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Monthly Archives: October 2021

A retired firefighter and former colleagues on their toes as a controlled burn on his property in the Santa Cruz mountains got away from them. The retired Cal Fire battalion chief had more than a dozen current Cal Fire firefighters on his land supervising the burn, when sudden gusts of wind sent embers flying. The former chief says he and his son tried to help, but there were so many spot fires, hundreds of other firefighters had to be brought in to help. Firefighters from Mendocino County joined along with others from Placer County. There were also four air tankers and four helicopters on the fire Saturday. In the end the fire burned 148 acres near the Santa Cruz-Santa Clara county line. They reported it was under control yesterday, but only 35% contained.

It’s walnut harvest time and of course this time of year, a warning unharvested trees may be vulnerable to freeze damage as they still recover from last spring’s damage. Irrigated trees actually do better than trees that are dry, experts say and as the harvest is in full swing, some older orchards don’t have enough crop to harvest. Across the state walnut advisors have offered farmers advice on the freeze after last year. They have a survey regarding freeze damage so University of Calif. Cooperative Extension can get a better idea what’s happening statewide. And they’re having a webinar in the next couple of weeks with a panel of UC experts on the best practices for freeze mitigation and recovery. At the same time, the UC has received 32 million dollars from lawmakers to hire more advisors and staff, 2 will be in Lake and Mendocino Counties in Lakeport and Hopland.

More than 2 billion dollars has been set aside by the Calif. Transportation Commission to repair and improve transportation infrastructure across the state. The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 is a large part of the money, $696 million of it. The Cal Trans director says the money is going to local and regional transportation projects “that carry significant community benefits”. $960 million to more than 600 cities, counties, and regional agencies, including 1,100 new projects/year. There are also 15 repair projects to extend the life of 76 bridges, prevent future costly repairs, and improve ride quality for the public. Two projects in Mendocino County include nearly a million in pavement work, barrier replacement, upgrading drainage and signs and lights on Route 1 north of Willits. The other is pavement and guardrail improvements on highway 101 near Willits.

A call to the Sheriff’s office leads to the arrest of a woman in Ukiah after a domestic dispute. Deputies say they found a man and Lateefah Glover at the apartments Friday, the two had been living together. Apparently an argument between the couple got physical and Glover was arrested. Deputies say she threw books at the man, and hit him with a metal rod several times, causing him visible injuries.  She was arrested and held on $25,000.00 bail.

A wrong way driver has reported caused a crash on Highway 29. Mendo Fever reports hearing on the scanner it happened in Lakeport at Hill Road and 2 people were killed. Two other people apparently had major injuries too. The accident last night closed the highway down as an air ambulance was brought in, but could not land, due to the weather. Early reports say one of the people in one of the crashed cars was trapped inside of it, another was ejected out. One of them was pregnant. No other information was immediately available.

Reports of a snake infestation under a home in Northern Calif. have gone viral. The photo of a pile of snakes after a woman called to say she saw a bunch of rattlesnakes under her house, 90 to be exact. The home in Santa Rosa visited by Sonoma County Reptile Rescue. The story made it to Associated Press National headlines. The rescue company crawling underneath the home finding the snakes. The company says they were at the home about four hours October 2nd. They say they took out 22 adult rattlesnakes and 59 baby snakes underneath the home in the Mayacamas Mountains. They came back again, finding 11 more snakes, and a dead cat and dead possum.

In the High Valley area of Lake County, County Supervisors consider a marijuana operation. The Lake County Supervisors are listening to an appeal of the project tomorrow morning from the Lake County Planning Commission for Sourz HVR Inc./Aviona LLC. The company owns the High Valley Ranch in Clearlake. A 1,640-acre piece of land that used to house PSI World. They want to put 80 acres of cultivation in, as well as a spot for processing and distribution on 649-acres of the ranch. The Planning Commission approved it already, but some neighbors are not into it, saying there’s potential problems with grading, air quality, odor, water availability and too much more to list here.

The Ukiah City Council is considering banning the sale of nitrous oxide canisters. The cans are sometimes used by folks to get high. The gas is used to sedate people getting medical procedures or dental work. But you can buy small canisters over the counter. There was a presentation for the council last month from the Ukiah Valley Youth Leadership Coalition. The hits of the nitrous oxide are referred to as “Whipits”. Some of the negative effects include breathing issues, dizziness and possibly a weakening of the heart muscle, and a Vitamin B12 deficiency which can block nerve impulses and cause paralysis.

Water and Sewer rates could be going up in Lakeport. The City Council is set to review rates at their meeting tomorrow night. They’re also meeting a new police officer and declaring October 2021 Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The public hearing for the rate increases will come after the other issues and could take effect as soon as Nov. 1st. But the full increase wouldn’t be felt until five years from now when an average single family residence would pay nearly $20/more per month. Later in the meeting the city manager will bring a proposal to the council for a one year lease for the Clear Lake Environmental Research Center to use the Carnegie Library building to develop an environmental research center along with labs and offices.

A bunch of new police dogs to be on patrol across the state with the Calif. Highway Patrol. The ten new K-9 teams were sworn in Friday. The ceremony happened in Sacramento for the teams after 400-600 hours of training. The CHP Commissioner said after weeks of “rigorous training”, the new teams were ready to get out on the streets. Commissioner Amanda Ray said the dogs were a huge asset to the department and are credited with improving safety and the effectiveness of their human partners and save time and money for the agency. All of the handlers have been CHP officers with at least four years of experience.
The graduating teams now are part of 48 canine teams deployed throughout the state.

As we’ve been hearing nationwide from Public Health Officers and even the federal government, get your vaccinations, for flu and COVID. Now the California Department of Public Health is urging residents to get your shots now to protect yourself and your friends and families. They are warning that the flu could cause a twin pandemic which could be devastating to Californians. Flu season generally starts in October and goes out until May. It generally peaks in late November or December. The vaccination generally takes effect about two weeks after the jab. So getting shots now is the best time to protect yourself, family and the community. They recommend the flu shot for all who are six months of age and older.

Absences aplenty in the Bay Area as parents and some teachers against vaccine mandates walked out. The sit-out was pre-planned after the mandate was first announced for in person learning. The vaccines for kids and adults have been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and millions have received their shots. There’s a Parents of Freedom group on Facebook with all sorts of comments on the mandates, nationwide, many saying they didn’t appreciate the government co-parenting with them. The Gov. Gavin Newsom says our mandate won’t be in effect until the U.S. government has formally approved the vaccine for kids 5 to 15 years old. So it could mean students in 7th to 12th grade won’t need to be inoculated until next July.

Some people in the North Bay without power as a rainstorm barrels thru. PG&E reported nearly 12,000 were without power in multiple counties of the Bay Area this morning. Over 215 in the North Bay. The outages occurred last night about 7:30 p.m. with crews out overnight and into early this morning. At one point 20,000 customers were in the dark. The energy company said the rain caused fires to start on electrical poles and that shut down the power. They had workers out at multiple sites last night.

Kaiser Permanente has put thousands of workers on unpaid leave due to their vaccination status. It’s a nationwide mandate for staff to be fully vaccinated. They made the announcement in August and gave workers and doctors 2 months to get their inoculations across the country. The rate then went up from 78% vaccinated, to 92%. But as of today, there were still 2,200 workers nationwide who had not responded to the mandate. The healthcare company placed them on unpaid administrative leave until December and if they don’t comply, they will be laid off. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the company saying they hoped none of their employees would choose to leave their jobs, but they won’t know for sure until December.  They also said they’d continue working with staff to address any concerns about the shots and to avail them time to educate themselves.

Two more meetings are planned in Lake County to talk about new maps for Board of Supervisor districts. The meetings for citizen input will be on November 2nd and 30th. The final map must be ready to go in time to meet the December 15 deadline. Like other government bodies, the board is using data from the 2020 US Census for redistricting. Once the lines are drawn, they will stay that way until sometime after the next census in 2030. The board of supervisors has more on the redistricting process and the upcoming hearings on its website.

If you live in Lakeport, you’ll have a chance to get rid of all that junk that has been piling up this weekend. The City and Lakeport Disposal are holding a Community Cleanup day on Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm in the public parking lot near the fifth street boat ramp downtown. They will take Household trash, televisions, specified appliances, electronic waste, mattresses, household furniture, unusable clothes/blankets/towels, and similar materials. They won’t take Hazardous waste or construction debris. You’ll have to show a photo ID and a copy of a city utility bill to get in. Covid-19 protocols will be in effect.

Automotive repair students at Ukiah have something new to work on, thanks to a donation from CHP. The bright yellow 2011 Camaro was recovered stolen and could never legally be driven again. It COULD, however, be donated to an educational institution. That’s where CHP Lt. and Ukiah graduate Dan Fansler stepped in. The Daily Journal reports he arranged for the car to go to the school shop, where the students can now tinker with it to refine their repair skills.

A lot of California State Workers seem to be bucking Governor Newsom’s vaccinate or be tested order. According to the state Human resources department, almost 40 percent of those on the state payroll have yet to get a Covid shot. That compares to 28 percent of the overall state populations that remain unvaccinated. Some departments have a higher vaccination rate than others. Caltrans rate is 70 percent, while employees of the California Highway Patrol have a rate of 52 percent.

A man in Willits has been arrested after reports of a bloody crime scene behind the Grocery Outlet at the Evergreen Shopping Center. Willits police say they first got a call of a man down with blood all over, but when they arrived the found the person to be a 61 year old woman, bleeding and unconscious. She was taken to Howard Memorial, then flown to UC Davis due to the seriousness of her injuries. They say she had been severely beaten and sexually assaulted. They identified her attacker as 23 year old Jose Perez who was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with attempted murder, attempted rape, kidnapping with bodily injury and violating probation. He’s held on $500,000 bail.

The body of a missing kayaker we’ve been telling you about, has been found. Dylan Flanagan of San Francisco had been staying in Lake County at a vacation rental celebrating his birthday and a job promotion. When he went out kayaking on Clear Lake last weekend, he disappeared. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol and a private helicopter, volunteers and the Sheriffs office all looked for Flanagan since Sunday. His body was reportedly found along the shore in Clearlake Oaks. An autopsy is set for next week. There were extremely windy conditions when he went out on the lake, including a red flag warning.

The Mendocino County Assessor and Clerk-Recorder reports sending out the Vote By Mail Ballots (VBM) in the Hopland Fire Protection District for the election next month. The ballots went out two weeks ago, on Friday, October 1st. You can also pick one up at the Elections Office if you didn’t receive it. This is for the November 2nd Hopland Fire Protection District election. The office says if you normally vote by mail and have not received your ballot to call them for a replacement.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren has met with the Office of Education and local teachers. Dr. Coren gave them props for effectively stopping “COVID at the door.” They were going over the latest COVID transmission data, showing there had been 33 COVID cases in schools, all from community spread—not transmission at school. The Superintendent of Schools said schools are safe for students and staff. Schools have to have social distancing and other protocols, mask wearing, hand hygiene stations, vaccinations and screenings. Apparently the state is considering dropping the mask mandate if things stay status quo. The Superintendent also said she hopes as folks notice how safe schools are, they will apply for one of the nearly 200 openings. Go to www.edjoin.org for details.

Ukiah police warn against viral school related challenges surfacing on Tik Tok. The dept. sent out a notice they are partnering with the school district to watch out for the challenges that can include monthly themes around stealing school property, assaulting a teacher, vandalism, and even to the extreme of committing sexual assault. The School Resource Officer has already investigated multiple related crimes from the TikTok challenges including theft, vandalism, and inappropriate videos. They’re asking parents to watch out too if their child uses the social media platform and to talk to them about the challenges and remind them they can have long-lasting legal implications.

After two people are accused of alleged mail theft in Potter Valley, one arrest was made. The driver, Charles Maxfield reportedly got away but his possible accomplice, Sharon Smith was arrested. The mail found in the car they were in together was from all over Mendocino County including Ukiah, Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Reeves Canyon and Willits. There were blank checks, a laptop and portable printer.  Smith has been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and acquiring false identification with intent to commit fraud. She pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact this week. She was offered 12 months probation and 20 days in jail as part of a plea deal.

A woman from Nevada has been arrested after a fire along Highway 29 in Kelseyville. The CHP’s Clear Lake Area division says 38 year old Nickelina Rose Williams of Fallon was arrested Wednesday afternoon after the fire broke out near Bottle Rock Road. Several people called 911 to report the fire spreading in a field. CHP officers reported to the area just after a group of drivers had stopped and tried to put the fire out. The CHP reports Williams was walking on the Highway near where the fire started but denied any knowledge of a fire. But officers say she had a lighter and ignition items on her matching what had been found at the fire’s ignition point. She was arrested on suspicion of arson and booked into jail. She’s charged with arson and for having two misdemeanor warrants for her arrest and held without bail. Her arraignment was set for today.

The latest public safety power shutoff that was supposed to impact folks in 10 counties has been canceled. Apparently PG&E saw a change in the forecast and canceled just days after another power down that impacted thousands in Lake County, but none in Mendocino County.   The PG&E spokeswoman says the winds that were forecast were trending weaker. There were still several customers that could possibly see a power down in So Cal including in Kern County.

Break out the Great Pumpkin as PumpkinFest is back in person. The fall tradition for so many years was canceled last year, like many events because of the pandemic. But the city of Ukiah did however host the Great Pumpkin Weigh-off. It was a drive thru event and the winning Pumpkin weighed in at a stealthy 866 pounds. The organizers say they’re looking forward to hosting the festival in person this weekend. The weigh off is tonight from 4 to 7 p.m. at Alex Thomas Plaza. Tomorrow is the parade at 10 am from Redwood Empire Fairgrounds to past Alex Thomas Plaza.

A hearing that was supposed to take place on a proposed U-Haul facility in Ukiah with the Planning Commission has been postponed. The city’s director of community development told the Planning Commission on Wednesday that high winds came through last weekend and knocked down the sign for the project hearing, so they wanted to reschedule so the public hearing was well attended. There is no new date set yet. We told you about the 3 story facility being not well-received by members of the city’s Design Review Board recommending the Planning Commission scrap the plan, at least for that location.

Just as thousands got their power back on Tuesday, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced yet another PSPS again. The energy company powered down 25,000 customers across parts of the state at the beginning of the week and say they’ll end the business week the same way. Early today, maybe already, many people will wake up with no power. Over 4,000 Lake County customers lost their power Monday, but this time around, PG&E has plans for way less customers. They said they’d give a 2 day advance notification, which would have come the same day customers just got their power juiced back up, but it was only one day instead. Again, no customers in Mendocino County will be impacted.

The owners of Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville announced they were selling their riverfront property and just like that, it’s reportedly sold. The Press Democrat reports a private company bid on the land and it’s already in escrow. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors reportedly bid on the land and were rejected. Apparently another local businesswoman was also turned down. The property was listed at over three and a half million dollars. The current owners bought it in 2014 and made several changes. The property has availability for 38-tents on its campground, a four-bedroom, two-bath lodge and 10 vintage cabins from the 1920s.

The mandate for all prison workers to be vaccinated has been blocked by a judge. The judge in Kern County has issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the mandate’s enforcement related to guards and peace officers. The mandate was supposed to start tomorrow but the injunction won’t affect non-unionized staff who work at prisons with health care facilities. 240 inmates and 39 prison employees have died due to complications of COVID19. The group who went to court is the California Correctional Peace Officers Association who is against mandates for its members.

Nursing programs at community colleges across the state are packed and students are challenged to find a program. The student senate of the California Community Colleges is trying to ban the lottery system preventing some from entering the programs. There are about 80 nursing programs at 115 community colleges, and some have waiting lists that last years. The schools all differ though, some use a screening process that looks at a potential student’s background before accepting them, the others are first come, first served, a modified random selection, prerequisite courses or random lottery. Meanwhile there’s been a massive shortage of RN’s in Calif. which started way before the pandemic.

The City of Fort Bragg is no loner taking water from Ukiah. After recent rains came down, the city also reduced its Stage 4 water crisis down to Stage 2. Now businesses and residents can slightly ease up on the strict water conservation measures. The city says it can meet its own demand without the City of Ukiah dragging water all the way over by truck. The City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to downgrade the water emergency. So the conservation efforts should be around 10 to 20% of what was used in a non-drought year instead of 30 to 40%.

Mendocino Coast Clinics in Fort Bragg is receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The $2.5 million dollars over five years goes to support and grow the Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for people to get off opiates. The County has the second highest drug overdose death rate of all California counties with it nearly doubling in the last five years. And Mendocino County’s OD death rate is over twice the state’s rate and nearly double the rate in the entire country. And Mendocino Coast is the only health center on the coast providing the program to treat those who suffer from opiate use disorder.

A man from Covelo busted by Tribal Police has been jailed after a high speed chase. Round Valley Tribal Police called the Sheriff’s office for help stopping Curtis Bettega, who Tribal Officers had lost sight of during the chase. He ditched his car after driving it into a ditch, leaving it with its engine still running. He was caught hiding near the car which had been reported stolen from Ukiah. Deputies found a loaded rifle, with characteristics classifying it as an assault weapon, ammo and nearly 25 grams of meth.  Because of his background he cannot own or possess weapons or ammunition, plus he was out on bail from another recent arrest. He was booked again and held for various crimes on $113,500.00 bail.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office has been awarded a half million dollars for home visits. The grant from the Dept. of Health and Human Services from the Home Visiting Program Innovation State General Fund for work through June 2023. The money to help with outreach and the implementation to better reach, recruit, engage, serve, and retain rural Latina women. It’s part of “Healthy Families Mendocino County” Home Visiting Program. Mendocino County was one of a handful that won the Innovation fund award and will now be able to offer free, ongoing strength-based one-on-one visits.

A man has been arrested for assaulting another man with a rock in Ukiah. Police got a call to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley after the victim went to the Emergency Department. Officers say he had head injuries after being attacked by Orr Creek near N. State Street. He says he didn’t know the suspect and turned over all his personal belongings to him, which included cash, rings, his shoes, backpacks, banking cards and wallet. He gave cops a description including the suspect wearing very distinct shoes. Officers followed the trail of blood by the hospital and found Jason Kreuz wearing those same shoes. He admitted he was in an altercation, and since he was on probation he was searched. They found all of the victims items and arrested him. He was held on $100,000.00.

A man by the Great Redwood Trail called police to say he was attacked. When they arrived, they found him with a head injury, bleeding and with swelling on his head. He says he was walking along when another man on a bike followed telling him to leave the area, then punching him. He says his eyeglasses broke and thought the suspect had something in his hand, but didn’t see what it was, and then he was hit with the guy’s bicycle. He provided a description and declined medical treatment. Alden Larvie was found by Safeway with the bike that matched the victim’s description. He had three warrants for his arrest, so he was held. He admitted the altercation and was arrested for the three warrants, all misdemeanors and held on $30,000.00.

Any help needed due to the drought is available from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). Several grant programs are available now for urgent and long-term drought response and recovery to support local agencies in Mendocino County. There will be drought funding workshops over the next several weeks, the first is tomorrow from 1-2:30 pm. They’ll go over the basics of getting the grants and how to fill out an effective grant application. email mcwa@mendocinocounty.org.

A man accused of killing his partner in Upper Lake was back in court after the 2017 event. Willy Tujays Timmons was charged with the murder of Vanessa Niko. He’s charged with murder, inflicting corporal injury with a prior conviction within seven years, causing permanent disability, and torture. They were talking death penalty a few years ago in the case, but that never came to be. He’s been in jail ever since. In July he asked for a so-called Marsden Motion, looking to fire your court appointed lawyer. It was granted.  And he has a new lawyer.

The Eel River Cleanup has a date. One week from this Saturday at nine. You can meetup with others at the Pioneer Bridge over the Eel River, five miles north of Potter Valley on Eel River Road. There the Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority, Potter Valley Tribe, Solid Waste of Willits will be on hand as they sponsor the Cleanup again. They’re working on a 12-mile section of river from Van Arsdale up to the Lake Pillsbury Dam in Lake County. They will be serving lunch this year and practicing social distancing. They will have all the needed gear and hand washing stations.  

For more information, call the Potter Valley Tribe at 462-1213 or Beb Ware at 743-1525.

Still no sign of the man who went missing after taking off in his kayak from Upper Lake onto Clear Lake. The rescue or recovery is now focused on the Clearlake Oaks area after items believed to be Dylan Flanagan’s turned up there. His kayak was found right away, now reports that the Lake County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol also located a paddle, shoe and life jacket. He disappeared after taking off for a paddle on Sunday. He’s been working in the San Francisco area, but hails from Southern Calif. and was staying at a vacation rental in Clearlake Oaks for his 28th birthday and a job promotion.

A woman from Clearlake Oaks in court pleading not guilty to charges of murdering her boyfriend then leaving town. Tammy Sue Grogan-Robinson was in court via Zoom yesterday from the Lake County Jail related to the murder of Charles Vernon McClelland of Rohnert Park. She initially said he raped her so she shot him, then she left town and had to be extradited back. The two reported in an on again off again relationship, but on when he was killed at her home in July. After her claims of rape were debunked police charged her for the unjustified and premeditated shooting death. She pleaded not guilty yesterday and denied special allegations against her. She also waived her right to having her preliminary hearing within 30 days of her plea entry. She’s due back in court November 17th.

The Assistant Superintendent of the Ukiah Unified School District Nicole Glentzer has received the 2021 Ray Curry Award. The award from the Association of California School Administrators is given yearly for an outstanding human resources administrator in California. The Superintendent of schools said Glentzer is a “remarkable leader and human being”, inspiring us daily by confronting difficult situations with a kind heart. The president of the Association bestowing the award on Glentzer says she worked closely with her and was impressed by her “knowledge, care, integrity, and ability to deal with the most stressful situations”. Saying she’s always kind and solution oriented.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors is not doing a vaccine mandate for County employees. The agreement yesterday after four hours of lively debate. There are reported to be 2,400 unvaccinated County employees. The board did however issue new protocols, calling for weekly testing and screening for unvaccinated staff.  One supervisor disagreed with the singling out of the unvaccinated, calling for screening all employees.  The public health officer at the meeting said it was unnecessary, as far as CDC standards, to test vaccinated individuals who were not exposed or have symptoms.

The fire restrictions on the Mendocino National Forest are over. They ended today. Forest visitors who have a valid Campfire Permit can get back to having open campfires and camp stoves anywhere on the forest including designated wilderness areas, dispersed campsites, and in developed recreation sites, including campgrounds. You can apply for a permit at all U.S. Forest Service, BLM, or CAL FIRE offices, or online at www.readyforwildfire.org. There are no fireworks allowed ever.

Sonoma County has announced reaching its 400th death due to COVID19. The bleak landmark as two more deaths were reported. At the end of 2020 there had been 194 deaths, which occurred over about 9 months. About the same this year. The latest deaths were both unvaccinated. One a man between 70 and 80 who died Aug. 21st at a hospital; and the other was an unvaccinated woman between 40 and 50 who died Oct. 1st, also at a hospital. The two both had underlying health conditions.

The Skunk Train is reportedly negotiating with Georgia Pacific to get some land at the Mill Site to expand. Last night at the Fort Bragg City Council meeting they were discussing acquiring the rest of the Georgia Pacific Mill Site land to cleanup as required by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. After cleanup of the land, restoration of the Mill Ponds, tributary creeks and estuary, development of new housing.  But the Skunk Train wanted part of the land, but the city decided it wasn’t in the best interest of the community. So the Skunk Train filed suit to acquire the land anyway by eminent domain. Georgia Pacific said they don’t have the power to do that, but the case has not been settled and the City is still negotiating to get the land.

A woman in Fort Bragg says her brother in law was hit by a car that took off. The Fort Bragg Police Dept. posted on Facebook that Grace Potter reported her brother was hit and had injuries to his face, shoulder, and multiple broken teeth.  The police department is trying to find out who hit the 39 year old man. The woman says the vehicle was a gray/light-colored SUV heading South. Police want anyone who may have seen something to report it.

After 25,000 PG&E customers just got their power back after the last intentional power down in fire weather, there could be another around the corner. The utility giant says it’s getting ready for another potential public safety power shutoff starting early Thursday. 4,008 in Lake County were without power including over 300 medical baseline customers. Lake Co News reports a spokesperson with the utility company says PG&E crews patrolled the area of the latest power down in Lake County and showed at least four instances of weather-related damage and hazards including vegetation on power lines. The company reports monitoring the weather which may include dry offshore winds for Northern and Central California. And that they’d give 2 days notice to about 29,000 customers in small stretch across 19 counties and four tribes.

Cannabis on the docket at the next Lake County Planning Commission meeting. Some routine business first at their meeting tomorrow then they will consider a major use permit for High Caliber Farms. They’re asking for three medium outdoor cultivation licenses and a self-distribution license for commercial cannabis cultivation and distribution. Their business has almost 37,500 square feet of canopy on a 78-acre property in Upper Lake. The commission will also consider a major use permit by Lake Vista Farms for 15 acres of outdoor commercial cannabis canopy in five fenced growing areas in Clearlake.  Plus another cultivation request on 15,000 square feet in Kelseyville.

A new grant from the federal government for the CHP so they can continue looking out for dangerous driving behaviors. The patrol’s Regulate Aggressive Driving and Reduce Speed, or RADARS, VI grant is to help bring down the amount of car crashes due to speed and the amount of people killed and injured in the crashes. The CHP commissioner says reckless driving is a major threat to everyone on Calif. roadways and the grant will help provide “focused education and enforcement” targeting speeding and aggressive driving, including street racing and sideshow activities, which she says will help prevent crashes resulting in death or injury.

The Willits Police Chief is asking the city council for permission to reach out to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for help getting fill-in dispatchers temporarily or part time due to a staffing shortage. Apparently there’s an agreement in place already, but there’s only a maximum budget of $6,000 and Chief Lizarrago says he needs $25,000. There are only two dispatchers in the department so they need outside help. They have one possible new hire and are trying to find more and are training other staff to pick up the slack. If approved the Sheriff’s office dispatchers would continue working from the communications center in Ukiah and would be provided by the county on an overtime basis.

Could there soon be a U-Haul facility in Ukiah’s future? The Planning Commission will consider a plan for a three story building at 675 N. Orchard Avenue. But the plan was panned by the city’s Design Review Board, who wrote to the planning commission that it doesn’t match the character of any Ukiah neighborhood. The Board also said it’ll block views of the Eastern Hills, and views of the city from the highway. The plan now is for a 40-foot high, self-storage box, 325-feet long. The Design Board said it should instead be in a mixed use area near places like auto part or tire stores like on Airport Park Boulevard. But city planning staff liked it for the proposed area.

Lake County still does not have a permanent Public Health Officer as Dr. Gary Pace resigned in the spring. Then the county also lost the health services director so the Board of Supervisors has to fill both spots during a pandemic. Dr. Pace is the interim officer and Dr. Charlie Evans and Dr. Evan Bloom are also alternates when Pace is unavailable. The County Administrative Officer, Carol Huchingson is acting as the interim health services officer. After several interviews for a new Public Health Officer, Supervisors directed staff to renew their recruiting effort. But the recruiter says she’s not confident she’ll be able to find someone in the final months of the year due to the holidays.

A man busted by deputies as they look for someone else. Deputies say they went to a home in Willits to serve a warrant on Steven Ramier for evading and instead found Jewel Dyer standing near the driveway to the home holding a plastic bag of illicit drugs. Deputies also found he was on parole and high on something. They then found Ramier, but he ran so they had to chase him down. He was finally taken down, then both he and Dyer were arrested and booked into Mendocino County Jail. Ramier was held on $135,000.00 bail and Dyer was held without bail due to a Parole hold.

Deputies say at least 100 residents had their mail ripped off by a couple, one of them arrested in Potter Valley. The Sheriff’s Office reports Sharon Smith of Potter Valley and Charles Maxfield of Willits were seen in a suspicious vehicle near some mailboxes. A witnesses said they thought the pair were stealing mail and approached their car, but they sped away. Deputies saw the car and only saw someone in the passenger seat, but thought they heard activity in the bushes nearby. They say they found the driver there, Charles Maxfield who was on Post Release Community Supervision for mail theft in the past, but he ran away and they couldn’t catch him. At the same time they found a massive amount of mail and documents in the car, none in Maxfield or Smith’s name. Smith was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail but not held due to the pandemic. Maxfield is still on the run. 

A man from Ukiah has been arrested after reports of people possibly camping in and vandalizing the Little Lake Cemetery in Willits. A deputy saw a car there and looked inside, finding Steven Lawson who was on parole with an active pick up arrest warrant, so he was held. His car searched and deputies found a meth pipe, a fixed blade knife and a small canister of pepper spray, none of which he’s allowed to have while on parole.  He’s charged with violating his parole and for possession of tear gas by a prohibited person and held on no bail.

A man from Southern California visiting Clear Lake reportedly disappeared after going paddling in his kayak. The 28 year old was identified as Dylan Flanagan was at the lake Sunday afternoon and vanished. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reported sending out a Marine Patrol unit and finding a kayak, but no sign of Flanagan. A relative says they saw him paddling away from the Clearlake Oaks Boat Launch around 5:00 p.m. Sunday. A search by deputies on land and in the Lake turned up nothing. He’s described as 6”1’ about 170-190 lbs with brown hair, brown eyes, and a distinctive brown mustache/beard combo. He was last seen wearing a navy Hawaiian shirt, black sunglasses, a straw hat, and tie-dye boardshorts.

The tall trees in the Muir Grove of Giant Sequoias are still very much in danger from two fires. The unrelenting flames have been threatening the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for weeks. Some of the taller trees at the gate to the parks were wrapped in aluminum and retardant has been dropped on the trees by an airplane. Something never done before. The KNP Complex fire started in lightening a month ago. Along with the Windy Fire which is also burning nearby, they’ve already burned 26 groves of the trees and blackened over 184,000 acres combined. Some of the scientists working along with firefighters say most of the fighting they’re doing is experimental. The Windy fire is 85% contained, but the KNP Complex is only 20% contained.

A fire that started in Clearlake has been stomped out quick, with the help of an off duty firefighter who jumped into action. The fire, called the Box fire was reported around 1:30 yesterday afternoon near Jack in the Box. Firefighters descended on the area pretty quick after the fire quickly grew to two acres between Dam Road and Highway 53. Lake County Fire and Cal Fire along with a chopper and other air resources started working on the fire as someone driving by jumped in and stopped, Tommy Scalfaro. He was driving by with his girlfriend when they saw the flames and stopped. He’s a Cal Fire firefighter. He grabbed tools from his truck and ran to the fire before the on duty firefighters arrived. 2 other drivers stopped to help. The fire broke out during the red flag warning which remains in effect today. 

PG&E has notified customers in nearly 2 dozen counties of the all clear after the latest public safety power shut-off. But not so fast, as the energy company announced they were turning power back on, they said they may have to turn it back off tomorrow due to another weather system moving through the area. Lake County had 4,000 customers impacted. 20,000 others were also in the dark, but not in Mendocino County. Meteorologists with the company says there were wind gusts recorded at 55 miles an hour in Butte County, 52 mph in Shasta and 47 mph in Tehama County. They have not said when power would be turned back on because they’re still checking their equipment.

A new law in Calif. says you cannot harass people if they’re going into a vaccination clinic. The Governor signed the law into place Friday, which already went into effect. It’s just a misdemeanor though for harassment, intimidation, injuring or obstructing someone who is trying to go get their Covid-19 or any other vaccine, and it’s punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail. Free speech experts said it was probably unconstitutional, but language was then removed from the bill. But they say it still violates the First Amendment.

Community clinics who are already pretty low on funds say giving the COVID-19 vaccines has resulted in a major cash flow problem. The clinics here and in other states are reportedly awaiting money from the federal government for administering so many doses since January, about a million here in Calif. Some of the clinics report not billing for the shots because it’s too confusing. They also say they’re owed tens of millions. Federal data shows these health centers have administered almost 15 million vaccine doses.

The Governor has signed the majority of the bills on his desk into law from the 2020-21 legislative session. Some of the action includes providing immediate relief for those hardest hit by COVID-19, taking on the homelessness & housing affordability crisis, transforming public schools as gateways for opportunity, building infrastructure for the next century and fighting wildfires & taking on climate change. It’s all part of his agenda for the California Comeback Plan. He commented Saturday during signing that he was thankful for the efforts from the Legislature, with that and his Plan, they’re hitting fast forward on the state’s recovery from the pandemic. Some of the legislation signed was from State Senator Mike McGuire.

A woman in Mendocino County says she and her toddler and grandma were chased by someone driving nearby. The woman, who was anonymous on the Red Headed Blackbelt site woman says she was with her two-year-old daughter and grandmother at the South Fork of the Eel River near the Peg House when the driver seemed to try to hit them on purpose, over a concrete barrier, through a wooden fence and then a little to close to them. She said they were on the river a couple hours and were walking to their car off Hwy 101 when it happened. She described it as a light blue sedan who crashed and barreled towards them. She called 911 and were met about a half hour by law enforcement. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s says they reported there after getting a call to help from State Park rangers.

California hits a grim COVID19 milestone more than 70,000 dead. The data emerged on Monday as the state reports having the lowest infection rate in the country. The most recent surge in cases was over the summer due to the delta strain, which mostly hit those unvaccinated. California has now had the most deaths of any state, just barely passing Texas and Florida. But the state’s per capita death rate of 177/100,000 is in the bottom third for the U.S. Over 70% of California residents have been fully vaccinated and 8% more have initiated their shots.

A new law is taking affect after so many police protests. Senator Mike McGuire drafted a bill to protect journalists and the Governor just signed it into law.  SB 98 focuses on first amendment protections for members of the press who are at protests or other events. Senator McGuire says Calif. now has some of the toughest protections for journalists over any other state. He says it comes after a surge in acts of violence and obstruction against members of the press nationwide. There were more than 600 reported acts of aggression against reporters in 2020 including the use of rubber bullets, tear gas, and reports of jailed journalists too. The new law prohibits cops from obstructing, detaining, assaulting, or otherwise preventing the press from fulfilling their constitutional mandate in reporting on these events.

An autopsy on a man whose body was found in the trunk of a car near Covelo shows he was murdered and not from our area. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports the body was found in the vehicle on the 27000 block of Mendocino Pass Road October 3rd, a week ago Sunday. The Sheriff’s office reports the next of kin for the man have not been notified yet and they’re investigating in locations outside of the county too. The body was found in the trunk of a car parked on the side of the road by a Fish and Wildlife Warden.

The Governor has signed anther new bill into law from Assemblymember Jim Wood regarding expanding Broadband infrastructure. Assemblyman Wood says the lack of broadband availability has been a serious problem all along but got way worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law maximizes broadband with the ‘dig once’ policy used by many other states. It means when conduit for telecommunications infrastructure is set up, and broadband will start to be added. So workers don’t have to dig up an area again. The law requires the Dept. of Transportation to make sure construction includes the installation of conduits capable of supporting fiber optic communication cables and that the Public Utilities Commission will see to the maintenance and updates of a publicly accessible interactive map showing the accessibility of broadband service in the state.

A community meeting is set for possible improvements to Mt. Konocti County Park. This Wednesday the Lake County Parks & Rec Dept is hosting a community meeting to get public input on changes to the County Park. The meeting at the Kelseyville Elementary School Multi-Use Room with COVID-19 protocols. The Lake County Public Services Director says “Mount Konocti is not only one of our County’s most definitive landmarks, it offers extraordinary opportunities for outdoor recreation”.

Lake County, but not Mendocino, has another public safety power shutoff. At the same time the National Weather Service in Eureka has called for a Red Flag Warning. It was a fire weather watch, then meteorologists upgraded it because of gusty northerly winds and a passing cold front, with low humidity, and dry fuels across the area. The windiest, will be tonight, as breezes turn to gusts in the upper slopes and ridgelines of Mendocino County above 1,500 feet, then shift to Lake County to the east tomorrow morning. All the while, PG&E is shutting down power in Lake and several other counties statewide, but so far, not in Mendocino County. Glenn, and Sonoma Counties are included though.

If you have to travel through Sonoma County in coming weeks, be alert, the 101 widening project in Petaluma is on. This phase will be on the southbound side again, where the highway will be totally demolished between East Washington Street and Corona Road. So there will be temporary lanes in the center median. The demolition is happening on weekdays all month, but workers say it’s not likely to cause traffic congestion. Caltrans crews are taking out a stretch passing the Sonoma-Marin Rail Transit tracks. The work being done at a time no SMART trains are expected.

Another way to cut pollution in Calif. By 2023, you won’t be able to buy a new gas-powered leaf blower or lawn mower. The Gov. signed the new law Saturday ordering a permanent ban on the sale of new gas-powered equipment with small off-road engines. That includes generators, lawn equipment and pressure washers. The new law starts next year, but the new rule doesn’t go into effect until January of 2024, giving regulators time to work on the plan. Calif is the only state allowed to regulate air quality like this, as part of a federal law back in the 1970s. Other states cannot come up with their own regulations, but they can do what Calif. does.

25,000 customers in over a third of California’s counties will be without power due to a red flag warning. PG&E has notified customers in 23 counties they will be part of the latest public safety power shutoff that started at 4 a.m. today. Just over 4,000 customers in Lake County will be impacted, but none in Mendocino County. Over 300 in Lake are in the so-called Medical Baseline program, mostly in the south county or north of Clearlake Oaks. The utility company blames dry, offshore winds that were expected overnight with gusts of up 50 miles an hour this morning. There are 24 community resource centers in over a dozen counties for folks to charge medical equipment and electronic devices, get up-to-date info about the PSPS, and water, snacks and other essential items.

The homecoming for Willits High happens just like in before times. Students, staff and community members at the rally, junior varsity and varsity football games and a dance. The events were over last week, from Sept. 27th – Oct. 2nd. The rally in honor of some senior athletes of volleyball, girls’ and boys’ soccer, football and cross-country teams. The Homecoming court was of course, also introduced to the crowd. The kids also enjoyed spirt week, the week before the main weekend celebrations.

A fire has quickly been corralled in Mendocino County. The Sheriff’s office reported the fire contained within about an hour after first reports Sunday after a car near Shady and Biggar Lanes in Covelo was in flames. They were calling the fire the Shady fire for a minute. There was also a Nixle alert sent to residents to warn of fire activity and to steer clear of the area yesterday.

It’s been a busy year so far for the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority who responded to almost 170 fires. The Fire Dept. reported about 70% of the 168 fires were found to be arson caused. The dept. says 113 of the fires were intentionally set which wasn’t helped by extremely hot, dry and windy weather conditions. We all know about the Hopkins, probably the largest in the county. It started Sept. 12th in Calpella and burned several homes. Then there was another arson fire, the Highway fire, which jumped the Russian River. 102 fires were also connected to homeless encampments and homeless activity, so human caused, but not necessarily arson. There was no suspect in the Highway fire, but there was an arrest in the Hopkins.

In the Mendocino County Public Health Officer’s latest public comments, he said he wants people to be healthy and happy. Dr. Andy Coren has been hosting the Friday meetings weekly for months. Last Friday he said as cases wane, he would love to see people plan carefully for upcoming holidays, starting with Halloween. Coren says about 40% of the population has not been vaccinated, so you should still mask indoors and outdoors in crowds. Restaurants have signs up too, to let you know if the establishment has vaccinated staff or not so you can make your own informed decision about whether to enter. He’s also urging flu shots like last year, so we don’t have a twin pandemic. Many clinics are offering both Covid-19 and flu vaccines at the same time, which is considered safe. As of last Wednesday about 70 percent of eligible county residents were vaccinated and 61.4 percent of the total population had been vaccinated.

Northlake Fire Protection District is getting an infusion of cash. The Board of Supervisors has agreed to the Chief Mike Ciancio’s request for a wildland fire fuels crew. It comes after the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake bequeathed $662,000 to cover payroll and benefits for the project’s first year for a fire captain and 10 crew members. The department would need about the same from the county for the first year to get to the total cost of about $1.2M. The other half goes to equipment and operating costs. The 3 supervisors offered up discretionary funds to fund it along with money from the Cannabis Tax Committee for the rest. The fire chief said after the board meeting he was shocked he got what he needed.

A man in custody for several months accused of threats on his girlfriend looks to be pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. Morgan Matthew Jack in court for a settlement/ trial readiness conference where his lawyer requested a new hearing for the not guilty by reason of insanity plea. They will be back for that next week. He’s held on no bail after three witnesses testified on his behalf. He was being held since June for assault with a deadly weapon (other than a firearm), exhibiting a firearm/deadly weapon, resisting arrest, and exhibiting imitation firearm and assault on a peace officer. Deputies say in May he threatened to kill his girlfriend in Lakeport, she got away before deputies got there. He barricaded himself inside and a SWAT team had to extract him. A police dog took him down finally. Jack was previously tied to the murder of a taxi driver in the Big Valley Rancheria for which he pleaded no contest.

The Public Safety Power Shutoff has hit over 6,500 customers. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut off power this morning in Sonoma, Lake and Napa as powerful winds expected to gust across the region, hit. The power down was, as in the past, to reduce the risk of wildfires in the area where PG&E equipment could spark a fire. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning in the North Bay and Northern California through tomorrow night. The power downs started this morning before 6a. The power wasn’t turned down in Mendocino County, but it was in Lake, to over 4,000. The Press Democrat reported this is the 3rd power down this season.  

Another new bill signed into law by the Governor so that children can sign their parents up on their health insurance. The health exchange created under President Obama, the Affordable Care Act allows kids to be on their parents insurance plans until they’re 26, some states even extended that to 30 years of age. The CA Insurance Commissioner says the Parent Healthcare Act will help families take care for their parents the way they cared for them. Adults have to rely on their kids though for at least 50% of their total support to get on their plan.

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for late Monday into Tuesday afternoon. Forecasters predict gusty north winds in Lake, northeast Mendocino, and southeast Trinity Counties. The strongest winds will be found on exposed high terrain and north to south-oriented valleys. Those conditions mean any fire that starts will likely spread rapidly because of the low humidity, dry fuels, and gusty winds. The weather should turn more favorable later on Tuesday, but critical fire weather could linger in some places.

The Mendocino County sheriff’s office could see a budget increase. Mendo Voice reports that when the County Board of Supervisors heard from Sheriff Matt Kendall at a special meeting this week, they seemed to agree that the department needed more money. The sheriff says he would use some of it to hire more deputies. He told supervisors that he has to offer competitive salaries and incentives to find the most qualified candidates. The department is also facing higher expenses to cope with natural disasters. The board also discussed the ongoing dispute over funding IT positions in the sheriff’s office. Kendall wants to use emergency funds to pay those salaries. A court case about that is ongoing.

Lakeport Police say they have not given up trying to solve a murder inside a downtown business 13 years ago this month. On October 8th, 43-year-old Barbara Gage LaForge was killed inside Wildwood Frame Shop and Inspirations Gallery, a shop she owned on Main Street. There is a $50,000 reward still active for the arrest and conviction of whoever was responsible. The Lakeport PD hopes this anniversary will prompt tips that will eventually lead to justice for Barbara.

A baseball team from Ukiah is looking to make its way to Iowa to play on the Field of Dreams. The team of 13 and 14-year-olds is raising money to go to a tournament next May in Dyersville, Iowa on the field made famous by the movie. They call themselves U-town, after their hometown. To reach their own Dream, they need to raise around $15,000. They have already raised $1,000 by putting on a clinic for younger ballplayers last weekend.

Bars and Restaurants can continue to offer cocktails to go with food orders and offer outdoor dining options under a bill signed today by Governor Newsom. Those to-go drinks were allowed to help establishments during the pandemic, Now they will be legal until the bill sunsets in five years. Restaurants will also get a one-year grace period to apply for a permanent expansion of outdoor dining once the state of emergency is lifted. The governor says the state should do all it can to help bars and restaurants that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

California workers who speak out about harassment and discrimination have more protection under the law. Governor Newsom has signed the Silenced No More act. In addition to race, discrimination based on religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability will now be protected for those coming forward with their experiences. The new law applies even in cases where the workers signed a non-disclosure agreement. Those behind the law cited examples of employees who were intimidated or faced legal roadblocks when they complained.

The Clearlake City Council hears an update on the Cache fire cleanup. There was other business too including a proclamation on October being both Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There was a briefing on the Cache Fire which devastated an entire mobile home park and damaged another. The fire broke out August 18th, we still don’t know why. And it burned over 80 acres and destroyed 138 structures — including 57 homes. The City Manager gave an update saying several city, state and county representatives toured the fire site, and came up with some solutions and future improvements. Staff is working with residents to get ‘right of entry’ forms to remove debris. They’ve received 41 rights of entry so far.

After trying desperately to save them, the US Geological Survey and representatives of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks say we may have lost hundreds of giant sequoias due to the massive KNP Complex fire. It started about a month ago in a dry lightning storm. Some of the more famous of the trees were wrapped in aluminum to save them, but parks reps say the fire encroached on 15 groves and it looks at least two were impacted.  The groves known as Redwood Mountain and Castle Creek still need to be assessed to be sure, but reports are that it’s likely they were hit by extreme fire behavior. The USGS says observations suggest severe fire effects. The blaze has burned almost 86,000 acres and is only 11% contained.

Unemployment claims down again in California, but still higher than ‘before times’. There were 68,200 initial claims for unemployment in Calif for the week ending Oct. 2nd off 10,500 from the week before. The U.S. Labor Department report showed claims are still way above what is considered normal for this time of year in the state. And the benefit claims were over 25% of all claims filed in the country during the same period. Jobless claims across the country were at 326,000 last week, down 38,000 from the week before. In January and February of 2020, the last two months before the pandemic arose, claims were averaging just under 45,000/week in California.

State Senator Mike McGuire has hosted a Climate Town Hall with experts. McGuire had guests with him who are some of the most knowledgeable about climate science during his Wednesday virtual town hall. The guests said in Calif. and along the West, climate change has made it warmer over the last few decades with extreme hit as the norm and the top weather-related killer in the country. They said states in the west were more vulnerable to extreme drought and larger, more destructive and more frequent wildfires. Plus the communities sitting on the coast are dealing with major sea level rise. McGuire represents Trinity, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

A plaque that had been removed in Ukiah acknowledging Ladies of the Night is back. The plaque says “To the Ladies of the Night, who plied their trade upon this site” and sits on a rock. But one person living in the building where the plaque was placed 4 decades ago didn’t like it, so it was removed. Then last December the rock without the plaque was posted on social media, causing the story to go viral locally. So, former City Council member, now County Supervisor Maureen “Mo” Mulheren of Ukiah went about finding where the plaque was. Apparently a tenant in the building held on to it, because others were still fond of it and now it’s back, in its rightful place, but about a ½ block away on the corner of West Church and South State streets.

The indoor mask mandate in San Francisco has been lifted for offices and gyms for the vaccinated. In Sonoma county, the public health officer says masking is working and that health orders, vaccination, outreach and education are adding layers of protection against the pandemic. But in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties, their health officials told their Board of Supervisors they may be changing protocols after getting some metrics the end of this week. They would be looking at case rates, deaths and hospitalizations before making any moves. In San Francisco they will consider removing more restrictions next week on mask wearing in public places and the amount of people who can safely gather.

The state of California has been trying to find ways to reform the juvenile justice system placing inmates closer to their communities, instead of at youth prisons run by the Department of Juvenile Justice. But it’s been quite the challenge. They’re supposed to be put in place after the Governor signed a bill into law last year requiring state youth prisons to close by 2023, by not sending juveniles to the facilities as of this past July. But the state’s counties have to each figure out what local facility they can send the kids to. Children from 15 to adults up to 25 can be sent there are have been living there for some time for serious or violent crimes. There are about 750 youth confined in the state.

More controversy related to the logging that had been taking place at the Jackson Demonstration Forests’ Soda Gulch Site. On Wednesday, the Coyote Valley Tribal Chair Michael Hunter was there to see for himself that no logging was actually happening. But Hunter saw and heard on video and audio recordings there indeed was logging going on. He was asked to leave by loggers while there and refused. Citizens monitoring the forest say there is active logging going on, no matter what Cal Fire contractors say. Reports say they were stopping while activists were there, and that’s no longer the case. No activists have been arrested, but say they’ve been harassed, as do the contractors.

The Lake County Health Services director has resigned ahead of being terminated. The Board Chair Bruno Sabatier reported Denise Pomeroy had resigned. Sabatier says out of respect, they will not announce why the director quit. She was appointed 5 years ago as the interim director then became the permanent director 6 months later. Her job is already posted now on the county’s website with the application deadline of October 20th at a pay rate of between $126,000 to $152,000 per year. The County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson will now take over as the interim Health Services director.

A new report says fire season is hardly over. Even though it’s getting cooler because of a change in seasons, the National Interagency Fire Center’s monthly report says there’s still “above-normal significant fire potential” for fires through November in Northern California. The center based in Idaho watches conditions for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management and shows Coast Ranges from the Bay Area to Ukiah as an area at risk. The agency says it’s mostly due to the drought. At the same time the Governor has signed legislation for more prescribed burning to reduce wildfire hazards due to “extreme drought” or “exceptional drought” conditions.

The Dept. of Corrections is being investigated after one prison guard killed himself and another died of an overdose after reporting corruption and harassment. 56 year old Sgt. Kevin Steele reportedly kept track of improprieties like other guards framing prisoners with drugs and weapons. Steele wrote to top prison officials in Sacramento also saying that colleagues had forged documents. He was also working on cases with some lawyers who claimed evidence was falsified or covered up. Steele was found dead of suicide in August in Missouri. And a second team member in that investigation who complained of harassment and retaliation, 30-year-old Valentino Rodriguez accidentally od’d on fentanyl a year ago. Their entire unit has been replaced. They were supposed to be investigating crimes committed inside the prison. Others face disciplinary action.

If you need fingerprints for a background check, or for any other reason, you can head over to the Fort Bragg Police Department once again for “Live Scan” or fingerprinting services starting today. The Hours are Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM, Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM and they are closed on Fridays and legal holidays.

For more information regarding Fingerprinting or Live Scan services please refer to the City of Fort Bragg website https://city.fortbragg.com and click on the Fort Bragg Police Department icon.  

The new desalination treatment system is in Fort Bragg. Tomorrow the city’s hosting a casual reception and ribbon cutting ceremony for the Aquaclear Desalination-Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment System at the city’s Corporation Yard at 2:00 PM. The city bought the set up five months ago so it can provide water during periods of salt-water intrusion in the Noyo River. It can bring in up to 200 gallons/minute of desalinated water, or 288,000 gallons per day. The wastewater treatment plant treats waste with certain bacteria and specialty microbes to clean water, they have to use brine, which is concentrated saltwater. So the amount it brings in is pretty limited, so the desalination system can only be used 12 hours per day for 144,000 gallons per day, about 25% of the City’s daily water use.

Money is headed to Lake County Behavioral Health Services. The agency working with the Office of Education received a Mental Health Student Services Act grant from the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission. The grant is to incentivize partnerships between Behavioral Health and educational agencies so there’s more access to mental health services in locations easily accessible to students and their families. The county says it’s a perfect time as students are returning to in-person school after over a year of shelter-in-place isolation. The support is for mental health services on school campuses, suicide prevention services, drop-out prevention services, placement assistance and service plans for students in need of ongoing services.

The Governor in the San Fernando Valley at Cal State Northridge signing a bill into law so college can be more affordable and increase access for those who would otherwise not attend. Newsom says it’s to ensure students have access to high-quality education, create change for generations and bolster the state’s innovation economy. It will reportedly create easier access to the University of California, or UC, and California State University, CSU, systems for 4-year degrees. The bill also adds $2 billion dollars for more affordable housing for students and helps to address the student housing crisis.

Applications for the West Business Development Center’s Startup Mendocino are being accepted. The campaign started a couple of years ago. Entrepreneurs learn how to develop and pitch their business idea at the Center. Applications for the program next year are being taken now, with a deadline of Monday October 25th.  Many local businesses are sponsoring or supporting StartUp Mendocino including the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, the Savings Bank of Mendocino County, the John and Sandra Mayfield Economic Development Fund and Adventist Health. The program is free and supported by the Small Business Administration and State Go-Biz funding.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors has their two cents about the old North Coast railroad bringing coal to Humboldt Bay. The railroad has been out of commission for decades, but there have been rumblings about bringing the rail line back to life to move coal from Rocky Mountain states out to Humboldt Bay for international export. But on Tuesday the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors made it pretty clear, they prefer the proposed Great Redwood Trail and oppose any fossil fuel export facilities. They approved a resolution to direct staff to work on a local ordinance to prohibit any “construction of new infrastructure for the transportation, storage, processing or export of coal in Humboldt County”.

The Acting Public Health Officer for Lake County, Dr. Charlie Evans says cases of COVID are going down, in alignment with the trends worldwide. Evans was not in person at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, instead appeared in a pre-recorded video. He says even though cases are down, we have to still be mindful that it could surge again, and not to “let our guard down”. Cases are now in the 17/100,000 people range as opposed to 70/100,000 like over the heat of the summer. He says there’s an expectation though that in the winter, it will surge again, because in Alaska currently their infection rate is 150 per 100,000, twice Lake County’s peak.

The Middletown Art Center is changing its name. In its seventh year it will now be referred to as MAC For Lake County, the County’s premier contemporary art destination. They’re celebrating the name change with a launch event this Saturday October 9, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., with dancing 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at MAC, or from home on Zoom. They will also announce their Logo art contest winner, have a silent auction with Lake-made art and artisan items, a tour of their 3D Virtual Exhibit Archive, an interactive LED light installation and an exclusive introduction of upcoming Pomo Basket Weaving workshops. Doors open Saturday at 4:30 p.m. the program starts along with the Silent Auction at 5.

A death has been reported after a Sonoma County Transit bus and a pickup crashed into each other outside Guerneville. The crash this afternoon around lunchtime in front of Korbel Winery. The California Highway Patrol reports one lane of traffic had to be closed down and traffic was rerouted to another nearby road to avoid the crash.

A partnership between Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Southern California Edison and the 211 network as part of National Preparedness Month. 211 will now pickup during Public Safety Power Shutoffs to help those in need. That could include finding transportation and shelters, portable backup power, home meal delivery, food replacement, bill assistance programs, and other support for those who may have physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities. The 211 service is available 24/7 during power downs for calls and texts. 211 is there for those living in high risk areas who are eligible for income qualified help and use life-sustaining medical equipment when the power is on too, to help them connect to programs to be proactive in case there is an outage.

A domestic violence calls ends in the arrest of a man in Willits after a woman is found without pants or shoes on with injuries on her body. Deputies called to a home finding the 18 year old woman in the road. They found that her boyfriend, 20 year old Codiin Tuttle of Willits had assaulted her and prevented her from calling 9-1-1, taking her phone and damaging it.  She ran and used a postal carrier’s phone to call 9-1-1. The two have a child together and during an argument, it got physical. He was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery and preventing someone from calling 9-1-1 and held on $25,000.00 bail.

A man from Nice has been arrested after deputies see a camper on Highway 20 in Willits that had been reported stolen earlier that day. The deputy tried stopping Joshua Colcleaser last Friday, but say he took off, stopped, got out of the driver’s seat and ran. The deputy ordered him to stop but he wouldn’t so backup was called. The truck was confirmed as stolen with items inside including a purse with banking cards in the name of a woman from Ukiah, who eventually got her items back. There was also meth, paraphernalia, ammo, a drone, wallet and hunting license. Colcleaser was found by Willits police and arrested on multiple charges including, Possession of Stolen Vehicle, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Resist/Delay Law Enforcement and 2 arrest warrants. He was being held without bail.

Reports that a teen in Sonoma County died from the COVID19 vaccine are bogus. The Coroner’s report for the 15 year old from Santa Rosa listed the death as undetermined. It came after his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Social media went wild, but Sonoma County officials say there’s no proof to the rumors of a link between the vaccination and the boy’s death. A county spokesperson says it’s very sad and perplexing that community members and the boy’s family would misrepresent facts. The County Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says there was no relationship between the vaccine and the death. The boy’s parents say they feel strongly parents should have their children vaccinated. The county coroner and the state corroborated, no link between the death and the vaccine.

A new bill signed into law by the Governor says recycling centers need to label items.  California’s Statewide Commission on Recycling Markets and Curbside Recycling says most people think when they see the 3 arrows on blue containers it should be only recycling. But a new list from the state is coming. Some say it may only show eight types of paper materials to two kinds of glass, a pair of plastics and one colored plastic. So the state Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has until Jan. 1st of 2024 to decide what’s actually recyclable per the new law which exempts products and packaging made up to a year and a half after the study is published.

Part of the Eel River has run dry. You can see the pictures online of a section of the largest tributary in California’s third-largest watershed, the South Fork Eel River. It’s completely pebbles and rocks where it meets the main stem in Dyerville below the 101 in Humboldt County. The drought has left many rivers and streams low, but this is said to be unprecedented. The nearly 200 mile long Eel River flows north from Mendocino to Humboldt County, where it meanders out into the Pacific Ocean about 10 miles downstream from Fortuna. The South Fork is over half that, and goes from Laytonville to Dyerville.

The latest on the cleanup for the Cache Fire in Clearlake is topic one at the next Clearlake City Council meeting. The council will meet tonight and hear the latest update after the police chief swears in new and promoted employees and some proclamations are read out. The city manager will update on fire cleanup. The fire took down 57 homes and 81 outbuildings Aug. 18th. The city council will also consider purchasing a piece of property as part of the future retail center at the old airport. The owners inherited the property and apparently have zero interest in development and called the city to sell it.

A report of shots fired in Ukiah turned out to not be the case. Police say they responded to Marlene Street for a “suspicious circumstance” since they never did confirm a gun was actually fired. The agency says whoever called said there was a truck driving past their house and a passenger window shattered and they thought they heard gunfire. But officers say they found zero evidence of that, nor did they find any bullet holes in any homes or the vehicle described. But Mendo Fever reports there was shattered glass on the road, but cops say it sounds weird that someone would fire inside a car with a window up.

The Ukiah City Council is reportedly considering the temporary use of the old Mendocino Animal Hospital for a “disaster resources facility” for those impacted by the Hopkins Fire last month in Calpella. For their meeting tonight the council will consider a temporary resource facility at 1240 Airport Park Boulevard. The owner of the building has reportedly approved of the temporary use which would normally mean a permit was needed, but since it’s an urgent need, an emergency order has been secured. The council will also consider the removal of several trees that are dead or dying outside Grace Hudson Museum. There are a couple others tagged for removal too so city staff says they should be taken out and replaced with other trees.

The meeting where both items will be considered is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Register for the meeting at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/9199312935703156493
If you prefer to call in, the number is: 632­379­998

You may view the meeting (without participating) by clicking on the name of the meeting at: www.cityofukiah.com/meetings

Over $140,000 dollars is being given out by the Redwood Credit Union to seven nonprofits. The credit union is giving $142,500 in grants to support lifesaving and life-changing services of seven nonprofits in Lake County for vulnerable populations in the region. They provide food, housing, health, financial wellness, and workforce development. The executive director of North Coast Opportunities says with the credit union’s help they’ve been able to deliver fresh produce and staples to Lake County Residents. The CEO of Redwood says providing community support is what they’re about and the pandemic’s impact has underscored the need to help more.

A man charged in the murder of his dad has waived his right to a trial. 30 year old James Whetstone was about to go to trial, then withdrew his not guilty plea and pleaded no contest instead. That’s basically admitted the crime. The former Willits resident killed his dad in October of 2020 on his dad’s property in Willits after an argument about garbage cans. Police say he strangled his dad with a belt, then buried him in a shallow grave and tried to cover up the crime. Whetstone’s now convicted for second degree murder which indicates an impulsive, not pre-meditated murder. He will be sentenced November 2nd and faces 15 years to life.

A Town Hall is planned online with state Senator Mike McGuire to talk climate change. It’ll be livestreamed online through his office too at 630 tomorrow night. Some of the guests include a Climate Scientist at UCLA another from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the director of the Western Region, Climate and Clean Energy Program, of the Natural Resources Defense Council. For more info, visit the Senators Facebook page.

Anyone in the Hopland Fire Protection District gets to vote in their election. It’s happening November 2nd. You can pick up a ballot in the elections office, but they were mailed out on Friday. If you don’t get your ballot by next Tuesday, the County Clerk Recorder’s Office says to give them a call. The polling place on election day is open if you want to vote in person at the Hopland Fire Department – 21 Feliz Creek Rd., Hopland.  The last day you can register for Vote by Mail for this election is on Tuesday, October 19th. You are also invited to watch processing of the ballots which the election’s office says they normally start to receive about a week after they’re mailed out. So the processing would be around Friday, October 22nd at the earliest.

Two more people have died due to COVID19 in Mendocino County. The Public Health Dept. announced late yesterday that 86 people in the county have died from the virus. The 85th death was a fully vaccinated 81 year old woman from Fort Bragg and the 86th was in an unvaccinated 51-year-old man from Ukiah. The public health department shows case rates are down, although 48 new cases have been confirmed. Calif. is also reporting daily cases, deaths and hospitalizations are down. The Governor tweeted Calif. is the only state with a downward trend. Public Health in Mendocino County encourages to get your vaccine, wear a mask and socially distance when outside your home. And the booster is available for fully vaccinated people who received the Pfizer shots, who are over 65, or 50 with certain health conditions.

A bunch of dirt has been spilled along the 101. Yesterday a semi that had several bags of Foxfarm Ocean Forest soil overturned. It happened by milepost marker 39 on the southbound 101 just north of Golden Rule south of Willits on Ridgewood Grade. The semi was filled with bags of the dirt and spilled across southbound lanes. The person in the truck had moderate injuries and the southbound side of the highway was closed a few hours. They opened one lane, then after around 4 hours after the spill, all was completely cleared out and the highway was reopened.  

Applications are being accepted by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County for their 2022 Community Enrichment grant program. The program is to support the enrichment of local communities in the county with a lens on: sense of place, environment, healthy communities, education, and arts and humanities. They are distributing grants from $3,000 to $7,500 for community projects and have a total of about $200,000 to give out. They’re hosting informational workshops starting next month for free. Organizations are invited to apply at http://www.communityfound.org by Dec. 2.

Contact Allison Findley at allison@communityfound.org or (707)-468-9882 ext. 103 with other questions, or to give feedback on proposals after attending one of the grant workshops and/or carefully reading the grant guidelines. For more information about applying to the Community Enrichment grant programmer about how you can make a gift to the Community Endowment Fund, visit www.communityfound.org.

The Mendocino City Community Services District is working on ways to deal with the drought. At their meeting last week the District’s board got a report from the Superintendent on drought relief work being done by the County, and considered hiring an engineering firm to get help with grant writing. The county is allowing up to 200,000 gallons of water to be trucked out to the coast per week. 70% of it goes to residents and 30% for businesses. And those hauling the water need to show who they’re delivering it to. The state has granted $2 million to pay for the residential use.

The annual “Dine Out for Hospice” will get donations direct and not from restaurants. The Record Bee reports the event put on each year by the Hospice Services of Lake County won’t be getting a percentage of any meals at restaurants due to the strain the last year and a half has put on the businesses related to the pandemic. There will be donation jars set up at restaurants. Before now restaurants participated by contributing a percentage of sales, but this year Hospice is asking customers to donate any amount they want in the donation jars, which they will be relying on. The money helps their Wings of Hope Bereavement program and other special needs of Hospice patients.

At their next meeting, the Lakeport City Council will take up possible spending of Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (FRF). The city got just under $1,200,000. The first 50% was received in July and the next half comes within a year. The money can be used for jobs, to help small businesses, mental health treatment and COVID‐19 testing and monitoring. The money was split up after the US Census report from the American Rescue Plan Act. The money doesn’t have to be used until the end of 2024. The City Council meeting is tonight at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. During the COVID-19 pandemic residents can access the Zoom meeting remotely. For more info, visit the city’s website.

A woman from Lucerne has been arrested in connection to a house fire Saturday night. The fire burned a home down and damaged another. 36 year old Dallas Darlene Lyons was arrested on Saturday night about an hour after the fire started. The Lake County Sheriff’s office reports they’re investigating with Northshore Fire and found that Lyons seemed high that night, causing her to recklessly start the fire. So she was hauled off to jail and booked on two felonies, causing the fire of an inhabited dwelling and arson during a state of emergency, and a misdemeanor for being under the influence of a controlled substance. She was allowed to leave though after posting bail of $5,000 for the drug charge. Her bail was zero for the rest. She’s not due back in court until next March to face the charges.

Once again activists who long for logging to stop at the Jackson Demonstration State Forest succeeded. The harvest had to stop because a Cal Fire contractor was injured because the activists were there last Tuesday. Mendocino Voice reports it’s the second timber harvest they’ve shut down for the Soda Gulch plan since June.  The info according to the Cal Fire Chief who manages the state parks program. He says they’re investigating but asked for the public to adhere to the closure orders because they’re in place to protect the public and the contractors during active harvesting, which he characterized as hazardous. The news site reports activists told them the Cal Fire employee and Cal Fire contractors were the ones making it unsafe.

A fuel tanker has closed down the Willits Bypass after a crash into two other vehicles.  The CHP reports the big rig collided with the other two vehicles, one a Fed Ex truck, at the north end of the bypass. Apparently the fuel tanker became inoperable and its tank of gas leaked and the road was covered in debris. So the Bypass was closed and traffic redirected through the town of Willits as the cleanup took place. It all happened around 6am this morning and the first estimates were that it would be closed 2 or so hours. No injuries were reported in the crash and the road opened about five hours later. About 100 gallons of fuel spilled onto the roadway.