 2020 Measure A. The project will include the soccer field, LED lighting upgrades for the High School football stadium and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements near the new soccer field and football stadium.

Incentive to get the vaccine in Lake County. If you want to go to the county fair for free, get the vaccine. The Lake County Board of Supervisors and the Health Services Department are offering free admission to the Lake County Fair if you get your jab starting today. You can go to Lake County Health Services this morning, Lower Lake Town Hall all day tomorrow and Lake County Health Services next Monday and Wednesday. The mobile shots are made possible through the County and OPTUM. There will also be a Vaccination Van set up near the front of the Fairgrounds gate during Labor Day weekend.

A warning to those who have been impacted by the Cache Fire to be careful of debris left behind which could contain toxins. The City of Clearlake and county Environmental Health Dept. want you to get help for the proper disposal of the debris and ash from the fire. They say it could contain asbestos, and older buildings often contain lead.  There may be gasoline, cleaning products, pesticides, and other chemicals that were stored in homes, garages, or sheds that could have burned in the fire, then became concentrated in ash and soil.  The county’s also working with state agencies to collect and dispose of the materials. They also warn not to take any of this debris or ash to the landfill, they won’t accept it.

If you lost your home during the Cache fire or you’re temporarily displaced, you can still vote in the recall election. That’s the word from the Lake County Registrar of Voters. You can go to their office any weekday to vote and the Saturday before the election. You can also email them to get a replacement ballot mailed to you or call them for the same. You can also call or email to change your address or re-register online to get the ballot mailed to you. It has to be postmarked on or before August 30th though, that’s Monday.

A scathing report’s come out about a former Ukiah female police officer and a former superior who she claimed sexually assaulted her. The woman is now suing the police dept., City of Ukiah and former Sergeant Kevin Murray. She reportedly told her superiors and was told to quiet her emotions as she cried during an exit interview. Court papers say the female officer worked in the dept. since August of 2013, and the sex assault and harassment started two months later during a gathering at a hotel. The woman says Murray forced himself on her after claiming he needed to speak with her as her superior officer and he had looked through a peep hole into the women’s locker room. She also claims she was assigned duties based on her gender and discriminated against and is seeking $25,000 in damages.

Hospitalizations have been up in Sonoma County due to coronavirus, but local health reports say the cases could be plateauing. The Press Democrat reports cases almost doubled over the last month, putting a strain on hospitals due to the vicious delta variant mainly amongst, the unvaccinated. The newspaper reports the amount of people in the hospital has stopped going up for about a week and a half. And the state’s latest predictions show hospitalizations should be about ½ what they were the middle of the month, by this week. But the modeling shows deaths are up, which generally follows a surge in hospitalizations. The county’s health officer says 80% of those hospitalized with COVID-19, including those in intensive care, are not vaccinated.

He’s helping again. Famous chef extraordinaire Guy Fieri is cooking for first responders working on the Dixie Fire. The San Jose Fire Dept. tweeted a photo with the celebrity chef who hails from Sonoma County. Murietta Fire and Rescue posted a photo on Facebook with him. He made over 1,000 pounds of pulled pork sandwiches on Tuesday for first responders on the front lines. The San Jose Fire Department also tweeted photos of Fieri at the fire’s base camp at the Lassen County Fairgrounds in Susanville. He helped before during the Kincade and Glass fires in 2019 and 2020, and the Camp Fire in Butte County in 2018.

A mom in Guerneville who was accused with her boyfriend and another man of sexually abusing her children, and videotaping it, is staying in prison. 60 year old Kelly McLaughlin-Cross who got 162 years in prison back in 1998. She admitted 74 counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with three of her own children in 1991 and 1992 when she was 30 and the kids were 4,6 & 7. The children were abused for almost a year and were videotaped being victimized. The woman in prison in Corona was trying to get “elder parole” after serving 20 years. She was told to undergo sex offender treatment and look inside herself to see why she did it and work on accountability.

Several fires reported in Fort Bragg all put out. Mendo Fever reports the Fort Bragg Fire Department was on the scene at Otis Johnson Park for two separate vegetation fires, one near a group of redwood trees, the other further into the park. They called Cal Fire for help and the fires were under control pretty soon after.

The Lake County Jail is dealing with a surge in COVID19 cases. Last week we told you about the Mendocino County jail outbreak, there they had 7 inmates and 4 staffers infected. Lake Co News reports 10 inmates and six staff members in the Lake County Jail have tested positive and 63 inmates are quarantining because of close contact with a COVID-19-positive individual. The news site reports in the spring of 2020, the jail had another COVID outbreak. The Sheriff’s office reports cases started to head back up the curve last month again.

North Coast Opportunities has restarted the wildfire relief fund and has gifted direct money to those impacted by the Cache Fire. They’re only taking online applications because of the pandemic. You can also download an app and deliver it to their office. The organization says they’ve delivered 27 checks worth over $30,000 for those suffering a total loss. The amount a fire survivor gets depends on what’s been donated to North Coast. They’re also going to be present at the Local Assistance Center at Highlands Senior Center today and tomorrow with applications.

Donations and applications can both be accessed at www.ncoinc.org; look for Cache fire on the homepage.

For those unable to access NCO’s online portals, or visit NCO at the LAC, please call 707-994-2910. Paper applications and NCO staff are also available at NCO Clearlake office. Please call to make an appointment.

Community college students may be able to get some of the $1.6 billion in emergency Covid relief the state has in the offing. Several colleges have been distributing direct checks to the lowest income students and will continue to do so in the fall semester. Ed Source reports California community colleges have received around $4 billion in federal Covid relief, and another $9.5 billion has been donated to colleges and universities. The Department of Education previously said the money should go to those with “exceptional need”, but colleges decide who qualifies.

It’s over, finally… lethal wildlife management techniques are done with in Mendo County. Seven years in the making, groups have been fighting for decades for non-lethal methods of culling coyotes, raccoons and other local wildlife. This sort of work has been done for years in Marin and Sonoma counties. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Animal Welfare Institute sued Mendocino County because they said the county didn’t consider environmental impacts of killing wildlife. Three of the county supervisors voted last week to cancel a contract with Wildlife Services. Since the contract was signed there were over 261 bears, 181 lions, 112 bobcats, 235 gray foxes and nearly 4,120 coyotes killed in Mendocino County.

A woman accused of setting fires last month in Lower Lake will undergo a mental health evaluation to see if she’s competent to stand trial. Kayla Renee Main had her preliminary hearing earlier this month where her lawyer motioned for her to seek treatment because he wasn’t sure she understood what was going on. So the court has ordered an evaluation by two doctors and the reports are due September 14th. She also had bail set at $5,000 for a trio of fires. She was caught by deputies with a lighter in her hand around the fires. She said it was an accident. She was charged with arson and a probation violation.

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