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Monthly Archives: February 2022

A Cannabis dispensary has been approved near Ukiah City Hall. The Planning Commission unanimously gave their approval for the permit. One commissioner said Cannabis needs to be normalized even though it’s pretty close to a building where they hold Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings; and they had letters of concern. The Daily Journal reports the City Planning Manager said there’s nothing in the city code to prohibit a dispensary from being that close to recovery meetings, but maybe something they can address in the future. The owner of the building, the permit applicant, said he would be respectful and not put up signs that scream marijuana for sale and chose a name, that could also be mistaken as the name of a restaurant, Local Roots. The Planning Commission Chair said she was concerned about the proximity to the recovery meetings, but less after the discussion they all had.

The Sonoma County Public Health Officer has reportedly had a call with a couple reporters and the Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. Hopkins agreed to the reporter call first, Friday and posted about it on Facebook, and Public Health Officer Sundari Mase asked to join the call. She first apologized to Hopkins for misleading her about a DUI conviction she had after the Press Democrat reported on it last week. The DUI was in December of 2020. But she also had one in 2014. Mase had told Hopkins about it but said it was distracted driving. Hopkins said Mase undermined her faith by not admitted the 2014 arrest was also alcohol related. Mase said she regretted not being more transparent, but had no alcohol problem and they were off duty arrests and wants to keep her job. The Board of Supervisors will take up the matter at their meeting tomorrow.

Mendocino County could go maskless soon. During his regular Friday address, the county Public Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren said cases were down locally and schools had a huge drop in cases. Also, Coren said the state is expected to make an announcement about mask wearing in schools today. But Coren says he’s keeping Mendocino County’s mask mandate in place, but expects to call it quits for facial coverings in the weeks to come, saying possibly by March 15th. He says it’s because there are still people being hospitalized and ending up in the ICU, and there are not a lot of hospital beds available at the moment. There were also three more deaths reported last week. The state currently mandates masks be worn in nursing homes, hospitals, schools, public transit, and other congregate living situations. Those unvaccinated still have to wear a mask in most indoor settings.

At a special Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting, it’s cannabis on the docket. The board is having a meeting Wednesday to take up cannabis cultivation, sales and the state of the current market, including the drought, permitting and possible grants. On the agenda they mention changing the name of the program too, to the Mendocino County Cannabis Dept., instead of the Mendocino County Cannabis Program, now that it’s its own department, separate from both the agricultural and planning and building services departments. The board will also consider a new appeals process for those turned down for permits, look at grants provided by the state and the possible creation of an extended “stay-of-cultivation” and tax relief for permitted farmers, an idea of Supervisor John Hashak so those farmers are allowed to temporarily stop growing, but maintain their permit, with a so-called “stay-of-cultivation” -paying no taxes or other costs of compliance.

The Red Bearded Burglar in court and pleaded guilty to assault of a police officer with a deadly weapon. William Evers had been on the run after the May 2021 incident where he was reported to have fired a gun after running from a burglary in Elk. He had two previous strikes against him for other crimes, so he is now a three strike felon, facing 25-years-to-life in prison. During the time from when he was on the run to when he was finally caught there were nearly 20 other charges, but apparently they were all dropped as part of a plea deal. He was finally caught last November after first being seen days before in someone’s veggie garden. He was charged with the attempted murder of a deputy, grand theft of a firearm, destruction of private property and 15 counts of burglary. He’s set to be back in court for his sentencing March 24th.

Protections for gray wolves are back in place after the Trump administration took them off the Endangered Species list. That means it’s against the law to hunt or trap the animals unless you’re in the northern Rocky Mountains. A federal judge issued the ruling last week saying the delisting of the wolves didn’t take into account a reasonable interpretation of the ‘significant portion of its range’ standard. So the protections are back in place for the Great Lakes region, in West Coast states and in the southern Rocky Mountains. It comes after a lawsuit was filed by several environmental groups by Earthjustice.

A man in Ukiah has been arrested after a traffic stop on a motorcycle. Deputies found Yecson Delaherran-Rivera last Tuesday at North State Street and Gibson and found the motorcycle had a bogus registration on it and had been reported stolen out of Santa Rosa. Plus the guy had a couple of warrants out for his arrest from Mendocino County. So, they arrested Delaherran-Rivera. When they went to arrest him, they also found suspected methamphetamine and a meth smoking pipe, so additional charges were tacked on. He was booked into jail and held on $27,500.00 bail.

Assemblyman Jim Wood has introduced Legislation to require the CA Public Utilities Commission work on getting broadband internet to a population without. The Assembly bill would map last-mile connections from the open-access middle-mile network. Wood says by mapping how homes are able to use the middle-mile is the only way to keep a promise of equal access to broadband and finally end the digital divide. It follows another bill last year to approve construction of the middle-mile network in the state right-of-way. You can find a map of the proposed network online at the California Department of Technology’s website.

A woman in Redwood Valley has reported being attacked by someone who was a regular customer of hers at a restaurant where she used to work. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call the woman was home alone when someone knocked. She just cracked the door open thinking it was a roommate, when the door was forced open, Deputies say Adrian Herrar-Candaneda came into the home uninvited, got into the woman’s bed and covered himself and wouldn’t leave. She says he wouldn’t leave and grabbed her and placed her on his lap, thinking she was about to be raped, she got away. She texted her roommates, one came home and chased the guy out of the house. Herrar-Candaneda was booked into the Mendocino County Jail and held on $20,000.00 bail.

A man in Laytonville has been arrested after reports by a family their nine year old child had been sexually abused from a year before. Detectives took a report from the family and investigated, identifying the suspect as Wilmer Jack Mitchell, who they say had recurring access to the child. They say evidence gathered confirmed there had been multiple acts of sex abuse from 2020 until now. Mitchell was arrested for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child Under 14 years of Age and held on $200,000 bail.

A man from Covelo has been arrested for having an outstanding warrant from the Willits area. A Deputy saw two people in a car and confirmed the car they were in had multiple vehicle code violations. The Deputy ran a records check on the vehicle’s occupants and found Carlos Hernandez Acosta had a felony warrant for his arrest for weapons violations. The two allowed for a search, but no drugs or weapons were found. So, Hernandez-Acosta was arrested for the warrant and booked into the Mendocino County Jail and held on $15,000.00 bail.

The Lake County Planning commission has said no to a large cannabis operation planned near Hidden Valley Lake. The county staff had recommended that the project be denied. We Grow LLC wanted to put that operation on 309 acres in Middletown. Lake Co News reports it would have included 34 greenhouses, four drying buildings, a shed, 20 water tanks, and privacy fencing. Area residents appealed an earlier approval last year and won their case based on a faulty environmental document. Developers resubmitted their application, but now that too has been denied. The sticking point was a plan to cut down 130 mature blue oak trees that would have been replaced, but the commission didn’t think the replacement plan was sufficient. There were other concerns too, including traffic, security, and land use. The lawyer for the developer argued that the planning commission was unfair to his client, who he says did everything the commission asked. There is a seven-day window to appeal that denial.

You may have done it before. It’s a cold morning. You go out to start your vehicle, leave it running to warm up, and step back inside—for just a minute. Ukiah police say THIEVES could end up driving off in that warm car instead The Police Department says it has received numerous reports of stolen vehicles over the past two months and most were running and unattended. Police say they get that it is inconvenient to sit in the car as it warms up, but that is is MORE inconvenient to have your car stolen. Cops say car thieves love cold mornings and empty cars, which could be gone in 30 seconds The UPD suggests other ways to keep the vehicle’s windshield from icing, on cold mornings. Cheapest way – put a bath towel, or similar type of fabric on the windshield the night before. You can also buy windshield covers available at retail stores or online. Triple com has more tips on how to keep yourself safe from car thefts.

Safety of a different kind is the goal of a new policy from CalTrans. CalTrans Director Toks Omishakin has unveiled those new guidelines, which he says commit his department to make roads safer and reducing—and even eliminating—fatal crashes by 2050. He calls it a fundamental shift to make safety the first priority in highway planning, operation, construction, and maintenance. There will also be a shift to focus on preventing the worst crashes, not ALL crashes. Omishakin says the new policy lines up with a new safety initiative the US Department of Transportation started in January. In California, more than 3,600 people die each year in traffic crashes and more than 13,000 people are severely injured. Figures from last year show a 17 percent increase in highway deaths from the year before—even though fewer people were driving during the first months of the pandemic.

We told you about a petition to save the bear, Hank the Tank in the Lake Tahoe region. Apparently, the bear had broken into several homes looking for food. But now we get word, Hank is actually three bears. DNA evidence shows the 500-pound black bear is at least three bears who have ransacked homes so the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is going to start trapping bears, then tagging them so they can continue collecting genetic info on the animals. They will release them to “suitable habitat” and say they have no plans to euthanize the animals. One of the Hanks is blamed for smashing a window at a home while people were there. There have been over 150 incident reports related to the bears in Northern California and Nevada.

A new report says wildfires were worse at night over the last twenty or so years, especially that ones that burned in California and the western United States. The Univ. of Boulder and University of Merced joint study showed night fires were as much as 7% more intense globally between 2003 and 2020. And they were 28% more intense in the western US during the same time. They used satellite and climatological data for the study. Researchers say the changes are mostly due to the drought and drier fuels in Calif. and the western US. The study says there are now about 11 more flammable nights a year than there were back in 1979 across the western United States, a 45% increase.

There’s a new traffic light up at the intersection of Waugh Lane and East Gobbi Street. It’s not on yet but should be by this spring. The Public Works Director says the signal should be in working order by the end of April. It was put there due to traffic congestion on Gobbi Street. The report on the work by city staff says after a Citywide Circulation Study in 2007, it was recommended the city put in either a roundabout or traffic light where East Gobbi and Waugh Lane meet. So the city went to the Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) as part of the 2011 Regional Improvement Program (RIP) to get the money for the work, and won $716,000. There will also be a traffic signal installed at East Gobbi and Main streets.

A man from Talmage has been convicted of murder for the shooting death of his stepson. The Mendocino County DA’s Facebook page had the conviction posted. The post says 66 year old Thomas Dean Jones was found guilty of first-degree murder for the death of his stepson, Jamie Eugene Wilcox. He’s also been convicted for first-degree attempted murder in the shooting of Jayme Schneider Garden, his stepson’s wife. The jury found he shot them both for financial gain. The pair shot in a car and Jones was waiting for them, so it was premeditated. The DA reports Jones will be sentenced next month and faces life without parole in state prison for the Sept. 2020 murders.

Assemblyman Jim Wood has a new bill in the Legislature to help improve drought conditions. The Santa Rosa lawmaker’s bill would create a dedicated Drought Section as part of the Division of Water Rights to change the way the state responds to drought conditions and climate resiliency. Wood says the drought has not been an “episodic event… for decades”. He says now when they come, they’re longer, happen more often, are more severe and “seriously threaten the health of rivers and streams, wildlife and their habit and the ability to provide North Coast communities with safe and affordable drinking water.

Reports of a black Corvette weaving in and out of traffic, driving up to 120 miles an hour through both Mendocino and Lake counties triggers a BOLO alert for the car and driver. Scanners blared out what was happening in Mendocino County’s north hill country to Clear Lake. Kym Kemp reports the CHP went after the Vette, but pulled back when it became too unsafe. But two hours after the pursuit began the driver was found after that BOLO was issued. It started around dinner time. A Black man wouldn’t stop after officers first saw the car without license plates north of Willits. That’s when the pursuit began.  

State Senator Mike McGuire, Mendocino Supervisor John Hashak and the Sheriff Matt Kendall are holding a virtual town hall. They’re focusing on Hashak’s district, in the northern region of the county next Wednesday, March 2nd. McGuire is hosting the meeting with Hashak and Kendall joining.

When: Wednesday, March 2nd at 6:30 pm.  Email McGuire’s office or call 707-468-8914.

No bull kelp harvesting allowed on the Mendocino and Sonoma County coasts. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife put a three year moratorium on the harvesting to protect the kelp. Plus they placed a yearly 8,000 pound limit for Humboldt and Del Norte counties too. A report by the agency says over 90% of North Coast kelp forests have disappeared over the last decade so they’re putting projects in place, per a report last month, focusing solely on a marine algae species. Regulators also have an option to extend the moratorium if need be. Mendo Voice reports the Intertribal Council supports the move.

A cannabis business is proposed at a site on South State Street and two buildings will be torn down to accommodate it. The Daily Journal reports that demolish request went through quick, but not so much for the old Dragon’s Lair building. The two buildings to be torn down to make way for a new dispensary are in the 1100 block of South State Street at Talmage Road. In just two weeks the city council approved the move. The Community Development Director Craig Schlatter told the paper the Dragon’s Lair building is listed in the city’s Historic Resources Survey, so it’s taking longer to be removed. The city has to complete certain studies before the building is demolished to be sure it won’t hurt the environment or historic resources.

A man from Rohnert Park received a decade behind bars for the death of his brother-in-law. The Mendocino County DA reported 24-year-old Oscar Ruiz got 120 months in state prison after agreeing to a plea deal last month for voluntary manslaughter and the personal use of a firearm. The DA’s office says he shot and killed his in law last July after an argument at an illegal marijuana grow north of Laytonville where they were employed. The DA says Ruiz may only have to serve 85% of the sentence if he gets time off for good behavior.

A man connected to both Redwood Valley and Talmage is going to prison for life, without the possibility of parole for a murder last year. The DA posted on Facebook that Jameson Wolfgang Jackson’s sentencing was stalled for six months, but yesterday he received life without parole and an additional 32 years to life after he was found guilty last August for first degree and attempted murder in the first degree. The jury found he fired a gun intentionally from a car. The DA reminds it was not his first violent conviction, that as a minor he was sent to prison for the robbery and murder of a shop owner in Brooktrails. He was paroled on his 23rd birthday in 2008, and no longer on parole by 2010.

Reports late last night of a fire near Guerneville. The Press Democrat reported the fire on Old River Road and that firefighters had to hike to the rugged area. They reported a bulldozer was also pulling into the area around 9 p.m. and driving a line around the 2-acre fire so firefighters could reach the fire early this morning.

The federal government says they’re not allocating water to farmers in the central valley as the state hits another year of severe drought. The regional director for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it will be devastating, but we need rain. The fed operates the Central Valley Project, which is made up of dams, reservoirs and canals. It’s one of a pair of systems providing water for agriculture, drinking water, and the environment. The other is run by the state government. Each February the federal government announces how much water they’ll allocate for their contracts and updates its allocations all year long according to local conditions. Last year farmers in the valley only got 5% of the allocation from the federal government but it changed to 0% as the drought got worse. This year starts at 0%, but water for other uses, including drinking and industrial, is at 25%.

A new affordable housing project for senior citizens has been approved in Lakeport. The city’s Planning Commission gave the greenlight yesterday for the Bevins Street senior apartments. AMG & Associates are developing the 40-unit complex on 3 acres. The income bracket is from 30 to 60% of Lake County’s median income. It’s also near another senior housing center, Bella Vista, which was built by the same developer, their 4th project in Lakeport. The new project will be 32 one-bedroom homes and eight two-bedrooms. They will each have either a patio or a deck. They also plan on putting up a community center that has a kitchen inside, an exercise room, laundry facility and business center, community garden boccie ball court, a fenced dog park, parking and a covered picnic area.

A truck found last week near Hopland along the Russian River was reportedly stolen. The
pickup found last Friday was reported stolen to the Hopland Fire Protection District whose Chief says the call was that there was a vehicle in a tree that couldn’t be seen from the highway near Frog Woman Rock. Since it was so close to the river, swift water swimmers searched just in case there may have been someone inside, but nobody was found. Firefighters reported the truck rolled about 300 feet down an embankment, and the CHP is investigating the crash. The truck was reported stolen from Ukiah about a week before.

An online petition to save a 500-pound bear in California is halfway toward its goal. Supporters are also calling police in South Lake Tahoe to the point it’s becoming a problem. Police are asking them to stop, saying they have no control what happens to “Hank the Tank.” The bear still hasn’t been found after breaking into 40 homes since last summer in the search for food. The ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ says it will help officials find him a home and a sanctuary in Colorado has offered to take the bear.

Police in Ukiah say they’re getting a bunch of calls about stolen cars. Police say the majority of the vehicles were unlocked and unattended, while in front of homes to warm them up. Police are calling these “warm-up thefts” because what they have in common was they were out on a cold morning that the car was running. They say they get it’s inconvenient to sit in a cold vehicle, but it would be worse to have the vehicle stolen. They say you can just use a bath towel or other fabric to your windshield the night before or get a windshield cover. They also say you can visit the AAA website and search. Police say they just want to raise awareness to residents who are looking to actively warm up their cars on cold mornings.

The Governor and the President speaking about Climate Change and other issues. Newsom and President Biden talked with community, labor, and industry leaders about the state’s clean energy sector. They spoke about recent work to develop lithium, a major part of batteries needed for zero emission vehicles, clean electric grids, and other renewable energy sources. The Imperial Valley is a source and they’re now calling it the Lithium Valley. Newsom called the area a game changer for the country’s transition to clean energy and zero-emission vehicles, which Newsom says is a critical breakthrough in the fight against climate change.

The Willits City Council isn’t moving forward on a project to be sure the groundwater is staying resilient. They had a two hour meeting with public comment a couple weeks ago and took no action on the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the Groundwater Resiliency Improvement Project. The study has to be done by state law if they’re eyeing a project, just like an environmental impact report. This project looking at developing groundwater, giving the city of Willits a secondary water source and help the city meet its water needs. They were looking to add hundreds of feet of piping, upgrade some piping and replace a pump, plus put in a new 250,000-gallon chlorine contact tank at the groundwater treatment facility.

Since there’s stormy weather and snow in some passes, Highway 20 was closed while plows could be brought in. Caltrans officials in Mendocino and Lake counties closed the route so it would be safer for travel on both sides west of the Mendocino/Lake County Line near Witter Springs. They brought plows in around dinner time and had cleared one lane. There were also a bunch of cars stuck on State Route 175 between Hopland and Lakeport. After the plows came in on Highway 20 traffic was still slow going.

The state Legislature is reportedly considering mandating all K-12 public schools put COVID-19 testing plans in place for students and staff and earmark the cash to do it. The legislation, if it passes would be for pre-schools, childcare centers and afterschool programs too. It would require the state Dept. of Public Health work with school districts on a testing plan, but it doesn’t specify how much testing there would have to be, or anything about vaccines. The money for the new plan would be found later, depending on how many tests school districts already had received from state and federal governments for school testing.

The former Sergeant in the Ukiah Police Department who faces felony sex crime charges is still out on bail even though prosecutors filed to get his bail revoked after a recent arrest. Kevin Murray was recently arrested for petty theft in Lake County, but the judge didn’t change his bail arrangement. The prosecution said the recent arrest showed a failure to follow and obey the law, which was a condition of his release. He was charged previously for burglary, sex assault, preparing false evidence and possession of an illegal AR-15 considered an assault weapon under state law. There’s also a civil suit against him, filed by a former female colleague who says she was sexually assaulted by Murray too.

A man from the Bay Area suspected in the death of a man may also be involved in a marijuana business robbery near Laytonville. Mendo Fever and Kym Kemp are both reporting LaTrail White is in the Solano County jail where he’s waiting his preliminary hearing for murder. But he could also be one of four men from the Bay Area connected to an armed robbery with assault rifles in Sept. of 2020 at the Black Oak Ranch, a community north of Laytonville. Three men, a woman and a girl were reportedly held at gunpoint while the men demanded weed and money. One of them, from out of town was found and hogtied by locals. And apparently White was one of the men, caught the first day by police and found with several assault rifles in a van. But apparently the charges against White were dropped in that case. The alleged murder tied to him happened last summer.

A man pulled over by Fort Bragg police has been arrested. Police say he seemed to be driving drunk last Friday. Michael McSorley was told to get out of his car and found with an un-registered concealed firearm with a high capacity magazine and a concealed dirk/dagger. He would not agree to field sobriety tests so he was arrested. In the car they found a loaded .45 caliber handgun, a glass pipe and a white substance that looked like meth. He was arrested and charged with several crimes and held in jail.

An apartment complex that had been proposed for low income farm laborers and wildfire victims in Lakeport has been approved by the federal government. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reportedly given the green light for the exemption for the 48-unit Martin Street Apartments, phase two. And this phase could be ready for folks to move in this summer. The developer got agriculture housing credits so they were supposed to have tenants who were farm laborers, but apparently they only rented two units. So last summer, after the Cache fire broke out, the city asked developers if survivors of the fire could move in and were told no, but then they reached out to the fed anyway to see. They ended up getting a waiver after the city got in touch with Congressman Mike Thompson’s office.

The Ukiah Planning Commission is considering an application for a cannabis dispensary near City Hall. The documents related to the proposed business on Seminary Avenue say the retailer would sell cannabis products and deliver them. The building is the former Mixies restaurant and near the Ukiah Civic Center and the Veteran’s Hall. They’ll be checking zoning codes at the meeting on Zoom today. A cannabis business is not allowed to be near a school, one is close, but far enough away. And it can’t be near any other youth-oriented facility, which of there are many, but they too are far enough away. There are some other limitations too, all to be discussed this evening.

The Planning Commission meeting is at 6 p.m. at the following link:

The annual report on Cannabis sales for medical use has been released. The group Americans for Safe Access released the report looking at how each state’s programs work and how effective they are. They base it on 100 categories like access, affordability, health and social equity, and product safety. The annual report is distributed to state lawmakers and several hundred health organizations and patient organizations. And they come up with solutions to problems with legislative and regulatory language. California has been in the medical marijuana business for 25 years. The agency says it works to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. You can read the state of the states report at their website.

PG&E has permission to raise their rates. Starting Tuesday, the energy company will bring rates up to over 8% more for small businesses.  Just 2 weeks ago the Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to allow the company to bring rates up beginning March 1st. A spokesperson for PG&E says they had to raise rates because of recent drought conditions which lowered the cost of hydroelectric generation across the western U.S., and higher natural gas and wholesale electricity. All of this from last year but was predicted to continue this year. And a report from the PUC in May of last year also said the company’s rates would probably increase by nearly 4% between 2020 and 2030. The Press Democrat has also reported various other California investor-owned utility companies rates had also risen.

After a body was found under the 101 last year by State Route 162, the identity of the person has not been known. Police said the man was in women’s clothing and had a book on Tarot nearby. The body was found by someone who pulled over to walk their dog north of Willits. Mendo Fever reports the only thing released so far about the body was that it was a man in his twenties. The news site reports the book may have somehow been significant in the case, but police have not confirmed that. The Sheriff’s Office reports the man had on a dress, women’s denim jeans and black leggings, and a dark heavy jacket and men’s leather mid-rise boots. Other descriptors indicate the man was probably White and had “possibly shoulder-length” brown hair and was likely between 5’10”-6’4″. There was no known cause of death, but the teeth have been sent in for DNA information.

A new survey by Mendocino Railway and the Skunk Train show it continues to be the most popular attraction in the county. The Railway’s Demographic Survey from 2016 to 2021 and Visit Mendocino County’s latest Annual Report showed it also provided great economic support to the local economy, to the tune of over $67 Million in visitor spending over five years. The Skunk Train’s Railbikes are reported to be the number one most-viewed attraction on the Skunk Train website and at And reports say the Skunk Train is one of the stronger economic drivers locally, even while ridership was off during 2020 due to the COVID lockdown of the entire hospitality industry. But 2021 had a great rebound, with historical numbers.

A woman accused of a hit and run that killed a man had her bail reinstated instead of reporting to jail. Mendo Voice reports Gina Ray Bean was sentenced to 210 days in county jail in December for the July 2019 crash that killed Calum Hunnicutt. The news site reports Bean was set to begin her sentence last month, but her lawyer is appealing the conviction, so her bail was reinstated and her surrender date vacated. Court papers say Bean drove into the intersection of State Route 1 and Little Lake Road in Mendocino on a green light, but hit Hunnicut, who was on a skateboard and had a red light. He was found to be at fault, but Bean left the scene. She was arrested for suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, but later it was reduced to leaving the scene of an accident.

Performance reviews on the agenda for the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. They will go over performance of various county employees over two days this week. Nine public employees will get evaluations in closed door sessions Thursday and Friday. They are the new Public Health Director and the Public Health Officer, the Cannabis Program Director, Transportation Director, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Director, General Services Agency Director, Social Services Director, Agricultural Commissioner and Cultural Services Agency Director. The board is also taking public comments on the matter or other agendas before these sessions.

A large commercial cannabis operation is being considered again near Hidden Valley Lake. The Lake County Board of Supervisors appealed the Planning Commission’s decision last year, so they will take it up again Thursday. They will once again hold a public hearing to consider the major use permit for We Grow, LLC in Middletown. There will only be nine of 300 acres used for greenhouses, drying buildings, a shed, water tanks and privacy fencing. They also propose removing 130 blue oak trees. The Board of Supervisors didn’t like the environmental document on the plan, so there have been some changes.

A local nonprofit is trying to raise money to rebuild trails in the Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest which was seriously damaged by the 2015 Valley fire. The Redwood Trails Alliance is calling it the “Bring Back Boggs” fundraiser. They’re partnering with the Trail House of Santa Rosa and others to work to rebuild the Demonstration State Forest trails. It’s been a popular place for mountain bike enthusiasts and was the spot for years where the Bike Monkey Boggs 8 hour race and the NorCal Interscholastic Cycling League’s state championship race were both held. But the fire burned almost 90% of the forest. They’re looking for donations and are giving away a mountain bike to get that enthusiasm going. Every $5 donation gets a chance to win prizes. The deadline to enter is this Sunday at 6 p.m.

Interested parties can enter to win here at or

The 2020 Census has triggered the Secretary of State’s Office to lower the amount of offered languages on ballots in some precincts this year. The latest Census showed about 40 percent of Californians speak another language besides English at home, over 200 languages and dialects and that about 20% of Census respondents had limited English knowledge. But some say the Secretary of State should not reduce the languages for elections, and that some could lose votes if they can’t get money for translators for ballots and other voting information. A letter’s reportedly been sent to the Secretary of State by The ACLU California Action, Common Cause California, Asian Americans Advancing Justice California and the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans saying reducing the number of languages creates obstacles for limited-English proficient voters.

The new Public Health Officer for Lake County has not visited the county yet. The Record Bee reports Dr. Erik McLaughlin and his family have not driven from Vegas to the area due to the pandemic, but he says he’s eager to see the area in person and get to know the local community and its citizens. McLaughlin was hired last week after a nationwide search to replace Dr. Gary Pace, who resigned a year or so ago. There have been a couple of floating interim health officers until now. McLaughlin is expected to work about 32 hours/week for Lake County. He’s the fifth PHO in five years. The newspaper reports speaking to McLaughlin who said he wasn’t surprised by the high turnover due to the area’s rural nature. He is expected to be in town before next month pending approval of his medical license. He is licensed in eight other states.

The Public Health Officer in Sonoma County had a DUI. The Press Democrat reports Dr. Sundari Mase pleaded no contest last summer to misdemeanor reckless driving with alcohol involved. The incident happened in December of 2020. Mase was pulled over and arrested in Alameda County for DUI with a prior offense, another DUI from 2014. Apparently that case was dismissed and removed from her records. But the latest arrest makes mention in court papers, to the previous arrest. At the time of the 2020 arrest, Sonoma County was in a restricted lock down due to the amount of COVID cases at the time. Court papers say her blood alcohol measured 0.14. She received a year’s probation, was fined $530 and has to go to a six month DUI course. She was questioned by the newspaper and made a public apology for the offense, saying she made a serious mistake after socializing with a friend and misjudged her sobriety. The Board of Supervisors and Mase’s immediate supervisor said they knew nothing about the incident.

A man and woman from Covelo have been arrested in connection to a carjacking. Round Valley Tribal Police and Sheriff’s Deputies on the scene last Wednesday afternoon for a report of a possible carjacking of two men. Police and Deputies found the stolen vehicle, but it had crashed and those inside had run from the scene. Police say Harlan Nelson Hawk Williams went to a home where Bridgette Frank was and the two stopped a car, pointing a gun at 2 occupants who were ordered out of the car and onto the ground. One was hit in the head with a firearm. Then they took off. Williams was found later and arrested. He and Frank were identified by the victims who got the car back.  Williams was arrested on multiple charges and held without bail and Frank for Robbery and held on $75,000.00 bail.

A woman from Gualala has been arrested after reports of a burglary. Deputies saw a woman on the home’s surveillance video. Colleen Warner was arrested after being identified on the video. She’s charged with First Degree Burglary and held on $50,000.00 bail.

A man from Hopland has been arrested for Elder Abuse. Deputies say an 81 year old woman said she was being yelled at by her 58 year old son, David Thomsen, and he flipped over a table and broke glass and a laptop. He was arrested and found to have a restraining order against him by the woman. It said he could have peaceful contact only, plus he was on probation for elder abuse. He’s arrested again for Felony Violation of Probation and Violation of Emergency Protective Order and held without bail.

A man from Ukiah found to have a decade’s worth of problems with police has been arrested again. Police found Tony Maples Friday, who they knew from previous contact and knew he had an active warrant. He was detained, then taken to jail and held on $7,500.00 bail.

A man from Fairfield has been arrested in Willits after a routine traffic stop. Deputies pulled over Darryl Dempsey Friday night. After running a records check, they found he was on federal probation and not allowed to own or possess firearms or ammunition. The Deputy thought he seemed nervous or off somehow so they searched the car, finding a semi-automatic handgun, full ski mask, gloves, a screwdriver, pliers, and a California license plate that did not belong to the vehicle. There was also bolt cutters, a large sledgehammer and a big box of black garbage bags, which all seemed like burglary or robbery tools. The guy was arrested on various charges and held on $25,000.00 bail.

The state Dept. of Water Resources has granted money to fund a salmon protection project. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is giving $1.5 million dollars to Water Resources for a Juvenile Salmonid Collection System Pilot Project. It’s to see if they can collect the juvenile fish as part of a reintroduction of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon and other runs of salmon to their historical habitat in the area below the Shasta Dam in the Sacramento River. It’s part of a larger plan to reintroduce winter-run Chinook salmon to the cold McCloud River.

In one of several moves due to catastrophic wildfires in Calif., the Governor’s office along with the Insurance Commissioners Office working with fire safety experts to help harden homes and businesses against wildfires. The program, “Safer from Wildfires” is a list of achievable, effective actions to try to curb the amount of risk for homeowners including community-wide safety recommendations, so fires don’t spread to other properties. The parties involved say it will help to make sure residents, businesses, communities, and insurance companies follow science-driven mitigation efforts to minimize any wildfire risk with a ground up approach. There will be incentives for homes and businesses to harden their properties.

The Gov. has announced a new law so that people impacted by gun violence can sue the manufacturers of assault weapons. Like the Texas law allowing people to sue abortion providers, the proposed Calif. law could allow individuals to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes, transports, imports into the state or sells assault weapons, .50 BMG rifles, ghost guns, or ghost gun kits. And the bill bans advertising certain types of weapons to minors.

A couple of teams of high schoolers had their Mock Trial competition, this time, it was a murder mystery. Two Fridays ago, students were in court in Lakeport for the 10th annual competition in partnership with the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the Lake County Superior Court and Lake County Office of Education. Middletown and Upper Lake high schools competed, and Middletown won. The event was online last year due to the pandemic. The court’s judges take turns each year as an actual judge for the competition.

The California State University Chancellor has resigned abruptly. It was an unexpected move by Joseph Castro who left without notice after he was accused of mishandling claims of sexual assault and workplace intimidation against a former colleague while he was the head of Fresno State University. Castro only had one year under his belt as Chancellor. He was also the first Mexican American chancellor of the country’s biggest 4-year public university system. The resignation came after closed door sessions of the Cal State Board of Trustees around the accusations.

A woman is dead and four other people have been injured after a head-on crash this past weekend near the Mendocino Coast. The CHP reports the accident Saturday afternoon happened after a driver in a 2010 Toyota Rav4 crossed “for unknown reasons” over to the westbound side and hit a 2020 Honda Accord head on. The man in the Rav4, a 24 year old from Albion had minor injuries and did not have to go to the hospital, but the driver of the other vehicle, a 25 year old man from Martinez ended up in the hospital with moderate injuries. His passenger, a woman, also from Albion died. Two other passengers had major injuries. The CHP reported all in both cars had on seatbelts, and they did not think anyone had been drinking, but they were investigating further.

A quick arrest after a bank robbery in Willits. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says Jonathan Sales was picked up just a block away from the Chase Bank on S Main Street just before 3:00 on Wednesday afternoon. Cops say a man, who tellers later identified as Sales, walked into the bank, demanded cash, and fled with the loot. The crime was also caught on the bank cameras. When Mendocino County Deputies spotted the suspect they say he tried to resist, so they had to unholster their Tasers to take him down. Reports say officers found an undetermined amount of stolen money and that Sales gave incriminating statements. He is now locked up in the county jail on robbery charges

A man from Ukiah has been convicted of murdering his stepson and trying to kill another man. The Mendocino County District Attorney’s office says 66-year-old Thomas Jones formerly of Talmage, was found guilty on Thursday of special circumstances premeditated murder of stepson Jamie Wilcox in September 2020. Jurors also found Jones guilty of trying to kill Wilxox’s spouse, Jamie Garden as the two victims prepared to leave the family campground to go to work. Jones faces mandatory life in prison because of convictions for three armed robberies in Lake County and three others in Sonoma county back in the late 1970s. County Court Judge Keith Faulder will impose that sentence on March 27. Jones ignored the court’s advice and represented himself at his trial.

Planners in Fort Bragg will have a public hearing next week to discuss amending the city’s cannabis regulations. Among the changes–cannabis dispensaries would require a 100-foot buffer around schools and youth centers, and the shops could only be open between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM. There would also be some changes to zoning and land use standards. The recommendations are part of an initial study done by the City of Fort Bragg Community Development Department and the Metropolitan Planning Group. The Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday at 6:00 PM at Fort Bragg Town Hall, on Main Street. You can look over the proposal and the rest of the commission agenda on the city web page.

Another step toward developing property at the old airport in Clearlake. The Clearlake City Council has extended a consulting agreement that could lead to a master plan and an agreement about the 40-acre site of the former Pearce Field on Highway 53. The city has had an eye on building a large shopping center there for several years. The vote extends the contract with the consultant signed earlier this year. Lake Co News reports City Manager Alan Flora told the council at its meeting on Thursday he hopes the consultants can come back by April with more information to hand over to developers. The council approved the extension unanimously.

The Mendocino-Lake Community College District says it has saved local taxpayers $12.7 million dollars by refinancing some general obligation bonds. The district says a similar refi back in 2015 saved more than $37 million. MLCDD was able to get a lower interest rate because of an increase in its credit rating, resulting in cashback. Moody’s Investors Service, which issues those ratings, says it gave the district a higher score because of a solid increase in its tax base. Officials say they decided to pass the savings back to local taxpayers. The bonds were issued in 2014 to build the North County Center in Willits, Lake Center in Lakeport, The Library/Learning Resource Center in Ukiah, and to make facility improvements. Voters approved that spending in 2006.

Just in time for Presidents Day weekend, the Mendocino National Forest has opened several developed recreational campgrounds and trailheads. Some campgrounds and trailheads though remain closed due to safety hazards from the 2018 Ranch Fire and 2020 August Complex fire. Officials say while they want everyone to have a good time outside, they want park visitors to make smart decisions and be well prepared for the woods. The forest service website has a list of what is open and closed.

California lawmakers will take up a bill to prioritize wildlife crossings on state highways. Sponsors say better crossings would help both animals and drivers. The Safe Roads and Wildlife Protection Act would require Caltrans to identify barriers to wildlife movement as they plan transportation projects and to implement at least 10 projects per year that improve what the bill calls — wildlife connectivity. Assemblymember Laura Freeman says highway construction has cut off several species from their natural habitats and mating areas. She says that has led to inbreeding and genetic isolation for the animals. Of course, HITTING an animal is no fun either. One study showed More than 44,000 wildlife-vehicle collisions on California roads from 2016 to 2020, resulting in fatalities, injuries, and property damage.

The US Department of Education has awarded a 1.7 million dollar grant to bring back the music program at four elementary schools in the Konocti Unified School District. The one-time funding comes from the department’s Assistance for Arts Education program. The Konocti District was one of the only 27 chosen from 96 that applied from across the country. The grant will be used to start the Online Rural Arts and Music Program or ON-RAMP at the Burns Valley, East Lake, Lower Lake Elementary, and Pomo Elementary schools. Band Director Katherine Wiley tells that she is ecstatic about the grant. She says students deserve music education in their schools. The federal funds will be spread out in even increments over the next four years.

The state says almost a third of the properties hit by last year’s Cache Fire Lake County are now clear of debris. Those property owners had enrolled in the statewide Consolidated Debris Removal Program. They can now work with the county to start getting permits to rebuild. 78 properties are part of that Debris Removal program, administered by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. With the debris gone, 24 are now moving closer to reconstruction. The fire last August burned 83 acres and destroyed dozens of properties south of Clearlake.

California State University Chancellor Joseph Castro is OUT. Castro resigned from that job because of accusations that he mishandled some sexual abuse and intimidation cases in his previous job as President at Fresno State. Castro was hired as the first Mexican-American leader of the University System, which is the biggest in the country, just last year. Cal State Trustees accepted that resignation after a day-long meeting in private. In a statement, Castro said while he doesn’t agree with media reports of his actions, he felt it was in the best interest of the University system for him to go. Those reports claimed Castro was aware of at least seven harassment cases at Fresno State but failed to discipline the high ranking university official alleged to have been involved.

State Sen. Bill Dodd is looking to trying to transform Highway 37 into a toll road to raise money. Dodd announced the reintroduction of his Bill Tuesday which he had introduced before the pandemic, then rescinded as the pandemic hit. The idea to raise funds to protect the highway as waters rise in the San Pablo Bay. If approved, drivers would pay to travel on the Highway between Sears Point and Mare Island. He says there’s also a twin measure for almost $2 billion in federal funds for transportation projects to help with the effects of climate change. Reports say Highway 37 could be under water within 20 years.

A couple of cars have crashed on the 101 outside Willits. The CHP reported the collision around mile marker 41 near Black Bart Drive, south of Willits. One of the cars burst into flames which stopped traffic in both directions, then a semi-truck reportedly hit one of the vehicles, totally blocking traffic on the southbound side of the highway. The CHP Traffic Incident Information Page said there was one person trapped with major injuries last night, and an air ambulance and ground rig were called into the area.

A new report says crime has been down in Fort Bragg during the pandemic. Police report crime data biannually, and this is the year. The City Council heard the presentation Monday night which Mendo Voice reports showed a steady downturn of crime the last four years. The news site also reported the amount of calls for service, arrests, and violent crimes; robbery, theft and vehicle theft were also down. A huge decrease in gang-related calls too, down 90% during the same period. DUI’s stayed pretty much the same though. The report also said about half the police department had been infected with Covid-19 over the first two years of the pandemic, but it was like one at a time, not an outbreak.

Yosemite National Park has announced you’ll need a reservation to visit this summer. There is apparently some worry there could be massive traffic because there are a lot of construction projects happening all at once inside the park. So, from May 20th to Sept. 30th there will be a limit on the number of visitors who will need to get online reservations to enter.

Lake County finally has a new Public Health Officer. At their Board of Supervisors meeting this week, the board voted unanimously to hire Dr. Erik McLaughlin as the new Public Health officer. After a closed door session, the announcement was made. The doctor currently lives in Las Vegas and will serve 80% of the time, but no start date was given. He also does not yet have his medical license, so it’s dependent on that. He is however licensed in Vegas as a family physician. He has a medical degree from a school overseas that’s not listed as approved by the Medical Board of California. The last Public Health Officer resigned a year ago and has served as an interim officer, along with a couple others.

A couple of lawmakers along with the state Insurance Commissioner have introduced legislation to have an advance warning and ranking system for extreme heat waves. State Assembly Members Luz Rivas of the San Fernando Valley and Eduardo Garcia of Coachella working with Commissioner Ricardo Lara and two State Senators. Lara reportedly came up with the idea with the state Climate Insurance Working Group who authored a report last year to protect more vulnerable Californian citizens due to the impacts of climate change.

Some locals and local dignitaries take to the streets in Ukiah to help pick up trash. Last weekend, Maureen Mulheren apparently gathered friends to help load garbage bags with trash. They wrangled the police chief, who helped with his truck and trailer, as they cleared an area along Brush Street near the Daniel Steel building which is frequently strewn with trash. The truck was taken to the Ukiah Transfer Station to unload. Mulheren used to be a Ukiah City Councilmember and is now on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

The California Coastal Conservancy is going to start managing the Great Redwood Trail. This is the proposed 320-mile trail along the old rail tracks that connect the San Francisco Bay Area to Humboldt Bay. Right now the North Coast Rail Authority is managing it. But it was apparently decided a state agency should manage it instead.  So starting this summer, the Coastal Conservancy, who have expertise in California trails and years with the California Coastal trail itself will take over. Starting March 1st the North Coast Rail Authority is also changing its name to the Great Redwood Trail Agency for the work.

A man from Upper Lake found guilty of murdering a woman in 2017 will be sentenced next month. As you may recall Willy Tujays Timmons was accused of murdering the mother of his children, partner Vanessa Niko. He’s been charged with murder, inflicting corporal injury with a prior conviction within seven years, causing permanent disability, and torture. Some of the charges from another incident in 2016.  There was a jury trial last year where he was convicted and it was referred for sentencing. He was in court via video with the case set to be back in court the end of the month and sentencing March 2nd. He’s in custody awaiting his fate.

Congressman Mike Thompson has reported filed to run for re-election in the newly drawn Congressional District 4. After each US Census, congressional and other political districts are redrawn to balance the amount of people in a district. District 4 includes all of Lake and Napa Counties and parts of Solano, Sonoma and Yolo Counties. He says he’s a native, born and raised here and considers it the honor of his life to represent the region.

For information about the newly drawn and numbered Fourth Congressional District visit https://www. maps. For more information about Congressman Mike Thompson’s campaign, visit https://www. mikethompsonforcongress. com/

A new plan about how to take on the COVID19 pandemic moving forward is emerging from the Governor’s office. It’s about living with the virus, not being able to go back to normal, or before times, as it were. The state’s health secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly says the state’s focus now will be to be prepared and ready because there could be another strain coming. And it could be stronger. The new protections of living with an endemic, not a pandemic, a day after the state dropped its latest indoor mask mandate. The state is set to also announce mask rules for schools Feb. 28th. Dr. Ghaly said the state will stay vigilant and monitor for other possible airborne diseases as it works to improve the state’s public health system as a whole.

There are a couple of new officers in the Clear Lake CHP office. Lake Co News reports Jared Wade and Zach Cornel were part of the latest academy of over 140 new officers who just graduated 2 weeks ago from West Sacramento. While at the academy, they studied for almost 7 months then were officially sworn in February 4th. The two new Clear Lake officers will be getting on-field training with other officers who’ve been on the job a while before they go out in the field solo.

Since new cases of COVID19 are slowing, Adventist Health has announced new visitation rules at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, Adventist Health Howard Memorial Hospital and Adventist Health Mendocino Coast. You’re allowed to go for visits, but only one visitor at a time per patient in the Medical-Surgical and Intensive Care Units. The emergency department and all other outpatient services such as lab services, imaging, clinics and medical offices continue with limited access and visitors are encouraged to wait outside. If you are visiting, you must either be vaccinated or show a negative test within 2 days of your visit or prove you have recovered from COVID in the last 90 days. You will have to wear a mask at all times in the facilities.

School bus drivers are being honored in the Ukiah Unified School District. The Board of Trustees has named next Tuesday, February 22nd School Bus Driver Appreciation Day. The resolution from the board says Ukiah Unified School District believes it is important to salute and appreciate school bus drivers and recognize their invaluable contributions to education and safety each and every day.  Ukiah Unified has 16 Type I buses, including 8 electric buses. They remind us that bus drivers are a crucial link in the education chain, so they want to spotlight drivers and celebrate the vital contribution they make to the success of the community. They’re also hiring more bus drivers. You can visit the school district website for more info.   

Public comment at future Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meetings will be at the end of meetings, not as they start. There’s been some complaints about the switch apparently, but the board chair says they’re just trying it out to give the public the last word. He also says for those who cannot go in person, they can leave voice messages before the meetings start. And for agenda items there is public comment after each of them. But at the end of the meeting, the public can comment on anything on the agenda or items for future agendas.

The Lakeport City Manager has given the City Council an update on the development of the new Lakefront Park. At their meeting last night the council discussed the seven-acre park on Main Street at the old Natural High School property. With a nearly $6 million dollar grant from the state the council funded the park which boasts fun for the family. There will be a basketball court, ninja gym, amphitheater, splash pad, skate park, multiuse lawn area, large sheltered picnic area, bathrooms and concession building, public art, parking lot, landscaping and lighting across the entire park and an area for a future boathouse. The architects are nearly done and preparing to get the project out to bid for construction companies.

A man who used to own a bike shop in Lakeport and was found guilty of possessing and uploading child pornography had his sentencing date postponed. 60 year old Jeffrey Scott Cramer was arrested in May of 2020 after investigators raided his home and former business, Main Street Bicycles.  He was offered a plea deal in exchange for pleaded no contest, but the judge in his case turned the deal down, instead saying she wanted to sentence him to two years because he did what he did intentionally. Now his lawyer wants more time since his plea was to get probation not prison time. He’s due back in court now April 4th.

A woman from Lucerne is due in court after the passenger in her car died in a crash. Patricia Murphy is accused of hitting a Ram truck with her Volkswagen which killed Justin Dale of Lucerne. Murphy had minor injuries and was arrested for DUI by the CHP after she was treated at a hospital. She stands charged of gross vehicular manslaughter with vessel while intoxicated and DUI while causing injury. She has pleaded not guilty and is due in court again today. The prosecution requested and received no bail for Murphy.

Two cars have burned at a parking lot of a motel in Ukiah. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reports they got a call to the Motel 6 yesterday morning over on North State Street after someone saw the two cars on fire. The department reported the vehicles were fully engulfed at the time, but they got the fire out quickly and there were no injuries reported. Apparently, it happened near a McDonald’s restaurant and dispatch received several 911 calls about the fire. Firefighters say there were a bunch of people standing around when they got there, but nobody saw how the vehicles caught fire, and no one knew who owned the cars.

A new report says wine earnings are down for the second quarter of the fiscal year, but that adjusted earnings were way up. Vintage Wine Estates one of the largest in the country reported fiscal second-quarter earnings down nearly 8% from a year before, but adjusted earnings skyrocketed 137% in the same time period. The company out of Santa Rosa makes Calif. and Pacific Northwest wine, spirits and ciders. Their earnings were $83.6 million, up by almost one-third from almost $63 million a year before.

The Governor announced the first ever Latina has been nominated to the state Supreme Court. Patricia Guerrero, a San Diego appeals court justice was praised by Newsom and her colleagues. It’s rumored she even finished one criminal hearing brief while on the way to the hospital while in labor. She said she was deeply honored by the incredible opportunity to “uphold the rule of law and make a positive impact on the lives of Californians across the state”. She is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Law School.

CAL FIRE says it has as much as $10 million in funding for Wildfire Resilience Block Grants. The money is to support private forestland owners help improve forest health, resilience to climate change, and reduce forestland impacts due to devastating wildfires as part of the state’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. The grants are to meet a portion of the Task Force Action Plan goals for those who own nonindustrial forestland. Those eligible will have 3-5,000 acres. CAL FIRE would distribute the grant money and provide outreach and/or technical/financial help for the work on their property. CAL FIRE is accepting applications until April 1st.  

Two more people in Mendocino County have died from complications of coronavirus. The Public Health Office has put out a statement the 118th death was a vaccinated 91 year old man from the North Coast with other underlying health conditions. And the 119th was also a man, he was 65 years old, fully vaccinated and boosted with co-morbidities who lived in the North County area.

A woman who lost her dog over a week and a half ago has her back. Reese was apparently found by a couple of bike riders on Big River Haul Road on the Mendocino Coast. Owner Holly says two people put her dog in their truck to bring her out of the forest. She says she’s a bit tired, had some ticks, but was otherwise healthy after her 11 day journey.

An extension of a consulting agreement for the old Pearce Field airport is being considered by the Clearlake City Council. At their meeting this week, the council is looking at continuing to work to make the airport property a commercial center. They will also consider a voter initiative. The meeting is hybrid, both in person and virtual. The consultant for the airport property wants another $10,000 a month for 2 more months for their work towards a master development plan. Lake Co News reports the council will also consider the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act to amend the State Constitution regarding how the state and local governments can impose taxes, fees and other charges.

Applications are being accepted by the Yuba Community College District for a seat on the board of trustees. Trustee Bill Roderick resigned his seat, which needs to be filled for the rest of the year. There’s also another election in November too, for seats.  Trustee Area 7 is for part of southern Lake County and the Northshore, Colusa and Glenn counties. The board governs the performance of Woodland Community College and Yuba College. The qualifications include: attending all board meetings and major college events, policy issues, and trustee education programs, knowing your community and being committed to community college missions and more.

New toll lanes have opened in the Bay Area that go from Mountain View to Redwood City on Highway 101. It opened last Friday to join up with the 118-mile express lane network. The price is sketchy and changes based on several different toll zones, discounts for carpoolers and clean-air vehicles. It’ll cost more during rush hour and more for people driving alone. It’s free though for carpools with three or more people and motorcyclists in express lanes. Clean air sticker cars get about half off.

A new healthcare program in California includes case management for those who need help under Medi-Cal. Starting last month CalAIM, or California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal began for low-income residents. Almost half of the state’s children, a fifth of adults and a couple million senior citizens and people with disabilities depend on the program. There is apparently $133 billion a year for Medi-Cal and about half is spent on this 5% sector of folks. CalAIM aims to be more proactive in helping the sickest, with things like food insecurity and housing instability too.

An update is planned by the Lakeport City Council on the planned Lakefront Park Project plus a skating ordinance at the park. Just after the pandemic started in April of 2020, the City received a grant of nearly $6 million dollars from the 2018 State of California Parks and Water Bond to develop a new community park along the lakefront. Right now engineering plans are getting the finishing touches and they’re preparing to put out a bid request for contractors. Since the new park proposes a skatepark, the city will take another look at the skating ordinance. The council meets tonight.

Napa and Sonoma County are looking at new ways they may regulate wineries. An ordinance being floated in Napa which may be adopted next month would create a new category of wine producer between the home-occupation permit and a conventional winery. There would be certain metrics to be considered a microwinery including no marketing.  It comes after some voiced concern last fall about the tiny wineries making wine elsewhere. The new micro-winery ordinance is getting support from the Winegrowers of Napa Valley and Napa Valley Vintners.  In Sonoma County, they’re revisiting their draft winery events ordinance Thursday after six years of consideration delayed by wildfires and the pandemic.

As tens of thousands of college students in the state of Calif. are in need of housing, the California State University system is applying for grants. The system had reportedly read some fine print wrong for construction of affordable student housing, so they’re reaching out to the Legislature to develop more housing which could give almost 3,400 students subsidized housing. Cal State applied last fall, but has now submitted revised plans after the system apparently proposed fewer beds than needed for low income students. CalMatters reported and Cal State officials later agreed they erred in their application to the state grant program. The revisions allow for $823 million in total funding projects for 10 campuses with over half the amount coming from the new state housing grant and the rest from outside funds.

A study by UCLA says California is in a “megadrought” which has not happened since at least 800 A.D. Climate change, higher temperatures and dry conditions are all factors contributing to the now 22 year long drought. The lead author of the study at UCLA says there’s an immediate danger. The study shows the state has seen a trio of short-term droughts during twenty years, 2000-2003, 2007-2009 and 2012 to 2016. Each ended when pouring rain came down, the last was in 2017. The last two years have been a short drought too, the study shows, in California and much of the West. Wildfire danger is on the rise again. Researchers say it’s highly unlikely one wet year will end this drought.

As the state prepares to end the indoor mask mandate at restaurants, grocery stores and other indoor settings, parents say they’re frustrated kids cannot take their masks off at school. The state’s health officer had a press conference yesterday, but said they would revisit again at the end of February, before unmasking kids in school. And the California Teachers Association, which boasts more than 300,000 members, supports the cautious decision, however some teachers and parents say it’s time to discuss it now. CalMatters reports interviewing parents and educators and heard about social and emotional harm and the supposed minimal benefits of masking as vaccination rates go up and case numbers go down.