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Add electricity to the list of things costing more after State regulators approved a rate increase for PG&E customers. The average residential customer will have to pay another $16.27 a month for poweer. That’s about 11%, with average bills over $200 a month among the hugest in the country; If you think the just went up, you’re right. That last increase took effect in January. PG&E says it needs the money to continue to make improvements to its infrastructure and curb the risk of wildfires.

A hearing has been set for a woman from Nevada accused of setting a fire in Lake County last fall. Lake County Superior Court will the latest in the case against 39 year old Nickelina Williams, who remains in custody after a ruling that she is NOT competent to stand trial. She was charged with felony arson of forest land, felony arson during a state of emergency and possessing material/device for arson after that fire on Highway 29 on October 13th. At the time, she denied setting it, but officers reported they found a lighter and other evidence nearby. The hearing on March 1st is to confirm that Williams is undergoing treatment though the state Department of State Hospitals.

Volunteers will take to the streets later this month to county the number of people with no place to live in Mendocino County.. What’s called a Point in Time count will take place February 23rd. The results are used to determine federal funding for programs for the homeless. The count takes place every couple years during conditions that make it unlikely that travelers would be included. The last such survey in January 2020 found 751 people in 700 households, a slight increase from 681 people counted in 2019. Homeless Services Continuum of Care group coordinating the count> You can find out more and learn how to volunteer at the website

Another arrest for a former Ukiah Police Sergeant. Mendo Fever reports Kevin Murray has been cited for stealing a woman’s wallet at a grocery store in Lakeport. He’s out on bail though for several crimes in Mendocino County. Lakeport police say Murray turned the wallet in, he supposedly found. But there was a report after that, and a look at the store’s surveillance system showed a man taking the wallet from a store shelf. Some items were missing from the wallet. He’s awaiting for a court date too for an alleged rape, and was sued by a Ukiah resident for assault. He was fired from the police department. He’s due in court March 14th.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office says the mask mandate for indoor settings is staying even though surrounding counties, some with less cases, are rescinding theirs. The Governor announced no more masks for most people in indoor settings starting next week, but the CDC said they recommend continuing the mask wearing where there is substantial transmission. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren says there’s just not enough of a decline in hospitalizations and ICU admissions to warrant the move. At the same time Siskiyou, Shasta, Tehama, Lake, and Del Norte Counties have higher transmission rates.

The Governor’s office says there will be a new approach to the pandemic. Starting next week we will enter an endemic stage where the virus is still in the community, but is manageable as immunity builds. Governor Newsom says over the last two years they’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. The state was the first for a mask mandate and some Republican lawmakers want it totally rescinded along with other restrictions from way back then. But Newsom says the new approach will allow for flexibility of thinking which will still include quarantines, testing for people who don’t have symptoms and other precautions. Plus other measures so they can be proactive against possible new strains of the virus.

The Lake County Registrar of Voters office is officially notifying voters of a Special Election to fill the office of Governing Board Member for the Middletown Unified School District. As we reported after the Board of Supervisors voted for it, the special election will be included in the next Statewide Primary Election set for June 7th. The Official Declaration of Candidacy forms are available now at the Registrar of Voters office in person. Monday is the first day the filing window opens and the last day is Friday, March 11th.

After an investigation into a water theft in Lake County, the Sheriff’s Office reports gathering a room full of illegally grown marijuana. The take down from the Sheriff’s Office Marijuana Enforcement Unit Tuesday in Clearlake Oaks. They investigated three homes which they say were used to dry and process marijuana for sale where they were also apparently stealing water. Detectives secured the homes and served a search warrant, finding a 12 gauge shotgun, two thousand three hundred twenty six (2,326) marijuana plants and about seven thousand six hundred pounds (7,600 lbs) of processed marijuana, with much of that already packaged for sale.  They say the street value was about seven million dollars.  Salvador Diaz Maciel was arrested at one home for illegal cultivation and processing of marijuana. The Sheriff says it’s the most marijuana they’ve ever seized.

At the latest Middletown Area Town Hall, the Lake County Sheriff, District Attorney and Chief Deputy DA were there talking about crime and law enforcement challenges.  Sheriff Brian Martin, District Attorney Susan Krones and Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff were on Zoom with attendees who were concerned about crime in their neighborhoods. The Sheriff said some of the main issues causing the crime were mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, high housing costs, domestic violence and a lack of family support. The others blamed the “Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act”, passed in 2014, and another initiative in 2016, for negatively impacting efforts to reduce crime.

Congressman Mike Thompson says the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is paying to install electric vehicle charging stations along key roads and highways. Thompson says there is $56 million coming to California to create good-paying jobs, improve charger access and help protect California’s environment. He says it’s a way to fight climate change as well as incentivize electric vehicle production and investment into expanding EV charging stations across the country. Thompson currently represents the Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

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