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The City Manager of Lakeport will start to get things rolling for that Horse Park we told you about at a city owned park. City Manager Kevin Ingram has been given the go-ahead to start the negotiations for a 30-year lease with Westside Community Park to develop the new horse park. The council voted unanimously for the lease during their marathon meeting last night. The only way the lease will go through though is if the park committee gets a $3 million state Proposition 68 grant. Also, during the three hour meeting, city code updates regarding water recycling were covered, outdoor dining in right of ways due to the pandemic and buying some generators for city water treatment facilities amongst a whole lot more in the New Year.

Once again, Pacific Gas & Electric power lines are being blamed for a massive fire that broke out in Calif. This time it was last summer’s Dixie fire that burned a whole town down, much like the Camp Fire in 2018. The Dixie burned over 1,300 homes and other buildings. Investigators from Cal Fire say a tree hit the utility company’s electrical distribution lines near a dam in the Sierra Nevada July 13th. The report went to the Butte County District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal charges, which are no strange thing anymore. PG&E says they will continue to “be tenacious” in their efforts to stop fire ignitions. They have also promised to bury 10,000 miles of power lines to help prevent more catastrophic wildfires.

A lockdown has been ordered at the Sonoma County jail after another outbreak of COVID-19 in staffers and inmates. It’s also the third time it’s happened at the jail since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The Press Democrat reports seven jail employees and 12 inmates tested positive over the last week. There are two dorm units that have nearly 200 people quarantining to try to slow the spread as cases of the highly infectious omicron strain circulates.

A man the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office had been looking for after a bank robbery in Guerneville, has been arrested. Deputies caught up to Bradley Bennett who they say approached a teller at a Westamerica bank on Main Street, demanded money, acting like he might have had a weapon, then rode away on a bike. Deputies say they found him near a car that had a slashed tire yesterday after reports of a suspicious person. Deputies say there’s video evidence of him pulling a knife and walking toward the car. He’s booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of robbery and held on bail of $250,000.

A courageous woman in Lakeport says she saw a car crash and six men try to get away, so she video’d the incident from her car. She proceeded to ask the men why they would leave the area. It happened on State Route 175 near Old Hopland. MendoFever reports Samantha Mitchell told them she saw a van pull out of a vineyard into oncoming traffic and a red Cadillac crashed into the van. Then both vehicles crashed into a guardrail. She says that’s when the group from the van ran to a small white truck down the road and she approached. But someone in the Caddy was injured and couldn’t get out. The CHP reported the accident blocked a lane of highway and two tow trucks ended up reporting to the scene.

Workshops on climate change and projects to help with resiliency are being offered by the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians’ Pomo Inter-Tribal Resiliency Hub. Mendocino Voice reports the tribe will provide the climate adaptation workshops year round, on subjects including demonstration projects on rainwater catchment systems, greywater systems, firesafe landscaping, aquaponics, and emergency response. The Tribal Chair says they’ve been impacted more and more by the climate changes with “catastrophic wildfires causing evacuations and unhealthy air quality, drought and extreme heat leading to food and water insecurity” leading to a loss of traditional foods, teas, fibers and medicines. They’re partnering with PG&E on the workshops.

New laws in effect with the New Year. Hundreds of bills were considered by the Governor for passage. Some major ones that past the muster, stripping police officers found to be skirting the law or worse, of their badges. Officers can be kicked off the force for a slew of criminal offenses. And changes to what cops can get away with at legal protests and rallies. A change in zoning laws, so more affordable homes can be built. Banning secret settlements because of non-disclosure agreements between employers and employees. As reported this week, demanding more composting with green bins to be put out curbside. And among other laws, quicker mental healthcare follow-ups with insurance companies.

A woman from Fallon, Nevada arrested by the CHP in Lake County for arson is being transferred for treatment to a mental health facility. Nickelina Rose Williams was arrested last October after a fire started and a group of other drivers stopped to extinguish it. She was found by the CHP near the fire ignition point with a lighter in hand. The court ordered she be committed and that the treatment facility could give her meds involuntarily. A review hearing to transfer her is set for February 1st.

ICU’s in Napa County are at capacity. Health officials in the county reported earlier this week they had reached the maximum number of patients they can allow in intensive care units. It was on Monday, the same day the nation reported a record single day of coronavirus cases, one million. The Napa health officer says the capacity limitations don’t mean they can’t take more ICU patients, they will have to adjust somehow.  The county has lower ICU capacity since getting a waiver from the state for the usual requirement ICU nurses only care for two patients at once.

New emergency drought regulations have been announced by the State of California.  No watering of lawns within 48-hours of at least a quarter-inch of rain coming down or using potable water on sidewalks, driveways, and buildings unless there is a health hazard.  The new rules also say no to folks watering lawns to the point that runoff flows out of the homeowner’s property.  Violators might be fined five-hundred-dollars, but most likely only to repeat offenders.

Last year the Governor announced he wanted a bill drafted to allow private citizens the ability to sue gun manufacturers in California. It’s now being considered in the State Assembly.  Assembly Bill 1594 gives gun violence survivors and victims’ families the right to file lawsuits against gun makers and dealers of firearms believed to be “irresponsible, reckless or negligent.”  Governor Newsom called for the law to be modeled after a new law in Texas that allows citizens to sue abortion providers.  The governor’s office said the U-S Supreme Court “set a precedent” by allowing the Texas law to stand.

The state Dept. of Public Health says you should wear a surgical mask or respirator, not a cloth mask. The Governor has mandated indoor mask wearing again and it lasts another couple weeks. The order implemented for one month starting Dec. 15th as cases of COVID continue to increase. He also cited the highly transmissible omicron variant as a reason. So the state recommends a surgical mask, either by itself or to double up with a cloth mask, or wear a N95, KN95 or KF94 mask.

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