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There could be a bigger tax refund coming your way from the state under a new proposal by lawmakers. The plan would only impact about 2.4 million Californians next year and raise the renter’s tax credit for the first time in over 40 years. The credit has not changed since 1979 and also not adjusted for inflation. Those who make less than about $44,000/year get a tax credit of $60, and renters earning less than $87,000/year, and are married, filing taxes jointly, would get $120. Under the plan by a State Senator of Orinda. The credits would go to $500 for single filers and $1,000 for joint filers and single filers with dependents. The Senate Appropriations Committee will consider the bill at some point this month.

The Lake County Coroner’s office says the man found impaled by a tree branch in the Mendocino National Forest had been riding a dirt bike before it happened. 68 year old Rex Powel of San Rafael was killed on a camping trip with his son in an area designated for off-highway vehicles near the Middle Creek Campground. The CHP reported the man’s son stopped first because of debris on the trail and dad was behind him, hit his brakes and was ejected from his bike and fell into some bushes where he was injured.

The Pacific, Gas & Electric Calif. Climate Credit is being applied to bills this month. The Public Utilities Commission created the credit to combat climate change. The energy company says it will help bring down customer energy bills this month up to over $87 for some. Natural gas residential customers will get a $47.83 credit. And electric residential customers are getting about $39. Customers getting both services will see a total credit of $87.13. The state mandates power plants, natural gas providers and other large industries who let off greenhouse gases have to buy carbon pollution permits from the California Air Resources Board and the credit is the share of payments customers paid into the program.

The old Palace Hotel in Ukiah is getting a new life… again. New buyers have been allowed to take over the hotel. Paru and Jitu Ishwar are already in the business. The couple reportedly own four local motel or hotel franchises. The two reportedly bid on the building in 2019 at nearly one million dollars. That will include paying for unpaid receivership fees and money advanced given to the court-appointed receiver so they could prepare the documents for the sale. The city will reportedly hear more of the Ishwar’s plans for the old hotel in coming weeks after it fell into disrepair about four years ago. The receivership happened after the last owner didn’t follow through on repairs and reopening the Palace. The new owners have a nine month period to show they’re moving forward with a facelift and reopening.

A pickup truck has crashed with a big rig near Laytonville on Highway 101 north. Mendo Fever reports one of the vehicles caught fire, and one person died. The CHP reported to the scene to pull someone out of one of the vehicles and air ambulances were requested but could not fly due to the weather. The highway was also blocked due to one of the vehicles actively burning and bags of dirt were strewn across the highway. Mendo Fever reports the driver of the pickup died and the pilot of the big rig had life threatening leg injuries and was taken to Howard Hospital in Willits.

A murder suspect wanted in Humboldt County and believed to have been headed to Mendocino or Lake County was reportedly arrested in Santa Cruz. On Friday, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reported searching for Austin Medeiros who they say they thought was going through Mendocino County. Social media posts said folks saw the guy in both Mendo and Lake counties, but he was arrested Sunday in Santa Cruz. Police say he was trying to steal a boat there. Santa Cruz police busted Medeiros with nearly 30 grams of magic mushrooms and a loaded, stolen firearm. He’s accused of murdering a 28-year-old woman from Kneeland April 3rd. He’s being held in the Santa Cruz County Jail on several charges besides murder, including possession and transportation of drugs and held on $1 million bail.

A fire has been contained after breaking out over the weekend between Potter Valley and Lake Pillsbury in the Mendocino National Forest. The Slides Fire was spreading due to high winds in the area Friday and Saturday. It burned just about an acre and a half. The firefighters on the scene have not released what caused the fire. Firefighters were still on the fire mopping up yesterday, but since it rained activity was minimal.

Several applications for short term rental properties are being considered by the Lakeport Planning Commission. The meeting tomorrow night will also feature a review to the city’s housing element. The short term rental applications are spread out and not related to each other. The commission’s also going over their 2022 goals and the same from the city’s planning department and work program. They’ll also hear about housing production and some housing related programs and policies contained in the housing element.

A continued drop in school enrollment means for the first time in over 2 decades the state has less than 6 million students in public schools. The report by the California Department of Education shows enrollment was lessening at a quicker pace than it did before the pandemic, which could mean severe budget cuts and the potential for long-term financial instability for schools. More than 110,000 students dropped out for a total of 5,892,240 this school year,. That’s about 2% less than last year, but not as deep a drop as the first year of the pandemic, when it was down 2.6%. The report also showed enrollment in Charter schools was down for the first time since at least 2014. Kindergarten enrollment was up though.

A new treatment for those who get COVID-19 is here. The Mendocino County Public Health Office reports oral treatments for those at higher risk are now available in the county as the Omicron surge has subsided. The free medications can help prevent serious illness, hospitalization, or death. It’s called Paxlovid and is available for anyone 12 and older weighing more than 88 lbs. It must be taken in the first five days of when the symptoms appear and requires a prescription from a doctor. They are for those, not fully vaccinated, immunocompromised, or have underlying health conditions like diabetes and obesity. You can call your doctor about the new meds or the county’s COVID-19 information line at 707-472-2759, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm on weekdays.

The CHP has released more info on the fatal crash on Highway 101 yesterday which killed a woman and her dog. The CHP says the crash near Spyrock Road happened after the woman’s brown Nissan Titan crossed over the double-yellow line and hit a semi-truck hauling soil. Her truck caught fire and she died there. The big rig driver was seriously injured. He’s only been identified as a man from Willits who was taken to Howard Hospital. The victim’s names have not been released. There were two dogs in the pickup, one of them survived and was taken to Mendocino County Animal Shelter. The CHP says weather may have been a factor in the crash, but not believed to be the cause.

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