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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.

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