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Our neighbor’s Sonoma County have a new health order in place, stopping any large gatherings as the omicron mutation puts a stranglehold on events. Sonoma health officials are also asking residents not to leave their homes unless they have to go to work, school or out for necessities for 30 days. It’s not a mandate, just a recommendation because of a rapid increase in cases. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase took to youtube, putting out a video about the health order, saying “we may be done with COVID, COVID is not done with us”. It comes as hospitalizations are also rising.

Assemblymember Jim Wood says he’s supporting universal healthcare in the state and will vote to move an assembly bill related to it, forward. Wood announced he’s voting in favor of AB 1400 as the chair of the Assembly Health Committee. He says insurance companies are too in charge of what people can and cannot have and pharmaceutical companies are raising prices and pushing expensive brand medications. The bill is being heard in Wood’s committee today. If it passes the policy committee at the end of the week, it must pass the full Assembly by January 31st, the deadline for all Assembly bills introduced in 2021.

Three more people have died from COVID19 in Mendocino County and 223 new cases have been confirmed. The three deaths give us a total now of 109 people who have passed away due to complications from the coronavirus. They were a 47 year-old woman from Ukiah, who was fully vaccinated; a 68 year-old man from the North County area, who was not vaccinated and an 81 year-old man, from the North Coast who was also unvaccinated.

A teen from Yorkville has been arrested for several crimes after being seen speeding against another car. Police in Ukiah reported a patrol officer saw two cars racing at the intersection of S. State St. and Washington Ave and one of the cars was driving recklessly. The other car got away. Four people inside the car they stopped had two male juveniles, one female juvenile and an adult male inside. There was booze in the car so the 17 year old driver was immediately arrested. And the officer noticed what appeared to be a gun with assault weapon characteristics on the passenger side, loaded with a high capacity magazine. So, the 14 year old passenger was arrested too. The female juvenile was released to a legal guardian and the adult male was released too.

A group of folks in the Middletown School District say they’re not happy with the choice of a new school board member. Lake Co News reports the Board of Trustees choice is being challenged with a barely used process in state education code. The superintendent of schools told the news site he got a petition at the end of last year challenging the provisional appointment of Annette Lee to the Middletown Unified board. The code allows for these sorts of challenges if there’s a petition with enough signatures on it sent to the county superintendent of schools within 30 days of the date of the provisional appointment. It comes after a couple of board members in their first terms resigned, so they had to replace them for a year. The board meets again Wednesday.

A new shopping center and hotel are being considered in Lakeport. The Planning Commission will consider the project at their meeting tomorrow. The public is welcome to join, if they follow COVID restrictions, or they can watch online. The “Lakeport Hub Project” will be presented. It’s a shopping center and hotel development for 15.5 acres where there’s an old walnut orchard, near the area of “Hamburger Hill”. That’s an area where there are a bunch of fast food restaurants. They want to put in a service station, six to eight restaurants, two retail buildings and a 70 room hotel.

Someone walking along Highway 101 apparently died in Mendocino County. Mendo Fever reports hearing on the police scanner and confirming on the CHP Traffic Incident Information page a pedestrian was killed after being hit by a car south of Willits. As the investigation started, officers closed one of the traffic lanes to gather evidence. Someone apparently called 911 to report hitting someone who was pushing a shopping cart near the Ridgewood Summit. The person who called it in after hitting the pedestrian, was apparently cooperating and had pulled to the side of the highway after the crash.

The state continues to make dark history, with over 6 million coronavirus cases now reported. The report by the Los Angeles Times noting the milestone while the omicron mutation continues its march through California. The state reported nearly 309,000 new infections Monday, which included cases confirmed over the weekend. Daily caseloads have been at their highest levels since last year. Many of the cases coming from Los Angeles County, which reported over 225,000 new coronavirus cases over the last week. The county reported three of its highest single-day totals of the entire pandemic, the latest record was on Sunday, with 45,584.

Advocates for the Food for All campaign like the Governor’s new budget proposal, which would start an expansion of Cal Fresh for people 55 and older, regardless of their immigration status. Karen Giron, a Cal Fresh specialist with Hunger Action Los Angeles says it had been heartbreaking to turn people away before now.

 :07  “So we’re hoping that everything is already built in the system so we can just remove that requirement and allow people to get access to food, especially during the pandemic.”

Tag:  Some advocates are also calling on the governor to consider spending some budget surplus on another round of stimulus checks to help low-income families pay for basic necessities.

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Second Cut: Nell Myhand with the National Poor People’s Campaign in California says people who receive state disability, V-A disability, or who participate in Cal Works were unfairly excluded from the last round of stimulus.

 :11  “No price can be assigned to our unnecessary suffering. And even in terms of dollars and cents, it’s much more expensive to deal with the consequences of economic policies that fail us.”

Tag:  The budget proposal also includes 17 billion dollars to fund programs that increase housing or combat homelessness.

Lake County’s seeing a surge of COVID cases like a lot of other places, especially after the holidays. But a local school that had been hit hard by the spike in confirmed cases, Mountain Vista Middle School had to close. The Record Bee newspaper reports the school is trying to adjust its teaching protocol after the three day closure because of a staff shortage. District officials say it was due to COVID exposure. So, kids were instructed to do independent study through today when they could come back for in person learning. The news site reports calling out other schools, and that the Lakeport Unified School District and Lucerne Elementary said their schools were open.

The Gov. has signed an executive order to prevent price gouging on at-home COVID-19 test kits. It means those selling the kits cannot raise the price by more than 10%. It comes as the omicron strain consumes the state leaving some residents without the ability to even get tested or stand in long lines across the state or try to get ahold of rapid test kits as they quickly sell out at many stores and pharmacies. The Governor’s office says it’s to improve access and keep tests affordable. The order will also help law enforcers to take action against price gougers like in wildfire emergencies.   

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