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A 35 year old man from Fort Bragg has been arrested on child sex abuse charges. Mendocino Deputies were tipped that a nine year old girl may have been the victim of continuous sexual abuse and found probable cause. Along with Child Protective Services social workers, deputies identified, then arrested Antonio Borrero-Ginel who they found had had continuous access to the child who was known to him. He was first arrested for continuous sexual abuse of child under 14 years-old, but then additional charges were tacked on including sexual intercourse with child under 10 years-old and oral copulation of a child under 10 years-old. He was being held on $1,000,000 bail.

After a woman in Willits called to report an unwanted man was in her house, deputies arrested a man seen near the home. The woman reportedly called and said she came home and found food was eaten. She gave deputies a description of the man who was seen walking along Highway 101 about a mile away from the home. Ryan Okerstrom was arrested on burglary charges and held on $50,000.00 bail.

Mendocino Deputies have arrested a woman in Willits for being in possession of drugs. Kimberly House had a warrant for her arrest for possessing drugs. And when Deputies went to speak with her, they found she was again in possession. So they searched the home and found more methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl was located. Along with three digital scales, packaging material and a firearm. House is charged with possession for sale of controlled substances and for being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm and booked on $50,000.00 bail.

Two people from Willits have been arrested for being in possession of drugs. Mendocino Deputies went to speak with Jerald Diggs who had a felony arrest warrant. They saw him leaving a home and followed, then pulled him over. They searched the car and found four packages of suspected methamphetamine, and over two pounds of bud marijuana. They also found booze, a meth pipe, burner cell phones, a stun gun and other evidence in the name of another person, Randi Spencer. Deputies say Diggs was trading weed for methamphetamine. Diggs is charged with dealing and transporting marijuana and held in jail on $35,000.00 bail. They went back to Digg’s home and found Spencer in possession of methamphetamine and glass pipe commonly used to smoke methamphetamine, a digital scale, packaging material, and a bunch of weed. So she too was arrested for possession for sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia and booked in jail on $25,000.00 bail.

After a rumor months ago there might be a serial killer on the North Coast, which was never proven, info has been released on at least one death. Alyssa Sawdey’s body was found in January in Ukiah. But Deputies say it was “acute methamphetamine toxicity” and no other “significant contributory factors”. Deputies had interviewed multiple people in an effort to discover what may have happened to her and what her activities had been before her death. They say based on interviews, evidence from the scene, and the autopsy report, her death is being classified as “accidental.” The other January death was of 33 year old Amber Dillon, whose body was found around the Mendocino/Sonoma County line. Deputies say the two deaths are not related.

The Mendocino County Sheriff is going to the Board of Supervisors to be able to offer $20,000 hiring bonuses to bring in new sheriff’s deputies from other law enforcement agencies. But that’s not it… he also wants a $7,000 bump for deputies who self-finance their education at the police academy. Kendall is citing low staffing levels because Deputies are leaving for higher paying jobs elsewhere, or they’re retiring early. He has not given the board any evidence of such but penned a letter to the Board asking for help to beef up staff numbers. The Acting Mendocino County C.E.O. responded the Sheriff’s office has 111 full time positions in the budget, with 93 filled. And at the jail there are about 55 out of 73 positions are filled.

Another way to help those without internet, the Mendocino County Library is handing out Wi-Fi hotspots for county residents’ to access the internet when they need it. They have 45 hotspots which were secured with money from the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program administered by USAC (Universal Service Administrative Co.) with oversight from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It’s to help in areas with no broadband services across the country. All of the Library branches and the Bookmobile have the hotspots for a 28-day checkout period, first-come, first-served. The Library also notes they have DIY Energy and Water Saving Toolkits and Early Education Literacy Kits.

For more information, please visit http://www.mendolibrary.org, call your local MCL branch, or contact the Mendocino County Cultural Services Agency at 234-2873.

A man involved in a Willits murder 25 years ago, who served time, has been arrested in the abduction and death of a young Nevada woman. Former Mendocino County resident Troy Driver was identified in the kidnapping of Naomi Irion of Nevada. Last week Driver was arrested in connection to her abduction after being identified by local Deputies and from surveillance footage from a Walmart parking lot. On Friday, he was further charged with Irion’s murder. Driver also faces charges of burglary, robbery and destruction of evidence. Irion was reported missing after she was waiting for a bus in the Walmart Parking lot in Fernley, Nevada. Her body was found in a shallow grave last week about 150 miles away from where she disappeared.

A man accused for starting the Hopkins Fire in Mendocino County late last summer is being ordered to be psychologically evaluated and brought back to competency for trial. Last Sept. 20-year-old Devin Johnson was arrested after he was seen standing near the fire, before and after the flames started. He’s charged with arson and faces ten years to life behind bars. But his lawyer said he probably wasn’t competent to stand trial, so it was placed on hold, after he was acting erratically in the courtroom. He will stay in the jail for the treatment which could include prescribed antipsychotic medication. The judge has asked for updates every 90 days. 46 structures were destroyed by the fire which spread quickly through tinder dry fuels in Calpella.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is discussing an affordable housing project and the
Middle Creek restoration project at their next meeting. Water Resources staff will give the update on the Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project. They’re considering bringing part of the lake back to its historic wetlands. As far as the affordable housing project, the board will sit as the Lake County Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and consider a property on Collier Avenue in Nice for an agreement between the Lake County Housing Authority and the Rural Communities Housing Development Corp.

Another death from COVID19 has been reported in Mendocino County. On Friday, during his public discussion on the ongoing pandemic, Dr. Andy Coren said the 126th person lost their life to the virus. This was an unvaccinated 82-year-old Hispanic man from the North County. Coren noted it was the first death in about a month. There was only one person noted in the hospital, and they were outside the county. So there are currently no Mendocino County residents hospitalized locally. Coren says the case rate is down, at under 4 new cases/100,000 people. Just under the amount the state is recording of 4.4 cases and the CDC transmission rate is 6.7. He also touched on the new variant of omicron, BA.2, saying it’s about 30 – to 50-percent more transmissible than omicron, but that vaccines are still effective against the mutation. Coren also said the state would probably see a wave of new cases, but not a surge.

A new Fort Bragg Food Bank location has opened in Albion. The Albion Fire Department Station is hosting the food bank on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. A fireman will run the pantry, which is the eleventh food pantry now in Mendocino County. It opened two weeks ago for the first time with five people checking in, then 20 the next week. Those interested just have to show up when they’re open and fill out a small amount of paperwork. The supplies include what the larger food bank can supply, which includes cold storage items and produce, juices, and canned foods.

The snowpack is lower than anticipated, but not as low as seven years ago, when it made history. Then Governor Jerry Brown was at the snowpack measurement back then, the lowest it ever was. And last Friday was pretty low too, 38% of average. It was measured at the same spot where Governor Brown was in 2015, at Phillips Station south of Lake Tahoe, then it was only at 4% of the location’s average water content. The director of the California Department of Water Resources says it’s a very dry landscape which shows the challenges the state faces. She said it was worse this year, than last, and that this month is worse than last. And that this year’s snowpack is the worst it’s been in seven years and the sixth lowest April measurement in state history.

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