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A lawmaker in California has set out to recognize the dedication and resilience of volunteer court advocates across the country. State Senator Josh Newman of Los Angeles introduced the bill that passed the Legislature to recognize CASA Appreciation Day. The court appointed advocates are put in place to make sure kids have safe, loving homes. The legislation says, still, thousands are abused, neglected, or abandoned by their families and put in foster care or institutions and could end up wards of the court. CASA Appreciation Day recognizes the important role played by Court Appointed Special Advocate for children (CASA) volunteers. It was therefore declared that May 2nd, which was yesterday, has been declared CASA Appreciation Day.

The University of California system says it will offer Tuition and Student Service Fees for students from Calif. who are members of federally recognized Native American tribes. They will be eligible for grants or scholarships under the UC Native American Opportunity Plan. The idea is to make college more affordable and accessible for Native American students from Calif. as part of the college system’s work to be more inclusive. The UC President noted Native Americans are one of the most underrepresented groups within higher education. So starting this fall, the UC system will make financial aid and other resources available to fully cover in-state systemwide Tuition and Student Services Fees for some Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. This is for undergraduate and graduate studies.

Mendocino County got almost $17 million dollars from the federal government during the pandemic. Mendo Fever reports some of the money went to remodel the Board of Supervisors chambers and buy metal detectors. The news site reports the American Rescue Plan Act was to be used to help residents, small businesses or affected industries and nonprofits; to offer premium pay to essential workers; invest in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure; or to provide government services. A Ukiah City Councilman is working to get the money to the people, not to remodeling. The news site reports the county gave over $754,000 to the Mendocino Community Foundation and North Coast Opportunities for food assistance (NCO), staff salaries for program administration. And NCO got another $372,400 for financial assistance, including staff salaries. The news site reports another $370,000 or so went to the remodel. The Board will hear from the public on the matter at their first meeting in June.

A solo car crash in Ukiah has sent to people to the hospital. Mendo Fever reports hearing about the accident on the scanner. And the CHP reported two people had moderate injuries yesterday after a Toyota Corolla crashed on the 101. Two ambulances reported to the scene and one person was extricated from the car, then one of the two in the car was taken by air ambulance to the hospital for treatment. Soon after another helicopter was requested.

A couple of teens from Mendocino County reported missing last week have been found safe. The 13-year-olds, Mariah Kinsman and Legend Finds the Feather left Point Arena Elementary last Thursday, took a bus and vanished for four days. They were reportedly found in Cupertino yesterday after surveillance footage was sifted through from in and around the bay area.

New color in Fort Bragg as two murals are painted as part of the Alleyway Art Project. A local nonprofit is sponsoring the murals on main street, “Queen Bee” and “Be a Light”. The city of Fort Bragg commissioned the works as part of a contest in 2017. There are eight murals in all. A Fort Bragg art teacher is adding two panels near another piece of his work. And another art teacher also has a work in progress. The new works should be complete this weekend.

For more information about the Alleyway Project, go to http://www.fortbraggalleywayart.org.

Cases are climbing again. After several weeks of waning cases of COVID19, we have been seeing another wave of cases. The state reports almost 30% more cases the last week and small spikes in hospitalizations. Health officers across the state are recording more cases, as many as 5,600 known coronavirus cases a day this past week, the highest in two months. Hospitalizations are up 7%, with 146 people in an ICU as of Saturday. But those numbers are still very low, comparatively. The state is forecasting hospitalizations could surge another 65% by Memorial Day. The state says right now the transmission rate is at 1.24%. Because of the rise in cases, LA County is considering a masking order for all indoor settings. There are also new omicron subvariants to be concerned about…

The State of California is still thinning its population. Last year, over 117,550 residents left. The California Department of Finance reported the state’s population at the start of 2022, at 39,185,605. So it was a 0.3% decline, way down from the 0.59% loss from April 2020 to the end of that year. North Bay counties lost residents, Mendocino was off 0.7%; Solano, 0.6%; Sonoma, 0.5%; and Lake, 0.4%. The report showed growth though for the Central Valley and Inland Empire. And most coastal counties in the state had declines except San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz counties.

A fun day for the kiddos at Frank Zeek Elementary. Last Friday students got to release around 100 small steelhead into Orr Creek at Low Gap Park. Some of the students named their baby fish and wrote notes to them. The teacher was with the children as they released their fish as they waved goodbye and wished they weren’t caught or end up on someone’s grill. Teacher Kathy Rawles says she got 50 eggs from the hatchery at Lake Mendocino in March.

Contracts, land sales and committee reorganization on the Clearlake City Council agenda. The council meets Thursday online and in person. They’re considering awarding a contract for the Austin Park splash pad at the meeting and look at the sale of a piece of land. The council’s also poised to reorganize the Clearlake Marketing Committee which is tasked with economic activity for the city. Plus the council will get the yearly update from the Lake County Tourism Improvement District.

Two Calif. condors will be released into the wild by the Yurok Tribe and Redwood National and State Parks. This morning the first two condors will be released into their former range, the first time since 1892. They have to first go into a staging area and voluntarily make the move. If they don’t go their on their own, where there is access to the outside world, there will be another attempt tomorrow morning. This is the way the Yurok people designed the release back into the wild. You can catch the livestream starting this morning at 7:30 a.m. on the Yurok Tribe’s Facebook page, which can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/TheYurokTribe/ . The livestream can also be viewed here: https://www.yuroktribe.org/yurok-condor-live-feed .

They’re back with the Mendocino Film Festival. The 15th annual festival is set for June 2-5 with almost 60 films, special panels, workshops, and filmmakers will be on hand for meet and greets and Q&A’s. There are 35 features and 23 short films with more than 2 dozen filmmakers. The organizers say one of the highlights this year is animator and two-time Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton who is sharing excerpts of a new film of his and is offering an animation workshop. And Academy-Award winning documentary filmmaker Freida Lee Mock will be here to screen The Choir and Conductor with a live choral performance following the screening.

For more information, including this year’s complete program and how to buy tickets, visit http://www.MendocinoFilmFestival. org.

After California worked to protect unsheltered transgender youth, several other states have followed suit. The LGBTQ Victory Institute along with other supporters have taken action after conservative states moved to silence them. In Texas the Governor was talking about getting children who identify as transgender to go into foster care, but a judge temporarily blocked the move.  In Minnesota and New York they’ve followed Calif. by drafting legislation to outlaw removing children from their parents’ custody because they might have access to gender-affirming health care. And LGBTQ lawmakers in more than a dozen other states are also trying to get similar legislation passed. 

After rumors started circulating that the U.S. Supreme Court is about to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Gov. Newsom and legislative leaders said they’d see that residents are protected if they seek an abortion, and ask voters to embed this in the California Constitution. Newsom put out a statement this morning that Calif. wouldn’t be a witness to women being stripped of their rights. If an amendment is added to the constitution it would need voter approval. Since Democrats have enough seats in the Senate and Assembly, they could send the issue to voters without a bipartisan push.  In previous polling in Calif., there have been strong majorities of voters in support of abortion rights, across party lines.

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