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The US Supreme Court has ruled on a Calif. labor allowing private lawsuits from groups of workers who may have also agreed to resolve disputes through arbitration. The court overwhelmingly ruled the Federal Arbitration Act preempts or overrides the state law. In an 8-1 decision the justices supported Viking River Cruises looking to block a lawsuit by a former sales agent in Los Angeles. California was the only state that allowed these private lawsuits to help enforce labor laws. The state Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said the ruling was disappointing but said key points of the state law are still in effect and the law of the state.

A student from Redwood Valley has won a scholarship that takes her to DC. The 2022 Dream Award scholarship is for students who have overcome challenges to fulfill their college dreams by Scholarship America, the country’s largest provider of private scholarships. They’ve handed out over $3M in awards to 150 students in the last eight years. This year Marciela Rodrigues is the lucky winner. She was homeless due to her mother’s drug use and separated from her siblings in foster care. She also has dyslexia, but still excels in school. She also volunteers to help marginalized students, and founded the first ever scientific research team made up almost entirely of former foster youth.

FIRST 5 Mendocino says they have a new website. The group supports children in their first five years of life, providing families with information and resources. The group says they have four broad goals, to optimize children’s health and development, improve access to quality early learning and care, increase family resilience, and strengthen integrated and equitable systems. They provide direct support to families through their family resource center, The Pearl. For more info, visit their new site: http://www.first5mendocino.org

A big donation has come into the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station. The Friends of the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences, an affiliate of the Mendocino College Foundation, got $25,000 from a local community member and retired geologist, Robert “Bob” Blanc, for the second half of their capital campaign to restore and refresh the old buildings at the Coastal Field Station, near Point Arena. They’ve been trying to raise $250,000 since 2019 for the effort. There has been years of deferred maintenance and general upgrades needed at the college field station. Now the group reports they’re into the second half of the capital campaign.

The Chairman of the Lake County Board of Supervisors has put out a statement about the destruction of Lake Pillsbury by removing the dam. Chair Eddie Crandell says there’s a narrative around removing the dam, but it ignores the Eel River water to be diverted from Lake Pillsbury flows into the Russian River, delivering water to Sonoma and Marin counties. He says the North Marin Water District has said the river water provides about 70% of Novato’s water, originating from Mendocino County. He further states special interest groups are gambling with the water needs of 600,000 people while urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to order the destruction of Lake Pillsbury. Crandell also states the idea the Russian River could run dry along the Mendocino-Lake County line into Sonoma County is frightening. And without the water in Lake Pillsbury and Lake Mendocino, regional wildfire danger could be further heightened.

Lake County Supervisors considered their budget at their regular weekly meeting. The fiscal year starts in the fall with a total of almost $337,456,000. That’s about $18,000,000 more than a year ago. The general fund though is down almost $7 million. One of the reasons that was down, was due to cannabis cultivation taxes. The board heard about staffing needs in various county departments including probation, librarians, maintenance, and administration. They also have infrastructure that needs repairing and need a new recording system for the Assessor/Recorder, and money to help the Public Library create a Mobile Library. A budget transfer was approved after the Sheriff asked for help with staffing shortages.

The state’s getting into the home-buying business, helping families who can’t afford a down payment. That is if the Governor agrees. A group of lawmakers are proposing a billion-dollar fund as part of the state budget to help first-time home buyers with an entire down payment, or part of it, but the catch is, the state would have partial ownership. The state is currently the second lowest in home ownership, behind New York. But the new California Dream for All program is being created for low to mid-income buyers, including families who have faced racial and economic barriers to home ownership. It would potentially be part of the negotiations on how to spend as much as a $97.5 billion dollar surplus.

A new report says some folks due unemployment benefits from the state had to call hundreds of times to get a human to answer. Cal Matters reports it’s due to the fraud after the lockdown due to the pandemic, that the Employment Development Department’s disability branch call centers were jammed. But much less in November 2021 to April 2022 than between May and October of 2021.  A mass amount of calls came into the disability division in late 2021 as the department said they were trying to stop fraudulent claims. Many in Calif. who claim disability need the money to replace wages because they can’t work due to illness, injury, or pregnancy.

A former human resources director who sued Lake County has settled her wrongful termination and racial discrimination lawsuit. Lake Co News reports the Board of Supervisors approved the settlement with Pamela Nichols in a closed session, then announced the settlement by video later, because the Zoom link didn’t work. The Board Chair EJ Crandell said they approved a $500,000 payout to Nichols, and that they will make sure they have training in the discrimination harassment complaint process, continue cultural awareness training and the county will pay for any mediation. The former HR director was told to quit, or she’d be fired, and sued for wrongful termination, racial discrimination, infringement of her First Amendment rights to free speech and retaliation. She sued the county and former Administrative Officer, who recently retired.

A murderer from Clear Lake up for parole is denied. 63-year-old Edward Keefe Crawford was arrested for a 1987 murder, of, at the time, 28-year-old Glenn Shoemaker. Crawford was convicted the following year and got 27 years to life. He and another man, Jon Christ, took Shoemaker for a boat ride, got out of the boat in a secluded spot, and shot Shoemaker. Then the two bragged about the crime, each with varying stories, and motives. The Board of Parole said he still posed an unreasonable risk and won’t have his parole heard again until 2025.

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