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Another COVID outbreak at the Mendocino County Jail. The Sheriff’s Office notified there were over 60 cases in inmates, and several had recovered. They say some were released by courts and went home to isolate, but still there are 45 infected at the jail. The Sheriff’s Dept. says to slow the spread at the jail, any incoming arrestees are being tested, then quarantined for 10 days. They’ve been testing the entire population at the facility twice a week and same for staff. The inmates in holding areas that are affected are being quarantined and some inmates getting close to their releases were let go sooner to decrease the population. Some staffers have also been infected, but all in all, the Sheriff’s Dept. reports all cases have been mild.

A new report says Lake County is getting an economic boost from the legal cannabis industry. The Press Democrat reports a consultant for the industry who owns a farm near Lower Lake says they think the drug will be an economic driving force for the next half century. The paper also reports elected officials agree that it’s been mostly positive. There are more jobs for farmworkers and growers and cannabis companies are buying local. The former board of supervisors chair Bruno Sabatier told the paper he believes growers contributed more than $10 million dollars in taxes to the county over the past year.

The US Forest Service is taking the bull by the horns and trying a new approach to the wildfire crisis nationwide. The Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore are starting the strategy they say will protect communities and improve forest resilience. It includes more work to reduce forest fuels and forest health treatments because of the ever-increasing wildfire danger threatening millions of acres and multiple communities across the United States.

The state Attorney General Rob Bonta has announced the state is giving almost $5 million dollars to 10 county sheriff’s departments to help get illegal weapons off the street. The Sheriff’s Dept.’s include Contra Costa, Lake, Sacramento, San Francisco and Santa Clara. The money through grant funding from the DOJ’s Gun Violence Reduction Program. Bonta says the “California Department of Justice’s Armed and Prohibited Persons System, or APPS” is going to be stronger with the close partnerships in these departments. He also encouraged more Sheriffs to apply.

A big rig that hit a utility pole in Lake County has caused quite the snarl on Highway 20. Mendo Fever reports it happened yesterday around lunchtime after a truck hauling hay crashed, dumping its load. It happened on the westbound lane south of Lucerne and blocked the highway. There was an hours long slowdown in the area. The news site reports, but it’s not been confirmed, that video of the incident from a resident recorded high winds in the area at the time of the crash.

Lake County’s once again taking up hundreds of tax defaulted properties. The Board of Supervisors will meet on the matter at their regular meeting tomorrow. It can be caught in person or online by local cable or on Facebook. Lake Co News reports, in an untimed item, during the session, a resolution will be presented to authorize the board chair to approve, then direct the tax collector to sell more than 900 properties at public auction. The news site reports this is one of the larger tax sales than before and minimum bids for the entire lot would garner nearly $8 million dollars for the county.

Nearly 12 million dollars in grant money from the federal government is going to several Native American tribes, including a couple in Lake County. Lake Co News reports the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the Indian Community Development Block Grant-American Rescue Plan funds for 11 tribes in California. The money comes from a larger pot for 74 tribal communities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The news site reports it’s third round of grants. The Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians is getting just over one million to build a medical facility and the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo is getting nearly an identical amount for their own medical services facility.

Since it’s been so dry and bears have a hard time finding food late into fall, a welfare animal group is asking for a ban on black bear hunting temporarily in Calif. The Humane Society has filed a petition with the California Fish and Game Commission to hold off on the hunts, for now, until an assessment can be done to see if the state’s black bear population is thriving. The agency sets state hunting regulations, but the Humane Society is asking for the state’s upcoming bear season not to be held. It’s supposed to start in late summer. The Fish and Wildlife Dept. says the black bear population IS healthy and there are tens of thousands of the animals in Calif. Nearly triple what it’s been in recent decades.

The Ukiah Planning Commission is considering a permit for a quickie car oil change business. The staff report for Wednesday’s meeting to allow a Major Use Permit on over 2,100 square feet for Valvoline on Airport Park Boulevard across the street from Costco, and next door to the new Holiday Inn Express. They are looking to build upstairs and downstairs, so mechanics can be underneath cars. They’re also asking to put in three service bays and room for up to 12 vehicles behind the business and 13 parking spaces, plus a pedestrian walkway and other area improvements.

The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 26. To watch or join the meeting, visit https://zoom.us/j/91264543193
Or use these phone numbers: 1-669-900-9128 or 1-346-248-7799
Or dial toll-free: 888-788-0099 or 833-548-0282
Webinar ID: 912 6454 3193

There’s a new member of the Willits City staff. They’ve hired Manuel Orozco as the city’s Finance Director. At their last meeting, which was online only, the City Manager Brian Bender called Orozco, “a wonderful asset to this organization.” They’ve also recently hired a few others in Community Development, a Dispatcher and at Public Works. The Mayor commented that she was happy there were applicants, despite the pandemic.  There was other business too, on parking restrictions, painting curbs, to mark them, and the resolution to accept the end of a pavement project in the city.

The State of Calif. is trying to hire more Black teachers as reports say if Black students have at least one Black teacher as they grow up, they’re more likely to graduate high school and go to college. The state Department of Education shows as of the last studied school year, 2018-19, under 4% of public school teachers in California, were Black. They counted about 12,000 total, but at the same time, there were 335,000 Black students, about 5.4% of the state’s enrollment. The Gov. and lawmakers have set aside $350 million in this year’s budget for one-time grants to develop new or expand existing teacher residency programs, which is seen as one barrier, so was discrimination.

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