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PG & E and the California P U C have agreed on a settlement related to the 2019 Kincade Fire. Under the agreement, the utility will pay 125 million dollars to resolve the case. The payout from shareholders includes a 40 million dollar fine that will go to the state’s general fund plus another 85 million to cover the cost of removing abandoned transmission equipment throughout the utility’s territory. The PUC has to sign off at its meeting on December 2. Investigators found PG & E violated safety rules and failed to maintain its infrastructure before that fire that burned almost 78,000 acres and prompted hundreds of evacuations near the Geysers Geothermal field in the Mayacamas Mountains in late October 2019.

You may face another ballot question about legal sports betting in California in 2022. A report in the Sacramento Bee says several Native American tribes are backing a proposal giving them exclusive control of sports betting in the state. That would block card rooms and big players like Draft Kings and Fan Duels from getting in the game. California is a huge prize in the sports betting world and  allow it here, voters will have to amend the state constitution. There are now at least four potential proposals that could be decided on next year—one has already made the cut with enough signatures to qualify for a referendum. Other tribes, the online sites, and gaming locations all say they want a stake in what would likely be billions of dollars of action every year. Around 20 states allow those legal bets under a 2018 supreme court ruling. California is by far the most populous state that doesn’t.

The Ukiah City Council will look into the future at its meeting this evening. The council is scheduled to have a workshop to talk about eventual capital projects and how the city could pay for them. A staff report ahead of the meeting says those projects would cost 30 million dollars for street and utility work, 10 million for the city corporation yard, and another 15 million dollars for electrical capital replacement and improvements. Three possible payment options include using revenue as it becomes available, using savings, or using financing. City officials say there are pros and cons to each. The discussion is part of the regular virtual council session starting at 6:00. You can see the agenda and find a sign-up link on the city website.

Clearlake Police Chief Andrew White is looking for guidance from the city council about a group that offers needle exchanges and glass pipes for drug use. His concerns are part of the agenda for this week’s city council meeting. He says the group called Any Positive Change has been running that needle swap and has recently started distributing the pipes, which can be used to smoke meth. The Chief has posted an update on the police department’s Facebook page which generated more than 600 comments. Many asked for the council to look into the matter. Among the options, he will suggest—doing nothing, writing an ordinance dealing with a potential public nuisance, or enacting a moratorium on such exchanges pending further study. Also on the council agenda, an update on recovery from the Cache Fire earlier this fall. The council will meet at 6:00 Thursday in the council chambers at Clearlake City Hall. The meeting will be broadcast live on the city YouTube channel. Community members also can participate via Zoom or can attend in person. The city website has the full agenda.

An 84-foot white fir from the Six Rivers National Forest is on the way to Washington to be the centerpiece of the US Capitol Christmas celebration. The tree called Sugar Bear is making a few stops in California before it is trucked east—it was in Ukiah on Sunday. The tradition of picking out a tree from a National Forest has been going on since 1970. The last tree from California was a white fir from the Stanislaus National Forest in 2011. Sugar Bear arrives on the West Lawn of Capitol Hill on November 19, where it will be decorated and lit up in time for the holiday. You can follow its journey at uscapitolchristmastree.com

Mendocino County’s five-member Community-based Advisory Redistricting Commission will hold its’ last public workshop The deadline to receive draft maps has passed, but tonight the ARC will narrow down the maps that have come in. Next step—a presentation to the Board of Supervisors Meeting for further discussion on November 9. The final maps will be published for approval on November 11 with subsequent meetings leading to eventual approval at the regular board of supervisors meeting on December 14. That ends the process until the next census-based re-draw in ten years. Tonight’s session starts at 6:15. You can find out more on the county government website.

The Lakeport City Council has decided NOT to decide on voluntary Covid 19 testing for City employees. The Record-Bee reports that the council voted to continue with various Covid-19 protocols, which have so far been successful at keeping any workers from getting sick. City manager Kevin Ingram says the city takes employee health seriously and will monitor for any potential outbreaks, with no need for a vaccine mandate. The vaccination rate in Lakeport is around 70 percent. Also at this week’s regular council meeting, members continued their discussion of how the city will end up in new political maps based on the 2020 census. Several public input sessions are planned before the council decides which proposal it favors.

The State Water Resources Board continues to monitor levels in Northern California’s major reservoirs after last week’s rains. Officials agree that the so-called atmospheric river HELPED, it did not come close to ending the drought. The state’s biggest reservoirs — Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park and Lake Oroville in Butte County — each saw dramatic gains in water levels. Other supplies saw increases as well, but not as impressive. It can take several days for rainfall to make its way through watersheds to eventually replenish the reservoirs. That means we may not know just how beneficial the rain was for a while.

The Middletown Unified School District is taking names of people who want to serve on the school board. There is a board vacancy because trustee LaTrease Walker resigned last month, effective immediately. Because Walker’s term isn’t up until next December, board rules call for a special election or provisional appointment. The board has voted to go with the provisional appointment, so it is looking for community members who want to serve. Applicants must be a US citizen, live in the district trustee area 3, be at least 18, and be registered California voter. The Deadline is 4:00 pm on November 15. The board will hold public interviews on November 17 and could make its decision that night. You can contact the district for more information and an application. Walker had been a board member since 2018. She announced her resignation after a contentious meeting about mask mandates last month.

PG&E says the US Attorney’s office in Northern California is looking for documents related to the utility’s role in the devastating Dixie Fire earlier this fall. PG&E made that announcement the same day that more than 500 state and federal lawmakers issued a letter to President Biden demanding answers from PG&E about the fire and how it is responding to climate change. PG&E told regulators on Tuesday that the Dixie fire will cost at least 1.5 billion dollars—maybe lots more—when its finances are out. The PUC says PG&E has not done enough to explain how it could have prevented the huge fire and how it is handled planned power outages during fire season.

The California State Fair will introduce some new blue ribbons next year for cannabis cultivation. The awards for cannabis quality will be given out at the state fair for the first time in the exhibition’s 166 year history in July. Entries will be accepted until March 30 and are open to all state-licensed cultivators. 70 different categories will be tested and judged. While the winners will be on display at the fair, sampling will NOT be allowed. The state fair website has details about the competition. You will have to be 21 though to visit that page.

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