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It is back to remote learning next week in the Lakeport Unified School District. The district says when classes resume after the MLK break on Tuesday, students should be ready to log on for their lessons. Superintendent Matt Bullard, posting on the district website, blames a staff shortage tied to more Covid cases. Distance learning will be the rule until Tuesday the 25th. Before that the district will offer a free rapid testing clinic on Monday, January 24. Bullard hopes that all students and staff who plan to return to campus for in-person learning the next day will participate. According to the district, there were 16 positive COVID-19 cases among staff members and 62 among students, compared with 23 cases among staff members and 55 among students in the first two weeks of the new year. The Lakeport district website has additional information about the return to remote instruction.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a suspicious death. Deputies say a passing motorist called 9-1-1 after seeing a person unresponsive near the intersection of Parducci Road and Christy Lane in Ukiah on Tuesday morning. Responding officers found a woman, identified as 22-year-old Allyssa Sawdey of Ukiah, dead at that scene. Detectives are waiting for autopsy results to determine just how she died. If you have any information about the case you can call the Sherriff’s office anonymous tip line.

Some encouraging signs about the latest wave of Covid-19 cases in Northern California. Reports say tests done on sewage in the Bay Area show the amount of coronavirus in the wastewater is dropping. Those tests have been a marker of past spikes and dips in the number of cases. Among those expressing optimism based on those tests and other measurements, California Human Service Secretary Mark Ghaly. He says it is too soon to let our guard down but hopes we may have turned the corner on the latest surge of the Omicron variant

The state Employment Development Department is dealing with a new scam targeting disability insurance. That scam involves suspected organized groups filing fake unemployment claims using stolen information from workers and medical providers. More than 345,000 claims have been red-flagged for potential abuse. The department says it is reviewing all of them to be sure no legitimate claims are being denied. Officials say it is more important than ever for Californians to guard against ID theft, especially when filing unemployment or other claims with the state. If you think your personal information has been compromised, you can report it through a link on the E D D website

A woman from Clearlake accused of lighting fires in Lower Lake didn’t make it to a recent court hearing, jailers say, because of behavior issues. It was agreed in court last November that Kayla Renee Main was going to be sent to a hospital for mental health treatment as she was unable to make decisions on her own. The court said if she was not treated with certain medications, she could potentially hurt herself. Then she was ordered back to jail after she went on the meds. There’s another review hearing in her case coming up. Main is charged with arson of property, possessing material/device for arson and unlawful fire and violating probation, resisting and vandalism.

A new pedestrian bridge has been finished in Lakeport. The bridge links the Library Park parklands to where they’re building a new Lakefront Park along the Clear Lake shoreline. It’s on the north side of the Fifth Street public parking lot and goes all the way across a seasonal stormwater drainage course. The city’s own Public Works Department built the concrete and steel bridge footings, installed the bridge after it was delivered, then finished up with more concrete work. The new park, which is being funded by a state Parks & Water Bond will start construction later this year.

The Rotary Club of Willits Student Debt Assistance Program is accepting applications. Those who live in the city of Willits who need help paying down student loan debt can apply. The program is to encourage local area college or career tech school graduates, active in the community, to stay. The Rotary Club’s program came about in August of 2020. The following Spring, of 2021, the Willits Rotary awarded ten area residents grants of $300/month for one year.  Applications are available starting tomorrow, with a deadline of Feb. 19, 2022.

If you were impacted by last summer’s Hopkins Fire, you still have time to enroll in the debris removal program from the state. The California Dept. of Emergency Services program cleans up fire debris out of properties for free. The fire in Calpella started last September and burned nearly 260 acres and destroyed 67 structures, over half of them, homes. The beginning of the cleanup work started about a month later because of weather related issues. If you meet the requirements from the state, including submitting soil samples, then and only then, can you start your rebuild.  You can certainly hire private contractors for cleanup, but you’ll have to follow the same requirements before your rebuild.

An online workshop is being held by the BLM Ukiah Field Office regarding the South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area. They’re looking for public input next Thursday on the area to make it more family-friendly, increase safety and improve the trail system. The workshop will show proposed routes, facilities and other improvements at the off-highway vehicle recreation site. They want public feedback to help identify new trails and redesign routes for better connectivity, find safer solutions for shared trails, provide greater public access, and offer a more enjoyable experience.

To participate in the workshop, please register at least 30 minutes prior to the event at https://tinyurl.com/2p8p3wmc. Please contact us for reasonable accommodations to participate. For specific questions, please contact Ashley Poggio at BLM_CA_UK_SOUTHCOWPLAN@BLM.gov.

One person is dead after a fire broke out at a home in Fort Bragg. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says they’re not sure who died, due to the condition of the body, but they say they think they know who it is. They say they will use medical records and DNA analysis to confirm. Mendo Fever says they heard on the police scanner the fire broke out yesterday morning after 7. The dispatcher reported to responders that explosions were heard coming from the structure. They reported the fire out in under a half hour.

The tax sharing agreement between the City of Lakeport and the Board of Supervisors has been approved for a proposed annexation of the South Lakeport area. Lake Co News reports the City Council and the board had a joint meeting Tuesday night and they all voted unanimously to move forward. The news site reported both sides called the deal a “win-win”. The 135-acre South Lakeport Annexation Project area has 50 parcels running along South Main Street and onto part of Soda Bay Road. The city has eyeballed the property as part of its sphere of influence since at least the 1980s. It’s supposedly the most lucrative commercial area in the county’s jurisdiction.

Members are still needed by the Governing Board of Lake and Mendocino County’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA). They need one member who lives in Lake County and two living in Mendocino County for the AAA Advisory Council. They’re also looking for applicants for a member “at large” from both Lake and Mendocino Counties. Their job as part of the Governing Board is to work on issues like planning and development of community services for older adults and those of different abilities in both counties. The positions are for two years. They’re currently meeting on Zoom. For more info, you can contact the Area Agency on Aging: 707-995-3744 or email aaa@dss.co.lake.ca.us.

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