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A former police officer in Ukiah has been ordered to sit for a jury trial in May for alleged sex crimes. Sgt. Kevin Murray is accused of several felonies, including rape, burglary, filing false evidence in an investigation, possession of methamphetamine and an AR-15, which is illegal in the state. It should take about three days to choose the jury after they start May 16th. And the trial could last several weeks, unless Murray agrees to a deal. The charges stem from two women accusing him of sexual assault. They will reportedly appear as witnesses at trial. There’s also a civil suit against Murray, that was filed last August.

The state is seeing tinder-dry weather with multiple temperature records made this week. Too hot for early spring, according to the National Weather Service. Some of the records broken Tuesday and yesterday were from about a century ago, when it was last that hot. It was near 90 in parts of Sonoma County, in Ventura County, more inland than near the ocean, it was 88. More north, in Redwood City it was 85, same for Oakland. And Ukiah had its hottest day yet, 90 degrees, the last time it was that hot on that day, was in 1926, when it was 91. Making matters worse, the statewide snowpack yesterday was only 52% of normal.

If you own a car and you’re struggling to pay for gas, your luck could be about to change. There’s been a lot of talk about rebates, or some sort of stimulus to pay for the skyrocketing fuel costs. Yesterday the Governor announced a plan to send $400 per car, to a registered California car owner. You’re out of luck if you own an electric vehicle or don’t use gas. Many businesses who own fleets of vehicles will not get the cash. The Governor estimates the rebates would add up to around $9 billion. At last check, a gallon of regular gas was still hovering near the $6 mark. About $2 more than this time last year, and the highest in the USA. Newsom’s plan has to get the green light from lawmakers.

A BOLO alert has been put out by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office for a man suspected of murder in Guerneville. Mendo Fever reports hearing on the police scanner that Drake Meyer, a white male adult, was wanted. And that he might be driving a 2003 dark gray Ford F150 with a camper shell. He’s described as 6 foot 4, 180 pounds, last seen in a dark hoodie. Cops say he could be armed with a knife. The bulletin after a call to an assault last night. Two victims were found, one took themselves to a hospital, the other died.

After a call to a home on East Gobbi St. for a possible overdose, it turned out to be a homicide. That’s the word from Ukiah police after the call Tuesday. Paramedics reported to police that it sounded like a suspicious death, so officers also reported to the scene. The apartment manager helped police and medics enter, there they found a 55-year-old woman down in the bathroom, dead. Officers say there appeared to have been a struggle and the victim had apparent trauma to her face and other evidence she was murdered. Police say evidence led them to Drew Price, who the apartment staff knew was in the apartment that morning, and knew him from previous contacts. He was arrested nearby a few hours later and booked on murder charges and held without bail.

Lake and Mendocino counties included in an emergency declaration with more than a dozen other counties due to fall storm damage. The Governor proclaimed the state of emergency for the October storms which tore up roads and other infrastructure. This will free up funds to repair damage and direct Caltrans to ask for federal assistance. The atmospheric river dumped rain across Northern Calif and took down trees and power lines. Some other surrounding counties included, Butte, Contra Costa, Glenn, Humboldt, Napa, Sonoma and Trinity.

Nearly $5 million dollars is going to the Mendocino City Community Sewer District to help build a new emergency storage water tank. The District applied for a grant in December and was reportedly awarded a $4.9 Urban and Multi-benefit Drought Relief Program grant from the Department of Water Resources (DWR). The money will go to plan what’s needed to construct the 500 gallon water tank for drought times and fire suppression. They’re looking at building on Mendocino Unified School District (MUSD) property near Little Lake Road where there are already two school district owned tanks that hold 115,000 gallons. The county also got grant funding for drought relief. Money will go to various cities and water districts, and the Redwood Valley Little River Band of Pomo Indians.

A trio of job fairs are being held by Adventist Health for clinical and non-clinical positions. The announcement that they’re on the hunt for mission-minded people to work at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast in Fort Bragg, Adventist Health Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits, and Adventist Health Ukiah Valley in Ukiah. The job fairs are today from 12-5 at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast, Wednesday, April 6, also from 12:00—5:00 p.m. at Adventist Health Howard Memorial and finally on Thursday, April 21st from 12:00—5:00 p.m. at Ukiah Valley Conference Center. Speaking of Adventist Health, the three campuses were lit up in Yellow and Blue yesterday in support of Ukraine.

For more information on job opportunities, please contact Jolee White (707-963-6588, whitej@ah.org) or visit http://www.adventisthealth.org/careers.

A new plaque is gracing the Masonic Lodge building in downtown Ukiah. The Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism Alliance’s Main Street Program presented the last part of the Historical Building recipient award. For Gerald W. Collier, who was a Mason at the age of 29, and became a master by 34. The plaque in his name. His daughter says the lodge was a major part of his life. A plaque was up in his honor but excluded the date of the original award. Now that has been fixed in his honor. He passed away in April of 2015.

We could soon be done with pandemic money. The state is offering one last chance to apply for COVID rent relief. The last day, next Thursday, a week from today, March 31st. Then starting on April 1st, landlords can start evicting people who have not or cannot pay their rent if the city or county they reside in has no rent relief program in place. Some are urging the Governor and the Legislature to extend the program, citing an upcoming “eviction tsunami”. The program will continue on though as the state is reportedly still wading through applications. The state has already paid nearly $2.5 billion to applicants.

As we pass the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, Covered Calif. is reminding those who have no healthcare coverage may still be eligible. Right now there is a special enrollment period. Nearly 2 million people signed up for coverage on the anniversary, and the state still says there are record low uninsured rates in the state. The exchange has covered more than 5 million Californians since it first started in 2014. And others have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid plan through Medi-Cal in Calif. As of 2020, the state was seeing a record low uninsured rate of just 6 percent.

A new report says the state has not used state-owned surplus to help with the affordable housing problem. A new audit recommends state agencies hire more people so that they can speed up the process of figuring out which parcels can be developed. The state auditor’s office says there’s a 2019 executive order by the Governor prioritizing using state-owned land to build more affordable housing. And the agency’s interim auditor says quickly creating affordable housing is crucial since there are nearly 1.5 million low-income renters who have no access to affordable homes. So he sent a letter to the Governor with that message.

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