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Blizzard conditions have closed a ski resort in Lake Tahoe, as they try to find a ski shop manager reported missing on his way to Christmas dinner with friends. Rory Angelotta of Truckee never made it to dinner Saturday and was reported missing late that night at Northstar California Resort. The Placer County Sheriff’s office reports finding his ski pass was used that morning, and his phone had also logged an emergency ping about then. His car was in the parking lot and all calls are going to his voicemail. The lift he took apparently provides access across the resort, and in the backcountry, where they had about 6 feet of fresh snow Saturday. The resort closed Sunday and yesterday due to the hazardous conditions which also prevented searchers from looking for Angelotta.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering some new protections for the foothill yellow-legged frog. The federal agency is proposing Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections in four areas that are geographically and genetically distinct. The amphibian named for its yellow belly and the bottom of its back legs is seen in the Willamette Valley of Oregon all the way to the Santa Lucia Mountain range in southern California, out to the Pacific coast to the western slopes of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains. The creature has several potential threats, including enough water, predators, disease and temperature change due to climate change, fires and more.

The minimum wage is going up again for the New Year. Starting this Saturday, New Year’s Day, the wage will go up to $15 an hour for companies who have 26 or more employees. For those with less than that, it’ll be $14. The state now has the highest minimum wage in the nation, and it’s more than double the federal minimum wage, which is only $7.25 an hour. There are several cities in the state though with even higher minimum wages than the $15. West Hollywood has the highest in the country with $17.64 an hour for hotel workers, and $15.50 for non-hotel workers, and that’s going up to $16.50 an hour in July.

It’s official, the California Citizens Redistricting Commission has delivered the state’s final congressional, State Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization district maps to the California Secretary of State. Their work is done about the time of the intended deadline. Monday was set as the deadline by the state Supreme Court. The same process is done every decade, with the US Census, to make sure boundaries are evenly split. The bi-partisan commission was made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and four members with no political affiliation.

The jobless numbers are coming down in California. In Lake County, the jobless rate was pretty well near where we were at since the start of the pandemic. The Employment Development Department reported a 5.8% unemployment rate, the same as in February 2020. This is for November. In October it was a tad higher, at 6.2% and 7.4% the year before. The overall rate for the state was at 6.9% in November as opposed to 8.7% the year before. The national rate is 4.2%. Mendocino County was at 4.7% and neighboring Glenn was 5.1%, Napa at 4.2% and Sonoma County was at 3.7%.

Two people from Eureka have been arrested after reports of an armed robbery in Mendocino County. Eureka police reported getting a tip on Christmas morning that Brandon Haselip and Michelle McDaniel, who had active arrest warrants for committing the robbery were seen in a parked car in Eureka. The two arrested after Haselip took off and hid in a shed. Police say they had a bunch of drugs on them, including nearly 2.5 ounces of Fentanyl, more than a gram and a half of Cocaine, several Percocet and benzodiazepines pills, packaging and scales to weigh drugs and stolen property from the armed robbery. They’re in Humboldt County Jail for the warrants, plus Haselip was charged for possession of controlled substances for sales and a probation violation.

Tens of thousands who lost their power during the latest string of storms have been restored. Pacific Gas and Electric Company reports electric and vegetation crews were out working to get the power back on to 65,000 customers impacted by weather related outages. Almost 50,000 customers got their power back on since Christmas morning, and another 15,000 were still without as of Sunday night.  All as PG& E meteorologists were forecasting low snow levels with heavier snow in low to mid elevations late yesterday. The National Weather Service had issued a Winter Storm Warning through this morning for the Sierra and northern mountains.

The Mendocino County Sheriff warns about the Weather Advisory from last night at 10:00 PM to this morning at 10:00 AM in the county. The agency reports that PG&E was working on the power outages across the county with customers impacted in Covelo, Laytonville, Willits, Potter Valley, Calpella, Ukiah, and Fort Bragg. PG&E was informing customers of the outage, when crews would be in their area, and their estimated restoration time, by phone, text and email. The message by the Sheriff’s office on Facebook also said the department along with the Office of Emergency Services wished everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

Contra Costa County is requiring first responders and at-risk workers to get the coronavirus booster shot.  Officials announced the requirement yesterday. It goes into effect January 10th.  It applies to county law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel who work in or may respond to emergency calls at high-risk facilities.  The order also applies to non-emergency ambulance workers who provide medical transport to those facilities.  In Sonoma County they’re reporting a surge in cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.  Health officials say there’s been an average infection rate of 16 new cases per 100-thousand residents.  It comes after an infectious disease expert at UC Berkeley Infectious confirmed the Bay Area and the state of California is now experiencing the same winter surge that has come to other U.S. states. 

A lawmaker in the state says we should be giving money to kids who lost a parent to COVID. State Sen. Nancy Skinner of Berkeley says she’s introducing legislation to start “Hope Savings Accounts” for children whose mother, father or primary caregiver died due to the pandemic. There would be a deposit of up to $3,000 for children up to age 9 and as much as $5,000 for children 10 to 17 in special savings accounts. Plus the children wouldn’t lose the federal survivor benefits and still get survivor support from a new state program titled the CalHope Program. Skinner’s office says around 20,000 children have lost a parent or primary caregiver to COVID-19 in Calif.

A rideshare driver in Sonoma County is the victim of a random attack and the suspect is on the run. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office says the driver was stabbed and injured by someone in his car Christmas Day. He was stabbed twice in his neck, and once on the elbow, but managed to get himself to a hospital. He’s expected to be okay and detectives found out it was 19 year old Tristan Mathew Hardin who randomly attacked him. The Sheriff’s office put out a description of him and photo and say if anyone knows him or sees him to immediately call 911.

A state program enrolling prison inmates in community college is reportedly taking off. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting about 14,000 of the state’s nearly 99,000 prisoners have enrolled, and there’s a waiting list for some classes. And a former inmate has even enrolled at UC Berkeley since his incarceration. The community college program, Rising Scholars Network is expected to keep growing next year as a new law goes into effect that requires all state prisons to offer college programs. And what’s more, in 2023, inmates will be able to get federal Pell Grants, so that may increase inmate applications to four-year colleges even more.

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