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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.

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