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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 southukiahrotary.org 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 CSLB.ca.gov.

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