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Over 60 nonprofits have received a cash infusion from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts Midwest, including the Lake County Library. Over one million dollars going to the NEA Big Read to spur people to read 15 different contemporary books. Their aim is to inspire meaningful conversations, artistic responses, and new discoveries and connections in participating communities through authors with different voices and perspectives. The Lake County Library received a $9,500 grant for the Big Read and picked Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz for 2023 programming. But they won’t get into it until next February.  The collection of poetry is the 2021 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Those supporting the Big Read in the county includes the Board of Supervisors, Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Mendocino College Lake Center and Lake County Campus of Woodland Community College.

For more info, visit arts.gov/neabigread for more information about the NEA Big Read. Organizations interested in applying for an NEA Big Read grant in the future should visit Arts Midwest’s website for more information

After Mendocino Deputies were tipped to a domestic argument on Highway 20 in Fort Bragg, they made an arrest. Apparently, a woman met Deputies in the driveway of the home, with bloody injuries. She told them she was in a fight with her partner and he threw her to the floor. Legen Dean Edge was contacted by Deputies, who say he had no injuries himself. But they arrested him for Domestic Violence Battery due to evidence at the home and booked him into jail on $25,000.00 bail.

Cal Poly Humboldt in partnership with Mendocino College and others are getting several million dollars for a new Redwood Coast K-16 Education Collaborative. Also involved, Sonoma State University, UC Davis, College of the Redwoods, the Offices of Education in four counties, and ProjectAttain! They’re all working together to increase access to education for underrepresented students in Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, and Lake counties. Those who attend will learn all about careers in health care and education. It’s all part of the state of California’s K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program.

A man from Boonville has been missing and was last seen with a group of other people walking into the woods. 25-year-old Jesus Mendoza’s family says they haven’t seen or heard from him since Tuesday. His sister says he was with an unknown group that included three men and five women in the Hendy Woods area. The family says he’s never been gone for more than one night and he has medical conditions. Plus, his sister says, he left his phone and wallet at home. He’s described as 5’11” with a thin build, about 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes and he has a tattoo of a broken heart behind his right ear. He was last seen in black shorts. He has multiple nicknames, “Junior”, “Shotgun”, and “Shotty”.

The chair of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) in response to PG&E looking to vary the flow of water for the Potter Valley Project (the “PVP Project”). The company filed a variance request with FERC to reclassify the 2021- 22 water year type to Dry/Critically Dry which lowers the water flow from the East Fork Russian River, drastically reducing the amount of water, potentially damaging aquatic and riparian environments.  The county doesn’t think the energy company has demonstrated the need for the drastic curtailment, and the company didn’t consult the county’s Drought Working Group. The county is therefore asking for certain rules to be followed by PG&E during the severe drought.

Volunteers for the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association and the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 87 allowed visitors into the historic lighthouse for the first time in over 2 years. Visitors once again climbed to the top of Mendocino’s historic Lighthouse first lit in June of 1909. It’s the same Fresnel lens lit back in the day. The 1000-watt halogen bulb serves as an Active Federal Aid to Navigation and is owned and operated by the United States Coast Guard.  The lens is maintained by volunteer members of the local Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The City of Ukiah has an acting Police Chief. Captain Cedric Crook, a 24 year veteran of the department and an officer since 1998 will take over as interim Chief since Chief Noble Weidelich is under investigation. Weidelich is on paid leave as the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office investigates an unknown criminal matter. The Sheriff Matt Kendall reportedly asked Sonoma to investigate. He’s also being sued by his former fiancé and may be somehow embroiled in investigations into his former Deputy Kevin Murray who’s being investigated for sex assault, meth use and burglary. And yet another former Deputy is suing saying Murray attacked her. Supposedly this investigation is unrelated to the case by his ex fiancé, and is a new allegation against the chief.

The Fort Bragg City Manager, about to start the job soon, is asking to get out of his contract. John Ford of Humboldt County says it’s due to a conflict with his son’s middle school and his wife doesn’t want to move. Ford also said it would place “significant stress” on his family and not allow him to be “socially involved in the Fort Bragg community as the job mandates.” He also said it was a difficult realization after meeting locals and seeing how well run the city was. He said the city deserved a leader not torn between his family and the city. The mayor commented they were disappointed, but understood his priority of family first. The city has recently chosen a new police chief and says they’ll release more info on that shortly.  

Three new police officers have been hired by the Fort Bragg Police Department to reach full staffing levels. The three went to the College of the Redwoods Police Academy in Eureka for six months of training. The trio graduated last Friday, and on Monday they were sworn in at the City Council meeting. They are Antoinette Moore, David Franco and Tyler Baker, all from the local community. They now have to go thru intense Field Training.

A green light from the Mendocino County board of supervisors on a new sales tax measure for fire mitigation, fire emergency services and water retention. At their budget meeting last week, the board voted on a draft version of the measure and will take a final vote July 12th. If they pass it next month, then it goes to voters in November. The Mendocino Voice reports speaking to the Board Chair, Ted Williams who says it’s part of public safety, and he thinks the county hasn’t done enough to support fire and ambulance. Supervisors didn’t specify the amount of the tax, which will no doubt come up in the ongoing negotiations in the next few weeks.

The Clearlake City Council gave their final approval to the latest budget, with much more money because of several million dollars in grants and increased revenue. The budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 at nearly $39,117,000 in expenses and around $37M in revenue. The general fund is about 8 mil and revenue, just under that. The council had a workshop before their regular meeting last night to go over the budget. They unanimously voted on it. Some of the items included almost $15.5M in grants from PG&E, due to the Sulphur fire, and property and sales taxes totaling $11.2 million.

A giant ugh coming your way as July 1st the state is due to increase gas taxes. Gas is already ridiculously high, but a scheduled increase to the excise tax rate is starting anyway, at about 3 cents/gallon more. The average in the state for regular gas is $6.44 a gallon, compared to the national average of $5.01. But the governor has criticized the latest budget draft saying it failed to provide “more immediate, direct relief to help millions more families with rising gas, groceries and rent prices.” The governor mentioned tax relief for gas prices in his State of the State speech in March. Some lawmakers have called for a one year suspension of the gas excise tax so gas companies could pass 100% of the savings on to consumers, but that proposal was voted down.

So some juvenile prison workers can stay on the job, the governor and a ½ dozen labor unions have hammered out a bonus deal. CalMatters reports taxpayers will pay the $54.5 million for the incentive payments of up to $50,000 for some workers. It’s believed to be the biggest retention bonuses the state has ever given to employees. The Department of Finance reports the agreements for 1,019 direct care and 211 non-direct care employees. The state Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation manages the Division of Juvenile Justice. They say they hope the bonuses will keep workers on the job amidst widespread staffing shortages since the governor announced dismantling the division by June of next year.

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