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It looks like COVID is nowhere near done with us. In Calif., infections are steadily rising, but not as bad as this past winter’s omicron wave. This new wave is also omicron, but 2 sub-strains of the variant, which are both just as contagious. The state Department of Public Health says the daily case rate, as of last Friday was 14/100,000 residents. That’s nearly 30% more in the last week, but also up 70% in the last two weeks. Testing positivity, that’s been reported to the state, is up about a point, to nearly 4% last week, but the highest since February. There were well over 1,100 in the hospital last week and climbing up towards 170 in an ICU. It looks like the San Francisco Bay Area has the dubious distinction of the highest daily case rate. It’s then, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Alameda, respectively.

After driving around on routine patrol a couple weekends ago, a Mendocino Deputy saw a car on Highway 20 in Potter Valley speeding and took chase. The driver, Fernando Solorio stopped. The Clearlake man had an active warrant for his arrest in Mendocino County for unlawful sex with a minor, so he was picked up. Solorio is booked into Mendocino County Jail on $15,000.00 bail.

A man in Ukiah’s been arrested after reports of an assault two Sundays ago. Deputies say they got a call from a woman that Eduardo Alvarez physically assaulted her. The Deputies said they saw visible injuries on the adult female’s body. They also found the guy had threatened the woman and threatened to mess up her home, so she feared for her own safety and that of her personal property. Deputies searched for Alvarez and couldn’t find him, so they called his Parole Officer who issued a parole hold. The next evening Alvarez was arrested for Felony Criminal Threats, Felony Violation Parole and Misdemeanor Battery. He was held without bail.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company reports changing some of their wildfire safety protocols to hopefully bring down the risk of catastrophic wildfires. With that, the company’s hosting a wildfire safety webinar this Wednesday for residents in Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Siskiyou counties. There will be a brief presentation, followed by a question-and-answer session ahead of this wildfire season. On Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. they’ll talk public safety power shutoffs, how they plan to handle wildfire season and more. Visit PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program, visit pge.com/wildfiresafety for more info.

Plans continue on the new multi-million-dollar courthouse in Mendocino County. The $118M proposed courthouse in Ukiah will be revealed to the public at the end of the month. It’s said it will capture the ‘casual lifestyle’ of the Ukiah Valley but use the latest construction technologies including solar power. The building will be light-filled and efficient, according to the Court Executive Officer. A meeting in San Francisco is planned May 26th to go over the new design and review a 200-page report which features a four-year design/construction phase they’re looking to start July 1st, if the state court advisory committee approves it, which is expected. After that public meetings will be set in Ukiah to review the plans.

Continued discussion on the proposed annexation in the City of Lakeport now looks to be headed to the ballot. The city’s been looking to annex almost 137 acres south of the city limits, across from S. Main St and Soda Bay Rd., and east of Hwy 29. The Lake Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCo, gave the green light to a resolution to move forward and approved of public hearings so locals could have a chance to protest, if they wanted. The protests were handed into the City on Friday and will be counted and checked by the county elections and assessor’s offices. They have 30 days to verify the documents. Lake Co News reports they should have an official count by next week. If it’s over 25% of total landowners who are protesting, they will have to take it to registered voters.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors will take up discussion on how they’re going to recruit a new county administrative officer. Carol Huchingson retired, and the Board has been discussing hiring her replacement, but there is an interim officer currently. The Board will set a date to interview five people who have applied for the position so far. They also need to fill one of their own seats, for District 4 after Tina Scott resigned to take a teaching position. Also, at the meeting tomorrow, the Board will discuss an appeal of a cannabis project in Clearlake.

A prosecutor serving for years in Lake County has been honored by the Board of Supervisors. Chief Deputy DA Richard Hinchcliff was honored as the 2020 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year by the California Fish and Game Commission. Since the pandemic was peaking at the time of the intended honor, it was delayed. Hinchcliff received the award last Tuesday, bestowed by the assistant chief of the Calif. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s Central Enforcement District and a member of the California Fish and Game Commission too. Hinchcliff has been working with the DA’S office in Lake County since 1995 and became the chief deputy district attorney in 2006.

It’s National Foster Care Wellness month. And there are over 407,000 children in the foster care system nationwide. In Mendocino County, Family & Children’s services is supporting nearly 200 children in the Family Reunification or Permanency Placement programs. About a third of them are living with relatives or someone close to them. National Foster Care Month is focusing in 2022 on finding those relative or family friend connections for a sense of security and connection and, often times allows for siblings to stay together. Locally there is a major lack of available homes for foster care though, so they’re asking for resource parents to provide stability and the nurturing children need to heal from a difficult situation.

For more information, call Mendocino County Family & Children’s Services Resource Family Approval Supervisor, Lindsey Coke, at (707) 467-5893 or visit: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/social-services/children-s-services/foster-care.

Gas prices are up again. As we head towards summer, and the Memorial Day weekend, which every year sees a jump in prices, a regular gallon of gas is up over the last two weeks to about $4.38 per gallon. That’s about 15 cents more than a week ago. The Lundberg Survey reported yesterday the current price is only a nickel under the highest average price in history — $4.43, which was this past March 11th. The average price is $1.36 higher than it was a year ago. The survey recorded the highest average price for regular-grade gas was in the San Francisco Bay Area, at $5.85 per gallon. The lowest average was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at $3.80 per gallon.

The Governor and leaders in his party challenging one another regarding the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail project. The bullet train project is projected to cost well over 100 billion dollars and said to be the biggest investment in infrastructure in state history. But a fight, over the last year and a half as the Governor’s asking for a $4.2 billion appropriation, but members of his own Democratic party, in the Assembly, won’t release the cash approved by a bond measure in 2008. And in the Central Valley, utility relocations around where the tracks are supposed to go, are holding up construction. Adding to the confusion, the latest cost estimate comes from back in 2019, so it doesn’t account for pandemic related supply issues, or inflation.

An Assembly member from Bakersfield says there needs to be an audit of sexual harassment policies and related settlements paid to those accused in the CSU system. Assemblyman Rudy Salas put out a statement that the recent allegations of sexual harassment involving various CSU campuses and the Chancellor’s Office, is “unacceptable and warrants the scrutiny and impartiality that only the State Auditor can provide”. The LA Daily News reported that the CSU Board of Trustees supports Salas’ request after continued criticism into how the university system handled these kinds of complaints after the former Chancellor allowed a Cal State Fresno administrator to retire, instead of thoroughly investigating complaints against him. Similar complaints have recently come out at Sonoma State and San Jose State universities.

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