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The Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Coren says we may have seen the peak of the latest COVID19 strain, omicron. In his Friday address Coren said new cases had been much higher than previous spikes in cases in the county, at almost three times more than the highest daily rates recorded last September. He says hospitalized cases had flattened, but deaths were up, like we’ve seen all along with the virus, cases go up, then a few weeks later, the deaths follow. There were 12 deaths this year so far, including three last week, for a total of 117 deaths since the pandemic began. As of Thursday nine people were in the hospital, including a newborn baby, and seven people were in an ICU.

The Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin says he will run for re-election, making it his third term as the sheriff-coroner if he’s re-elected. Lake Co News reports Martin saying it’s been a lot more challenging, but also much more rewarding than he could have imagined. He’s been the head of the agency since 2015. He’s led the office through several devastating emergencies, wildfires and floods. He says if he wins with voters in the election, his work will include fine-turning what’s already in place, and continue dealing with the same sort of emergencies, but expects a curve ball to be tossed in for good measure.

An affordable housing project will be considered at the next Lake County Board of Supervisors meeting. Supervisor Bruno Sabatier will bring the subject forward to consider renegotiating provisions of an agreement the supervisors approved last fall regarding a housing project in Nice. Sabatier is also asking for a possible audit of financial activity around a loan and loan forgiveness for the same project. At the same meeting, supervisors will take a peak at the midyear budget which was presented by the County Administrative Office. They will also consider a special election for a seat on the Middletown Unified School District Board of Education after a petition to remove a member.

There’s a wrinkle in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s higher education budget. The idea has not been presented to lawmakers for negotiations yet, that happens later this spring. But in Newsom’s January budget proposal, he had added ideas to fund the two public university systems over the next five years, calling them “multiyear compacts”. Each would get 5% more for their base funding through 2026-27 and in exchange the college systems will work to graduate more students and make college more affordable. But there’s a faction against the plan, including the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, who said the Governor went around the Legislature, undermining their authority directly negotiating with the university systems. But CSU and UC leaders reportedly like the deal.

On the downlow the Governor’s office has reportedly negotiated a deal with Kaiser Permanente for a special Medicaid contract so the health care giant can expand where they serve, and continue to pick which enrollees it wants. But other providers say it’s unfair and leaves them with a lopsided share of the sickest and most expensive patients. The deal reportedly agreed to behind closed doors between bigwigs at Kaiser Permanente and senior officials in Newsom’s office. Other providers are supposedly infuriated saying they could lose hundreds of thousands of patients and millions of dollars annually.

A bill in the state Assembly could help provide more affordable housing options for college students. The University of California had more students than there was space for last fall. Assemblymember Kevin Mc-Carty of Sacramento’s bill would create a pool of $5 billion for interest free loans to public colleges and universities so they could expand their affordable housing offerings. That could mean up to 21,000 more students finding housing. It would build on another plan for a $2 billion state grant fund for affordable student housing approved last year.

A fire reported in Ukiah turned out not to really be. Mendo Fever reported early afternoon smoke in the area of 1300 North State Street yesterday. Something reportedly burning behind a burnt-out smoke shop. The news site reports multiple fire engines from the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority were on the scene. But when firefighters arrived, they found it was just smoke coming from a barbecue and no fire after all.

Low flow fishing instructions for several Northern Calif. waterways including the Smith, Eel and Russian Rivers. The California Fish and Game Commission adopted the emergency regulations to protect runs of salmon and steelhead. The state Dept. of Fish & Wildlife extended fishing restrictions to other coastal rivers and streams through April 30th only when low flows which could be potentially lethal to salmon and steelhead populations. The regulations went into effect January 31st closing coastal rivers in Del Norte and Humboldt counties including the Smith, Mad, Eel, Van Duzen and Mattole rivers. The Gualala, Russian and Napa rivers in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin counties and several others are impacted through March 31st yearly.

A woman in the town of Mendocino is offering a reward for her missing dog, Reese. The $500 reward if for anyone who helps owner Holly find the dog who she says she thinks heard gunshots ring out, then run off on February 2nd, last Wednesday. The dog missing from the area of Little Lake Road off Powers Road.  The dog is 12 years old, white on all paws and a white owl face, and a tumor on one lip and could be limping or walking slowly. She says the dog is microchipped.  

Holly asks the community to, “Please keep a lookout for her!!” If you locate Reese, call Holly at 925-788-5762 or email her at holly@mendocinomoon.com.

The state Attorney General says his office has conducted a three day operation to remove firearms from people not allowed to have them in the Bay Area. Atty. General Rob Bonta says they worked with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the Contra Costa County Probation Department, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – Division of Adult Parole Operations, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, finding 30 firearms and arresting eight individuals.  The state was the first to come up with a tracking system to find firearm owners who are not allowed to have weapons.

After reports of a domestic dispute in Mendocino County, Sheriff’s Deputies were out in the 1300 block of North State Street in Ukiah and arrested Grover Hunter. They say last Monday Hunter was arguing with his girlfriend who called, and they found a bunch of Fentanyl and a usable amount of methamphetamine in plain site. When the woman came out of the bathroom, they could see she had been assaulted. Deputies say they saw other evidence that the home was being used for drug sales, so Hunter was booked into jail on charges including Felony Possession Narcotic/Controlled Substance For Sale and Misdemeanor Possession of Controlled Substance and held on $25,000.00 bail.

Prosecutors in Sonoma County are going after Pacific, Gas & Electric in court this week, related to the Kincade Fire. The DA’s office had previously blamed the giant utility with responsibility for the 2019 fire that burned 77,000 acres, caused a massive evacuation in the county and destroyed 174 homes. The DA’s office has laid out over 33 felony and misdemeanor charges against the company. And the preliminary hearing, to see if they can be held responsible, starts tomorrow. The hearing could take over two weeks to show there’s enough evidence to try the utility company who has denied any wrongdoing.

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