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A group of folks in a private Ukiah Facebook group decrying the cost of homeowners insurance. One said they had their rates raised twice as much as last year, and 2 dozen others responded pretty quick with the same or even more. One person posted that their rates quadrupled over the last year. Others chimed in that it was likely from wildfires. One of the respondents was an Insurance Agent and said if you live outside the city limits you may be required to buy the Calif. FAIR plan, he also said many would have probably lost theirs had the Insurance Commissioner not put a moratorium on cancellations for a year. He also said to call the Commissioner to complain about higher rates, it could help.

The Mendocino Cannabis Department has been approved to use tax waivers for delinquent taxes. The announcement for the LEEP Waivers last week will begin today. But there’s a catch, it’s as long as the entity being taxed pays all of the penalties and interest that’s due. To be eligible for the LEEP Waiver, you have to be LEEP Certified.  The last payment was due May 31st. They are called true ups, and those who are delinquent on the true ups can be penalized up to 10% with monthly 1.5% interest starting June 1st. If you don’t pay the 2021 true up amount and penalty by this June 30th, that’s next Thursday, there will be an additional 25% penalty and 1.5% interest on July 1st.

A man in Ukiah has been arrested after a Deputy noticed a non-working taillight on their car. Last Friday, someone parked on N. State Street was contacted by the Deputy. They checked the records on the driver, Nicholas Britton and the passenger, an adult female. Britton was found to be on formal probation with terms to obey all laws and submit to search. So, the Deputy searched and found drugs in a plastic baggie and arrested Britton. He’s charged with Felony Violation of Probation and Misdemeanor Possession of a Controlled Substance and held without bail.

A man from Ukiah who police say was illegally camping and using a fire to warm up has been arrested. A Deputy responded to neighbors complaining about Richard Cauckwell. They found him sitting next to a fire and burnt sticks. They say hot embers were within a couple of feet from dry bushes and trees. His clothes looked to be charred from the fire and Deputies said they believed it was because Cauckwell was not being cautious around the fire. He also had a torch lighter on him as burning is banned in the County. It was also in the area where the Hopkins fire burned last year.  Cauckwell was arrested for Felony Recklessly Causing Fire to Forest Land and Misdemeanor Careless Starting a Fire and held on $15,000.00 bail.

The Ukiah Police Chief is out for good. Chief Noble Waidelich was reportedly fired, but we haven’t a clue why. A couple of online newspapers are reporting Waidelich was terminated after receiving a press release from the city on Friday afternoon. The City Manager said Waidelich’s badge and service weapon were confiscated early last week after recent events showed the city the chief was not a good fit for the city, and the community deserved better. The City has not officially commented other than to say Waidelich may have violated police department policies, and it was not part of another criminal investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) requested by our Sheriff. The Mendocino Voice says they were told to check back in two weeks for more.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors had a meeting today, but due to the Federal Holiday for Juneteenth, has canceled.  Tomorrow there’s a packed agenda for the regular Tuesday meeting. Some of the items include discussion and possible action including directing staff about the proposed consolidation of the auditor-controller/treasurer-tax collector offices.  The staff’s recommended action is to move forward with consolidation. They’ll also discuss a bunch of road work, resolving any bid protests and awarding transportation contracts to the lowest bidder for work in the Willits/Brooktrails area.

PG&E has announced a new protocol during wildfire season and hot weather, automatic blackouts. The company announced on Friday, the sensitivity of over 1,000 circuit breakers for wildfire season have been sensitized even more to reduce fire risks. They’ve done it before. This will be the second season for the Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings Program. It started right after the Dixie Fire, about a year ago. How it works? Settings automatically turn off power for a region when PG&E equipment comes into contact with anything that might start a wildfire: like a tree branch or anything else suspicious. There were hundreds of instant power downs last summer. Even though folks were up in arms when they had immediate blackouts, sometimes for hours, PG&E responded that they were able to prevent wildfires and would expand the program this year.

Fire restrictions have been put into motion by the Bureau of Land Management on public lands. This is for their Arcata Field Office in Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino counties starting tomorrow, June 21st. And they will keep the restrictions in place to help prevent wildfires until further notice. This is on top of the BLM year-round statewide fire prevention order. The Northern Calif. District Manager says most wildfires in the state are human-caused, so, the fire restrictions are an important way to help protect public lands and nearby communities from wildfire. He says the National Interagency Fire Center predicted there might be large fires again this summer, above normal due to the drought.

Three new Cal Fire grants have been awarded to the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council. The $3.5 million dollars will be spread over three years to use for a bunch of projects to reinforce wildfire safety in areas around the county. Cal Fire’s been working with the Fire Safe Council to find which regions are the highest priorities. They found that almost the entire county is in high or very high fire-hazard severity zone. The biggest chunk of the grants was for $2.5 million to cover safer evacuation and firefighter access near Yorkville, Laytonville, Lake Mendocino, and Willits. There will be roadside clearing to remove branches and brush to make the roads safer for residents and responders and create a fuel break to stop advancing fires. The other two grants to study areas for future prescribed-burns and road-clearing projects, fuel breaks and environmental clearance and studies.

At the latest Mendocino Countywide Drought Task Force meeting they looked at possible curtailments being considered of water flowing to Russian River water users. They’re also considering a task force that would solely look at water issues, and an ordinance designed to monitor commercial wells. After the Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the Fed about the Potter Valley Project, word also came the State Water Board could begin sending notices for water curtailment to Russian River water users. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also ordered PG&E to start the surrender process of their Potter Valley license as some who depend on the water coming through the project are on the edge of their seat to see if they’ll have to curtail water use too. The committee heard that the water in Lake Pillsbury is considered a “normal” water year and the flow into Lake Mendocino is slowly filling.

Folks are littering the earth so Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties are working together for education to the public and tourists to reduce the amount of litter and waste in coastal regions and watersheds. The three counties have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the non-profit Leave No Trace. They will help with the campaign and help the counties work with federal and state agencies, federally recognized tribes, non-federally recognized tribes, local jurisdictions and land managers, Sonoma County Tourism, and other community-based groups across all three counties. The bilingual campaign starts before the end of the month to educate and influence visitors this summer to be courteous stewards of the land. It comes as state beaches and public parks have more visitors each year. More than 10 million visitors to the three counties, as over 55,000 pounds of trash were plucked from the coast in the three counties last year alone.

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