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The top dog for a major California Cannabis company is threatening to withhold tax money to the state unless they change rules on how the taxes are paid. Kym Kemp is reported Michael Steinwetz, the CEO and founder of Flow Kana wrote an opinion piece on Medium about how the cultivation tax rises with inflation at the same time cannabis prices can go down. His op-ed came out after the state announced the tax surplus and a higher cultivation tax. So Steinwetz is urging other cannabis businesses to withhold taxes too as the industry struggles with lower profits and higher taxes.

Motel vouchers are being offered in Fort Bragg for the unsheltered as we hit freezing overnight temperatures. The Hospitality House doesn’t have a winter shelter this year, so instead the city’s offering motel rooms to those who qualify. A contract was reportedly approved by the city council earlier this month for the vouchers in extreme weather for those needing a place to stay. They are available through March 31st and come directly from the Police Dept. They will also be distributed when all emergency shelters are at capacity. The vouchers will only be given out the day the weather is considered severe due to heavy rains and/or lower than normal winter temperatures.

Cal Fire and FEMA are reminding about holiday fires. Like if you leave food unattended in your kitchen. FEMA’s National Data Center says cooking is the leading cause of Thanksgiving Day fires and over half happen during daytime hours when folks are preparing their Thanksgiving meal. The Cal Fire director says Thanksgiving Day is one of the busiest days of the year with home cooking fires, saying many things can happen as you prepare your meal and can become distracted near hot appliances. Unattended cooking is one of the leading causes of cooking fires and Thanksgiving sees four-times the average number.

Lake Family Resource Center is doling out hundreds of food cards this holiday season. The agency is distributing 400 food cards that were donated by Foods, Etc. in Clearlake and 400 more that were donated by Bruno’s Shop Smart in Lakeport.  A drive through event for Southshore residents is happening Saturday, Dec. 4th and for those on the Northshore, Friday, Dec. 17th. The Resource Center took the lead after the Hunger Task Force stopped back in 1995 as members retired.

Agreeing with state government, a federal judge is mandating all California prison employees must be fully vaccinated with the COVID vaccine by Jan. 12th. Since the pandemic started, there have been many outbreaks. At the four youth correctional institutions, 255 youth and 278 staff members have gotten infected with coronavirus. A federal report blames the outbreaks on employees. The judges order comes after the California Correctional Peace Officers Association requested a postponement of a vaccination mandate for prison staff.

A Mendocino County winery has been awarded Climate Neutral certification. Bonterra Organic Vineyards, in Hopland says they worked with a nonprofit to tally all of its sources of greenhouse gas emissions from when the wines start to when they get to the consumer, “cradle to consumer.” Last year the company says most of its emissions were in packaging, materials and shipping, and another 33% from farming and grapes, and just 5% from employee commuting and travel. So they offset their footprint through “responsible, third-party sourced, nature-based” carbon credits.

The Redwood Credit Union reports donating tens of thousands of dollars to local nonprofits as part of the International Credit Union Day. The credit union donated almost $41,000 to 10,000 Degrees and North Bay Children’s Center. They donated 25 cents to local nonprofits supporting children and youth development in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, and San Francisco counties each time members used their RCU Visa debit or credit card on Oct. 21st. The theme this year, the Credit Union says, was “Building financial health for a brighter tomorrow”.

A company in San Francisco working with PG&E to install mountaintop cameras to spot wildfires in the North Bay. The company, Pano, installed the stations using high-definition cameras and artificial intelligence with certain computing hardware so it could see, 360-degree views at 10 miles out at seven locations in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties. Four were put up along the Alexander Valley south to Windsor, two in the Napa Valley and one on the east side of Clear Lake. And others were also installed in other Western states. The company says the pilot program had about 90% accuracy in detection which then feeds 911 dispatch centers.

A coronavirus testing lab in California is not facing any penalties after state officials found “significant deficiencies” after a whistleblower report. The Valencia Branch Laboratory reportedly did have issues in training and record-keeping but the whistleblower report which said the lab destroyed data or documents couldn’t be verified. The laboratory opened in October of 2020 and a preliminary report showed only a fraction of 1% of over 1.5 million tests processed had problems. PerkinElmer reports working with the state and addressing all concerns. The state found they were in “full compliance”. The lab has since sued the whistleblower for ignoring a confidentiality agreement and the lab is being investigated by the federal government.

Almost one million Californians may have to pay back some benefits.  The EDD says new federal rules require individuals show proof that they worked, planned to work, or were self-employed before the pandemic.  That’s for anyone who filed a claim to get the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance boost after December 27th of 2020.  Those affected by the rule change were notified this past summer.  Anyone who doesn’t respond to the notice could be barred from receiving PUA funds this year and may have to repay money from 2020. 

Mendocino Railway has finally finished the buy of the former Georgia Pacific millsite in Fort Bragg. Last Friday the acquisition was complete. The site has sat dormant for about 20 years. The CEO of the Sierra Railroad Company, who owns Mendocino Railway says the railroad and old millsite both fell on hard times after the railroad was sold off and they’ve been working on getting it back online ever since. He says the railway has record ridership now and they’re working to reopen Tunnel #1.  Mendocino Railway has been working with the City of Fort Bragg for next steps for the millsite, possibly including a community theater and marketplace, train station and visitors’ center.

The City Manager in Fort Bragg for about the last four years is leaving. Tabatha Miller announced last week that January 22nd will be her last day on the job. The mayor says Miller has done a great job and will be missed. Miller told Mendo Fever she’s most proud of getting city finances out of a deficit cycle each year, increase in tourism taxes and hiring a branding agency. She also reflected on the pandemic and the drought, but thanked the citizens and local businesses. The mayor says they’re looking for Miller’s replacement and until then city staff will fill the void. 

Someone at the Ukiah Jack in the Box had to get a dose of Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug. Mendo Fever reports hearing on the scanner this week that medics reported to the fast food restaurant on Airport Park Boulevard for someone overdosing. The report said the individual was conscious and denied medical aid. Dispatch reportedly got a report from first responders the person was standing up on their own.

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