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The chief of Cal Fire has announced he is leaving the agency. Thom Porter is retiring December 10th after three years as the chief, some of the toughest years for the agency. He emailed all employees saying he’s going to go back to San Diego to spend time with his family after about 22 years with Cal Fire. He took over after the fires of 2017 and 2018 which included the Camp Fire. Then culminated in PG&E claiming bankruptcy the following year. The Governor put out a statement thanking him for his leadership.

The state attorney general says Calif. has settled a case with Amazon for hiding real COVID-19 case numbers. The company has been ordered to pay $500,000 to better enforce state consumer protection laws. This is the first case under the new “right to know” law so companies are forced to improve workplace safety during the pandemic. The Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta ordered monitoring of Amazon so the company has to improve how they notify workers and local health agencies of COVID cases. The case came about after a complaint the company didn’t tell its warehouse workers and local health agencies of COVID-19 cases throughout the pandemic.

A man in Covelo’s been arrested after a traffic stop turned up drugs. Deputies stopped Foley Azbill Friday and found a pipe for smoking marijuana, processed marijuana and the odor of marijuana wafting in the air. A search was conducted and the guy had a bunch of meth and more packaged for sale. He was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on $50,000.00 bail.

A man has been arrested in Willits after a traffic stop finds he’s wanted for a warrant while on Post Release Community Supervision. Freddy Sepeda  was pulled over November 7th near Highway 101 and Reynolds Highway. The deputy found he had three outstanding warrants out of Kern County, two for stealing a car, the other for grand theft. He’s booked on $75,000.00 bail. 

A man pulled over for making an illegal turn in Willits ends up getting arrested. A deputy noticed Lawrence Ortiz turn on a red light so another driver had to stop so there wouldn’t be an accident. The deputy tried stopping Ortiz, so he drove in a gas station parking lot, then onto the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic to try to get away from the Deputy, while other cars swerved out of the way. There was a short chase, but Ortiz was finally arrested. The deputy gave him a field sobriety test and found he was high. And that he was on probation and his driver’s license was suspended/revoked. He’s booked on $20,000.00 bail. 

A major donation has been given by a Native American Tribe in Lake County for certain legal services.  Lake Co News writes the donation is a first of its kind to help with inadequate and underfunded legal services associated with the Indian Child Welfare Act. The $100,000 donation is going to the Calif. Tribal Families Coalition to launch the Legal Council of Tribes from the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake. The news site reports the Legal Counsel for Tribes was formed because tribes are unrepresented in court at times, and they aim to reverse that trend.

A large cannabis operation is being reconsidered by the Lake County Planning Commission near Hidden Valley Lake. The commission will also consider a bunch of other marijuana related projects. The meeting Thursday morning on Zoom and in person. Plus you can watch on the county’s website or Facebook page. The commercial cannabis operation got approval before but neighbors appealed. So the owner of the land for We Grow LLC is reapplying. It’s a massive grow that would mean pulling 100 blue oak trees. The other cannabis items include modifications to ongoing projects.

A 30 year old woman from Ukiah reported missing for about a month in San Francisco is home. Tia Higgins family reports she was found in San Francisco Sunday by her mom. Mom went to the city and put up posters and met with police. Now she says she’s back home in Mendocino County. Mendo Fever reports her mother said the story was shared on social media hundreds of times and she was thankful to those who spread the word.

It looks like the planned removal of the Klamath dam is moving forward after all. The old PacifiCorp dams along the Klamath River would mean another 420 miles of salmon spawning habitat, improved water quality and lowering critical temperature conditions that have been causing disease and death in fish. The slow down last year came when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, only approved a partial transfer of ownership to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, requiring PacifiCorp to stay a co-licensee. But they were supposed to be removed and Calif. and Oregon were to be added. That finally happened this past June. And dam removal is set to start in early 2023.

A Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade of “A” has been awarded to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley. The president of the hospital in Mendocino County says “patient safety is most important and top of mind”. It’s their sixth consecutive “A”. The president said even through the pandemic, with all of its challenges, staff still made sure patient safety was their highest priority and he says their dedication to exceptional patient care was a true testament to every person’s work at the hospital.

The Governor has extended an emergency proclamation related to the pandemic for another six months. The first executive order that started March 4th of 2020 now extends to March 31st of 2022. It includes allowing the hiring of out-of-state health care workers and waiving some licensing requirements. Newsom says his extension is in advance of a potential new surge in cases and the continued staff shortages at hospitals. There are some opposed to the governor’s continued emergency powers and there are still factions resisting mask wearing and vaccines.

A cellphone company says they’re opening more access to some without internet aimed at students. UScellular has a new “After School Access Project” that features free mobile hotspots and service to nonprofits with after school programs. It’s an expansion of other hotspot donations to increase connectivity needs during the pandemic. They’ve now pledged as much as $13 million for hotspots and service to connect up to 50,000 youth in 2022. The company says so far this year they’ve donated 2,800 hotspots and service to 33 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, at a worth of about 2.6 million dollars.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has reportedly approved outside counsel for the Sheriff. Reports say the board approved a law firm from Los Angeles to represent the Sheriff who was not in the room at the time. A local reporter for the Anderson Valley Advertiser says it was a unanimous vote even as the Undersheriff suggested the board wait a week so the Sheriff could be there. The Sheriff for his part has wanted to hire a local law firm, but the board has not approved of the move.

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