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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.

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