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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.

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