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Monthly Archives: September 2021

The body of a man found nearly a half century ago has finally been identified. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports human remains found in a heavily wooded area near Highway 29, in Lower Lake in 1976 were Leopoldo Torres Melendez of Puerto Rico. Through the years, the death was found to be a murder from blunt force trauma to the head, but the victim’s identity was always a mystery. Back in 2007 the skull and teeth were sent to the California Department of Justice for analysis and a partial DNA profile was noted, but there was never a match. But last year a DNA technology company was tapped to try to identify the victim, which they did. His family confirmed he was missing back when he was about 41 years old from San Francisco. The Sheriff’s Office says they’ll try to find out what happened to him, but it’s probably the suspect is elderly or deceased.

Nine more deaths from COVID19 have been reported in Mendocino County the last two days. The Public Health Dept. reported they also have been notified of the first pediatric hospitalization due to the virus. The deaths and child case come as the Public Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren reported to the board of supervisors the most recent deaths were mostly in elderly vaccinated individuals, 2 were unvaccinated. Dr. Coren told the board, that mostly the deaths, severe cases and hospitalizations have been in unvaccinated individuals, that those vaccinated who die are an average age of 95 and those unvaccinated are an average age of 68.  He says 8 recent deaths are related to two outbreaks at nursing homes. There have now been 82 deaths in the county attributed to the virus.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed more than a half dozen new bills into law that have to do with the homelessness problem in the state. The Press Democrat reports there may be tens of thousands of Californians living in encampments in large and small cities statewide. Reports say the state has spent over $2.4 billion dollars on homelessness programs, to lease hotel or motel rooms for the unsheltered during the pandemic, but the problem persists, something the Gov. has acknowledged. The latest budget includes another $7.4 billion for 30 housing and homelessness projects and programs. And a total over two years of $12 billion. Most of the money goes to local governments, but one new law calls for accountability. And schools will have to identify homeless students to refer them for help.

The Calif. Public Utilities Commission has heard from a consumer group about getting broadband and other wireless services to those without. The independent consumer advocacy office is part of the California Public Utilities Commission. They’re urging the commission to hear about getting baseline service so that all Californians can have reliable broadband and wireless services. The office says the time is right to talk to the public and other stakeholders to ensure they can reliably work from home and be able to communicate with healthcare, education, and public safety services, especially now during the pandemic. The Public Advocates Office is pushing the commission to look at building on existing service, find ways to monitor broadband and wireless service performance and find ways to enforce so companies have to provide services in a customer’s best interests. 

More demonstrations at the Jackson Demonstration State Forests. Even though it was muddy, and rainy, protestors were there trying to stop logging. Cal Fire previously “paused” logging operations for the Caspar 500 timber harvest plan, where the one hundred year old redwood “Mama Tree” sits after protestors confronted loggers. There’s been no logging since. But this week roadblocks were put up so nobody could get into Soda Gulch as local monitors say they saw roads being built and trees being felled again. The logging stopped again earlier this week as protestors descended on the forest.

$1.5 million dollars is being distributed amongst the three counties that are the Emerald Triangle to try to curb the amount of black market marijuana grows creating nonstop crime in the region which is also losing water by the day. State Senator Mike McGuire says the grows are “wreaking havoc in our communities and giving a black eye to the permitted industry”. He says $600,000 each will go to Humboldt and Mendocino counties, and $300,000 to Trinity. He says the money is to help police eradicate large, unpermitted grows causing serious environmental degradation, like illegal water diversions and threats to endangered wildlife, or if they involve organized crime. Mendocino Sheriff Matt Kendall says he thinks his team can “knock out several of the biggest, baddest and ugliest grow sites” now.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has approved using about a quarter million dollars of Measure B money each year to create a Crisis Respite Service in Fort Bragg. The money will be distributed over four years with more potentially to come from other sources like grants and Medicaid. The Director of Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services says the service will be a home for those who don’t exactly match the criteria for the Crisis Treatment Center. He says it’s best to move people out of ER’s and instead match them with other mental health resources. Fort Bragg residents now have to go to Ukiah for such services. The new service would have four to six beds.

A Toyota Prius has caught fire, thankfully nobody was inside. Last Friday Fort Bragg police say they got a call to the 1000 block of Glass Beach for a vehicle fire. When they got there, they found the car fully involved. Their report was that there was someone inside at the time, but they say it was empty. However, they found a cellphone nearby. The owner was Adam Snyder from Arcata and police are trying to locate him or anyone in the car when the fire started.

Representatives from PG&E at the latest Lake County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting. The topic was the amount of intentional power downs in fire related weather. The utility’s Community Wildlife Safety Program was presented to the board by representatives of the utility. They say PG&E is trying to support the area before, during and after a fire with the new program that will help reduce wildfire potential, improve situational awareness, and reduce the impacts of Public Safety Power Shutoffs. It includes inspecting and repairing lines, vegetation management and the power downs. The company says they’re adjusting as they get feedback. Supervisors said they appreciated their presence at the meeting, but said they didn’t meet their expectations. They one by one complained about communication, outages and undergrounding wires instead of building new ones above ground. There was also some questions about getting residents reimbursed for lost food and supplies due to the power downs.

Several California hospitals say most of their employees have gotten the vaccination. Cal Matters reports Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Keck Medicine and other major hospital systems in the state say they’re close to meeting the deadline from the state on the COVID-19 vaccination mandate. The news site says several of the healthcare companies cited vaccination rates of 90% or higher. State health officials have added a new mandate too for in-home, hospice, disability center and senior center health care workers to get their shots. They have until Nov. 30th.

A bit of a scandal for the state Treasurer. California state Treasurer Fiona Ma has reportedly been trying to save the state money by sharing hotel rooms with employees, something some say is a professional no-no. She’s also being sued. The Sacramento Bee reports the former head of the Tax Credit Allocation Committee, Judith Blackwell is suing for sexual harassment, racial discrimination and wrongful termination. The newspaper reports Ma shared a hotel room with her chief of staff, Genevieve Jopanda over a dozen times in two years, and she stayed with four other aides on a trip at a three bedroom property. The newspaper reports the lawsuit alleged Ma showed her naked rear end to Blackwell and got into bed with her and gifted her jewelry and edible marijuana. Blackwell’s suit claims she lost her job for rejecting Ma’s advances.

The state’s eviction moratorium is about to be over. The program was for renters and landlords with the state putting up over $584 million dollars so far. The Mendocino Voice news site reports some of the smaller towns in the county are being hit, not only by a lack of housing, but people who are leaving other areas to take over places and leave the big city permanently. The news site says some folks are moving more into congregate living situations which is concerning to essential workers and healthcare providers due to the potential impact it could have in regards to COVID-19. The news site also reports there are nearly 1,700 households behind on rent in Mendocino County adding up to over six million dollars.

Those living in areas that had wildfires this year can apply for a temporary waiver to get hot food as part of the SNAP program. The USDA announced their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/CalFresh will allow the waiver for residents who were evacuated to shelters where they couldn’t store food or access cooking facilities. Normally the recipients of the program cannot access hot foods, but SNAP has authorized this until the end of October for Tehama, Trinity, Butte, Glenn, Humboldt, Mendocino, Plumas, Shasta, and Siskiyou counties.

Some balloons getting caught up in electricity lines had turned the power off for hundreds in Redwood Valley. Pacific Gas & Electric reports mylar balloons that contacted overhead power lines switched the power off for 743 customers Monday night around 5pm. They had to inspect the lines before turning them back on due to the company’s “enhanced power line safety settings”. That started with the energy company’s public safety power shutoff events. So the company sent crews to inspect the lines in a chopper because of the rugged terrain. Balloons have previously caused hundreds of power outages in both Lake and Mendocino counties and other parts of PG&E’s service territory, disrupting electric service to over 250,000 homes and businesses.

A state official in Utah and two federally recognized tribal nations reportedly spoke this spring about shipping coal from Rocky Mountain states along the Northern California coast then out to Humboldt Bay to be shipped overseas. The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper got ahold of an internal memo from a port agency in Utah showing coal industry companies in Montana and Utah had been in discussions for the move, but there’s been public outcry, and moves to quash any clandestine plans to move coal through Northern Calif. on a defunct rail line planned for a rail trail instead.

The top utility regulator in Calif. who’s been overseeing PG&E’s bankruptcy and ensuing criminal cases, has resigned. Marybel Batjer did not say why she’s leaving in an email to staff at the California Public Utilities Commission, leaving the Governor to have to search for her replacement. Her term was not supposed to end until the end of 2026. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., as you may recall filed for bankruptcy in 2019 after the devastating Camp fire. The utility is facing a slew of charges for its old equipment starting fires. Just last week 4 charges of manslaughter were filed against the state’s largest investor-owned utility, after the company already pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the Camp fire.

The new-ish superintendent of schools in Middletown has been terminated. After a closed session of the School District Board Monday Superintendent Michael Cox was released from his contract. The board president thanked Cox for his service and thanked the community for their patience and support. Cox was just hired in April of 2020 after he led an Alternative Education Center in the Silver Valley Unified School District in Southern California. The district board didn’t say why they ended Cox’s contract, but Lake Co News reports the board had 10 closed session evaluations of Cox since he started the job and since this past June, three about his performance and three during regular meetings. All closed door sessions.

Bail has been denied for a woman from Clearlake Oaks charged for the death of her boyfriend after she said he raped her, then left the state. Tammy Sue Grogan-Robinson was in court yesterday to face charges in the murder of her boyfriend, Charles Vernon McClelland of Rohnert Park who was found at her home in July. He was shot several times with a handgun. She left soon after, ending up in Missouri, where she was later arrested, then extradited back. Her lawyer asked for her $2 million dollar bail to be lowered, but the Deputy DA in the case argued she should get no bail since she’s a flight risk, calling the murder premeditated. And the prosecution won that argument with Grogan-Robinson held without bail. She’s due back in court Oct. 13th

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is having a series of public hearings on the redistricting process. As we’ve been reporting, this happens every decade as the US Census comes out to make local and state political districts more evenly distributed with population growth. All of the board’s hearings will be in the board chambers, but you can also join on Zoom. They will take public input.

Adding on to the mandate for healthcare and other state workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the California Department of Public Health has issued a new health order requiring vaccines for those working in adult, senior care and at in-home direct care settings. The director of the agency says we have to do all we can to keep the most vulnerable communities safe from the continuing threat of the COVID19 pandemic. There have been nearly 20,000 confirmed outbreaks and almost 50% of them were in health care, congregate care, and direct care settings. 22% of all of them were in adult and senior care facilities and in-home direct care settings. The new mandate says workers must initiate the vaccine by Nov. 30th.

A man from Ukiah has been killed in a single car crash after his pickup went down a steep hill on highway 1. The CHP reports the driver was in a Dodge pickup which burst into flames after the crash north on the highway, just north of the Heritage House near Little River at Frog Pond Road. Officers say he was driving too fast and couldn’t make a sharp turn, went off the highway, down the hill and rolled multiple times before coming to a stop on its roof. Also, he was not wearing a seatbelt.

The company METALfx, located in Willits gets its 15 minutes of fame. The precision metal fabricator has been a featured player on “Manufacturing Marvels”. The series shows off North American manufacturing companies on the Fox Business Network. The president of the company expressed utter joy at the appearance, which happened last Wednesday night. The president of the company says they have small town charm and they were excited to share that with a wider audience.

There won’t be extended school days or the school year either in Calif. for elementary schoolers. Governor Newsom’s administration had put money into extra time for students, but school districts and charter schools are reportedly still struggling to find teachers, substitute teachers, bus drivers and contact tracers. Superintendents tell Ed Source they’re still struggling with reopenings and new policies amidst the continuing pandemic. The Legislature has agreed to push a deadline for extending school and the budget attached to it, until next year. That’s $1.75 billion as just the first installment in a $5 billion deal to fund full school days and full school years for kindergarten to sixth grade.

Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville is up for sale. It’s been over six years since the owners, former financiers, Dan Poirier and Nick Moore bought the place. The 11 acre beach along with a lodge and cabins are on the market for over $3.5 million dollars now that the beach season has officially ended. The realtor says there’s been a lot of interest in the property and they are apparently accepting offers through Monday. The beach is a couple of blocks from Main Street and has been a Russian River landmark for years.

A group of doctors, nurses and other medical staff at Adventist Health Howard Hospital have written a scathing letter to the editor regarding hospital capacity and residents who are not getting vaccinated. The letter to says they’ve been running Howard Hospital for weeks around 140% capacity due to the Covid 19 delta surge. They go on to say the ICU is full and more deaths are coming and that the overwhelm is due mostly to the un-vaccinated and patients are increasingly younger. They are imploring residents to get vaccinated. They also say to continue masking, distancing and washing hands, but that is dwarfed by the effect of getting your vaccination. The letter also says 3 counties with the lowest vaccination rates have the highest case rates and death rate than any country worldwide. And the 3 with the lowest case rates, have the highest vaccination rates.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting spent some time on the drought. Supervisors got a status report on the water hauling taking place by truck out of Ukiah. They heard from the Drought Ad Hoc Committee members on potential future steps to help communities and find money to pay for the water hauling. The county did receive some money from the state. The supervisors heard there is enough capacity to use three water haulers. They also discussed being proactive for future water storage needs. The board also talked about having a member represent the County’s Redevelopment/Successor Agency Oversight Board, for which Mo Mulheren was appointed.

A call to a head on crash in Ukiah after one driver loses control of their vehicle and crosses the double yellow line on Highway 20 just east of Marina Dr. The driver in a Dodge Ram pickup, towing another Dodge Ram pickup on a flatbed trailer and suddenly crossed over onto the other side of the highway, hitting a big box truck. The driver of the Ram did not have on a seatbelt and died from their injuries. The driver of the box truck ended up in the hospital. The CHP is investigating to see if alcohol and or drugs were a factor in the crash.

The fire still burning near the Great Sequoias in the Sierra Nevada. The trees are reportedly still threatened as firefighters work to slow the forward progress of the Windy Fire. It’s burning on the Tule River Indian Reservation and in the Sequoia National Forest, including Giant Sequoia National Monument. So far it’s burned over 133 square miles and is only 2% contained. Local neighborhoods have also been evacuated and 2,000 homes and 100 commercial buildings are threatened. And inside the Sequoia National Park, two fires ignited by lightning to become the KNP Complex is 8% contained.

Those working at any of the prisons in the state have to get vaccinated or have a religious or medical exemption. The latest order after an outbreak last year that ended in the death of 28 inmates and a correctional officer at San Quentin. The prison guard’s union is appealing the requirement. But over 50,000 California inmates have gotten the virus and as many as 240 have died. A judge with the power to mandate the vaccine says the new policy will “lower the risk of preventable death and serious medical consequences among the incarcerated”. As of yesterday there were 218 active inmate infections and 357 active employee infections.

After the presidential election went to all mail voting, it’s now become a permanent fixture for Calif. elections. An Assembly Bill signed into law yesterday makes Calif. the 8th state to require every voter uses a mail in ballot. The Bill’s author Assemblyman Marc Berman says studies show if everyone gets a mailed ballot, they have more access, and they tend to vote. The new law goes into effect in January. It requires all ballots get mailed to all registered voters for statewide elections in June and November.

More water is getting to drier areas of the county as the City of Ukiah allows water to be taken to Fort Bragg by truck. The state Department of Water Resources also announced last week it would grant Mendocino County up to $2 million for its water hauling program. The money is coming from a $28 million Small Community Drought Relief program. The City of Ukiah also got over a quarter million dollars for a couple of potable water pumps that could help get water to neighboring districts during the historic drought. Coastal communities are getting hit bad, with some businesses reporting dry wells.

Not everyone can make it back to school for in person learning because of stay home quarantines, fear of COVID-19 and general disengagement from school. Schools in Northern Calif that were historically reporting high attendance are also dealing with widespread absenteeism — students who have missed more than 10% of school days. The official numbers have not been released by the state Dept. of Education, but apparently some districts were reporting their numbers to Ed Source, a news publication. Some of them reported 25-30% of students were chronically absent. It comes after the Governor urged all schools to reopen for face to face learning this fall semester. But COVID19 cases are soaring.

A group looking to require businesses in Calif. to report workplace COVID19 outbreaks says they’re going to fight to make it so even after a bill failed in the legislature. Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes authored a bill that would have required the State Department of Public Health to report COVID-19 outbreaks by location of the business, but it was dropped from the bill so companies are still allowed to keep outbreak info private. So health officials just report outbreaks by industry without location or company name. Another bill was introduced to add on to last year’s disclosure bill that would uncover COVID outbreaks among guest farmworkers. That bill was opposed by Assembly Republicans and business groups. Some say it was like a public shaming.

Another crime charged against Pacific Gas and Electric, this time it was the Zogg Fire that killed four people and destroyed several hundred homes in Shasta County. The DA announced over 30 charges against the utility including 11 felonies. The DA’s office reported the utility giant was “criminally liable” for the fire, which burned near Redding. It started just about one year ago and ravaged some rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada and neighborhoods. State investigators this past March determined the fire ignited after a pine tree fell on a PG&E transmission line. Shasta and Tehama counties sued for negligence for not removing the tree which they had marked for removal two years before.

After the Cache fire in Clearlake, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services joined forces with North Coast Opportunities for free cleanup and hazardous waste removal. The fire broke out Aug. 18th and burned 60 homes, devastating an entire mobile home park and burning several homes in another. Those who owned a mobile home, residential home, or any property destroyed by the fire are eligible for the free help even if they don’t have insurance. The City of Clearlake and North Coast Opportunities are asking the public to step up if you lost your home. You have to either attend a workshop Oct. 4th or contact NCO to complete the “right of entry,” or ROE, form which is due no later than Oct. 6th.

A man in Middletown has been arrested after deputies on routine patrol saw him walking amongst several cars behind a convenience store, thinking he might be tinkering with the cars. The deputy went up to the guy, identified as 26 year old Travis Minor of Kelseyville, who said his car ran out of gas. But the deputy knew he’d been arrested before for doing the same thing. He was stopped and given a field sobriety test, to see if he was high. The deputy couldn’t get a straight answer out of Minor about his car so he was arrested for being high. The deputy also found he had a Mercedes key on him and saw a Mercedes down the street from the convenience and the key matched it. But the car had just been reported stolen. The owner of the car was apparently an acquaintance of Minor’s but he didn’t have permission to take the car. Minor was booked into jail for being Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance and Vehicle Theft.

A Local Assistance Center is opening in Mendocino County for those impacted by the Hopkins Fire. But it’s not happening for a week and a half. The Center is a single location where people affected by a fire can tap into disaster assistance relief programs and services. Several different representatives from local, state, nonprofit and other agencies come to the Center to help victims.  It’s happening for Hopkins victims in Redwood Valley, next Thursday, October 7th from 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM at the “Old Jehovah’s Witnesses church”. They’re requiring masks and social distancing due to the pandemic and will have hand sanitizer, and conduct health screenings.

For more information, please contact the Disaster Recovery Team at (707) 234-6303 or

A man from Willits has been arrested after a domestic violence situation. The Sheriffs Office reports getting a call two Tuesdays ago to the 20000 block of South Main Street in Willits finding the couple, a 47 year old woman, and 50 year old Kelly Fonsen, who the woman said had been drinking with her all day. Deputies say the pair got into an argument and the woman was injured and needed medical attention. She was taken to the hospital for treatment and Fonsen was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery  and Battery Causing Great Bodily Injury and booked into jail on $25,000.00 bail.

Two men have been arrested for drugs and weapons charges, one of them also had a fake police badge. Deputies got a call two Tuesdays ago to a burglary next to the Leggett Volunteer Fire Department. Apparently firefighters spotted a couple cars and two men nearby loitering. A Fire Captain approached and one flashed a badge, saying they were a US Marshal, but then took off. Deputies saw the two cars on the 101 in Laytonville and stopped one. Daniel Gorman was stopped and detained while the car was searched, a replica gun was found with drugs and blank ammo. At the same time a CHP officer saw the other car parked and contacted Austin Shealor who was on parole and found he was involved in the earlier burglary. He was also found with drugs. He too was arrested. The charges for both included Burglary, Conspiracy, Carrying a Loading Gun, Wearing a Peace Officer Badge fraudulently and Possession of Narcotic. Gorman was held on $15,000.00 bail and Shealor was held on No Bail due to his parole.

A couple in Laytonville have been arrested for Robbery, Burglary and Conspiracy. The Sheriff’s Office says a week ago Sunday they got a call to reports of a robbery, but a woman reported there, Miranda Mullins of Willits was already gone. Deputies say they found another woman had cashed a large check with Jacob Sanderson of Ukiah. Then a couple days later Mullins walked into that woman’s home without knocking and demanded money. And the woman thought she had a gun so she gave her money and Mullins left with Sanderson and a third party. They were found after a BOLO alert and arrested. Mullins and Sanderson were booked on $150,000.00 bail.

The State Legislature has unanimously approved bills to try to avert these catastrophic fire seasons we’ve been dealing with for years. The Governor signed a new law that creates a “dedicated workforce” who are charged with overseeing wildfire prevention and preparedness. The bill authored by Assemblyman Jim Wood creates a new branch of the office of the State Fire Marshall to work year round only on fire prevention, including fuel reduction and hardening homes.  There are already several programs with Cal Fire in play that would all come under this one new branch.

Yuba Community College is working with PG&E for a microgrid power station at the School’s Lake County Campus. The College District’s Governing Board has approved Woodland Community College, part of the Yuba Community College District, will get a temporary microgrid power station in front of the campus.  Apparently it’s only during wildfire season, so this fall, because when wildfires happen, power is turned off as part of PG&E’s public safety power shut-off events. So the Lower Clear Lake area would continue to get power. The college’s board approved the move this spring. The temporary and permanent stations will give power to a one-two mile area during any intentional power downs.

A man has reportedly died near the Wildwood Campground after being crushed by a tree. Mendo Fever reported hearing about the incident on the scanner this weekend. The report that paramedics were called to the 29000 block of Highway 20 near the campground after the elderly man was hit by the tree and killed. No word how the incident occurred.

Six more people have died due to COVID19 in Mendocino County. And this is a report from Friday, during the Public Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren’s regular update. There have now been 82 people who have died from the virus in the county. Dr. Coren reported almost 89-percent of those hospitalized are not vaccinated, adding “the vaccines are very effective against severe disease, hospitalizations, Intensive Care Unit admissions, and deaths.” Also on Friday, he reported more than a dozen people were in the hospital with the illness, five in an ICU, where there remains only 18-percent capacity. Dr. Coren says the surge of cases has slightly leveled, but he expects more again after Halloween and the year end holidays. He also spoke about booster shots, but there’s no guidelines from the state on that yet.

The judge that’s been handling the PG&E case for months heard from the utility about the Dixie Fire. The company says they had considered turning off the power on the line that they believe may have been involved in the massive fire. They also answered who’s allowed to turn off power in an emergency and why it took so long to get to the scene of the dangerous line. The company says a distribution operator can shut off a line, and one considered that on July 13th, but apparently they found a circuit breaker was closed and no excessive ground current was found. They also say there was no indication of an emergency. The company told the judge they continue investigating after a tree fell on the so-called Bucks Circuit line. It was ranked as the 11th most dangerous line they had.

The Governor has signed a new climate-spending bill for about $15 billion dollars. The money would be used for zero-emission school buses, starting smarter agricultural practices and to pay for help in urban areas living in so-called “heat islands” and more. The Governor was at the Sequoia National Forest last week near a massive fire saying the spending was needed due to the “challenges of extreme weather patterns.” The bills were part of the last spending package in the budget which his opposition says didn’t have money water storage projects for new reservoirs, something voters asked for back in 2014. The bill includes money for wildfire prevention like clearing dead trees and brush that start fires and make them more intense. More for drought response like water recycling. And for ways to battle extreme heat like tree planting and boosting green space.

A man from Lucerne reported missing last month is still missing. 63 year old Ronald Meluso was last heard from August 18th and reported missing about a week later. The Sheriff’s Office reports he may not have a car and has not tried to reach family, friends, or law enforcement to get help. They also say he has not been returning phone calls. Relatives also told deputies the behavior was out of character for Meluso. Deputies have been searching ever since in multiple areas and have served several search warrants too. They’re asking anyone who may know where Meluso is to call the Sheriff’s Office.

We’re getting close to the end of California’s eviction moratorium. The moratorium put in place when the state shutdown during the height of the pandemic. This Thursday tenants will have to find a way to make good on back rent or risk being removed by their landlords for not paying rent. The Press Democrat reports about 7% of tenants are behind on rent in Calif. which adds up to an estimated $3.5 billion in debt. Renters will still have some protections until next March like applying for rent relief from the state.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has turned down a request to allow more time for a proposal to run the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project starting next year. The Two Basin Partnership had asked for a pause in the licensing process to refine its plan to take over the project after PG&E’s license to run it expires next April. The Partnership said it needed until May 31st to finalize its work, with the needs of both the Russian and Eel River basins taken into account. Congressman Jared Huffman, who has worked on that Two-Basin solution, calls the FERC decision a new chapter in the pursuit of a revitalized Potter Valley Project. He pledges to continue looking for common ground among the parties involved.

Senator Mike McGuire has introduced a bill to stop a shadowy proposal to ship millions of tons of coal from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay using the now-defunct North Coast Rail route. Some of those tracks run through Mendocino County. McGuire says any such project would be a toxic threat to both the Russian and Eel River basins. The proposal is backed by anonymous financiers in Wyoming. They have yet to reveal where their money is from. McGuire says the plan is the work of those he calls bad actors, who would risk an environmental calamity to line their own pockets. His Senate Bill 307 bans any rail service on the old line north of the City of Willits. Though the specific plan is shrouded in mystery, it would reportedly bring the coal to Humboldt Bay, put it in ships, and take it to Asia for plants there to be burned.

New figures are out about the last seven days of Covid-19 in Mendocino County. There were 37 new reported cases and no new reported deaths. The latest figures from the county show the daily positive test rate is down by 1.6 percent to 38.44. The county department of health reports that 10 people are in the hospital—5 of them in the ICU. The majority of cases continue to show up in people who have not been vaccinated. Of the 37 newly reported cases, 9 were under 18, 10 were from 19 to 34, 12 were between 35 and 64, while 6 were over 65. Of the 50,500 people who have been fully vaccinated, 339 have gotten sick, or less than 1 percent. The department continues to urge people to get vaccinated and wear masks where there is close contact.

The Fort Bragg City Council will be discussing an ordinance to put a hold on Cannabis Dispensaries in the Inland Zone Area. The measure would impose a 45-day moratorium on those approvals. Back in January, the council held a public hearing on the denial of a permit for the proposed Sunshine Holistic Cannabis Microbusiness on N. Franklin Street. The question was put off because a majority of the Council members receiving that appeal couldn’t agree. A meeting earlier this month had the same result. The sticking point is public opposition to residential uses near that proposed dispensary. Because it is a mixed-use neighborhood, the planning commission felt that the proposal incompatible with that area. At its meeting on Monday, the council will discuss whether ALL applications and permits should be put off for at least 45 days for review of existing Cannabis Business regulations. There is currently one such application for a dispensary on Franklin street in the old Sears building. The virtual council meeting is at 6PM. The link to watch or comment is on the city website.

The Mendocino County Grand Jury has started its work. 18 people from around the county will oversee local governments such as county and city departments and school districts. The grand jury generally gets its business through citizen complaints or its own internal discussions. Those complaints and those discussions are confidential, but the grand jury’s findings are public. Members serve one-year terms.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is getting behind a federal proposal to expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Lake Co News reports the council has written a letter backing a bill introduced by congressman john Garamendi that would allow for that expansion. It would add 4,000 acres in Lake County to the Monument that has been around since 2015. That land is in the Walker Ridge area, which is owned by the Bureau of Land management. Members Bruno Sabatier and E J Crandell  urged the council to back the bill, which they say would preserve Walker Ridge from future development. Sabatier says the land is full of rare plants and is along a flyway for migrating birds. The vote to send the letter to Garamendi – as well as Congressman Mike Thompson, Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, and Senator Mike McGuire – was unanimous.

The Army Corps of Engineers says the Hopkins Fire in Mendocino County did a lot of damage to a couple recreation areas. The Corps toured the Pomo B and Pomo C sites and calls the damage there significant. The recreation areas remain off-limits until further notice.

The South Ukiah Rotary Club is lending a hand to victims of the Hopkins Fire. The club is taking donations into a dedicated account to help out. 100% of the money will be used for assistance. The website has more information on how you can contribute. The fire scorched 257 acres along the west shore of Lake Mendocino.

The California Contractors Licensing Board is urging people who are rebuilding after wildfires to make sure anyone they hire is qualified to do the job. The board says unlicensed people and transient criminals have been trying to take advantage of fire victims. Anyone who does work totaling more than $500 has to be licensed. Unlicensed workers can be charged with a felony. The board also says wildfire debris removal should only be done after reviewing federal and state rules or contacting local officials. The Governor’s Office of Emergency services has information on that. CSLB has also set up a Disaster Help Center webpage at

A man from Lakeport has been arrested after a car crash on the Nice-Lucerne Cutoff. The other driver was killed in the crash yesterday morning east of Highway 29 near Clear Lake. The CHP reports 35 year old Steven Pruitt was in a 2016 Camaro headed west on the Cutoff, just west of the Rodman Slough, when he crossed into the eastbound side of the highway and crashed into a 1996 Honda Civic. The CHP reports the Camaro ended up on one side of the Cutoff and the Civic on the other, but the driver of the Civic died. North Shore Fire was on the scene. Pruitt had minor injuries and cops say he was high on drugs and arrested. He was booked into Lake County Jail after being medically cleared.

Public Health in Sonoma County says 135,000 residents are eligible for a vaccine booster when it’s approved by the federal government, as expected. Last week the FDA approved the 3rd shot of the Pfizer vaccine for those 65 or older or immune-compromised. Yesterday they added 2 more groups, those at risk of getting sick due to their job, and those 18 and older at severe risk from the virus. The Sonoma County vaccine chief says the CDC is now considering the third shot for the groups. But only those who got the Pfizer shot six months ago would be eligible. At the same time the county reported three more deaths due to the pandemic, all 3 unvaccinated.

California is saying no to giant retailers firing warehouse staff if they don’t meet quotas which mean they wouldn’t get bathroom and rest breaks. The new law just signed by the Governor. It seems to be aimed at Amazon and companies like it who reportedly discipline staff for following health and safety laws. It would also allow employees to sue their employers to get rid of the unsafe quotas or retaliate. Supporters of the bill were reportedly eyeing Amazon as their why. The governor, upon signing the bill into law said corporations should not be able to put profit over people.

An illegal cannabis farm found littered with trash. Officers with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) armed with a search warrant were in the Laytonville in the area of the 9000 block of Branscomb Road. Agents found no permit or state license for the cultivation operation in the South Fork Eel River watershed where there are several threatened and endangered birds and fish.  And in the middle of severe drought any operation potentially harming waterways can harm wildlife too. Agents found multiple bags of trash near water and water diversions. There were nearly 600 illegal plants pulled and more than 150 pounds of illegal processed cannabis was destroyed.

A police chase in Ukiah ended with the suspect crashing into two cars. Mendo Fever reports the crash happened last night near Slam Dunk Pizza just before 9 p.m. on North State Street. Reports say the driver that hit the other two was zig-zagging around a parking lot, then raced through the city hitting speeds of up to 70 mph. The news site says the driver had a criminal record. He was stopped at the south entrance of the Safeway parking lot after crashing into a red Jeep SUV and a green Subaru Forester.

A woman from Clearlake Oaks has been arrested in connection to the death of her boyfriend. Court papers say Tammy Sue Grogan-Robinson was arrested last month in Missouri after reports Charles McClelland of Rohnert Park was killed at her home. His body was found July 7th after she reported the man had assaulted her. The whole story proved to be bogus, but she had reportedly left town. Lake County deputies said the shooting was not justified and filed with the DA’s office to arrest her for murder. She was finally arrested August 13th in Missouri where the woman has family. She was just extradited back to Lake County. She has also reportedly asked the court previously if she could represent herself, but she had a lawyer with her this week and decided to use a lawyer instead. She was held on $2 million bail., which may be adjusted at her next court appearance.

A tree from Calif. headed to Washington DC as part of their yearly Christmas decorations will make a pitstop in Ukiah. The Six Rivers National Forest is working with the nonprofit Choose Outdoors. The tree is coming to the Pear Tree Shopping Center on Halloween as part of the “Six Rivers, Many Peoples, One Tree” exhibit. The White Fir tree stands 84 feet tall and will be harvested one week before the exhibit. The tree will also be part of more than 2 dozen outdoor community celebrations before it gets to its final stop, the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 19th.

Police have arrested a man in Ukiah after calls about a man getting in and out of his car, dancing around and taking off his clothes in public. When police arrived each time, the guy was gone. Police say they believe he was drunk.  They identified him as Marcelino E. Anguiano and say when they saw his car, it was straddled between lanes, but when he saw them he hung a U-turn and took off. They chased him for about ten minutes while he drove on the wrong side of the road, ran stop signs and drove on the sidewalk. They tossed down spike strips and he kept driving. He finally crashed and rolled, hitting a couple other vehicles, one a parked car. That person was taken to the hospital. Anguiano was found to be on probation for Evading a Police Officer so he was arrested and held on $35,000.00 bail.

The official redistricting for the State of Calif. after last year’s US Census has been released.  The Redistricting Commission Chair says they’ve been preparing and the redrawing of lines for the state’s congressional, State Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization districts will be transparent. The data informs the Commission and local jurisdictions so they can start the process of building new electoral districts. By law cities and counties have to use the database from the state to redraw the boundaries every ten years so the population is evenly allocated among the new districts.

They’re accepting applications for participants in the city of Ukiah’s PumpkinFest Parade. The theme this year is “Steampunk Pumpkins”. You can grab an application at the city’s website and at the Community Services Department at 411 W. Clay St. It’s $25 to enter. They will give out prizes to Junior Groups, Walking Groups and Decorated Vehicles. The parade is at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds on Saturday, Oct. 16, starting at 10 am, and happens rain or shine.

Bike Angels is helping those impacted by the Cache Fire in Clearlake. They’re hosting a bike giveaway on October 9th for Cache Fire Survivors from noon to 2 p.m. at Lower Lake Elementary School. The fire was on August 18th and burned 83 acres, and 56 homes and 81 outbuildings. The group came together after the 2015 Valley fire and has done several other giveaways too. This would be the group’s eighth giveaway. So far they’ve donated over 1,400 bicycles.

A man from Ukiah has been sent to prison for possession of child pornography. Miguel Ramon Flores in court last Friday pleading guilty. On the spot he was sent to prison for 8 years. He also admitted he had a previous strike on his record out of Tulare County for lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14. That means the child pornography term, which is generally 4 years, doubles. Plus any credit for good and work time is limited to 20 percent of his overall sentence. He will also have to register every year for life as a convicted sex offender. Court papers say he received videos from a female acquaintance where she was performing sex acts on her two-year old son after they met on the Dark Web.

The Mendocino County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Katrina Bartolomie has paperwork for those impacted by the Hopkins Fire. Anyone who has damage or destruction to their home or any other structure has to file an application for a “Reassessment of Property Damaged by Misfortune or Calamity”. That is posted on the agency’s website. You can also call the office to get the application mailed to you. It applies for anyone who had over $10,000 damage. The application must be sent to the Assessor within 12 months of the date of the calamity. An appraiser will contact applicants after the Assessor’s office reviews the information. The whole process is free.

Another death has been reported in Mendocino County due to the coronavirus. Mendocino County Public Health says it was notified of another Mendocino County resident lost to the COVID-19 Virus. This time it was an elderly man from Fort Bragg. The 96 year old was the county’s 76th death and he was vaccinated. Public Health continues to warn to be cautious when putting yourself in a situation where you could be exposed, especially due to the more infectious Delta variant which has been ravaging the country. The agency also asks you to follow all CDC and CDPH guidance at this time. Vaccination, masking and social distancing remain the best options for combating the Covid-19 Virus.

People living in Redwood Valley posting on social media they were without power. The posts last night after dinner time in the Redwood Valley Community Awareness and Information group. Mendo Fever reported about two dozen reports of no power in the group. The Pacific Gas & Electric power outage map did show there were some in the area in the dark, but it didn’t say how many residences were affected, but maybe as many as 50, per the news site. The power company indicated they had a crew out and they’d have power restored early this morning. But then about 40 minutes later it was 500 homes without power. The company sent out an alert that it was 1,200 homes altogether, but later their map had the total back down to under 600.

A new fire has burned in Ukiah, but is reportedly out already. Reports yesterday afternoon were that the fire had burned three acres along the 1500 block of Low Gap Road west of Ukiah. Ukiah High School was evacuated too, just before kids were let out for the day. Parents were also told to avoid Low Gap Road when they eventually went to pick students up. The fire was reported in dry grass, burning uphill. The Battalion Chief for Cal Fire reported even though we had some recent rain, it was not near enough, and the fire moved fast through dry grasses because of high temperatures and wind. Cal Fire along with Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and the California Conservation Corps were on the scene and the Sheriff’s Office and Ukiah Police were on Low Gap Road directing traffic through the area.

Reports of a death after an ATV crash in northern Mendocino County. Emergency responders on the scene yesterday around 4 p.m. east of Confusion Hill off the Red Mountain Access Road on Cat Track Road/BLM Road 10. Reports from responders to emergency dispatch said there was one deceased person, but no other info was released. 

Another state of emergency declared in Mendocino County, this one because of the Hopkins Fire. The Mendocino County Board Of Supervisors declared the emergency yesterday at their meeting so that federal and state funds can be funneled in to the county for disaster cleanup and recovery.  The county’s disaster recovery coordinator reported there were 67 structures destroyed, including 36 single-family homes and 31 accessory structures. There were also almost 30 vehicles burned, seven trailers and three boats.  But all of that was preliminary. There were also damaged roads and water infrastructure for one subdivision of homes. Mendo Voice reports there will soon be a one day assistance center set up for fire survivors. And the supervisors also gave their approval for a permit program for fire survivors to use trailer coaches as temporary housing for up to three years on their properties.

West Nile Virus has been detected in Lake County. Lake Co News reports Lake County Vector Control said the virus was found in two mosquito samples and in sentinel chickens near Upper Lake. The mosquitoes were found in Lower and Upper Lake. It comes after other samples this summer near Kelseyville and Upper Lake. Vector Control said if there’s virus present in sentinel chickens, it also shows conditions are right for human infections from West Nile virus. So of course, they are warning to try to avoid mosquito bites and dump or drain standing water, use bug repellant and avoid being outdoors when the pests may be present, like dusk and dawn.

A man killed after a car chase who later died after crashing into a tree has been identified. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office says it was 33 year old Claud Walker of Willits killed in the crash on Highway 20 Monday afternoon. The CHP reported getting a bunch of calls that the man had been driving recklessly and fast in a 1998 Mercedes-Benz on westbound Highway 20. They reported he may have been in a crash earlier with another car at a roundabout at Highway 20 and Highway 29. He eventually crashed after the CHP went after him and he ran off Hwy 20 near Upper Lake, hit a tree and rolled, then hit another tree. His car burst into flames and he was ejected. There was also a fire nearby after that had spread from his car.

It was sort of a wash… Californians didn’t really cut their water consumption as requested due to the drought. The Governor was asking a couple of months ago for residents to curb water use by 15%. But as of the last report on water consumption, which is for the month of July, there was only a 1.8% cut. The state water board says we have to do better after Newsom declared a drought emergency in the Russian River watershed in April. Data showed people in that region cut their water consumption by 17% compared to July of 2020. The latest data was released yesterday.

A woman who used to live in Fort Bragg has been sent to prison instead of taking on a jury trial for the sexual abuse of her 2 year old son and distributing child pornography with him in it. The Mendocino County DA’s office says 21 year old Lena Reid got 14 years for continuous sexual abuse of a child and using a minor to create for distribute child pornography. She will also have to register for life as a convicted sex offender wherever she is living.  Police say it comes after she repeatedly sexually abused her two-year old son and created pornography to share with others showing her performing sex acts on the child. She claims someone threatened her so that’s why she did it. Her son is now with his biological father, who the DA says is getting him therapy. 

A man who police say was involved in a honey oil manufacturing business has reportedly died after causing an explosion in a trailer in an RV park in Ukiah. Police say the 56-year-old Ukiah man died at a hospital in Sacramento County after he was severely injured Sept. 9th where there were also a couple of children inside. Both children had to go to the hospital, but are home now and expected to be fine. Police say they were not the man’s children, but they were somehow related. The explosion happened at the Manor Oaks Mobile Estates in the 700 block of East Gobbi Street. The fire was out when firefighters arrived. The man’s name was not released.

4 more people have died due to the coronavirus pandemic in Mendocino County, for a total of 75 deaths. The Public Health Dept. reports being notified of the deaths, 3 were vaccinated, one was not. The 72nd death in the county in a 66 year old woman from Gualala who had been fully vaccinated with multiple comorbidities. They say she died while in Riverside County 2 weekends ago. The 73rd death was a 79 year old man from Ukiah who had not been vaccinated. The 74th death in an 85 year old woman from Ukiah who was fully vaccinated but had multiple underlying health conditions. And the 75th death was in fully vaccinated 98 year old woman from Ukiah. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren says the county’s been seeing a surge in deaths. He says while most in this group were vaccinated, they were elderly and with many co-morbidities. And he adds overall, however, vaccines are proven effective.

A cold case has warmed up. After almost two years a teenager out of Fort Bragg was in national headlines after going missing in San Francisco. News reports said the teen was found with 23 year old King John Baylon Asuncion. He was finally in court yesterday for coercion and enticement of a minor. Court papers say Baylon persuaded, coerced, or enticed a person younger than 18 to engage in a sexual activity, including producing child porn. So for that, if he’s convicted, he faces at least ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The case back in January of 2020 caught national attention after the then 13 year old who was at a hospital in San Francisco escaped telling her family she wanted to go get some air, but she didn’t come back. A server at a restaurant saw her alone outside and watched as she met a man and saw them walk off. She reported it to police after a missing persons report on Facebook. Baylon was arrested after a transit employee also spotted the pair together, but he was released soon after for further investigation. The case now taken up by the federal Department of Justice.

A man charged with arson has been to court and will no longer face a jury trial. Alfredo Orduno Hopper has instead pleaded no contest to felony arson of property for a fire on Old River Road in Talmage in May. Someone driving by, witnessing the fire called 911. Hopper has agreed he will go to prison for 36 months and he’ll be formally sentenced next month. After Hopper is released from prison, he will have to register every year as an arson offender for life in the city or county where he lives.

A body has been found on the 101 near mile marker 57. Mendo Fever reports a tip from a reader had them calling the sheriff’s office who confirmed detectives and deputies were on Highway 101 near the intersection to Highway 162 investigating “badly decomposed” human remains. The news site said part of the highway was blocked for law enforcement activity. The Sheriff’s office reportedly said there was a nearby homeless camp and the remains were a man.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office has a new health order out. After Dr. Andy Coren met with restaurant owners and managers he decided not to mandate vaccinations, but has put out new signs that need to be placed at the entrance to the establishments that are like traffic lights, red, yellow or green. The order is based on whether employees are vaccinated or if not whether they test weekly for the virus; and whether patrons who are not vaccinated are allowed to dine inside. The color coded signs will inform patrons the varying level of risk they take on by entering the business. Dr. Coren is encouraging residents to continue supporting small businesses, at the same time protecting their health.

A new order by the state insurance commissioner says homeowners and renters in nearly 2 dozen Northern California counties, including Mendocino and Lake counties, won’t lose their property insurance policies for the next year if they’re near recent wildfires. It’s been done before, and State Commissioner Ricardo Lara has done it again, issuing the temporary moratorium Monday for 22 counties either next to or within the perimeter of a declared wildfire disaster. The moratorium covers around 325,000 policyholders. The last time it was for 25,000 policyholders in July in three Northern California counties and it’s the third year there have been insurance moratoriums.

They’re safe, for now. The four famous giant sequoias, the Four Guardsmen, at the entrance to the Giant Forest in California’s Sequoia National Park. The trees were protected by firefighters working the KNP Complex. They removed vegetation near the trees and wrapped them in fire-resistant material around their bases.  The fire is two that merged after a lightening storm which has burned over 37 square miles on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. But there’s yet another fire, the Windy fire in the Giant Sequoia National Monument area of the forest and the Tule River Indian Reservation. Part of a trail to the giant trees has burned. The Windy fire has scorched over 39 square miles.

The public safety power shutoff that impacted about 50 Lake County residents is over. The power was off less than 24 hours for 56 customers because of fast moving winds. PG&E turned off the power for over 7,000 customers, but so far they have not announced if there was any damage to their equipment from the wind. It’s the second intentional power down by the company in Lake County this fire season.

The Willits Unified School District has added a COVID19 dashboard to its website for the school year. At the Board of Directors Meeting 2 weeks ago they discussed reopening with students in person full time as the county deals with more cases than ever before. So far they reported no suspected school-based staff or student cases as students and staff are wearing masks at all times. The superintendent was bringing in a company for testing so school staff doesn’t have to test students and each other. The board also approved getting a new school resource officer mostly at Willits High and Baechtel Grove Middle School.  

The state of Calif. is expecting many more Afghan refugees. The state already has the most in the country, so school officials are getting ready for more students. So far Sacramento and Fremont have some of the largest Afghan communities in the state. Some of the schools are now offering culturally appropriate meals and there are rooms set aside for prayer during Muslim holidays. Others are offering Saturday school for English learners. Sacramento schools are expecting as many as 1,200 new students from Afghanistan to enroll. Elk Grove they reportedly have about 2,000 student refugees from Afghanistan. And San Juan Unified has 3,000.

A mobile home has been destroyed and more homes were damaged in the same complex in Ukiah. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reports the fire broke out Saturday morning in the Rancho Del Rey mobile home park. When the first responders arrived, one home was fully engulfed in flames. The resident described only as an older woman with a small dog, was able to escape, but she lost her home. The trailers on either side had heat and smoke damage. The cause of the fire was unknown. Cal Fire, and the Hopland, Potter Valley and Redwood Valley Fire departments were on the scene. Apparently the fire was reported by a group of people who were nearby and ran to help.

Two bills Calif. lawmakers passed could help firefighting. The pair are to use prescribed fires for wildfire prevention. The bills awaiting the Governor’s signature, would have the Cal Fire director identify areas considered moderate and high fire severity zones, then the director would appoint a cultural burning liaison to serve on the State Board of Fire Services and work with the director on prescribed burns. The other introduced by state Senator Bill Dodd and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Jim Wood would change state law to ease restrictions on prescribed burning.

A suspected hit-and-run driver caught speeding on Highway 20 in Lake County has died after crashing into a tree. The man was reportedly driving along the edge of the highway east of Bachelor Valley Road when he hit the tree and his 1998 Mercedes-Benz rolled. It hit a second tree and burst into flames and the fire spread to nearby brush. The man was taken to a hospital but died. The CHP reported witnesses saying the guy was going too fast and was driving recklessly before the accident. He was also suspected in a hit-and-run crash on Highway 20 west of the intersection with Highway 29 before he died.

A man wanted in connection to a murder in Covelo has reportedly been spotted. Mendo Fever reports scanner traffic indicated Dino Michael Blackbear was seen in Fort Bragg this weekend. That triggered the Sheriff’s Office, Fort Bragg Police, the Fish and Game Dept., and California State Parks officers to descend on the area. They also sent out a Nixle Alert for residents in the area to shelter in place. They named the suspect they were looking for and his description, saying residents should report any suspicious activity and not to call 911 unless they felt their safety was at risk. Law enforcement also searching for Carina Amanda Carrillo since last Wednesday night when a man was shot in the neck outside the Buckhorn Bar. They say Blackbear should be considered “armed and dangerous.”

Nearly $700,000 has been doled out by the California Fire Foundation in wildfire safety grants to 55 local fire departments, fire agencies and community groups. The grants from the agency’s Wildfire Safety and Preparedness Program will go to six agencies in Northern Calif. The grants got an injection of cash from PG&E in charitable funding. The program looks to raise awareness about wildfire safety and distribute resources to underserved communities in high fire-threat areas. Money went to 3 fire departments in Humboldt County, the Elk Volunteer Fire Dept. in Mendocino County, the Lake Pillsbury Fire Protection District in Lake County, and the Yurok Fire Department in Del Norte County.

A crowd of people almost had to be rescued from the Point Arena pier as the tide got too high to leave on their own. Mendo Fever reported hearing on the scanner that someone was in the water, but got out and was stuck on some rocks as the tide was rising. An air ambulance was sent in along with other resources to help pluck the victim from the area. But they were able to get themselves out and walk out and all rescuers were told they could leave the scene.

Not unusual in Calif. anymore, a couple of lightning-sparked wildfires have merged and are creeping toward a grove of ancient sequoias. The world’s largest tree is wrapped in protective foil after the weather shifted and the KNP Complex made a run for the Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada. The Giant Forest trees are known as the “Four Guardsmen” which are at the entrance to a grove of 2,000 sequoias. The massive General Sherman Tree is the one wrapped in aluminum.  It’s 275 feet high and 103 feet wide at ground level. There was a red flag warning for the area yesterday which the National Weather Service reported could create conditions for rapid wildfire spread.

A Public Safety Power Shutoff is coming to several counties in Calif. including Lake County. PG&E made the announcement that starting tonight they will shut off power to fire prone areas, but only about 50 or less people will be impacted in Lake, and none in Mendocino County. In all there will be about 7,100 customers affected. Power was starting to be turned off as soon as 5 am this morning and some were told it would be by 10 pm tonight. There had been another 10,000 customers included but that changed. Colusa, Glenn, Napa, Tehama and Yolo counties were also affected. Customers will get updates today about when they can get their power back. That comes after crews inspect their deenergized lines for hazards or damage to make sure it is safe to restore power.

The Clearlake City Council will once again discuss the Cache Fire. The meeting will cover the latest cleanup and recovery after the Governor declared a state of emergency for Lake County due to the fire. That will free up more resources and help with the removal of hazardous debris and ash. The cleanup should start in the coming weeks after proposals come into the city. The city manager says the Cache fire was prioritized as one of the first fire cleanups in the state. There is a site meeting planned too this week with the city engineer. Those who lost their homes are being taken care of by the city and North Coast Opportunities.

In Lakeport the City Council is taking up organic waste requirements. The city’s apparently looking to get an exemption from the state. They’ll take up the matter at their meeting tomorrow night. The meeting is open to the public but for those not vaccinated, they need a face mask.  The meeting is also happening online. The city’s looking to CalRecycle for an exemption to a 2016 law to reduce methane emissions by the year 2025. If the city gets CalRecycle’s approval the exemption is valid until Dec. 31st of 2026.

A special meeting’s being held by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to declare a local emergency due to the Hopkins Fire. The declaration would free up resources from the state due to the arson fire that broke out in Calpella Sept. 12th. They will also discuss an urgency ordinance for an administrative permit program so trailers can be used to shelter people who lost their homes in the fire. There are regulations including needing certain permits for temporary housing. This would allow those rebuilding the ability to have a trailer on their property in the boundary of where the fire burned, or on a separate property in the county.

A bunch of cases of COVID19 have shut down some schools as the delta variant ravaged the country. But overall case and hospitalization rates are on the way down in California and around the country. Especially here in children. Ed Source reports an infectious disease expert tracking demographic trends says cases have shifted substantially towards children and adolescents since the beginning of the school year in mid- to late August and that’s led some school districts to mandate vaccines. But weekly infection rates for all age groups were way down in California as of June, but then spiked in August. With children having higher rates than most adults. The Governor tweeted this weekend though that Calif. has the lowest case rates in the country.

A woman from Lakeport accused of starting a fire has pleaded not guilty. Court papers say 35 year old Jamie Rae Lukens was in court, remotely last week for arson, possessing a device for arson and unlawful fire for a fire near a bank in Lakeport which spread to trees and shrubs. Two witnesses nearby fingered Luken as the fire starter. She’s due back in court in mid October with a  jury trial slated for the 20th. She’s in jail on $100,000 bail.

The Lake County Public Health Dept. homing in on the homes that could have tainted drinking water due to high levels of bacteria in areas of Clear Lake. Last week we told you that routine testing at 15 sites turned up high levels of cyanobacteria and that water was unsafe to drink – if the water came from a personal, private intake from the lake. They’ve now identified about 280 properties in the Oaks and Lower Arms of Clear Lake who draw water from the lake. There are now alternative filling stations for potable, drinkable water, one in Clearlake provided by the Golden State Water Company, and the other in Kelseyville, provided by Mt. Konocti MWC. The fillable stations started Saturday and were only for property owners affected by the Health Advisory. There was also a limit of 25 gallons/week per household.

Lake County Continuum of Care says they’ve got two grants available for rehousing and emergency shelter for nonprofits. Two grants through the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program. Each has just under $124,000. Agencies who apply have to be a 501(c)3 nonprofit, government agency including housing authority, or a state or federally recognized tribe/tribal entity serving those struggling with homelessness or at-risk of becoming homeless in Lake County. Continuum of Care will help make recommendations for the grants.

Police in Ukiah say they received reports of shots fired, finding a man with a gunshot wound to his hand. It happened earlier today in the 800 block of Cindee Drive. UPD Officers, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and paramedics went to the scene and took the victim to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. Detectives were called to the scene and found someone had gotten out of a car and fired 24 shots at two homes. One of the homes was hit in an upstairs bedroom window. That’s where the man was shot in the hand. Police are searching for a possible suspect.

The Lake County Vet Connect Volunteers are hosting an event at the fairgrounds to help at risk and homeless veterans. This Wednesday the annual “Lake and Mendocino Stand Down and Resource Fair” is happening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help veterans find immediate help. They will have folks there to help with veterans’ services, housing and homeless assistance, employment, medical insurance counseling and more. There will be various regional veterans’ services and local organizations will be there to meet with veterans.

PG&E could be raising rates again because of wildfires, coronavirus challenges and other catastrophes. The energy company says they’ve asked for two rate increases which could mean a raise so that most customers pay over $200 a month for electricity and gas services. Right now the typical electric and gas customer pays a bit under the $200/month mark. One of the requests says PG&E needs about $1.47 billion for expenses related to wildfire mitigation, some catastrophic events and multiple other activities. The filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Thursday.

Lake County says it still has more than 12,000 votes from Tuesday’s election left to be counted. Of those, the Election Office reports that there are 11,000 vote-by-mail ballots still out. Also left to be tallied, 1,189 provisional ballots, 98 conditional voter registration ballots, and 47 mailed ballots needing further review for various reasons.

Lakeport police are looking for a man wanted on charges that he beat a young child. The felony indictment against 33-year-old James Anson of Lakeport alleges that he willfully inflicted trauma injury on a child less than 3 years old. Police say Anson knows about the investigation and is avoiding them. Officers say he lives in Lakeport but was last known to be in Santa Rosa. Lakeport PD also says Anson should be considered dangerous because he may have a handgun. If you see him, keep your distance and contact law enforcement.

The Ukiah City Council has voted to move ahead with the final phase of a planned public trail along sections of unused railroad tracks within city limits. However, the Ukiah Daily News reports there is a shadowy proposal by some unnamed investors who say they could potentially use the tracks again to haul coal that would eventually be loaded onto barges and shipped to Asia. County officials doubt that idea is viable and say they would oppose any such proposal. However they think by remaking the decrepit railbed into a trail, any plans, however far fetched, to someday run coal trains there could be more difficult. The trail would be part of the Great Redwood Trail, stretching from San Francisco to Humboldt Bay. If all goes as planned, construction could start next year.

The world’s biggest living tree is wrapped in a foil blanket, threatened by wildfires burning in the Sierra Nevada. The National Park Service says the huge tree is one of dozens of old growth Sequoias in danger. The trees have adapted to fires over the years but the most recent flames are so intense that even that natural resilience may not be enough. The covering is made of heat resistant material but it can only protect for short periods. The General Sherman Sequoia is 275 feet trail and 103 inches around at the base. Botanists think it has been growing for around 2,500 years.

State Senator Bill Dodd is having an online town hall for his constituents on various environmental issues in the state, including climate change and drought. The virtual townhall next Tuesday will include a panel Dodd has rounded up including several conservancy officials, including Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources secretary; Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Board, and Jay Ziegler, director of external affairs for The Nature Conservancy. There will be a Q&A with the panel. You can watch on all of the senators social media pages, his senate page and Sonoma cable outlets.

The Mendocino County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Katrina Bartolomie says they still have some ballots left to be processed as part of the official canvass for the recall election. Mendocino County has 13,111 Vote By Mail ballots left she says, and 451 Provisional / Conditional ballots to review, process and count. Of those outstanding, in the Supervisorial Districts: the 1st District has 2,812; the 2nd District has 2,169; the 3rd District has 3,141; the 4th District has 2,000; and the 5th District has 3,440 ballots remaining to process and count. They have 30 days from the date of the election per state law to finish.

A woman from Redwood Valley has been arrested after a call to the Sheriff’s office for a burglary in progress at the S&B Market. On Tuesday deputies went to the business in Manchester and spoke to the owner who says there was a woman inside, who was identified as Gloria Slatten who had forced her way in when the market was closed. Deputies contacted her, seeing she’d gathered a bunch of grocery store merchandise. They arrested her and held her on $15,000.00 bail. The grocery store also had about a $4,000.00 loss.

Police in Brentwood have reported to local police they arrested a man from Kelseyville for sex crimes against children. 48 year old Matthew Pelton was arrested last month and indicted last week on federal manufacturing child pornography charges. They say he was associated with the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Lake and Sacramento and think based on that, there could be more victims who have yet to come forward. Brentwood Police are asking anyone with information on potential victims to contact them.

The Lake County Public Health Office out with another notice not to drink tap water if you get your water from Clear Lake in various sites around the lake due to bad bacteria levels. The Public Health Office saying due to severe drought and heat, there are unprecedented levels of cyanotoxins in some areas, so individual water systems that draw water directly from the lake using a private intake, should refrain from drinking water which may become unsafe if high levels of toxins are present. They thanked the “hard work” of the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, and assistance from the Robinson Rancheria EPA, for recognizing the problems with the drinking water before any serious health outcomes were reported.  Big Valley had recently sampled 50 of the 280 private systems drawing water directly from the lake in the Oaks and Lower Arms of Clear Lake; and 90% of tested tap water showed cyanotoxin above the safe drinking water level advised by USEPA. 

All evacuation orders and warnings related to the Hopkins Fire that started a week ago in Calpella, have been lifted. A Nixle alert went out telling residents they could go home after the fire burned 257 acres. It’s now 95% contained. Cal Fire reported the fire burned at least 30 homes and several other structures. North Coast Opportunities has support for individuals and families impacted by the fire. They can apply on their website then will receive a call back from a Disaster Case Manager.

The Sheriff’s Office is reaching out to the public to help find two people they say are connected to a murder earlier this week in Covelo. The agency says 34 year old Dino Michael Blackbear and 32 year old Carina Amanda Carrillo were seen in the Tabor Lane area around 12:30 am Weds morning after the murder which happened at the intersection of Greeley and State Route 162 an hour earlier. Anyone with information of where the two may be are urged to call the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, you can remain anonymous. 

A tiny, rural school that closed in Hopland, has reopened. Shanel Valley Academy is near the 101, just past the Hopland Fire Station where they’ve been since 1953. Back in 2010 the school closed. But last week, it finally reopened after several community members fought to make it so. They petitioned the Ukiah Unified School District last year to reopen the school and after a population re-evaluation, it was off to the races. A volunteer group created a nonprofit, wrote a school budget and mission statement and presented it to the school board late last year. It was approved in January and could reopen if the nonprofit paid for the renovations privately. It’s now an independent charter school that must adhere to state standards. The group says their emphasis is on agriculture, project-based learning and STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. There are 117 students enrolled.

It’ll be in person this year, the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show is back. The event is this weened at the fairgrounds in Boonville. It’s been happened for nearly 100 years, starting in 1924 in the Anderson Valley. An email went out to the Anderson Valley Fair Boosters that the public health office gave them the greenlight. It noted to be safe, you should wear a mask, especially indoors, and maintain social distance. They have a new category this year, “Freaky Fruits” which will be judged by crowd reaction.

The Lake County Acting Public Health Officer is back. Dr. Charlie Evans was with the Board of Supervisors again this week after a medical excursion to Kenya for several weeks. He reiterated what we heard from the interim, and former health officer, Dr. Gary Pace, that vaccinating and masking are still the best ways to fight COVID-19. Evans is an ER doctor. He spoke out on the Zoom meeting after hearing from anti-vaccine participants. He said it takes everyone working together, and that they want to prevent an overrun of hospitals, keep schools open and keep businesses successful, saying there’s never been a vaccine as safe as this one. He went on to say, “90% who die are not vaccinated, and most are elderly.”

Sort of like what’s happening on the Mendocino Coast, but different, just the same. After Ukiah had to truck water to the very dry coast, now Lake County has to find an alternate drinking source, due to bacterial overgrowth in Clear Lake.  Lake Co News reports most residents are served by various water systems, but there are private systems who get their water from the lake. A toxin produced by too much cyanobacteria, called microcystin is in the water after regular tests by the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians. The bacteria may be blamed partly on continued warm weather and lower lake levels due to the historic drought.  One test location showed over 200,000 times what’s considered safe.