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Monthly Archives: July 2022

The Lake County Grand Jury is out with their report on the Office of Emergency Services. In one notable section, the Jury says community involvement in the Disaster Council could be better, but blames it on a county supervisor, who the Jury says is not engaging the public enough, nor are there enough formal recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. The Grand Jury poured over reams of documents including the County Emergency Operations Plan, the Sheriff’s Office Policy and Procedures as well as the county’s yearly budget. They say they also interviewed the Sheriff/Coroner, staffers at that agency and visited the Emergency Operations Center. The Jury concluded the Disaster Council should be reorganized and get more community organizations involved, like the Fire Safe Councils, Firewise communities and the Clear Lake Environmental Research Center.

Scary report released on California’s drinking water. The audit was released Tuesday with the Acting State Auditor calling out regulators at the State Water Resources Control Board. The audit’s accompanying report said there was a general “lack of urgency” for “failing water systems”, but noted the state was still shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for some drinking water projects. Some of the frightening statistics including over 900,000 people in the state at an increased risk of cancer and liver and kidney problems due to where they get their drinking water, over 150 water systems failed to meet standards for at least five years, and another 430 or so were at risk of failing. Many service low-income, disadvantaged communities. The auditor recommending fast tracking applications and limiting unnecessary documents to get there.

The new Mendocino County CEO says her team has working on requests from various entities for budget data. The Executive Office Fiscal Team has been queried on the county’s financial position related to salary and benefits. But CEO Darcie Antle says putting out reports in a timely matter has been a challenge due to the county’s accounting system, Munis. She says a lot of the reports that have been produced, were put together after a compilation from various sources. She also says their goal is to be fully transparent. For anyone interested in reading over the material it can be found on the county’s website:

A man in Willits has been arrested on a myriad of charges after reports he shot off a gun negligently, then tried to disarm a Deputy. The Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call Tuesday and found Trevor Williams unsafely discharged the firearm several times near a child, potentially endangering her life. They also found he had a restraining order against him and was not allowed to have weapons. They say he was verbally hostile and had armed himself with multiple firearms. They evacuated the area and called for backup. Apparently the guy asked for Sheriff Matt Kendall to come to the scene, but then he took off on an ATV. As the Sheriff arrived, they say Williams threatened law enforcement, but surrendered eventually. He was taken down after first tackling a couple of Deputies.

A bunch of money to be distributed in Lake County for a COVID emergency shelter. Lake County Continuum of Care and the Behavioral Health Services Dept. say they’ve received $300,000 from the Housing, Homeless, Assistance, and Prevention Rounds 2 and 3 program for the emergency shelter in the North Shore area. Those who are unsheltered including minors will be taken care there. They have a Q&A session over Zoom set up to learn more for applicants who are interested. Request for proposal guidelines HERE:

The deadline for applications is August 17, 2022, BY 11:59 P.M

August 3, 2022, at 3:00 P.M. via Zoom:

A state of emergency has been declared by the mayor of San Francisco due to an increase in monkeypox cases. Mayor London Breed says the city’s in a scary place and this will cut through the red tape to get funds to help them with the public health crisis. The Mayor also says leaders in the LGBTQ+ community have asked for help in recent weeks and says the city’s in “desperate need of vaccines”. The emergency declaration takes effect Monday as the city nears 300 cases of the virus. There are also about 800 cases in the state, and 4,600 nationwide, and a shortage of the vaccine.

Like the wine industry before it, now comes cannabis tourism. Recreational sales are expected to rake in $37 billion dollars in 2024. The Emerald Triangle is expected to reap the benefits. So, Visit Mendocino County is preparing. Along with Trinity and Humboldt counties, the area is believed to be the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States, with cannabis being Mendocino County’s biggest agriculture gold mine. The Executive Director of Visit Mendocino County says tourists are looking to escape to the redwoods, go on tours, lounge in the village or Mendocino. Various other towns are ready to service visitors too, including Hopland, Philo, rural Ukiah, Laytonville and Willits.

One of the managers working on the drought at the State Water Resources Control Board is out, decrying the Governor’s handling of the crisis. Max Gomberg had been at the helm and recommending various strategies to take to help the parched state. The board’s climate and conservation manager says he doesn’t think Gov. Newsom and his administration will go after the radical changes necessary during these dried up times. His resignation letter was posted online earlier this month. In it, he accuses Newsom of sticking to the status quo and blames others at the board for not strongly pushing back, calling it all, “gut wrenching”. Some of his ideas included helping low-income ratepayers, bolstering water conservation, changing water agency permit requirements for climate preparedness, and adding climate requirements to strengthen water regulation and management. A spokesperson for the Governor’s office says Newsom is doing more than most anyone related to climate change.

PG&E sees sinking profits and more wildfire costs. But the latest report says during the second quarter of this year they made a ton of progress to slow destructive wildfires. The company reported earnings of $356 million, down just over 10% from a year before. The total revenue was down almost 2% from the year before. Meanwhile, the utility is trying to get the Public Utilities Commission to allow them to raise rates on customers so they can continue burying power lines. That could mean another $30/mo for the average customer. This comes after a rate increase the first quarter of this year, topping 16% more.

Lawmakers say they’re working on ways to help parents help their children curb their social media additions. Lawmakers say it’s a matter of mental health for kids. They’re looking at ways to tame the way companies target websites, luring kids (and adults) back to them. They also want to find ways to slow the push notifications and auto play functions. A pair of bills are being considered to require websites, social media, or other online platforms to dump certain features, saying that can pull kids in, creating an addiction and collect their personal information, and promote harmful content. One of the bills would attach penalties to it, of up to $7,500 per affected child. But some decry the bills are a violation of free speech.

A couple of massive air tankers for the CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit (LNU). The two Type-1 Helitankers arrived at the beginning of the month for aerial firefighting in the Sonoma Lake Napa Unit. One will be based at the Napa County Airport, and the other at the Sonoma Air Attack base at the Sonoma County Airport. There’s also already a Type-1 CAL FIRE HAWK “Copter 104” in Lake County, for a total of three massive helicopters. They’ll all be available to fight fires in the greater Bay Area and all of California.

The fire near Yosemite National Park is still burning but slowing. A Strike Team from Mendocino County, led by the Hopland Fire Chief headed to help last Saturday. At the same time, controversy as militia members in camouflage went to help evacuate folks out of the tiny town of Mariposa. The local Sheriff’s department was praising the group, but locals, not so much. They accused the California State Militia 2nd Regiment, as they call themselves, of exploiting them. No matter as the members set up a mobile kitchen for evacuees over the weekend in the parking lot of a lumber store in Mariposa. Earlier this week almost 4,000 people had been ordered to leave their homes as the Oak Fire burned nearby. The fire has charred nearly 19,000 acres, destroyed 74 homes and other structures and is only 36% contained.

Mendocino County has released the latest on Measure B expenditures and progress made. There’s a new podcast called “Mendo Mental Health Matters” to help reduce the stigma around mental health challenges and share local resources. Measure B funding continues to help locals who’ve historically not had access to crisis after care services. The Phoenix House is open and operational and has been receiving clients who are only referred through Redwood Community Crisis Services. So far this year they’ve served 17 individual clients. In Fort Bragg, Adventist and the Coast Hospital are looking for an alternate location for housing of the EMT crew and they’re working on zoning and permitting issues. There’s also a mobile crisis response team seven days a week in the county. For the Fiscal Year 21/22, there were 375 calls. The Mendocino County Acting Auditor-Controller is expected to attend the next
Measure B meeting with audit results.

CalFresh has been expanded in the state for those who are not legal citizens, ages 55 and older. The state is also considering coverage for low-income undocumented people of all ages. The Food4All initiative is working on removing restrictions on age or immigration status. State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago praises the governor and Legislature for the expansion but says it’s unacceptable that some families still go hungry in California: the fifth largest economy in the world.

:10 “We were able to succeed in getting 55 and above who aren’t documented into the CalFresh program. That’s just one step of a long journey of a longer fight to feed people.”

Tag: Nourish California estimates that CalFresh keeps nearly 700-thousand Californians out of poverty every year, including more than 300-thousand children. The expansion will benefit 75-thousand undocumented seniors but 690- to 840-thousand Californians remain ineligible for CalFresh solely due to their immigration status.

Second Cut: Benyamin Chao with the California Immigrant Policy Center says CalFresh mitigates poverty, hunger and suffering.

:13 “It intervenes in a vicious cycle. Having difficulty affording food results in families and households making hard choices, poor nutrition outcomes, poor health outcomes, and that makes it more difficult to escape from food insecurity and poverty.”

Third Cut: Mar Velez with the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California says the need is urgent.

:13 “There are 2.3 million undocumented residents in our state. And two in five, or 45%, experience food insecurity. And nearly two and three, or 63%, of undocumented children experienced food insecurity.”

A woman from Covelo has been labeled a person of interest in the death of a man in the East Bay. 69-year-old Richard Hendrix was living in an RV in the El Sobrante area. Last April his landlord noticed he had not been around and called the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office to report him missing. Deputies entered his home and found his body inside. They asked local businesses and others if they’d seen anything, or anyone. Bay Area News reports 39-year-old Pauline Dungan of Covelo is now the lead suspect. Apparently, she was seen driving Hendrix’s car before his body was found. She was detained by local cops for outstanding warrants out of Mendocino County, then let go. Detectives say Dungan beat Hendrix and strangled him, then tied him up. Her DNA was found on zipties on the man’s body. She was found in Oregon after being arrested for a DUI.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors met with the Public Health officer to hear about the latest surge of COVID19 cases here, and across the state. The Board also heard the latest on Measure B, cannabis, and labor. Dr. Andy Coren was on Zoom telling the supervisors he recommends indoor mask wearing again, and that folks really should gather outdoors again instead. There have been eight recent deaths, mostly in Ukiah. Those who passed were between 67-91 years-old, mostly with other underlying health conditions. Then the board talked about recent negotiations between the county and the union for most county workers. They also heard from the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance and the latest Grand Jury report. And on to Measure B, where the local Behavioral Health Director talked about recent work with the Sheriff’s Dept. the mental health training center and more.

After a traffic stop in Ukiah, a man is arrested who led cops on a chase. The CHP reports trying to stop a suspect for a traffic violation on the northbound side of the 101 near the Plant Road overcrossing. They initially pulled over the right shoulder, then took off, but crashed around a turn, crashing off the road, into a tree. The driver, identified as Ryan Loomis had to be taken to the hospital. He was then taken to Santa Rosa Memorial for further evaluation and should be charged after he’s released with driving under the influence and evading arrest.

A woman from Ukiah, who’s been in the San Francisco area for some time with mental health struggles, and whose family has been searching for, apparently turned up on a surveillance camera at a local convenience store. Mendo Fever reports the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said a San Francisco store owner saw the article on their website and said Kassandra “Sandy” McKee had been in his store the same morning the write-up was published. McKee’s mom has been searching for her and had not heard from her since June, when she was supposed to get on a bus back to Ukiah. She was officially reported missing on July 4th. Sandy’s mom Heather is reportedly on her way to San Francisco to try to find her.

Portola Redwoods State Park is temporarily closing the campground due to the drought. The closure begins next week, on Aug. 5th with no plans to reopen through the season due to low flows of its main water source, Peters Creek. A state parks spokesperson says the water included for campers in the restrooms, showers, drinking water and for fire suppression will not be available. It’s not the first time this has happened. It was the same situation in 2014, 2015 and last year too. But San Mateo County Park is staying open with its 18 miles of trails for day use. There is also a trail camp for backpackers which remains open for overnight use with a reservation. (The campground closes every winter, from Nov. 1 to April 1.)

It’s been about ten years since the old Ukiah Post Office closed. Now the building has been listed for sale again. The Daily Journal reports the city manager says it’s an “incredible opportunity for the right developer”, even though admitting she and others were surprised to see it up for sale again. The U.S. Postal Service sold the building right after it closed up for good, but apparently it’s remained vacant all along. The same owner has had it since then, but the newspaper reports the North Oak Street building was recently foreclosed on. It’s been back on the real estate market for about two weeks for $975,000.

The Mendocino County Grand Jury deciding to investigate special education (SpEd) services in the Mendocino Unified School District (MUSD) after multiple complaints. They say the school district did not serve students properly so even more services had to eventually be ordered. The jury says there was a general lack of awareness and even concern about special education settlement agreements by the school Superintendent and the K-8 school Principal. There was testimony from several parents who said they had to go so far as to sue the school district to get their children services. But no cash settlements were agreed to. But the parents had to sign confidentiality agreements.

A young woman from Ukiah missing in the San Francisco area has her family on edge. Mendo Fever and Kym Kemp reporting 27-year-old Kassandra “Sandy” McKee has schizoaffective disorder and has been unsheltered for three years. Her mom says she went to San Francisco in June and said while there she was assaulted and threatened, and she feared for her life and wanted to come home. Mom says she sent her a ticket to Ukiah but she never arrived and has not been seen or heard from since. Since she has vanished her father has died. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve been helping to find Sandy and entered her into the statewide database for Missing and Unidentified Persons. Her picture can be seen on both news sites. She’s described as being 5’7”, 180 pounds with brown eyes and brown, medium-length hair.

The Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) reports its starting a study on transportation needs and solutions for Covelo, Laytonville, Brooktrails, Potter Valley and Hopland – each without public transit. The Council is working with residents and other stakeholders to decide what transportation modes would be helpful so residents can get to the places they need to go. The first found of outreach is set for the last days of August. They are holding public listening sessions between August 22-26 in all of the communities identified. If you can’t make it, you can check out the project website and submit comments there. There’s also an interactive map to identify destinations you may be having trouble getting to.  The public engagement website is at

A woman from Lower Lake has been reported missing by family. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports 67-year-old Pamela Jo Roay left her house yesterday afternoon and has not been seen since. She’s described as a white female with short gray hair and hazel eyes, about 5’6”, 340 pounds and considered at risk due to medical conditions and needs medication, not with her.

They’re going for it. Clearlake police will help beef up patrols in Lakeport. The Clearlake City Council approved an agreement between the two departments to shore up their counterpart agency in Lakeport. The Clearlake Chief of Police Andrew White signed the contract with Lakeport for supplemental services. He gave the council a report noting Lakeport reached out for help because of staffing shortages. The chief says agencies will often provide mutual aid without pay, but while helping in this capacity, the “receiving entity” should pay the entity who is providing services. The chief along with the Lakeport Police Chief Brad Rasmussen presented the proposed contract last Thursday at the city council meeting.

There’s officially a new police chief and city manager in Fort Bragg. The City Council swore in both positions at their meeting Monday night. They also said their goodbyes to the Interim Police Chief John Naulty and Interim City Manager David Spaur. The two were helping out, but both retired. The new police chief hails from Turlock. Neil Cervenka said he’s committed to the community with compassion for all segments of the community. And the new City Manager, Peggy Ducey will be the interim manager, offering 960 hours a year, following rules of the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). She’s getting no benefits and making just over $76/hour. The city council also declared a Stage 1 water alert, meaning a voluntary conservation goal of 5% to 10%.

A wildfire is out after burning thru dry brush in the Little River area. Mendo Fever reports the Little Fire started before 3pm yesterday afternoon in the 39000 block of Little River-Airport Road because of a downed power line that came into contact with nearby vegetation. There were four small aircraft prepared to drop water on the 10’x10′ spot, but apparently locals put the fire out before they had too. There was also a fire engine was just arriving on scene.

Assemblyman Jim Wood in the house. The lawmaker was visiting a California Conservation Corps (CCC) stream enhancement project in the North Fork Noyo River. The project is on private timber land owned by the Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC). The company is working with the corps on multiple projects, in a partnership to enhance streams for fish habitat, especially for endangered and threatened native fish species in Mendocino County. The project Wood visited was paid for by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Fisheries Restoration Grant Program. The work began in the middle of June with the goal to improve habitat for Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout.

After fire officials started to investigate a couple of burned cars, they’ve deemed it suspicious. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Chief says the parking lot fire on Talmage Road last Thursday was human-caused, and “definitely suspicious”. Two cars were destroyed that night and another pair were damaged along with a light pole and tree. One of the damaged vehicles was owned by the government. There was video footage in the area of the fire showing people on the scene, then leaving after the fire started in one car. The investigators are reportedly trying to get into contact with those connected to the vehicle.

Another local fire has started. Mendo Fever reports the Highland Fire started last night in the area of the 9200 block of Highland Springs Road, south of Highway 175, near the Mendocino/Lake County line. Fire officials quickly sent airplanes into the one acre burn area. A local alert camera in Kelseyville caught smoke in the air. Within an hour the fire, which was moving slowly through dry, heavy timber had been contained.

A young man from Ukiah accused of last year’s Hopkins Fire has been deemed competent to stand trial. 21-year-old Devin Lamar Johnson was arrested near the fire last year that gutted 3 dozen homes and blackened about a hundred acres last September. He’s due in court today after getting mental health treatment inside the Mendocino County Jail. His lawyer told the court last year he didn’t believe Johnson would understand the proceedings due to erratic behavior including talking about taking a trip to Disneyland. He was evaluated numerous times and is now apparently thought to be okay to take part in his trial. Surveillance cameras in the area caught Johnson walking into dry brush, and when he came back out there was smoke and flames. A well-known photographer in the area was taking pictures of the fire and also caught Johnson in his footage.

After a car crash into a person, a man was arrested, and another has died. Clearlake Police reported to the crash finding a Chevy Silverado with two people inside and a man down with a motorized skateboard. The driver of the Silverado was identified as 24-year-old Dillon Mahoney of Clearlake and the skateboarder was 32-year-old Adam Huskey, also of Clearlake. Police say he had major injuries and died there. Officers arrested Dillon, charging him with vehicular manslaughter. He was booked into the Lake County Jail.

After the power went out for more than 1,000 PG&E customers, no word why. Nearly 1,100 customers in northern Ukiah and on Highway 101 out to Calpella were in the dark yesterday afternoon. The 1,072 customers were informed they’d get their lights back on by 9:00 p.m. last night. By 8:15 they had the power back.

No more fire burning in the Mendocino Forest due to the continuing extreme drought and warming conditions. As of yesterday, forest officials issued stage 1 fire-use restrictions. It’s to help stop any potential human-caused wildfires until the end of the 2022 fire season. The Fire Management Officer for the forest says it’s due to fuel moisture levels and predicted weather conditions, to help protect undeveloped areas of the forest and surrounding communities. He says the public can still have a campfire or stove fire in designated fire-safe campgrounds or Wilderness Areas with a valid California Campfire Permit.

That massive fire burning in a forest near Yosemite National Park has slowed some, and containment is up. The Oak Fire had less extreme behavior burning another 200 or so acres after exploding in size over the weekend. So far, the fire burned about 17,240 acres and is 17% contained. Yesterday it was at 10% containment. Thousands of locals are still under evacuation orders, but fire crews reported making good headway Sunday into Monday. But the smoke was drifting into parts of Nevada and the San Francisco Bay Area, causing poor air quality conditions. The fire started Friday near Midpines and had explosive behavior through the weekend. The Governor declared a state of emergency for Mariposa County. The fire is under investigation.

A woman from Butte County is going to prison for defrauding the federal government out of money connected to the 2018 Camp Fire.  Deborah Laughlin of Magalia, which got decimated by the fire got over $77,000 in federal disaster relief funds and assistance. She said her home in Paradise was destroyed, but it wasn’t. Her lawyer says she was a drug addict and also suffered from mental health issues and finally sought help and is now stable. He also claimed sending her to prison for a year would set her back and that she was in a psychotic state and homeless when she took the money from FEMA. She said her mobile home rental and all of her belongings were destroyed, but she didn’t live there anymore.

The Willits Summer Art Walks are back. This Saturday, and through October, on the final Saturday of the month, you can enjoy local artworks during 4 to 8 p.m. The Willits News reports the curator for the Willits Center for the Arts said to start there with meet and greet with various artists. You can also visit the Mendocino County Museum, Art in the Plaza and various pubs and bars that will also have artwork hung. The Art Walks were canceled for a while due to the pandemic and started up again this year with the first, in June.

A new report says elementary school kids are making up for lost time during the pandemic, and they’re doing it faster than older students. The Measures of Academic Progress said though that K-12 students were still years away from a full recovery. Researchers from the Northwest Evaluation Association looked at data from more than 8 million students in grades 3-8 in reading and math saying it was the younger kids with the most recovery of learning last year. They also say students in middle school made slower progress or were stagnant.

It’s a no once again for a proposed tribal gaming compact for the Middletown Rancheria. The US Department of Interior is against the proposed compact between Middletown Rancheria and the state of California. The assistant secretary for the Bureau of Indian Affairs wrote a letter back to the interested parties citing state overreach and continued issues with the compact language which were not fixed since they first asked for the compact last year. The compact for casino-style gambling. The Governor’s Office reports the Department of Interior disapproved of the class III gaming compact, and responded the same for a class III gaming compact from the Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria.

We won’t be able to vote on a higher minimum wage in November after a judge ruled the campaign missed a key deadline to get the measure on the ballot. Supporters were in court to force the Secretary of State’s office to get the initiative on the November ballot. It would have meant the state minimum wage would be $16 an hour next year and $18 by 2025.  Late Friday the judge said the June 30th deadline for counties to verify signatures was missed, but the campaign said they confused it with another deadline of July 13th.

The Mendocino County Grand Jury is sounding off on the county Cannabis Dept. After the state created a Cannabis Equity Grant Program for those who felt harmed by the war on drugs so they could become licensed and legal growers, the county was supposed to get millions of dollars. The reported $6 million for grants, fee waivers, county fees and other business assistance. The jury says the county didn’t have a process in place to implement these changes and said the permit program was in turmoil. And only a handful of applicants got the money from the grant program. And the applicants suffered for the problems and couldn’t grow their businesses as the county grappled with fixing the complicated permitting issues.

3 more people have died in the latest wave of coronavirus cases. The Mendocino County Public Health Office says we’re now up to 134 deaths. The latest in July were a 91 year old woman with other health issues who lived in Ukiah. Then the next was also a woman from Ukiah who was elderly. The 85 year old was the 133rd death, and also had co-morbidities. And the 134th death in the county was another elderly woman with health issues. The 91 year old was from the North Coast area. Public Health reminds the greatest tools to fight the virus are, vaccines for everyone from 6 months up to adulthood. And getting the boosters, wearing masks in indoor public settings and social distancing in crowded areas are also strongly encouraged.

Public Health in Lake County reports due to the heat and extreme drought Clear Lake is getting an unprecedented amount of cyanotoxins. For folks living in certain areas of the lake with water drawn directly from the lake, drinking water may be unsafe at times. The county also says those with private intake in Sulphur Bank Mine, and along the shore of Lower and Oaks Arms are prone, like last year, to higher concentrations of cyanotoxins. And local public health and water quality experts say it could affect the health of those with individual water systems if they are not effectively filtering out these toxins. They say you should be in touch with the Health Services Dept. public health division for more information.

A man in Laytonville has been arrested after a search warrant was served by Mendocino Deputies. Deputies say they found Brett Tucker there and searched multiple trailers he was managing. There they found over 100 tabs of LSD, nearly 31 grams of heroin, 7 grams of meth, nearly 6 grams of psilocybin mushrooms and about 20 fentanyl pills hidden in a fake soda can. There was over 200 pounds of marijuana and firearms, including automatic weapons and ghost guns. There was also paraphernalia there commonly used in drug sales. So, Tucker was arrested on various charges and held on $25,000.00 bail.

A man from Covelo has been arrested after a store employee called to say a guy was yelling at them, tossed a toy at them and drove off. William Peckham was also accused of throwing a cast iron skillet at them, along with other items, that hit the employee, plus they say he used a metal crutch and broke a window. Deputies learned Peckham also took some items without paying. When the manager approached Peckham threatened, he would shoot folks in the store. So, because they were afraid, they let him leave and called police. Deputies and Round Valley Tribal Police found him across the street with the stolen items and arrested him. He’s also accused of vandalism and threatening a neighbor. Peckham was booked into Mendocino County Jail on $125,000.00 bail.

A fire that’s been burning in Covelo has been stopped in its tracks. The fire broke out yesterday afternoon in the area of Hwy 162 and Fairbanks Lane and was reported first to be about three acres. Since it was windy the fire appeared to be threatening structures and blew up to three times its size in less than 30 minutes. More firefighters were called to the scene along with tankers and a small aircraft. Within an hour firefighters seemed to have it contained, but then came an evacuation warning. But by dinner time the forward progress had been stopped and the evacuation was downgraded to a warning. The Banks Fire ended up burning 107 acres.

The US Senate is looking at possible Cannabis related federal policies which could affect Calif. businesses. Last week the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Shumer and Senators from new Jersey and Oregon, where recreational weed is also legal introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). It would take cannabis off of the federal Controlled Substances Act and change the way its regulated. Taking the responsibility off the Drug Enforcement Administration’s shoulders and placing it instead with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies to protect public health and safety. It would also allow states to regulate medical and adult-use cannabis industries without federal interference. Almost every state in the US either has legalized medical and or recreational.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is considering early activation cannabis permits. At their meeting tomorrow the Board will also say goodbye to one of their own. First, the goodbyes to Tina Scott who announced a few months ago she’d be leaving at the end of July for a teaching position. Then the board is taking up the interim urgency ordinance for a temporary moratorium on issuing early activation permits for commercial cannabis. They’ll also consider a resolution of intention for an amendment to a zoning ordinance relating to early activation. The Board’s also considering approval of extending the usage of the county juvenile hall facility for a temporary homeless support shelter, known as the Elijah House, through Sept. 30th.

After being closed for four days because there was no OB/GYN available, Sutter Lakeside Birth Center has reopened. A spokesperson for Sutter Health says on Saturday afternoon they were able to start providing obstetric services again. Lake County News reports they closed last Tuesday for a so-called “diversion” because they didn’t have an obstetrician. That meant they were referring patients over to Adventist Health Clear Lake. Apparently there are only two spots in Lake County to have a baby. Or a mama to be would have to travel to Mendocino, Napa or Sonoma County. They’re expected to fully reopen Wednesday morning at the latest. At the same time, the California Nurses Association dissed Sutter Lakeside for only relying on two obstetric providers. Lake Co News reports the birthing center delivers about 300 babies a year.

Pride parades happening across the nation this past weekend. So, on Sunday, in downtown Ukiah, they celebrated with a Sidewalk Pride Walk. They erected a rainbow banner there to celebrate diversity and inclusion. The event organizer says they worked with various area organizations, community members and “allies”. She told Mendo Fever it was important to gather and celebrate, share knowledge, resources and more to help build a resilient community.

Some folks in Clearlake had to take their personal belongings and leave due to a wildfire. The fire broke out Saturday afternoon near Adventist Health Clear Lake. There were short-lived evacuations in the Clear Lake Village area. But firefighters made quick work of the blaze with Cal Fire quickly sending air tankers. Lake Co News reports power lines were reported down in the area. Shortly after the tankers started their work, they were released as forward progress was stopped. The fire burned only about five acres and no structures burned, nor where any injuries reported. While neighbors had to evacuate, the local senior center was opened for services and a cool place to wait.

A massive fire burning just outside of Yosemite National Park has grown thousands of acres. The Oak Fire has burned nearly 17,000 acres and triggered evacuations for thousands. It is now the biggest fire in the state. Over 2,600 structures are reportedly threatened and the large Mariposa Grove of giant trees could be once again threatened too. A spokesperson for Cal Fire says light winds blew the fires path wider. And there are a few tiny towns nearby that are in danger, Jerseydale, Darrah and Bootjack. The spokesperson says there’s a heavy fuel load which is tinder dry with temperatures expected in the 90’s with low humidity. Seven homes have been destroyed. Pacific Gas & Electric also reported over 2,600 homes and businesses in the area were without power since Friday and they didn’t know when they could get to it due to access. Another fire in the park area is now 87% contained. The Washburn Fire blackened almost 4,900 acres so far.

A car seen by Mendocino deputies has been stopped after it was connected to a robbery last week. The Sheriff’s Office was contacted after CHP officers stopped the car on the 101 at Burke Hill Road Thursday. Three Black men ran from the area who were believed to be in possession of weapons, including assault guns. A Nixle alert went out to Shelter in Place in Ukiah and Willits. Apparently, it came out that the three men were planning to buy some marijuana, but robbed the seller. They say the victim(s) chased after the suspects and rammed the suspects vehicle. Then the suspects fired at the vehicle which got off the highway and the suspects drove away. A witness told Deputies he saw the suspects get into another vehicle. A drone searched, but the dudes got away.

Insecticides that can kill bees and harm birds are about to be restricted. The Calif. Dept. of  Pesticide Regulation is considering restricting four chemicals. They would regulate how much and when they can be used, depending on where and when it’s used. They’re looking over public feedback on the matter and have no timeline for when they will make their final determination. The pesticides known as Neonicotinoids are the most popular in the world, but not here in Calif. The state says they could be harmful to pollinators. Some other states have banned its outdoor use in gardens and residential areas. In New Jersey, it’s not allowed in commercial landscapes too, such as in golf courses.

Another year with the Redwood Empire Summer Fair in Ukiah. It’ll be back in a couple of weeks with things for the whole family to enjoy. Starting Thursday, Aug. 4th, going until that Sunday, the 7th, with a traditional livestock auction and loads of exhibits and live entertainment. There will also be carnival rides, games and fair food. There will also be multiple workshops and classes on quilting, painting, baking and more.

The massive retirement system in Calif. for Public Employees, known as Cal PERS has announced a major loss, the first since the Great Recession. Stocks and Bonds lost the most value. There was a preliminary drop overall of 6.1% for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. It wasn’t all terrible news though as private equity and real estate investments gained. The fund currently has a value of $440 billion. That’s 72% of what’s needed to pay all long-term obligations, and down from 80% a year ago. The retirement system is the biggest in the nation. Over 2 million state and local government employees, retirees and beneficiaries pull from the system. The loss means the state has to find a way to fill the budget gap for Cal PERS, pulling money from other areas like roads, parks and other budget items.

3 men on the run after a case of road rage on the southbound 101 near Ukiah. The CHP pulled a car over which reportedly had three Black men inside. Some reports say they had automatic weapons with them, got out and ran. It happened near the Burke Hill Rd. exit south of Ukiah. Many law enforcement agencies were searching for the men, and a drone was used to look down from above. Mendo Fever reports there were three vehicles associated with the incident, a black Honda, black truck, and either a U-Haul trailer or a U-Haul Box truck. There was a shelter in place for some neighborhoods during the incident as helicopters flew above.

If you can’t get to the Lake County Library, they have a new “Books by Mail” service. It’s for those who to get want books, CDs, DVDs, and audiobooks through the mail for free. You can sign up online or call any of the branches in the county, in Lakeport, Clearlake, Middletown or Upper Lake. You have four weeks to keep the items and then send them back in the same bag they came in.

A man from Fort Bragg has been reported missing for a couple of days. The Sheriff’s Dept. along with other law enforcement were searching the 24000 block of State Route 20 for 74-year-old Thomas Arrants, who has dementia. His family says he’s not been seen since Wednesday afternoon. His family called that night after searching for several hours. Cal Fire jumped in in the evening hours to help look, then yesterday morning they were joined by the Mendocino County’s Search and Rescue team and the National Guard. His family says he’s known to go on long walks and had been missing in the past too. He’s described as having shoulder length, grey hair and a grey beard. He was last seen in a camo jacket, black sweatpants, and black/red tennis shoes.

The Lake County Grand Jury has come back with a scathing report on the Lakeport Fire Protection District. The jurors say the district was not following Measure M accountability requirements, didn’t adhere to Brown Act open-meeting rules and didn’t have any clear or updated procedures for Board governance. That’s not it though, the report also showed there was high employee turnover and some financial problems. The report went on to say the District continually dealt with stress because of sketchy financial reporting, but noted, they were not being, in any way, “critical of the firefighters”. They did add a note of positivity, giving a thumbs up for improvements the District Board made during the Grand Jury investigation.

A man from Occidental who was arrested in connection to the murder of a man from Lucerne has made a court appearance, but there was no judge available. The case against Nova Maye Deperno had to be continued until next week. Deperno’s lawyer also asked for a continuance last month because of missing discovery in the case. Deperno’s charged with the murder of Ronald Meluso in Sonoma County this past January. Deperno led cops to the body in northern Lake County. He also faces multiple other charges  including flight from a traffic officer with disregard for safety, assault with a firearm on person, threaten to commit crime, abuse (endangering child with great bodily injury) and prevent/ dissuade witness/victim with force/threat. He’s pleaded not guilty to the murder and is in jail without bail.

The Ukiah Mayor Jim Brown along with councilmember Mari Rodin are helping pick a new police chief. They are on the ad-hoc committee to help the City Manager Sage Sangiacomo to replace the recently fired Chief Noble Waidelich. Sangiacomo says there will be a wide net cast for the recruitment. There had been four city council members who wanted to serve on the ad hoc committee, but the Brown Act limits it to two council members. All of the members went through their applicable backgrounds before the Mayor and Rodin were chosen.

The Corner Gallery in Ukiah is hosting Mendocino County Art Association members. The front windows of the Gallery will be dedicated to the show for the entire month of August. And many of the artists will be at the Gallery to discuss their works. The Mendocino County Art Association touts itself as the oldest art organization in the county, established in 1954. . They provide lectures, workshops, classes and art exhibits. Members get reduced rates on the offerings. Right now they have 77 members.

A state proposal would give almost all psychiatric technicians at California state mental hospitals raises of up to 10.5% over three years. That’s part of their new contract negotiations their union announced yesterday. The tentative agreement between the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians and the state of Calif gives them stipends and raises so they stay on the job. The union’s 5,500 members still have to approve the agreement, and so do lawmakers. The state Human Resources Department has yet to reveal the total cost. Those working at these facilities providing care to mentally ill and developmentally disabled patients currently make between $45,000 to $92,000 per year.

Pacific Gas and Electric says it’s time to enroll again in their alert service if you want to continue being notified about public safety power shutoffs. The utility company sent out a text to remind customers recently, saying it’s time to re-enroll in the automated alert service. Customers can sign up at Alerts can come in multiple languages and are available by a phone call or text.

A San Francisco man says he had Covid and monkeypox at the same time. After testing positive for Covid, Mitcho Thompson said lesions started to erupt on his body, so he thought he might be infected with monkeypox too. He says he was ill for several weeks and during the worst days, it was hard to get out of bed, or even drink water. Experts say it’s rare to get both at the same time.

Fire crews getting ahead of a fire at Yosemite National Park. Fire officials say they’ll reopen the main entrance to the park tomorrow, at Wawona Road-Highway 41. All other parts of the park are open, but the town of Wawona is only open to residents, property owners, and park service employees. The Washburn fire is 58-percent contained after burning almost 5,000 acres.

After cops went to a home looking for a man wanted on a felony warrant, they arrest him. Last Thursday, Deputies went looking for Michael Hugo after a DUI causing injury. He was picked up in Ukiah at his home and booked into jail on $10,000.00 bail.

A Ukiah man out of jail on probation is arrested again after reports of a man acting erratically and possibly trying to break into a trailer on Lovers Lane. Deputies detained Lorenzo Cruz who they knew from previous contacts, finding suspected methamphetamine and a meth pipe. He was arrested for Felony Violation of Probation, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He’s held without bail.

In an effort to rid the county of illegal marijuana operations, Deputies were out at various properties last week. The Marijuana Enforcement Team served search warrants on multiple illegal sites throughout the county. None had state permits. Over 165,000 plants were pulled and almost 6,000 pounds of processed weed was taken. Deputies say there were 59 separate environmental crimes found by scientists from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. A total of 12 firearms were confiscated, 3 were ghost guns and 2 were assault weapons. They detained several people, many from outside the US. They say they’re still investigating.

Over the last couple of months, five more people from Mendocino County have died from COVID-19. That makes 131 deaths so far from the deadly virus. The 127th in the county, was an 84-year-old man from Ukiah, then a 67-year-old man from the North Coast area. The 129th death was an 89-year-old woman from Ukiah, and an 89-year-old man, also from Ukiah was the 130th person to die from COVID. And the 131st death was that of a 69-year-old woman, also from Ukiah. The Public Health Dept. reports the virus is still very active worldwide. They encourage vaccines and boosters, masking and social distancing as the best tools for prevention.

Free sports physicals and a back-to-school fair for kids at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast. Next Saturday, July 30th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. are free physicals for youth athletes and supply filled backpacks for students. The sports physical is required by California schools before joining any sports in case of a health issue, like untreated asthma, an undiagnosed heart condition or concussion injury. A regular physical each year is separate and the hospital recommends it for all children to ensure overall health.

The Mendocino County Grand Jury continues their investigations and delivering reports. The latest on the current jail facilities in place since 1985 and in need of major renovations. The report says the jail has long needed maintenance, which is continually deferred. The report goes on to say if the repairs are not taken care of, the costs will be harder to handle and will continue to expose the County to potential liabilities. Two major things the report says need attention, uneven and broken sidewalks and an empty, battered up structure which should be torn down as it’s a serious liability to the County. They’re also dealing with staffing shortages and no maintenance workers assigned to the jail.

A man from Covelo could be going to prison after a jury convicted him of carjacking. The jury found 27-year-old Harlan Nelson Hawk Williams guilty of felony carjacking from an incident in February. The panel also agreed on a sentencing enhancement that Williams was armed with a firearm during the commission of the carjacking. The judge also found true another sentencing enhancement that Williams had a strike from 2013, and that there were several aggravating circumstances, including being on parole when he committed the carjacking. He’s set to be sentenced August 16th.

A man in Clearlake has been arrested after a traffic accident into a pedestrian who died. Police say they found the driver of a Toyota Tacoma, 27-year-old James Nielsen with minor injuries. The pedestrian though, had major injuries. He was identified as James Torrey Jr., also of Clearlake. Police say Nielsen was driving drunk and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular manslaughter.

After a Facebook post about Sutter Lakeside temporarily closing its birth center, Lake Co News has reported it’s because they don’t have an obstetrician. The hospital is instead recommending patients go to other area hospitals until next week. The news site reports the hospital told them they hope to have the situation solved in a week and were actively working to help patients find the care they need, and to transfer patients to other hospitals as needed. They are still open though for other hospital services. The birth center issue came up a couple days ago and Sutter started to notify patients. The news site also reports only Adventist Health Clear Lake was the other option in Lake County for deliveries.

The state Superintendent of Schools race has two candidates vying for the job, including the incumbent. Tony Thurmond will go up against parent choice advocate Lance Christensen. Thurmond got almost 46% of the vote in the June primary but needed 50% so there wouldn’t be a runoff. And Christensen trailed with about 12% of the vote. Thurmond has been in the position since 2019 after being a state assemblyman, Richmond city councilman and West Contra Costa Unified School District school board member. Christensen is the vice president of education policy and government relations at the California Policy Center, and a former finance budget analyst for the Department of Finance. He’s against teaching sex education and ethnic studies. It’s a non-partisan race though. Thurmond won over 50% of the vote in several counties including Mendocino.

A woman from Fortuna has been found guilty of DUI in Mendocino County. The jury found 41-year-old Megan Autumn Brazil guilty of misdemeanor driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, from an incident in April on Highway 101 north of Reeves Canyon. In a previous court appearance Brazil admitted she was in possession of methamphetamine and illegal drug paraphernalia, which are misdemeanors.

The latest Grand Jury report on Measure B, the Mental Health Treatment Act is in. To summarize, the jury says there was a slow start getting the funds funneled into the right areas, but now it looks as though there have been healthy contributions to mental health services for Mendocino County. Two facilities that had been planned out of a trio, are done and operating. The designs for a Psychiatric Housing Facility are nearly done. The jury says the Behavioral Health Department should be commended for their efforts regarding finishing up the other two projects, the Behavioral Health Training Center (BHTC) in Redwood Valley and the Crisis Residential Treatment Center (CRT) in Ukiah, also known as the Phoenix House. There is also now a Mobile Outreach and Prevention Services (MOPS) Dept. and National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) trainings are also happening.

Good things to say from the latest Grand Jury report on the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP), a little-known committee put together after an Assembly Bill became law to tackle prison overcrowding. Sentencing laws were amended then, and the committee began work with law enforcement to ensure local public safety. The committee basically oversees the distribution of money under that Assembly bill. The Chief Probation Officer in Mendocino County oversees the spending. But the jury says there should be a county supervisor of the county CEO should also be involved in the committee meetings. The jury also wants to see the Chief Probation Officer staying a court appointed position in this regard.

Another dry day, another fire. The Bell Fire in Bell Springs is all but out, but another one breaks out, the Meadow Fire. The Meadow is burning in grass and timber and has burned almost 17 acres so far, it’s 65% contained and destroyed two structures. Firefighters making quick runs around both fires. The Bell Fire burned about 43 acres and is 100% contained. The much larger Electra Fire near Yosemite National Park is nearly out too. The massive inferno that was threatening Giant Sequoia trees burned just under 4,500 acres. It’s 99% contained. Now there’s a new fire near Yosemite too. So one of the main ways to get into the park is closed. The fire started after a car crash and has burned 421 acres. The Agua Fire is about 30% contained.

A solo car crash near the Hopland Cemetery has injured at least one person. Mendo Fever reports the CHP reported the car went off Old River Road near the Cemetery last night then hit a tree in a ditch. The CHP says the car went about 15-20′ down and both people in the car got themselves out.

The man heading the California National Guard is out. After multiple scandals at the agency, the Governor’s office reported Maj. Gen. David Baldwin had resigned. It comes after a Los Angeles Times investigation which includes allegations of abuse of authority, homophobia, antisemitism and racism. Baldwin’s been at the helm for over a decade and reports directly to the Governor. Newsom issued a statement after the resignation thanking Baldwin “for his steadfast leadership and nearly four decades of committed service to our state and nation.” Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers is now the deputy adjutant general. The Governor will consider a permanent appointment to replace Baldwin.

The quarterly meeting of Sherwood Firewire Communities covered the proposed sales tax in Mendocino County. The meeting on Zoom last week with District 3 Supervisor John Haschak and the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council (MCFSC) County Coordinator. It was Supervisor Hashak that spoke about the proposed tax for fire services which he says doesn’t really change because there’s about to be a reduction in the mental health sales tax. The new tax would be one-quarter of a cent for fire services which would bring in around $4 million/year. The first reading of the proposed tax was passed by the Board of Supervisors. A reminder too that free home hardening inspections are available to folks living in the region. Their next quarterly meeting is in October.

Health insurance premiums are going up for those using the state marketplace, Covered Calif. The increase will be about 6% more next year, the biggest in about 4 years. They’ve mostly been about 2% higher each year over the last three years. Some counties will get hit harder, with a nearly 12% hike for Imperial, Inyo and Mono counties. And no change at all for Fresno, Kings, and Madera counties. The amount of subsidies a household gets is based on income, which may offset some of the bite. Those who make more than the requirements for the subsidies would have to pay the whole rate increase themselves though.

Fort Bragg has hosted the latest hearings of the Coastal Commission that cover the entire Calif. coast. But in town, they did spend a good chunk of time on Fort Bragg, discussing the mill site and the recent purchase of the site by the Mendocino Railway. They got an update from Harbor Master and the Noyo Center Executive Director, then walked the Noyo Headlands, heard a presentation from the Nature Conservancy and toured the new Noyo Center. During the presentation on the mill site purchase over a dozen speakers said why they were opposed. The commission also got a petition with more than 600 signatures for a site cleanup. There were also some railway representatives there to state their case. The City of Fort Bragg has gone to court to get a declaration that Mendocino Railway does not have the power of eminent domain, and is subject to all permitting requirements. The Chair of the Commission told those in attendance the skunk trains are not considered public utilities.

Part of Highway 53 had to be closed because of a crash that killed a pedestrian. Lake Co News reported the crash early this morning triggered the road to be closed down on the northbound side. Then the coroner arrived for an investigation.

There’s a new midwife at Mendocino Coast Hospital health centers. Certified Nurse Midwife Kate Hylan is taking on new patients which includes healthcare, including prenatal care and childbirth support for patients in Lake and Mendocino Counties. Hyland is an East Coaster, but lived in Southern Calif. last. She says after spending a lot of time in Eureka and Fortuna during her training, her family wanted to make the move. She also said she wanted to work for this health care system and patient population.

State Health officials are saying the new Covid wave could surpass the winter surge.  This is because coronavirus levels recently tested in San Francisco’s wastewater were at higher levels than during the winter. Health experts at Emory University revealed the results after the C-D-C said the newer B-A-5 subvariant was potentially more infectious than the mother omicron strain. State officials also say they think at-home testing was skewing Covid data as many cases were not officially being logged.

The Bureau of Land Management is asking for more public comments for the Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Report. The report notes which areas of northwest California rivers and streams could be folded into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The BLM uses the eligibility report to come up with their Northwest California Integrated Resource Management Plan. The plan is the guiding factor for BLM public land managers in northwest California for the next 20 years. The agency already manages 2,700 miles of wild and scenic rivers in the United States. The job to protect free flow, water quality and other remarkable values like scenic quality, recreational access, fish and wildlife habitat and more. The last report from 2018 focused on various public lands managed by the BLM’s Arcata and Redding field offices in Shasta, Trinity, Butte, Siskiyou, Tehama, Del Norte, Humboldt and northern Mendocino counties.

At the most recent Judge’s Breakfast in Clearlake, guest speaker and City Manager Alan Flora and other city leaders gave an update on the status of the city’s streets and roads; including current progress and plans moving forward. According to Flora there are 112 miles of public roads in Clearlake and 33 miles of private roads, 44 percent of which are gravel or otherwise unpaved roads. The pavement condition index indicates that 30 percent of Clearlake’s roads are considered “very poor” or “failed.” Prior to the passing of Measure V, the budget for roads was the main issue halting any improvements, maxing out at $300,000 for the entire year. According to Flora, one new mile of paved roads can cost around $1 million dollars, and that was simply not an option until more funding was available. City Engineer Dave Swartz noted what investments in equipment the city has made that benefit the community, including a new water truck and excavator, which helps to alleviate some of the financial burden of large projects as it gives the city the ability to grade and/ or crack seal a project before a contractor comes in. While Construction Projects Manager Adeline Brown of public works also discussed upcoming projects including the installation of a round-a-bout at the Dam Road intersection where Starbucks, Jack in the Box and Carl’s Jr. are located. This is considered phase one of another large-scale project they have scheduled, the Airport Development Project, which will connect 18th Avenue to Highway 53 and include the construction of a hotel.

Filing and nominations for city council positions in Fort Bragg, Ukiah, Willits and Point Arena are now open for the November 8th election. The filing period lasts until August 12th. Four out of the five council seats are up for grabs in Fort Bragg. Three seats are up for reelection in Point Arena, Mendocino County’s smallest incorporated city of about 450 residents. The county’s largest city, Ukiah, also has three seats up for reelection this November. In Willits, two city council seats are up for grabs. Terms run for four years.

A Santa Rosa house fire in which a woman was injured trying to put out the flames last week was caused by a malfunctioning heating device in the garage, fire officials said. The woman escaped the Thursday blaze with three children. The woman was taken to a hospital to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation. Damage from the fire was estimated at $200,000.

Two people died when the aircraft they were riding in crashed Sunday morning in northeast Napa County, authorities said. The crash happened in the Berryessa Estates neighborhood in Pope Valley, according to officials with the FAA and Cal Fire. Nobody else was on board the aircraft, according to officials with the FAA, which is investigating the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board. Firefighters were dispatched to the crash site to put out a fire, which grew to about an acre before it was contained by residents and firefighters

After Lake County’s Community Development director resigned last week, the Board of Supervisors is expected to get an update later this morning on the process to find her successor. The‌ ‌board will meet beginning ‌at‌ ‌9‌ ‌a.m. ‌in the board chambers on the first floor of the Lake County Courthouse, 255 N. Forbes St., in Lakeport.

A ballot initiative that would have raised taxes on California millionaires and billionaires to fund public health programs and pandemic prevention is dead — at least for this year. The Silicon Valley tech executives who bankrolled the measure, which had been targeted for the November ballot, said they aren’t giving up on their goal of creating the strongest state public health system in the country. But they acknowledge COVID-19 is no longer top of mind for most Americans

Horse racing will be making a comeback this August with an 8-day-long meet at this year’s Sonoma County Fair. The Wine Country Horse Racing meet will be the first since 2019, because the fair was canceled in August 2020 due to COVID-19. Last August, coordinators opted for a smaller event they dubbed the Summer Fun Fest, which didn’t include horse racing. The racing will take place August 4th through the 7th and again August 11th through the 14th.

The Bell Fire quickly grew into one of the most significant fires of Mendocino County’s 2022 fire season as it threatened homes along one of the North County’s iconic rural roadways. Located off of Highway 101 between Laytonville and Leggett on Bell Springs Road, the fire reportedly ignited near a landmark known as Blue Rock and quickly spread. The burnsite has been measured to be 43 acres in size and is 85% contained.

Enough trash to fill trash bags lining the entire California coastline twice over. That’s how much trash has been removed in the first year of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative. In just the first 12 months since the $1.1 billion multiyear cleanup effort began last July, Clean California has removed 12,700 tons of trash – which would fill enough trash bags to line the California coastline two times – from California’s roadways, funded 231 projects to revitalize underserved communities, and created nearly 1,500 jobs – with thousands more expected in the coming years.

Health officials reported seven new probable cases of monkeypox in Sacramento County residents on Monday, bringing the county’s total to 21 likely or confirmed infections since late May. The county has reported 13 cases in the past week: two cases last Tuesday and four Wednesday, prior to Monday’s seven. Investigations and contact tracing for the seven latest cases are ongoing, according to county health spokeswoman Samantha Mott. The county said all four were exposed via domestic travel to other states in the U.S.

A new report out of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago shows just how much the exodus from California is gaining steam. Only Illinois ranked worse off than the Golden State when it came to moving vans heading out of state during the pandemic, according to the report, which focused on data from the moving company United Van Lines. In 2018-19, 56% of moves in California were families fleeing the state. By 2020-21, that figure jumped to nearly 60%. The state that was by far the biggest draw of California residents? Texas, the destination for more than 7,500 California families during the four years in the study.

Multiple structures have been threatened by a small fire in the Bell Springs area. Laytonville Fire, Cal Fire, Leggett and the Little Lake Fire Depts were working the Bell Fire. The fire started yesterday and was burning in grass and oak woodlands. About 43 acres have burned and the fire is 85% contained. No injuries were reported.

A massive construction project is about to be awarded for the city of Lakeport’s new Lakefront Park. The City Council is meeting tomorrow night on the matter where the Public Works Superintendent is presenting a construction services agreement with the lowest bidder on the project. At just under 4.4 million dollars, construction could start this fall. The project to include a bunch of recreational activities, including a skate park, basketball court and splash pad and should be complete by next January. It’s being funded by a grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation that goes back to the start of 2020 through Proposition 68, the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors continuing to look for a permanent Public Health Officer, now working to find a new Community Development Director after the last one resigned last week after less than a year in the position. The Human Resources Department is expected to announce how they’ll be recruiting for the position. Lake Co News reports last week the Human Resources dept. started the recruitment process and should have a first batch of applications to review by the first week of August. If they can’t find any qualified individuals in that batch, they will work with executive firms, similar to what they’re doing with the Public Health officer spot.

The state’s sending out the message that during the extreme drought, there’s a way to care for trees, while still cutting outdoor water use. Save Our Water — the State of California’s water conservation campaign with California ReLeaf and urban forest groups is educating the public how to properly water and take care of trees to protect the state’s tree canopy. They’re working with the USDA Forest Service, CAL FIRE’s Urban & Community Forestry Department and local groups so trees survive the drought and thrive to provide shade, beauty and habitat, clean the air and water, and make cities and towns healthier and more livable for decades to come. Some of the ideas include to deeply and slowly water mature trees 1 to 2 times per month, but younger trees 2 to 4 times per week, in some regions. Use recycled water for trees and try not to over prune them. And not to be overstated, use tons of mulch because it retains water.

The state chancellor’s office has reportedly not used money from the state for free textbook programs at community colleges. $115 million was bestowed for the state’s 116 community colleges, but it’s yet to be used. The Governor and lawmakers put the package together after the Governor went viral for calling the textbook industry a “racket.” The money is meant to go to degree and certificate programs so students don’t have to pay a dime for textbooks. But those in charge say they can’t give out any of the money yet because they have not put together an application for colleges. That should be done within the month. They will also put a system in place to track how the students are doing in the programs. Textbooks generally range from $150-$250 each.

A 7% raise is coming to California State University presidents and executives. The CSU Board of Trustees gave the thumbs up for the rate increases after a study found executives in the system were underpaid compared to similar schools nationwide. Last year the board voted to give salary increases, but not more than 10%. Still, this will be the largest pay raise for executives in the system for the last 12 years. Their last one was 3% in 2019. That’s not it either, the board also voted to give the 14 CSU presidents equity adjustments based on their performance reviews so their salaries are raised so they’re comparable to other universities.

No more United Airlines flights out of Santa Rosa’s Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. Starting Nov. 1st, the airline is going on hiatus due to continuing pilot shortages. The Airport Manager says they’re not the only airport it’s happening at. They serve San Francisco and Denver from Santa Rosa and previously suspended service to Denver. But the airport manager says they hope to return that service soon. United also recently announced it will stop service between Flagstaff, Arizona, and Denver; Texarkana, Texas, and Houston; and between Los Angeles and San Diego in coming months. There’s a new airline in Santa Rosa though, Aha Airlines flies nonstop from Reno-Tahoe International to and from Santa Rosa.

There’s a new Noyo Harbor District Harbormaster. Anna Neumann has her Fishing Policy degree from Oregon State and knows her way around the ocean and a fishing vessel. Neumann worked as a crew member for a commercial fishing vessel and gathered tidal data for a non-profit. The Advocate is featuring Neumann and her new-ish job, which she started last September. Her job includes managing the marina, supporting local commercial fishermen, and the paper reports she’s working to restore the infrastructure of the harbor district. The newspaper reports most of Neumann’s attention is going on grant funding right now to remove abandoned boats, build a new fish cleaning station, get upgrades to Grader Park, and replace some infrastructure.

Nearly 2 dozen warning towers are being put in in Paradise. The Town Council approved the construction after the Camp Fire, one of the most destructive and deadliest in Calif. history. 21 towers will be built at about 42 feet each. They are pegged at over $2.5 million dollars, but will be 75% funded by FEMA, the Office of Emergency Services and from Hazard Mitigation grant money. The rest of the funds come from other grants and the town’s general fund. The town’s intending to integrate with the county should a time come, that there’s a county-wide warning system. The towers can be turned on all at once, or individually and can have cameras installed on them too. It was a unanimous decision for construction.

A new report from the CDC says about 90% of Calif. residents are in counties with a high COVID-19 community level, so masks should be worn in indoor public spaces. It’s due to the latest subvariants of omicron which has unleashed, yet another coronavirus wave. Los Angeles looks like it’s about to reinstate the indoor mask mandate as case levels and hospitalizations are on the rise. The county hit the high community level last Thursday, so if it stays there for the next couple of weeks, the mask mandate will be reinstated. And 41 other counties are also in the high level this week with many recommending, but not mandating, facial coverings in public in indoor settings. The California Department of Public Health has come out with a strong recommendation for mask wearing for everyone over the age of 2 in all indoor public spaces.

A big rig crash sent smoke into the air and flames licking the sky near Laytonville. The CHP reported the rig was fully engulfed in flames along the 101 south of Laytonville near the intersection with Shamrock Lane. The fire didn’t spread outside of the truck, but there were flammable materials inside the truck’s trailer. No injuries were reported, and the fire was reported to be out earlier this afternoon.

Several people in a car went down an embankment in Ukiah. The CHP reported a solo car crash on Low Gap Rd ending with the vehicle sliding 200′ feet down into in a creek bed. There were two people able to get out and climb back up. A rope system was rigged there to get the other two out. Four people had minor injuries.